AFL Round 1 – The People’s Elbow: Carlton’s Carcosa – Time is a Flat Circle

“F***, I don’t want to know anything anymore. This is a world where nothing is solved. Someone once told me, ‘Time is a flat circle.’ Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.”
Rust Cohle, True Detective


‘Time is a flat circle’.

The names have changed.

The coach has changed.

But it’s the same team I’ve been watching for the past ten fucking years.

The same wasted possessions.

The same lack of awareness.

The same footballing fuckuppery.

The same game plan that feels warmed over and dated.

The same lazy, bitch-hearted, poison-titted fuckmothers ruining my life.

To paraphrase the late American essayist David Rakoff, watching this team is like pulling teeth.

From my dick.

Ten minutes into the last quarter, still waiting to recall an effective disposal in the stats book

“You see we all got what I call a life trap, a gene deep certainty that things will be different…  fucking fulfillment… and closure whatever the fuck those two fuckin’ empty jars to hold this shit storm. Nothing’s ever fulfilled, not until the very end. and closure. Nothing is ever over.”

The last quarter of last night’s game has me reaching for Freud’s Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious in a vain attempt to attain some erudition about the nature of funny. Or at the very least a foggy, philosophical witticism on football and the team you’ve followed all your life.

It’s a life trap.

And last night1 it didn’t begin terribly. Carlton was almost four goals up before David King had uttered his first banality.

To quote Matthew McConaughey, we were “alright, alright, alright”.

But see if you can guess what happened next.

Your choices are that either (a) Bryce Gibbs finally demonstrates his worth, driving his asking price from Port Adelaide up by around $50,0002; Menzel kicks three second-half goals and Carlton builds on its early advantage to win by five goals, or (b) Bryce Gibbs’ game is one befitting a man wearing a hairband and a glove; Menzel curiously does not come on until half way in the last quarter and Port Adelaide wins by five goals.

Here’s a hint: the answer is “b”.

“I’d consider myself a realist, alright? But in philosophical terms I’m what’s called a pessimist…”

I want you to take this video of last night’s game and burn it

So to recap…

Isaac Newton is still smarter than most of us.

In 1687, he noted what goes up, must come down.

He could easily have been speaking about Carlton. Or Tom Bell.

After another big pre-seaon, Bell is in danger of becoming the Billy Joel of Carlton — half-way impressive in the initial moment, but with the shelf-life of yoghurt.

But Bell is emblematic of an effort that has dealt my pre-season optimism an unhealthy dose of nihilism with a chaser of unwelcome pessimism.

Rust Cohle illustrates Carlton’s tinman defence in the last quarter

“I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that.”

Carlton is more than a Daisy Thomas3 away from being a genuine threat.

I need half-a-dozen Lone Star beers and some coffee from a ‘Big Hug Mug’ as we have a long way to go. A long way to go.

But I’ll be at the MCG Thursday week4 to do it all over again.

‘Time is a flat circle’


The People’s (Elbow) Choice Award

3. Marc Murphy

2. Ed Curnow

1. David Ellard

0. Daisy Thomas

-1. Matthew Kruezer and Rob Warnock

-2. Matthew Watson

-3. Brock McLean


1. A Sunday night. Sunday night. And the man we’re expected to accept being nestled into the CEO’s chair is the man responsible for this. To rehash Rust Cohle:People at AFL House, it’s like they don’t even know the outside world exists. Might as well be living on the fucking Moon.”

2. I know we’ve well tripped over the line where sport became a ‘business’, but Bryce Gibbs holding out on signing a new contract and flirting with free agency (particularly in the context of Murphy recently signing for four years) feels like the butt of that old joke about the proper lady who, when asked if she would have sex with a strange man for a million dollars, allows that yes she would do it. But when asked if she would do the same for a can of beer and a packet of  nuts, reels back with an affronted, “What do you think I am?” to which the response is, “Madam, we have already established what you are. Now we’re just quibbling about the price.”

3. Daisy will be better for the run… and for now knowing to compensate for his teammates’ lack of awareness and ability to run to the right spots.

4. Again, another fixturing fuck-up — the Round 1 split round. Gillon must have had a few Lone Stars (or rather whatever it is they drink at the polo) rolling through his system when he pulled this together.



About The People's Elbow

I'm just trying to make a difference in people's lives - get off my sack.


  1. The trainer said the horse had missed a few track gallops and just ran out of puff in the straight.
    He says it will be all the better for the run, and has “be on me next time written all over it”.
    But he would say that, wouldn’t he.

  2. aussie80s says:

    Quite an enjoyable read with some useful observations, anecdotes and links to a movie that I haven’t seen but will try to do so now.

    I was thinking about having either Kreuzer or Warnock in my fantasy footy side but ended up going with Hampson. Carlton may have gotten rid of the wrong ruckman.

    As far as Gibbs goes, let him go. While I can’t see it being a Dustin Martin boomerang return with tail between legs, you will at least be able to enjoy his efforts from next year onwards. It’s a bit like Richmond fans enjoying Tambling’s form with the Crows.

  3. “The world’s a jungle. You want my advice? Don’t expect happiness. You won’t get it. People let you down……in the end, you die in your own arms.”
    Livia Soprano – Carlton supporter.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Enjoyable read as always Litza but you are way too hard on Gibbs no he is not a axe murderer in terms of hard ball gets but he is polished when he has the ball . Watson got towelled up by a v v good player in Westoff but I fear he may not be up to it . Daisy Thomas his kicking was a major factor in Port winning the game his and Buddy’s effort rates as unskilled over payment 1st up
    Spot on re the sub this is a area where Carlton really struggle with and the powers choice and use of Broadbent was significant in the result Thanks The Peoples Elbow

  5. K. Hinkley: the Deep Heat-man’s Einstein.

  6. daniel flesch says:

    Thanks Litza for the thorough analysis complete with apt graphics , and as much comiserations as this Carlton-disliker can muster. There were a couple of good patches by your mob though. Cheer up . All is not lost . Just recall how you felt when the Bluebags replaced the Druggies in the Finals.

  7. Have you copyrighted the term ‘fuckuppery’? I think it should be used more often and will endeavour to do so. Unfortunately, opportunities would not appear to be limited.

  8. Litza, was that you or Sheriff Geraci watching the TV, screaming: “why are you making me watch this!”

  9. Thanks Litza,
    There is no better way to start the week than reading a rant.
    I was a little surprised that I did not hear you on “Fineys final siren” last night, but then again the there was a massive queue of disaffected Bluebaggers lining up to vent.
    You most certainly know this, but: R Warnock has never been, and will never be, any good.

  10. I think what Litza is trying to say is;

    “What I’m saying is, I was aware I may have lost my mind…”


    “Maybe the honorable thing for [Bryce] to do is deny [his] programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight – brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.”

    Put the sharps away Litza. Port are pretty good. Maybe not a flag tip, but they’ll improve on last year. You get the Tiggy-Tigs next “week” so the natural order should be restored.

  11. Barb Smith says:

    Impressed that you wrote your illuminating article up so quickly, Litza. Probably needed to do it to feel better, like making yourself sick after a big night.
    I feel the same, and will no longer defend my Blues. I’m sick of it.
    P.S. Didn’t know we had the Great Gatsby in our team. WTF Bryce??

  12. Dave Nadel says:

    Litza, if you don’t want Daisy we will take him back. While Daisy may have had a problem at Carlton with teammates not knowing to run to the right spots, Collingwood forwards (mostly Travis Cloke) had the problem of running to the right spots and lacking mid-fielders like Thomas and small forwards like Krakouer and Didak who could accurately deliver to those spots.

  13. I agree, it is replay of previous seasons all over again!
    nothing has changed – scoring options are a question mark – who is going to kick the goals?
    Lots of hype around players who only deliver in a few times a year
    No big defenders.
    No big improvements from players on the list (thus far)
    No ability to take a game and run away with it!
    This will be another long year!

  14. Litza

    Didn’t see the game, but in today’s Age, Warnock’s 4 possession/2 clanger game, albeit with 31 hit outs, got him the best Blue and in the votes?

    What’s up with that?


  15. Juddy, Juddy, where for art thou Juddy in the last quarter

  16. David Zampatti says:

    The great mystery, well, no, disgrace of the pre-season pundit fest has been how Port’s finals prospects have been dismissed by pretty much everyone.

    Here they are; young, fast, super fit, well coached and hungry, winning finalists last year and yet somehow, inexplicably,everyone has them slipping backwards this year.

    And what that means is, we’ve got to fit Carlton and Richmond and Collingwood and Essendon in because, well, they’re Carlton and Richmond and Collingwood and Essendon, so someone has to go, and it can’t be Hawthorn or Fremantle or Sydney or Geelong because the natural order of the world is stasis, and we all think, magically, Norths are going to win all the games they lost last year and West Coast have got The West Australian and 6PR and Nic Nat, who’s just, you know, a superstar, and Adelaide are going to be up and firing so, sorry, Port, but, you know, we just can’t…fit…you…in. Sorry.
    Of course the fly in the ointment, as we saw on the weekend, is that Collingwood and Richmond and Carlton are cosseted, backward and, despite all the carry-on about Swanny and Pendles and Cotchy and Murph and Daisy and all the other little darlings, underpowered in the engine room.
    Port will beat them all. Good on ’em.

  17. I’m going to hold off until the NHL is over and stick with my league leading northern hemisphere Blues. Hopefully by then things will be looking better in the AFL.

  18. Well played Barb and Dave.
    The Great Gatsby and Daisy (Buchanan or Thomas?) in successive comments.

    “And as I sat there, brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out Daisy’s light at the end of his dock. He had come such a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.”
    – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

  19. Tony, a cry for Judd? Do you want garters for your socks and buckle up knicks as well?

  20. Sean, I think Warnock’s inclusion says more about the overwhelming shitawfulness of most of his teammates than it does about his game.

    Steve, that’s ‘exactly’ what I’m saying.

  21. Andrew Starkie says:

    i listened to a bit of radio coverage during q2. The lack of atmosphere and crowd were obvious. SOmeone said ‘Warnock is very important to Carlton’.

    On another issue, whta’s with Matthew McConaughey and Craig McLaughlan getting good at acting? Dr Blake’s Mysteries are good Friday night viewing.

  22. Brilliant stuff, Litza.

    But I have to say it: Carlton’s performance was as bad as the last episode of True Detective (taking nothing away from the first seven, which were outstanding – it was like they hired Gillon to write the last stanza).

    Daisy is kicking like someone with a significant groin injury.

    Footy is crap. Until next week.

  23. John Butler says:

    And you seemed so happy pre-game.

    But then, didn’t we all.

  24. Great expectations dashed on the rocks of dispair. Oh for the hard at it, skilled and nasty players we once had eg Big Nick, the Hyphen, Harmsey and Dominator.

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