Much-maligned Essendon veteran Brent Stanton has copped his fair share of criticism over the course of his 249-game career, but never from an office as high as this. In a blatant attempt to rain on his parade (pun intended) Mother Nature has dropped approximately 200mm of rain on Brisbane in the last 24 hours, the venue of Stanton’s supposed 250th AFL game this Saturday night.

Stanton is no stranger to criticism, with his own football club publishing an article on their website yesterday that made numerous back-handed remarks about his playing ability. Former teammate Matthew Lloyd was quoted saying Stanton “needed a lot of work when he first got to the Club”. While former coach Kevin Sheedy damningly remarked “there can be some frustration with a little bit of a lack of skill now and then”. These comments were book-ended by a number of reserved comments that praised his hard work at training, his aerobic fitness, and the fact that he’s a “really caring person”.

In addition to what his own teammates and coaches have said about him, Stanton has spent the bulk of his career as the whipping boy of Essendon fans, eliciting many an exasperated groan from sections of the crowd as he butchers yet another forward entry. While Stanton has been able to weather the storm (also pun intended) of abuse from fans, teammates and coaches, Mother Nature’s deliberate swipe at his chance to play 250 games may test him.

Speaking from high above the Queensland clouds this morning, Nature said “from all the way up here I get a pretty good view on proceedings, and I’ve seen enough. If I see him screaming for the ball from teammates despite being surrounded by opponents and standing in a dead pocket I will spew up! And you know that means – more rain.”