Thursday 29 December 2011

Stat My Bitch Up - Demonwiki's year in review

In the spirit of end of year lists, reviews and all that other self indulgent bollocks that people enjoy writing far more than reading here's a look at the final end of year stats (or near enough to) for Demonwiki.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the site through the last year (and the previous three) and helped pay for the hosting costs by 'taking an active interest' in the many great offers provided down the right side of this page *ahem*.

Next project is to finish doing individual pages for each Reserves season and putting together a proper record of the highest scores/biggest losses etc.. in the seconds. There's a semi completed version of it on this page where you will note that the Reserves managed to a 180 point loss in Geelong many years before the ones did it.

Fans of barely known Reserves and Under 19's players of the 80's and 90's (and who didn't have a sick fascination with Keith Goonewardene in the early 90's?) might also be interested in this list. Then again you might not. Which would be understandable.

Also lost in the archives are my two favourite articles, showcasing the best and worst in MFC related trading card moments (Part 1 and Part 2).

Total pages - 5898
Days online - 1294
Visits to Wiki pages - 2,417,306
Images - 3658

Most viewed players
1 - Allen Jakovich (5461)
2 - Jim Stynes (3965)
3 - Robert Flower (2762)
4 - Garry Lyon (2644)
5 - Ron Barassi (2484)
6 - Carl Ditterich (2430)
7 - Shaun Smith (2116)
8 - Rod Grinter (1923)
9 - Craig Nettelbeck (1906)
10 - Glenn Lovett (1888)
11 - Sean Wight (1871)
12 - Brent Crosswell (1840)
13 - Stephen Tingay (1821)
14 - Darren Kowal (1739)
15 - Todd Viney (1732)
16 - Ray Biffin (1720)
17 - David Schwarz (1671)
18 - Troy Broadbridge (1587)
19 - David Cordner (1578)
20 - Guy Rigoni (1551)

See you next year for another season of nerdly goodness and frantic fat finger poking at keyboard style bloggery. Here's to adding to these two pages at some point next September (or preferably October).

Thursday 22 December 2011

A pictorial history the Melbourne Football Club 1859-2012






































Wednesday 30 November 2011

Stat My Bitch Up - 2012 preview

As a self confessed sports stats nerd of epic proportions forgive me if I'm a little bit late in making topical references to Moneyball. The book's been out for seven years, I never bought it until about two months ago when the movie suddenly turned up and it's been sitting in the "TO READ" pile since then and despite best intentions to read the actual in-depth stats bonanza in its purest form aside I ended up seeing the movie first.

Good movie it was too, nigh on impossible carrying off the subject matter while not completely alienating 99% of the audience (in this country at least) who don't give half a toss about baseball and couldn't pick Oakland on a map with 50 guesses. Didn't half help that they roped Brad Pitt in, also probably didn't hurt that they went relatively light on the stats. Good news for the general cinemagoer, bad news for the 1% of freaks like me who actually want to hear more about On Base Percentage and Slugging Average in the cinema but you can't fault them for wanting to make money instead of providing entertainment to three people as a tumbleweed rolls through the cinema. That's a job for the Australian movie industry.

Throughout the film I was distracted by the thought that since the first day the book hit shelves managers, administrators and fans must have been trying to adapt the concept to fit other sports. It's often said that recruiters have been extolling its virtues for years, and our own CEO is apparently a fan (though when anybody from Melbourne is quoted talking about 'small forwards who kick goals' you just have to laugh), but does it really have any relevance to our game or is it just a desperate attempt at trying to avoid looking like you're not up with the next big thing?

They say the Sydney Swans have been at it for years, but realistically that's just a case of not putting all their trust into the draft (rightfully so too in some cases) and trading for older, often less fashionable, players to fit roles rather than relying on raw stats as a guide to how they'll fit in. The Swans aren't hurt by having an extended salary cap either, actually putting them into the class (in the context of a league with an allegedly rigorously enforced cap) of the big spenders like the New York Yankees whom Moneyball was designed to tip out. It's teams paying 92.5% of the cap who are our version of the unloved Oakland A's. Even that article is forced to admit in its final paragraph that Paul Roos didn't operate based on stats. They're not stats wizards, they're expert turd polishers, and bless them for it. If we could do the same I'd be thrilled.

It's not to say that there aren't statistical geniuses at work, probably in every club across the league, but good luck really trying to adopt the Moneyball idea from baseball. What other sport has the luxury of statistical information broken down to such a minute level? Who else has a 162 game regular season in which to unleash a theory but still have time to alter course if it doesn't work after an appropriate period of reflection? Champion Data might be pumping away loggine very stat under the sun and making a fortune selling premium packages to league clubs with categories that nerds like me can only dream of but they're still working on a sample size of 22 games, plus finals and a pre-season cup which is played under such fanciful, unlikely rules that it's barely worth using them for comparative purposes.

Bear in mind that before the last Major League Baseball season the Spring Training schedule saw the teams play between 29 and 35 practice matches alone. That's an insane amount for putting together pre-season stats, and enough time to float even the most nutbag of positional or tactical theories and still have time to recover before the real stuff begins - and even then you can afford to get more than ten games behind the leader at the halfway mark of the season and still run them down in the home stretch. On September 1 this year the Atlanta Braves led the St Louis Cardinals by 8.5 games in the National League wildcard race and by September 28 they'd been eliminated from playoff contention.

These guys are operating in another world entirely. A world where this is a player's publicly accessible career statistical record. No doubt behind the scenes AFL clubs have access to incredible packages but as fans this is as good as it gets and that's only by the grace of somebody putting the information together off their own bat and expecting nothing in return. We simply don't put the same premium on statistical information as baseball do.

Maybe there are some geniuses out there with overflowing whiteboards who can give you a formula which shows how to take a team with three Mortons and use them to create one Lance Franklin but I'm suggesting there are far too many variables in our sport to create anything truly meaningful. Baseball essentially comes down to one man piffing a ball very quickly at another who tries to hit it. You can analyse performance of left handers vs righties, you can take into account the sort of pitches that are thrown and if you're really keen you can see one man's batting record against all pitchers who he's hit more than five home runs off during his career.

This is a sport that lends itself more purely to statistics than any other in the world and if you're not yet convinced that they're operating on a different planet let me introduce you to Value Over Replacement Player (VORP). Try and work this out without a university degree.

A statistic that demonstrates how much a hitter contributes offensively or how much a pitcher contributes to his team in comparison to a fictitious “replacement player,” who is an average fielder at his position and a below average hitter. A replacement player performs at “replacement level,” which is the level of performance an average team can expect when trying to replace a player at minimal cost, also known as “freely available talent.”

Multiply the league average runs per out by the player’s total outs; this provides the number of runs an average player would have produced given that certain number of outs to work with. Now multiply that number (of runs) by .8, or whatever level your replacement equations give you; this is the number of runs you could expect a “replacement player” to put up for that number of outs. Simply
[Simply? They're taking the piss - Mercado] subtract the replacement’s runs created from the player’s actual runs created, then, and you have VORP. A word to the wise, though: while the replacement’s run total will be park-neutral (by definition), the player’s raw numbers won’t be. Before calculating the VORP, run the player stats through park factors, normalizing the numbers. The resultant VORP should give a pretty good estimate of how “valuable” the player in question is

Baseball is a game decided by one piece of scoring only, and at any given time there are no more than three or four people involved in any transaction. Australian Rules could very well end up with 30 players within five metres of the ball, which can then go in any direction and more often than not despite the best efforts of Demetriou and the *spit* rules committee ends up in a stoppage. It doesn't allow for the random fat porkies of baseball who make up for their uncouth physiques in other ways. It ruthlessly exposes gaps in fitness and skill under pressure.

So, could you build a competitive squad on a fiver based purely on their statistics, discounting negatives such as a injury history or on-field ill-discipline? Not in my book you couldn't, but that doesn't mean that some stats both obvious and obscure aren't still relevant. Here's some areas that I feel we have to address if we're going to improve enough to at least be able to take on non-crap Victorian teams.

(General disclaimers apply about being shit at analysing footy. Publish and be damned. You may violently disagree with much of what follows but please be aware that sending explosive devices through the post is a breach of the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989)

Centre clearances
Clearances from stoppages in general really, but out of the middle it's so crucial that our inability to get it right consistently was one of the most frustrating things about 2011.

Other than in certain exceptional circumstances (186) our backline is pretty good in repelling attacks but it's tempting fate to continually allow opposition sides to win the ball from the centre bounce and go forward expecting that one of our defenders will mop up the mess before one of their players has the chance to do any damage.

Jamar and Moloney might have been a lethal combination at times early in 2011 but by the time the Russian returned from injury every team in the competition had twigged what they were up to and spent the rest of the year persecuting Beamer at centre bounces. Moloney might still have had the 13th most clearances in a season since 1998 but with precious little backup we were tonked out of the middle again and again. There's a good reason that despite his big numbers we still finished 16th in the competition for total clearances.

Either we have to broaden our options or have somebody with a big body in there who can at least run interfence for Moloney. It's the most basic thing I can think of that we need to improve other than simply scoring more goals - and we're not going to be in any position to be kicking goals if the ball is going constantly going from the centre to the backline.

Disposal efficiency from clearances
When I see clearance stats at the end of a match I want them to remove every one that is just a panicked kick or wild handball out of a pack. They should be, and quite possibly already are, split into "quality clearances" (i.e ones that reach a teammate who has time to use it properly and does) and rubbish clearances where the ball is hacked desperately forward and ends up with an opponent. Then there's the neutral clearances where it either goes to space or leads immediately to another stoppage.

More realistic ball winning options at the drop and players who have the poise to use it properly when they do get it are the key. For instance you wouldn't expect Jordie McKenzie to be delivering huge numbers of quality clearances but as long as he can at least avoid the negatives and still get the ball we should get better. It's your Trengoves et al who are going to be crucial in getting decent use of the ball from stoppages.

Forward pressure
It's become a cliche but at least it's one that makes sense. I'm sure Page 1 of the Neeld playbook is all about forward pressure but he's still got to have somebody to execute it. Preferably more than one, preferably a whole raft of forwards who put the opposition backline under siege every time they touch the ball.

Every once in a while we perfected this last year, for instance Petterd's forward 50 tackling masterclass against Richmond, but more often than not opposition sides rebound the ball out of defence with barely a sweat raised. The ball then goes down the other end where we're subject to utter terror watching our players try and clear it under intense pressure.

It's not just tackling, it's perceived pressure from being near somebody, it's not letting them take easy marks beyond 20 or 30m out from goal. If there's a stat for the amount of time that you keep the opposition inside their own defensive 50 I want us to rocket to the top of the rankings. Wear them down, make returning the ball from a kick-in or a defensive mark close to goal as difficult as possible. Give other fans a taste of what we've had for the last few years when any point conceded is automatically assumed to come back as a 7, 8, 9 point play over the next five minutes.

Rush the ball properly
Where did we rank for rushed behinds last year? Can it be split between rushed as part of a realistic contest and the ones that the umps were too scared to pay deliberate on? My hunch is that no team conceded as many scores as we did from failing to just knock the bloody thing through and take the kick-in. Stop trying to save one point, get the kick-ins right for the first time in living memory and don't wind up copping goals by trying to keep the ball alive.

Speaking of kick-ins...

Kick-ins to a mark
Absolutely crucial that we increase our rate of finding a target outside 50 from a kick-in. Whether it takes one kick or two to get there, and if you're taking more than two something's drastically wrong, it doesn't matter as long as eventually somebody ends up with the ball in their hands and the chance to go forward.

Too often we either kick to the same place time and time again or botch the second kick from the 15/20m line get belted going back the other way. Even when we get away with it it's usually at the cost of a behind, and it's fine to be conceding them at a million miles an hour when you're a rubbish side but if there's any aspiration to start winning close games we've got to save every point we can.

Handball efficiency inside defensive 50 and realistic targets
Nobody wants to see handball in the backline but like death and taxes it will always be with us. It goes without saying that every handball should hit the mark but we've got to eliminate the panic element which seems to go with every defensive handball. They've got to up the numbers in firstly getting it to the right man but secondly in making sure that you're not just selling him into trouble.

Ok, if he's tackled straight away and it winds up in a bounce then it's not the worst result ever but so often they're given the ball with that extra few seconds which oblige them to dispose of it and end up either giving away the free or indulging in another panic handball which starts the chain all over again.

Long kicking efficiency on rebound 50's
Not every defensive rebound is going to be from a score, and many of them are going to involve dinky little handballs and chip kicks that always seem seconds from disaster even when they come off but sometimes somebody's going to work free onto a wing - or god forbid down the middle - and a precise 30/40m pass will have them off towards our goal. Conversely if the kick misses or doesn't hit the target we're on the back foot again.

Tapscott's my number one choice for this but he can't be the only option. Frawley, Rivers and Garland are ok at it but you wouldn't put your life on them, Davey will hopefully be forward, Grimes would have to stay fit for more than 20 minutes and you can pretty much shut the gate on the rest of them so we need to find somebody else down there with the precise kicking skills to hit those targets. Ideally three or four of them. Easier said than done but if we can hit targets moving quickly out of defence it'll help the forwards get to it first. Which brings us to..

Quality inside 50's and marks inside 50
Again, raw stats may tell you that a team is going inside 50 plenty of times but how many of those entries provide opportunity for a scoring shot? If a player picks up the ball in the middle of the ground and hoofs it to 40m out straight into a nest of opposition defenders with not a teammate in sight why do we count it amongst important stats? Fans and journalists love to use inside 50's as the measure of all that is good and wrong with a team but surely coaches are looking for quality only and ignoring the rest.

I guarantee you that if you split our inside 50's into the type that a) either went to one of our players, went to a legitimate contest or into the open insde 30m with one of our players nearby and into the type that was just the ball rolling pathetically to the 49m mark and being run out again that it would be absolutely grim reading.

For once you can't blame the midfield. For most of the last two seasons they either won the ball in space and looked up to find the forward line standing next to them or backing back to the square en masse with no big body to take a grab and nobody half a chance of crumbing. If you've got access to the full stats package can you find out how many leads per game we made in comparison to other clubs? I dare say it would be on the lower end of the scale. We had our moments of glory with this sort of attack, and the odd piece of real leadage from Jurrah or Green, but it's telling that only once from 2008-2011 did we ever play a truly slashing attacking game against a decent side.

The mere presence of Mitch Clark at full forward should at least draw the heat off the medium sized forwards and allow them to move around more - and they'd better because without changing the plan from last year I fail to see how we are any chance of consistenly kicking winning scores against non-crisis sides. If Clark doesn't work consider swapping him with Jamar.

Contested possession
Last in 2011. Cannot be allowed to happen again. That we were 7th in uncontested shows where our heads were at that year, and while I'm absolutely certain that Neeld and Co are targeting this it's up to the players on the park to deliver on it.

I'd love to see stats on CP in the forward 50 to work out if we're any better or worse at it in attack. My gut feeling says worse. It also says that without any decent crumbers who are willing to put their body on the line (or the return of Forward Pressure Davey) that it's not going to get a great deal better other than that the ball should be down there a lot more.

Define the most efficient attacking player
Way back in 2007 when I was still convinced we were just going through a 'bit of a slump' I came up with a stat to measure the overall attacking value of a player.

Goals (6) + Goal Assists (4) + Behinds (1) + Marks inside 50 (2) + Effective disposals forward of centre (1) + effective inside 50's (1) + tackles inside forward 50 (1) minus ineffective disposals (1), Clangers/OOF (-2) and frees/50m penalties (-2)

It's highly weighted towards goalkickers but if somebody boots ten you don't need a stat to tell you they've had a big day it, this is designed to let you hold up a medium forward, a tall forward having an average day and a crumber (should your team have such a thing) and decide which one impacted more on your attacking performance.

So, roll on 2012. We can only guess what Neeld and his cavalcade of coaching have got in store for us but at the moment confidence is high. In an ideal world the natural progression of the squad fits in perfectly with his game plan and we're talking next year as a team who has played finals, in the worse case it doesn't work or the players as they are simply aren't capable of carrying it off. Either way patience is wearing thin so if we don't at least see some real, consistent improvement next year people are going to start cracking the sads. I'll be keeping an eye on the categories listed above to see if anything changes.

Either way it's going to be tense. I can't believe we have to wait another three months to see actual football. Prepare for much more idle speculation before now and then.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Off-Season Updates Spectacular

The following was written in bits and pieces over the last couple of weeks. Like a letter smuggled from a Prisoner of War camp I could only sketch small pieces at work while nobody was looking. It's hard to convince anybody you're doing what you're paid for when the word WONAEAMIRRI keeps appearing on screen.

Eventually it's all been cobbled together so if none of it makes sense, the spelling is atrocious or paragraphs just end halfway through for no apparent reason then you have been warned. It may or may not end up being proof-read sometime before December 31. You may even get to the end of it by then.

Chapter 1
When the final siren went in that Port Adelaide game and we were treated to shots of joyous tooth challenged locals in celebration while Chad Cornes and Dean Brogan were prematurely chaired off into retirement I don't think I'm alone in having wanted to throw myself out the window. Except being on the ground floor at the time

Things couldn't have gotten much lower from there. Dual spoons were fine due to the fact that nobody except me actually wanted to win, but promised more all we got was $cumbag $cully leading us a merry dance and Bailey clawing his way back from the brink twice before finally being put away by the 186 fiasco. Give up football and take up field hockey? Would love to.

But now just 80 short days later, the same it took that idiot to fictionally circumnavigate the world in a balloon, there's a fervour around the place approaching the intensity of an Amway Convention which was doubled booked in the same room as Hillsong. In case you've been in a coma for the last 80 days (and you'd might as well go back into it until cricket season is over) here's what's happened since then.

Take the money and run
Surely by the end nobody expected $cully to stay. His mystery withdrawal from the last game was the final straw and sadly ruined the chances of him suffering a hilarious tragic knee injury in the middle of the Adelaide Oval having (allegedly) already signed with another club.

Throughout the season I tried to be as diplomatic as possible about his future intentions. Everyone knew he was getting offered rude money from the only regime more morally suspect than the Mugabe Government but it didn't seem to stop the likes of.. well, pretty much everybody bar Ablett.. from rejecting it. There was still that minor possibility that he could stay, and after I quite seriously had a dream that a Demonblog post was being waved about at a press conference and cited as his final reason for leaving I was erring on the side of caution.

Then he went for a quick trip to "check the facilities" upon which he found the array of cross trainers and tackling bags at Breakfast Point so attractive that he wrenched the contract from the hands of Dale Holmes (RIP) and signed on immediately, watched proudly by his mother, Big Kev style father (who was next in the queue) and quite possibly his terracotta coloured sister. Hours later he's making videos about how thrilled he is to be there and, just in case you thought he had no personality to be a footballer, how much he loved playing FIFA. I'm here to suggest that he's playing a lot of Vs CPU matches because one of the crucial elements of any two player game is having friends to play it with.

I'm sure Billy No Mates and his fear of being spewed on will now have friends coming out the wazoo. After all everyone loves a millionare and he'll probably end up with his own reality TV show produced and funded, much like GWS, entirely by the AFL.

I'm sure if Tom took the time out from buying an armour plated Rolls Royce to read this he'd shout "yeah, but I've got $6 mil and you haven't idiot" and he'd be quite right. Quite right too, but what you'll never have is the respect of anybody who doesn't work for the AFL or a club bankrolled by the AFL. You might turn out to be the finest player of a generation (though everyone at Demonblog sincerely hopes you turn out more like Richard Lounder) and you'll have more money in your bank account right now than many of us combined but don't expect anyone to ever say "Gee, that Tom $cully. What a top fellow, he's a real rolemodel for my kids".

In summary, here's hoping he doesn't even make Round 13 next year and we don't have to bother creating gigantic offensive banners and hurling foul abuse at him which would be much better suited aimed at Kevin Sheedy or Dean Brogan.

Coaching Corner (Now no longer trading under its former name Koaching Korner since the Kardashians wrecked my joy of replacing C’s with K’s)
So once the Two Million Dollar Turd was off our books and the compensation banked the next step was finding a new coach. Simple enough, but with the dominos falling elsewhere at a rapid rate and "news" outlets like SportsNewsFirst inventing rumours about the coaching moves on a daily basis you could be excused for getting utterly confused about what was happening.

Which is why it was such a shock when not only the club just came out and announced we'd appointed somebody but that 'breaking news' media reports the day before were actually right for once. Let the record forever show that journalistic heavyweight Damien Barrett (just the sort of guy to do a Tim Gossage and Google his own name) stated on The Footy Show that we were all but over the line with signing Scott Burns as coach.

We've already covered the Neeld appointment and initial reaction here so there's no need to go too far into it but even at the time it seemed a bit premature for certain excitable sections of the MFC community (and not just the Facebook nutters) to throw themselves on the ground and wail miserably about the appointment.

Ok, so the old "hiring a coach nobody had ever heard of" move didn't work at the end of 2007 but we're in a totally changed landscape now. Bailey was handed a shit sandwich and expected to extract something from it. His crime in the end was that he could never beat any decent Victorian teams, he'd been dragged into boardroom intrigues, his mystery gameplan confused the buggery out of all of us and the development of some players (we're looking at you Morton) had ground to a halt. On the other hand he is the man who presided over Mark Jamar going from one of the worst players of recent years into a ruck titan who managed to stay injury free long enough to win All-Australian honours.

Mark Neeld, on the other hand, isn't being handed the full Cleveland Steamer sandwich. He's been given something moderately unhygenic that the health inspector might have trouble with but isn't completely inedible. Unfortunately when we sent the 2010 side back to the chef and said "this isn't well done enough" it was used as a toilet but surely now we're on the upswing. Either that or there's going to be a lot of people having to undergo serious psychological treatement in a couple of years time (including yours truly).

There's no doubt that so far he's said and done the right things, and I was more than happy to go along for the ride even before he gave off that serial killer vibe that I've been dying for us to harness for years, but it means precisely zero until we start seeing results on-field. He might still be an utterly naff coach. It's happened before and coming from the side who have just completed their hat-trick of mid-season sackings we're hardly taking the moral highground as one of the league's most stable clubs, but I've a strange feeling in the sub-cockle area that everything's going to be alright.

Witness for instance this picture of the new coaching staff.

You'll note all the other assistants, including the guys you've never heard of before and Brent Grgic second from right, are cracking broad smiles (except Neil Craig who was occupied in a hyperbaric chamber which produces South Australian oxygen) while their boss stands side on, showing off his not inconsiderable arms and looking sideways at the camera as if he’s about to stuff the lens cap down the photographer’s throat. I love it. I hope I still love it in 12 months time.

Speaking of assistants what do you think Bailey thinks when he sees that we've hired all these assistant assistants, fitness gurus etc? If there's even the merest hint of truth to that story being pedalled by Gerard Healy after the 186 debacle that he’d had to whip out his personal credit card in an attempt to pay for the team to stay in Geelong overnight (and I seriously doubt there was) he'd be horrified to see that the moment he goes out the door somebody loosens the purse strings and decides to try and get a decent off-field team together instead of just collaring a few blokes who used to play and hoping for the best.

Now from a point where the coach allegedly had to try and fund our footy department with an AMEX (maybe he just wanted the points? 186 will get you a free trip to Adelaide) just a few months later we've got more coaching staff than you can shake a stick at. In one way or the other they're all impressively credentialled but will it make even the slightest bit of difference? Well it can’t hurt can it?

My favourite non-Neeld moment was signing Leigh Brown about 20 minutes after the Pies lost the Grand Final. When Brenton Sanderson was charging to the fence to hug the Geelong players and coaches there's every possible chance Cam Schwab was leaning over the shoulder of the Collingwood cheersquad trying to get Leroy to sign a contract in the forward pocket.

So with the new uber-structure in place the time came to throw down challenges to the players. We've all got our list of disappointments from last season, and odds are that Davey and Morton feature on 99% of them but to his credit the coach opened fire on the wider crowd and took to Jack Watts as well. He was pretty good last season, certainly ranked highly in the awards on this site, but why not tell him he needs to do much better? It's one thing battering the perceived weak links but didn't you just go a little bit wobbly at the knees when started torching Jack as well? Not that the kid deserves a roast but bloody hell if that's what it takes to boost him from "promising" to an out and out superstar then let's go with it. He should do a Norm Smith/Ron Barassi and take Jack in just to yell at him.

It'll be interesting to see how his philosophy about putting a team together holds up between Round 1 and Round 22. "I have pre-defined roles for my team" he said, "and anybody who doesn't fit those roles will play VFL". Be still my beating heart. The hint is very much that Aaron Davey will end up back in the forward line (and god knows we need CRUMB from somewhere) but in the great man's words if he doesn't fit the required role then he'll be out. Good. And that goes for all of them, I love The Jurrahcane in as rigorous and manly fashion as is socially acceptable but if maniacal forward pressure is the name of the game and he's not into it then we need to talk.

Remembering back to '04/'05 Davey practically invented the concept of forward pressure, and it was glorious. He's had his run as a playmaker, let's bring him home. As long as he we can get him in a frame of mind where he isn't biffing people out of frustration then he's still got plenty to offer. Unless one of Bennell or Jetta is going to go ballistic we've got to have at least one dangerous small forward, and we’ve got scant time to wait for a kid to develop into a dangerous option. Actually we’ve probably got two or three years before it’s really crucial but I’ve had enough of waiting, I want it now.

Trading Places
Trade Week is one of footy's greatest let-downs every year. When they extended it by three days this season I think everyone thought "wow, that's another three days of nothing happening before a wild flurry of action on the last day". Even with a recent record of having ripped Brisbane and Carlton off blind on the Johnstone/McLean deals the week is still immensively overrated. Luckily I was on holidays for almost all of it this year and only managed to check-in to the non-action occassionally instead of being suckered into listening to endless hours of speculation and idle waffle on SEN or Trade Week Radio.

In the end it's a good thing they did extend it, because if they hadn't the closest we'd have got to action would have been the on again, off again, never actually on the cards speculation about Emo Maric going to North. Just in case you thought being involved with North wasn’t the best move for somebody who has cracked one smile in a decade the poor bastard has now wound up at Richmond jumper. If he turns up at Tigerland with a beaming grin, looking like the happiest man alive I’ll be asking serious questions.

There was also the minor matter of flogging Warnock to the Gold Coast for an almost irrelevant pick. Good luck to him, he did do his best work when we were utterly dire and the backline was under siege every 30 seconds every week (instead of every second week in 2011) so he'll fit in well at Gold Coast. Will probably win a flag before we do.

The main event though was the Mitch Clark heist. What began as a speculative mid-week escape into trying to ruin his tearful Perth homecoming wound up with us snatching him from under the noses of the Dockers despite them all but announcing he'd signed. Let's all be entirely honest here, you can say whatever you like about Mark Neeld and Josh Mahoney giving inspirational speeches in Chinese restaurants but the reason he ditched Freo was for big fat wads of cold hard cash.

The revelation that we'd used our vast cash reserves to cause somebody to have a sudden and dramatic change of heart about the city they'd like to live in caused momentary uneasiness for some. Not least idiots like me who broke their stated ban on tweeting footballers to write to our mate Mitch and declare that while I would have liked him to join us it was good to see somebody pick family over cash for once. Effectively it was just another in a long line of subtle digs at the $cully family which will continue for years to come, but in the end it looked rather foolish. Never again.

Whether he's any good or not is anybody's guess. I'm not entirely convinced of his merits as a goal frenzy full-forward given that his career high season tally is 27 set this year and the next best was nine the year before. I suppose it's all about structure and taking the heat off Jurrah/Watts etc.. Also given the situation we're in with our salary cap it's practically a free hit but at least he's young enough for us to get something out of him if the forward thing doesn't work out. Don't forget Jamar is 29 next season. If we need another ruckman in two years or somebody else comes along to kick the goals Mitch will still only be 25. He might turn out to be the most expensive decoy in history for all we know, but as long as it ends in him hoisting the premiership above his head then I'll consider it a success.

"That's just like $cully! You're all hypocrites!" screamed opposition fans when the deal went through. No it's not you peasants. Well, maybe it is a bit but only in the manner in which a decision was clearly made based on Scrooge McDuck style money. The difference is we've given the game 150+ years and GWS have given it about 25 minutes, a recycled nutbag as coach and uniforms that Red Rooster employees would refuse for being too ugly.

But the Northern Filth aren't finished yet. Stopped from ransacking any more of our players (until the rules are inevitably changed to help them more) they've turned their attention on the Southern Filth in an attempt to wrest Pendlebury from Collingwood's grasp. Cue McGuire trying to prop up the ratings on his Nickleback friendly radio show by coming out beating his chest about how it would be "war" if they attempted to poach any of his players. Gee, I'll bet the team which is funded and practically run by the league are absolutely quaking in their boots at that prospect. Face facts Eddie, given the choice between having any of us in their league or having a team in Blacktown the AFL aren't going to choose the Melbourne option. Start your own league or bend over and cop it like everyone else.

Everyone's favourite failed Nine Network CEO even threw in a cheapshot at us, declaring that you can't just steal players from Collingwood like you could from Melbourne. Part of me wants GWS to get Pendlebury just so we can laugh at Eddie, but that boosts (even further) their chances of a premiership, and by extension $cumbag Scully's prospects, so we can't have that. But we don't want Ed to be right do we? Maybe we do. My preferred scenario is for them to get driven into a bidding war to keep him, and for Eddie's ego to make him pay anything Pendles wants, meaning they get to keep him but at the expense of losing other quality players then winding up falling apart like an Iranian airliner the next year, leaving nothing but Pendlebury and his Captain Jack Sparrow haircut as a lonely but rich figure in the middle of the MCG amongst 16 Irishmen and Juice Newton at Full Forward.

Training Updates
Is John Meesen still "training the house down"? (about time that cliche is retired) There are a lot of fantastic training updates on various forums. I assume they’re fantastic anyway because personally the concept bores me so much I mentally tune out and start daydreaming the moment anybody starts talking about it.

Somebody won a time trial, somebody was in the rehab group, nobody's yet been seen sporting a ludicrous +50 number and Dunn sadly hasn’t seen fit to be ironic and get rid of his moustache in November when everybody else is growing one. The only snippet of half interest was an observation that Cale Morton appears to actually gotten smaller since last season. If he's not suffering some form of flesh eating virus then I'm not here. Just concede the rest of the pre-season and send him to the world's best doctors to sort it out before he suffers a Benjamin Button style recession into childhood followed shortly afterwards by death. It would still make him the luckiest of all the Morton brothers.

The nadir of pre-season training fever came the other day when the club invited everyone to go down and watch them have a swimming session at the Cranbourne pool. Riveting stuff indeed. Good on them for giving people the opportunity but I'd love to know what you're going to get out of it other than hanging around with your camera phone waiting for a stray jatz cracker to pop out the side of somebody's speedos. You sick freak.

If anybody wants to write a pre-season training update and can inject even the slightest modicum of life into the subject please write in, you're more than welcome to have a shot. Personally I reserve the right to show not the slightest interest until at least the rookie draft is done and we've finalised our list. Or in February.

Draft Watch
What time is kickoff on Thursday? Because I’ll see you about half an hour after that when they get through Team Golden Child having the first 200 picks. May each one either be the next Luke Molan and never do anything ever or the next Buckley/Rocca and run for their life to a proper club at the first available opportunity.

Surely they're not persisting with the joke of pre-selecting the top ten and doing them in reverse order. They couldn’t could they? It was enough of a farce last year when most of the top 10 was taken up by Gold Coast, but this year it would be one of the greatest piss extractions of all time to expect people to show any interest in a reversed top ten where the teams involved have a combined support of 2000 people.

Of course there's one very good reason to watch from the start if you can make it all the way to pick 36 without booting your TV screen in out of frustration at the rorts, and that’s the startlingly amateur production that Fox Sports usually put on.

I appreciate the fact that they even show it at all (though realistically aren't you just as well off listening to it on SEN?), but in two years they've managed to - in order - cut out after the first round and subject us to interviews conducted by heavyweights like Jason Dunstall then last year place one solitary cameraman in the middle of the recruiter tables, thus forcing the poor bastard to have to find who he was meant to be aiming the camera at in quick succession as every pick was announced. Usually despite waving the camera about like a whirling dervish and providing us with action footage of the carpet he missed showing the pick being made anyway, leaving us with just the audio – and there you are back to listening to it on the radio again.

How do you think they'll muck it up this time? I hope it's by leaving the microphone at our table on and catching the recruiting staff lamenting wasting a #1 pick on a disloyal crunt.

Granted that they'll find some way to stuff it up I'll do what I did last year and cue up SEN then mute it just in case Fox do something stupid or the coverage drops out, but realistically given that our picks will start at about midnight and phantom drafts have been rendered even more useless than ever before I'll have probably given up and gone out for a kebab by then anyway.

I couldn't tell you exactly what sort of player I want, because by the mid 30's recruiting effectively becomes somebody opening fire on a lake and hoping to hit a fish. There might be sliders, there might be bolters and if we’re really unlucky Pick 36 might be an utter hack that you’ll never ever hear from again. Alternatively he could be a superstar - how many times do we need to hear about how Dane Swan was drafted at Pick 1000 before he was a champion player/cleaner beater? – but it's nothing to get excited over immediately. So, working on the understanding that I'll never have heard of any of the players we pick I’ll give you a simple three point plan on the sort of guys I’d like to take with picks 36/52/54. Any combination of the following will do;

a) Players with silly names
b) Snarling, ugly individuals who are less attractive than Mick Martyn (but who aren't off-field dickheads)
c) Batshit crazy insane psychopaths who should by all rights spend more time in hospital with head injuries than they do on the field (but won’t wind up suing us in the end).

Actual being adept at playing football wouldn't hurt either but if there's one thing I've learnt in more than 20 years following this club it's that ability is an optional extra.

Then with no picks in the Pre-Season draft there's just the rookie draft to care about. We've got Paul Couch's son training with us (via Collingwood VFL) which is fine because all our father-son selections have been so shite over the last 20 years that we'd might as well try to get a son from another club and see if that works better than any of Chris Johnson, Michael Clark or Shane Burgmann. Shouldn't be too hard, even if by all rights Jack Viney (and maybe Steven Stretch Jr) should overtake the lot of them just by pulling on the jumper for the first time.

It's money and plenty of it apparently. I've got absolutely no understanding of how finance works but it seems that only a little of it is an actual trading profit and the rest is as the result of the Bentleigh Club merger. Which is fine, I'll take small profit over some of these doomsday figures any day of the week.

What's most impressive is somehow putting roughly $6m of assets on the books by acquiring what I understand to be - having never gone closer than driving past Yawla Street, Bentleigh - the equivalent of somebody's stately manor with a few pokies thrown in. I suspect they'll try and use it as the social club that we've never really had, but it's not much use to anybody who doesn't live on that side of town.

Encyclopedia Titanica
I've been beavering away at Demonwiki over the last few months, adding new features and polishing up pages that already exist. If you haven't seen it already check it out or send the link to anybody who might be interested.

It's up to 5863 pages so good luck finding exactly what you want. I suggest that classic Wiki move of opening up a random page and seeing where it takes you. If you want something more structured try the Players or Seasons sections. When time allows (i.e when not writing epic waffle like this) I'm currently going through the Football Records of the 80's and adding Under 19's scores and goalkickers.

It's not cheap maintaining this helter skelter life of excitement and obscure information though. You can either donate to Demonwiki directly from the site itself (and we promise to use all donations for their intended purpose and not to fund Sylvia style nights on the town) or by 'taking an active interest' in the ads on this page. Take an active interest early, take an active interest often because pretty soon we're going to have to go cap in hand to the club and ask them for a grant to pay for the hosting. Come on, I know you're reading - don't make me grovel just write in with an offer. I promise not to criticise the administration on here ever again while the cheques are rolling in.

Final thoughts
Buy a membership. Now.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Failed competition entries corner

So, I had a crack at entering this competition in an attempt to scab a free trip to America and failed miserably.

The gimmick was that you had to write about the 2022 AFL World Cup, which was improbably being defender by Japan who had rolled Australia in the previous final. Fat chance but I'll do anything for free flights. There were a bunch of other things you had to include but obviously didn't throw enough fanciful futuristic gimmicks to make the top three.

Therefore I post it here for posterity, and just in case the absolutely farcical scenario in which

Please also note that a) it was supposed to be this long and wasn't just me waffling again and b) it was written before $cully had totally dicked us and become a hated figure so I was at least nice enough to give him the chance to come back to Melbourne after he'd finished rolling around in cash a'la Scrooge McDuck. I was going to change all references to him in this to Trengove for posting here but that killed one of the key gimmicks so stuff it, just imagine a big dollar sign whenever his scabby name comes up.

Anyway, ready? I think I rolled myself by writing like a news story instead of a first person wankfest. Come on I even took the obligatory cheap shot at soccer that they were dying for.

Standing in the centre square of the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the first time Casey Martin, the captain of the Team Canada Wolfpack, admits that he's got a major concern about Saturday's World Rules opening match against Australia - and it's not the prospect of playing in front of more than 90,000 locals.

"You guys don’t worry me" he says, "Nothing an Australian crowd can bring will match The Game".

In Canada the match which the Toronto Vipers midfielder and his teammates won through to their first World Rules is destined to always be known simply as "The Game". Five goals behind the heavily favoured Argentina during the last quarter of February’s match the brilliant midfielder played a last quarter for the ages, racking up fifteen possessions and kicking three goals including the one that gave his side the lead deep into the last quarter.

"The noise was incredible" says Martin, "when I went back to take my kick you couldn't even hear yourself think". It didn’t matter, the ball flew through post high and the surprise packet quarter finalists of the inaugural 2018 World Rules were out. Canada had booked a ticket to Australia along with their fellow North/South American Zone qualifiers the United States and Brazil.

So if the prospect of lining up in front of 90,000 people in the opening match of one of the biggest sporting events in the world isn’t concerning Casey Martin then what is troubling the man who has just led his side to the North American Football League premiership?

"Tom Scully" he says half smiling, half wincing. "I've never played against anybody like him before". The Canadian captain is concerned, and not without some justification because at 2.10pm tomorrow afternoon he might be standing shoulder to shoulder with the three time premiership captain and dual Brownlow Medallist in the centre of the game’s most famous venue.

"[Canadian coach John Paul] Lafitte hasn’t told me where I’ll be playing yet, but they’ve got so many stars he’s only one of 22 worries for us” Martin says.

Scully might be one man of 22 in the Australian starting line-up tomorrow but he is the best and will prove the hardest for the Canadians to stop. The professional game in North America has come a long way in the last decade but even the greatest teams in their league would be lucky to have the combined talent of one Tom Scully.

Casey Martin could be called the Tom Scully of the American league. Both men were voted the best player in their competition last year, and both ended the season holding a premiership cup above their heads.

Scully’s triumph came near the same spot where Martin stands today, his third since returning to the Demons from Greater Western Sydney. His best on ground performance just days after being named Brownlow Medallist for the second time stamped him as the dominant player of the modern era.

Named captain of Australia for the first time during this year’s mid-season series against New Zealand and South Africa, Scully is desperate to atone for his performance in the 2018 World Rules Final where he managed just six touches after half time of Australia’s shock 15.10.100 to 14.14.98 loss to Japan. It remains the greatest upset in the history of international football.

While it was Jack Riewoldt who missed the goal after the siren to hand the Samurais the inaugural championship Scully was uncharacteristically quiet, blanketed by the ace Japanese stopper Taro Tsjumoto who was snapped up by the Fremantle Dockers immediately afterwards.

One of the earliest converts to the international expansion of the game when it began in earnest in 2013, the Japanese have gone from strength to strength since then and now have nine players plying their trade with AFL sides. 2021 Brownlow Medal runner-up Tsjumoto is the most high profile, but the mosquito fleet of running players developed in Japan during the four years before their shock triumph in front of 101,200 fans four years ago, are primed for the fight of their life to defend the cup.

The reaction in Australia to the loss was a united grief never before seen in the 160 years since the first game of what would ultimately become one of the world’s most popular sports.

International expansion of the sport had been slow during the 150 years after Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College first clashed on the grounds outside where the MCG now stands. New Zealand fielded a team in the first interstate carnival, but the game soon dropped away across the Tasman and it took until 1963 for Melbourne and Geelong to travel to North America and play exhibition matches for a US audience. Two matches drew just 5000 fans between them and it was another quarter of a century before Australian Football was played in North America again. A short lived international series in the 80’s failed to capture the imagination of overseas fans and the game returned to being a purely domestic pursuit.

The game’s international profile was given an unexpected boost at the end of the 2011 season when American ruckman Shae McNamara was axed by Collingwood. Unable to break into their dual premiership sides he was thrown a lifeline by Gold Coast and within a year had established himself as one of the biggest stars of the competition. He will coach the American side in this year’s cup.

American cable television picked up on McNamara’s incredible story, and within a year their league which had spent 20 years on the very outer fringes of US sports was thriving. The competition, which until that point had been strictly amateur, was suddenly enjoying high rating TV coverage in the absence of major sports which were undergoing lengthy player lockouts.

The money which flowed into the international game after the success of the North American Football League’s first full televised season saw the game explode in popularity across Europe and gave the AFL a chance to invest heavily into the Pacific region and Africa. Ongoing scandals in the world of soccer gave the game a further boost in countries where the original ‘world game’ was so popular just a few years ago.

Casey Martin remembers the first time he ever saw a game. “I grew up in Hamilton, Ontario” he says, “I was 13-years-old when the game really exploded in North America. Half way through watching my first TV game I was online trying to find a team in my area to play this magnificent new game with. Hamilton is a big hockey and Canadian Football town so there were no existing teams. Luckily for me I wasn’t the only guy at my school who wanted to play so we started a team and hooked up some matches against kids from Toronto”.

The teenagers would alternate between playing games in the neighbouring cities and Martin’s big break came when his future international teammate Alex Franks was signed to play for the Vipers youth team two years later. Asked if he could recommend any other young Canadians for the team Franks’ first suggestion was Martin and the rest is history. The two broke into Toronto’s senior squad within a year and were appearing regularly on international television before their 18th birthdays.

Longtime teammates both domestically and in the international side, Martin and Franks were among the players who suffered an upset loss to Mexico in the first qualifying stage of the North/South America Zone for the 2018 event. A win would probably have seen them on their way to Australia, but the defeat meant that the powerhouse United States were instead joined by Argentina, who defeated Mexico in the final round of qualifiers, and Brazil.

Denied the chance to showcase their skills in front of the world in the 2018 tournament the Canadians missed an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Tsjumoto and American Ricky Sanderson in winning an AFL contract.

Both Martin and Franks have had their chances to become the first Canadian to play in the AFL since rugby convert Mike Pyke appeared with Sydney more than a decade ago, but with league sides sniffing around at the end of last year the two made a pact to stay together until Toronto finally won a league championship.

A loss to the Las Vegas Power in the 2021 Preliminary Final ended their campaign one game short of a Grand Final but both men stuck fast on the deal. They were rewarded when the Vipers ran out easy winners against the Boston Demons in front of 45,000 people in the last month’s nationally televised championship game. Now if as expected they’re both drafted the two will be split up for the first time since they were 15-year-olds, so World Rules gives the friends a last chance to play together in the same club side before starting next year as enemies.

Seeded 15th in the tournament, the Canadians join Germany as the newcomers to the World Rules Finals. The Germans won the last spot in the Europe/Africa zone with a thumping victory over Nigeria in Dusseldorf just days before Martin and his side played their match against Argentina. Germany’s bottom seeding and subsequent match up against the Japanese in Group A might be seen by some as a blessing but the Canadians aren’t so concerned about facing up against the Aussies.

“Realistically we’re aiming for second in the group” says Lafitte, who recently won an extension to his contract with the Montreal Scorpions, “so I’m happy to be matched up against the side we know is the best in the world, not just the one that got lucky last time”. Laffite’s plan for the Wolfpack is for his troops to put in a confidence boosting performance against the Australians and set themselves up for the remaining group games.

The home side, despite their horror showing in the last final, will prove the toughest test of all. With Australian players featuring prominently in all the major leagues around the world the AFL side has the luxury of selecting from over 2000 professional players around the globe. John Paul Laffitte has just 150 players in the North American league and another 100 across Europe and Asia to choose from.

Still, that’s 250 more pros than anyone could have imagined them being able to field a decade ago. With a thriving junior system in Canada the numbers will only increase in years to come.

The Wolfpack have three matches to earn a place in the Quarter Finals but as Martin admits the chances of his side returning to the MCG in the World Rules Final on November 20 are slim so he intends to make the most of his first trip to the stadium. If as expected he is selected by the Magpies with the first selection in January’s International Draft, he’ll make many more appearances at the home of football.

“We’re going into this group as enormous underdogs” says the Canadian captain, “but if we can put in a four quarter effort against the Aussies then we go to Canberra six days later (against Papua New Guinea) knowing that we can match it against higher ranked sides”.

As we walk off the ground, down the race that leads deep into the Barassi (formerly Olympic) Stand, the greatest player that the Canadian game has ever seen asks us to pass on a message to one of the finest Australians to have ever pulled on the boots.
“Tell Tom I’ll see him on Saturday” he says “And tell him that the Wolfpack don’t back down from anybody”.

His coach slaps him on the back and laughs heartily. Confidence is not in short supply in the Canadian camp.

Canada play their remaining Group B games against Papua New Guinea in Canberra on Friday 21 October and India at Kardinia Park on Thursday 27 October.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Neeld In A Haystack

(Dear Herald Sun, please find above my entry for the 'obscure Neeld headlines competition'. You can keep the prize of a chicken dinner with Andrew Bolt).

When my usual Friday afternoon attempting to look busy was interrupted around 4pm yesterday by SEN announcing we were about to announce Mark Neeld as coach I was, it must be said, unmoved. Nothing against Mark, just that we'd spent the week being fed lies by both 'media' and actual clubs/coaches so why not another farcical rumour which didn't turn out to be true? After all, while Hutchy himself was leaping out from behind a hedge at St Kilda HQ on Thursday night to startle the Saints President, 'Hutchy Jr' Damian Barrett was assuring us that it was a Scott Burns/Neil Craig tag team who were poised to take the top job.

The week started with SportsNewsFirst, the Women's Weekly of AFL journalism, claiming that Ross Lyon was about to tell the players he was off to join us. Cue mainstream media (well, SEN at least) being sucked in and sending crews down there, presumably ignoring every red light between Richmond and Seaford in their haste to check a story attributed to 'sources', and which no actual news outlet had heard anything about. Needless to say (Neeldless? This is a golden day for headline writers and hack bloggers) it turned out to be such utter crap that when Ross the (ex-)Boss actually did walk out on them and join the Dockers on Thursday that not only had SNF never heard about it but he didn't even tell the players he was off until he was already singing heave ho while swinging a $cully style bag of cash over his shoulder.

So, we'd already been told to piss off by Clarko, Malthouse is (for now) holding firm on not coaching anywhere next year, we missed Lyon because he was engaged in arguably unethical shenanigans behind his club's back, Scott Burns had been annointed as the winner by the alleged "newsbreaker" and now SEN - the home of following up wild rumours floated by drunken talkback callers - is saying that less than 24 hours after Garry Lyon had said that we were "very close" to announcing a coach that it was about to happen. On a Friday. What ever happens on Friday?

News media, you can see why we might very well have been confused. With the Harvey Heave-Ho Debacle still less than 24 hours old it seemed too ludicrous that we'd add to the chaos by naming our coach while poor Mark was still trying to work out what the hell had happened to him (O RLY?). Add to that the fact that the only men who hadn't been named as contenders for the job were Paul Feltham, Dean Bailey and Jock McHale and it was hard to take it seriously.

But there was some air of credibility about it simply because Mike Sheahan broke the story. Now, Mike's not perfect but he's a damn sight less likely to put his name to an obscenely made up rumor than the twats desperately generating hits on their website so the ad revenue will mean they don't have to eat dog food for breakfast. And to Mike's credit it turned out to be true. Within a couple of hours Garry Lyon was on Triple M all but confirming it as a done deal without actually saying Neeld's name.

In the spirit of Michael Roberts going right over the top on the Footy Show and comparing Mark Harvey getting the boot to a) a tsunami and b) having cancer I'd like to compare the footy world since Monday to September 11, 2001. This can't end well but stick with me. The moment it became apparent that there was some serious terror action going down and not just some tit in a light plane who couldn't steer the news went into overdrive with every stupid rumor they could find and every tiny piece of information was bent and twisted into something much larger. Hundreds of planes were hijacked, car bombs were allegedly going off in major cities, Palestinians were holding the Moomba Parade to celebrate etc.. None of which actually turned out to be true. Only Americans would need to embellish the biggest terror disaster in history with additional activities just to keep people watching. Imagine if they'd had Twitter then? Chaos.

For once SEN weren't all that bad in their coverage of the switch, but even then they went through a 15 minute moment of doubt on either side of the 7pm news when they were convinced Rodney Eade was on a plane to Perth to sign on just because they couldn't get him on the phone. Still, once the ship was righted and they were on track they thumped the TV networks for coverage. Very much against my will I was watching X Factor half an hour later when BREAKING NEWS - ROSS LYON RESIGNS AT ST KILDA TO COACH FREMANTLE came crawling along the screen. 1bil for TV rights and they won't even break into a talent quest for five minutes? That's the future of TV sports broadcasting right there. At least dump an episode of Are You Being Served on 7TWO and cross for rolling coverage. I'd be happier to watch the antics of Mr Humphries than those of Ross Lyon but that's not the point.

So, with the paint barely dry on old Owl Eyes' tombstone in the west, and him mysteriously 'being on a plane to Melbourne' (which of course he actually wasn't) the plot thickened. Of course he wasn't coming to us as the process was already, according to Lyon at least (the media one), almost over by the time Harvey was knifed. But who knew what that meant for Eade/Burns/Neeld/etc.. Nobody was even sure who had been interviewed for our job. Burns/Neeld/?? Viney? Laidley? God knows.

In the end though it was Mike who got the scoop, and that's why he's a major football journalist and not writing tossed off 'Brad and Angelina to split' style tosh credited to friends, insiders and amazed fellow diners. Neeld was indeed to be the man with a press conference at midday Saturday. Mind you the way this week has gone I wouldn't have been surprised if the doors at AAMI Park had flung open to reveal Ken Judge standing there with a cheeky grin and another 'hilarious' gag about Hitler.

But the ex-Collingwood assistant it was, and the reaction from fans was as you'd expect mixed. Everyone wanted a 'name', but after missing out on Clarko and Lyon the 'names' were rapidly thinning out, and we were in danger of losing the man who was obviously the preferred candidate to either Adelaide or Footscray. Like it or not Malthouse wasn't coming, Mark Williams is quite happy being the real coach of GW$ and Eade/Laidley/pretty much everyone else represented just as much of a risk as a highly credentialed premiership assistant. As much as I would cracked an Ararat at the prospect of Laidley/Williams being involved just to fulfil my own sick footballing fantasies the appointment worked for me straight away without ever having heard the guy say a word.

Of course naysayers say nay. "It's another Dean Bailey!" they scream. And while like Bails, Neeld might not have had much of a playing career I think you may just be overlooking his vast experience as a senior coach at local level (and four straight premierships in a half decent country competition is nothing to be sneezed at) and his stint as TAC Cup coach of the Western Jets before he even got to Collingwood - where he was the right hand man of the bloke that everyone (including me) was desperate to get.

I'd go so far as saying that considering what we'd have to have paid to get Lyon - who we just assume is good because he's taken Riewoldt/Goddard/Dal Santo etc.. to two Grand Finals - I'm deliriously happy. Talk to me when Jay Van Berlo, Justin Bollenhagen and Freo are waving a premiership cup around - until then I think we can afford to go without paying him $cully money. I didn't give god knows how much money to Debt Demolition just to have us spunk it up the wall on the off chance that the only thing wrong with us is the coach.

Also, to all the talkback callers who were pontificating about what complete arseholes we were that we cried about $cully doing a runner and then tried to steal somebody else's coach. In the words of Alan Partridge, "Swivel". I don't expect any apologies from [Name] of [Suburb] will be forthcoming. Besides, the moment the compo came in was there anybody left wailing about the $2m turd leaving? Doesn't mean we have to like him though..

If you'd given me the option of the 'untried' assistants yesterday I'd probably have taken Burns just because he had a long career and was a captain but either way I'd be happy not to see all the hard work to get out of debt wasted by spending zillions on a 'name' coach. But now that I've watched Neeld in action at his press conference I'm even happier that we've gone for him. If you've been reading long enough you'll know that the one thing I've wanted ever since 2005 (and before) is a coach who is a bit of a psycho, and I think we've landed one here. In a good way of course, not someone whose floorboards need to be taken up in the search for bodies.

In between saying all the right things in his first press conference (and who else other than Mal Meninga doesn't?) he didn't crack a smile once. I love it. In his interview on the club's YouTube channel the only time he half raises a smirk for the first seven minutes of it is when his list of achievements as a coach was read out to him. I love this. You can tell he's driven, and although this mean a great deal doesn't coming from the guy who was convinced Dean Bailey would be a smashing success, I'm more than happy to back him 100% now and then go back and delete this post in five years time if it doesn't work out.

We all swoon when he says things like wanting us to become the 'hardest team to play against' in the competition, but we'll have to wait and see how he intends on achieving that. I'm happy to be along for the ride. If you wanted a coach who you'd heard of, and who you have happy memories of during their playing days, then bad luck but if you wanted somebody who is going to take no shite from his players and will hopefully do a great line in verbally destroying journalists in press conferences around the country then here's the good times, and here's the hill, let them roll. I also love the twitch in his left eye. He's just ticking every box for me to believe that one day we'll lose and he'll cut a swathe through the press conference with a chainsaw. He's as cold as ice, willing to hack and slice.

It's also confirmed that he'll get his own team to work with, and that's a big goodbye to Josh Mahoney, Bryan Royal, Scott West etc.. The good news though is that Todd Viney stays. Todd seems infinitely more jocular than the man who replaces him but there's no doubt they're both fierce competitors and will hopefully get on nicely. Get Jack Viney in there already.

So, I'm as happy as you can get with a new coach at the moment. Though you just don't know with football. Mark Harvey went into this year looking at top four, was still at least within visible range of it three months ago and now finds himself out of a job. Just don't spaz out and threaten to microwave your (unpurchased) membership just because we didn't hire some superstar. And if we go out and get rolled in Round 1 next year don't forward project three seasons, decide he's no good, start sulking and not show up for the rest of the year. It may work, it may not - that's footy. Have some faith that eventually the skies will open, and the god of football will finally point his gigantic cosmic finger at us to deliver what we've all been waiting most of our lives for. Could happen. Probably won't, but as long as we get a few good years of legitimate hope out of it then I'll be satisfied.

Now the question is whether there's any truth to the rumor that Neil Craig is going to be a 'senior assistant' to him. Doesn't look like the kind of guy who would enjoy having a gruff South Australian hovering over him, and I'm still not sure Craig can operate in a non-South Australian environment. Maybe we can keep him in an oxygen tent full of air sourced from Victor Harbour and unleash him at nights only to follow Cale Morton around, leaping out at him from the shadows in carparks and scaring him until he's an edgy killing machine.

Watch this space. Well don't watch this exact space. This is already one more post than I expected to write before the end of the year.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Demonblog's 2011 End of Year Spectacular

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Doncaster Over 28's for the third annual Demonblog End Of Season Spectacular. Before any further ado let's cross to Moscow for our opening musical number.

Hi, my name is Supermercado. Thanks for joining us this morning, and let me tell you we invited a sparkling lineup of guests to present awards at this event.

From UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and the guy from the Deep Heat ad they were all on board until mysteriously pulling out in the hours after the Geelong game. Ban Ki cited some conflict in Libya, Jóhanna stopped returning my calls and the Deep Heat coach rang to say he refused to be associated with such a shambolic brand as the MFC but did advise me to breathe.... from the core.

So, instead we asked one of Australia's most loved, and cheapest to book, entertainers to join us - although he would like to point out that he’s got commitments to the Frogsack tour at 8pm and if we’re not done by then he’s just going to walk out.

Ladies and Gentlemen, a man so offensive that if you put him on the AFL Match Review Panel nobody would be able to tell the difference I give you Mr. Rodney Rude.

[enters to muted applause]

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. And ladies, don't you hate it ladies when you work your arse off to finish last in order to draft the next big thing and two years later he ditches you for a million bucks a year to go to a softcock expansion team? I hate that.

Anyway trendsetters, this morning we're gathered to look back at what was a long, difficult and often traumatic season for the Melbourne Football Club. You know, just before the ball was bounced for the first time in Round 1 my grandfather said something to me....

[audience member] "How's your grandfather?"

Oh mate me grandfather's depressed, he's the last man alive who can remember Melbourne being a premiership side.

In fact he's depressed because he's just been in court for stealing two pies at the football. "Were you gonna eat the pies?" said the judge. "No your worship" said my grandfather, I was going to hollow them out and put them over me ears so I couldn’t hear that dickhead playing the trumpet.

But that's enough from you mate. Yeah I recognise you. I saw you outside Gate 1 before the Gold Coast game trying to slurp the Kaiser’s Sausage! So shut your mouth mucus and let's move on to our first award of the evening.

Like handing out an award for wicketkeeper of the year there's only so many contenders who can be in contention for being the number one ruckman in a team. That's why it took us five years to invent this award so we had to come up with retrospective winners for the first few seasons.

Anyway this season two men went to battle for this one, and despite a brief fortnight when the fool who runs this site prematurely declared Jamar the winner only for him to be over-run, the winner for the first time is in fact The Stefan Martin Experience.

2011 Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year
24 - Stefan Martin
16 - Mark Jamar
0 - Max Gawn, Jack Fitzpatrick
DNP - Robert Campbell, Jake Spencer

Honour Roll
2005 - Jeff White
2006 - Jeff White (2)
2007 - Jeff White (3)
2008 - Paul Johnson
2009 - Mark Jamar ($3)
2010 - Mark Jamar (2) ($1.50 fav)
2011 - Stefan Martin ($30)

Congratulations to the SME. And now a tribute to you, the Demonblog readership, as we name our commenter of the year. From that small but dedicated group of people who not only take the time to read the garbage that is spewed out here on a weekly basis but also to write good, bad and often abusive comments we have one standout this year.

Lyall St Kilda we congratulate you. Your rants deserve a blog of their own, and were this not a one man operation run out of a bank vault in Snowtown we'd hire you as a columnist.

However a special place will always be reserved in all our hearts for Anonymous who tore through place leaving comments of such baffling beauty that it’s hard to narrow it down to his top five..

Top 6 Anonymous Comments for Season 2011
1. This may sound a little strange but last night they were like the Hammersmith Flyover, fast, crowded and to the point. Those bobmers crashed down, see the bobmers crash down. (every time I see Essendon play now all I can think of is "see the bobmers crash down" - Mercado)

2. as the chris morris-armando ianucci invented character alan partridge would say they looked like cattle riding bikes from the air

3. after the 20 minute mark of the first quarter they only passed to Melbourne players when they couldn't find a couple of north players in the clear, I really hope there's no betting scandal, inexplicable difference to the first 20 minutes and the garradine swine of the last three quarters.

4. I'm All Right Jack is a 1959 British comedy film directed and produced by John and Roy Boulting from a script by Frank Harvey, John Boulting and Alan Hackney, based on the novel Private Life by Hackney. The film is a sequel to the Boulting's 1956 film Private's Progress, and Ian Carmichael, Dennis Price, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas, and Miles Malleson all reprise their characters from the earlier film. Peter Sellers played one of his best-known roles, as the trade union shop steward Fred Kite, and won a Best Actor Award from the British Academy. The rest of the cast included many well-known British comedy actors of the time.

I am going to watch this on GEM in one hour's time hoping that Sellers uses the phrase "Garradine Swine", otherwise the last thirty years have affected my memory a little.

I predict we will demolish St.Kilda as the odds are against us and there is a lot of cash to win for a reasonable investment.

5. Mr Crossland, a german man, was dining with the Queen Mother when she stated "I always find beans so nourishing, do you grow beans in your native Germany, Mr Crossland" to which Mr. Crossland replied "shut up, don't you know I am a highly intelligent man?"

6. the dees have been twunted by a honda

Enjoy it while you can kids, anonymous comments are out the door next season. Sorry if that sounds rude but..

[audience member] "How rude are 'ya Rodney?"
Ohh not as rude as Melbourne's record against Victorian teams under Dean Bailey.

Shut up mate, I've seen you somewhere. I know where I saw you, you were hanging around Stephen Milne's house waiting for sloppy seconds! I'll be watching you mate.

But enough of that, at this moment I'm very pleased to welcome to the stage the man that the next award is named after. 43 games, 29 goals and one of the few pleasant things ever to come out of Moorabbin. Ladies and gentlemen a big Doncaster Venue 28 welcome for Jeff Hilton

2011 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year
11 - Jeremy Howe
6 - Sam Blease, Luke Tapscott
4 - Michael Evans
1 - Tom McDonald
0 - Jack Fitzpatrick, Max Gawn, Daniel Nicholson
DNP - Lucas Cook, Troy Davis, Kelvin Lawrence, Cameron Johnston

Congratulations to Jeremy who joins a lengthy honour roll of players. One of whom even turned out to be good.

2005 - No players eligible.
2006 - Matthew Bate
2007 - Michael Newton
2008 - Cale Morton
2009 - Jack Grimes ($4 fav)
2010 - Tom Scully ($5)
2011 - Jeremy Howe ($30)

Wait, ladies and gentlemen. We've just got some breaking news through from Sydney. Tom $cully has agreed to join GWS, and the owners of Demonblog have taken the unprecedented step of stripping him of his 2010 award a'la Milli Vanilli at the Grammys.

And so say all of us Tom,

Lucky you'll have your millions of dollars to keep you warm at night. Let's try that honour board again.

2005 - No players eligible.
2006 - Matthew Bate
2007 - Michael Newton
2008 - Cale Morton
2009 - Jack Grimes ($4 fav)
2011 - Jeremy Howe ($30)

Much better.

Thanks Jeff, feel free to grab a floppy $5 hot dog on your way out care of our friends at Delaware North catering. And how appropriate that Tom will be playing at Skoda Stadium next year, because his knee is about as reliable as a Skoda.

Anyway, back to players who have decided on loyalty over fat bags of cash. Remember, Tom McDonald and Jack Fitzpatrick are still eligible to win next year’s award because they debuted in the last month of the season.

Speaking of young Tom McDonald I was talking to him just the other day. I said "Tom, you're not the first McDonald to play for this club. What McHappened to that other McBloke who used to play for this great McClub?" "McJunior!" he cried, "I never met the McLegend but everybody tells me it was a McFarce that he got forced out of the door by sacked McCoach at the end of last McSeason".

"You’re McRight!" I cried, "these McClowns wouldn’t know the 4.32 footy special to Glen Waverley was up 'em unless it tooted the horn. Who's going to be next!"

"Joel Macdonald isn't looking all that McSecure” he said. "That’s McBullshit!" I screamed back at him, “First Matthew McWarnock demands a trade and now you're trying to push the McMadman from the North out the door after him. That’s McMadness!"

"I know Rodney" he said, "but if I can somehow engineer him to get the McArse that means I'll probably play 20 games next season". And you don’t get better McLogic than that. Just then Anthony McDonald walked in the room and it got so bloody confusing I just let the whole thing go.

And now, on that note it's time for our next award. One where we pay tribute to the defenders, the men who have spent the last five years under the biggest siege since Hitler had a crack at Russia. Men whose feats of bravery and courage during this time are only matched by the thousand yard stares that they’ve developed from having been under attack for so long.

It's time to add another name to the honour roll of great backmen to have served this club. Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome to the stage one of the most reported players in Melbourne Football Club history. 89 games, 8 goals, 12 matches suspended - a big hand for Mr. Marcus Seecamp.

2011 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year
18 - James Frawley
15 - Colin Garland
14 - Joel Macdonald
11 - Jared Rivers
6 - Luke Tapscott, Sam Blease
3 - Jack Grimes
1 - Tom McDonald
0 - Matthew Warnock, Jamie Bennell, James Strauss

Congratulations Chip for becoming the first man ever to win this award three times in a row. We look forward to seeing his defensive work at the heart of this team for many years to come.

2005 - Nathan Carroll and Ryan Ferguson (shared)
2006 - Jared Rivers
2007 - Paul Wheatley
2008 - Matthew Whelan
2009 - James Frawley ($22)
2010 - James Frawley (2) ($3.50)
2011 - James Frawley (3) ($4)

And now, back to our glorious proprietor for a look at what we had to go through in 2011.

That was the season that was
Pre-Season Preview - In which I picked us to finish 7th before losing my nerve and changing to 11th by the time of the pre-season update post.

Intra-Club game
A day at the footy.. kinda (by Eskimo)
In which Eskimo cast the first eye of the season over our squad and discovered that at least we could win when we played against ourselves.

NAB Cup Round 1 vs Adelaide/Port Adelaide
In which we snapped our near ten year filth record at Football Park by winning two glorified practice matches under baffling rules against sides who turned out to be not very good at all in the end.

NAB Cup Quarter Final vs Essendon
Keep Feeling (Agitation)
In which we turned out another in a long line of garbage performances at Docklands and contrived to make Essendon fans feel so good about themselves that they gave a standing ovation to the coach for winning a pre-season match.

Practice Match vs Brisbane
Let the good times roll
In which we lost to early wooden spoon contenders at a 95% empty Princes Park and my blood pressure went through the roof.

Round 1 vs Sydney
It's a weird and wonderful world
In which we were 73 points worse off than our last start against the Swans at the MCG but nobody cared because we still pocketed two points.

Round 2 vs Hawthorn
National Shite Day
In which a premiership contender turned up and put us back in our box with brutality. The sound of expectations bursting nearly deafened large sections of the crowd.

Round 3 vs Brisbane
Cute, Fluffy and not even slightly Ruthless
In which we welcomed the winless Lions to the MCG and faced an almighty struggle to beat them. Better than the practice match at least. Also in which my talkback radio rant about perceived misuse of Jack Watts ended up in the Finey's Final Siren promo, nearly causing me to crash my car on Bay Street, Port Melbourne when hearing it for the first time.

Round 4 vs Gold Coast
Advanced, Forthright, Insignificant
In which I travelled to the Gabba to watch us flog a bunch of 14-year-old rookies and go home disappointed despite winning by 90 points.

Round 5 vs Nobody
In which we sportingly had the bye for the Easter long weekend and I went to Omeo.

Round 6 vs West Coast
Spaghetti Western
In which expectations unfairly raised based on two wins against rubbish teams were burst for a second time when the Eagles unsportingly refused to let us get the ball inside 50 for most of the night. Cue Dean Bailey Media Frenzy pt. 1

Round 7 vs Adelaide
Crisis Management 101
In which the First Media Frenzy was buried in a shallow grave care of a thumping, runaway victory over hapless interstate visitors. Also in which an injury free first six weeks of the season ended and an era of black death style plague was ushered in.

Round 8 vs North Melbourne
Shit Sandwich
In which we belied the injury crisis and played like we were good for a quarter before it all went horribly wrong. Juice Newton seen having the time of his life for the first 20 minutes before regular service was resumed. Injury crisis got worse.

Round 9 vs St Kilda
If you tolerate this your children will be next
When we played the Saints back into form after their horror start to the season. A late flurry of junktime goals made it look more respectable than it otherwise deserved to be. Injury crisis continued to get worse.

Round 10 vs Carlton
Zombie Nation
In which we set up to try and go into quarter time at nil-all and it suprisingly didn't work. Channel Seven executives kill themselves en masse at what we did to their ratings, and in a rare show of solidarity the media supports them by launching Bailey Frenzy II.

Round 11 vs Essendon
Violent Mood Swings
In which Bailey Frenzy II ended in the same timeframe as the original. The wobbling Bombers were put to what counts as the sword for us, yet somehow managed to end the season having beaten Geelong and making the finals. Not that it did them much good. We could have been thrashed just as convincingly by the Blues if we'd finished 8th.

Round 12 vs Collingwood
One Hit Wonders
In which we were briefly teased a 2010 style performance before the inevitable thrashing at the hands of the reigning premiers. We'd almost beaten them twice the year before you know..

Round 13 vs Fremantle
Rollercoaster of Love
In which an injury riddled Dockers side gave us cheek for a half before folding like a house of cards and being thrashed. Misguided excitement suddenly injected back into the supporter base.

Round 14 vs Richmond
Let them burn and we shall all clap our hands
In which we won what was billed as an "early Elimination Final" and suddenly started to think we were a chance of making the finals. Both sides would provide little or nothing of interest for the next month and a half and they'd eventually finish above us.

Round 15 vs Footscray
Dog Day Aftermath
In which we went into a Friday night as favourites, against a side on their knees, ready to consolidate our place amongst the challengers for eight. And were royally thrashed. Another week, another shit team played back into form.

Round 16 vs Nobody
In which we got a week to stew on the fiasco against the Dogs whilst simultaneously shitting ourselves at the prospect of losing to Port.

Round 17 vs Port Adelaide
The thriller in (conditions resembling) Manilla
In which we pocketed big bucks for selling our home game to Darwin and managed to hold on against the worst team in the land despite having to hold quarter breaks in a room usually used to store meat.

Round 18 vs Hawthorn
The light at the end of the tunnel (is the light of an oncoming train)
In which our "month from hell" started in poor fashion. Still, didn't matter because as long as we won our last three we'd made the finals. As long as we didn't totally lose the plot by getting thrashed in Geelong at least..

Round 19 vs Geelong
'In the dark times will there be singing? Yes, there will be singing about the dark times
In which I said "oh dear" and took the V-Line train home with a look of abject shock. This time the Bailey Frenzy lasted about 18 hours and ended up with him getting the boot. Somehow this result won the CEO a contract extension. Work that out.

Round 20 vs Carlton
Bloodsport for all
In which we donned novelty headbands in honour of a new coach and saw another shambolic performance against a quality side.

Round 21 vs West Coast
Shaky minus ladder
In which the game that before the season seemed to be our best chance to get a win at Docklands suddenly became another excuse for a good team to tee off on us. Ricky Petterd's mum featured heavily in the post match dissections.

Round 22 vs Richmond
Be strong, it's almost over
In which we finally managed to lose a game by under a million points. Sadly it was against one of our fellow rubbish teams and absolutely ended any slight mathmatical hope we had of making the eight. Why did we still have any hope?

Round 23 vs Gold Coast
It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again
In which we went far too close to losing to the Queensland Under 18's than you'd like and stayed in the race for a 9th placed finish. Coincidentally the same day that everybody said "why in god's name would you have a top 9?"

Round 24 vs Port Adelaide
Viney's Final Siren
In which we helped welcome football back to the Adelaide Oval by allowing Port to avoid the wooden spoon to the joy of 25,000 yokels and the general despair of my neighbours who had to hear all about it while inanimate objects were smashed.

Thank god that's over. Now back to our host...

Y'know, the other day I got a letter asking me to renew my membership. I wrote back and said "you can do what a duck can’t do, stick your bill up your arse". But even in these dark times there have been some players who have given us joy with their performance. There are also quite a lot who got votes just because we had to hand out five every week.

And so that brings us to the most prestigious award in Australian Rules Football. Like the Brownlow, Norm Smith and Coleman Medals added together, multiplied by the Bluey Truscott and divided by the Liston Medal, it’s time to add another name to the honour roll of great footballers.

And to present this award it gives me the greatest pleasure to welcome the man who you, dear Demonblog readers and sympathisers, helped bring back to prominence by making the day in his honour one of the highest trending topics on Twitter. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Allen Jakovich.

[crowd rises for a five minute standing ovation]

"Even though the club shafted me by not making me one of the 150 Heroes, and even though they've shut up shop on the Hall Of Fame so that I can never be inducted I'm more than happy to be here today presenting the 7th edition of the medal struck in my honour way back in 2005.

There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and the six men who have lifted this award have had six seasons ranging from magnificent, to pretty good, to just better than the rubbish he was playing alongside.

So this morning, to a man who wore my jumper number as a kid I say congratulations to Brent Moloney on your victory. After party is on Fitzroy Street."

Brent Moloney is unable to be here today, the owners of Demonblog would like to accept the medal on his behalf. We'll put it alongside the other six that have never been claimed.

2011 Allen Jakovich Medal
35 - Brent Moloney
32 - Colin Sylvia
27 - Jordie McKenzie
24 - Stefan Martin, Jack Watts
18 - James Frawley
16 - Mark Jamar, Jack Trengove
15 - Colin Garland
14 - Joel Macdonald
11 - Ricky Petterd, Jared Rivers, Jeremy Howe (WINNER: Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year), Nathan Jones
10 - Jordan Gysberts
8 - Brad Green
6 - Luke Tapscott, Lynden Dunn, Sam Blease
5 - Rohan Bail
4 - Michael Evans, Tom $cully
3 - Matthew Bate, Clint Bartram, Jack Grimes, Liam Jurrah
2 - Neville Jetta
1 - Addam Maric, Tom McDonald

PhotobucketThanks Jako, and you know Jako I was just hanging around Chapel Street the other day, sipping lattes and checking out the action when I pivoted a bit and who did I see. Another ex-Demon forward, Brad Miller! "Brad!", I said "What's your season been like?"

Photobucket"Well I’ve got some good news and bad news for you" he said, pulling a copy of the league ladder out of his pocket.

"The bad news is that my team finished one spot above yours on the ladder".

“That is bad" I said "What's the good news?”
“Well Rodney, see my wife Pia?”
I said "yeah!"
He yelled "The good news is I'm rooting her" and leapt onto the Route 78 tram.

Anyway, that's it. The night's over. You can piss off home.

But first I'd like to sing a song that I just came up with. Ready? Here we go.

"I wrote a letter to Chris J**d. I put the address Crunt, Carlton. He got it."

That's all I know of that one. Now, we're finishing the night with good old fashioned Aussie limericks. Who’s got one? Come on up.

There once was a coach from Port Power
The draft for good players he would scour
He played forwards down back
Til the place was off track
Now we’ll never be a superpower"

"There once was a day in Geelong
With everything that could went wrong
The coach got the sack
Schwab was asked to come back
And nobody sang the theme song"

There was a young star named Tom
Who took to the game with aplomb
We rorted the draft
Then he gave us the shaft
Now we hope his career will bomb"

Goodbye tax dodgers, see you again next year.