Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Wash Up (@essendon_fc season review)

Well that sucked.

Gone with a whimper. A season that started with so much promise delivered so little. The turning point? The loss to Sydney by a kick. We were 4-5 with wins over the Hawks, Blues, Saints and Dogs, a win over the Swans and we are still a chance. It was all down hill from there.

Low lights?
Adam McPhee's decision to leave. The three losses to the Eagles and two 10 goal beltings vs the Pies. The disaster at the MCG against the Blues. The capitulation in Adelaide against the Crows. Kyle Reimers' boots. Watching Jay Neagle and Mark McVeigh try to catch someone. Michael Quinn. Prismall's disposal. Patrick Ryder struggling to cope with expectation. Neagle's confidence when he misses the first one. Bizarre selection decisions. Neagle's decision to play on against Geelong in Round 1 (did a moment better define the season than this?) Mark Williams. The on-going saga with the coach and Jimmy and Sheedy and Chocco and the board. Matthew Knights' press conferences. No wins against interstate teams despite playing four games against them at Etihad. Henry Slattery.

We are now as bad as we were when Sheedy left. Veterans who have been delisted, traded or retired have not been replaced. What we wouldn't give to have Lloyd in the forward line to give Neagle some advice on kicking.

There were highlights to be sure:

Gumbleton playing seniors and getting better as the year went on. Jobe proving he was the right choice as captain. Hille regularly proving the bump isn't dead. Our domination of St Kilda. The form of Hooker and Pears early. The longevity of Dustin Fletcher. The twitter account. The growth of Dempsey and Hocking, followed by their struggle to return to form after being dropped. The Lloyd end. David Zarharakis leading the goal kicking. Howlett, Melksham, Myers, Colyer and Hardingham having a crack. Great wins against the Dogs and Blues. Winderlich's form when he was on. Jetta's form when eventually selected.

There isn't any point putting together a best 22 for this year. There isn't one. There were too many changes week-to-week for there to be a consistent team. The coach can wear the blame on that one though injuries didn't help. No one played 22 games. That's a pretty damning stat. The closest was Jobe and he hobbled through the last four games was in.

Instead here is what I think we should look for next year (Knights as coach or not).
We need to get better defensively. We need to develop taggers and guys who can mark small forwards. We are light on pace and class in the midfield but we need to do what we can to develop players there. Jetta, Davey and Colyer are quick. Davey in the backline. Jetta in the midfield. Lonergan and Hocking play run with roles. Use them and give them game time. We need a settled forward line that contains a mix of players; talls, crumbers, midsized forwards. Our spine is great if they stay on the park and there needs to be a way to accommodate them all. Hooker has lovely hands and deserves a chance at full forward. Let Hurley develop as a back. Stick with this line up and see how they develop. Trade Stanton to GCFC or Brisbane and get Rischetelli.

B: Davey, Pears, Fletcher
HB: Howlett, Hurley, Dempsey
C: Jetta, Melksham, Rischetelli
R: Hille, Watson, Winderlich
HF: Monfries, Gumbleton, Lonergan
F: Zaharakis, Hooker, Hardingham

I/C: Hocking, Myers, Ryder, Colyer

emerg: carlise, long, willaims, daniher.

Personally I'm done with watching McVeight labour around the place. Welsh has struggled and is close to retirement. Lovett-Murray brings toughness but not much else. Henry Slattery isn't much of a defender and you might as well play a kid instead. Ditto Dyson as a forward. We need veterans for sure, but we also need to start developing players into a side that is competitive. The gap between best and worst needs to close. At some point Darcey Daniher needs a shot at locking down a spot. No finals next year, unless everything clicks.

We better bloody beat the Gold Coast though!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Film reviews Aug 2010

Its been a while since I blogged so there will a few in the near future. Let's start with movie reviews!

Whoa what a film. Christopher Nolan again proves himself to be the best action film director in the world with an amazing grasp of both sequencing and thoughtful film making. He gives his actors room to shine too, evident in Leonardo DCaprio's brilliant portrayal of a true man of mystery. As seen in Blood Diamond and The Departed, Leo has a grasp of the complex emotions his characters face as a story progresses. The supporting cast (including several of Nolan's previous collaborators) hold up their roles well enough to trap the audience in the intricate plot. Pay attention to the first twenty or so minutes, failure to do so may leave the rest a mess. Once it is rolling though, the action is consistent enough for it to work well as a popcorn flick. The hotel hallway fight is up there with the best bits of The Matrix trilogy. Overall, this is just great viewing that will leave you debating the nature of reality for days. And lets be honest, good films leave us talking.

And the ending? Well, thats for you to decide. 4.5/5

Toy Story 3
Surprise of the year? Well it shouldn't be. The first two were brilliant but there aren't many that maintain that for a third. Never before has an animated feature been so emotional involving. The final adventure of Woody and Buzz has enough new stuff (especially the great stuff from Barbie and Ken) to be original. In many ways this is the anti-Shrek. While those movies were a clever idea with ultimately simple and obvious execution, Toy Story is a simple idea with some rewarding outcomes. The climax is ridiculously emotional. These are plastic toys that bare ready to accept their death? And yet between music and backstory it completely sucks you in. For children and adults a like the final scene is both touching and actually (surprisingly) free of cheese. Part of the magic is the long delay before the finish, I was a young teen who took my toddler brother and cousin to see the first, and the wait has been worth it. I guess this movie reminds you that it's a shame we have to grow up and lose that innocence and freedom of childhood. A time when even toys have a life of their own.
A perfect film. 5/5