Aug 10, 2020
AFL Mad Scramble: Day Thirteen
A column every day for twenty days, as we get more football than we even asked for.
Occasionally, this column will even mention football but rarely sensibly.
West Coast (72) v Carlton (50)
Thirteen days into this festival of footy and everything is becoming a bit of a blur.
I hope you are doing as best you can. No one is really handling this well.
What drives me nuts about this whole thing is all the ads from companies making out this is some inspiring, collective experience, it’s not, it’s horrible.
Trying to put a positive spin on everything is what I find exhausting.
I prefer the saying, often incorrectly attributed to Winston Churchill, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’ I add to that, ‘don’t pretend hell is some wonderful interesting experience.’
Keeping going is all we’ve really got, but the good news is it will get us there.
‘There’ of course being the footy or the pub. How I long to sit at the bar talking nonsense with someone about footy.
Those nonsensical conversations are all I long for. These days the only conversation you get, via social media, is people arguing from increasingly set positions.
‘Daniel Andrews is a fraud and everything he has ever touched has been a disaster’, or ‘Daniel Andrews is a god living among us and has never made a mistake and my cousin who had terminal cancer was cured simply by touching his North Face jacket.
It’s a bizarre time. What I don’t get about politics, is people who are true believers never admit fault with their own side, and if they do they say ‘well the other side did the same thing but worse.’
Contrast this with footy fans. We are no less delusional or fanatical, but every footy fan I know has a very realistic view of their own club.
I was talking to a Carlton supporter recently and they said ‘Carlton are the greatest club in the AFL. They then went on in great detail about how badly run it is and all the mistakes they’ve made over the last thirty years.’
I feel the same about Melbourne, I love them, think they’re the best club in the competition and all that, but at the same time recognise they are an ongoing disaster that will make this COVID pandemic seem short lived.
Footy fans can do this, bag their own club without feeling they are a traitor to the cause, people that barrack in politics do not.
If I acted like political barrackers do about Melbourne, I would not only claim we have done everything right over the last twenty years, I’d argue Tom Scully and Jack Trengove have proved themselves to be better selections than Dustin Martin.
No wonder normal people stay away from politics in the main, the people on both sides are nuts.
I’m glad there is footy to travel alongside us us, every distraction is welcome at the moment.
Before Covid, I never realised days could last months and months, years. Now every hour feels longer than Carlton’s rebuild, but unlike that enterprise, the hours do finish.
The Blues started off really well in this, and when they were up by 19 points early in the third quarter, Carlton fans knew there and then that they had lost.
It was more predictable than Sam Newman saying something controversial to get some media attention.
The Eagles had Dom Sheed to thank for them staying in the game before they got their act together.
He said during the week that a mate of his texts him each week to remind him West Coast could have drafted Patrick Cripps instead of him.
That must really burn, when all Sheed has to comfort himself is a premiership medallion and the memory of kicking the game winning goal in a Grand Final.
Melbourne (92) v North Melbourne (35)
I must admit that I was very nervous when I saw Max Gawn was being rested, but I hadn’t factored in just how bad North Melbourne are.
They are terrible, and Melbourne were too for large stretches of the game, as both teams put on a performance so amateurish that if it was repeated at an Auskick game, the parents watching on would rightly boo their own kids.
The only point worth discussing is whether the skills, or the decision making was the worst bit about the game.
Time and again, players from both sides would make a terrible decision, like deciding to handball to a teammate who was about to get smashed, only to then miss the handball, resulting in their teammate getting smashed anyway while the ball would sail over their head to an opposition player, who would then fumble it.
They couldn’t even execute their own terrible decisions. Extraordinary.
The only real difference was the Demons are fitter, so North began tiring and then Melbourne ran all over them.
Both teams face real problems now. North’s problem is they are eye wateringly inept. If Adelaide didn’t exist, they would be the worst team in the league by a fair bit.
Melbourne’s problem is they’ll take a false sense of security from beating the two bottom sides. Two in a row! Their social media trumpeted, like this meant something.
If they serve up what they did in the first half of this game against an even mildly competent side, they will get smashed so hard it will make the Victoria economy look in good shape.
St Kilda v Geelong (G) 6:10pm Foxtel
I should add, the umpiring over the weekend was truly terrible. The holding the ball rule is a disaster, while throwing the ball seems to have been legalised while we were not watching.
The umpires share some of this blame, but they’re also being asked to do ridiculous things at the moment, so it’s no wonder they are as confused as the rest of us.
I always imagine that when it comes to telling the head of umpiring about his new ideas for rules, Steve Hocking comes across like Mr Burns telling Smithers to get in the model of the Spruce Moose.
“I said, hop in.”
Being an umpire is hard enough, but it must be nigh on impossible when your employer is passing on rules that are destined to make you even more hated.
As for this game, the Saints can take another big step towards proving they are the real deal with a win against the Cats.
The problem is, Geelong are always tricky.
Tipping this is hard, as these short breaks makes it very difficult to know how a team will be on the night.
At least that’s my excuse for my terrible tipping, despite the fact it was just as bad when teams had normal breaks. But that’s just facts and I’d appreciate it if we all just ignored them, as is the fashion with uncomfortable truths these days.
Saints to win.
Fremantle v Hawthorn (OS) 8:40pm Foxtel
I know this is on late because it’s being played in Perth time, but staying up to watch Fremantle v Hawthorn is a big ask.
And yes, before Western Australians write to me pointing out the timing of there games are always awful because of the eastern states, I know this and sympathise with you.
I will probably watch this all, but only because I can’t sleep these days. It seems sitting around doing nothing all day delivers the wonderful combination of you being both tired all the time but also unable to sleep.
I have a fond spot for the Dockers, after they beat Collingwood, and if they beat Hawthorn here it would be a wonderful gift in a tough time.
The Hawks have been pretty bad this year, but many people thought they turned it around last week, only for people to point out it was against Carlton.
Either of these teams could win this game, I’m tipping Fremantle, but I hope no one reads that as a vote of confidence.
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