VAFA C Grade: Reviewing “the MRP” (Willy CYs Preview – Rd 4)

Every Monday night during the winter months, at a blues club in a non-descript laneway in inner-city Melbourne, five men climb up onto a small stage. After a brief sound-check and tuning of instruments, these fellows consult a sheet of paper loosely resembling a set-list and commence their performance. Often, their first tune is a version of the Rolling Stones’ classic Time is on my side. Many other standards from the 60’s and 70’s will follow. Popular tunes that we all recognise.   Nathan, the lead singer of this collective, has a deep baritone-style voice which would not be out of place offering special comments on an ABC footy broadcast. The band goes by the somewhat clunky name of “MRP”, three mysterious letters about which the assembled punters constantly muse. If you can yell shrilly enough, you may be fortunate to have your song request played. But that turn of events would be unlikely, for the “MRP” march to their own beat, playing the tracks they want to play, in the style that they choose. In fact, their flagrant disregard for song structures is legendary; one could say that they write their own rules.   They are not supposed to be a parody, an imitation, a Babba or a Creedence Clearwater Recycled. But this renegade approach to their playing, and lack of respect for the writers of the songs they sing, has seen them lose fans to the point where they play before ever-dwindling crowds and receive ever more savage reviews. What was once a promising concept has become an irrelevance. The remaining sport for the few who take interest of a Monday evening centres around what tune they might play, and how poorly they will play it. Jimmy B, the formerly hirsute lead guitarist, is no Keith Richards. And “JJ”, “Chrisso” and “Jammo”, the three other band members are not virtuosos by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, one might even assume that this five-some quite enjoys playing the odd bum note. Just to see if anyone notices.   Despite some line-up changes over the years, their act needs freshening up. Some external guidance and mentoring is desperately needed. For they are answerable to no-one, their Monday sessions are nothing short of a laughing stock, and their music is as grating as a Japanese kabuki orchestra. My ears are bleeding.


Guru 360:

Last time we met

Rd 16, 2016 @ Marcellin College: Marcellin 12.8.80 defeated Williamstown CYMS 9.11.65.

Marcellin kept their chances of avoiding relegation and remaining in Premier C alive with a 15-point win against Williamstown CYMS. Daniel Cullinan (three) and Ash Viney (three) each led the way on the scoreboard for the Eagles, and Patrick Lunn did damage in a starring performance. Robert Chan and Joel Hogarth were the CY’s best.

At selection

More forced changes this week, but the quantum is a more Alastair Clarkson-like catastrophic lot of five as we lose Chango (concussion), Ackerly (leg), Joy (back), Murphy (‘string) and Reados (work), that has a few at the club wondering who walked under the ladder. Getting their opportunity are Benny McColl (WSM), Ben “Pup” Connolly (brother of), Jake Slee (the next revolution; player 469), Jack Noonan (track 2 on Wing’s Band On The Run LP; 470) and Matty Carland.

What am I most looking forward to?

Watching Jack Noonan in action. So sure with his decision making and disposal, he killed them in the preseason at Lara, and is likely to do so again on Saturday.

Strange but true

Smokie Dawson’s six o’clock swill (see above) is now being syndicated. Old mate Tony Ryan is president and newsletter organiser at his local footy club in Wollongong. He contacted Smoke to ask if he could include his write-ups in the newsletter. Heaven only knows what they will think!

It’s a sure thing

The acid will be put on our senior players this week. The young kids can certainly impact, but only if our senior players set the standard at their very first contest.

Most at stake

Given that we sit sixth at 1-2 and Marcellin second at 2-1, it is us with the most at stake this weekend. Win, and we are amongst the top four and can assure ourselves that our two losses have been against the benchmarks in Premier C. Lose, and we’ll find ourselves mired in the bottom half without the security blanket of the Fearon.

The tip

Last week Marcellin kicked clear of Hampton Rovers in the second quarter to record a comfortable 46 point win. They’d be happy with their start to the season, having thrashed Kew in round two after losing a tight opening one to Old Camberwell, but in reality have played no one of note. In all games played so far, Daniel McMahon has loomed large.

Our Jekyll & Hyde performances continued last week, where we never really looked like winning. We lost all four quarters by widening margins, and down to one on the bench in the last saw us fall right away to lose by 58. Giving away seven hundred and thirty two 25m penalties didn’t help.

The influx of even more youth is a plus on the wide expanses of Altona Green Park, and Ben Connolly, Jake Slee and Jack Noonan all have the ability and legs to run amok. They may well need to, as the outs are significant and still no return of captain Fin.

But for all the dramas at selection I reckon this result hinges above the shoulders, as on talent alone we’d secure a win here and four vital points. But do we have the aptitude for the hard work required to let that talent shine? We’ll know come that first contest on Saturday, and especially so the first time Marcellin have the footy. A swarm of gold and blue is the mindset we need to bring, all day, and when we do that, we’ll record a stirring 24 point win.


About Darren Dawson

Always North.

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