Saturday, 11 August 2007

Saturday Night Fever

Well that was completely unexpected. Having gone for broke in my tipping this week, picking both Richmond and Melbourne I was, for obvious reasons, the focus of considerable mockery in the workplace. Having now pulled off a tipping double that is likely to go down in AFL/VFL history I will be strutting through the door on Monday morning, announcing "fuck you all" and crying when I realise I'm still ten points off the lead with only three rounds to play.

More importantly than farcical tipping anecdotes is the fact that we won a game. Bugger me there's a surprise etc.. And having been overseas for the Carlton game I at least got to see Mark Riley win one in person. Usually when we're winning games and are presented with a side with weaknesses everywhere we shit ourselves and get dragged down to their level. Tonight the enemy exposed their weaknesses, we knifed them and it was a thing of beauty. Let's hope that the vicious "search and destroy" gangtackling mentality that we saw on offer tonight is a marker of things to come in the future.

You knew something was going to go horribly wrong for the Dogs when Ben Holland booted two goals in the first quarter. Is it just me or has he turned it up 100% in the last fortnight? Both he and Pickett need to be retained next year, but they also need to know that they're not automatic selections anymore. While the likes of Newton and Frawley are learning their trade we need at least some experienced players in the wings to step in if they crumble physically or mentally. Besides for those of you who care about Sandringham's fortunes it should pretty much guarantee them another flag.

It would be optimistic to say that Davey and Robbo "ran riot" but they were more than handy in a game where Neita was well down on form. It would also be fanciful to claim a great victory for our backline in a game where the opposition were playing without a 50 goal full-forward, but there's no doubt that Carroll and Ferguson both looked good and that Paul Wheatley absolutely massacred it. I'm actually shocked that his performance has met with so much apathy across the board - you can understand when the papers ignore the unfashionable players and give votes to the "big names" because they've been doing it for years but even our own fans are showing no love for the man who has rejuvenated his career and become the red hot favourite for the 2007 Marcus Seecamp Defender Of The Year Award. The hand off "9 point" play at the end was the icing on the cake given that it hasn't worked for about two years before this game.

Jace Bode went alright. He'll be back for more in the future. I certainly don't forsee him doing a Michael Clark and playing in one game for one win and never being seen again.

Crowd Watch
Good game. Shame, then, that nobody was there to see it as both set of 'fans' sat at home watching Iron Chef instead. A pitiful crowd of 18.5k was as good as result as you could have expected when just half an hour before the first bounce the live attendance counter had just over 10,000 in the ground. At least our supporters have some sort of excuse (though I would argue this), what was with the Bulldogs fans? You could tell after the game when the boys were doing their lap of honor that it was at least a 50/50 split inside the ground. This is a team who are, at least theoretically, top eight contenders. Whatever - this isn't the place for a football inquest about why everyone is so fucking soft these days, it's a place for celebration. We're in the Top 14!

2007 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes
5 - Jones
4 - Wheatley
3 - Holland
2 - Green
1 - Johnstone

What a novelty to have to leave people out for once rather than struggling to fill the 2 and 1 spots. Apologies tonight to (deep breath) Robertson, McDonald, Davey, White, Carroll, Pickett, Dunn and Bell. And, seriously, HOW MUCH FUCKING BETTER THAN MILLER IS JUICE NEWTON? He might not have kicked a bag, but he threw more big tackles tonight than Miller has in his career. It was a joy to watch a big forward running around, chasing and threatening people like he was Aaron Davey. Magnificent.

Leaderboard

29 - Jones
27 - Green, McDonald

19 - Bruce
17 - Bate
16 - Wheatley (Shock Leader: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year), White

12 - Johnstone
10 - Davey, Holland, Rivers
9 - McLean8 - Godfrey, Miller

7 - Sylvia
6 - Bizzell, Moloney, Neitz, Robertson
5 - Bell, Carroll, Brown, Petterd (Leader: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year), Yze3 - Newton
2 - Dunn
1 - Ferguson, Frawley, Pickett

Next Week
Suddenly we have an interesting one. You'd expect that having learnt their lesson from earlier in the season, and stinging from a shock defeat this week that the Pies would come out and obliterate us. After tonight's result, though, there's suddenly at least some doubt that the obvious scenario will be played out. The big question is whether Holland, after one of his best games for us in the forward line, suddenly ends up down back playing on Anthony Rocca again after treating him like a prison bride in their last two meetings. Who knows, but one way or the other BE THERE for Neita's 300th. Doesn't it freak you out a bit that in 111 years there has never been a Melbourne player who has managed the triple-century of games? What a champion - it's just a shame that he's destined to join Flower, Lyon and Stynes as great champions of our club who will leave the game without having won a flag.

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