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Monday, September 03, 2007

Mad Monday Threatens Melbourne

This is a warning to all Melburnians: today is the infamous Mad Monday, which means hundreds of drunk and drug-affected footballers will be roaming the streets in gangs. Many of them will be bitterly disappointed and violence seems inevitable.

Mad Monday has always been an interesting time in Melbourne. Now, it's positively dangerous. Given the large dose of negative scrutiny AFL players' drug habits have received recently, you'd think they might take it easy this year. After all, there's no sign of the Seven/AFL Gutter Feud settling. But that's not what people are thinking:

TODAY marks open season for drug users, AFL style.

Think about it for a moment, because it's a little bit scary.

This morning we kick off a two-month exclusion zone in which AFL players, in their off-season breaks, will not be tested for any form of illicit drug until pre-season training commences.

As of today's Mad Sunday sessions, 210 players from Richmond, St Kilda, Essendon, Brisbane and Fremantle will be free to take as many illicit drugs as they like, and not one of them will be tested.

From tomorrow, 125 from Melbourne, Carlton and the Bulldogs will join them.

The depressing reality is that in the current climate, the lure of drugs will be too much for some players to resist. (Herald-Sun, 2/9/2007)

Let's put those sobering remarks into context. Here's what Hawthorn great Dermot Brereton had to say about earlier Mad Monday festivities:

Brereton, who starred for Hawthorn in the 1980s and still has close contact with players through his commentator duties, said drug-taking was said to be preferred to alcohol in post-season celebrations.

"We heard rumours that somebody turned up to one of those mad Mondays and there wasn't a beer in sight ... (The Australian, 31/3/05, reported in The Speccy)

And, as is now a tradition at this time of the year, here is the photo of Eddie McGuire and friend very late indeed at one Mad Monday:

Eddie Not Faring As Well As Other Bloke
Source: Aftergrog Blog.

Of course, the image of drug-fuelled parties with pills and powders being thrown around like confetti is not the AFL's spin departments' idea of how Mad Monday should be perceived. They'd rather everyone just forgot about that and focused on the traditional, booze-soaked piss-ups instead. This is the official word from AFL HQ on the upcoming Mad Monday:

WELSH poet Dylan Thomas's famous dying words were, “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies. I think that is a record.” Dylan, you feel, would have enjoyed Mad Monday, the day when the AFL’s also-rans blow their tops like 44 kegs of beer that have done six months in the back of a ute, plus a hard pre-season. (AFL, 3/9/2007)

Yes, that's right, in a bizarre refutation of the Governments' responsible drinking message, the AFL is putting about quotes from Welsh poets who tragically drank themselves to death via media release. Is this to encourage players off the ice and onto whisky? ("Mmm, whisky - potentially fatal whisky. Do you remember how good it was?") Or is it to paint a vivid and unshakable image in the minds of the punters of utes, kegs and "piss, porn and pie" nights at the local footy club rooms? Well, nothing could be further from the truth for our manicured and well-coiffed salonistas.

Thanks to some diligent behind-the-scenes work, The Speccy is able to provide a hit-list of venues likely to attract footballers. Remember, these places will be over-charging you for drinks (to ensure the players sip water for free in the VIP room). They will also attract women (and a few misguided men) looking to pick up a footballer -if only in for ten minutes in the toilet. Large groups of men will be resentful of this and the risk of fights means it is not worth attending.

Please avoid the following suspected footballer haunts:

Ironically, the safest venue is town for the next couple of days might be Spearmint Rhino, the lap-dance club that served us starting point for Alan Didak's Hell Ride. After his little adventure, it's now one of the few places where Collingwood players are banned from attending.

In any case, please keep your head low. Stock up on essential products (like pepper spray and drink-spike detectors). Warn others. And - hopefully - we'll catch you on the other side.

*** UPDATE ***

It's been a slow Mad Monday. Either the players were unusually well-behaved or the venue operators and media have been gagged. After scouring the mainstream media and footy forums, this is the most salacious story I could turn up:

Hawthorn players Lance Franklin and Trent Croad were invited to MTV's Superbad movie premiere after-party, but didn't impress organisers with their attempts to get the entire team into South Yarra's Tryst bar.

The boozed-up bunch were turned away after hitting the nearby Bridie O'Reilly's pub on Chapel St for most of the day, as part of Mad Monday celebrations. (Herald-Sun, 19/9/2007)

Jeez. Even the West Coast Eagles are having a locked-down Mad Monday, with security guards in place. Chairman Dalton Gooding explains that "They’ve got plans and processes in place," and said they players would be "Very responsible, be very tight, stay among themselves and just show restraint."

Pretty bloody lame. C'mon, surely there was some ugliness somewhere?

*** UPDATE ***

Not necessarily ugly, but the Sunday Age reports that Hawthorn's Lance "Buddy" Franklin might be about to go vegetarian: at least, that's their explanation why Buddy was loudly stating "I'm off my chops!" at the Leederville Hotel in Perth. There's going to be a lot of disappointed Hawthorn fans if they're relying on this bloke for their tilt at the premiership.

Citations: Herald-Sun, 2/9/2007; AFL, 3/9/2007; Herald-Sun, 19/9/2007

Word Count: 1028

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  • I have a story to share about Mad Monday.

    It was about 1995 or 96. Anyway, a couple of us - I was living in North Melbourne at the time - were having a drink or three at ye olde Naughton's Hotel, a wonderful old drinking hole servicing the college residents of Melbourne Uni. I believe that it isn't there anymore.

    Anyway, we're having a few drinks in the back bar, because the front bar was reserved for a function. No real issue to us, because the back bar is so much nicer.

    Anyway, I go off to the gents later in the evening to find none other than Steven Kernahan pointing at the urinal next to me. I find out later that the Carlton Football Club is having their Mad Monday drinks in the front bar.

    Later in the evening, 3 or 4 drunk footballers do a nudie run through the back bar area followed by a clearly schtonkered Fraser Browne sauntering through with a Hawaiian lei around his neck, holding a plate of king prawn cutlets which he was offering around to punters to eat.

    We went around the front to look in through the windows, and the boys were clearly enjoying themselves. One thing I did notice was that there was no bar staff for the night. Not only had they hired the front bar, they had clearly bought the understanding that the boys could help themselves to whatever, whenever they liked. Anyone behind the bar was either a footballer, or one of the coaching staff, and they appeared to know how to use beer taps and bottle nipples.

    Fraser Brown must have been enjoying the prawns that he was eating because a couple of hours later, he strutted through the back bar area again, with a plate that had been very clearly topped up with more of the tasty morsels. Only this time, he stopped once to empty the plate down the front of his pants to a standing ovation from the general public before disappearing back into the confines of the front bar again.

    And at various times of the night, players would come out an circulate, stopping to proposition chicks with such subtle lines as "I play for an AFL club. How about a wet one?" or "What do you mean you have a boyfriend? Unless he plays League footy, you know that's a lame reason not to come out to my BMW."

    Closing time came at 1PM and we all had to leave.

    But I noticed that there was no movement from those in the front bar. It has been a while since I did my RSA (Responsible Serving of Alcohol) course, but I'm fairly certain that what Naughton's did that night would have lost their licence several times over and resulted in their licensee being fined back to the stoneage.

    Funny as hell, though, if you were there. Probably not, though if you were one of the chicks at the pub.

    By Blogger Dikkii, at 11:56 pm, September 11, 2007  

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  • Ah yes, salad days memories from a simpler time. Back then, footballers earned an average wage and were glad to be playing footy full-time.

    Nowadays, of course, it would be "Hey baby, wanna snort a line of coke of my dick?" followed up by a more sinister "I wasn't asking".

    A few young women from my college accidentally arrived at Naughton's for Mad Monday in 1994. I won't be repeating their tale here, but it was not a happy time for them and showed the Carlton footy club in a bad light.

    Still, in light of what's been happening this past few years they were - comparatively - bloody lucky.

    By Blogger Greg, at 12:19 am, September 12, 2007  

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