Tuesday 18 May 2021

Channel 9-0

To paraphrase Belinda Carlisle, "in this world we're just beginning, to understand the miracle of winning". The difference is that she's "not af-raid, any-more", while I was terrified of blowing a 26 point three-quarter time lead in the wet against a team that has usually falls over faster than a Russian apartment block.

When it comes to footy/music crossovers, I'm more a Songs of Love and Hate man. While 85% of me is enjoying being unbeaten at the top of the ladder, the rest is looking for a secure location to hide in for when it all goes horribly wrong. 

Everyone involved with the winning of football games should feel good about what they've achieved. As far as fans go, being content after Round 9 is for people who support clubs that have won something. To me, not just battle scarred but permanently maimed, it feels like a Candid Camera style set-up for an eventual stooging. That's why I'm still more interested in the gap between us and ninth than any other calculation. The tension is building, in my head there's already an unofficial Bradbury Plan to get rid of fringe top eight contenders.

I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way, and can you blame any Melbourne fan for not taking the bait? It's not like we've got any frame of reference to know how to react. You'd have to be very old to remember either a 9-0 start, or a combined 11 game winning streak. So old that you're not going to waste your precious last moments reading Unabomber manifesto length posts from me. Your remaining time would be better spent wistfully reminiscing about running riot at the start of 1956 or winning every game between rounds 5 and 15, 1960. The rest of us are flying blind and hoping there's no mountain in the way.

As Channel 7 helpfully kept showing, every year we've won nine games in a row we've finished as premiers. James Brayshaw - of all people - had to be the voice of reason and point out that there are a lot more clubs to beat now. Not to mention four more home and away games, no express route to the Grand Final, and the league pulling strings on the competition like it's The Truman Show. More importantly, all the winning streak/flag interfaces came after earlier success. The third leg of the hat-trick during World War II, after losing the 1954 Grand Final, then three more times under Norm Smith once we'd started collecting flags for fun. In comparison, this is half a team that got wiped off the table in a prelim three seasons ago combining with the other half to put on the run of a lifetime.

This post was delayed by the Monday arrival of my second child, Ms. Demonblog Jr. II (yes, time travel Adam, you are reading that astonishing news correctly). As part of a futile seven year quest to introduce footy topics into conversation with her sister, I pointed out that while this child is being born into a world where Melbourne can't stop winning, her birth came in time to lose the last 10 games of 2014. My story was even worse, but highly appropriate for the litany of failure that followed, dropping during the inglorious one win by one point 1981 campaign. "Maybe babies are cursed..." she replied, and wandered off to do something more interesting.

So, apologies if my bloodlines are subject to the same satanic interference that affected every father/son player between Ron Barassi Jr and Jack Viney (and the way Jack's feet are going you have to wonder...) If they suddenly replace our theme song with this you know there's trouble afoot:

It's obvious which of the two major events I should have spent the weekend most nervous about, and yes the answer was Melbourne vs Carlton. There are distant memories of how to keep a baby alive, I still don't know how I'll react to the end of a once-in-a-lifetime winning streak. Maybe I'll shrug, accept that it's a marathon not a sprint, and consider how far we've gone towards sewing up a rare finals spot. Maybe I'll throw my TV out the window. There's only one way - unless we never lose another game - to find out.

Despite the usual concerns about losing as favourites, this was not the day for the tantrum triggering letdown. Our contractually obligated moment of weakness came and went in early in the first quarter and the game was all but over early in the last. A lot of what we did, against a side defining mid-table mediocrity in a way we could never have imagined, was good, not a lot was bad terrible, and thumbs up to all involved. You will still forgive me not camping in front of BASS for Grand Final tickets just yet.

In a world where my string of sizzling footy hot takes and snide remarks at the expense of other clubs don't generate nearly as much heat as you'd expect, declaring this as a contender for the "worst four goal win in history" on Twitter went down surprisingly poorly. This was probably a touch harsh, it might have just escaped the top 10. First you have to consider how few games we've won by around four goals recently, much less since the days when each Melbourne win stopped the nation. 

Obviously 'in history' was comic exaggeration. Otherwise, I thought it was a reasonable assessment and backhanded compliment. Our ability to sludge out wins this year has been remarkable, and they all count. I don't like our chances of relying on the defence to rescue us for 25 weeks in a row, the midfield group are just doing enough, and the forwards haven't worked out how to play effectively with each other but somehow we're still winning, so long may the party atmosphere continue. Here's to declaring the worst Semi, Preliminary and Grand final wins by the end of the season too.

I'm still entirely grateful for every win. Unlike every person involved in football media, I don't expect every game to be an instant classic that neutrals will be walloping themselves over in 30 years. But it's not a knock on the people who engineered victory to think we can still play better. I'm still hoping for Mike Tyson style violent knockouts when I should learn to stop worrying and enjoy boxers who spent 12 rounds turning their opponent's brains to mush. Either way, the end goal at this stage is to hoard premiership points by any means necessary.

You don't have to feel electricity pulsing through your veins to appreciate a performance, and while there were several points this week where we should have romped into the distance there is nothing about this performance to get properly outraged about. There are areas for concern, and like most games this year it took a lot of work to get rid of inferior opposition, but the end result is that we're five wins clear inside the eight and three inside the top four. Good.

While we were on track for another week without an in-game injury (Chandler finally got to play a real game and probably wished he'd stayed in the tracksuit), theirs was thrust into the game at near-record speed after a teammate did his knee in the opening minutes. Clayton Oliver has form with Blues fans, and there was probably some goon in the stands blaming him for daring to engage in the contest that caused the injury. For the first time ever Channel 7 proved to be the guardians of good taste, avoiding a non-stop Tomlinson style misery watch after he returned to the bench. This was a far more respectful way of dealing with a player's demise than focusing the camera on him at every opportunity and hoping to catch him crying.

When surprise Coleman Medal leader Harry McKay went off clutching his shoulder not long after, sage observers of the game probably thought Carlton's last chance of an upset victory had gone out the window. I expected that, like Richard Kimball, we were about to be led to disaster by a one-armed man. I'm not one to give a rat's what players from other teams do, but the way he battled on while clearly crocked and gave May more of a challenge than most this season (unlike this character let's retain our dignity and say they're both good) would have been inspirational to his teammates. Bad luck then that they could have had Nelson Mandela motivating them and still not combined for a winning score.

We should still be moderately concerned that they still got 10 goals against us. Yes, one was from a 50, one was from a handball intercept, and more than one was from a "we have no other idea what to do" hoof forward, but we still conceded far too many quality inside 50s. Not the ones that count for Champion Data but actually land in the arms of a defender without an opponent in the same postcode, but the sort that can easily catch a defence off-guard or fall to a crumber. 

Our backline is great - and Petty played his best game down there by a mile - but over-reliance on them getting us out of trouble will eventually be the death of us. I prefer when we get it forward, scare the shit out of defenders in open play, then set up a wall, stop the opposition getting it across halfway, then repeat for a few minutes before kicking goals. No matter how much you score out of defence, you don't need to be a footy genius to know that scores from the forward half of the ground are preferable because they eliminate any chance of the opposition kicking a goal.

Tackles are about the only inside 50 stat that I have any respect for, and it's telling that ours were almost half the 2021 average while theirs went up 200%. Mind you, statistics can lead you down a dark path. Without checking I'd have said we got stomped in the centre clearances but narrowly won around the ground, when it turned out to go the other way. Still, when the first bounce saw Gawn get the tap and three Blues players run onto it for an immediate forward entry my bias sense was tingling. That we shot straight out of defence and created an opportunity was good, but risky. You simply won't get away with that forever.

After Fritsch, returning from his self-imposed one week exile, opened the scoring we managed to survive all of 20 seconds before their response. After my demands for more repeat stoppages in the middle, we managed to concede after one of those instead. This time a long kick bounced off a pack and into the hands of the improbably named Owies (I assume all the good Ralph Wiggum references have already been done) to walk into an open goal. Which is one way to get around our backline. 

So that was one goal wasted, and because stats and what other clubs have done in the past be damned our centre clearances are a massive concern, the ball went straight back down there for another one. Not many things set me off more than kicking one goal, then immediately conceding two, leaving you in a worse spot than if the first shot missed.

Last week I telegraphed a deep fear of Eddie Betts taking time out of his testimonial lap around the league to run riot. After kicking as many goals in the last fortnight as his previous 14 starts combined, I had nightmare visions of our finest backline of the modern era being unlocked by relentless crumb. Because there's no such thing as 'horses for courses' after eight wins it didn't even strike me to call for the return of Neville Jetta - who has fixed him up several times over the years. The early signs were worrying, he too found a way to create a goal from nothing, taking advantage of sick forward pressure that left us trying to escape from the last line of defence to intercept a handball and snap a goal. All's well that ends well, he didn't get any more. Not without having an uncomfortable number of opportunities though...

Unwillingness to mess with a winning system probably also led to us taking one too many tall forwards into a game that was going to be affected by rain. After his wet weather masterclass against the Tigers, I'd like to have seen Luke Jackson have another go, but his mystery finger injury finally opened the door for Weideman after weeks of toil in the VFL. Even with rain nearly guaranteed I suppose they felt like pulling him out of the side at the last minute would have been like shooting Bambi's mother.

The good thing is that even on a day where the Weid and Brown went goalless (not without a few excuses), we have a few other avenues to go. Which came in handy after Carlton kicked their third in a row. All of a sudden 50s for infringing the mark suddenly returned, but we couldn't even declare this one to be administrative - Chandler was roped in so badly by his opponent that he almost followed the Jim Stynes line across the mark. The penalty led to Mark Internet kicking about his third goal in 30 games and you began to suspect Carlton's midfield was going for a collective Kingsley nomination.

'Melbourne having bad starts and going on to win' has reached 'name a more iconic duo' status this year but I still reserved the right to be worried. We didn't look much chop going forward, they were pulling opportunities out of their arse at the other end, and it was threatening to piss down raining at any moment. Even after winning two games in the wet this year I still didn't like the idea of having to chase a lead down.

For once we got a goal straight back. Making up for the well-meaning but disastrous string of handballs that led to the Betts goal, doing similar at the other end kept the ball alive long enough for McDonald to hit Neal-Bullen with the sort of pass that could leave a dent. The Bullet has been better than he gets credit for this year, and he could not have kicked a more perfect set shot here if he tried. A lot of players have improved this year but it's a long way for him since he killed the Adelaide bloke (which may be mentioned next week...) and we didn't even ponder challenging his four game ban.

Carlton falling apart at the end of quarters is almost as popular as our slow starts, and after successfully containing us for much of the quarter they undid all their good work in the last few minutes. We did our best to keep them in it, with an over-excited Chandler stuffing up a certain mark for the Weid, but because everything is coming up Melbourne at the moment the ball dropped perfectly for Oliver to stuff home. 

Weideman had a more active hand in the next one, setting up McDonald with a perfect kick in the dying seconds. He won't have much for his highlight reel from this game, but he should include this mark and pass from various angles, in slow motion, and with special effects. Sizzle's mark in between two defenders was almost as good, though you wonder how neither of them even went close to spoiling it. Because he's bursting with confidence, the man whose all-meat diet makes vegans weep never looked like missing. The added bonus was that this time we couldn't give one of his goals back within 25 seconds - though we did have a red hot bash at making up for that from the opening bounce of the second quarter. 

Though my support of him never wavered (cue somebody dredging up all the posts where it did), nobody could have seen McDonald's comeback from near career death this season. Who knows what would have happened if he didn't have a point to prove but there must be a few clubs kicking themselves at not taking a punt on him for whatever minimal trade we'd have wanted. For instance, Carlton. As if they didn't have money for him to help clear the road for the diminishing returns forward line of McKay, Casboult, and Charlie Curnow if he's ever fit again. Stiff shit, for now he's ours.

When Fritsch got a second the optimistic section of my brain thought the floodgates might be about to open. Alas no, Carlton were difficult to get rid of, hanging around for the next two quarters, never seriously threatening but remaining close enough to make it interesting if they got a run on. For now, five points was a bit too close for comfort. Enter the Sizzle again, who summoned up the power of two all beef patties to boot a set shot from a tough angle, then kick another on the run a couple of minutes later. The second was a thing of beauty, taking a pass from Pickett in space, then running inside 50, having a high-risk bounce and effortlessly banging it through. For running goals from that angle it lacked the gravitas of Watts on Queen's Birthday but the finish was just as good.

That should have killed the Blues off, but as much as their fans are about to set themselves on fire in despair at being 3-6 (hello Melbourne fans circa 2015) they way they battled this game out should see them right against a few mid-table and worse teams. Probably won't help them make the finals though, and as they're only slightly less delusional about still being a big club than us that will probably end in David Teague driving an Uber by 2022. Still, they've got the makings of a half-decent side. 

When they responded with the next two goals I had serious concerns that their time was about to arrive. But to be fair, with the psychological trauma watching this side puts me through, Fitzroy 1996 could kick one and I'd start worrying. Enter Jayden Hunt, scourge of the Blues on the same ground two years ago, who reminded us that while the defender thing is going better than expected he can still kick goals in an emergency. He restored a 13 point half time lead, which like many of our margins this year left you both wondering how we were not both further in front and further behind. 

This was the first week where there was no inner turmoil about not being at the game, and that decision looked even better when it started pissing down while all the publicly accessible undercover areas in the ground were bolted shut. The good news is that with the imminent return of general admission ticketing there's no way the MCG can deny Level 4 fanatics any longer. I will blow up deluxe if this just means more people being stuffed into each other's armpit while being rained on. 

There are plenty of reasons why crowds are down nearly 7000 a game compared to 2019, but spare me the Kennett-esque sooking about timeslots and let's see what happens when there's a bit more flexibility in who you can go with and where you can sit. Like it or not, the habit of going every week has been broken for many people (helping Kayo out of deep financial shit and to over a million subscribers, most of who are presumably there for the AFL or NRL, not the World Tram Driver Championship), and they're going to start picking and choosing when to attend live. This is shizen news for teams that are going to be bad for the next few years. In a rare case of good timing this doesn't seem to apply to us.

The game was won in the third quarter, but when it started with the Blues going straight out of the middle I braced for disappointment. That most of our scores came from the backline is a chicken/egg scenario, it's good know we can score from transitions but what would be happening if the ball didn't get down there so easily to begin with? There's a big difference between Round 1, when Freo was setting rebound opportunities up on a platter, and the Herculean efforts of our best backmen to get to contests here. If I was an opposition coach with 'nothing to lose' at the end of the season (e.g. I am tanking), I'd drop all the talls, tell the midfielders to kick along the ground and see how Melbourne copes against an all-small forward line.

A pair of nerve settlers to start the second half coincided with Gawn finally getting on top of Mr. Internet. It was far from a classic Maximum game, but I loved when he'd try and contest his own taps in the middle. That is, when they hadn't already been booted 50 metres clear by the time his feet hit the ground. It's a long way from James McDonald looking over in traffic and catching him having a cig. Junior's reward for helping get this young man's career back on track was to be forced into retirement. From this shambolic beginning Max has reached the point where his post-retirement career should involve life coaching wayward recruits who can't adapt to the professional lifestyle.

When Fritsch kicked his third I half thought we might kick through the Sullivan line and set up a relaxing last quarter. We've nearly lost after building huge leads against them two years in a row but even that would have been a bridge too far. Especially with the way our defence is going. They're not unbeatable but against a forward line with so little firepower they were as close as possible. Paul Roos was right right about everything having to start with defence, he just didn't know that the players he had down there would be replaced by imports from Gold Coast and Adelaide. 

Then, the traditional penalty for thinking the game is won before three quarter time was applied, with McKay rising above his handicap to kick two in a row. Against anyone else I'd have been barracking for the narrative and hoping he got seven in a barnstorming victory. In this case I thought they should have taken a conservative approach and sent him for scans at the break. Old wounds run deep, I'm still not over a game against Footscray 10 years ago when they sent a crocked player to full forward and he helped them win.

Enter your friend and mine (but not fringe Richmond players) Kysaiah Pickett. He had been ok without doing anything spectacular, before reading the ball off a pack and rolling it through from a zany angle. It was one of those seconds from disaster kicks where your first instinct is that he should have just blasted it, before it becomes obvious that he knew exactly what he was doing. You might have already thought the game was won, for me it represented much-needed breathing space. Adjusted for the conditions, Weideman missed a Reverse DemonTime chance that would have all but killed them off, but realistically a side that had blown a five goal lead the week before was not going to recover from a 26 point deficit.

Try telling me that when they cartwheeled out of the middle and had a quick snap that nearly brought up the first goal of the final term. Sanity was restored at the other end when Chandler had his first win of the day, with a blind over the head handball finding Spargo for the sealer. The rest of the quarter doesn't bear reviewing, because we kept kicking points they never got to win it out of the centre, leading to 15 minutes of such tremendousslop that it should have been sponsored by 1800-Got-Junk.

The only really memorable bit was Pickett's moment of Gentlemania, immediately admitting a shot on goal was touched. The umpires reacted by wasting everyone's time with a review. Imagine if a cricketer walked and they still spent two minutes fiddling with hot spot and snicko to decide if he was really out. Gerard Healy, this is the sort of time-wasting nonsense you should be whinging about, not the length of quarters.

Though it was clear that Carlton could play until midnight and not overhaul the margin, I still nervously glanced at the clock ticking down, not finally accepting the win was inevitable until there were less minutes to go than goals required. Having watched North's breakthrough win a day earlier, it struck me how casual I am about regulation victories now. Last week I nearly had a nervous breakdown at the end, but I can think back to games we won by similar margins to this in The Shit Years that felt like discovering the Holy Grail.

How the wheel eventually turns, on Saturday afternoon I sent a message to the same North fan who used to congratulate me after each of our rare victories. To be fair it was more anti-Hawthorn sentiment than genuine support for the Roos but it's the thought that counts. Feeling the freedom to shit on the Hawks is another sign that things are looking up. I respect their four flags about as much as opposition fans did the Norm Smith era by 1974. Congratulations on a glorious recent history, now you're no good.

So yes, the win was greatly appreciated, with nothing truly worth getting upset about. You could say that this style won't stand up in finals - and I have some sympathy for this position - but given that our most complete performances have been against last year's Grand Finallists who knows what's going to happen in four months. I'm not far from suggesting we take it one game at a time. But the still-restrained joy of the last nine weeks can never be taken away. 

I don't think we're going to release a St. Kilda style streak DVD but it's still been fun. However, rinse and repeat every week but you don't get anything for being top after [insert round here]. Even if we somehow finish top, the minor premiership is worth about much as AFLX Group A if you don't go on to the flag. If you skipped from pre-season to the end of the year and offered me a perfect start or a romping Bulldogs 2016 style finish I'd certainly choose the latter, but while we're living in the moment I'm willing to follow the greatest opening to a season in my lifetime (featuring as many combined wins as we had 2012 to midway through 2014) wherever it takes us. In everyone we trust.

2021 Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year
5 - Tom McDonald
4 - Clayton Oliver
3 - Christian Salem
2 - Jake Lever
1 - Max Gawn

Apologies to Petracca, Langdon, May and Neal-Bullen.

This could be the most balanced top four in the history of the award - you've got a midfielder (of course), followed by a defender, ruckman and forward. Oliver is slowly pulling away at the top, and history shows that bulk possessions are likely to generate more votes than anything other than bulk goals so the odds are in his favour from here. 

In the minors, Salem has put some distance in the race for the Seecamp, with Lever a BOG behind, and May handicapped by playing good games on unfit opponents. Still nothing for Hilton fans, with Jordon and Chandler both going home empty-handed.

21 - Clayton Oliver
16 - Christian Salem (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
15 - Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
14 - Tom McDonald
13 - Christian Petracca
11 - Jake Lever, Kysaiah Pickett
9 - Steven May
6 - Bayley Fritsch, Luke Jackson
3 - Michael Hibberd, Ed Langdon
2 - James Harmes, Jayden Hunt, Adam Tomlinson
1 - Charlie Spargo

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year
The popular choice is going to be the Pickett goal that skidded across the ground, only briefly flirting with disaster before going through. But for the second week in a row, McSizzle gets the nod for a goal on the run. This time he didn't first escape traffic like James Bond, but for somebody whose field kicking has always (a bit unfairly) been slaughtered, this was as pure a finish as you could hope for. There has never been a more obvious weekly prize than Tom pocketing the meat tray.

The good news for Pickett is that he's still got the overall lead for that goal against St. Kilda.

The best time for bad commentary is when you're winning, which means you'll probably never tolerate Channel 7's community theatre style presentation more than you do now.

Sure, you could sit in the rain next to people you've never met before, but would you have heard Brian Taylor saying that Eddie Betts called his teammates "in for a shitter"? Or been baffled by him whispering like a snooker commentator as a reaction to the subdued crowd. 

I know some people enjoy Taylor's commentary in a non-ironic way, but there are others who enjoy being shat on, it's not a mark of quality. Given that you could put anyone in the same role and not lose a single viewer, the idea that he's paid several hundred thousands of dollars to play professional lummox is offensive. But as long as we're good I say GEE, GOD, BOY, WOW, bring on the content.

Meanwhile, Abbey Holmes (who, like most boundary riders, should lobby not to be considered in the same industry as the nuffies calling the game) tried to liven things up for juvenile people like me by repeatedly suggesting that Harry McKay 'pulled himself off' after his injury. Not with the injured arm we hope.

Finally, I'm sure when games are played in Melbourne that the commentators are actually at the ground, but how did the Carlton player lying in a crumpled heap with a serious injury go without mention for about 20 seconds? There's two (alleged) professional callers, colour commentators, boundary riders, and people talking non-stop into their ear but no acknowledgement that a player has gone down as if shot. This is the most lucrative amateur production ever staged in Australia.

Shameless self-promotion of the week
Thanks to everyone who has supported The Last Hurrah in its first week of pre-sales. After a week battling with biographies of Jonathon Thurston and Jarryd Roughead for top spot on Amazon, the fun ended when they ran out of copies of my book and it tumbled down the charts. How you run out of copies of something that hasn't come out yet is a mystery to me, but Amazon currently has a market capitalisation of $1.66 trillion so they must know what they're doing. 

The good news is that they appear to have restocked so you can get it from there. If you're ideologically opposed to Amazon, try pre-ordering via the publisher or demand (and do phrase it as a demand) that your nearest book retailer get it in for you. As far as I know we're still on track for a 7 July release, so you can expect increasingly gratuitous plugs until then.

Next Week
I have played down our chances for the last nine weeks and been pleasantly surprised but for the love of all that is holy please tell me we'll beat Adelaide? They're nowhere near as bad as last year but that's not saying much. And unlike Football Park - the ultimate graveyard for MFC teams - we've got a good record at Adelaide Oval. Given their improvement, Neal-Bullen's indiscretion last year, and the chance of Lever fixing them up there should be a little more spice to it than our last start at the venue, pummelling before 2172 people who were just happy to be allowed outside.

For changes, as much as I respect Brayshaw's courage in flying back into packs with a head that could explode at any moment, his disposal shits me to tears. If they're not going to play him in the middle - and considering how our centre clearances are going, how could it do any damage? - then I can't justify the non-stop clangers. This is not a personal issue, I think he'd be good in another role, just not the one they're using him in. Won't happen, but surely the coaches can see that there's an issue. More than once I've tried to drop him and he's responded by finishing the votes, so here's to another reverse mozz.

Less controversially, I'd like to give Chandler another go but given the scale of his Barry Crocker I can't justify it. Based on what I've seen of him in the pre-season and VFL he's welcome for another go but looked miles of it here. For all the suspicion that we've seen the best of the Milkshake, he would have done the same job more effectively.

Speaking of Chandler and milk, there were odd scenes when somebody had the genius idea to cover him in a pint of the stuff during the song. In a week where Jordan De Goey reintroduced the complimentary grundle massage it was hardly earth-shattering stuff, but still led to questions. I enjoyed the idea of Gawn lecturing teammates on having respect for the property steward. It's not quite the Japanese football team cleaning the rooms but is as close as you'll get from an AFL team. Meanwhile Kade is not only likely to be dropped, he's probably still got cats chasing him down the street.

Given that Jackson is still another week away, we've got another week to solve the Brown/Weideman conundrum. At the moment I've got to have Brown ahead, because he had two good weeks before going missing in the wet. But given how much better Weid was - relatively speaking - on Sunday there's an excellent case for keeping him too. Let them play against a side that should (NB: SHOULD) provide plenty of opportunities and we'll see who comes out on top.

IN: Sparrow, Melksham
OUT: Brayshaw, Chandler (omit)
LUCKY: Brown or Weideman
UNLUCKY: M. Brown, Jetta

Regardless of their marginal improvement early this year, the Crows have gone tits up in the last few weeks and we should take care of them. The only question is whether it's 'comfortably' like Carlton, or 'comfortably' where we finally put a team to the sword. In the end, I'll be satisfied as long as it ends in four more precious premiership points.

Final Thoughts
As the finest major sponsor of my lifetime would say:

1 comment:

  1. Teague must really hate McKay. Any other coach would have removed their key forward to avoid worsening the injury. Teammates don’t like Harry either judging by the number of solid high-fives applied to his sore arm after McKay kicked a goal. My heart rate would have eased considerably if McKay had retired to the bench as scripted.

    Talk about the Kiss of Death with that f***ing visual about 9 straight wins leading to premierships. The commentators also forgot that levellers drafts and salary caps were unheard of in 1950s Victoria.

    A strange decision to go top heavy on a day rain was forecast (and fell). I still think Melksham is in our best 22 whatever the conditions.

    My appreciation of James Jordon’s efforts is growing with each game. His pressure and tackling were essential in a match where we were getting thrashed in the clearances. Viney is no certainty to play when fit (assuming they’re vying for the same spot).


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