Monday 17 September 2007

Football Inquest

I miss footy season already (no, I was not aware there are actually two weeks left in this year's comp. I choose to ignore this fact). Despite the abysmal performance of Melbourne on-field this year, like a masochist I'm looking forward to the utter embarassment that is on show for next year. We've had the delistings (round one of many, one can only hope), and there's a draft to be had somewhere. But first it's trade week, and thankfully we've got a media frenzy on offer to keep things amusing and to ensure the hottest week of trading action ever. Even if nothing happens until 3pm Friday as usual.

CARLTON has the front running to snare Brownlow medallist Chris Judd ahead of almost every other Melbourne club.
The Blues have the money to satisfy Judd's financial demands of about $1 million a year, as well as draft selections and players to offer the Eagles.

They could use Brendan Fevola and Josh Kennedy, a former East Fremantle player, as trade bait.

Geelong and the Western Bulldogs are the only two clubs unlikely to pursue him.

Collingwood, Essendon and Hawthorn have all expressed great interest in Judd, but if a deal isn't struck for Judd to cross to the club of his choice, Richmond would have first crack at him in the pre-season draft where he could cross to the Tigers for free.

Judd told his manager Paul Connors on Thursday, the day before West Coast's loss to Collingwood, that he wanted to return to Melbourne after six seasons with the Eagles.

West Coast chairman Dalton Gooding said last night that he was shocked by the decision.

"I didn't see it coming at all, I did not see it," Gooding said.

"It has certainly stunned everyone.

"Knowing Chris, he is a very deep thinker and someone who has given this a lot of thought.

"My gut feeling would be there would be little hope of changing his mind."

Gooding said the Eagles would now have to negotiate a suitable deal for what he described as the best player to leave a club in 20 years.

Asked what Judd was worth for trade, Gooding replied: "Selections, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Let's face it - whether or not he supported us as a kid is irrelevant. Richard Pratt will lie down on the boardroom table at Princes Park and let Judd teabag him* if it means the kid signs a contract. Carlton have the tradeable picks, the money and the influence to land him - we don't. Without trading away the farm he isn't coming to play for us - especially given the shithouse state of our training facilities. It's about as likely as him being courted by North Melbourne and being taken to see Arden Street only to find out that half of it is burned down and it doesn't actually have a stand on one side.

So there's a nice lineup on offer for the Blues for sure, but good luck trying to fit Judd, Murphy, Gibbs, Kruezer, Stevens and Fevola under the cap in a couple of years. With the amount of Carlton players that will be on the VISY payroll next season* you'd hate to run into their team in the corporate competition.

The only way I can guarantee you that Melbourne will land him is if his groin is completely rooted and he's ready to fall apart. Only we could sign the hottest player of a generation moments before his body completely lost the plot. Besides, is there any danger we could snare a key position player sometime in the next millenium? If Robertson quits, and with Neitz falling apart faster than the Middle East Peace Accords (topical! If we're in 1995) we're likely to score under a hundred for the entire season. I know everyone wants to hump Juice Newton, but he's played ten games and taken mark of the year - let's not stake an entire future on him yet.

Ahh, footy. I loathe it, yet I love it. Tips for the Grand Final? The only thing certain is that the half-time entertainment will be complete gash.

* Denotes comments which are very unlikely to happen, especially if you're a lawyer.

Thursday 6 September 2007

Season in Review (Part 2)

Matthew Bate
Some questions remain, most centering around whether or not he can play as a true CHF, but he showed heart throughout the year and impressed up front kicking 19 goals in as many games. Definately a required player in years to come, but the question of where he will be most effective will be one of the most important for Bailey in the next couple of years.

Daniel Bell
Went from a fringe player to a key member of the defence. Was having a great season before being mowed down by Ben Johnson against Collingwood. In the absence of Nathan Brown next season he will be a crucial cog in an undersized backline.

Nathan Brown
Threw himself around across the last six weeks of the season like somebody who had nothing to lose, and then proved it by retiring after the last game. His skills may have been on the slide but there's nobody who could deny that he wasn't going 110% every time he went near the thing throughout the year. His kamikaze attack on the ball, and his opponents, will be sorely missed.

Lynden Dunn
Unbelievably couldn't get a game at times despite a promising debut season, but showed progress when he did play. Three goals against Fremantle first up was his attacking highlight, but also played a role as a tagger occasionally - most notably when he destroyed Chad Cornes in the second half of our narrow loss to Port Adelaide. An interesting year awaits in '08.

Simon Godfrey
A hundred games into his career, and unlikely to last much longer, but had a respectable season as a tagger. Played a couple of great games, and gave us more than we could possibly have imagined in the pre-season. Also provided a handy punching bag for the likes of Adam Goodes and Scott West throughout the year - he might not have the ball skills but he's obviously a master at annoying people.

Brad Green
Repeatedly talked about by fans when it comes to trade talk, Green had a great year in the midfield, and despite playing the least games of any of his eight AFL seasons rode high in our "Player of the Year" voting for most of the season. The highlight was undoubtedly 37 touches against the Crows, but in the shower of shit that was our season his output was more than respectable.

Nathan Jones
The New Next Big Thing (NNBT) enjoyed third place in the Rising Star award on the back of a sensational season that should see him run top 3 in the B&F in just his second season. Undoubtedly a star of the future, and brings a fury to our midfield that we need if we're any hope of bouncing straight back into the 8 next season. We we wait with interest to see how he will cope with the increased attention that he'll suffer next season.

James McDonald
Star. The most consistent performer in the side, and would be a worthy winner of his second B&F in a row. Never failed to have less than 15 disposals a game, and added two 10+ tackle games to the tally as well. One of the most important players on the list, and probably has two good seasons left in him.

Michael Newton
Ironically for a guy who probably would have been delisted if we'd had a good season the Juice has not only become a first team player but could also take home Mark of the Year. In a team where history has proven that when David Neitz is out we struggle to kick goals we hadn't developed a forward prospect who even moderately looked like replacing him - and we're not saying Newton will play 300 games but he certainly looks like a good goalkicking prospect. With ten games of experience behind him, and a few interesting cameos on the wing, it'll be interesting to see how Juice fits in to Bailey's plans for '08.

Ricky Petterd
Was showing some real class before his near-death experience against Carlton. Nine games into his career there's plenty to suggest that if he can stay clear of deadly scenarios on the field that he'll be a quality player in years to come.

Russell Robertson
Padded his figures with a couple of big bags, but despite playing his least games since 1999 he was a towering presence in our forward line and kicked goals in fourteen of fifteen games. No player is bigger than the club, but if he isn't signed up again then we've got every right to crack the sads.

Paul Wheatley
Still a chance to get the bullet at the end of the year, but reinvigorated his career with a series of slashing performances down back after Mark Riley took over. I'll be very disappointed if he's not retained for 2008. Won the Demonblog Marcus Seecamp Medal for defender of the season despite playing just 14 games.

Jeff White
With no support the big man battled valiantly throughout the year, and was the only player to manage all 22 games. Has a couple more years left in him but will prove a massive hole to fill once he goes.

The Fans
An already thin group of supporters jumped off at a million miles the moment it became clear that our bad start to the season wasn't going to be followed with a slashing comeback like the year before. Low points included almost being outdrawn by Freo fans at the MCG, and seeing no more than 20,000 show for Neitz's 300th. Watch the teenyboppers and other assorted swine clamber back on board when we start winning again - presumed to be somewhere around 2011.

Nathan Carroll
I like the guy, and I'm not doubting his intensity but if he's a premiership full back then I'm Ian Turpie. We can't afford to play him against the likes of Matthew Pavlich every week. His disposal isn't bad for a key defender but he needs to be the second line defender rather than the leader of the pack.

Aaron Davey
Here's a controversial one. Kicked 24 goals in 18 games but seems to be treading water in his career. Has been a great player over the last four seasons, but other than a handful of excursions into the centre he has not progressed Got himself suspended in ridiculous fashion against Brisbane in what was his best game of the year, before his hamstring went bang for the third time in four years late on and his season ended prematurely. Isn't going anywhere - and I'm not suggesting he should - but 2008 stands as a massive make-or-break year for Flash.

Ryan Ferguson
Who knows what to think about him. With just 47 games in five years, and without a particuarly memorable one since Rd. 1, 2005 you'd expect that he would have been in trouble had we a better backline. Makeweight status in trades notwithstanding he'll survive due to the lack of available defensive quality.

Mark Jamar
Simply not good enough. Gives away free kicks, handballs into the back of people's heads when he gets them himself, kicks the ball in the wrong direction etc.. Needs to be cut adrift.

Chris Johnson
Showed promise here and there, but after three years and just 21 games his chances must be running out. Might not survive the scrutiny of a new coach.

Paul Johnson
Played 16 games, but is not the backup for White that we need. Better than Jamar but still not the sort of player that is going to lead us anywhere. Wins another year on the list due to a lack of competition but will be playing for his life next year. Tried as a key forward at times and showed signs of life but needs to kick straight and present better if he's going to get anywhere. Ended up at full back during the Carlton game, which could prove a frightening portent of things to come in 2008.

Brad Miller
You've read it all on here a million times. It's not a personal vendetta, he's just not the CHF we need right now. It's all well and good to be waiting for him to breakout but he's played 91 games now and there are no more than a handful of memorable ones amongst them. Despite his major benefactor, ND, having left I expect he'll get another year to prove himself. Has the look and physical attributes to be a star, now all he needs is the smarts.

Brent Moloney
Frustratingly injury prone in the last two seasons. Appears as a 'miss' only because we're all waiting to see him back in his 2005 form. The question is whether it's ever going to happen.

Byron Pickett
Disgraced his legacy in the first half of the season before rehabilitating himself somewhat towards the end of the year. The experiment barely cost us anything over the two years, so you can't call it a failure but after a great second half of the year last season we could have expected more of him this year.

Matthew Warnock
Despite our well documented backline fiascos he doesn't appear to have a future at the club. May be the first player with senior experience to be axed at the end of the year. Played a respectable game against Port Adelaide this year but was then dropped and not seen again.

Adem Yze
Dropped for the first time in years after some rubbish form, and then injured for the first time in years when he returned. Probably past his best but will get another season on the list to prove us wrong. Can still bob up and kick enigmatic goals from the MCG carpark but his days of running riot in the midfield are long gone.


Neale Daniher
He's got to take some shit for the state of our KPP, and the time was right for him to move on, but can you really hold any animosity towards a guy who watched his carefully assembled squad collapse around him at a million miles an hour as the season went on. If you go to work tomorrow and they sit you in front of an Apple IIE you're going to struggle as well so cut the guy some slack. Best of luck in the future, unless you're coaching against us and then I hope you get porked.

Dean Bailey
Has a decent list at his disposal but must be smart with drafting and trading if we're going to have any chance of success in the next couple of years.

Mark Riley
Though the team looked lost at times under his leadership, and his record was feathered with two wins against the loveable losers from Carlton, he still earned himself a respectable coaching record. Was never going to get the senior job on a full time basis but will hopefully play a big support role in the brave new Bailey era.

Clint Bartram
With luck like his he may as well change his name to Lee Walker and be done with it already. After playing 22 in a row to open his career he gets injured in the last game of the season before a finals campaign (remember those?) only to return in round one the next year, have five touches and neck himself for the rest of the season. Showed a lot of promise in his first year, here's hoping that he's not subjected to a career of black death injury plagues.

Clint Bizzell
Couldn't get a game until our season was already destroyed, and was subsequently dropped for another five weeks immediately afterwards. Played like a man who had missed an entire season, but showed enough upon his return to think that he would have at least been a chance to stay on the list for one more year given the relative weakness of our defence. Retired, and we wish him the best for the future.

Jace Bode
Showed some talent in his brief cameo at the end of the season, but with the full squad back next year will struggle for a game. Look forward to seeing him develop.

Cameron Bruce
When he played he was good, not great. Highlight was a 35 touch, 2 goal game against North Melbourne but he never stood out. We may be harsh judges of the game, especially given that we're fatter than a house, but you have to expect more from somebody of his quality. It's a harsh NHNT, but reputation counts in this forum.

Simon Buckley
Played six games, didn't particuarly impress but didn't look awful either. Will be back next year to try and consolidate on what he started this season.

James Frawley
Nine games for four wins, which by my reckoning makes him the most successful players on our list this year. Showed glimpses of form but needs to bulk up if he's going to play as a key defender - also has a frighteningly complex kicking action which you can see going horribly wrong once the opposition start studying it.

Colin Garland
Two games and didn't do anything in either of them, but coincidentally they both happened to be interstate games in which barely any teammates fired a shot either. This one's a work in progress.

Ben Holland
Frustratingly enigmatic he alternated between being completely shit, and a useful member of the squad. Was playing his best football in a Melbourne jumper when that big goof Anthony Rocca sat on him and put him out of action. Is never going to win us a premiership, but in an era when we're struggling for key position players at either end of the field it won't hurt to keep him on the list for one more year. Highlight of the season was probably the Collingwood game where despite committing four quarters of assault on Rocca he got away with it and helped us win.

Travis Johnstone
I'd almost have been tempted to paint him as a "miss" if it wouldn't lead to my house being blown to pieces. Yes, he is silky and yes he does add a 'touch of class' to our side but there is no doubting he has peaked. His touches result in more turnovers than anyone gives him credit for, and despite being handicapped by the traditionally shit kick-in systems we deploy I still cringe every time he goes to kick the ball back in after a behind. I want to see him play for us and become the absolute superstar that he threatened to be a few years ago, but I'm afraid it's not going to happen. If we get the right offer - especially one involving a key position player - I say take it, even if it will lead to the biggest outpouring of shambolic grief since we traded Woewodin. There is NO PLACE FOR SENTIMENT IN FOOTBALL. Are we trying to win a flag or make friends?

Brock McLean
Nobbled by injury just a quarter into the season he showed flashes of brilliance upon his return, but needs to do more next year. With Jones improving at a rapid rate this year and presumably attracting more attention next season the path should clear a bit for Brock to run riot and show us what he's made of. For somebody touted as a future captain he did have a couple of brain explosions throughout the season but there's no doubt that he's 110% behind the club and will be an important part of it for years to come. 2008 promises to be an interesting one.

David Neitz
Physically struggling but still an imposing presence in our squad. Even if he has to be propped in a wheelchair in the goal square, and is only expected to stand up and charge out a couple of times a quarter we're better with him out there but you've got to question how much he's got left in him. Next year is certain, but whether he can make it the full 22 rounds (plus finals? Surely you jest?) is anybody's guess. Had his worst season goal tally since 2000, but if he can stay on the park he's still a valuable cog in the machine. The emergence of Newton will remove the burden somewhat next year, but we can't expect him to turn around and put 50 on the board without a series of remarkable medical breakthroughs.

Heath Neville
No idea. You tell me.

Jared Rivers
Plagued by injury, but looked good when he did play. Despite being a Rising Star award winner he's still criminally underrated by our fans, and his marking in the backline is a feature of his game when he plays. Another one who is primed for a massive 2008 if he stays fit.

Colin Sylvia
Showed a bit, but not what you'd expect from a #3 selection. You wouldn't be entirely adverse to trading him in the right offer came in, but what are you going to get for a high draft pick who has shown little more than glimpses of stardom in four years? Better to persist and hope that he has a breakout season next year. With over 50 games on the board it's time for him to really shine.

Daniel Ward
Skates perilously close to a miss. I've supported him in the past but I think it's time to move on now - having said that I didn't think he was awful this year, but somebody needs to make way for the draft picks and unfortunately for Wardy he doesn't seem to have a huge future, so he might be the one. If he does survive we'd like to see him try and top the ridiculous moustache that he sported in this year's profile picture.

Isaac Weetra
Took Philthy's number. Played as many games this year as his predecessor.

Matthew Whelan
Blighted by injury and played just five games. Another criminally underrated member of our defensive unit who we missed throughout the year. Will hopefully bounce back next season and play a vital role.

Top 5 Highlights of 2008
1. The final siren against Adelaide. One win felt like a Grand Final.
2. Juice Newton's award winning mark.
3. The comprehensive demolition job
4. Yze's goal from Row Z against Fremantle.
5. Robbo's rampage against the Pies, including a goal after the siren when he was having beer cans lobbed at him by bogans.

The lowlights..
1. The loss against North
2. The loss against Port
3. Losing to Richmond after two weeks of wins had started to restore self confidence
4. Brock necking himself in the first quarter of the first game
5. Seeing Daniher's final game snatched from us with six seconds left.

The Wishlist
A FB, CHB, CHF and a speedy midfielder. I'll take two of the four as long as they're both KPP.

Final report
I hate footy. Stay tuned for more throughout the offseason (this time I promise it will happen), and more of the same wrist slashing nihilism in '08.

Wednesday 5 September 2007

Every Day Is Like Sunday: Year In Review

Round 1 vs St. Kilda or "Give Me My Friday Night Back"
Where we lost to St. Kilda and made the prophetic statement "Yes, it's going to be one of those years", after Brock necked himself in the first quarter.
Vote Leader: Neitz (5)

Round 2 vs Hawthorn or "Marjorie Wilson Appreciation Day
Where we gave up a massive start to Hawthorn and almost nailed them in the last quarter before falling apart again and I started to question ND's tenure as coach.
Vote Leader: McDonald (8)

Round 3 vs Geelong or "My Brain Hurts"
Where I discovered that our entire lineup were gumbies, that I hated sports and that we had no fans left.
Vote Leader: McDonald/Bruce (11)

Round 4 vs Fremantle or "Dia De Los Muertos" (Day Of The Dead)
Where everybody else discovered we didn't have any fans either, and to the consternation of fantasy football players everywhere Matthew Pavlich failed to kick 19 despite having chances to do so.
Vote Leader: McDonald/Bruce (11)

Round 5 vs Sydney or "Road Trip Rage"
Where our guest reporter Tom discovered that the family atmosphere at the SCG was rubbish, and that you should never compare Steven Tingay to Darren Kowal in front of a Febey twin.
Vote Leader: McDonald (12)

Round 6 vs Port Adelaide or "The Spanish Inquisition"
Where we almost broke our losing streak, and I lost the plot with AFL football in one of the biggest sprays of all time. We lost the game, I lost the plot and so it went on. For those of you reading in the future we were zero and fucking six by this point.
Vote Leader: McDonald (12)

Round 7 vs Footscray or "Watching The Defectives"
Where we lost another close one but apart from punching the ground and almost breaking my hand I felt strangely zen about the whole thing.
Vote Leader: McDonald (12)

Round 8 vs West Coast or "Throwing yourself off tall buildings is fun"
Where I cracked the shits, wrote the worst report of all time and refused to post a votes leaderboard due to my angst. Peter M later chipped in with a real report, tastefully entitled "Rack up the lines, we're off to Subi"
Vote Leader: Would have been McDonald on 15 had we bothered to do a leaderboard.

Round 9 vs North Melbourne or "Beat Me, Hurt Me"
Where we lost a thriller in the last couple of minutes again, and I had a nervous breakdown which led me to write one of the most bizarre reports of all time featuring mentions of Sylvia Plath and Vichy France.
Vote Leader: Bruce (16)

Round 10 vs Adelaide or "We Fought The War, And We Won (a game..)"
Where we finally won a game (IN JUNE FOR FUCK SAKE) and unbridled joy ran riot at the MCG. It was honestly like we'd won the Grand Final, not limped to 1-9.
Vote Leader: Bruce (19)

Round 11 vs Collingwood or "From the Rubble to the Ritz"
Where we won two in a row, Robbo ran riot, Pies fans blamed the umpires for everything despite getting more free kicks and people started to think that we'd turned the corner and were going to win the flag.
Vote Leader: Bruce (19)

Round 12 vs Richmond or "Why bother?"
Where it all came crashing down in a screaming heap during a second quarter that was described by David Stratton of the Movie Show as "an excremental zero star performance that nobody should ever be forced to sit through again without access to hard drugs and a suicide machine".
Vote Leader: Bruce (19)

Round 13 vs Essendon or "The hits just keep on coming"
Where Neale Daniher quit and almost got the send off a lifetime until we lost with six seconds left in the match. We also saw the debut of the cult hero of the millenium one Mr.MJ Newton.
Vote Leader: Bruce (19)

Round 14 vs Carlton
Where I was overseas listening to the game from a Bangkok internet cafe and missed us actually winning. Instead I got to see the Australian soccer team lose instead - inept bastards.

Round 15 vs Brisbane
Where I extracted myself from a dodgy Thai taxi driver in time to get to an internet cafe at the 20m mark of the first quarter, only to find out that we were 40-0 now. Cuntarific!

Round 16 vs North Melbourne or "Notes From A Scandal"
Where we were played off the park in front of about 13 people in Jeff White's 250th, and I tried to lobby (ultimately unsuccessfully) for Dean Laidley to be appointed as coach.
Vote Leader: McDonald (27)

Round 17 vs Port Adelaide or "Character Assasination"
Where we went to Adelaide and got massacred whilst wearing a "clash strip" that actually clashed more with the opposition than our normal one would have. For the first time in a decade we went 100 points down before recovering for a "respectable" 80 something point loss. Adam almost slashes wrists in loungeroom while watching.
Vote Leader: McDonald (27)

Round 18 vs Sydney or "Roadtrip Fever"
Where I went to Manuka and wrote a report before totally forgotting to post it. Therefore the above link is it's world premiere.
Vote Leader: McDonald (27)

Round 19 vs Footscray or "Saturday Night Fever"
Where Ben Holland ran riot up front, and we handed out a spanking to a completely mediocre side in Russell Robertson's 200th in front of another abysmal crowd.
Vote Leader: Jones (29)

Round 20 vs Collingwood or "We could have been a contender"
Where we suffered the biggest injury crisis in recorded history and yet still almost managed to mow Collingwood down from 40 points behind. There were spontaneous outbursts of pride amongst our fans at the showing - except that 90% of our fans didn't bother to show up even though it was Neitz's 300th because they're spineless dogs.
Vote Leader: McDonald (32)

Round 21 vs Fremantle or "Super Saturday Slops"
Where we went to Perth and were competitive for the first 20 minutes before falling apart like a Russian apartment block and completely embarassing ourselves again.
Vote Leader: McDonald, Green, Jones (32)

Round 22 vs Carlton or "Thank god that's over. When does next year start?"
Where despite playing an absymal team of rejects who didn't actually want to win we showed enough to provide optimism for next year, and to send Biz, Brown and Pickett off in the right fashion
Vote Winner: Jones (34)

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.


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.