Friday 19 November 2010

While I was sleeping

Welcome to the Demonblog off-season, where posting is non-existent and unless you're following me on Twitter you'd be forgiven for thinking that I'd chucked it all in, finally lost the plot and had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

But really, it's the off-season so what is there to discuss that you're not going to read about in spades elsewhere? I'm presuming everybody is across some sort of forum - whether it be Big Footy, 'land or 'ology - to get their share of uneducated ramblings on the hot topics. A quick look through all three of the above options shows that either school holidays have been made 52 weeks a year or the Education Department hasn't worked out how to block forums because it seems like every second post is made by a 13-year-old who is an even worse speller than me or just doesn't bother writing when they can post a picture with an "amusing" caption instead.

Here's a list of what I missed;

* St Kilda stuff up another Grand Final
Hilarious! The fact that it was the second filthiest side in the comp (well, third if you count Carlton. Oh and fourth if you include Essendon) was a bit of a downer but who doesn't like seeing underlings kicked when they're down?

* Kyle Cheney to Hawthorn
No issue. Not a bad player and still, I think, the only man ever to get maximum votes on debut on Demonblog but didn't fit in our plans and might get a game next year. Only problem is the poor bastard now has to wear the second ugliest jersey in world sports and will probably become instantly depressed.

* Melbourne does bugger all else during trade week
I might be in the minority but I'd have taken Hale as long as we'd given up nothing higher than pick 30 for him. Still, no dramas about it not happening. With no decent KPF's or ruckmen on offer I'm satisfied at sitting the rest of the week out.

* Cameron Bruce walks out
Just when stats freaks (i.e me) were rising to applaud Cheney as potentially the first player to play for both clubs since David Flintoff in the late 80's - and the first direct swap since we sold Michael Byrne to the Hawks in 1982 and he kicked eight on debut - suddenly two come along at once. And unlike Cheney this one is an absolute cert to get a game and break the drought.

You can do your own JFK-esque conspiracy theories about the footballing grassy knoll and why he walked, but as far as I can see it was because we couldn't guarantee him that he'd be in our best 22 all next year and Hawthorn can. Good luck to them and good luck to him. He played a few good games this year but it's not like the Eagles losing Judas J**d, we'll go on without him.

Incidentally, if you want to be completely pedantic we did draft Haydon Kilmartin seven years before he played for Hawthorn in 1998. But then you'd be a sad anorak wearing freak like me and would start questioning your life so don't give it any thought.

* Miller to Richmond
Then [snicker] they said that he was [laughs] going to be an 'enforcer' [falls on the floor] in their forward line [expires from laughing too hard]. Somebody show his tribunal record to Damian Hardwick and explain that it's all about quantity, not quality.

* Delistings
Wished well in their future endeavours were Johnson, McNamara, Hughes, Healey and Meesen.

- Johnson was a surprise. Not because I wanted him to stay, in fact very much the opposite, but I thought he'd survive out of necessity. Instead The Spencil, who has shown very little so far, is promoted to the senior list and Newton - the most incredible survival story of the year not to take place inside a Chilean mine - survives with some vague suggestions that he might play in the ruck next year.

The problem is that now Jamar has gone from slop merchant to greatest human being ever born in the seventh and eighth years of his career we're suddenly expected to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. Spencer might come on and kill it, Newton may actually take a second overhead mark in his life but that's cold comfort if the Russian comes over a bit Aeroflot ten minutes into Round One next season.

We've got Gawn and Fitzpatrick in the chamber as well but who knows if they're going to be any good. Chances are there's only going to be one way to find out.

- I thought McNamara might have survived. Apparently he was still training with us when they went back after the season break but wasn't on the "Permission to Train" list that went around. It was either a mirage or we were involved in some sort of underhanded scam to have him there.

Either way with a ton of picks in the rookie draft I hope we give him another chance. He was the youngest player in his draft year and did show a little bit at the end of '09 when everyone else around him was trying desperately to throw matches. We got lucky with the defence not being hit with injuries this year, I'm not banking on it happening two years in a row. If he doesn't get rookied we've got Warnock and the Stefan Martin Experience (now appearing at the Dragonfly in Tullamarine alongside The New Seekers) who can slot in but I'd be more comfortable having one more guy there with a bit of experience in the system.

- Hughes showed a little bit in his two matches, but how long do you get to stay on a list without being able to lock down a senior spot? (do not answer this with references to Newton, because I agree with you).

Never showed any indication that he was going to break out and dominate so I'm comfortable with us letting him go (he's apparently training with Sandringham) and drafting a new set of forwards instead.

- Healey apparently showed a bit here and there in the VFL this year but was never near cracking it for a gig in the AFL. A rare rookie draft miss for us, but that's what rookies are there for.

- Meesen was always done for due to injury, and the news that he had to have surgery which was going to stop him from playing next year was the final nail in the coffin. Sadly the bulk quantity of Meesen Magic capes I ordered after his impressive start with us are now utterly meaningless and have been poured into a landfill in New Mexico alongside Atari 2600 ET cartridges.

Will be staying with us in a coaching role though, which is good for those of us you who have a slight man crush on him.

And now, the original purpose of this post before I hijacked it with waffle, the draft...

You may remember last year's Fox Sports coverage as an utter debacle where they finished the first round and then cut to some “let’s cross to Jason Dunstall talking to people you don't care about while picks are going on in the background".

Presumably as the result of a thousand phone calls and emails questioning whether or not they were complete morons a new option was introduced allowing us to press the red button and receive the actual coverage of the draft itself god forbid. Sadly to nobody's surprise they still managed to stuff it up royally.

Naturally I pressed the red button the moment I could, mainly to get away from Dwayne Russell, and when the sound finally kicked in two minutes - and several frantic button pushes later..

* The audio on all their player highlights packages sounded like it was being broadcast from the bottom of a tin mine. As it was Russell who was doing the voiceovers this was not an issue.

* It wasn't their fault that the AFL stuck with the ridiculous countdown top ten again, despite the fact that like last year one team having all the picks at the top of the draft actually decreases tension for the viewer rather than increasing it, but any danger somebody might have given Demetriou an autocue? The poor bastard was fumbling around like a newsreader in 1972 forced to read off pieces of paper.

* Once they finished the "drama and tension" of everybody in the world knowing who the top six picks were going to be we switched back to the normal draft, and it was time for their lone cameraman to be tortured in ways that even Uday Hussein would have been ashamed to put somebody through.

Remember the days of Channel Seven televising the draft in the late 90's? It was hardly a sophisticated era of television production but somehow they managed to have a camera ready to go on each of the tables, and when it came to their selection it cut to them and everybody was happy.

Not FoxSports. Instead of doing that, or having a high angle shot that one guy might be able to pull off on his own, they put the poor bastard in the middle of the tables like he was in the Roman Coliseum and had him darting around trying to desperately to find which of the 17 tables he was supposed to get to next.

Not only was the resultant spinny camera and random closeups of the wrong table vomit inducing but most of the time he couldn't even find the right people. Our first pick was done by a lone voice in the distance while viewers were treated to the sight of the Essendon table sitting around in Bunnings uniforms with what appeared to be a 13-year-old ginger child helping make the decisions.

* The microphones kept stopping working. Maybe not Fox's fault

* After the first round they came back from the break, which for those of us on the red button meant looking at the room with the audio of the ads playing in the background and open microphones on their panel. Sadly nobody said anything truly scandalous about Jack Darling and his sex romps, but Liam Pickering did clearly say the words “Geez it’s hard to be natural”.

They came back from the break, and onto the picks, only to accidentally feed the non-red button commentary to us instead so instead of hearing player names being called out we got Dunstall sizzling up an interview with Martin Leslie. Wonderful.

Luckily I’d forseen this debacle and had SEN running on my computer in another room. It took them a good ten or so picks to get the audio back on again.

* The player-by-player ticker at the bottom of the screen would occasionally stop for three or four picks at a time when the guy reading out the name of a player stumbled over a name or the microphone cut out. I had visions of some poor bloke in the Foxtel control room sitting there screaming “WHO WAS THAT? WHO DID THEY PICK?!?” because he couldn't hear the number.

The ticker then labelled every player without a picture a “utility” because they clearly had no idea who they were.

All in all an absolute debacle. Don’t know why I thought watching it on TV was a better idea than just listening on the radio in the first place, after all you're just listening for numbers anyway. There's was no point to actually seeing the names being read out other than to have a look at the two blokes reading the Collingwood picks out.

You've never seen two more apt stereotypes in your life. They might be the greatest recruiters ever but they appeared to be the sort of guys who would smash your teeth in at the Burvale on a Friday night immediately after the conclusion of Kevin Bloody Wilson's live show. Terrifying.

Next year I'm not even bothering unless somebody half competent like OneHD does it.

Oh, we apparently picked some players up too. Did you expect me to discuss them? I'm just sad that we've condemned four more players to a life without playing in a premiership. The selections were certainly unexpected and it looks like we've jumped a couple of guys up the order to fill out our lack of talls up forward but for now I'm going to have faith in the football department and the recruiters that they've got it right.

The guy from Tassie who we got with the second pick is the real story for mine. He's a little bit older and everybody rushed to call him the next Robbo because he has taken a few big hangers. All well and good, but let's not get sucked in too much by YouTube highlights because he wouldn't be the first person to cut a cavalcade of bloopers and fuck-ups out of his package before it got put online.

What I'm most concerned about is that if he's going to try and take Mark of the Year every fifteen seconds, what's going to happen when he runs into Jurrah and - god help us all - Newton trying to do the same thing? We're going to need air traffic controllers to make sure somebody doesn't get killed.

Not sure where any of them fit in immediately, but it's obviously a look to the future instead of trying to slot players in for Round 1 next year like we did when picking SCULLGOVE. Should Jurrah, Watts, Bate, Green, Petterd and Wonaeamirri all be available I expect they'll be the starting options up front pending any breakout pre-seasons. What it does do is put the heat on these guys to perform (Watts, I'm looking at you) because there's going to be plenty of other options in reserve. Then there's Jetta and Bennell to fit in as well. My money's on JB going back again, but Nifty Nev might slide right down the pecking order if he's not careful.

Finally aren't you pleased that Bailey is not doing Movember this year? He's never going to live down all those shots of him with SCULLGOVE while he's sporting a dirty porno mo. This year he looked fine and the cameraman couldn't even find him. You win some, you lose some.