Sunday, 2 September 2007

Thank god that's over. When does next year start?

So, another season of wasted dreams comes to an end. At least in one of the rarest occurances in VFL/AFL history both sets of fans left the stadium happy tonight - we realised that being a couple of draft picks higher in the order is essentially fruitless and sent Bizzell, Pickett and Brown off in great fashion, and the spineless dogs on the other side of the ledger got to punt against their own side and get a prized draft pick.

After an early scare for everyone when Lance Whitnall was taking marks inside 50 at will we all realised that he couldn't kick straight if his life depended on it and while they racked up behinds left, right and centre we banged on seven at the other end without reply. The dream scenario of beating them by so much that it went from a triumph to a humiliation was starting to look like it was in with a chance until they decided to show some fight at the end of the first and the start of the second. Travis Johnstone was running around getting possessions at will, Nathan Jones was cleaning everything out of the centre, Jamar was enjoying his best game of the season (albeit against a ruck division with less prospects for 2008 than Fitzroy), and Miller was playing a good game against a defence with a combined age of 13.

The game ebbed and flowed a couple of times but it pretty much remained the same, somewhere between 20 and 40 points. The players on both sides were trying to win, but it was obvious that only half of the fans really cared. Thankfully none of our fans were stupid enough to be sitting there punting the enemy home but the Carlton fans certainly were. Calling for holding-the-balls on your own team is such an obvious gag that it's always going to get some reaction. When you do it once it's funny, when you do it for four quarter it's fucking irritating you twat. I condemn these people to the same circle of hell that will have the people who ironically demand deliberate for everything for the rest of the game after their team has copped it once.

Juice Newton will enjoy an extended pre-season break after nailing one of the Carlton players with a perfectly pointless bump to the back after he'd marked. In Benny Hill style scenes one of the umpires then reversed the free after a melee and tried to award Juice a 50 before somebody else stepped in and pointed out that he'd just run through a guy at a million miles an hour and been reported for it, so Carlton had better take the free. Speaking of frees is it some kind of record that we didn't score one until halfway through the second quarter? I didn't think they missed too much, and it wasn't hurting us on the scoreboard but it was an unusual stat.

Meanwhile if I were a Carlton fan I'd be worried that Kreuzer was going to neck himself rather than be forced to play for them, because they were a rabble. I know they're all about 13 years old, and that they've got Stevens and Fevola to come back but let's hope for everyone's amusement that they manage to somehow keep wrecking themselves and subjecting us to the grim spectacle of chucking an entire second half of the season year after year.

Crowd Watch
Not sure how 26000 ended up showing. 30 minutes before the first bounce there would have been no more than 5000 in the ground. Ross "arrive early to avoid disappointment" Oakley would have been slashing his wrists. Except that every Melbourne fan is already used to disappointment anyway so we tend to rock up at the last minute as a matter of principle.

In a final example of what a crazy night it was, as we were walking out some granny in a Carlton scarf started with something along the lines of "arghh I thought Robertson was supposed to be good. He only kicked five goals". Obviously she'd hobbled out to put her false teeth in before he nailed his sixth on the siren, but I was so speechless at this random and nonsensical commentary that I never even managed to tell her to piss off and take her medication. All I managed was a casual "What do you want him to do next time? Kick 15?" This is probably for the best, as the last time I verbally abused a senior citizen at Waverley Park in Round 2, 1999 I was almost beaten to death by a platoon of St. Kilda fans.

Congratulations also to the Carlton cheersquad for belting out their song after they'd lost, and proving once and for all why cheersquads of all persuasions should be taken into Port Phillip Bay in a boat and then sunk.

So it's farewell to the Brown Dog, Bizz and Choppy Pickett. Obviously Browny spent the longest with the club, and has been an inspirational figure with his courage. Word is that he's going back to Adelaide for good, which is a shame because he would have been great to have around the club in some capacity and we'll miss him, but you may as well go out playing decent football rather than exiled in the seconds.

Clint Bizzell played a great role in defence over the years. He missed last year entirely, and was in and out of the team this year but provided a vital part of our (relatively) successful 2004/05 squads. A genuinely nice guy who will be missed.

Finally Byron spent the least time with us of the three retirees, but for a guy who was almost universally loathed by our fans when he played for Port, and who showed at the club with an arse bigger than Greenland he won our hearts. The writing was on the wall the moment he was dropped midway through the year, but his mere presence in our squad has been positive over the last couple of years. Having said that it's strange to farewell somebody who has won two flags, and played most of his senior football at other clubs. You almost expected him to rip off the MFC jumper and have a North/Port version underneath.

Good luck to all the boys in whatever they choose to do next.

Finally, a big vote of thanks to Mark Riley as well. I was critical of the team's direction in a couple of matches but I like the guy's attitude and I hope he stays around and plays a big role under the Bailey Adminstration.

Votes

A crucial set of choices given the traffic jam at the top of the leaderboard, but we're happy to say that somebody has snuck in for a vote tonight and taken this year's title home.

5 - Johnstone
4 - Robertson
3 - Jones
2 - McLean
1 - Miller

Apologies to Bate, Bode, Brown, Bruce, Dunn, Green, Chris Johnson, Newton and White.

2007 Allen Jakovich Medal - Final Results

34 - Jones
32 - McDonald
32 - Green
19 - Bruce
17 - Bate
17 - Johnstone
16 - White
16 - Wheatley
15 - McLean
10 - Rivers
10 - Davey
10 - Holland
10 - Brown
10 - Robertson
9 - Neitz
9 - Miller
8 - Godfrey
7 - Sylvia
6 - Bizzell
6 - Moloney
5 - Yze
5 - Bell
5 - Petterd
5 - Newton
5 - Carroll
2 - Dunn
1 - Frawley
1 - Pickett
1 - Ferguson

Nathan joins previous winners Travis Johnstone (2005) and Brock McLean (2006) in capturing the most prestigious award in world sports. Congratulations to this exciting new superstar, and we're sure there are many more honors to come in his career.

In other news Paul Wheatley captures his first Marcus Seecamp Award for defender of the year, joining Nathan Carroll/Ryan Ferguson (2005) and Jared Rivers (2006) on the honor roll, whilst Ricky Petterd and Juice Newton share the Jeff Hilton Rising Star award, which was won by Matthew Bate in 2006.

Next Week
Demonblog will have a year-in-review post collection and a hits/misses/neither here nor there analysis of the squad before presumably buggering off again all summer and leaving the impression that the whole site has been shut down. Hopefully I can climb off my ass at some point to cover delistings, draft and trade week. Then it's smooth sailing again until the glorious pre-season and our inevitable Bailey-led revival in '08.

Apparently there's some kind of finals series on in the next few weeks. Bollocks to that, I'd rather play Club Cluedo and try and guess which one of our players will make headlines on Mad Monday. I'll go for Nathan Carroll with the fire extinguisher in Bar 20.

Next Year
We do have a frightening amount of people to come back... And if we don't re-sign Robertson I'll have a nervous breakdown.

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