What are you supposed to say? With half the squad already suffering from the black death we show up to find out that Johnstone and Moloney are out as well. So obviously we knew we were going to lose before the game even started - the question was by how much. In the balance of things I'm actually not too depressed about the result given that the boys ran and tackled their hearts out today. They were outgunned and outmanned (especially after Whelan/Bell/Jones necked themselves) but at times they fought like their lives depended on it.
First I'd like to address the attendance. Every one of our fans who stayed home and watched the game on TV because they knew we were going to lose should be ashamed of themselves. Of the (very generous) 16,000 crowd we were almost outnumbered by Fremantle fans. This is the biggest embarassment yet - when we start winning again one day I'm sure all the rats will pour back onto the sinking ship in huge numbers. Was also good to see the MCC section almost deserted - you have to prise money out of those bastards with a crowbar anyway and then the moment we start losing they piss off and pretend we don't exist. Fuck them - come the day of the football revolution I hope they're the first people lined up against a wall and shot. I'm aware that being an MFC fan who is against elitism is like being a communist who owns a multi-national corporation but somebody has to be the left-wing faction of our fanbase and I'm putting my hand up to be it. Towards the end of the season look out for the specially commissioned "BURN THE MCC MEMBERS DOWN" banner to get a run high in the Southern Stand.
As I said I'm proud of the way the team carried themselves today in a complete lamb-to-the-slaughter situation. I doubt there has ever been a more obvious winner in a match between two 0-3 teams, and when the question of who would play on the red hot Pavlich was left to either Nathan Carroll (who is having an absolute Nicholson of a season) or Paul Johnson (who is barely a ruckman/forward at the best of times) you started to wonder whether Pav could extend the record for the Dockers goals in a game. And guess who that was set against?
Speaking of Nicho he was spotted today sitting in the injuries enclosure with TJ, Moloney, Rivers and for some reason Ben Holland (too shit for Sandy?). I know Carroll is a better disposer of the ball but some of his cack handed attempts at spoiling today almost made you wish for the days of Big Jack. In fact let's go even further back - I wonder what Seecamp and Ingerson are doing these days?
We were second best - nothing more, nothing less BUT there were signs. Adem Yze got a million touches - only half of them were any good or made anything but he was a million times harder at it and more interested than he has been for many games. On top of it he kicked what could very well be the goal of the year (were there not a massive conspiracy against us in competitions such as this) with an indescribable shot from Row ZZ of the bottom deck of the Ponsford Stand. Davey also improved significantly from the first three weeks. Pickett added toughness and the chase/tackle across the whole squad was heartening. The least they can do is go out there and fight their hearts out even if we're going to get massacred.
Bate was good in getting it but he's from the Brad Miller school of delivery and has absolutely no idea what to do once he does. I will say that it heartened me to see his reaction when he kicked that goal in the third quarter. I love to see a player lose the plot in celebration after he's booted one - this is the kind of guy I'm willing to persist with even if he is frustrating at (most) times. Obviously he cares which is exactly what I want to see in my players. Lynden Dunn was great on the ground up front and provided a much needed target which, though not spectacuarly successful, allowed Brad Green to roam further up field and play a good game.
The good news for Freo fans was that during the third quarter even though young Jeffrey is suspended (possibly for life - who knows when he's coming back) we were still dealt our traditional beating by the Farmer family when the umpire of the same name felt the need to make some of the worst decisions since that Brad Green free-kick last week.
Thanks also to Chris Tarrant. The most overrated and overpayed player in the competition was nice enough to do his bit to keep us in it with some stereotypically rotten kicking. In fact after murdering Daniel Bell (and then kicking a soft goal while Bell was being helped off field) he was completely shit. But then again anyone who has watched pretty much any game he ever played other than Queens Birthday '03 would have seen this coming. There aren't many players who would cause me to protest if we signed them - I'd rather have Luke Williams back in the forward line than pay $2.50 for this clown. Whatever Freo are paying him it's ten times too much.
Then to top it all off Whelan, Jones and Brown have all necked themselves as well and will miss next week. Godfrey broke his nose and Bell was knocked goofy but both will play next week. Did you ever thought you'd see the moment when we were so crippled by injury that you'd actually be happy that Godfrey was available? It's a milestone. If only they'd retained the Philth he'd probably be in the leadership group by now - but hey what does two months in a row of BOG's in the seconds get you at this club anyway? You've just got to have compromising photos of the coach and a horse as certain players seem to and you'll make a career of it.
Then there's that epic sook Headland. I don't know why you'd boo him - it's not like he's done anything to us - but I'm not entirely sure why he should be treated with any reverence either just because he was (allegedly) wronged last week. Fair enough he shouldn't have played today, and appears to fit the perfect stereotype of brainless footballers, but what's he supposed to do about the tribunal being gutless swine? Of course there's the wider issue of why people spaz out when others say blatantly untrue things about their families but Des wouldn't be the first person to (allegedly) fall headfirst for the oldest un-nerving technique in the book. If you really have to belt somebody for saying something about your kid, mum, sister whoever then good for you but don't try and use it as an excuse to get off. Imagine beating somebody down in a pub, making a threat to kill and then going into court and telling the judge that he said he'd done X, Y, Z to your kid. You'd be convicted and fined before you even finished talking, but in the twilight world of the AFL somehow it makes everything worthwhile. Farcical.
What farking crowd?
I love that guy.
Coaches Box Watch
What's the poor bastard supposed to do? Even the staunchest critics - in which I often rank - have to admit that there's nothing that can be done when the entire squad are falling apart in unison. I feel like I should go up and hug the guy - imagine if you work in, let's say I.T, and your job was rapidly going down the tubes. You've got a few months to save your arse and suddenly the mother of all viruses rips your computer network to shreds and leaves you trying to run your business on an Atari ST. You'd probably drink a bottle of scotch and jump off the Westgate - this guy has to front up to the media and 'supporters' (though if you weren't there today and don't have a good reason then feel free to shut the fuck up) and explain himself. It's not enough to get him another year at the helm but christ you've got to feel for him don't you? The question is now does he throw himself on the live grenade and play kids in the next few weeks or try to save his own skin with the allegedly tried and true likes of Holland/Ferguson. Should be interesting and/or depressing to find out.
5 - Yze (Wins by default really. A lot of his touches were cheap and/or botched but his endeavour was a million times increased on anything we've seen recently. And that goal? PWAH! Better than Davey from the same spot last year)
4 - Green (showed great leadership despite dealing with a generally headless unit)
3 - Miller (still has no idea what he's doing but goes at it hard, and if he can bob up for 2 goals a week he'll cover his position)
2 - Dunn (ran hard, showed enthusiasm, threw it about a bit. A vital cog in the side)
1 - Pickett (fired us up in the first half. Showed how much his gutsy approach has been missed in the opening three weeks of the season. Not fit enough to run out a great 4 quarters but his mere presence is enough to inspire me at least)
Apologies to Bruce, McDonald and Davey who were serviceable. All three remain CRUCIAL to any chance we have of avoiding a complete apocalypse this season.
2007 Allen Jakovich Medal Leaderboard
11 - McDonald
11 - Bruce
8 - Green
6 - Miller
5 - Neitz
5 - Yze
4 - Jones
2 - Moloney
2 - Dunn
1 - Pickett
1 - Bate
1 - Jones
Next week: Sydney at the SCG. Surely you jest?
Next season: Bollocks to Chris Judd is there some way we can prise Pav away from Perth? Never say no to the best player in the competition but has the last two weeks not proved that we are going to need somebody to kick goals once Neitz is gone? He's a freak.
P.S - Know what's sad? I've just written 1500 words on this game and I'll wake up tomorrow and remember a whole bunch of shit that I didn't put in. Expect updates.