Wednesday, 17 September 2014

2014 End of Year 'Spectacular'

Comrades, fellow sufferers and disaster tourists. I come to you with the unfortunate news that the 2014 End of Year Spectacular has been cancelled due to time restraints caused by the impending relocation of Demonblog Towers.

It's a pain in the neck because I'd already hired Schapelle Corby to broadcast live to the in-flight entertainment system of a China Southern Airlines flight over the disputed Senkaku Islands AND put a deposit down on the Solid Brown Dancers, but that's the way it goes.

And so then, for the austerity edition of the end of year wrap-up it's over to your host... err... me.

2014 Paul Prymke Plate for Pre-Season Performance

I don't want to say that I forget what's been written about 12 minutes later but for the entire season I thought this award had been won by Nathan Jones. Apparently not. 

So congratulations then to 2011 Jeff Hilton medallist Jeremy Howe for lifting the award that fails to forsee that you'll spend the entire season in defence.

10 - Jeremy Howe
8 - Daniel Cross  
7 - Dom Tyson 
6 - Jay Kennedy-Harris
5 - Jack Trengove 
4 - Jimmy Toumpas, Bernie Vince
3 - Rohan Bail, Sam Blease, Lynden Dunn
2 - Jesse Hogan, Nathan Jones
1 - Jack Fitzpatrick, Alex Georgiou, Dean Kent

Previous winners
2008 - Aaron Davey 
2009 - Cameron Bruce 
2010 - Brad Green 
2011 - Colin Sylvia 
2012 - Nathan Jones 
2013 - Nathan Jones [2]

2014 Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year 

And now, the award for the best ruckman or player who is supposed to be a ruckman yet ends up playing elsewhere. That's how Fitzpatrick won it last year, but for 

For only the second time since pre-season odds were first offered in 2010 we've had a favourite take the title home. Congratulations to Mark Jamar for equalling Jeff White as the only three times winners of the award. Can he make it four in 2015, or will Maximum Gawn finally break through then celebrate by flying to Sydney and unloading his #31 with blackbean sauce over Turncoat Tom.

9 - Mark Jamar
4 - Max Gawn
3 - Jack Fitzpatrick
0 - Mitch Clark, Max King, Jake Spencer
DQ - Cameron Pedersen

Previous winners (note: this award was known as the Strawbs O'Dwyer until 2010)
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) ($12) 
2013 - Jack Fitzpatrick ($50) and Max Gawn ($45)

Demonbracket III

February, a month that bridges January and March like no other. And now better known for the business end of our last Demon standing knockout battle than for Valentine's Day. 

And so, after a brutal pre-season hit-out which started on 27 January with an all-recruit battle between Bernie Vince and Daniel Cross ended with a thrilling finale on 12 February. 

After two seasons where he made the final and semi final Jones finally scaled the mountain and added another award to a trophy cabinet that is starting to look like Scrooge McDuck's bank vault.

Congratulations to the Robbie Flower of our generation, and we look forward to seeing whether the people will make him the first ever two time champion next year.
Honour roll
2012 - James Frawley d. Nathan Jones
2013 - Tom McDonald d. Mitch Clark
2014 - Nathan Jones d. Jack Watts

Demonbracket IV
Look out for a preview and news on which players will be battling through the preliminary rounds in December, the first round draw in January and the kick-off on the tournament in early February depending on the date of our first pre-season game.

The seedings shall be as follows. As per last year the reigning champion is ranked #1 followed by the top seven players (or emergencies) in the best and fairest. Luckily both honours went to the same man this year so...

1 - Nathan Jones
2 - Dom Tyson
3 - Bernie Vince
4 - Lynden Dunn
5 - Daniel Cross
6 - Jeremy Howe
7 - Tom McDonald
8 - James Frawley
1st emergency - Neville Jetta
2nd emergency - Jack Watts
3rd emergency - Jack Viney

2014 Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year 

How very MFC to introduce an award for the best goal in a season where we scored less of them than at any time since 1967, but who was to know this was how it was going to turn out? Anyway, it seemed like a reasonable idea at the time and I look forward to having many hundreds more contenders in following seasons.

And so for 21 weeks of the season they strutted their stuff like beauty pageant contestants, hoping that they would be the first man to take home an award named in honour of one of the great goalsneaks of our time.

In the end it was a rookie who got the nod, bucking the trend of most other recent first round MFC draft picks by ending the season with an award in his pocket rather than people chasing them down the street with a pitchfork.

But Christian Salem couldn't have done it alone. His iron nerved set shot in the dying minutes of the Essendon win lifted the fragile spirits of a nation, but he couldn't have done it without the help of his teammates. For a few brief weeks I even considered giving them all a share of the trophy too, but we don't have the budget to get 10 medals done.

Nevertheless let the record forever show that without:

  • Bernie Vince's tackle
  • Cameron Pedersen's matrix style manoeuvre to avoid being tackled
  • Nathan Jones' kick reaching James Frawley
  • Jordie McKenzie's gather, evade and handball
  • Frawley's quick handball back to him
  • Tom McDonald's run through the middle and handball
  • Jack Viney's handball
  • Daniel Cross' kick
  • ... and Chris Dawes telling Salem to hold up, go back and kick it
That this magic moment would never have happened and we'd have probably finished the season on an 11 game losing streak rather than 10. And that would be tragic. Congratulations to all involved and to our weekly nominees.

Round 1 - Bernie Vince
Round 2 - No nominee (idea not fully thought out yet obviously)
Round 3 - Matt Jones
Round 4 - Cameron Pedersen
Round 5 - Chris Dawes
Round 6 - Christian Salem
Round 7 - Jay Kennedy-Harris
Round 8 - Mark Jamar
Round 9 - Bernie Vince (2)
Round 11 - Dom Tyson
Round 12 - Nathan Jones
Round 13 - Christian Salem (2)
Round 14 - Bernie Vince (3)
Round 15 - Bernie Vince (4)
Round 16 - Dean Kent
Round 17 - Bernie Vince (5)
Round 18 - Sam Blease 
Round 19 - Nathan Jones
Round 20 - Aidan Riley
Round 21 - Jack Watts
Round 22 - Jack Fitzpatrick
Round 23 - Dean Kent (2)

2014 Year in review - part one

Round 1 vs St Kilda
In which we started as favourites against a popular tip for the wooden spoon, and you know how well that goes in Round 1. We'd probably have beaten them at any time after Round 4, but it was too bloody late by then because we didn't play them again. Could we please have one of Hawthorn or Sydney to open next season?

Round 2 vs West Coast
Mo Slurry, Mo Problems
In which we served up an old time 2013 style slopfest and got thrashed, leaving Paul Roos to wonder if it was worth the millions of dollars we were paying him to try and mould a lump of shite into something useable.

Round 3 vs Greater Western Sydney
Don't cry for me, I'm already dead
In which we returned to what would be the twin themes of the season, losing to our fellow shit clubs and 'almost' winning games. It was after this game that the first "OMG! TYSON AND SALEM FOR JOSH KELLY LOL AT THE DEES!" articles were written, and the Herald Sun also opted for the scare story that we were going to get picks 1, 2 and 3 in the draft once priority picks and Frawley compo had been thrown in.

In which we surprised the world by laying the boots into the Blues. During the fourth quarter a wedding party spontaneously turned up in the Ponsford Stand and started having photos taken. When Pedersen kicked the sealer I nearly leapt on the bride. The next day I would suffer a serious headache.

Round 5 vs Gold Coast
Love In The Time Of Ineptitude
In which being a 19th rate internet figure finally paid off as I was kindly invited into a Corporate Box that probably had more people in it than were in the stands outside.

In which we, the Melbourne fanbase, were still so horrifically battered and scarred from our experiences during 2012/13 that we watched our side kick a puny score and celebrated it as a victory because it was against a good team.

Round 7 vs Adelaide
In which we invited the "19th Man" to sit down, shut the fuck up and leave well before the final siren. Somebody left a comment suggesting they were trying to beat the traffic and much hilarity was had at this person's expense. Brenton Sanderson would later get the sack, and I'd like to think this game started the process.

Round 8 vs Footscray
Temporary respectability adjustment
In which hopes momentarily bubbled over into belief as we looked like doing something practically every other football team in the country has done recently and win two games in a row. Didn't happen, never did.

Round 9 vs Richmond
The sweet sound of mid-table mediocrity
In which we did the next big thing and won two games out of three, spoiling Richmond's tribute to Tom Hafey by taking advantage of their suicidal kicking on goal to register a popular victory.

Round 11 vs Port Adelaide
A Town Called Malice
In which we returned from a week spent comfortably sitting in the middle of the table and nearly topple the league leading Power. In Alice Springs. I'd like to say I've got no idea why, but I think we all know. There appeared to be a Subway in the ground, which is at least better than the slop (non-Kaiser division) that you're served up at games here.

2014 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year

With four time champion James Frawley disqualified due to spending most of the season at the other end of the ground it was up to Lynden Dunn to go the other way and deliver victory at 25-1.

He had given us a taste of his defensive work late in 2013, but in the first half of 2014 he came into his own - with a career best performance in the win over Essendon. Midway through the year he was in contention to win the overall award before failing to land any votes late, but he still had a fantastic year. In another positive his mum never rang SEN to call for any of our coaches to be shot. Which was nice.

22 - Lynden Dunn
17 - Tom McDonald
13 - Jeremy Howe
3 - Dean Terlich
2 - Colin Garland, Jack Grimes
0 - Clisby, Georgiou, Strauss, Tapscott
DQ - Cross, Frawley, Pedersen, Watts

Previous winners
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)  
2013 - James Frawley [4] ($2.80)

2014 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year

For a team which has highly valued recruits oozing out like the Ebola virus this award disappointed. We almost had no eligible players nominated for the first time since 2005, but at least then we had the twin excuses of a) young players not getting a look-in because we were good and b) good players taking up votes in front of the rookies who did get a run.

Though let these circumstances not detract from the achievement of Jay Kennedy-Harris, whose victory sets him on the path for a glorious MFC career like past winners Matthew Bate, Michael Newton and Cale Morton. Congratulations Jay, who only polled in one game but that was one more than any of his competitors.

Harmes, Hogan, Hunt and King remain eligible in 2015.

2 - Jay Kennedy-Harris
0 - Dom Barry, Alex Georgiou, James Harmes, Jesse Hogan, Jayden Hunt, Max King, Christian Salem

Previous winners
2005 - No players eligible. 
2006 - Matthew Bate 
2007 - Michael Newton 
2008 - Cale Morton 
2009 - Jack Grimes ($4 fav) 
2010 - Tom $cully ($5) 
2011 - Jeremy Howe ($30) 
2012 - Tom McDonald ($8) 
2013 - Jack Viney ($5)

2014 Year in review - part two 

Round 12 vs Collingwood
Damn Yankees
In which we kicked the first goal within 30 seconds, then two more for the entire day. The Pies weren't much chop either, so nobody should have been surprised when they went tits up a few weeks later.

Round 13 vs Essendon
Rope a dope fiend
In which we put out a putrid performance until 10 minutes into the third quarter before the Bombers totally fell into a hole and allowed us to mount one of the great comebacks. In the last few minutes it looked as if we might have it cruelly snatched away from us before the goal of the year (see above) put us in front. Then we almost had it cruelly snatched away again in the last seconds. Somewhere in France a Mr. J Hird kicked his TV in. Also featured Dunn playing one of the great games in the defence.

Round 14 vs North Melbourne
Flattened like a tack
In which Bernie Vince racked up a possession count that made our eyes water but we still crashed back to earth against a side clearly better than us even without switching into second gear.

Round 15 vs Footscray
Life education
In which we mounted another furious comeback to snatch the lead but sadly didn't leave it until the last 20 seconds and therefore failed to hold on in the last quarter. We ended up losing to what should win goal of the year but won't.

Round 16 vs Fremantle
A return to traditional values
In which I missed most of the last quarter because I thought it was more prudent to hang out with my newborn child than watch Anthony Morabito slap us around.

Round 17 vs Geelong
5.6.36 - The number of the beast
In which I sat there for the whole first half cursing towards the heavens and shaking my fist only to turn around and realise that I had an entire corporate box full of Melbourne players behind me and that the Spencil had a direct view of my breakdown.

Round 18 vs Port Adelaide
Quicksand Incorporated
In which we nearly achieved the unthinkable, winning in Adelaide twice in a season. Alas it was not to be, and we bookended Port's lost few weeks by falling narrowly to them both times. Slamming Sam Blease returned for the first time all year and played what I thought was a reasonable enough game only to achieve the even rarer than the SA double feat of receiving zero best and fairest votes for his efforts.

Round 19 vs Brisbane Lions
Eat, sleep, prolong the streak
In which simmering angst over our performances in recent weeks exploded as the Docklands losing streak hit 19. We turned a nine point final term lead into a four goal loss in the space of 15 minutes, everyone went troppo and Roos unconvincingly blamed 2009's alleged tankfest for it.

Round 20 vs Hawthorn
Long walk meets short pier
In which Hawthorn's only interest was getting through the game without a raft of serious injuries, which they achieved quite nicely while simultaneously giving us a bit of a slap.

Round 21 vs Greater Western Sydney
Home is where the hatred is
In which we hit the 2014 version of rock bottom by letting a side who played three short for the second half canter away to a 10 goal victory while we scored three for the day. The only consolation was that $cully was at home counting his cash instead of joining in.

Round 22 vs West Coast
Young, Dumb and Full of Glum
In which we rather pointlessly travelled to Perth when we probably should just have conceded. What looked like it was heading for a prison yard shanking in the first quarter was eventually confined to merely the light beating that we're so used to now that we shrug off and get on with our lives.

Round 23 vs North Melbourne
The last act of defiance
In which North rested several players and we kicked our highest score of the season yet still lost comfortably. Chris Dawes endeared himself to all by getting himself meaninglessly suspended for Round 1 2015 by biffing somebody when there was nothing left to play for. Then we all went home.

2014 Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year

And now, for the big one. The 10th anniversary edition of the most prestigious award in football. Unlike the Brownlow our players are eligible to compete, but unlike the Best and Fairest only five men per week can score a vote.

Like most awards it's traditionally been dominated by midfielders, and this year is no different with centremen, wingers and ruck-rovers taking up four of the first five spots.

Only one man can be king though, and for an unprecedented fourth time that man is the artist also known as 'Chunk', who turned back a determined challenge by first year Demon Dom Tyson and again risked a serious Jesse Hogan-esque back injury by carrying so many teammates.

He started $3.50 favourite, he saluted. He is your 2014 Allen Jakovich Medallist, Mr Nathan Jones.

And ladies and gentlemen, your final leaderboard. With the audited figures revealing I'd previously left one vote off Neville Jetta and assigned two to Rohan Bail that were meant to be for Dean Kent. And so here we are:

54 - Nathan Jones
42 - Dom Tyson
27 - Lynden Dunn
22 - Daniel Cross, Bernie Vince
21 - Neville Jetta
17 - Tom McDonald
16 - Chris Dawes, Jack Viney
13 - Jeremy Howe
12 - James Frawley
11 - Dean Kent
9 - Mark Jamar, Cameron Pedersen
7 - Matt Jones
6 - Jack Watts
5 - Aidan Riley
4 - Max Gawn
3 - Jack Fitzpatrick, Dean Terlich
2 - Rohan Bail, Colin Garland, Jack Grimes, Jay Kennedy-Harris
1 - Jordie McKenzie, Viv Michie, Jake Spencer

Previous winners
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)
2013 - Nathan Jones (3) ($2)

For history buffs here's the running tally of all votes cast over the last 10 years, and on that nerdly note we reach the end of the ceremony.

What of the football? Well, it was a better year, but only in comparison to the rubbish which came before it. There's almost no other side in the last few years other than the expansion teams who would have accepted this as anything less than a disaster. At the time of writing Adelaide has just sacked a coach who had a record only marginally worse than Norm Smith so that makes us look a bit shambolic in comparison.

So we look towards 2015 knowing that things should continue to slowly improve. We should kick some decent scores, we should see some reasonable forward play again for the first time since the glory days of early Mitch Clark and god help us all we should actually win some matches.

Thanks again for your support this year, and for the last decade, I look forward to going into battle alongside/against you again next year.

Adam Mercado
Demonblog Towers VIII

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