Not so long ago some wondered if Dean Bailey had a gameplan. Any blueprint, imperfectly implemented, will look haphazard. But when the targets are hit, the ball skilfully shared and the opposition virtually surrendering, the plan becomes obvious and obviously effective. There was more than a little Geelong about the way they ran in packs, drew the tackle and dished the handball. It was a game won in transition and the transition was lightning quick. The goals and honours were well shared out. Davey, Sylvia, Petterd and Trengove all bagged two. All were excellent.
Rohan Connolly in the Monday Age, 26th April 2010:
Much of the football world will blanch at any comparison of the Demons with the peerless Geelong, but you simply cannot escape the similarities in both how Melbourne plays and the assortment of personnel it is assembling to do so.
[Melbourne] is clearly, and rightly, using the Cats as prototype for its own model.
The mere suggestion of that seemed laughable after the Hawthorn debacle. But some gritting of teeth from the senior heads in the Demon line-up and the spark of youngsters like Scully, Trengove and Grimes is giving Melbourne an infectious energy. And so rapidly is the momentum gathering that who is to doubt just how far it could lead?
[Melbourne's] 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.
Incidentally, just as Geelong struggle to beat Hawthorn's cluster, which clogs up the central running lanes, Melbourne will also struggle to deal with Hawthorn. It's no coincidence that it was the Hawks who spanked Melbourne in round one.
When the Herald Sun's Round Mound of Profound, Mark Robinson, sees the name Zeno he thinks of Zeno Tzatzaris, not Zeno of Citium, the founder of stoicism. I know what you are thinking: "Does TT think he can read minds?". I can. But Monday I also heard grain-fed Robbo say stoyk, not stoh-ik.
Anyone who has any doubt about the importance of the common good should study one of history's greatest figures, Winston Churchill. There were times when his public pronouncements bore little resemblance that was actually taking place, but he did it for the greater good.
We shall fight them in the bleachers:
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
I was thinking about that last night in the pub near our holiday house. I've been going there all my life and it occurred to me that the place where my dad and before that my grand-dad used to take us for "counteries" on Sundays - growing up in Melbourne in the 60s and 70s it was the only pub I remember being open on Sunday - no longer served "counter meals". You still order your food over the counter, and the menu is still on a blackboard in coloured chalk above the cashie, but there was no suggestion this was a mere counter meal. This was dinner. (Tea if you're a left footer.) Maybe the distinguishing aspect was the menu, a glossy affair with pictures of the view and an extensive array of expensive dishes; no prawn cocktails; no big red digital display & PA: "Number 10, your meal is ready."
There's little wrong with holidays when the weather is poor. There's no Withnail style "We've gone on holiday by mistake." I have always loved the grey atmosphere, empty streets, beaches, pubs and restaurants and the lack of hustle that is a holiday town in autumn or winter.
Will The Back Page have Jon Anderson on the panel next week for a good squirm? Were he a player the show would open with Gibbo dudgeon - "What the hell were you doing?" - followed by a professional apology, but would soon ease off to a series of jokes (possibly involving Billy Birmingham's Hedrovefastcarz).
Ando's a solid citizen, though, so I can't imagine he would swallow a PR pill:
It's a contagious disease the reversing of sentences. Diarrhoea verbal:
"He'd make a great coach the boy from Kyabram."
"He's a lump of a lad the unit from Geraldton."
"He's an excitement machine the ranga."
Is it wrong? No. Well, excluding the excessive pronouns, it would not go astray correct punctuation. But just because football commentators do it, does not mean you are footy savvy because you do it, too.
"Hero Steele Sidebottom is swamped by teammates after Collingwood escaped with a one-point win over the Dees."
Let's make one thing absolutely crystal clear: Sidebottom got lucky. He had the sit on Ricky Petterd, the ball clear in his sights, time to get there and spoil, sorry, to effect the spoil, and then he misjudged the flight and missed the ball. He may have - I stress: may have - got the merest hint of a fingernail on the ball, but he bungled the spoil and was only bailed out by Ricky Petterd who grassed a sitter. If Petterd had managed to hang onto the mark - and what is it with Melbourne this year? they have dropped umpteen easy marks - Sidebottom would have been this week's goose.
Sure, Sidebottom would have been aware that he could not punch the ball through because that would have tied up the scores, but I will give you London to a brick that behind closed doors, when the team are doing their video review, Mick Malthouse will stress to Sidebottom that he needs to make his spoils stick, and instead of getting cute, he must attack man and ball.
The reaction to those last few seconds is the football equivalent of cricket's catching dichotomy: a fieldsman takes what the commentators call a "a fine catch"; drop the very same catch and the fieldsman has grassed a sitter. "He really should have caught that."
There was another what-if. What if Petterd had taken the mark? I'm a doom-and-gloomy enough Melbourne fan to know for certain that Petterd would have played on and the siren would have sounded before he kicked it.