BULLDOGS VS CATS, SIMONDS STADIUM
The Doggies arrived for their Friday night game against the Cats like death warmed up. The injury situation is so dire at the kennel that Alan Alda is thinking of reprising M*A*S*H* in a contemporary setting. The structure is this: some cynical ladies men/cum-surgeons follow the Dogs around Australia and make biting observations about the insanity of the Dogs' 'god damn war'.
The Dogs look shell-shocked from the beginning but their bodies seem to have different ideas to their faces. Wood for one does not care that he's in the opposition camp, a stadium which is an exemplar of brutalist architecture—with its high concrete walling, perched upon by fleshy gargoyles.
Hawkins looks like he might be reverting to his 2011 Grand Final form but his shadow, the million dollar baby, Tom Boyd, soon goals and before we know it the Dogs are 13 to Geelong's 7. The scoreboard keeps ticking over regularly and the quarter ends 32 to 31 Geelong's way.
For a period the Cats do a Keyser Söze and pretend they don't exist. Baby Boyd gets a 50 metre and goals and it's looking promising for the Doggies. But of course Satan in his capricious way soon strikes down Liberatore for diverging from the plans they'd laid down together a few years ago. The Dogs bench is like a crime scene and Geelong is the ice-cream killer who you know is going to strike again.
Sure enough Johanissen starts limping toward the end of the second quarter, which ends with Geelong in front 56:50.
Quarter 3 starts with Libba looking like a character in a Jeffrey Smart painting, where industrial hoardings dwarf man.
In Geelong's forward line there's so much headless freestyling it's like a dance off between whirling dervishes and the Rock Steady Crew. None of it makes any sense but from the wreckage Dangerfield goes bananas and soon the margin blows out to 83:56 leading into the last term.
Admirably, the Dogs continue to scrap it out despite the fact Channel 7 are already advertising a medical procedure that will be shot live from the Dogs' bench after the next break. The first storyline is the case of the arse that ate Tom Hawkin's shorts, a 'to be continued' episode.
The Dogs are valiant but the Cats win easily, 103 to 78, as a form of tribute to Jimmy Bartel in his 300th game. In a touching moment at the end of the game, Mrs Bartel honours her husband's milestone in her own way by trapping a Pidgey.
GIANTS VS RICHMOND
It's a weekend of record-breaking in the AFL. At Manuka Oval the Giants plan to break a record number of Richmond supporters' hearts, after a detour through Damien Hardwick's violently constricting anus.
Pre-game the Giants play a bit of their Yiddish theme song 'Yossel, Yossel' while Nick Maxwell assaults players with what can only be described as padded S&M spank cushions. It's all very cosmopolitan but we're in Canberra—the domicile of public servants and the ADF Academy. Naturally with that demographic you're going to bear witness to a tutti fruity mix of perversions.
Anyway, this is Giants terrain and it doesn't take long for them to get on the board: first Ward then Shiel. I think it will abate but nooooo. Rance is the only one looking any good for Richmond but he's clearly been put on this earth to be tortured, like some type of Promethean cuckold.
The goals are unending and bending. Greene snaps one that seems to follow the Silk Road before floating through the sticks. Scully puts another away and Greene his second. The game's become so one sided the ADF are already conducting military drills in the Tiger's forward 50 which has fallen into late Roman Empire disrepair. Toward the end of quarter one Cameron supposedly gives Rance a Three Stooge's quality eye-poke but I suspect he's self-poked to absent himself from this unfolding debacle.
After Steve Johnson celebrates a goal with the expected jibber-jabber, it paints a visual nightmare on screen. Then for the poor Tiger saps who are at the ground and missed Johnson's Saturnalia, the Manuka Oval MC makes an audio assault across the ground "it's like shelling peas and it's beautiful to watch-atch-atch!!!!." Even Mark Jackson thought this touch a little too brutal.
The first quarter ends at a horrifying 51:1 and the choppers are called to evacuate all embassy staff. Hardwick adorns himself in camouflage, ready for the final purge.
'I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor.'
The Giants' motto we are informed is 'harder for longer' which is much more pithy than Richmond's 'Give me five minutes, this isn't usually a problem. Come on, work damn you!' The second quarter starts as the preceding one ended, in humiliation and an avalanche of GWS goals.
Not only do I worry that we might run out of numbers to keep score, but that we'll need new terms to describe this abomination. My mind wanders as I become glassy eyed and I notice that GWS have the highest proportion of millionaire beach-boys in one team. So much man-bunnery it makes the eye weep. This is retro round and I start to hanker for themed teams. Permanently. So the GWS surfies, the Richmond Bodgies, the Melbourne Junk-Bond Traders and so on, just like in The Warriors.
By quarter 3 I sense Hardwick's days of sanity are numbered and he'll be munching sausages all day long soon, like Syd Barrett. Time is distending for everyone. This is like 2007 Grand Final time—other worldly. Space is also clearly bending in the Tiger mind because they begin kicking sideways as though this is some previously underutilised conduit to goal.
In the last quarter nothing changes. Manuka is a killing field and when a commentator suggests 'this could get ugly for the Tigers' (the score being 103:22) I realise the world has gone mad. This is one of the craziest and most brutal spectacles I have born witness to and I've seen Zardoz. The final score is 111:23 but under the numbers belie a horror beyond the imaginings of John Boorman's mind.
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