Beware. Winter is Coming.

As I sat filling in some time before the Gnats V Dogs game yesterday, I was flicking through the channels and happened upon what I thought was the Lifestyle channel. I thought “isn’t that really great. They have produced a documentary of some sort type of game between the kids from two sheltered workshops”. As is often the case in such occasions, the feel good story was a well deserved victory to a group that, well, just believed in themselves despite their limitations. Sadly, there was nothing to take away for the vanquished. Not even the patronising “it is not about winning, it is about participating”. The the other team did not give a hint of caring or participating. Hell, I swear before the old gods and the new gods, I’ve never seen a bunch of people look so shitful and sad. They looked miserable and uncomfortable. Leaderless, rudderless, hapless, direction less, skill less and emotionless. Just f*&king Lessless.

As Carlton is celebrating 150yrs as a club, the past 13 of those years should be assigned to the sceptic (either word works – Ed) tank of history. Saturday’s loss to the Dees was the culmination of so much that is not only wrong with a football club, but what is wrong with poor performing clubs in football. I am not making excuses for any one at Carlton, as all and sundry should be locked in stocks and pelted with cow turds. I am happy to cop plenty, as my SMS and email in-box will attest. We invented arrogance, and turned it into an art form, so you sow what you reap and we are reaping shit sandwiches with soiled hollandaise sauce.

What concerns me is that this phenomenon is becoming somewhat endemic. Carlton are an easy target at the moment as they have painted a huge bullseye on their backsidews for far too long. But what of the Saints, Tigers, Dees and Doggies. If it’s been a long time between drinks for demanding Carlton fans, these guys make the Kalahari bushmen look like tourists at a pool bar. Why? I don’t think it’s because they have not tried (tanking discussions withstanding). Certainly a few “brave decisions” over the 40 years may have made a difference and it certainly helps to have a few wealthy benefactors, although Dick, Jeanie and Bruce’s slush fund has been squandered by ineptitude at all levels at Carlton. Indeed, the Kangaroos are a club that has been successful, despite being a financial basket case and Port’s turn around simply astonishing. Is there any other television hosts out there looking for a gig?

No, I feel that players in these clubs are scared. Scared of failure, scared of making mistakes, scared of people that should hold no fear, such as coterie members and past players, scared of coaches whose careers they determine. Coaches who, rather than teach and nurture, demand excellence and commitment at all costs. Even to the point of creating a work environment that would be closed down by WorkCover in any other occupation for placing it’s employees in position of unreasonable danger, exposing them to bullying, harassment and psychological degradation. So they have become the public servants against the corporate warriors. Scared of making a decision without consent in case it exposes the government, or in this case the board and coach, to derision and banishment. Thank goodness for the Abletts, Steve Js, Bartels and Pendelburys who answer to themselves, not KPIs

While I recognise that playing AFL football is the be all and end all of the modern player’s existence, wouldn’t it be little refreshing if, just once in a while, they said something that was vaguely personal or revealing about what a shit culture AFL football has become. What a miserable place it really is at times. In the halcyon days of the 80s, David Parkin had better television footage of game day than Channel 7. On Tuesdays, every player would have a 20 page analysis of their previous game waiting in their lockers with a grade score of their performance on the back page. Did players look over this wad of statistics and football deconstruction. Not a chance. They went straight to the back page and anyone who who get a C or better, knew they were playing next Saturday, and threw the report back in the locker. Would any of today’s footballer even think about going to Bendigo for the nags mid week before racing back for training, as the mosquito fleet did on a regular basis. No chance son, you need to be looking over videos and play breakdowns and make sure you get to rehab by 6.30am. Are the players of today fitter, stronger, faster? Certainly. Would any of then have get a game in the 80s? Unlikely. If you have got the heart of a split pea and the the skill set of an ameoba, I don’t give a rat’s left one what time you ran around the Tan.

As Litza pointed our last week, how can The Buzz not get selected as one of Carlton’ best 150 players. How? Because the same dips&*ts selecting the list are the same dips$%ts who have created the debacle that now is the Carlton Football Club and will again sit around the selection table this Thursday picking a team out of their collective arses and serving it up to an ever increasing supporter base baying for blood.  Beware. Winter is coming.

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you – TR. Last week I feared that the rodents were deserting the SS Maltsticks so rapidly that there would be no further amusement for those of us left scratching our head on the pier.
    There are always relapses in early recovery. It is hard to put the bottle and the broken glass down in times of extreme stress, as you found on Saturday arvo.
    Think of it this way. If you left your wife would you be happier if:
    a) She married a millionaire; lost weight; had plastic surgery and started Buddhist mindfulness practice.
    b) She married a HSUA past president; took up where you left off with the sauce; bought new ugg boots and XXOS trackies; and started following the Tigers.
    You know the answer. So look on the bright side of things. You tried your best and every day she does more to prove you right.
    By the way, I reckon you are a bit hard on Saints and Doggies. Flags are not the only measure of success, and to my eye they are doing a good job of building competitive teams and cultures.
    Did your last sentence mean to say “ever DECREASING supporter base baying for MORE blood”? I decided to leave it as you may be looking to fill the vacant Marketing Manager job down at Royal Parade.

  2. Winter may be coming, but our Board is in shorts and Hawaiian shirts, sipping on Piña Coladas.

    Privileged fking idiots.

  3. Tony Robb. says

    PB it is as written. The white walkers are coming and it isn’t Jeff Crouch

  4. John Butler says

    Glad you don’t care any more TR. :)

    You’re spot on about the game.. It was a joyless, fearful effort.

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