prize for the crappiest standard game of 2004 must go the Carlton-Kangaroos
match at Optus Oval. Undoubtedly the lowest-skilled game that
footballinvective.com has attended in
living memory - nobody could kick to a target, take a mark, lay an effective
tackle or even stick to a game plan. It was like one of those low-skilled,
horrific slogs that we used to see Footscray subject teams to at the Western
Oval at its wettest and boggiest. Yet on this day the sun was shining and the
ground was dry. After their quality win last week against The Old Heave-Ho,
the Roos were tallying poultry before the spheroidal gametes
had cracked. Not only were their skills appalling, but they chose to play
without any semblance of mongrel in them either. Regrettably for the
football world, the Shinboner
Spirit was officially pronounced dead.
won a knock-em-down-drag-em-out ding-dong battle at Unskilled Stadium, in
which Ryan "Princess Mary" O'Keefe almost pinched the game with 5
out of the Swans' 9 goals. Unlike the entire history of the modern Cats since
the days of Bobby Davis, Geelong actually managed to win a game by laying more
tackles, applying more pressure, and having the most ticker in tight
a pretty dull round in which the top 4 all played the bottom 4, as occurred
this week. Port Adelaide had the bye and a much-needed training run on their
hoodoo ground, the MCG. Whilst the Hawks have, as usual, provided their weekly
addition to the now voluminous "Hawthorn Clangers of 2004" file.
This week it was Peter Schwab publicly undermining his injured captain
Hank Bulger on the back page of the Herald Sun by speculating that the next
captain of Hawthorn would/should not be a media star. What is Schwab thinking?
Has the man no shame?
at Hawthorn, especially Schwab, should read the excellent history of the club
written in 1990 called "The Hard Way". Then they might learn a bit
about the values that are necessary for a successful team. Just little, minor
things like a work ethic, discipline, putting the team first, never getting
cocky or boastful and - pay attention here Schwabby - keeping disputes and
disagreements in-house. These are all straightforward, honest values that
straightforward, honest people like John Kennedy and Allan Jeans instilled
into the once-proud club. Anyone familiar with Hawthorn's successful
years would recognise that the idea of Kennedy or Yabbie publicly casting
aspersions on their captain on the back page of the papers would have been
utterly unthinkable, and about as likely as Kennedy leading the Mardi Gras
parade in his trench coat. Yet these days, the problem of Hawthorn seems exemplified by the
fact that nobody at the club seemed to recognise just how monumentally
inappropriate Schwab's comments were.
current state of Hawthorn, and its inability to come to terms with its own
demise, had footballinvective,com rushing for the psychology text books during the week. There
we discovered the famous psychological theory of the 5 stages of grieving that a
person goes through when confronted by a great loss. The theory says that
there are 5 stages in the grieving process, in the following order:
Denial > Anger > Despair > Acceptance.
This generally applies to most
football teams as well when they are going through a bad period.
however, is that some clubs and their fans are more than a little
psychologically dysfunctional and get the 5 stage process wrong - they either
get the stages in the wrong order or miss certain stages of the process
altogether. For example, in the case of Richmond since 1982, the 5 stages in
the grieving process of the club and its fans have been:
Anger > Anger >
Anger > Anger > Anger, with the final state of Acceptance nowhere to be
Similarly, in regard to Hawthorn's current state, the grieving process
amongst the club and its fans has been:
Denial > Denial > Denial >
Denial > Denial.
Both clubs can be contrasted to Geelong, whose grieving
process whenever the club is down is always:
Acceptance > Acceptance >
Acceptance > Acceptance > Acceptance.)
the Family Club had any grip on reality whatsoever, it would ensure that
Schwab is in no position whatsoever to influence the choice of next captain,
and that the choice of next coach is made ASAP, PDQ. Meanwhile Schwab, who
tipped that the Hawks could win a flag, should instead worry about how
they can actually win a game at some point in his final, ignominious and
humiliating days as Hawthorn coach - that is, ignominious and humiliating from
the perspective of anyone outside the mad parallel universe of delusion and
denial that is Glenferrie Oval.
not to be outdone, the football world also received its weekly dose of hilarity from
Punt Road as well. This time it was Brad Ottens publicly whingeing
that he wouldn't sign up again with the Tigers unless they chose "the
right coach" to replace Danny Frawley. Poor old Ottens probably doesn't
realise it, but those words could well come back to haunt him. Any objective
observer would agree that the sort of coach Richmond needs now is a
ruthless disciplinarian who will give the club "A Good Clean-Out",
get rid of the dead-wood and turn around the culture of slackness, just like
Blighty did with the Crows in '97 and Lethal with Brisbane in '99. And when
clean-outs occur, what sort of players are the first to get the chop? It's
always the outspoken, the under-achieving and those who put themselves before
the team. On all three of these criteria, Ottens might like to register with
Job Network some time soon.
next week, it's the battle of the wobbly under-achievers between the Dons and
Saints; Geelong gets the chance to make amends for its Round 2
showing against Carlton, whilst conspiracy theorists should start
investigating the ridiculous rort of a draw that the AFL has given Melbourne
in the next two weeks. If having the 14th placed Dogs this week wasn't easy
enough for them, they follow it up with the 15th placed Tigers next week and
then have the bye (Hawthorn) the week after. Go Dees.