Sunday 30 August 2009

I believe the children are our future

If there's any justice in the world we'll wake up in a second and it will be Grand Final Day 2004. We snuck past Essendon, got back into some form and beat Geelong in the Semi before taking care of the Lions in a prelim. And surely we can beat Port. Alas this isn't an episode of Dynasty and we can't wipe out five years of storylines with one clumsily delivered plot device. Face facts that we fell into the finals in '05 (albeit via the best three weeks EVER) then got belted, blew another chance in '06 and then fell apart like democracy in Afghanistan throughout '07, '08 and '09.

And so here we are. Another year that ends at Round 22 with nowt to show for it but a top draft pick. Except this time we get two top draft picks, and by christ I hope that means we don't have to put up with another two seasons like this for another 20 years. My mum unwittingly delivered line of the day when discussing the career of Nathan Brown. "How many players careers have we ruined?" she asked. Well snapping Brown's leg in two was one thing but it's nothing compared to what we're about to do to Tom Scully and PLAYER TO BE NAMED.

Everyone knew we were going to lose this week. St. Kilda were hardly going to make the same mistakes as they did against Essendon/North, and god forbid we got too close it would be wacky coaching moves a-go-go and/or a desperate attempt to put too many players on the ground for a headcount. Dean Bailey isn't an idiot, from the Richmond game on he knew that he wanted the top two picks and wasn't going to lose them. Now he has to deliver or risk having less credibility than Mark Harvey.

Like last week we started well. Amazingly there were no bizarre last minute changes, and even with Spencer as the starting ruckman we looked much better than the ladder would have you believe. Miller got the first before proceding to do nothing for the next three quarters, and despite the ball going inside the Saints 50 continually Frawley and Rivers were doing a mighty job in keeping them from scoring. The retiring players weren't having the best of time - Robbo was trying a bit too hard to kick a goal and Whelan was so crocked that he spent the game in the forward line - but who really cared? Reminded me of the 2005 finals when we had so many injuries Wheatley was forced to go back on despite being crocked and somehow kicked 2 goals.

We led at quarter time and surprisingly there wasn't a riot. Mainly because people knew that we'd still lose one way or the other but I'd like to think there were some people there who genuinely wanted us to get up. I must admit that I almost snuck into that category - after all we've already got pick 1, let's not be completely greedy bastards. There's something palatable about having the moral high ground of not having to rely on priority picks and that's been in the back of my mind for months. Unfortunately the reality is that as of next year the draft will be a complete farce and we had to lose. It's a shit system but what could we do?

At least we got to see the Jurrahcane kick his customary goal of the week contender with the biggest overhead snap since Robbo about ten years ago at Subiaco. The concept of a Jurrah/Wonaeamirri forward line next year is hotter than the sun. Alas without Robertson to take the best defender it might be harder for the 'Cane to dominant. Having said that he has the biggest octopus arms in history so who's betting on him not just wrapping them around Matthew Scarlett's head and taking grabs?

The last six weeks of this season were our Springtime for Hitler. A secret plot to make massive losses in order to actually get in front financially. Bialystock and Bloom (to be played by Bailey and Connolly) were trying to lose money to avoid tax, we were losing footy games to get draft picks. This means that the role of Frank Liebkind, insane zealot and sympathiser for a failed system, will be taken by one Andrew Demetriou. Here's our end of season video,

"We're marching to a faster pace. Look out here comes the master race" etc.. Which is ironic considering how many blonde, blue eyed Germans we were playing against today.

Err anyway, you'll be surprised to know it didn't last. We did almost sneak to half time with a lead, which would have been a big fuck you to everyone who went for a half time/full time St. Kilda double to try and get themselves a bit of value. Sadly we didn't quite manage it and fell behind in the last couple of minutes. Our third quarters are rubbish at the best of times, so when the Saints got the first three of the term it appeared they were going to fire up and smash us. The Jurrahcane got a couple to keep it tidy though and somehow we were only 16 down going into the last change.

In a ridiculous scenario we were so close to the minor premiers and still a chance of rolling them but were actually punting them home to lose. The only thing that mattered in the last quarter was Robbo kicking a goal, Wheatley letting rip with a couple of trademark bombs and Whelan hitting somebody (preferably somebody with a name that starts with M and ends with ILNE). We got two of three, and Robbo's goal brought the house down. Brock McLean would have been beaten up by 5000 people in an on-field invasion if he hadn't thrown the handball over to him to kick it. The poor bastard was trying so hard today that he couldn't get near it other than a couple of misses.

We got the Wheatley show courtesy of a couple of torps into the centre square from kick-ins. Presumably he lined them up as not only a farewell to the crowd but for his NFL audition tape. He even managed to kick a goal with one of his 'trademark' bombs from outside 50. As much as commentators like to talk him up as the first man to ever kick a 9pt goal (as if 9pt goals are actually important) the term 'trademark' is a bit deceptive considering the set-play to handball it to him outside 50m move has a lifetime strike rate of about 28%. I'm glad they managed to get it right one last time in the last quarter of his last game. I've never been a massive Wheatley fan but he's always seemed like a genuinely nice guy so I'm pleased that he got himself into the highlight reel.

Unfortunately we didn't get the best of Wheels mainly because he could barely move. History will show that he's one of the, if not THE, most underrated players we had this decade. His on and off-field leadership has been invaluable and it's only injury that has kept him from playing more games. Lest we ever forget his murderous hit on Luke Ball in Round 1 2007;

And he got zero weeks for that one Hawthorn fans. Unfortunately from 2-2 in the first quarter we have had three seasons of slop since that moment, but it was still classic.

It's shame that after Wheatley's goal that we turned off and the Saints started piling on the goals to make it look far more respectable from their perspective. We deserved to be closer, but you can't blame a team who have been beaten from pillar to post all season for looking for the finish line. At least they put in a 1000 times more respectable performance than the slop that was R22 last year.

And that was it. Goodbye season 2009. As much as I hate St. Kilda they were pretty classy to wait ten minutes on the ground after the game to form a guard of honour for the retiring players. I must admit that I almost lost it when the woman leant over the fence and hugged Robbo. That was it. On went the sunnies to hide my shame - it was up there with when Daniher went off after his last game or when I found out Philthy had been delisted. Actually the last one was just obscenities and kicking over chairs.

Did anyone else feel a bit strange hearing the theme song belt out at the end? It was a nice touch but they could have played it once instead of belting it out 20 times.

Crowd Watch
One of the rare occasions I've been to a St. Kilda match and not ended up sitting next to people who have had (or deserve) a frontal lobotomy.

Retirement Rundown
Wheatley reckons he wants to go on. I can't see it happening, but surely he's got to have a crack at the NFL. I want to turn my TV on and see him roosting them for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sav Rocca and Ben Graham don't look so out of place because they were big names but it would spin my head to see Wheats giving it a torp on ESPN.

Whelan is done but apparently wants to play local footy. We had better keep him on in some sort of role.

Then there's Robbo. He had a pretty awful game today but can you blame him? He wasn't doing 'the team thing' (which is pretty overrated I reckon) but why should he? He's given us 420+ goals and great memories, and he knows as much as anyone that nobody really wanted us to win anyway. As much as I've been frustrated by him at times I can't quite believe we're giving him the arse. One more season would have been perfect. I honestly hope that wherever he goes next year that he wins a flag - like Greg Wells he can go and win his premiership elsewhere but we'll always know he's Melbourne at heart.

But where will he go? The interstate teams probably wouldn't be interested (although as a wild card what about Port? Their forward line is pretty ordinary. Westhoff? Which one? Who cares they're both shit), and you can wipe out any side who aren't going to make the 8 next year. It basically comes down to Geelong and Carlton. I just can't see it but I hope he gets a gig somewhere.

He could even go to St. Kilda. At least then they could have a small forward who doesn't start sweating and fidgeting nervously during respect to women lectures.

2009 Allen Jakovich Medal Votes

5 - Colin Sylvia
4 - Cale Morton
3 - Mark Jamar
2 - Liam Jurrah
1 - James McDonald

Apologies to Dunn (disposal was pox but was great at getting it), Bartram, Moloney, Cheney, Rivers and Frawley. The defenders got slapped late but they were killing it early on.

Final Leaderboard

Moloney might have snuck in for a vote but it wouldn't have helped. Davey's first half of the year has carried him to his first Jakovich Medal victory.

30 - Aaron Davey (WINNER: 2009 Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year)
27 - Brent Moloney
25 - Colin Sylvia
23 - Matthew Bate
20 - Mark Jamar (WINNER: Strawbs O'Dwyer Medal for Ruckman of the Year)
19 - Nathan Jones
17 - Cale Morton
16 - Brad Green
15 - Cameron Bruce
12 - Stefan Martin, Brock McLean, Jack Grimes (WINNER: 2009 Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award)
11 - Ricky Petterd, James Frawley (WINNER: 2009 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
10 - Liam Jurrah, James McDonald
9 - Jared Rivers, Russell Robertson
8 - Matthew Warnock
7 - Brad Miller
6 - Shane Valenti
5 - Kyle Cheney
4 - Jamie Bennell
3 - Matthew Whelan, Neville Jetta
2 - Paul Johnson, Clint Bartram
1 - Lynden Dunn

Congratulations to the winners, they join the following luminaries on the Demonblog leaderboard. I'd also like to announce that from next year the Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year will be the Jeff Hilton Rising Star award to take into account that any player who debuts in the last month of the season before is eligible to win it. Good news for Tom McNamara and Rohan Bail who are in with a shot next year.

Jakovich - Johnstone
Seecamp - Carroll/Ferguson
Hilton - Nobody (No players eligible)
O'Dwyer - White

Jakovich - McLean
Seecamp - Rivers
Hilton - Bate
O'Dwyer - White (2)

Jakovich - Jones
Seecamp - Wheatley
Hilton - Petterd/Newton
O'Dwyer - White (3)

Jakovich - Bruce
Seecamp - Whelan
Hilton - Morton
O'Dwyer - Johnson

Jakovich - Davey
Seecamp - Frawley
Hilton - Grimes
O'Dwyer - Jamar

A full statistical analysis will follow later but as we speak the all-time biggest vote getter is Cam Bruce (125) all the way down to Guy Rigoni and Addam Maric on 2 apiece. 52 players have received votes since 2005. Davey's winning score of 30 is the second lowest in history - Travis Johnstone's 38 in 2005 is still the best result.

Giveaway Corner
I've still never seen the people who give away Friskies cat food, but judging by the 'everything must go' end of season clearance quantities that people were trying to carry after the game today they must be keen to shift heaps of the stuff. One or two packets is fine - as long as you've got a cat - but trying to balance five while walking through a wet car park is just undignified.

Next Week
Casey are in the finals. I'll be there. Apparently there's some sort of other top 8 contest going on over the next few weeks. How funny would it be if Matthew Lloyd somehow got off? Hawthorn fans would explode en masse. Hillarious. Shame Lloyd is pretty much fucked. Let's just hope the AFL don't do something stupid like schedule Hawthorn vs Essendon in R1 2010. Wait until Lloyd is back and then bring on the hate! Meanwhile I'd love a crunt of a player like Campbell Brown. Somebody is just angry and unbalanced. Rod Grinter apparently has a son who can play...

Next Season
Well it can't be worse than the last two can it? There are signs. My god there are signs. Have we not suffered enough?

Demonblog will be back with the Allen Jakovich Medal stats and an end of season review in the next week or so and then, pending any reports on Casey games, it'll be the usual process of forgetting to post again until January next year.

Final Thoughts



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the fun! Superb entry to end the season. Your blog is compulsory reading every Monday and I can't wait until next March...up up and away!!


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