Watching your AFL team getting smashed can be deeply disappointing for committed fans, and that's an understatement.
A West Coast fan known to the writer had to sit through the carnage when the Eagles met Geelong recently.
A desire to cheer up the West Coast fan led to this completely made up and really very silly set of predictions on where the various teams will finish this year, and why.
It takes us up to the week of the grand final, with two teams left standing.
In reverse finishing order, we have ...
Things went pretty well for the Bombers early on.
They won a few games, brought in promising kids and the supporters frothed away that they might do something untraditional and make the finals.
However, a terrible run from round 10 to round 16 where they didn't win a game, plus a tip-off from a leather-clad individual on a Harley, led to an AFL investigation.
The Bombers were subsequently docked all of their premiership points and banned to the SANFL after being found guilty of running a program of performance-depressing drugs.
The club admitted it got the formula mixed up.
The Magpies had a tough start to the season, but rallied mid-year.
They were sitting in eighth when disaster struck.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' decision to boost police resources by 50 per cent spelt doom for the Magpies.
Once police had enough officers to properly investigate unsolved crimes, thousands of perpetrators went to jail, all across the state, but especially in a particular suburb.
Reduced to playing its Auskick team in the senior competition - and only because under 12s can't be sentenced to actual imprisonment - the Pies faded away to 17th spot.
Coach Nathan Buckley was fired, and immediately added as a coaching consultant by Adelaide.
The Victorian Police Commissioner later asked at a media conference if any of the reporters knew what had 78 legs and 17 teeth.
"The Collingwood cheer squad," he told them.
16. NORTH MELBOURNE
Dubbed the worst team ever (since Fitzroy), the Kangaroos improved as the year went on.
They even kicked goals in some games.
A surprise win over a sluggish Essendon got them going, and they won four more games for the year, mostly because of their jumpers looking like the jumpers of several other clubs and intellectual new coach David Noble - a Tasmanian, naturally - instructing his players to yell "Kick it to me," when opposition players had the ball.
Dreadful start, but ignited their supporters' hopes with a big win in round six over premiership fancy the West Coast Eagles and another over a sluggish Essendon.
Entropy set in after that.
Several star players died of old age.
Coach Chris Scott tried to spin the situation by saying the Cats were turning to pyramid power.
What he didn't say was that most of their top players were so old they lived in pyramids.
Scott was later nicknamed Tutankhamun by the cruel media.
As in King of De Nile.
14. GOLD COAST
The Suns made a little progress in 2021.They won a few games, and were mostly competitive.
A bit. For a while. As usual.
Then they were caned by everyone as the rigours of a tough competition took full effect upon a mob which had no idea what to expect, given that it had only been in the competition with loads of high draft picks for a decade.
Coach Stuart Dew was re-signed for a further decade.
A promising mid-season win over a sluggish Essendon was the highlight.
The Giants fell completely apart. Injuries didn't help.
They responded in their traditional manner by putting their three best players up for trade.
It would have been four, but they couldn't find four.
Toby Greene was seen wearing very stylish red and blue outfits.
"I feel like a better man," he told reporters.
They had a good win over a sluggish Essendon.
12. PORT ADELAIDE
Travelling beautifully, Port was premiership favourite by round 13 after unfortunate incidents involving Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
Port coach Ken Hinkley sensed something was wrong around then, but it took him too long to recognise the problem.
With all of the Collingwood types now in jail, the Port players sensed off-contract opportunities in Victoria.
They started skipping training in ever increasing numbers.
One player was heard to tell Hinkley: "Mate, we don't need to train because breaking and entering, trafficking and petty theft keep a man pretty fit."
Wins dried up.
President David Koch blamed Collingwood.
More than 99 per cent of the world's population agreed with him, not necessarily because he was right.
Had a good win over a sluggish Essendon.
11. ST KILDA
Coach Brett Ratten was entirely responsible for the Saints' demise after a promising start.
They were sitting seventh when he told his players the words which led to his sacking after the home and away rounds.
Mate, we don't need to train because breaking and entering, trafficking and petty theft keep a man pretty fit.
Giving them a spray, he yelled: "And I want you guys to play the St Kilda way."
The players took him at his word.
They never won a quarter after that, let alone a game.
They did start spending a lot of time at discos, smoking, drinking and growing their hair.
Buckley's surprise appointment led to an immediate change in the Crows' game style.
Players who had been getting it 25 times a game suddenly turned themselves around and started getting it 10 times a game.
Buckley convinced the rest of the powers at the club that this was the way of the future, and that if players could only start getting "negative possessions" it would confuse the opponents into error, because if you got negative possessions at a quick enough rate, you would started going backwards in time and anticipating where the ball would be in the future.
"It's quantum," he told the players.
They never realised that while you were anticipating where the ball would be in the future, the opposition was kicking goals with it in the present.
This all allowed Adelaide's great cohort of senior players (Rory Laird) to dominate.
Laird kept up his part of the bargain, as one does in defence when the ball comes in every 13 seconds and you don't understand quantum.
- CONTINUES NEXT MONDAY