Sunday, 19 September 2021

Grand Final diary - Week 1

Monday 13 September

  • Watched the 12 minute clip of Gawn's goals with different commentary. By the time I'd seen Garry Lyon pissing himself laughing several times I was doing it too. Still hard to believe any of it happened.
  • Added a placeholder page for the Grand Final to Demonwiki. Surreal feeling, considering last time we made one you had to wait about three weeks for websites to load.
  • Bought newspapers for the first time in 10 years, just to have all the Grand Final stories in my archive if we win. If we don't, Bulldogs fans are welcome to pick through my recycling bin on the 26th. By the time this is over I want a profile piece on everybody in the team, and on the list. Got one about Joe Gutnick instead, which was unexpected. Good to know he's still interested.
  • Donated my guaranteed Grand Final ticket to somebody who has been very good to me over the years. Turns out he got two more from other sources so needs to find a third party to shift the original to (Note from the future - it's gone, don't even ask), which is fine, except that I've said it can only go to a legitimate MFC fan. I would be furious if my spirit was involved in some random Westralian doing the wave.
  • Contacted by a journalist wanted to do a story on The Last Hurrah being "the best timed book in history". This is true from a sporting perspective, but a bit of a letdown to have thousands of copies gathering dust in locked down bookstores. Checked where I was in the Amazon charts about 20 times instead. Discovered The Great Deepression ranked #1 in 'American Football Coaching'. Sure, why not.
  • Had a fun phone call with my uncle in law (is that a real title?), who hasn't quite gotten over us regularly dicking Collingwood in the 1950s. This might be the only fortnight where I'll ever willingly engage in small talk.
  • Eldest daughter has absolutely no interest, to the point she tried to pull down the scarf I've pissweakly hung in the front window. I have failed as a parent. For today's home schooling there was a sheet where they had to write a prayer. I left a fake one at the top of the pile with "DEES FLAG PLEASE" filled in, and she woke me up to throw the scrunched paper in my face
  • You know you're in a Grand Final when the ring-in fans on TV news stories are wearing Reject Shop scarves that say 'MELBOURNE', or 'Member 2007'. I'm not going to be a gatekeeper, come one, come all.
  • Watched AFL360 and On The Couch in their entirety. Usually I fast forward to get MFC content and skip everything else, cutting the whole thing down to about a 30 minute commitment. This time I wanted to see everything, even if it was related to Port Adelaide going tits up. Got actual chills watching the montages from our game. The idea that we could (COULD) do the same with a premiership on the line is dead-set bonkers 
  • Started trying to rank every game against the Dogs that I've ever reviewed. Constant use of term 'Footscray' likely to annoy somebody. Bigger job than I thought.
 Tuesday 14 September
  • Have been very healthy for the last 11 months, and my weight is probably the lowest it's been since 2000. Now I wake up with the compulsion to nervously eat seven Zinger burgers and a block of Top Deck. There's only so long I can hold off, and will probably resemble the Michelin Man on the 26th.
  • Child A is trying to get Child B to say "the Demons are going to lose". By the 25th she'll be running through the house in a Dogs jumper pledging loyalty to Bevo
  • Spoke to my old boss about the Dees on Southern FM. It's not what you know etc... Several more interviews planned. I'm aiming to reach the 25th having done more media than Max Gawn.
  • Went for a walk and saw plenty of houses (relatively speaking) with Demon decoration. Didn't know anyone cared but it's got to be good for house prices 
  • Wearing the retro 80s logo hoodie in the post office and the lady behind the counter asks "are you excited?" I just agreed because "no, I'm terrified" would have sounded like a cry for help.
  • Watched AFL360 again, but was less forgiving to non-Grand Final content this time
  • Finished ranking of 2005-2021 games against the Dogs. A timely reminder of some of the ludicrous stuff we've seen over the years. There had better be a new #1 once this is all over.
  • Now thinking about a post featuring all the players who have been at both clubs. Will probably accidentally cause outrage by leaving somebody really obvious out 
  • Still planning a rewatch of the '94 Semi. Could be a week two job.
  • Mood is still reserved. Struggling to believe it's real no matter how many times I see highlights of us thumping Geelong.
Wednesday 15 September
  • Still tense, but we're in a big dip between the excitement of last Friday night, and a game over a week away. Media will need a scandal to stay occupied for the next 10 days. They're already heavily into filling time by discussing fringe clubs trading fringe players.
  • Forgot I did an impulse order of the Grand Final t-shirt on the night of the Prelim. Not my best investment - it will never be seen again if we lose, and will quickly be replaced by a premiership version if we win. Something for the merch collection. 
  • Nathan Jones retires, giving us all a timely reminder of the physical and psychological load he shouldered in our shittest years. I'm thinking of a tribute post but it's not easy to write about my affection for him. It's more a case of "if you know, you know", but that won't stop me doing something in TL:DR style.
  • Developed a theory that the extra week off won't affect us because we've got experience managing it, while Footscray will have to come to terms with managing their nervous energy. We'll know about 60 seconds into the first quarter on Saturday week.
  • Quoted in one piece in The Age, spoke to them for another. On the RRR breakfast show tomorrow and ABC Melbourne on Monday. After years of trying to stay anonymous, there will be a public backlash at this rate. Fully preparing to be cancelled for writing something scandalous 10 years ago.
  • Enjoying the club painting murals on walls in Perth. Doesn't make the whole experience any less surreal. Just have to keep thinking that there's no guarantee they'd be in the Grand Final if it was played in Melbourne. I'm preparing to declare the mystery flight to Queensland as the moment that set up a premiership.
  • Ludicrously pro-MFC tone of AFL360's coverage a bit disrespectful to the Dogs, who could very well win. I worried about this before the Brisbane game and Channel 7 backed a winner, here's to more of that.
  • Tried to take my mind of things by watching the big Spain vs Sweden T20 clash on Fox Cricket. Still better quality viewing Footy Classified.
Thursday 16 September
  • Under normal circumstances, the Grand Final tension would be ramping up about now. Instead, the buildup has been flatter than a plateful of piss. Media reduced to reporting on the SHOCKING NEWS of our players being told not to hang around Perth until all hours, and the Bulldogs getting on the cans after winning a Prelim.
  • Found a diehard home from my ticket. May they do my spirit justice.
  • Almost 10 years to the day since one person called Tom went interstate and discovered that the facilities included a signing room, McSizzle has found the Perth equivalent. Gary Pert must have had a booking too, we flogged the Bentleigh Club for $23 million on the same day. Here I was worried about the pokies money leaving us with a massive revenue gap, now we're in Scrooge McDuck territory. As long as we don't invest this windfall it in the modern equivalent of the Nugan Hand Bank it looks like we're out of deep financial shit for a few years. 
  • AFL360 reduced to plugging V8 Supercar coverage on Foxtel. I suppose if you're not allowed to show the big game you may as well start warming up the post-footy season content.
Friday 17 September
  • For all the mockery of Geelong players getting sick in Camp Granada, now Goodwin and Yze have got gasto. We've all had the shits over this team at some point, but this is not the time. Like May's hamstring, the extra week might have done them well. Imagine it coming on in the middle of trying to coach a team in a Grand Final. Double imagine if Choco has to come off the bench and take the headset mid-match. Would make for a great premiership documentary, especially if Goodwin forgets to take his microphone off before running to the bathroom a'la Naked Gun. 
  • Apparently, we sold a million dollars worth of merch after winning last week. That's covered the money we lost not playing in Alice Springs anyway.
  • Started to tie myself in knots thinking about the permutations for how the game will play out. Feel like if we kick a decent score we'll win. The only good tie is the one Choco will pretend to choke himself with after winning.
  • Have started to think about how I'll handle this match review. Win or lose, this can't be done in the same way as usual. First instinct is to do a short post on the night/early Sunday morning capturing initial reaction then get into the full thousands of words extravaganza over the next couple of days. If it goes really badly I might not finish it until November.
Saturday 18 September
  • I think the tension is finally getting to me. Last night I slept like death, but had a non-footy related dream that featured Ben Brown casually hanging out in the background. What does it all mean?
  • Still buying the papers every day. Enjoying the features on every random player in our side, enjoying mocking the dickhead letters to the editor more.
  • Walking around a near-deserted city I realised just how much I've fallen out of love with the city of Melbourne over the last couple of years. Might have started before lockdowns 1-6, but the last 18 months has absolutely sealed the deal. Seems like a lot of work to shift states but might think about it if I can go out on a flag.
  • Doesn't help that the pre-Grand Final atmosphere still seems flat. As much as I usually hate mingling with a passion, this is the only time I'd ever welcome it. Living vicariously through people with paint and banners on their fence. If we win maybe I'll just howl with joy off my back deck and hope somebody howls back. 
  • Believe it or not, I am a quiet fan in real life. In a victory for the silently fuming fan, somebody asked me "...and what team do you go for?"
  • Week 1 ends with Charlie Spargo injury fears, going down with an ankle injury in the scratch match. Looks like he'll be ok, and nobody went down with a shattered spine that will definitely keep them out, but still sent my blood pressure through the roof when I saw it. On the up side, the door is now open to pick Hunt as the sub and send him on late in the game when pace is needed on the flimsy grounds that Spargo can't possibly go any further. If we don't do this sort of tricky shit the other side will.

1 comment:

  1. I can't help thinking how big the GF build-up would be if the match was being played in Melbourne.
    I wondered at the wisdom of playing a practice match the week before the GF but Goodwin has got us this far so I suppose he knows what he's doing. Just don't take his recommendations from the menu.


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