A Corona Cure for Cat Virus?

I write this while waiting in transit at Changi Airport, having left the calm and ready tucker supply of Siam, and head toward Australian unknowns and self-isolation: Jetstar allowing.


My prognosis for the moggies this year was going to be brief. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I would be writing one in the end, mainly because I anticipated round 1 to be cancelled. I don’t know all the arguments, but I’m kind of glad the AFL didn’t bow to public pressure, though I’m a little concerned the crisis has given it the excuse it wanted to permanently reduce match length (again).


As for the Cats, I’ve previously posted laments about the defensive style of game we revert to and of our failure to finish seasons since 2011. Not to mention the accompanying denial and deflection. There are few years as indicative of this than our 2019 campaign.


Post-season comments emanating from the club in December didn’t quell pessimism. Tom Stewart was one promising the continuation of the possession game in 2020, but to work on avoiding giving up the ball, as if the two weren’t related. Not a nice Xmas present. At least we’ll win the ‘time in possession’ stat, I concluded wryly.


The Marsh series, meanwhile, from what glimpses I had, furthered negative sentiment. If you train how you intend to play, and the match against the Essendon was a training run, then ring the bells of foreboding. It was painfully slow, possession footy. The Bombers would’ve been within their moral right to pull the plug at half time.


That reluctantly harsh preamble aside, and ever happy to be proved wrong, I had three Cat scenarios for 2020:


One, we’d rebound and win the flag; two, we’d have a year in reverse by starting poorly and finishing strongly, not necessarily successfully, but with hope; and thirdly, we’d been to the finals well too many times, other teams had a greater thirst for success, we’d fall away badly with the coach gone by the end of the year.


Regretfully, I was leaning strongly to ‘thirdly’.


Then along came Corona, and the subsequent shortening of the season and matches.


Why should that matter? Three reasons: our current crop’s aforementioned inclination to run out of steam, Paddy Dangerfield and Chris Scott have been known to publicly criticise match and season length, and our ageing champs would benefit from shorter playing time and stay fresh.


That doesn’t mean I’m changing my prediction, but it does add an unknown and has me equivocating somewhat.


At the very least, assuming the season is completed, it will mean there are absolutely no excuses if we fail. After all, Chris Scott assured us we’d be better a team in 2020, and his wish for a shortened competition has been granted.


Of course, there are much more important things to be concerned about at present, but footy on TV could be an entertainment reprieve. It will be interesting to see how it pans out sans fans. Will the mute button be frequently, if not permanently activated?


On a more serious note, a crisis can also be an opportunity for positive change, and I’m hopeful that will happen in the coming months.


I must dash …the Jestar flight morphed into Qantas. A happier ending promises.


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About Paul Spinks

I have writing published and performed in various mediums, but usually not enough of it to pay the rent. Had many jobs, travelled a lot, so I think this experience allows a broad perception of society. I'm not an academic, though did complete a BA as a mature-age student. Below are links to some published written pieces. https://newmatilda.com/2017/07/30/its-time-for-our-baby-democracy-to-walk/ https://meanjin.com.au/blog/the-elephant-in-the-chamber/ https://overland.org.au/2017/11/australias-workplace-laws-a-narrative-tragedy/ https://newmatilda.com/2019/05/16/the-green-blind-spot-on-australias-expanding-population/ https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/is-ashleigh-barty-the-saviour-australian-tennis-has-been-waiting-for-20200108-p53prl.html https://spinksytravelworld.com/pirate-of-padstow/ https://overland.org.au/2020/10/the-slow-death-of-a-public-institution/ https://overland.org.au/previous-issues/false-documents/fiction-paul-spinks/


  1. Good luck with the isolation Paul. We might all be joining you soon.

    Cats won’t improve whilst young blokes don’t improve

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Looked sluggish against the Bombers in Colac for the Marsh match. Top heavy? Old?

  3. roger lowrey says

    In the “JTH square root calculator” tipping competition of how the ladder will look at the end of the year (surely one of the most bizarre ideas ever inflicted upon sports fanatics) I have us at seventh.

    I’m even starting to think that is a bit generous.

    Safe trip home Paul.

  4. Cat fans, you don’t realise how good you’ve had it with 3 flags in the period 2007 to 2011 and countless top 4 finals appearances since then. It’s what the supporters of the least successful clubs can only dream of.

  5. Has anyone got a cure for the Saints virus or the Saints curse or the Saints Jinx? Only 1 flag and 27 wooden spoons in 123 years of VFL/AFL football. How St Kilda supporters would love to have the record of Geelong. Perhaps Geelong can tell St Kilda what they need to be successful. Less debt or a good profit would be a start but unrealistic in these difficult times of the Coronavirus. St Kilda nearly had it right in 2009 winning 19 games in a row at the start of 2009 before losing narrowly to Geelong in the 2009 Grand Final, as well as the drawn Grand Final against Collingwood in 2010. Just as well Football is only a game but unfortunately the Coronavirus is extremely serious.

  6. Paul Spinks says

    Thanks, Dips/Colin:

    Yes, I think we are all in some form of isolation now.

    Top heavy, slow not enough depth of talent at the youth end, exacerbated by high draft picks and trying to patch-up by thinking lateral. From what I saw of the match against GWS, we tried hard enough and played ok, but the Giants were too skillfull.

    As for the lack of crowd, I must admit I enjoyed the sound of boot connecting with ball. When Channel 9 had the rights they had a ground mike picking up that and it added to the broadcasts. Channel 7 regained the rights and they thought we’d rather hear the umps.

    Thanks, Roger, arrived fine.
    I was thinking 9th, but that wasn’t square root calculated. You might be closer to the mark, if we get back in action. Can hope.

    Thanks, Daniel/Doug:

    True, we had success, but that doesn’t mean you stop wanting more of it. 2011 seems a long time ago now. But, in recent years it’s more about the pattern of season fadeouts.

    Cat fans know what it’s like for Sainters, because we’ve been there; just as Saints’ supporters probably understand what it was like for Cat fans when we were failing at final hurdles and trying to end a flag drought. Success, though, can come quickly and when it’s not expected, so hang in there. Everything has to be in place to begin with it seems – from the administration down.

    See you all on the other side.

  7. Football Analyst says

    The reason why Geelong isn’t as strong as they were after the period 2007 to 2011 is because they simply don’t have the depth of the quality of the players they had during that golden era. Yes, Geelong have champions in Selwood, Dangerfield and Ablett but I believe there is a big gap between them and the rest. How many All Australian players do Geelong have now compared to that period? Yes, you need a good game plan too but I am a firm believer in the old saying that players make coaches. Look at Hawthorn for example, who won 4 flags in their golden era of 2008 to 2015. Hawthorn did not even play finals last year. They have one of the best coaches of all time in Alastair Clarkson and even he could not get them to play finals last year. Guess what, Hawthorn have not even won a final since their last flag in 2015. I put it down to their champions of that golden era no longer playing for that club or the ones left are past their best and the players that have replaced them are not as good as those players and like Geelong, Hawthorn used to have more depth of great players than now. The same applies to Sydney who were regular finalists and won 2 flags in their golden era of 2005 to 2012. As good as Richmond are now, once the likes of Riewoldt, Martin and Cotchin retire or are past their best, they will stop winning flags too. The loss of Tim Kelly won’t help Geelong either. As good as Jack Steven is, I would rather have Tim Kelly, who is a better player. I think Chris Scott is underrated as a coach and did very well with what he had at his disposal regarding the depth of quality of players to have Geelong at the top of the ladder (even if Geelong have the biggest advantage of all Victorian games when playing home games in Geelong because no other club plays home games there) after the end of the home and away season last year and to win a final at the MCG against a flag favourite in West Coast and to have the eventual premiers Richmond on toast in the Preliminary Final because the Geelong team of 2007 to 2011 at their peak would have won that game against Richmond and the flag the following week.

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