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Akum last won the day on March 27

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  1. I'm not saying Cunnington should have got the same penalty, by the way, but he clearly should have got a week. Higgins likewise. And I'm not saying that Lewis & Hogan shouldn't have been given what they got, though I think the Carlton doctor did "over-egg the pudding" an extra week in both cases. Clearly, too, when Carlton came out after half time, they clearly had instructions to get under our skin physically and verbally. I'd just love to know what was actually said. And surely somebody just yapping & niggling & being a pest (which was what Bernie was doing and what Hogan in particular would get every week without punching anyone) is different to someone saying something way out of bounds that provokes a reaction, along the lines of the Marc Murphy sledge which was clearly over the line. I suspect that what was said to Hogan was clearly over the line too, but we just didn't stick up for him at the time the way that Carlton stuck up for Murphy. Cunnington gut-punched Bernie just to get Bernie out of his face, and because he knew he could, because he believed he wouldn't get penalised or suspended, and because it was a team instruction to gut-punch, throat-punch and jumper-punch (and not go the head).
  2. With Hogan & Lewis, I just wondered at the time what could possibly have been said to them that made them react in such a bizarre way. Every one of Hogan's opponents says things to him to try to put him off. He might complain about not getting frees, but he just doesn't hit back off the ball. I wondered what Rowe might have said to him that made him snap, and the only thing that occurred to me was something about his family. But the club was silent so there's no point in pushing it. The thing about Lewis on Cripps was that Viney, who was within earshot, ran past Cripps after Lewis decked him and pushed him to the ground, so he wasn't happy with whatever was said either. Lewis has a chequered past with the MRP, but not for hitting someone off the ball after they said something (more for high tackles or hits in the course of play). Again I wondered what might have been said to rile him enough to punch him off the ball rather than just throw him to the ground. But again the club was silent. They were both "heat of the moment" incidents where something was clearly said to them that caused them to react, in a way neither of them had done before. To me, North used illegal physical force as an orchestrated strategy, indicated by Scott saying after the game that Cunnington was safe because of the MRP precedents about jumper punches (and gut punches and throat punches). When Higgins decked Bernie and Bernie got a free, Higgins complained to the umpire, seeming to indicate that it was a throat punch (so, by implication, it shouldn't be penalised). Likewise, Higgins decking Oliver early on wasn't an accident, it was part of a deliberate strategy to target our young players. That they got away with it Scott-free makes me disgusted (as does the failure of the club's leadership to stand up for its players), and I'd be equally as disgusted if we went after young players in any side as an orchestrated strategy, even if we got away with it and won. Bernie was hit not because of anything he said, but to get him to "back off".
  3. Lethlean is too gutless to do anything because if he did, Brad Scott would be all over the media whinging about it, North would saturate the media with current and ex-players and legal opinions and god knows what else. And that's the AFL's greatest fear - bad publicity! Nobody at the AFL has the strength of character to do what's right if they think there's the slightest possibility of bad publicity. They've demonstrated that again and again, and the above quotation exemplifies it. And (as Brad Scott fully understands and knows he can exploit it) in that sort of weak-character environment, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. One thing I can guarantee - if it was one of our players in Cunnington's position, Lethlean would have had him suspended by now. Because he knows that Melbourne Football Club will always buckle under and never raise a peep.
  4. One thing we do need to do is to expect that other teams aren't just going to play us on our talent. And anticipate that they will: * Headhunt the cream of our younger players, namely Oliver, Petracca and Salem, and Hogan when he comes back. * Take advantage of our lack of talls by holding off the ball (mainly Watts) and blocking (mainly T-Mac, by far our best remaining tall in a contested marking duel) * See if they can get away with blunting our unbelievable advantage at clearances (where even though we get smashed in hitouts we win the clearances against even the best of midfields) by playing outside the rules. Specifically, they'll try out a blatant illegal act early in the game, and if the umpires don't pay it (and they almost always don't), then they've got us for the rest of the game. We repeatedly seem surprised that other teams don't want it to be a fair fight. We play such a naive game, especially at the start, and expect the other side to stick to Queensberry rules. We need to do what Jack Dyer used to say: "Retaliate first!"
  5. This season we could probably have managed with injuries to 5 or 6 mids. Brayshaw & VDB are already out, and we have ANB, Stretch, Ben Ken & even Trengove playing for Casey, all of whom would be handy backups. We could have managed with injuries to a few small defenders too - of those who aren't already in the team there's Melksham*, Harmes, White, and again Trengove, Stretch & ANB. But we were always going to struggle if we'd lost one of Gawn, Hogan & T-Mac. Not only did we lose 2 out of those 3, but also Gawn's only backup in Spencer. Yes, we could have done better. But it's not the disaster it could have easily been. We're at least getting ourselves into winnable positions late in every game so far. There's just the next step of hauling yourself over the line once we're in that winning position. For a team that's been so down for so long, it's not surprising that we haven't yet got that right, but that's probably the last element that's going to slot into place. * Speaking of Melksham, next time we play North, we use Melksham's "extra talents" and put him on Cunnington. And get Lewis to hold regular master classes for the whole list in "unsociable footy".
  6. I for one would not be praising if we'd done it and won. That was nothing like "unsociable football", that was thuggery orchestrated by a thug coach taking advantage of a stupid MRP ruling made to justify an unjustifiable failure to suspend a favoured player. Unless you define "unsociable football" as thuggery that you happen to get away with. Clarko always defined it as going right up to the line but not beyond it. If we'd done it, it would still have been thuggery, and I'd have been disgusted if that's what it took to win a game.
  7. Do other clubs' supporters show the same level of self-righteousness as this? Or turn on their own as readily? If someone hits you with a throat punch and you're not expecting it (and a coward will only hit you when you don't expect it), you'll probably end up on the ground.
  8. That might have been the one where Higgins remonstrated with the umpire because it was only a throat punch and wasn't supposed to have been penalised. So Bernie hit him back with a (much softer) throat punch and he didn't like it. I won't get into Higgins's character. Just that I know for sure that the Bulldogs were never happier to get rid of any player. We made a massive mistake getting Bernie to tag him and not Cunnington.
  9. So let's think this through rather than just react. If the only other teammate around is Garlett or Kent, he would of course go for the mark. If Pedo or Weed is around, is he better going for the marking contest and dragging in his opponent too if North have an extra man to take the ball away? Because having too many flying for the contested mark and nobody waiting for the inevitable crumbs has been such a successful element of our play this year. Or is he better to keep his opponent out of the marking contest and try to beat them on the ground? So of course he's going to look around to see who else is around to work out what he's best to do in the circumstances.
  10. "Frees for" had about 40% more kicks than any other North player, and at least twice as many kicks as all but 3 of their team. Absolutely dominated the game.
  11. I saw the Richmond captain hit Viney in the head in a similar fashion to Salem, and start a melee, for which he was later cited. He actually got a free kick for it, which led to a goal. Did that deter him from doing it again, or did it encourage him?
  12. Good on you. Brad Scott couldn't have put it any better. We were getting whacked from before the opening bounce. The players think "OK, the umps will sort it out for us, that's what they're there for." About 10 minutes in, they see Oliver flat on the ground, whacked high by Higgins not far from the umpire while play is stopped, and the umpire does nothing, waves it through. If you're North, you'd think, "Beauty! Scotty was right! We can get away with just about anything today! Throat punches! Let's go!" And they do. If you're a Demon, you'd think, "Well, the umps clearly aren't going to protect us. But we can't just cop this. We've got to give something back!" And they do. I'm assuming you're not suggesting they should have just copped all the whacks and "played the ball", knowing the umps wouldn't protect them? Do we want to be known as the club that's not willing to hit back hard when we get hit unfairly? I do agree with your last sentence about "poor leadership and poor coaching" though. Scott, whose only elite quality as a player was knowing how far he could bend the rules and get away with it, would have spent much of last week watching the video of us against Adelaide and working out how to nail us. Were we really so naïve as to not expect them to go the biff (and probably to get away with it)? We seemed to be totally unprepared for them to come out and go the biff from the start. If we weren't so naïve, we should expect this to happen every single game. Just a hint. In two weeks we play a club who desperately wants to beat us, whose coach is probably coaching for his career. I wonder whether we can predict what will happen in the first 10 minutes? And I wonder whether our coach will be yet again surprised when it does happen. Or do you think we could possibly plan for it.
  13. Love the way that Gill comes up with this revelation after, not before, this week's MRP decision. North targeted our younger players and got off Scott-free. They must be absolutely crowing over there. This is just what I mean about the squeaky wheel getting the grease.
  14. And Saty, my greatest fear is that you have nailed the club's attitude spot-on. We have to accept the umpiring, we have to accept the targeting of our young players, we have to accept that the umpires won't protect them, we have to accept the crazy-lopsided MRP decisions that have been going against this club since Trengove on Dangerfield. Or maybe since we nailed the MRP with Viney on Lynch. But there are probably at least a dozen clubs who wouldn't accept all that without saying or doing something to protect their players.
  15. I reckon it all started with Nat Fyfe in his Brownlow year. The MRP turned themselves inside out trying to avoid suspending the guy who was the obvious Brownlow winner several weeks out from the end of the season. What would the AFL PR consultants (who virtually set the standards for the AFL) do if the eventual Brownlow winner got suspended multiple times like he should have been? The docile commentariat, who rely entirely on the AFL for their living, chose to ignore. Since the success of getting away with not suspending Fyfe, we now have favoured players (most of whom play for wealthy or important or noisy clubs - Fyfe, Cotchin, Mummy, anybody who plays for Demetriou's old club) who cannot get suspended under any circumstances and will only get fined. But to uphold the charade that they're not being soft, they have to be hard on other players who will get suspended for relatively minor incidents. I repeat, in most of the 120 years or so that Aussie Rules footy has been in existence, Cunnington & Higgins would have got suspended and Salem got off. This is now a game ruled by PR, and because we never make any noise on behalf of our players, we never threaten their sacred public image. We know our place.