In the past Melbourne have been called the Fuchsias, the Red Legs and the Hot Socks. The fuschia is named after German botanist Leonhart Fuchs. Rot is German for red. Rot is English for rubbish.
It all adds up.
That ought to satisfy the inquisitive among you.
Before you turn away.
Melbourne. The Demons.
I think - I'm not sure - that if Melbourne win three or less matches this year we still get a priority pick. We miss out if we win more than eight games across two years. I can't see the Dees winning one match, let alone four. Still, I would rather we tanked last year's last game, if only to stop Carlton getting Judd. It wasn't Kruezer Carlton were set on, it was Judd (or more correctly, his people) who they'd been talking to since mid year.
Rumour: Not that Melbourne could have afforded Judd. He's being paid one million dollars a year by Visi for six hours a week's work consulting on "environmental matters". Nice "work" if you can get it.
Now. Everyone needs to stop listening to pretty much everything said or written in the media.
Melbourne does have a game plan. It mightn't be as readily identifiable as, say, the German Blitzkrieg, Stonewall Jackson's end-around at Chancellorsville or Steve Bradbury skating at the back of the field to avoid falling over, but it's there nevertheless, and was starting to become apparent in the first half. It's just that our execution was dreadful. It's a long time since I've seen a league side miss with so many handballs, let alone kicks. Give a contender like Hawthorn or a team of downhill skiers like the Bulldogs too much cheap footy and they will massacre you. (That's massacer, not massacree, Arlo.)
Our game plan looks roughly similar to Geelong 2007: have most (give or take full back and full forward) of your players move up and down the ground bunched within a kick of where the ball is at any one time. This means you always have loads of players around the ball who can a) put maximum pressure on the other side when they have the ball; and b) "run and carry" the agate down the ground en masse when you get your hands on the ball. It's what Geelong do perfectly. Melbourne's not insignificant problem is that we don't have Geelong's players. No Ablett, Bartell, Ling, Corey, Enright, Kelly; all hard running, strong over the ball, experienced, talented players. Melbourne, on the other hand, are a light, young side not yet used to said plan or physically capable of such a contact-intense style of footy.
After 10 years of Daniher - who looks as though he did a bang up job with a sh1t list - and with a significantly different game plan, it's going to take a while to get our act together. Hopefully, Bailey, who strikes me as nobody's fool, will take this year to look at all his players and sort the men out from the chaff.
- Bode: hack.
- Weetra: too light, too slow, too scared.
- Garland: doesn't look up to it.
- Peterd: too light.
- Whelan: too injured, too old.
- White: too old, dudded by the ruck rule change. Any chance he could sue the AFL Rules Committee for restraint of trade? Or, what is it, "being prevented from adequately doing his job"?
- Yze: too old, hasn't been near a pack since 1997 and even that was a mistake.
- Green: too old, too slow, having a sook (let's ditch the stupid leadership group).
- Neitz: too old, although a free run with injury might see him playing some good footy.
- Miller: Can't play.
- Robertson: Can take a hang... sometimes. Mostly he's a fair to steady forward. If he'd gone to the Dogs last year on a three year contract, we would have been ahead on the deal.
- Davey: I would have dropped him after round one. Like Weetra, he's scared. And now, with numerous injuries since 2004, he's lost a yard of pace. And his tackling has always been soft, despite being able to catch up with players.
- Dunn: Too slow. Soft.
I excluded the other usual suspect, Cam Bruce, because he can play. What's more, can every dullard and dead sh1t please stop droning on about how Bruce was left to fester on Brad Johnson. Bruce has played on Johnson before, and flogged him, and Melbourne have won. Playing Bruce on Johnson is a perfectly legitimate tactic.
Not sure about Rivers. Supposedly he went alright for Sandy, but is he ever going to play again or does he have a chronic case of the Gary Lyons? Still, he's got a touch of Chris Mew. You know, the unassuming key defender type who can always be relied upon to blanket the other side's key marking forward. Carroll, Bell and Wheatley would be better if Rivers was out there.
There's also the massed opinion that Melbourne should have already off-loaded all their veterans. Balls! At the end of last year we took the risk of exposing our depth and having to play youngsters in 2008 by getting rid of Johnston, Pickett, Ferguson, Bizzell, Brown and Ward. Are we also going to dump Neitz, McDonald, Yze, Green, Holland, Bruce? Not likely. You can't dump every old or underperforming player in one hit, it needs to be a staggered arrangement.
That's not to say the future is all rose coloured beer and skittles. Our recovery is going to take a while.
Courtesy of lousy drafting we have a huge hole in the 23 to 28 age group. But you can make excuses for that. It's not as if we've had access to a Judd, Hodge, Riewolt, Franklin, etc.
- 1997: Travis Johnston (Priority Pick) gave good service for a drunken fvckwit. Jeff White (Pick 1) has been very good without being great.
- 1998: Finished too high up the ladder for a side looking to rebuild after/on the impending loss of Lyon, Stynes and Viney. Chris Lamb (Pick 13) lacked agility for a key defender and needed back-up to play some reasonable games in the second half of 2002.
- 1999: Draft penalties after Joe Gutnick confessed to salary cap shenanigans meant another soft pick. This time Brad Green (Pick 19).
- 2000: More Joe's confession pain. Compound that with a second place finish which left the Dees out of the good players again. Although we still snagged... sigh, sob, thump the table, Scott Thompson (Pick 16).
- 2001: Luke Molan (Pick 9) broke his leg in 145 places then did his knee.
- 2002: Again finished out of the good picks and only a smart move to get rid of Shane Woewodin snagged Daniel Bell (Pick 14), who can play, while Nick Smith (Pick 15) was a highly rated junior and a not-unreasonable pick in the mid teens.
- 2003: Not looking like the best draft of all time, but at least Colin Sylvia (Priority Pick 3) and Brock McLean (Pick 5) aren't complete duds. Not yet, anyway.
- 2004: Another high finish. But with the Tigers, Hawks and Bullies all getting priorities, the draft was difficult for Melbourne whose first pick, Matthew Bate (Pick 13), was again in the teens.
- 2005: Ditto 2004. Another good finish meant that with, this time, Carlton, Collingwood and Hawthorn getting priority picks we did well to get Nathan Jones (Pick 12) in the teens.
- 2006: Teens again. James Frawley (Pick 12).
- 2007: Finally we had access to a top pick in Cale Morton (Pick 4) who looks like he might be something.
- 2008 - I just hope we win three or less and also that Carlscum don't tank again and jump in front of us. It would be ridiculous were we to continue to be dreadful but STILL get bumped by Carlscum in the talent race.
So, if we are going to blame anyone, we should blame Joe Gutnick's stupid guilty conscience; Neil Daniher for coaching an average team to reasonable ladder positions; and Daniher/Cameron/Fagan for not making assorted - NOT wholesale - hard calls on Yze, Green, Bruce, White, Wheatley, and whoever else you deem to be an overrated player making up numbers.
2008 can be nothing other than one of rebuilding. Rebuilding? Actually, planning permit, tendering, building permit, construction design, building, commissioning, signing off. About seven years.
Get. On. Board. This week Geelong are $1.03 the win. That means if you put $1,000,000 on Geelong and they manage to get up, you will win $3,000.