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:
- Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda (scene of alleged brawl involving Fraser Gehrig, Michael Voss and the others.)
- Ocean Blue in Port Melbourne (scene of car park assault involving Chris Tarrant and Ben Johnson)
- Motel in South Melbourne (as featured in documentary Footy Chicks)
- The Saint and the Vineyard in St Kilda
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.
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?
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.
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