Warning; major MFC nerd references ahead.
Sometimes all you can do as a Melbourne supporter is dim the lights, open a cask of wine and watch an old VHS of our 2000 qualifying final against Carlton (thank-you, Brad Green).
It’s been nearly ten years since we last visited September, and the ensuing decade has been nothing short of torture; a period plagued by record losses, ruptured ACLs and Alistair Nicholson kicking out from full-back.
Yet amidst the gloom there have been speckles of light - bursts of inspiration that prove we can wield out heroics just as impressive as anyone else in the comp.
These are those moments.
We can take a hanger.
One constant about the Melbourne footy club is our capacity to draft players who can seriously hang.
And we ain’t talking about Mark Jamar.
Our most obvious current proponent is Jeremy Howe. Even during the coldest of Sunday twilight zone games, he has the ability to make jaws drops and loins tingle. Check out this effort in the wet (if you don’t wish to know the scores, for God’s sake don’t look to the top left).
Before him there was Russ Robertson, the type of guy who always nicks off to the back of a pack in kick-to-kick. And let’s not forget Shaun Smith. Let’s never forget Shaun Smith. Wow.
We experiment with recruitment
Necessity is the mother of all invention, and the Dees have done their darndest to invent their way out of footballing hell (which, ironically, as demons who haven’t strung two in a row since 1917, we have become very comfortable dwelling in).
When we couldn’t buy a win in the mid ‘80s, we took a torpedo punt on a lanky Irishman and an elastic Scotsmen. Jim Stynes and Sean White went on to become two of our most revered figures, and both tragically passed well before their use-by.
More recently, our recruiting took a left turn 10,000 miles into Yuendumu, where we picked up Liam Jurrah. So, ok, it didn’t end well, but for a while there the Warlpiri Wizard produced some magic not seen since our original Wizard.
We hated Collingwood before it was cool to hate Collingwood
You’re damn right we did.
Without indulging into too much historical analysis, our hatred for the black and white mullet troupe started in 1958, where those filthy Smith Street revellers king-hit half our team and ruined our potential streak of six premierships in a row.
Not much has changed. Except now everyone hates them. But we started it. And by gosh we’ll continue it, especially during this year’s Queen’s Birthday clash when we witness their supporters filing out as one early in the last quarter.
We trade off well
Ok, before we start ripping shreds into this one, consider the type of folk we’ve traded off in the past few years.
Travis Johnstone struggled as much with Brisbane as he did as a number one pick with Melbourne. Tom Scully is proving little more than a handy witch’s hat at GWS. And Col Sylvia has been temporarily booted from Freo after he got puffed and started walking - yep, walking - during one of their 3km trials (seriously Col, its not a lapathon).
Yep, we’ve also had our fair share of recruitment shockers (Craig Turley? Gary Moorcroft, anyone?), but let’s leave that for another day.
We lose better than anyone else
Who wants to lose by 40 when you can lose by 240? We have the type of losing records that gives Jamie Shanahan cold sweats at 3AM. We have the type of margin deficits that makes the Fitzroy Lions mascot roll over in his Werribee Zoo grave.
We have the… yeah, you get the point.
But there is a feeling in the air. A south easterly of optimism is blowing knots at Casey Fields, it’s rolling up north into Gosch's Paddock, and it’s hollering with anger into the bowels of the MCG.
2015 is the year the Demons bounce back.
Let’s get it on!