AFL Round 3 – Melbourne v West Coast: Black humour learning opportunities

By Geoff Woolcock

Black humour has long been some solace for fans of perennially losing teams, although even here the Dees’ resident online wits lack impact compared to their Tiges and even Doggies counterparts. These days we’re so bad we’re not even considered useful chuckle content, although variation on the ol’ Collingwood crack has been deemed worth repeating on a lot of blogs of late: ”I saw a Melbourne membership nailed to a tree, so I took it. You can never have enough nails.”

Luckily we have a coach supplying abundant comic material, so wracked by disaster season 2013 two rounds in, that it appears he is completely unaware of the words escaping from his mouth. The more sombre, realpolitik commentary capturing the sheer, utter hopelessness was provided earlier in the week by Tom Griffith’s Haunted by Demons masterpiece (read it here) but Neeld came to the rescue at the Friday press conference when he pleaded with the media to respect the “tremendous courage” showed by his players when they turned up to training Monday morning after the Bombers shellacking. It was akin to the Insurance Council of Australia’s head referring to similar traits displayed by his members upon turning down claims from Qld flood victims. As one of the latter, I nearly destroyed the idiot box when I heard such arrogance but this time, watched on with world-weary bemusement as my 14yo son laughed uproariously, immediately sensing the brilliant insanity of it all, enhanced when Neeld’s distinctive facial tick kicked in as he absolutely milked the bejesus out of the analogy that “you can’t buy confidence”, referring so often to the fact that it wasn’t available for 20c in cans on Coles supermarket shelves that one started picturing the poor bugger searching down at his local Down, Down, Prices are Down in the dark of night in the hope that he might find something with any sort of value. All this on the back of his almost infamous reflection after the opening round train wreck v the Power when he gave his players full marks, 100% for their performance on the training track and now “the challenge” was to translate this to match day. Ah, so many learning opportunities. Perhaps this is actually the last desperate raison d’etre  for the Dees, the AFL’s remedial class providing multiple learning opportunities for its hapless players, opposing teams and the League itself.

Whatever words/products were conjured leading into this potential mismatch v the Weagles, they appeared to have some affect as a competitive first half eventuated, the Demonics ahead on hard-ball gets, contested possessions, and disposals if not the scoreboard, all of which triggered a standing ovation from the Members. There was even some cream on the cake with Jumping Jeremy resuming his solo Speccy Fest with an astonishing backwards leap. I sat in thrall streaming Bluetooth Internet 3AW commentary in my work vehicle, having avoided Fox Footy option at a nearby mates’ place for fear of the unhealthy visual ugliness that beltings bring. To have had such a sustained effort last an entire half was a minor miracle and for a split second, Fox was tempting. I strutted into home where others were watching the Swans piling on 11 third quarter goals down in Hobart v the Roos and I guess that ought to have been a reality check but the momentary delusional state was intoxicating.

Clicking back on streamed 3AW, patronising had been usurped temporarily by some genuine respect for all round efforts with even a grudging Matthew Lloyd offering a sparing compliment or two. Alas, the game had to resume and floodgates were veritably shoved open, as the Coasters through the mobile giants Kennedy, Darling and newboy Sinclair matched the Swans with one short of a dozen virtually uncontested goals, all sung in by Sam’s dad Tim Lane, compelled to earn his commercial bucks by heralding these as some pharmaceutical company’s goal of the day which not only struck one as a little inapt given the ongoing peptides scandal but also seemed a bit below peerless ABC-raised Tim, like the first time you heard your older brother swearing loudly with hitherto unknown mates. Adding to the pain was Lethal Leigh’s incredulity that our backline wouldn’t actually get off the ground to compete in the air and the Velvet Sledgehammer sledgehammering our whole player list and its unwillingness to compete in the air, on the ground and underground. Topping off the re-patronising was Bargearse BT who seems to annoy so many for reasons that escape me but was content here to humph along with the general malaise and fixated instead on Rohan Bail’s concussion-riddled future. Later we were to hear the bumbling continued off-field as the Dees coaching hierarchy in their wisdom had insisted emergency Jack Watts hang around at the G, forgoing a stack of learning opportunities in the VFL at Ballarat. Beyond cursing, I endured the agony to the end, stoically aping fellow Dee fan Not Drowing, Waving’s David Bridie as described by The Age’s Greg Baum in his own radio listening to the Bomber bashing, “hoping his suffering would act as a kind of burnt offering”. Bridie’s last laugh was to take comfort in that the Bombers’ drug woes would mean they’d give us the four points back anyway but as I write it appears we might have had a few of our boys playing in the Dank Tank as well… when will it all end, I’m over learning opportunities! Black humour indeed….



MELBOURNE    4.1     9.2      10.3     13.5 (83)

WEST COAST   5.3     10.6    21.9     27.15 (177)



Melbourne: Clark 3, Sylvia 2, Trengove 2, Byrnes, Davey, Evans, Howe, Tapscott, Sellar

West Coast: Kennedy 5, Darling 5, Hams 3, LeCras 3, Cox 3, Sinclair 2, Embley, Masten, Hill, Hurn, Gaff, Cripps,



Melbourne: N Jones, M Jones, Grimes, Sylvia,

West Coast: Kennedy, Cox, Darling, Priddis, Masten, Hurn, Shuey, Selwood

Umpires: Harris, Pannell, Fisher


Official crowd: 18,571 at the MCG

Our Votes: 3 Cox (WCE) 2 Darling (WCE) 1 Priddis (WCE)




About Geoffrey Woolcock

Geoff Woolcock's parents were newcomers to Melbourne when the Dees won the flag in 64. Alas a curse was put on their offspring. When not defending tanking, Geoff ekes out a living at Griffith University.

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