Tuesday, 27 June 2006

The New Power Generation

Ladies, and indeed Gentlemen we present to you the dawn of a new generation. Friends - we give you day zero of the reign of the Philthy Phil Phaction (PPP)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Please note: The wearing of yellow and black does not constitute an affinty for, or support of, the Richmond Football Club.

Please also note that the chicken arms pictured came with the jumper and aren't mine at all.

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Mid-Season Review

Or what passes for such a thing on this shambles of a site. Well the good news is that after starting 0-3 (I'm sure you remember that?) we go into the second half of the season 8-4 with wins over three teams in the eight, and creditable losses to each of the top two. The bad news is that history has shown this to be the point of the year where in the past two seasons things started going horribly wrong. In '04 we saved it until the last five games to botch things magnificently, last year we lost 7 in a row before wobbling into the finals and getting smashed. Where will it go wrong this year? My heart says Grand Final Day, my head says the first week of the finals (again..) But what of the components of this performance? Let's review shall we,

HITS


* Clint Bartram
Nobody taken at #53 in the draft should be able to walk into a side in Round One and play as well as he has this year. Runs himself into a frenzy, has good skills and a great defensive game. A star for years to come.

* Matthew Bate
Big, agile, finds the ball easily and can kick goals. Another long term player. Set shots for goal have been average but it's the only flaw in an otherwise excellent debut season so far.

* Cameron Bruce
All class. All the time. Five good years left in him if he stays injury free and can be consistently relied upon to be amongst the best on the ground in any given week. A gun.

* Nathan Carroll
All-Australian might be a bit strong but the scariest looking player in the league has gone ballistic down back this season and in partnership with Jared Rivers has formed the best defensive unit we've had since the Seecamp/Shanahan/Ingerson "Jurassic Pack" of 1998. I'm happy to admit I was wrong about him early last year because he has proven the critics wrong with authority.

* Aaron Davey
Has kicked goal of the year and 19 others that weren't too bad either. Consistently amongst the best and developing into one of the most important players we've got. Weathered a two week dry spell and came back with a vengeance to tear Collingwood's throat out on Queen's Birthday Monday. Best defensive forward in the league.

* Lynden Dunn
Has looked a more accomplished CHF in seven games than Miller has in two seasons. Takes marks, gets touches at ground level and more importantly kicks goals (10 so far). Still not fully developed and a chance to be frighteningly good when he is.

* James McDonald
Written off by many (including me, which proves what a fiasco this entire analysis is) at the start of the year but has responded with one of his finest seasons ever. Laid 15 tackles against Fremantle in Round 7 and has been a vital cog in our midfield with his assured disposal skills almost always hitting their mark. Is signed to the end of next season and has plenty left in him yet.

* Brock McLean
The next big thing has missed three games through injury but when he's been on-field he's played like a man with ten times more experience. Confident with the ball, good at getting it and tough as fuck. The X Factor in our midfield and a future Brownlow Medallist if I've ever seen one.

* David Neitz
Has defied age to put on a great season so far. Cracked the games and goals records AND kicked what surely must have been his finest goal ever amongst his 8 against St. Kilda from outside 50 on the boundary line. Probably has one more season after this left in him but is playing like a 20 year old again after a couple of years where it looked as if he was falling apart.

* Byron Pickett
Yes, when I got a text message at 4.30am while I was asleep in London that told me we'd signed him I cried out in anguish. Yes, I thought he'd lost it. Yes I said he had an arse bigger than Sydney Harbour during the pre-season. Yes I was - again - wrong. I've been suitably chastised and it's even been in the fecking papers. Has been a star, and along with McLean has added much needed grunt to our midfield. Looks to have a few good years left in him and may turn out to be one of the most visionary trades in recent history, and further proof of why professional coaching staff run football sides and not fat bastards in the outer.

* Jared Rivers
Was a Rising Star. Now is simply a star. If he ever attempts to go back to play in Adelaide I suggest we declare war on the state of South Australia and wipe them off the face of the map to ensure it doesn't happen. Along with Davey, McLean, Dunn and Bate he represents the group that will ensure that we're still a good side even after Neitz/Yze/McDonald etc.. have retired.

* Russell Robertson
Not having the year he did last season and has been struggling with injury but still represents a vitally important part of the side. Has kicked a goal in every game this season and other than against Collingwood (where Neitz and the midfield contributed the goals) has looked dangerous every week. The player that Chris Tarrant would love to be.

* Matthew Whelan
The most underrated man alive. One of those players that murder it week in week out but supporters of other clubs have no idea about it. Surely one of the best in the business against small forwards, and a man who launches into every tackle as if he's flattening the guy who stole his wallet. Undoubtedly destined to play a few more years and then be criminally forgotten by the wider football community. Another great year, and in a just society would be right in the mix for an All-Australian guernsey.

* Jeff White
Consistently kills it in the centre. Far more important to the side than I ever give him credit for. Mark Jamar isn't bad, and has certainly improved this year to the point of being non-cringeworthy backup, but I'd still take White at the centre bounce any day of the week. If, god forbid, we're going to win anything this year he needs to remain fit and firing. Has only just turned 29 and has plenty of football left in him - a statistic that somewhat arouses me.

* Adem Yze
Almost certainly not the player he used to be but has ripped out some slashing performances this year (Geelong/Fremantle/St. Kilda) to prove that he's still got it. And his now annual demolition job on Collingwood was quite amusing too. Another vitally important player to our Premiership tilt.

MISSES


* Brad Miller
Surpassed at CHF by Dunn after years of being groomed to play the position and now seemingly unable to get a game in our backline due to the second coming of Ben Holland. Touted as a future captain and stuck on the membership card he's gone backwards this year. Will obviously be back for another crack but his stocks have fallen dramatically so far in '06

* Colin Sylvia
Slightly harsh as he's still only played 20 something games but his progress has been nowhere near that of Brock McLean (selected two sptos later than him in the National Draft) and he's finding it hard work to break into our midfield. Will, undoubtedly, bounce back but those of us who fell for the hype when he was drafted have every right to wonder whether or not it's going to happen anytime soon. The new Travis Johnstone? The idea simultaneously amuses and terrifies me.

* Clint Bizzell
Has been great over the years but injuries have kept him out of the side this season and it's hard to see him winning back a consistent spot in the starting lineup again.

* Nathan Brown
Same as Bizzell. Has been great for the last six years, and there's still few others who play with the same level of intensity as he does. Signed to the end of next year I'm sure he'll back for more over the next season and a half but his year so far has been a bust.

* Brent Moloney
Hasn't been able to follow up his excellent debut season. Will be back (possibly with a vengeance, though we are unable to confirm this) but would struggle to break into our best 22 at the moment. I'm a big fan of his so consider this tough love.

* Alistair Nicholson
Sorry ladies, he's finished. Another year on his contract but the way Rivers and Carroll have come on he's nothing more than a backup for them now. History will remember him as a gallant competitor in a seriously undermanned (and often shit) backline from 2001-2005 but with what's on offer now there's no consistent place for him.

* Paul Wheatley
Our selection in the BigFooty "Adopt a Demon 2006" has dropped off the radar since Round Four. Is he still alive? What kind of adopted parent am I? I don't even know if he's injured or not but he'd have to grimacing at seeing Holland taking his position. At least if he's not getting a game on form it's because others are playing well in front of him - unlike 2003 when he was dropped for most of the year despite the fact that our defence was a Grade-A shambles which was being breached more often that Paris Hilton. Will be back I'm sure - you can't argue with running defenders who get 10/15 possessions a game.

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE


* Ryan Ferguson
Crippled in an accidental collision with Sylvia early on his absence has hardly been missed down back where Carroll and Rivers have been butchering it all year. Given that we already tried to trade him to Hawthorn at the end of last season he might again be dangled as trade bait later this year. Personally I'd like to see him go forward as part of the "Who the fuck is going to replace David Neitz then?" trials that we're going to have to run in the next year. I like him as a player, and he's every chance to replace Holland in the NEW JURASSIC PACK at the end of the year but if I was Ryan I'd be looking over my shoulder and wondering which club they're going to try and flog him off to.

* Simon Godfrey
To be entirely frank he's got no place in our best 22, but look at the win/loss record this year when he's been in the team (7-1). Maybe there's some method to the madness? Still scares the shit out of me every time he goes near it.

* Ben Holland
Has reinvented himself as a defender in the last few weeks (and who was calling for that two years ago? Your old pals at Demonblog.com that's who) but you'd be nuts to think it's going to last and be a longterm prospect. Contract runs out at the end of this year and he may survive for another if he can continue this form for the next four months.

* Brad Green
Came good when the rest of the team did in round four and has played well since. Interestingly his kicking for goal has absolutely lost the plot this season after being so good for years. Is 189.100 in his career but only 6.10 this year. I'm still not sure we shouldn't entertaining the prospect of trying to flog him off to get a top FF (Fevola anyone?) at the end of the season.

* Travis Johnstone
Controversial this one I'm sure, but I can't be alone in occasionally cringing at his disposal. Gets the thing like it's on a string and is generally excellent but ocassionally has costly brain explosions. And shouldn't be allowed to kick out as much as he does. Like Green he'd be a hit if we didn't expect so much of him.

* Shannon Motlop
Did what he was hired (at short notice) to do last year but hasn't been seen since Round One this season. Would love to see him back in the side for another run but he's no long-term prospect. Contract ends at the end of this year and will almost certainly be delisted but we can't have any complaints about the job he's done for us.

* Philthy Phil
I repeat what I said in the last match report. BIGGEST CULT HERO SINCE DARREN KOWAL. Hasn't actually done much this year but a great man nonetheless. Will almost certainly have him hamstrings explode again before the end of the year but no matter what else happens he'll always be my hero for the "If he kicks this I'm walking out and never watching football again. Oh, shit he has!" goal against Essendon in the '04 finals.

* Nick Smith
Hasn't played since 2003 but is finally showing some form at Sandy and even managed to be an "IN" earlier this year before being culled from the extended bench. Definately not the Neitz replacement that he was initially touted as, and probably not even an AFL standard player but tell me you don't want to see him line up just once for the novelty value of having missed two entire seasons between games - how often would that have been done before?

THE VERDICT


You know we could win a flag this year. We really could. But next year is going to be Year Zero - if we add an Akermanis or Fevola (yer come on, let's do it) then it's going to be the year that we go for it. Cross your fingers (and other things) and hope for it this year but don't despair if we cock it up because next season is going to be MASSIVE.

Sunday, 18 June 2006

FUCK OFF SHEEDS

Sorry, that headline had nothing to do with the game - it's just something that had to be said. And what better time to do it than when his team is at it's lowest ebb yet? Kick a man while he's down? I'm in!

But a brief pause before we begin the match report (or what passes for it on this site anyway..) to honor the greatest pre-game gimmick ever invented. In the interests of charity - and why does it take that for this to happen - eight corporate mascots were lined up for a race. For those of you who missed it the St. George Bank Dragon beat the Nando's chicken by two lengths with a giant slice of bread third. Pure genius I thought. Of course if you want to really see corporate stooges wobbling about not being able to see and with no idea where they're going you could just go and sit in the Medallion Club and watch drunken businessmen make arses of themselves and watch golf on small televisions but I preferred this way.

I can't remember the last time we played Essendon at the Dome (mainly due to years of substance abuse) but I had no idea that you couldn't just walk in the door with your membership and instead had to queue up to get a reserved seat at the ticket window instead. Makes sense I suppose, given that Essendon have a shitload of fans but measures that may be necessary when they're on the fire, the bandwagon is full up and they could guarantee huge crowds against Fremantle, Fitzroy and Forest Hill but it seems slightly unnecessary when they're 1-10 and all the half-hearted clowns have jumped off. That said it was hard not to be impressed by how many Essendon fans still showed up despite their plight. If we were 1 from 11 there'd be 13 people left and I'd be on suicide watch in the forward pocket. By the time I actually got to the front of the queue - and I thought I bought a membership to avoid that shit - I ended up taking a "free upgrade" to Level One in some specific Melbourne section. Now, given that for one I can't stand sitting on the bottom level at Docklands, and two I can't take sitting in the midst of too many of our own fans I'm still wondering why I accepted this. Wasn't too bad though, I actually stayed behind the goals at the Hayden Lamaro End for the full 3/4. Mainly because I couldn't be arsed standing up and climbing the stairs to my traditional seat on the Jeff Hilton Wing.

I'm not entirely sure what to write about the game. It was almost certainly one of the worst first two and a half quarters we've been involved with in over one hundred years. Not that we played badly, or Essendon played particuarly well but their reliance of ugly football to drag us down to their level made it one of those games that you wouldn't show to an international visitor unless you wanted them to lose the plot and start watching some shit sport like Rugby Union instead. I've got no problem with teams uglying up when they're clearly outmatched - if that's what delivers the four points or at least keeps the margin respectable then that's what you should do. Can anyone really expect teams to go out and try and play sexy football and lose by 90 points every week? Reminds me of the last round in 1999 when we had absolutely no idea against the Bombers and somehow took them on for three quarters (with a corker of a goal by D. Kowal) before succumbing. See also Sydney in the last round of '03, but you'll never convince me that we didn't throw that game for the draft picks.

You always knew class, like love, was going to win out in the end but I won't deny that I was moderately shitting it in the first quarter when Essendon were continually going inside 50 every twenty seconds and having shots from all over the place. Good thing then that the inept Bombers couldn't kick to save their own lives and managed to rack up 2.9 early on. We were never more than a couple of goals behind, and the gulf in class was fairly obvious but it looked like they had the measure of our forward line early on, and up front they were one M. Lloyd away from smacking the fuck out of us. And the game was slow. Very slow. If there had been 10,000 neutrals there somebody would have gotten a Mexican Wave going - at which point I wouldhave walked out and vowed never to return. Eventually via hard running work from McDonald, Green, Davey, Whelan etc and yet more gun defensive work from Rivers, Carroll (!) and Holland (!!!!!???²) we started to get on top and turn the vice on the young and increasingly frazzled Bombers who all of a sudden started playing up to the Brisbane Bears 1989 reputation that they've worked hard to earn in the last eleven weeks. Further proof of just how much Carroll has improved over the last season is the fact that they're increasingly confident in using him as a playmaker out of defence. If you, like me, cringed when Nicholson had his one kick a game and had to be constantly rescued by Whelan or Bruce this will be a momentous moment for you. And he hits targets! Almost all the time! I even heard somebody suggesting that he might be in the mix for the All-Australian team. Surely it won't happen but it's nice to think that he's at least in the mix for something other than the Vin Cattogio Award for "Most 70's Footballer". And what else is there to be said about Jared Rivers that hasn't been said before? If he ever threatens to go back to Adelaide I suggest an abduction, drugging and cult-like reprogramming to ensure he stays.

Incidentally was I the only one who'd forgotten that Chris Heffernan went back there? How would you feel having being sacked by a team who retained Simon Godfrey? And has Scott Camporeale got the worst win/loss record of a player in the league? Reminds me of when somebody (Daniel Harford?) left Hawthorn after they'd lost a million in a row and went to Carlton to lose another 90% of his games there. And what about former MFC superstar Nick Carter who played in 1 win in a season at Fitzroy, went to Brisbane and extended his record to something like 4-25, came to us for three games and won two of them before being delisted and joining the Bendigo Diggers who lost 32 in a row. We should have kept his registration and traded him to the Bombers for their #1 pick.

Random Football Question Corner
Why do people still snicker when somebody calls out "Chewy On Your Boot", as if people don't do it EVERY FUCKING WEEK trying to be ironic. Same almost goes for cries of "You Yellow Maggot" (because, like, you know they wear yellow instead of white now!. AHAHAHAHAAH! *sides explode*) except that I estimate at least 40% of people who say that are actually being serious.

And on the topic of bizarre crowd behaviour did anyone else notice the guy who was consistently screaming his head off about the Essendon runners being on the field. No apologies if you're a Demonblog reader but that is probably one of the worst tactics I've ever seen in my life. For one the only reason ANYONE is giving it to them is because they're notable ex-players (Barnes and Dimmatina), and secondly it's a big sheep job from people who have absolutely no idea what the rules about runners are - which, let's face it is any sane person - but have seen the controversies involving Essendon on the news and now think they know everything. I demand that this is the beginning and end of the fan backlash against runners - there really are more important things to concentrate on you know.
End of Random Corner

I still liked us to win at half-time but I'd be a lying bastard if I said I wasn't still scared to death that we were going to get done. For the first five minutes of the third term the Bomber tactic of hitting us with the ugly stick looked as though it might actually come off, but then the new third quarter specialists (as of last week) turned the pressure up and blew them off the field. Seven goals to three and an apparently match winning lead at the last term. Not surprisingly there was talk in the stands about that day in '91 when we cocked up the seven goal 3/4 time lead against Essendon and lost by a point. I stand by my claims of that game ruining my childhood. Fortunately Team Sheedy circa 1991 was a lot more advanced than the '06 model and this one instead responded by running around aimlessly and ensuring that the entire last term was nothing more than a festival of junk football.

There was an odd promotion by Essendon being constantly flogged on the scoreboard. A dinner where you can meet everyone who has worn #10. Imagine if we had the same thing? Think of the big names that would be there. SEECAMP! WARD! HUGHES! PIKE! and erm, Matthew Mahoney. I'd go just for Homage Seecamp. How about a #26 party instead? Greg Doyle, Jay Viney, Wayne "Moose" Henwood plus Williamses Grant AND Luke. How much would you pay for that? About $7.50 I'd assume.

PHILTHY WATCH
Sorry Byron but the biggest cult hero since Darren Kowal has returned and he now gets his own watch. Didn't do much - and I predict at least one person to call for his axing - but a goal in the third quarter led to WILD SCENES where I was sitting. All from me sadly. It's official - I'm buying my #28 jumper this week and putting plans into action for the giant PHACTION sign behind the goals one day.
End PHILTHY WATCH

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - Brad Green (Not just the touches but the hard running and, whisper it quietly, the hard stuff. I was starting to lose hope you know..)
4 - James McDonald (30 touches. Lovely stuff)
3 - Nathan Carroll
2 - Jared Rivers (The new Twin Towers)
1 - Cameron Bruce (Consistently classy)

Apologies to Bartram, Davey, Dunn, Holland, Johnson, Johnstone (who's game everyone else seems to getting a semi-lob on about but I didn't fancy that highly), Robertson, Ward (well it's not always a conspiracy against him. Look at the leaderboard - I even gave him votes once and even though he was never anywhere near his opponent again today he was much better than last week), Whelan (I had him in for the last vote originally), White and Yze.

Leaderboard

31 - Cameron Bruce
20 - Brock McLean
16 - Aaron Davey
16 - Byron Pickett
16 - James McDonald
12 - Travis Johnstone
12 - Brad Green
12 - Jared Rivers (Leader: 2006 Marcus Seecamp Medal for defender of the year)
11 - David Neitz
7 - Colin Sylvia
7 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Chris Johnson
3 - Russell Robertson
3 - Ben Holland
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Adem Yze
2 - Brad Miller
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown
1 - Jeff White
1 - Matthew Bate (Leader: 2006 Darren Cuthbertson Medal for Rookie Of The Year)

Next week: Nothing. Zero. Nowt. See your families. Hug your children. Go into a bunker and wait for the inevitable second half of the season fiasco that will begin after the mid-season break.

P.S - For the worst game in history that's certainly a long report. And I still barely managed to even mention what happened in the game itself. Is this a record?

P.P.S - No, a record is a small black disc with a hole in it that plays music

P.P.P.S - Who said vaudeville was dead?

Thursday, 15 June 2006

Birth of a Legend

Believe it or not Demonblog lives. Still no internet connection at home until, presumably, about three minutes before this was posted. An absolute debacle I'm sure you'll agree, and had Melbourne gone out and got done at the MCG on Monday it would have been even worse. But they didn't. HAH! In fact we pissed it in. However did that happen? Well I'll give you a hint on what clearly influenced the result,

THE RETURN OF THE PHILTHY PHIL PHACTION!

Yes. Phil Read, the angriest man alive, returned and everything is alright with the world again. Of course the bad news was that it took a two week injury to the Next Big Thing to get him back into the side, but somehow we got away with it. Not only that but we also survived Godfrey and Ward (late for Whelan) being on the field at the same time and still had a big win against an alleged Premiership contender. Ladies and Gentlemen; are we watching the new flag favourites? Not quite - West Coast are falling apart like a house of cards but you'll do well to nobble Adelaide this year - but things are looking good at the moment. It could have gone wrong after kncoking over St. Kilda last week; afterall I can't have been the only one to cringe when I saw Ben Holland going to Anthony Rocca. Sure he demolished Fraser Gehrig last week but surely it couldn't happen two weeks in a row could it? Balls to that, he was ON FIRE. He took the supposedly "form of his life" Rocca to school for four quarters, and were it not for a cheap free kick in the last quarter from 20m out directly in front he would have kept him goalless for the whole day. Carroll and Rivers were also on fire again. A steel-trap style Melbourne defence? Has the world gone mad? Indeed it has, for Jared Rivers even managed to take time out from his gun defensive duties to kick his first two goals in league football. Granted it can all go wrong at the slightest provocation - and probably will - but I think it's fair to say that we're currently lining up our best backline since the Ingerson/Shanahan/Seecamp combination of '98 - and these two are a lot younger.

The match started well enough. Sadly nobody else observed the standing ovation for Philthy that I demanded pre-match, and Leon Davis kicked the first goal but after that it was all one way traffic. Despite Clement wrecking Robertson, and with the delivery to Neitz being more often rotten than note we still went in with a 9pt lead and both key forwards had goals. At the other end Holland was already making Rocca his bitch and Chris Tarrant was busy being Chris Tarrant and running around like a headless chicken doing nothing and inviting the question of "who decided he was a superstar of the game and why haven't they been shot". By halftime the Collingwood wagon had been derailed and the 25000 people who were on board it for their first game since the '03 Grand Final were spilling out everywhere. Laugh? We almost died. Of course nothing was certain from there on as our third quarters this year have abysmal and theirs have been spectacular. Indeed they added four goals in the third quarter - but unfortunately for the assembled masses who were rapidly becoming more feral as the game went on and their one day out at the footy a year was being ruined we kicked seven. Most notably these included an Aaron Davey effort which required him to duck out of about fifteen (admittedly half-hearted) tackles before slotting it through over his shoulder, an Adem Yze kick off the ground that must have led to 75% of the audience cracking a spontaneous and "hillarious" joke about The World Cup and, hot on the heels from his goal of the career effort last week, a David Neitz snap from the pocket which he should have absolutely no right to legally kick. The captain had three at the last change, Yze had four and it was getting ugly. And rightly so too. 5.2 apiece in the last and it was over. Time-On was spent talking up Philthy Phil and unsuccessfully trying to start a "WE LOVE YOU FILTHY WE DO" chant in an overwhelmingly hostile section. One day I vow to make a sign that says nothing else but PHILTHY and wave it around in the audience everytime he gets a touch. Sing the song if you must (as you may remember I'm waiting for us to win a final) because we'd stitched them up.

Classic scenes from the neutral we dragged along who took serious exception to the kid shouting out slogans behind us ("Don't kick it out of bounds!" "Don't hold him!" "Kick more goals" etc..") and posed the time honored question of "Why are children so stupid?" It's a fair enough query but when Dale Thomas kicked a goal for the Pies in the last quarter with his second kick in the game and some fully grown idiot behind us goes "Geez, Thomas has been good today" I think the case is made clear that it's football fans who are clowns no matter who they are. Same goes for the tosser who bailed up one of the Pies fans in our group for a dissection about how "we were playing against two teams out there" and how they had been systematically rorted for four quarters by the umpiring fraternities. To his credit the ever pragmatic AMUL laughed at him and admitted that Collingwood were simply shit.

Votes

5 - Cameron Bruce (All class - all the time)
4 - Brad Green (28 touches AND game high tackling stats. The sort of stats that the term WTF was coined to describe)
3 - Aaron Davey (Was the King of Klang with 5 of them but ran around like a man possessed all day. For all his breakneck running, tackling and chasing he was off the ground for two minutes all day. Possibly made from the same material as Robocop)
2 - Ben Holland (Two weeks in a row. This cannot last. My skitzophrenic love/hate relationship with him is suddenly back to love)
1 - Matthew Bate (Sure 15 of his 23 touches were handballs but throw in 4 inside 50's, 3 clearances, 6 marks, 4 tackles and a goal and you're talking TOTAL PACKAGE FOOTBALL)

Apologies to Philthy (obviously), Johnstone, Carroll, Pickett, White, McDonald, Rivers, Yze and Bartram

No apologies to Ward and Godfrey who, it must be said, should never be let near the same team. Apparently I'm the only person in the world who thought Ward was absolute mince against Didak on the day. I stand by this one - he's no Matthew Whelan. In fact he's no Daniel Ward circa 2001/2.

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal Leaderboard

In the abscence of the NBT Cam Bruce reasserts his previously faltering lead at the top of the charts with another BOG performance.

30 - Cameron Bruce
20 - Brock McLean
16 - Aaron Davey
16 - Byron Pickett
12 - Travis Johnstone
12 - James McDonald
11 - David Neitz
10 - Jared Rivers (2006 Marcus Seecamp Medal leader for defender of the year)
7 - Colin Sylvia
7 - Brad Green
4 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Chris Johnson
3 - Russell Robertson
3 - Ben Holland
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Adem Yze
2 - Brad Miller
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown
1 - Jeff White
1 - Matthew Bate (2006 Darren Cuthbertson Medal Leader for Rookie Of The Year)

Next week: What's the point? My internet company will probably cock us up again and cause you not to read this until two weeks after we've won the Grand Final and I've died of acute alcohol poisoning. We've got Essendon - we should win by 200, instead we will probably get dragged down to their level and win by 2 instead. Or, god forbid, lose.

Brock Show

Apologies for the extreme lateness of this report. I've been moving since Friday, everything is going wrong and I have officially lost the will to live. I did, however, drag myself away from having to be physically restrained from putting a fork in the toaster long enough to drop in at the MCG for Super Sunday.

As mentioned on here in the past I used to have a personal crusade against St. Kilda. It all stemmed from sitting next to their cheersquad in the '98 finals and then having a near death experience with some bogans at Waverley Park in Round Two the next year. These days I try to pretend I don't hate them anymore but deep down I clearly still do because not only does the prospect of losing to them pains me greatly but the concept of helping to screw up yet another season for them and continue their 110 years of misery appeals. I nearly walked out the door when not only was Godfrey announced as a late replacement but Ben Holland was seen to go straight to fullback and play on Fraser Gehrig (who, lest we forget, may look like a remand prisoner but has kicked a shitload of goals in the last three seasons).

For the record I have given up my pointless crusade to pick the first goalkicker on TAB Sportsbet, but on Sunday I was going to have David Neitz (usually around the $7 mark) in honor of his breaking of Robbie Flower's club games record. This would have been yet another spectacular failure given that we didn't even kick the first goal this week, but would have been even more painful given that Neitz then decided to run riot and kick the next three to contribute to a handy quarter time lead. Down the other end Gehrig was held goalless, mainly due to dropping an absolute sitter 20m out directly in front - against all odds Holland was holding him. In the middle Brock "The Next Big Thing" McLean was running riot and cutting St. Kilda to shreds - definate Brownlow material in '07. For the third trend defying year in a row I wasn't sitting next to any nutcase St. Kilda fans. After a fine run of nutbaggery in the late 90's/early 00's I've ended up seeing nothing but sane Saints fans since. Clearly I'm going to the wrong place (i.e away from their cheer squad) because statistics show that every team has at least 5% of supporters who are complete fucking morons who embarass the human race every time they go to a game.

The first quarter was notable for Melbourne suddenly introducing the dinky "chip it around like twats in the backline" thing that makes even hardened supporters boo their own team (even if most of them don't even know why they're booing...) into it's gameplan. Naturally it came back to bite us in the arse when a 40 second passage of play ended with the ball being dropped right into an opposition player's arms for the inevitable goal. The second quarter, however, was when things started to get really interesting. Backline Dink was the still the word of the day but when we finally took the ball outside of the defensive 50 - sometimes even in less time than it took to win the Second World War - we were on fire everywhere. The highlight of the quarter/game/season/century was Neitz's fifth when he ended up with the ball deep on the boundary line 55m out and after taking a couple of steps decided to have a crack. It was hardly Aaron Davey's as yet uncrowned Goal of the Year against Geelong but Neitz is hardly Aaron Davey. He's a big bastard who is more adept at lobbing full backs out of the way or marking on the lead - this was almost criminally wrong for him to be doing and it brought the house down. At the 16 minute mark he kicked his 6th and I was talking 10 like a complete moron. A side note - I wasn't there when Gary Lyon kicked 10 in the '94 finals so am still waiting for the first double figures result by one of our players since the great A. Jakovich lost the plot against North in '91 and booted 11. Everyone else seemed to be chipping in as well and by half-time we were 6 goals up and looking comfortable. Please note that this quarter featured one of the most comical goals in history as the Saints kicked out straight into one their own player's heads and the rebound dropped to Bruce to slot him. The kind of the thing that you'd expect us to do and a lock to be replayed on every footy bloopers show ever recorded from this point on.

Knowing full-well that we have a nasty habit of botching our third quarters nearly as often as we cock up kick-ins there was no use being comfortable at the long break, and as I went down the other end of the ground to sit with a different faction of my fan club I was forced to publically admit that I was still shitting it that we were going to lose. And lo and behold we were once again slop in the Premiership Quarter. No wonder we never win fucking Premierships. All of a sudden the Saints found their legs and we lost ours. Other than Neitz kicking his 7th (!) we looked lost for most of it and the margin was suddenly under 10 points before Lynden Dunn continued his "Rising Star World Tour" by booting his first to give us a 14pt lead at 3/4 time. Still looked dodgy. As any Geelong fan will tell you "settler" goals at the end of the 3rd after the opposition has just had a huge run on aren't exactly a world renowned indication of future success. If anything it's more likely to fire them up even more and lead to an almighty apocalypse in the final term. Didn't happen this time though as we held on relatively comfortably. There were some nervous moments when the Saints were botching easily kickable shots at goal but it never really got close enough to cause wild scenes. In fact the wildest scenes were reserved for the time clock on the scoreboard which didn't start for three minutes, then went straight to 2.00, then reset again, went back to 2.00, started counting down, changed to 99.00 and then shut down for the rest of the game. I'd looked at the clock as the siren went so I knew it started @ 4.11pm but elsewhere there was widespread panic as people couldn't work out what time it was on their own. Thankfully the day was rescued for the clueless masses when the time was put on the scoreboard at the twenty minute mark.

And, erm, yes. We won. Good. Season back on track and all that shit. Suddenly people are talking of us as the second best chance of a Victorian side winning a flag this year. I still can't see it happen. Carroll has been a revelation down back this year, and Rivers is a machine but our defensive stocks are still light on. One or two injuries and you're Carlton. They got away with it on the day but there's no reason why Holland should even be in the mix to play at full-back. I'm also not crazy about being consistently able to kick a big score - Neitz isn't going to lose the plot and kick a bag every week these days and Robertson isn't anywhere near the form he was in last year. Lucky we have goalkickers coming from our midfield.

And the votes,

For once having had the benefit of the newspaper reviewsbefore writing this I'm confused/proven completely incompetant at judging a game by the Herald-Sun decision that Yze was better than McLean. 27 touches is one thing but I don't particuarly see how they won us the game - compare it on the other hand to the Next Big Thing who had 90% quality possessions that set up goals and rebounded from defence consistently. Throw in 8 tackles and a goal and I stand by my decision. The Age on the other hand sent a competant reporter who didn't find a place for him in the top five.

5 - Brock McLean
4 - David Neitz
3 - James McDonald
2 - Jared Rivers
1 - Ben Holland (!!! I know. But he did a decent job on a top player in an unfamiliar role.)

Apologies to White, Bruce, Chris Johnson, Yze, Carroll, Pickett and Bartram.

No apologies at all to Godfrey who is completely shit (WHERE'S PHILTHY PHIL YOU BASTARDS?)

Davey was shite for the second week in a row (10 kicks, 4 clangers. KING OF KLANG!) but I'm willing to forgive him given that he's played 50 top games before having a bad patch. He's obviously too busy preparing his goal of the year acceptance speech at the moment but there's no doubting he'll bounce back. Just by having him running around it's scaring rebounding defenders shitless.

2006 Allen Jakovich Medal Leaderboard

25 - Cameron Bruce
20 - Brock McLean
16 - Byron Pickett
13 - Aaron Davey
12 - Travis Johnstone
12 - James McDonald
11 - David Neitz
10 - Jared Rivers (2006 Marcus Seecamp Medal leader)
7 - Colin Sylvia
4 - Nathan Carroll
4 - Chris Johnson
3 - Russell Robertson
3 - Brad Green
2 - Brent Moloney
2 - Adem Yze
2 - Brad Miller
1 - Daniel Ward
1 - Nathan Brown
1 - Jeff White
1 - Ben Holland

Next week: The closest thing we're likely to see to a Grand Final anytime soon, against Collingwood at the MCG on Monday. I predict that both teams will include about 10 players on Thursday night just to be gimmicky and that at least 30k of the 80,000 crowd will be clowns who either haven't been to a game previously this year or didn't bother to show up the last two years when the Pies were rubbish. I hope we belt the crunts. Please note though that they have been magical in the third quarters this year, while we have been ultimate mince so don't get excited and start giving it to some idiot if we're butchering them halfway through.