WE ARE entering the gloom season for the teams who are missing the finals. TERRY BROWN laments the long days ahead for the League losers:
THE season is shot for more than half of us, but there is no mercy rule. We have gnashed our teeth – tooth for the Doggies crew. We have sweated like Fat Elvis and wanted to leave the house invisibly too. We have cried tears of blood, unless a sauce sachet exploded?
And the reward for the faithful of 10 defunct teams? A month-long so-what lap, four weeks of who-cares-about-you rammed carelessly down our throat and up our cazaly.
The AFL has a designated round for everything, more ribbons than a skipful of Barbies. They scream inclusion so loud you want to run away.
Then it changes.
There is talk the League might ban the bounce for the finals so umpires don’t make themselves look stupid in that particular way. That sounds true to form, though I liked my suggestion about rusty hand grenades better.
The worst, anyway, is a sneaky bit of footy apartheid we cannot abide.
This week 18 teams played, or at least tanked for draft picks. Next week, nothing, then when the footy returns, ta dah, 10 complete clubs have become un-teams, gone from the fixture.
For four weeks, un-fans in numbers growing each week will be excluded from football except for mocking purposes.
We will probably cop it like the whipped animals we are.
A bit of thanks would not go astray, but we will get rubbed in it for a goddam month in HD; hyperbolic roads to glory we’re now dumped beside, slow-mo of the stars mugging us en-route.
This time of the year, nobody at the AFL even thinks about the contribution of the deadbeat sides. They are all thinking about the superbox and that hot marketing chick who might be there?
Well, smarties, who do you think gave these so-called finals teams their wins and superior percentages? Not the good teams, that’s for sure.
I saw my side hand the ball to opponents so precisely and regularly I expect Magpies to poll in the B and F counts of several teams.
We suffered, not those finals teams and their downhill skier supporters, literally for the Dees.
Where is our pay back? Finals fever, blah. You give me nothing. Heath Shaw’s smother of the century won’t even make the highlights reel because Riewoldt might sook.
This all, of course, is not sour grapes.
Loser fans, whose hiding places have been discovered, are forced to make conciliatory noises, dying each time they wish a mate the best.
Some will choose a “second team”. Real fans do not. The nightmare of one is enough. Too much.
But un-fans and non-clubs, really, should not put up with crap and go quietly into September.
There are spectacular plays still possible from un-teams, including the year’s most consistently helper-alonger of other sides.
The Kangas have a rare chance to wreck a Tigers premiership year and their own club by buying Dusty. So that’s more exciting than anything they did on the park.
Although the Tigers are mathematically in the finals, I rank them with the losing teams out of habit, and no doubt correctly.
They have an enormous potential to hijack the finals away from those smug, over-achieving teams. If Dusty somehow loses the Brownlow, the City of Yarra will mandate three days of mourning.
After he goes to North, Richmond will change to black with a black sash. Try getting an Adelaide injury on the news past that?
The Pies never go away and Buckley’s new life contract will have journalists everywhere doing the reverse ferret and disowning their tent peg marks on Bucks nature strip.
There are teams, though, that few people care about really, and their fans might just best nick off?
Blues fans might think if this is a convenient time to dodge attention and finally hand themselves into police. A diversionary program would be a nice diversion from listening (albeit briefly) to Bombers types? Anything less than a 30-year sentence, they won’t miss a flag.
Hawks supporters could get that colorectal surgery to correct all the years up themselves.
Doggies recriminations should kick off the non finals footy nicely, the Saints are always good for a Mad Monday scandal.
The month can be a lesson to the League, that you might stop a side in its tracks with your finicky rules, scores and fixture but you can’t stop us deadbeat clubs. It is still about us.
Non/teams and un-fans stand up down there.
The finalists only look good – by comparison.
Author: Terry Brown
TERRY BROWN worked for many years as a general reporter, columnist and colour writer at The Sun and Herald Sun. He is now an academic lecturing in journalism and is an unpublished novelist.