Tuesday 15 June 2021

A farce to be reckoned with

Last time we played Collingwood I stole the name of a popular reality program to call the review Million Dollar Fisting. And here we are a year (on the football calendar) later, having lost a mil being forced to play interstate, then conceding four premiership points by firmly whopping the entire arm up our own choc box after 10 minutes then leaning back to make sure it was in. That time they ended up playing finals, this year we almost certainly will. Funny old game.

The good news is that we'll be writing off the entire financial loss as a contribution to the Kingsley Institute, where down on their luck players and clubs alike come for a chance at redemption. It's easy to get self-pitying after our second upset loss in a month, but there can't have ever been a league leader at this stage of the season that has given so many suckers so many even breaks. We got away with it against GWS, St Kilda, Hawthorn, and North and could unconvincingly deflect blame for the Crows loss to the umpire, but this was just a fair and square bollocks performance.

In Adelaide, we played badly enough to let a team playing out of their skin kick a decent score but still had enough good performers to nearly fall over the line. This was drizzling shit against a team fielding more random names than Nintendo International Cricket, including one who did the worst kick from a standing start since the Spencil against North 2009. They arguably still should have won by more.

Even after a 1-6 start, it's not like the Pies have been complete piss, but I doubt we'd have started such hot Queen's Birthday favourites since 2005. It's nice to be thought of positively, but I didn't take well to the pressure of having to wait until 3.20pm Monday to find out how well we'd cope. That's why I, unexpectedly the fan of an 11-1 team, spent a long weekend bricking it about losing. Imagine a world where you could go into a game fully confident of winning in a canter. All those years where Pies fans could have had their life savings (jokes on a postcard to the Stereotype Department, PO Box 999 in your capital city) on the result of Queen's Birthday, then we get the chance to ruin their special occasion and put in a half-arse performance that leads to disaster. Why would you follow anyone else?

You can have all the excuses you like about the venue, the emotion of Collingwood's players after their coach hari-kari'ed himself midweek, and players tired after half a season at the top of the ladder, but ultimately we were outworked, outplayed and got we deserved. Publicly available tipping results show that I expected to win, but you will note the conservative projected margin. This is nothing new, we could play Fitzroy 1996 and I'd worry about disaster. My psychological issues have no impact on professional players, but there's enough evidence that this team still can't be trusted. The 11 wins in 13 games are welcome, they don't buy confidence. 

So, while Footscray's bye temporarily keeps us atop the ladder, we flubbed a golden chance to reach the break looking like a serious contender. Having never been in this situation before, I don't know how concerned I'm supposed to be. We could do to Essendon what we did to the Dogs, or it could be the start of the mid-season collapse that has happened in almost every good season of my supporting life. Might be better to get it out of the way, the only time it didn't happen was 2005, when we saved it for the end of the year and went from top to losing an Elimination Final.

Give me all the "it'll be fine" you like, but now I'm desperate to get to the next game and get some validation. Stuff the bye, let's make Gerard Healy's dreams come true and play again at 5.10pm on Thursday in front of an empty MCG. My nerves can't wait nearly two weeks to find out what happens next. Don't forget we come home with the worst month of fixturing known to man, we're 99% sure of playing finals but top four is starting to look wobbly. In a world where we mow down top four teams then lose to dreck, ladder predictors are hardly an exact science but I had a bash for the first time this year and it ended in us finishing sixth and playing an Elimination Final against Richmond. Which would be quite the occasion, but a bit of a letdown after starting 9-0.

For those of a more cheerful persuasion, I hope you're a better judge than the Collingwood fans who spent last week in self-preservation mode, batting back every suggestion of an upset by claiming they'd be thrashed. We've all done it. The difference is when we were 16th on the ladder we were usually right. I could understand them thinking we'd win, but the idea that we were going to suddenly pile on an enormous score just because we were on top of the ladder is like ignoring context and automatically giving votes to whoever gets the most possessions.

There's good news for fans of historical omens. The only other decent season we've had since 2007 saw us thumped in this game. Collingwood had a far better side that day, but kicking the shit out of them in 2016 (yes this really happened) and falling over the line via brief Jack Watts redemption story the next year didn't do us much good. It seems appropriate that the second of those was undone in the rematch, with a mid-table Collingwood side full of people you've never heard of taking advantage of us failing to turn up for a big occasion.

How big an occasion this was is debatable, a game that recently drew crowds of 83k and 74k shunted to a half-full SCG, while a cast less-famous than Celebrity Apprentice (I only know because my daughter watches it, I swear) went down the slide at the MCG in front of nobody but the great Neale Daniher and Channel 7's fake crowd noise machine. The game itself was barely more special than when we tonked them at Adelaide Oval in front of 5000 people last year. It was a triumph for fundraising, and for everyone who's bust a gut propping up Buckley for years when A. Random would have been sacked well before nearly winning a Grand Final, but otherwise an absolute fiasco in every department. 

As you may have already guessed it's welcome to the baby out with bathwater edition of Demonblog, overreacting to a horrible performance while conveniently ignoring six very good recent quarters against premiership contenders. It's not like we were going to finish the year with one loss but if we restrict our defeats to the top 15 of the ladder that would be a start.

We've given up so many leads this year that the old 'are they on?' test across the opening minutes is no longer valid, but things still looked suspect from the start, with Gawn struggling to beat a fourth game ruckman to the taps, Oliver unsighted, and the ball quickly escaping through the side door towards their forward line. This was no one-off, the whole thing was a bit like Carlton, only with our escape routes from defence superglued shut and no match-winning cameos from forwards. 

No forwards at all as it turned out, with Pickett, Fritsch, McSizzle and Weid combining for 1.3 - and even that goal was a snap from the square. I know that in living memory we've tarnished this occasion by kicking 3.10.28, but this was as toothless a forward performance as you'll ever get from a good side. Even last year's 4.8 against Port included two from Weideman. This time the entire unit was cactus. To be fair they were trying to deal with some of the most wooden-legged delivery of all time, but a few more contests would have been nice. Pickett was hesitant, Fritsch blanketed and McDonald playing like somebody expecting to come off the ground and find he'd just missed the birth of his child.

Alas, as mean as it is to kick somebody when they're down, a lot of the focus will fall on Weideman playing the worst game of his life. One of our forwards playing all four quarters and failing to register a kick happened as recently as 2017 to Mitch Hannan in Hobart, but he was a first-year player who didn't go through a lengthy 'when are they going to give him a game?' saga before being picked. This was Weideman's 49th game over six seasons, and his fifth this year where he's done nowt. 

In fact, after being very good in the middle of last year, he fell off the cliff in the last month there, so that's three goals in nine games - two of which came in a minute against Footscray. Talk about Cairns killing off our 2020 season, I think it might have done in his entire career. He was averaging two goals a game before that and has never been seen again. Now his confidence is clearly shot to pieces, and I hate seeing it. At this rate he's doomed to be compared to that Geelong final for the rest of his lift but those 24 touches look a long way away.

Nobody's going to self-report that they're out of form and ask to be dropped, so it's in no way his fault, but playing Weid after two poor weeks did smack a bit of lowly opposition arrogance. Maybe this was a time to introduce horses for courses and play with one less tall. Whether Melksham, Chandler (who may as well change his name to Chandler (Unused) after another afternoon of 100% tracksuit time), Bedford or *insert name here* would have made a difference to the result is up for debate. I don't suppose we expected to deliver the ball so badly. Considering how many kicks landed with a defender on the full, ground level players might have been irrelevant anyway. 

I can only imagine the sort of reception Weideman's getting from the weirdos (see, for example, the reaction to this comedy Facebook post, which could be offered as sworn evidence in court against the idea we're all upper-class twits), and don't intend to pile on like I might have as an immature turd a few years ago. He'll be dropped and somebody called Brown will get their chance to impress. For now I'm still right with Ben, but hopefully the VFL gets going next weekend and they both stake a claim. 

Wing and prayer forward play was not required for the first goal, set up by one of their rare dud kicks in defence and one of our equally rare attempts at forward pressure. Perhaps the rarest of all was Fritsch finding space to step around an opponent and land a lovely pass with Anal-Bullet. ANB smashed through the set shot and Bayley disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle for the next hour. 

Opening the scoring with a set shot was a false dawn, with the vast majority of our few goals coming from open play. Same as last week, so don't tell me there's not work to do with our forward structure. We usually find a way to kick a decent score, but like expecting Lever and May to air traffic control us out of trouble at the other end every week, it's a high-risk route to a premiership challenge.

The Bullet almost had the second too, rolling through an attempted pass that I could see McDonald touch on the way past from Victoria. Based on no immediate review or histrionics from commentators I thought we about to get away with murder. Unfortunately "they review everything" is not just a cliche and the ARC played narc, leaving ANB doing the traditional 'kick goal/leave field' move and sitting down in time to see his goal being taken away.

Those few seconds before crossing of flag and deleting of five points were as good as it got. This signs of doom weren't far behind, with a quick forward entry causing Hunt to hang off Darcy Cameron like he was abseiling, gifting them the reply. One of them would go on to a career-best day. Try to guess which.

Having already handed James Hird his last coaching win, and now adding Buckley to the collection, I thought Michael Voss would be fuming that he didn't do the same against us. Turns out he only beat Melbourne in his second last game. The Kingsley Institute will investigate that right after working out how Cameron and Brody Mihocek, went from three goals combined across the last month to playing like Franklin and Roughead. I know until last week the Pies attacked like Paul Roos and Ross Lyon had launched a joint takeover but this was ridiculous. 

You can complain about our defence until you're sore, I'll keep whinging about how easily the ball gets down there. Who knows what we've got up our sleeve, but the danger of being (relatively) red-hot in the first half of the year is that everyone's seen how it's done and gets a chance to combat it. Top teams will read from the book of Rowdy Roddy Piper and say "just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions", let's see if we've got the plums to go down that route, or back the system that has delivered wins but also provided half the league an opportunity to knock us over.

That goal kicked off a few minutes where they did everything but score more, and we looked in some sort of trouble. The misses, which peaked at 1.5 early in the second quarter, gave hope that they were going repeat their 1.11 in three quarters against Geelong and let us build a match-winning lead, wonky forward line or not. Sadly, at this point we are not Geelong.

There were still plenty of opportunities to score at our end. Not long after Harmes kicked our second, McDonald ran into the sort of open goal he'd usually finish with his eyes closed and sprayed it horribly. Considering how easily they were moving it from one end to the other, any shot that didn't end in a goal was in danger of becoming an opportunity. I presume it's still the narrowest ground in the league, but surely five metres doesn't account for the difference between this and trapping Footscray behind the Great Wall of Melbourne at Docklands. I'd love to point the finger at the venue but it will have to get in a queue behind about eight other factors.

Their string of blown opportunities left us in front against a team who'd only kicked one goal, which was - on paper - a good thing. Maybe it was because the contents of my stomach were dropping like a faulty lift but it didn't feel sustainable. I cared not for all the times Collingwood has put in a hot first quarter then gone to pieces - including on the same ground a few weeks ago - nothing we did suggested a team playing at its best.

We could still win, and as hindsight showed there was much worse to come in the second quarter, but it was like watching a lower intensity replay of last week. We didn't get as far behind this time, and launched another mini-stranglewank comeback, but couldn't keep it up. Even the good fortune of Langdon being paid a mark that was near enough to before the siren that the umpire couldn't tell the difference (and more on umpires not being able to tell the difference later) ended in no score. Bemused by the unusual scenario of being allowed to run around a certain distance despite the quarter being over he kicked it out on the full. 

Stuff the lead, it was still a terrible quarter where you'd struggle to pick out anyone having a serious influence. Still, we've been in worse situations against worse sides already this year so you couldn't rule out a correction. I may have secretly thought the tide had turned when we plowed straight out of the middle for Oliver to kick a goal 30 seconds after the restart. Immediately after, there was another golden chance, this time with Pickett doing a perfect lead only for the ball to bounce off his chest like it was a trampoline. The way our forwards were going he'd probably have kicked a 20 metre sideways pass to an opponent anyway. 

Instead of having another shot on goal, we went and conceded the next four. The first was the textbook example of the difference between the two forward lines - with one forward using a block of dubious legality to keep Lever at bay and allow his teammate to mark in the square. And so he should, most of the time you'll get away with it. Like their opening goal, the most important thing is to actually make the contest in the first place.

There was an element of luck to some of it, witness the blind kick inside 50 that landed perfectly in the arms of a forward, but we had plenty of chances too. Now the team that started 1.5 looked clinical, and by the time some bootleg Oskar Baker lookalike fended off Oliver to kick another, the air around me was turning blue. Spirits were not lifted by Tom Sparrow trying to kick a 70 metre drop punt after the siren, I was cursing anyone and everything involved.

Fox Footy's half-time analysis of Lyon, Brown and Riewoldt was infinitely more sensible than Channel 7's call (which at various times had the game at the MCG and on Sunday, wishful thinking on both counts), and while they've played about 1000 games more than me and should know better I wasn't buying the idea of a subconscious mental dip because a bye was on the horizon. Looked more like a team set up to perfection comfortably leading around opposition that didn't like playing on the ground, and couldn't/wouldn't take advantage of chances to take control. I'll buy they were tired, but the idea that they were deep-down dreaming about the week off seems like cobblers.

The great metaphorical wrist-slashing was temporarily delayed by a third quarter comeback, but not before we nearly let in another goal in the first minute, to a player standing in acres of space on his own inside 50. I was ready to punch on before the kick missed, but like the reverse of Pickett's dropped mark in the second quarter this near-death experience prompted us to play sensibly for a while. I didn't rate Gawn's game highly by his standards, but he had a great few minutes in kicking a goal, then setting up another with an intercept mark. When Fritsch emerged from witness protection for the third we were inexplicably in front. I didn't understand and could scarcely believe it but wasn't going to say no.

It was so much like Collingwood in the second quarter that we should have also kicked four in a row. McDonald got a free from one of our only decent forward 50 contests of the day but hit the post. Never mind though, the momentum was definitely going our way now. The only thing that could possibly stop us was the umpire paying a mark right in front of Collingwood's goal after May had already juggled it. Pointing out stupid things Brian Taylor says is like shooting fish in a barrel at this point, but he was conspicuous in his absence on this one after spending the preceding hour in amazement at the umpires doing routine things like bouncing the ball. 

With the commentary coming from Channel 7's studio in Melbourne anyway it's a shame he didn't pull a vocal cord doing the Big Freeze. They could have made the popular late change of OUT: Buffoonery, IN: Jason Bennett. I've got plenty of problems with their other callers (and let's not forget some of the shrieking lunatics on Fox), but can just about stand any of them when they're not in the orbit of the worst comedy character since Mrs Browns Boys.

Anyway, being rorted by another suspect decision to the right of screen in an interstate game was fun. Again, I'd say if you create enough one-on-one chances you'll eventually get the benefit of the doubt so good luck to them for taking advantage of the red-hot guess.

Jackson got that goal back soon enough, but it was the last we'd kick until the game was all but shot. In a real Demontime stitch up they went back ahead with 30 seconds left. The lead had already changed about seven times so it was hardly a fatal blow, but in a game of limited scoring I was into whatever psychological advantages were available. Mind you, we wouldn't have conceded the goal in the first place if we'd been able to keep the ball from flying down the other end after Oliver missed a set shot a few seconds earlier.

After rolling over and dying several weeks in a row earlier in the year, Collingwood's last quarter against the Crows convinced me this wasn't going to end in a Hawthorn style landslide. Sure they only kicked one goal in the final term last week, but the way we were going it felt like one goal would be a stretch. And it was. In another world, we might have taken them out of the equation and romped to victory. Even a repeat of last week would have done, just to avoid the banana skin and prove Burgessball is still valid. But in this safe space where you don't have to be permanently chipper about every win, let's not forget that even Hawthorn didn't fall to bits until they'd kicked a goal, then dropped a sitter of a mark in the square. 

With Bucks signing off his last address like the crescendo of an inspirational midday movie, they just carried on where they'd left off. I hope he retrospectively ruins the moment with a controversial season-ending victory over them in his next job, for now he must be the first full-time coach since god knows when to depart after two consecutive wins. Maybe somebody died of pleurisy mid-season in 1922 but it can't have happened often.

We were still up to our necks in this game, and could have taken his Gordon Bombay impression out of the equation by steamrolling to an infamous victory. Soon enough the only thing up to our necks was sewage five feet high and rising. Adelaide was a rank performance but at least it had the Oliver masterclass, this lacked anyone (on our side anyway) taking control and trying to drag their teammates with them. The ball went straight down their end and stayed there for a few minutes for a point and a miss. 

Had we taken advantage of this to regroup and win it would be big laughs at Collingwood's expense, instead we necked ourselves with probably our worst conceded goal of the year, gutted like a fish on yet another turnover, with Scott Pendlebury left standing 30 metres on his own in the middle of the ground like he's some first gamer, then our new fiend Darcy Cameron an equally significant distance from an opponent inside 50. I thought they might try and bring back the spirit of QB2018 by picking Mason Cox, but why pick a single bloke who randomly kicked six against us when you can have out of form players combine for seven.

That told you everything you needed to know about where this game was headed. As did Pickett becoming one of the few players ever to be caught taking excess steps while wheeling around for a snap. Umpires usually let them get away with it but this was ridiculous, he was halfway to the safety of Fortress Showgrounds by the time he was pinched, and still didn't look as if he was about to have a shot. This was one of the few times yelling "just bloody kick it" would have been valid. He did a couple of important things off the ball and furthered his quest to give away the most unrealistic marking attempt frees in history but otherwise had as ordinary a day as the rest of his chums inside 50. 

Speaking of that great venue just a few kilometres from where this rubbish was taking place, I can understand why this was at the SCG instead. If the NSW government was paying to host the game they were always going to want it at the iconic stadium. Which is a shame for us, considering we've been shit there for years, not winning in any convincing fashion since the night I saw a gentleman going up on his lady friend in the bushes (so to speak) during 2005.

Whatever the venue did to us, I hope we got a fair chunk of whatever they paid to host, partially offsetting a fortnight where we've blown a comfortable profit, for the first time through no fault of our own. Hard to see what NSW got out of it other than a lot of Victorians taking advantage of the fact that you could travel there but not 26km from your house. It's not like they were going to turn it into a non-stop ad for tourism like the NT, we're all pretty much across what's in Sydney by now. Bit of water, large bridge etc... You weren't going to show us anything new here. So they didn't. Which makes you wonder why they paid for it in the first place. And further makes you wonder if they did pay, or did we get roped into this for the gate reciepts?

God knows if any of them would have paid for the privilege, but if NSW didn't want the game it seems every state and territory other than the one that was supposed to pay us premium bunce last week was happy to let Victorian sides in. Off teams went for games in Adelaide, Cairns, Hobart and Perth, but try getting into Alice Springs without them redirecting the plane to East Timor. Geelong had to live in a hotel before leaving Victoria, then hang out in an Adelaide Oval cricket net for a couple of hours before the game and a) still won, b) seemingly didn't pay SA back by giving them Coronavirus. Let's see if we do get another game into the NT this year, or whether it's all-in on the theory that they were happy to save their money.

We hung on for a few minutes after that dreadful hot knife through butter goal, before Sparrow got pinched holding the ball and they kicked what seemed like - and in the end was - the sealer. Sparrow was very good last week, this time not so much. Certainly helped solve the question of who's going to get the arse for Viney. Double J dismissed any idea that he'd be the one to go, playing (relative to the joint burning down around him), one of his best games yet. 

With the game all but lost we activated Gus Hiddink 2006 mode, going for broke after stuffing up all the earlier opportunities to win. We still couldn't kick a real goal, only pinching one off the back of a pack through Langdon to make it two the difference with three and a half minutes to go. Given that if we were in the same situation I'd be convinced of a loss I tried to be positive and hope for a ludicrous comeback. Then we cooked ourselves by turning several opportunities into a solitary point. 

It was officially the reverse Queen's Birthday 2007, where we were the lowly side springing an upset against a contender. It lacked the theatre of somebody throwing a can at Russell Robertson after he kicked seven but emotionally I was on the same page as that black and white would-be assassin. Having spent four quarters yelling things that would get you arrested in public, I rage quit on the last 25 seconds. Apparently, they kicked another goal. Good for them. It's almost as cowardly to turn off the TV before the end as it is to walk out of the ground (much easier though), but I just don't like watching other people be happy. 

The additional impact of the Buckley wankfest was too much for me. He's never done anything to me (though playing Darcy Moore forward against West Coast was almost the worst non-MFC coaching move of the modern era), but the carry on like he's going into retirement with a terminal illness was too much. Earlier the SCG gave him a commemorative piece of turf, which I'm sure will take pride of place in his garage, under a pile of old newspapers and the tennis racquet he broke COVID curfews with.

Anyone would have cut off an extremity to be 11-2 before the season but you've still got the right to spend the bye week feeling flat as a tack. In the last month, we've lost to two lowly sides and beaten two premiership contenders. Until the AFL introduces the McIntyre Final 18 this shouldn't be a problem for us in September (and yes, we'll get there in some fashion, no need for a top eight Bradbury Plan yet) but you'd think any of Richmond, Geelong, Footscray or Brisbane would be gagging for another shot at us. Considering the power of our uphill skiing so far in 2021 we might beat Geelong then lose a prelim to South Morang.  

We are now a fringe top four side, which is still better than anyone could have hoped for but still feels like a pisstake after loose talk about being Grand Final certainties. More fool me for starting to believe. One thing I won't do is get sooky if the same media who have gently tugged us off for three months do a full turn now. It's a moot point because I don't intend to consume any football media this week but may they be as savage as possible. Question everything, say meaningless things like "what's in their DNA?" and "what do they stand for?" I might be excessively old-school but give me a siege mentality scenario when players are told "see, everyone expects you to go tits up under the pressure, what are you going to do about it?" 

It's amazing how quickly you can get on with life when you don't have to spend an hour getting home (though, to be fair, I haven't seen a loss in person for 22 months so should probably cherish that while it lasts). After utilising half time to do my washing I, like Melbourne as favourites, had a lot of folding to do. There was a good hour of silent fuming and I still feel like kicking the virtual cat now, but what are you going to do? We played a shocker and the long-term implications won't be known for weeks, no point getting hung up on it. Save your arson attempts for when we do a North 2016 and turn top after Round 12 into barely making the eight.

But while you can be as brave as you like in the immediate aftermath, the brain knows what the heart really feels, and that's why I woke up at 3am stressing about the season potentially going down the gurgler. I'm not cut out for great expectations, just give me a top four spot from here, and if that means playing an interstate final stiff shit to us. 

Unfortunately, unlike losing to a team you'd be lucky to have ever met a fan of (South Australian residents, you have my sympathies), every Pies fan you know will come out of the woodwork to flog themselves over this. And so they should. Take your medicine, and if our side is any good there'll be a chance for revenge at the end of the season.

2021 Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year
Nil deserved, but if that was a reason for not giving votes some years would have had a very sparse leaderboard.

5 - Christian Petracca
4 - Luke Jackson
3 - Clayton Oliver
2 - James Jordon
1 - Christian Salem

Apologies to Gawn, May for everything other than conceding the goals, Harmes and ANB, all of who might have snuck in for a cheap one at the end.

On a generally shite day there's a bit of action going on. Petracca keeps eating into the overall lead, Salem solidifies his position in the Seecamp, Jackson gets closer to Gawn on votes but is still under the hitout qualifying mark, and at long last we have a contest in the Hilton. Welcome James Jordon, edged into the apologies a few times in good performances, but one of the first bodies to wash up on shore intact after this disaster. I'm sure he'll always remember the game that put him in the lead, the rest of us would like the tapes incinerated.

35 - Clayton Oliver
28 - Christian Petracca
19 - Max Gawn (LEADER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
17 - Christian Salem (LEADER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
15 - Tom McDonald
12 - Luke Jackson, Jake Lever
11 - Kysaiah Pickett
10 - Steven May
7 - James Harmes, Ed Langdon
6 - Bayley Fritsch
4 - Charlie Spargo
3 - Angus Brayshaw, Michael Hibberd
2 - Jayden Hunt, James Jordon (LEADER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal), Adam Tomlinson 

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Week
It's got to be Oliver at the start of the second quarter. Mainly because so many of our goals were workmanlike and dull. Only Petracca's goal from the pocket in the second quarter even went close. The Hamburglar wins a comprehensive arm massage, focusing on the area that opposition midfielders clutch on to at every stoppage like their lives depend on it. Pickett against St Kilda still holds the overall lead.

Next Week
Well, not quite next week but all these years later I think the 'Next Week/The week after that' gag has been done to death. Eventually it's Essendon, who will presumably have just pushed their 'next big thing' status a little further up the road by rooting Hawthorn. And won't they be spoiling for a chance to go from one end of the ladder to the other and stitch us up too? At this point, it's not clear whether the game will be played at the MCG, Docklands, or Maralinga, but it should not matter. Even if they play half in Cairns and the other at the SCG I'm going into full crisis mode if we don't react.

Brown (one of them) for Weideman and Viney for Sparrow may be the least controversial changes ever proposed. If these changes don't work I give up, but whoever comes into the forward line has to get a couple of weeks to get comfortable. We've still got a premiership to win here, no more piss farting around.

Will we win? At this point how the bloody hell should I know?  

IN: B. Brown, Viney
OUT: Sparrow, Weideman (omit)
LUCKY: None, everyone else has some runs on the board.
UNLUCKY: Whichever Brown misses, and everyone sitting on their arse because the VFL's off.

Final Thoughts
I only realised after the siren that I'd watched the whole game wearing the famous 'tanks for the memories' t-shirt. I can assure you this won't happen again, not because of mysticism or gypsy curses, but because it's flat-out ludicrous to be using one of the rarest pieces of MFC merchandise in existence for casual wear. It has now been officially retired into the memorabilia wing (e.g. two large plastic buckets) of Demonblog Towers. 

Now, unless you're professionally affiliated to the Melbourne Football Club, go away, slip into somebody comfortable, and come back Saturday week to see if any lessons have been learned.


  1. The boys were bound to have a letdown after beating two contenders. Then an already risky game was cranked tenfold the minute Buckley announced he was pulling up stumps.

  2. The boys were bound to have a letdown after beating two contenders. Then an already risky game was cranked tenfold by Buckley announcing he was pulling up stumps.


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