Wednesday 12 September 2012

Demonblog's End of Year Spectacular 2012

Now, live from TSP Towers in Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico it's the 7th annual Demonblog End of Year review. Let's get ready for light entertainment...

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Supermercado and as we come to the end of another year together it means that it's time to tie another #farceshambles together and look back at where it all went horribly wrong yet again.

We also gather to speculate whether there's any chance that we'll see a premiership before the seas rise far enough for the 2040 AFL Home and Away season to be played atop Mount Kilamanjaro.

To present our first award of the evening please welcome the retrospective winner of the 1976 Pelaco VFL Best Dressed Coach award, the one and only Mr. Bob Skilton.

2012 Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year

In a way this marks the most difficult award to present because in such a small field a handful of decent performances in otherwise terrible games can leap a man up the leaderboard in a way that may cause some to spit their drink and/or throw their monitor/phone/generic tablet device from an upstairs window.

This year we honour a man who did just that, playing only seven games but providing so much more than light comic relief in ther ruck. A man who if rumours are to be believed will be off to find fame and fortune elsewhere before long. Fresh from finishing 30th in the Best and Fairest, the coaching staff may not like him but we do, for the second year in a row I give you the thinking man's Nic Naitanui - THE Stefan Martin Experience.

Final votes
16 - Stefan Martin
3 - Mark Jamar
0 - Jake Spencer
DQ - Jack Fitzpatrick
DNP - Max Gawn

After starting as second favourite, Stef becomes the third man to win the award twice. Will he be around to go for three in a row in 2013? Can Jamar play another full season and get the job done, or will we all come around to accepting the power and mystery of The Spencil?

Your previous winners in full:

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)
2012 - Stefan Martin (2) ($9)

For the next award of the evening we're pleased to welcome back one of the very popular former winners of the award. Please give a big hand for [REVOKED]

2012 Jeff Hilton Rising Star Award

"Wowee, it's good to be here. This is the best reception I've had from Melbourne fans yet.

You know, being judged the best young player by your coaches, peers or some fat bastard off the internet is a real honour. What made it even more special for me was knowing that I was already on a promise to the pay day of a life time at another club. So, as I present this award I encourage all the nominees to take the easy way out and run off for a huge pay day instead of accepting the responsibility of helping drag a proud club back to its feet."

Your winner, the first man to triumph courtesy of the "debut in the last month of previous season" rule, mixed key defensive jobs with spectacular clangers and we loved him for it. James Magner made the early running, he stormed back to level the scores and finally broke the deadlock with a decent showing in an indecent team against Fremantle.

Nobody else bothered to show up, so a big hand please for the only player ever to follow @demonblog on Twitter it's the man who has already made Melbourne fans forget the Tom McNamara era, it's Mr. Tom McDonald.

Final votes
15 - Tom McDonald
13 - James Magner
0 - Tom Couch, Jack Fitzpatrick, Josh Tynan
DNP - Lucas Cook, Troy Davis, Kelvin Lawrence, Rory Taggert, Jai Sheahan and Leigh Williams.

Previous winners:
2005 - No players eligible.
2006 - Matthew Bate
2007 - Michael Newton
2008 - Cale Morton
2009 - Jack Grimes ($4 fav)
2010 - [REVOKED] ($5)
2011 - Jeremy Howe ($30)
2012 - Tom McDonald ($8)

NB: The award was the Jeff Hilton Rookie of the Year from 2005-2011.

Thanks to [REVOKED] for taking time out of his busy schedule throwing hundred dollar bills in the air and trying to find somebody who has any respect for him to return to the club and present the award which made him such a rich, rich man. Buy us a house you crunt.

Now, let's cross to Mean Gene Okerlund in the Demonblog Control Centre for the first half of our look back at the year. Stay strong, there's only two parts to it. But they're both 11 games long so you might want to have a drink first.

That was the season that was - Part One

Pre-season preview - in which we thought it was being needlessly downcast and negative to predict a 13th placed finish.

NAB Cup Round 1 vs Brisbane and Gold Coast
Lukewarm three way action
In which we struggled to beat Gold Coast and everyone went "hold on, we might actually still be as shit as we were during 186"

NAB Cup match 2 vs Collingwood
Let's go fundamental
But that only lasted a week, because soon enough we were beating up on a Collingwood side featuring two Irishmen and an American and everyone thought it actually meant something. It didn't. The Herald Sun even went so far as to say Neeld "took the Demons' rebirth to a new level" before whoever wrote it went back later in the year and changed it to say STAFF WRITER when things went tits up.

NAB Cup match 3 vs Hawthorn
And here's where it started going tits up. Even the most deeply cynical of all of us got a little a bit excited after the Collingwood game, buying in to the media hype (thanks very much you Herald Sun BASTARDS) and thinking that just maybe we could give the finals a shake. Then David Hale kicked six, the half-strength Hawks made us look stupid and it became fairly clearly that we were still both flotsam and/or jetsam.

Practice match vs Port Adelaide
Nervous sweating and adjustment of the upper collar
If the Hawthorn match could have been written off as the natural product of a top four side tonking one that wasn't very good at all, our predicament became clear as we glued ourselves to the radio on a Friday night and listened to some toothless South Australian simpletons delivering the worst call in the history of football as we sunk without a trace and Colin Sylvia suffered a broken back. Still, it was only a practice match right?

Round 1 vs Brisbane
You've got to laugh (again)
Sure we got tonked by Hawthorn, and sure we lost to Port convincingly but we never beat good teams or win in Adelaide so surely it was all going to be ok wasn't it? Well it was alright for the first half before the steaming shit sandwich was delivered and the downward spiral of death began. Mitch Clark struggled, Neeld told the truth in the press conference and got slaughtered for it and we all died a little bit inside.

Round 2 vs West Coast
Weird and twisted nights
Any suggestion that the Round 1 debacle was a one-off was put to bed when the team went west and left their ability to play football in the east. Other than Mitch Clark who thankfully turned out to be quite good while all around him crumbled like a collapsing building. It was at this point that the public mood began to tilt towards mass panic.

Round 3 vs Richmond
A clear choice between vulgarity and obscenity
A chance for redemption against one of the handful of sides we could be relied upon to consistently win against during the dark era (except the last time we played them) and once again we stuck with them for a half before being blown into a million pieces of stringy skin and detonated limbs. Nine goals to one in the third quarter and you could officially shelve any sick fantasies you had about making the eight.

Round 4 vs Footscray
Rock Bottom Redux
Another chance at getting things back on track against a side almost as bad as us, and the only non-franchise in the competition with a forward line more in need of a dose of Viagra than us. Sadly as we paid tribute to Jim, Mitch Clark almost ended his career by falling on his head and we never put in any more than token resistance as our status as a potential bottom three team was confirmed.

Round 5 vs St Kilda
The tide hastens for no man
In which despite the loss of Clark and Frawley we pushed the still half-decent Saints right into the middle of the last quarter before they kicked away - assisted neatly by us failing to score for the entire term. Which was nice.

Round 6 vs Geelong
I'm a country member
Where, after I'd pussied out of going to a game in Victoria when free for the first time in nearly a decade, we didn't do at all badly considering that the spectre of 186 hung over us. Still lost though.

Round 7 vs Hawthorn
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue
Buoyed by a half decent performance in Geelong, but still wary of a number of kickings we'd received from the Hawks in recent years we went into our one contractually obligated, ratings killing Friday night appearance of the year and put in the old token first quarter before running up the white flag and being thrashed to buggery. You were officially free to do as you please with Friday nights for the next four months.

Round 8 vs Sydney
Death by a thousand cuts
At this point any early season optimism had completely been replaced by serious mental illness and we started acting like this guy.

There might have been some positives - Watts and Blease playing wildcard cracking games - and the return of The Jurrahcane we were all still left screaming "WE CRAWL ON OUR KNEES TOWARDS OUR DOOM!" at the end of the match by the time we'd had our biggest loss ever in Round 8 and Jurrah had done his ankle never - as it turns out - to be seen again. "What's for breakfast mother, maggots on toast?"

Round 9 vs Carlton
Hashtag surrender
Well it was better than the Sydney game at least. Were we ever going to win a match...

Round 10 vs Essendon
Reunited (and it feels so good)
...INDEED WE WERE! Off the back of our forward line being makeshift and Essendon's putting in one of the most remarkably inept performances in the history of football we somehow managed to pull off the greatest upset EVER based on ladder positions. Which doesn't mean much considering it wouldn't have been possible before last year. Garland kicked the winner, I almost went the vom. It was a great night out.

Round 11 vs Collingwood
Squashed by the reality bus
Where we came in on a high, with an even more makeshift forward line than the week before, and got spifflicated early in the piece before making it respectable late on then getting thrashed anyway. All of this while I sat there listening to some drunken slurry Pies fan yell out random shit all day before (allegedly) taking on all comers on Brunton Avenue afterwards.


We'll be back with part two of the season in review (it gets marginally better) soon, but for now - back from their tour of the Baltic states by popular demand it's the Demonblog Solid Brown Dancers.

And now, please welcome to the stage to present our next award one of the great defenders of our time. Mr Phil Gilbert.

2012 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender Of The Year

This award pays tribute to the men who, with some notable exceptions, have kept the wolves at bay during some of the darkest times in the history of this club. Men who have withstood barrages for years and come out with the battle scars and thousand yard stares to prove their dedication to the cause. Men who sadly don't wear twirly moustaches anymore. These are your defenders.

And this year the award goes for the first time to a man who walked the precipice between defence and midfield, threatening at times to find himself disqualified for spending too much time out of contention. Despite this the Seecamp Committee endorsed his nomination and as such we are very pleased for the very first time to honour this man for both his defensive efforts and remaining one year injury free. Please put your hands together for the co-captain of the Melbourne Football Club Mr. Jack Grimes.

Final votes
29 - Jack Grimes
15 - Tom McDonald
11 - James Frawley
8 - Joel Macdonald
2 - Colin Garland
0 - Troy Davis, James Strauss
DQ - Jamie Bennell, Stefan Martin, Jared Rivers, James Sellar

The honour board:
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)
2012 - Jack Grimes ($7)

MFC Facebook Comment of the Year

First a compilation of introduction videos - look out for the never seen before 0-11 one at the end which, thankfully, was shelved before it was required.

5th place goes to a non-malicious post that nevertheless managed to deliver some grand slam player name spelling errors. Shame Pettard, Maloney and McClean weren't involved that week.

4th place goes to the last person in Australia who doesn't understand the concept of a delayed telecast

3rd place goes to somebody who confused the best atmosphere at a Melbourne game in years with apathy while simultaneously applauding the efforts of a bunch of cockheads in orange wigs

2nd place goes to the guy who thinks that we should trade Morton and/or Moloney from the reserves for Ablett or Judd.

But of course 1st place couldn't go to anybody else, as family loyalty trumps common sense yet somehow finds more than one person willing to put their name to liking it.

Bonus - Twitter comment of the year


Now, back to the Control Centre for the second part of our season in review. And here's your host, fresh from declaring that the dressage team had 'put some horseshoe on it' in London - it's #shootdwayne!

That was the season that was - part two

Round 12 vs Nobody
We all had a well earned break and plotted ways to abuse $cully

Round 13 vs Greater Western Sydney
Fear and Loathing in the Olympic Stand
Where we abused $cully and eventually ran away to a decent win despite a) being pox in the first quarter and b) being not much better than pox in the last. Also dear Mitch suffered a season ending injury. At least we didn't lose to the $2m Turd.

Round 14 vs Brisbane
Taking The Clunge
Where without Clark and with Rivers and Garland proving why they were makeshift forwards at best we had more inside 50's and still managed to lose by ten goals.

Round 15 vs Richmond
Trading while insolvent
The week where everybody, including the players, started to desperately look for the finish line.

Round 16 vs Fremantle
50 Shades of Brown
The traditional Empty Stadium Match at Docklands where nobody saw us take an early lead and then slowly suffocate (via a strange detour to being good again in the third quarter) before being whipped in the last quarter and playing Freo into form at the right time of the year.

Round 17 vs Port Adelaide
Begone vile creatures
Where the financially necessary but soul destroying trip to Darwin saw another solid first quarter performance quickly transform into mass pumpkinage. Match forgotten by absolutely everyone ten minutes later, including the Port Adelaide board who were frantically trying to sack the coach.

Round 18 vs North Melbourne
A match that only existed to get us through to what seemed like a guaranteed win the next week.

Round 19 vs Gold Coast
You take it where you can get it
And a guaranteed win it was thank god. After racking up the biggest first quarter lead in many a year dreams turned to a massive, morale boosting victory but four quarter efforts are far too much to ask for and we were then pretty much outplayed for the rest of the day.

Round 20 vs St Kilda
Landfill football
Where St Kilda first rampaged to a match winning third quarter, then gave up in the last and let us make it interesting. Also popular interplanetary visitor Sam Blease booted five, cementing his position as the next big post-Jurrah cult figure.

Round 21 vs Greater Western Sydney
Everything looks better in slow motion
Where we travelled to the nation's capital, nobody turned up and we were only marginally less terrible than they were.

Round 22 vs Adelaide
I've grown accustomed to your farce
Token efforts early became the usual slopfest as talk in the stands turned to the guy in the Crows cheersquad who was engaging security guards in conversation with a glove puppet.

Round 23 vs Fremantle
One day in September
Where we achieved a token September appearance and then struggled to kick five goals in a perfect send of for a year that nobody will want to remember in a hurry.

And now, it's that time of the night where we pay tribute to the one man who rose above the grim, no glory duty of playing for the Melbourne Football Club and

To present the award, please welcome the man himself. Back from the fishing trawler, the copper mine, the remote island prison or wherever else he's supposed to have been for the last year. Please rise to your feet for the one, the only Allen Jakovich.

2012 Allen Jakovich Medal

"Thanks for inviting me to this glorious occassion again. As the man who should have won this award with a flying finish in 1991 - if anybody had known what blogs were at the time - it always gives me a thrill to return from exile once a year and bestow the honour of receiving this important award on one player.

This year we present a repeat winner for the first time in the award's history. A man who dominated in his early years before sinking into the MFC quagmire to the point whether we all wondered if he was just a 'good ordinary' who would be eclipsed by a star studded list of newly drafted midfield sensations. Well either he wasn't or they were all just rubbish (or a bit of both) but this year nobody deserved this award more than the man who started as favourite led from the front all season, capturing the lead in this award a month into the year and never letting go.

Friends and sympathisers please remain upstanding for the winner of the 2012 Allen Jakovich Medal - with a record vote tally - Nathan Jones".

56 - Nathan Jones
29 - Jack Grimes
27 - Jeremy Howe
20 - Jack Watts
17 - Mitch Clark
16 - Stefan Martin, Colin Sylvia
15 - Tom McDonald, Jordie McKenzie
13 - James Magner, Daniel Nicholson
12 - Jared Rivers
11 - James Frawley
10 - Sam Blease
9 - Brent Moloney
8 - Matthew Bate, Joel Macdonald
6 - Lynden Dunn
5 - Clint Bartram, Brad Green
4 - Neville Jetta, Jack Trengove
3 - Mark Jamar, Luke Tapscott
2 - Rohan Bail, Colin Garland
1 - James Sellar
0 - Jamie Bennell, Lucas Cook, Tom Couch, Aaron Davey, Troy Davis, Michael Evans, Jack Fitzpatrick, Max Gawn, Jordan Gysberts, Liam Jurrah, Kelvin Lawrence, Ricky Petterd, Jai Sheahan, Jake Spencer, James Strauss, Rory Taggert, Josh Tynan, Leigh Williams

Your past champions in full (year-by-year votes):
2005 - Travis Johnstone
2006 - Brock McLean
2007 - Nathan Jones
2008 - Cameron Bruce
2009 - Aaron Davey ($8)
2010 - Brad Green ($4)
2011 - Brent Moloney ($9)
2012 - Nathan Jones [2] ($3.50)

Thanks Jako, we're almost done here. There's just the small matter of our last set of MFC Power Rankings for the Year. With the slate wiped clean for the start of 2012, the Best and Fairest giving us some indication of who fits where and some already having departed, where will your favourites rank?

Good night friends, thanks for your support over another tough season. Demonblog will be back in 2013 for more keyboard mashing and arguably defamatory comments about opposition players. Roll these over the credits.

Power Rankings - season finale

(1) 1. Nathan Jones
(4) 2. Jack Grimes
(17) 3. Mitch Clark
(2) 4. James Frawley
(5) 5. Tom McDonald
(7) 6. Jordie McKenzie
(6) 7. Colin Garland
(12) 8. Jack Trengove
(8) 9. Jared Rivers
(3) 10. Colin Sylvia
(9) 11. Jeremy Howe
(13) 12. Mark Jamar
(20) 13. Lynden Dunn
(10) 14. Jack Watts
(19) 15. Sam Blease
(21) 16. Rohan Bail
(14) 17. Daniel Nicholson
(24) 18. Clint Bartram
(15) 19. Joel Macdonald
(30) 20. James Sellar
(11) 21. Stefan Martin
(26) 22. James Strauss
(23) 23. Aaron Davey
(22) 24. James Magner
(28) 25. Luke Tapscott
(34) 26. Jake Spencer
(25) 27. Cale Morton
(39) 28. Max Gawn
(35) 29. Neville Jetta
(27) 30. Matthew Bate
(36) 31. Jack Fitzpatrick
(32) 32. Tom Couch
(31) 33. Ricky Petterd
(29) 34. Jordan Gysberts
(41) 35. Josh Tynan
(40) 36. Jamie Bennell
(44) 37. Jai Sheahan
(38) 38. Troy Davis
(37) 39. Lucas Cook
(43) 40. Leigh Williams
(42) 41. Michael Evans
(45) 42. Rory Taggert
(16) 43. Brad Green
(18) 44. Brent Moloney
(33) 45. Liam Jurrah
(46) 46. Kelvin Lawrence

Monday 3 September 2012

One day in September

I'd love to say this post is fantastically late because I was out on the piss for Mad Monday with Nathan Carroll and we'd only just been released from police custody, but it was just a case of having too many better things to do than piece together strands of a post written on two different computers, a phone - and at one point when something came to me in a train - pieces of crumpled paper.

Shouldn't have bothered in the end I'm sure you'll agree, but as Bill Hicks said...

It would have taken a brave pundit to publicly claim that this game was going to be anything less than a steaming pile of toxic turd. When the main storyline of the week was Leigh Matthews advising the Dockers to openly point shave against a team they couldn't lose to in a million years in order to ensure a home final that should have been the cue for all but the most tragic supporters to find something better to do on Saturday night.

And indeed they did, with just 81,000 bothering to tune in. It wasn't quite the tax write-off that our match against GWS was (57k) but still when Fox Sports tally up where they've had value for money in the first year of the broadcast rights there won't be many of our games featuring in the top 100.

For those of us who a) had nothing better to do, b) have a track record for severe Bob Flanagan grade masochism or both there was the chance to see one last limp performance as everyone on and off-field desperately stretched for the finish line after having spent the whole year crashing into every hurdle imaginable.

Those of us who did subject ourselves to a going away farceshambles before the year ended at least saw the Melbourne Football Club strike a vital blow for the integrity of the competition. Yes, that Melbourne Football Club. Table this at the Tankquiry - with Freo provided the opportunity to manipulate the result in order to finish lower and get a 'home' final by default we took a stand and said no. They needed to beat us by no more than seven (if we scored 40, but how shit would you have to be to.. oh, I see) and we opened the game by gifting the two goals before 21 of 22 players (though I'll excuse designed council worker vestee Josh Tynan) had managed a single possession. NO CASE TO ANSWER YOUR HONOUR.

In the sworn testimony in front of the Grand Jury we might not mention that losing benefited our draft position, but let's be fair there are a lot of MFC players who have gone through their entire career not winning in Perth despite having a red hot go so why should this have been any different? Even with our best 22 out there we'd still have ended up being squished like a bug, so the question was just how bad it was going to go get and how much fight would be shown as we were inevitably put to the sword.

When a team has had a bottom-of-the-harbour scheme style season they're supposed to field a team full of kids and roll over and die in the last round, and we did our bit for both stereotypes by putting on the Fitz and bringing Tynan back then getting belted - but does it always have to be like that? We can't all be so lucky to play mental teams like Melbourne or Richmond in the last round but how do Port climb off the canvas two years in a row after nightmare years to put in a respectable performance in the last game with a team full of nobodies? Beating us in the last round of 2011 didn't help Port much, but at least it gave their fans a few months of belief rather than a creeping dread about being shit yet again next season.

Then there's GWS who had an even better excuse to run around in front of an empty stadium and take their deserved beating against North. They'll all barely out of primary school, have been waffled almost every week for six months and are being forced to play Israel Folau just because. Yet somehow they manage to trouble North to the point where the Roos put in a stinker and 'only' win by five goals, all but forfeiting their chance to stay in Melbourne in the first week of the finals and putting Freo in an almost unmanageable position to massage the result and stay in Perth for week one.

Sure they COULD have put the handbrake on in spectacular fashion and either lost to us (highly unlikely), let us get close enough to manipulate percentage appropriately OR they could just belt us as you'd expect and enjoy the experience no matter what the implications are for having to travel to an Elimination Final.

In the end they had a bit each way before realising we'd declined the written invitation to have a go and from halfway through the second quarter decided they'd might as well put on a training drill with some white clad traffic cones instead. Sadly for Roscoe the margin in the North game had left his in an almost unrortable position, and so we got kicked to buggery.

Not that I'm suggesting he ever considered pulling off any shenanigans, I'm in the Andrew Demetriou camp where I firmly believe tanking and the manipulation of results does not exist. So let's shut down the Tankquiry and give us some extra picks to say thanks for keeping Freo honest.

But who gives a shit about Ross Lyon, Freo or North right now? Let's concentrate on our own self-loathing and anguish at the end of what was the worst season since 1981 (messiah failure), 1997 (statistical fiasco) or 2007 (shock explosion) depending on how old you are.

Just when you thought you'd had two fingers waved in your general direction by this club enough times in 2012 it was a classic last minute FU to go out kicking just five goals. At least usually even when things turn out badly you might get seven or eight goals minimum - maybe something memorable to send us off into the post-season? Nah, bugger it we'll have three Bailey Quarters in one game instead. It wasn't our lowest score of the season (no really), and we didn't lose by a hundred but it was certainly an apt way to shut the door on a year which gargled some of the sweatiest plums in all of the known universe.

It's a surprise we didn't lose by more considering how much Freo dominated and how our players lost the ability to hit a target via handball from two metres away, but they did clock off en masse for the first half of the second quarter. The unkind would say the only reason we dominated for ten minutes was because Freo were trying to measure the lengths they'd have to go to in order to get the 'dream' result, but how about we give our side some credit for once and say they actually had a good stretch. It was just that we had a forward line consisting of Fitz and nobody else so of course we weren't going to capitalise.

If Freo were playing normally with no thought to the end result it wasn't for want of encouragement to open up on the rorts from the Fox Footy commentary team, and more specifically Dermott Brereton. It started when they interviewed Lyon before the game and he had to stand there being diplomatic as this clown stands there openly asking him if he's going to match fix. Then for the first three quarters every piece of stream-of-consciousness bollocks that came out of his mouth was related to how they were going to go about fixing the score. Freo's lawyers must have knocked on the door of the Fox Sports commentary booth at 3/4 time because he finally gave up rather than wasting our last quarter of footy for the year guffawing about how difficult it would be for Freo to blow a 50 point lead.

I rank Derm one level above Dwayne Russell, Tony Shaw and Brian Taylor. As long as we're not involved I can watch a game where he's calling and deal with some rambling bollocks, but when we're involved it makes me want to kick the TV in.

The commentary team cheerleading for one side to roll over for the other was distracting enough, but in a game where the opposition get 108 more disposals and we kick bugger all goals how am I supposed to remember any more than a handful of interesting moments?

I certainly remember Joel Macdonald becoming the latest player to suffer from my stamp of approval and take more than a quarter to get a kick before promptly shanking it straight out of bounds. I remember Watts hitting a target every time he got the ball but spending the rest of the time running around looking like he wanted to be anywhere else. I remember a LOT of ineffective disposals. One thing I don't remember was Blease doing anything other than kicking a ripper of a goal, because he didn't do anything else.

Yet again the midfield rested almost entirely on Jones' shoulders (despite a tag) with some token late season help from Sylvia and cameo appearances by McKenzie and Trengove - both of whom tried the hearts out but can't kick to save themselves. All that and Sandilands treating Jamar with disrespect at bounces before wandering forward and outmarking everyone because he's a bloody giraffe. Hitouts are as big a myth as inside 50's, but if you're going to lose them then get ready to win clearances or get ready to be beaten up.

Yet again the backline were forced to prop us up and block total disaster. Frawley looked far better than he has for the last few weeks and but for a couple of wonky kicks McDonald continued to be solid. Also Grimes - how good has his end of the year been? If Jones has been our best player from Round 1 and will win the Best and Fairest by 2000 votes I suspect Grimetime might run a close second in the latter part of the year. Here's to his first injury free season not being his last a'la the perennially crocked Jamar.

Nicholson was good too, and for once I'm willing to look past atrocious disposal to give votes to somebody who didn't hit targets because most of the time he was panic kicking due to lack of targets after going and getting the ball with hard work. Possibly not getting a game in a finals bound team, but we're not going to be one any time soon so welcome to the senior list. At least if it all goes wrong he's got an excuse for playing like he came from the amateurs.

The Dockers were kind enough not to totally kill us in the last quarter but even if they hadn't scored we'd have had to go another four quarters to even get close to the magic score. Fitz tried hard and I'm glad he got two goals but he's got a lot of work to do in the off-season. Obviously they're not even considering him as a ruckman in the future because he didn't get a token run against Sandi in the middle so the second/third tall forward job is his to have a proper go at. The only downside was that between the televised Casey game the previous Saturday and the start of this one was that he'd shaved off the beard combined with his straggly hair to make him look like a cult leader. Cult leader = cult figure so get the David Koresh look back in by the start of pre-season training.

Other than a few token nice moments from us and their self-preservation/attempts to spoon feed Pavlich the Coleman Medal (which would have ultimately been useless anyway) there wasn't much else to recommend the rest of the game. If there was nobody watching it at the start of the night god knows how many hadn't either flicked to Collingwood/Essendon or White Wife, Black Gentleman's Sausage #9 by the time the siren thankfully came and marked the end of a horrible, horrible year.

My first instinct is that I no longer care who they sack, trade or lose to free agency anymore but that's not entirely true. I really don't want Jared Rivers to go. Other than that there's a few I'd make a case for if I had to defend them in Delisting Court but nothing that should get in the way of the hand-grenade lobbing. I'm firmly in the 'wait and see' camp but Neeld's honeymoon has just ended, time to start rebuilding the rebuild.

For some the honeymoon was over about two minutes after he was announced as the coach, and the bandwagon has approached about 20% Scully (the new measurement for measuring the intensity of footy hatred) by the end of Round 23 but I'm going to stick with relentless optimism until next year. God knows if he can coach or if the assistants around him are any good, but as vile as this season has been he's got to have time to put his stamp on the list. He was good enough not to turn up and shoot everyone at the end of last year, but now the proverbial 'ruthless cull' is in the air and here's hoping Plan B is more successful.

The potential massacre presents an issue in itself. Nobody wants to be rubbish again, and I suspect there will be very polite MFC style rivers of blood if we are, but at the same time if we've come to the point where we're going to admit that the Bailey era list isn't going to cut it then there's got to be a reasonable look at the longer term but if they dump 10 players and don't add any blockbuster free agents from the rapidly thinning pool available then are we all going to be back here next year wailing that we've got a bunch of kids who are running around like headless chickens? Of course we will be.

There's a few 'kids' going into their third of fourth years that should (SHOULD) keep getting better - as well the enigmas like Watts and Morton. But we had all of three first year players in 2012 and only one of them was under 21 so unless we're going to be treated to Lucas Cook flying in like Batman and belatedly proving why we drafted him over the romper then there's not going to be much scope for natural improvement amongst the kids who are already there.

I'm not writing off 2013 in advance, but unless something drastic occurs then I don't see any reason why we'll finish any better than 13th (ironically exactly where I picked us to wind up this season). Is that going to be enough to keep people from throwing themselves out of windows? I doubt it. Miracles happen but if your mental health is resting on us challenging for the finals next year I suggest you spend the season at a health retreat because chances are you'll be very disappointed. What it's going to be about for me is doing the reverse to this year and getting a shitload of debutants onto the field. Maybe a couple of experienced players from other clubs help shore up the ship a bit, but in the end it's going to be pretty much the same model as this year so feel free to go wild on whatever voodoo style rituals you're keen on.

At least next year you don't know what's going to happen. That's something. There's the small window of hope where you wonder 'what if' before it's cruelly shut down halfway through Round 1. Chances are whatever happens that you won't remember it like you do this one. It's been horrendeous, and much of it has been painful but at least we've still got a club and the sun keeps rising. Tomorrow is another day etc..

2012 Allen Jakovich Medal votes
5 - Jack Grimes
4 - Daniel Nicholson
3 - Colin Sylvia
2 - Tom McDonald
1 - Nathan Jones

Apologies to Fitzpatrick, Frawley and nobody else.

Final standings
The Nathan Jonestown Massacre is complete, and even after being tagged to buggery and playing one of his most ordinary games all season he still managed to get a vote due to being surrounded by garbage. Good luck to anybody who has designs on beating this score in the future.

Also congratulations to Tom McDonald who pushed ahead of Magner at the last minute (legitimate vote too, not just there to break to tie - good luck to him that nobody else was any good) to take home the Hilton. In honour of him being the first man to ever win it under the 'debuting in the last month of the previous season' rule it's officially renamed the Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal from now on.

56 - Nathan Jones (RAMPANT WINNER: Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year)
29 - Jack Grimes (WINNER: Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year)
27 - Jeremy Howe
20 - Jack Watts
17 - Mitch Clark
16 - Stefan Martin (DEFAULT WINNER: Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year), Colin Sylvia
15 - Tom McDonald (WINNER: Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal), Jordie McKenzie
13 - James Magner, Daniel Nicholson
12 - Jared Rivers
11 - James Frawley
10 - Sam Blease
9 - Brent Moloney
8 - Matthew Bate, Joel Macdonald
6 - Lynden Dunn
5 - Clint Bartram, Brad Green
4 - Neville Jetta, Jack Trengove
3 - Mark Jamar, Luke Tapscott
2 - Rohan Bail, Colin Garland
1 - James Sellar

Congratulations to everyone who scored a vote, and especially to those who join the hallowed list of players who have done so over the years. To the rest of you, try to do better next time.

Stat My Bitch Up
To wrap up some of the statistical categories that we've been following this season...

Total score (22 game seasons)
Feel like you didn't see many goals kicked this season? Well you'd be right. Thank god for Mitch Clark.

1 - 207.235.1477 ('97)
2 - 224.236.1580 ('12)
2 - 234.225.1629 ('08)
3 - 238.277.1705 ('70)
4 - 253.225.1743 ('96)

Percentage (all time)
After a rocky mid-season point where we touched the bottom five we 'recovered' to 'just' the 9th worst season in history with 67.49%. It was even better than '08's 62.61%. What an era to live in.

Crowd Watch
Allegedly Freo fans are less feral than their fellow secessionists. Having never been there I can't comment, and apparently there was a cracking brawl in the stands, but they're clearly no less obsessed with booing anything and everything when it doesn't go their way.

I know when any jig that was in action was up they may as well have enjoyed the experience of watching us painfully striving to score, but early in the piece when it was delicately balanced at 20 points did they really need to boo every free kick and shot on goal? Feel free to sit back and enjoy a guaranteed win for once instead of playing up to stereotypes and acting like you're at the Nuremburg Rallies.

Next Week
If you're into cheap but cheerful versions of the MFC who have a chance of winning a minor league championship there's always the Casey Scorpions but otherwise you can put your feet up safe in the knowledge that the year is over and you can pay half an interest in the 8 team exhibition series which starts next Friday night. I'm going for Sydney just because I want Mike Pyke and Mitch Morton to win the Exhibition Cup Final.

At some point before Grand Final day the annual Demonblog End Of Year Spectacular will be on here. Just waiting for Don Lane to return my calls about hosting.

Next Year
Now here's where it starts to get ugly and both kids and adults alike have to shelve jumpers when their favourite players get the arse. Let's cross to international waters and see what's happening at the MFC List Management Academy. Look out for the cameo appearance by Max Gawn at the end.

The high likelihood that Casey are going to go out in straight sets again next weekend means that the inevitable raft of cuts might not be as delayed as you might have thought before they kicked three goals on the weekend but it's still highly unlikely that you've seen the last at upwards of five senior MFC players and a couple of rookies.

Nev Jetta and Joel Mac picked a really bad time to play a rubbish game (two in a row to be honest), because when Neeld and Co are rounding up people to put them on the bus to Miller's Crossing those two might find themselves sitting on the roof rack after Saturday night.

Dunn was no good either, and giving away the first goal on a stupid 50 won't have helped, but how much experience can you dump in one go? With Green and Moloney absolutely gone and Rivers every possible chance of joining them to have a crack at winning something before his time is up how are we supposed to make that up? You put too many kids in and you end up like GWS or Gold Coast without the benefit of them all being out of the top ten.

On that note I'll have a go at MFC Delisting Lotto. Hoping Rivers stays and that the rumours about Gysberts and the SME being on the trade block are false and deceptive, this is my betting slip:

DELISTED ROOKIE: Lawrence, Evans
DELISTED SENIOR: Bennell, Davis, Jetta, Jurrah, Macdonald
TRADE: Morton, Petterd

Nicholson goes to the senior list, Magner and Couch stay as rookies. If Rivers walks Macdonald survives.

Since I started writing this post it's sad to say I've had to add Jurrah to that list of delisted senior players after he apparently announced that he'd be off to Adelaide next year. Club statement seems to indicate that he doesn't want to play anywhere but we'll see what happens over the next few days.

Port released a statement saying suggesting they'd be open to looking at home but no way do they actually go and sign him up knowing that after March he could be in pokey for months if not years. So unless something extraordinary happens his AFL career is finished until at least 2014. Which is a shame for us, and for him, but at least we'll always have 36 games (32 of which he kicked at least one goal in) full of highlights to remember him by - and the greatest video of all time.

Yeah he played less games than Andrew Lamprill, Jeff Hilton and Ted Fidge but let's not get all revisionist and pretend that picking him in the 2008 Pre-Season draft was somehow a mistake. We might have had Tom Rockliff, and that might have turned out to be a longer term victory, but it's a bit fanciful now for people to act like him relocating and putting his career on hold was the inevitable conclusion of drafting somebody from a remote community. I didn't see anybody doing a 'countdown to disaster' before he smashed his wrist against Gold Coast last year.

Still, if they were being in any way reckless in picking him (they weren't) it's a shame that old school MFC style conservatism came back into vogue just in time to pass on Jack Darling just because he enjoyed a sex romp or 10.

I'd much rather have LJ than not, but if he's never seen again then we still got more than our money's worth for a PSD pick. If he'd turned around and said he didn't fancy it after two games fair enough, but we got good value before he was rolled by a set of circumstances so bizarre that even if you were setting out to deliberately do lazy stereotyping of indigenous players you probably wouldn't have thought up.

I hope we don't cut him loose completely. Assuming the Adelaide clubs don't want to risk him, and realistically why would you, we should send him off to the SANFL with our best wishes and an open invite to return whenever the situation permits. As long as that's not in five years etc.. etc.. May he kick 150 for Glenelg, get off on a technicality and come back into our welcoming arms next year when still young enough to do some real damage.

While on one hand it's disappointing and sad, on the other it instantly solves one enormous list management (CLICHE) headache. If we had any forwards who were 50/50 they might have just won a reprieve from the Nathan Carroll Memorial Shark Tank. Usually we're lucky just to have forwards so nobody readily springs to mind other than Petterd who would surely have seen the writing on the wall and decided to go elsewhere. Other than that The Fitz is obviously not going anywhere (unless he's being dragged by the leg rope) and despite showing absolutely nothing for two years Cook surely isn't going to get the boot (unless there's behind the scenes shenanigans afoot) but if there was any doubt this has probably saved him.

Other than them for god's sake find us a forward of some age and size immediately or we'll be one exploding Mitch foot or form slump away from 5.10.40 every week. At this point I'll even take Cloke on a billion dollars a year or Tippett and his egg-shell skull. Even Quentin bloody Lynch is an unrestricted free agent who can at least take a mark. Otherwise R1 2013 you're going to have some combo of Sellar, Puttin' on the Fitz and the SME as our other talls. All fine citizens, not 30 goal a year forwards.

If we can't get forwards what about we take the piss and assemble a Harlem Globetrotters style team of old men (most younger than me to be fair) from the remaining available free agents. Roll on Simon Black, Paul Chapman, Dustin Fletcher and David Wojcinski. Also Mark Nicoski, not because he's old but just because I love his gigantic owl style eyes.

On a personal note my near-flawless record of having seen pretty much every minute of every game from 2010-2012 is coming to an end at some point next season, so set yourself to be called upon for a guest writing stint. If the fixture somehow avoids the two weddings that I'll be at during the year then the two weeks I'll be overseas will absolutely end it. I've got a plan though - I'm going to tape all our games when I'm away, not read any papers or check anything online and watch them all as if new when I get home. Good luck with that.

Final Thoughts
And err... that's it. I won't say it's been entirely pleasant to watch, but thanks for forgoing self-harm long enough to show an interest.

Moderately miffed Monday

In true MFC fashion I've fallen apart in the last round. A post will appear in this space at some point in the near future.