Finals Week 1 – Melbourne v Geelong: Cat flu over the cuckoo’s nest


Apologies for this belated scribe, but I have been infirm. The Footy Cats box of chocolates delivered a dose of delirium and tabby tummy.


I knew the contents were questionable – the box’s been around since the end of 2011 – but you know, insanity, behaviour-repetition and all that. Still good ones left, so I kept opening the lid, taking my chances thinking “all sweet” and then …bam! Hit in the guts again.


Swiss roulette.


Elimination semi. Nausea. Relapse sensed. Finals feeble fever. A Moggie malaise.


Think it was the dark-chocolate heart.


The scientific name for the affliction is Pointy Enditis.


Transmitted via copy-cat. A viral meme.


When left untreated, flu-like symptoms combine with throat constrictions, stage fright and, eventually, a particular kind of madness ensues.


We tried to contain it instead of taking the appropriate medicine when required and now the malady has become endemic, and lying dormant for long periods only to be more debilitating upon each return.


The bug is most virulent when playing success-starved teams with a point to prove against us, and the pointy-end setting is an MCG packed with their fans braying for our blood – the disease is odorous, and a kill required.


Sometimes salt is rubbed into wounds, and it’s our home game.


At the opposite extremity, perfect chronic conditions are a half empty G’ against an interstate team on a night more winter than spring – those symptoms reveal themselves as drowsiness, followed by paw paralysis.


Pointy Enditis has many feline guises.


Vague recollections of the elimination final… Demons high on adrenaline, frenzy unstoppable, young and hungry and impatient to feast, replicating rapidly – a red and blue canker consuming wounded, ageing prey.


We tried to keep symptoms at bay, but the virus relentlessly pervaded Cat craniums, and had us spread feverishly to all parts of the ground, panicking, getting in each other’s way, decision-making confused; contagion complete.


Teamwork is an antidote, but no one had a script.


I made my escape from the G’torium, leaving behind Ralph, a Maggie man, who had been offering moral comfort and amber sedation. I sneaked past quarantine attendants and made a wobbly way, seeking the infirmary.


Our coach has been in denial about Pointy Enditis, but following this relapse, greenness around the gills accompanied usual deflections.


Chris has many admirable traits, though I’ve attempted to wield the scalpel more than a few times, and mumbled incessantly about desire and habitual handball, and hinted at the early stages of P. E.


Jimmy Bartel says we need diagnosing. Regarding the 2016 season, I had this to say.


Others thought it was already too late then.


On the Sunday following the elimination final, our VFL team suffered a similar pointy-end fate.


There’s a plague on both our houses?


Too late for a cure now – have to go on a starvation diet and let the illness run its course.


Return to the well?


“Can’t afford to”, says the club.


What do you want: mediocre success or mediocre failure?


Are we stuck in a bind, applying bandaid solutions – like an economy teetering on the financial edge with no room to move on interest rates?


Time, early draft picks, a few father-and-sons, and a retreat to the wilderness could heal all wounds.


Along with a fresh box of chocolates.



Revival news – the Cats VFLW team made the grand final! That’s the remedy – youthful, invigorating hunger.


To those supporters with teams still in the hunt this year – may your chonks prove sweet!

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.


  1. Get well soon, Paul.

    But how long will it take the Cats to recover?

    They are a case study to follow this summer and beyond.


  2. Thanks, John:

    Finals footy and the scent of spring proved an excellent elixir.

    How long will it take for the Cats to recover? A good question that would probably take another post to explore.

    It can turn around pretty quickly with the right focus and setting of goals, but Chris Scott doesn’t seem interested in the psychological/philosophical aspects of the game. There’s a bit of ‘chicken or egg’ about it – does hunger come from the players or does the coach instil it? Obviously both, but to what degree?

    EG: One thing we could’ve done this year was approach MCG matches as if they were interstate, given our record re the latter was pretty good. It would’ve just been a way to create a different mindset.

    A review could help, though I suspect it’s too late for the current crop now, and finals failure has become too big a monkey.

    I’d like Joel Selwood to relinquish the captaincy. Not that he isn’t a great leader, but he’s putting up with enough each week and could be reinvigorated without the extra burden. Let someone else carry it for a change – Paddy is the likely candidate.

    We have some youthful potential that’s been injury prone and could provide a spark if healthy.

    You can always get lucky, have a good year and pinch a flag.

    Otherwise, long story short etc: realistically speaking we probably need to experience the pain we’ve been trying to ward off.

    Unless we discover some magic ingredients, next serious flag tilt will be around 2023

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