Sunday 23 October 2016

Demonblog's 2016 End of Year 'Spectacular'

Well here we are at last, three weeks later than last year due to other commitments. This is the time of the year where we gather, wrap the previous season in an old carpet and bury it in a shallow bush grave. This year we could afford to wait a few more weeks, because despite what happened in the last fortnight the stench wasn't as offensive as it had been in previous years.

So, after the surprise entrance of a player who has won as many premierships since 2008 as we've had since 1957 let's get on with the show. All the guests are gathered in the Chris Heffernan Convention Centre in Mosul, Iraq so without further ado please stand for the national anthem.

And now, ladies and gentlemen. Please welcome your host for the second consecutive year - the man who has been in a bunker since 2010. Let's hope he makes it through the entire ceremony before going back into hiding again this time. Over to you Keith.

"Well thank you, and it is truly an honour to be asked back to host again this year. Before emerging from my bunker I sought assurances that the Demons enjoyed significant improvement during 2016. As I scan through this list of results I can certainly see that they did get better.

Hey, in Round 21 we were still an outside chance of making the finals. I wonder what happened from there...

Oh... sod the lot of you I'm going back underground"

Well I've got no time for this, I'm going to have to find somebody else to do this. Somebody who can be the butt of topical gags that will be completely bloody mystifying in 12 months, somebody who knows what it's like to lose millions of dollars, somebody who has touched everybody he's come in contact with.

Like The Spencil is a poor 'break in case of emergency substitute' for Max Gawn this man isn't our ideal host but he'll do. Time to inject ourselves into somebody else's political system uninvited, with your replacement guest host....

"Hi everybody, it's fantastic to be here.

[insert hours of comedy relating to Donald's platform of wall-building and wacky views about grabbing people on the unmentionables]

Now let's get on with the first award of the evening, the result of which was most likely rigged by the criminals who operate this site.

2016 Paul Prymke Plate for Pre-Season Performance

After years of being on the end of satire from the dregs of society and Melbourne supporters alike this man finally climbed to the heights he was threatening to reach in 2011, before 186 and a new coach intent on attaching jumper leads to his testicles turned up.

Unlike 2015 winner the late Heritier Lumumba, Jack's form continued into the real season as well. Where he rejected the lure of free agency and chose to stay with the club for the long-haul. Congratulations to Jack on his first piece of career silverware and we are all well keen for more in the future.

14 - Jack Watts
9 - Jack Viney
8 - Max Gawn
6 - Clayton Oliver
4 - Jesse Hogan, Nathan Jones, Ben Kennedy
3 - Lynden Dunn, Aaron vandenBerg
2 - Jeff Garlett, Bernie Vince
1 - Neville Jetta, Christian Salem

Honour roll
2008 - Aaron Davey
2009 - Cameron Bruce
2010 - Brad Green
2011 - Colin Sylvia
2012 - Nathan Jones
2013 - Nathan Jones (2)
2014 - Jeremy Howe
2015 - Heritier Lumumba
2016 - Jack Watts

2016 Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year

This was not a hard one to judge, in the most dominant demolition job in the history of Demonblog awards the winner stomped his competitors - because in the end there weren't any. Nobody else averaged 10 hitouts a game to be eligible, but to be sure of victory the $1.80 pre-season favourite almost won the main event as well.

For the third time, tying Mark Jamar and Jeff White for the all-time record, your winner is Max Gawn.

Oddly enough despite becoming the All Australian ruckman the MFC website never bothered to upload his 2016 photo to their website, so we are still forced to look into the haunted eyes of a man who is wondering when they'll start playing him to his considerable strengths instead of at full forward in VFL games.

0 - Max King, Mitch King, Jake Spencer
DQ - Sam Frost, Cameron Pedersen, Jack Watts

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)
2012 - Stefan Martin (2) ($12)
2013 - Jack Fitzpatrick ($50) and Max Gawn ($45)
2014 - Mark Jamar (3) ($5)
2015 - Max Gawn (2) ($10)
2016 - Max Gawn (3) ($1.80)

Demonbracket V
Time flies, it only seems like yesterday since Rohan Bail defeated Jake Spencer 37-3 in the first ever Demonbracket matchup (but given that The Spencil is still on the list who's laughing now?), and now here we are almost six years on.

Some say the introduction of the bracket in the 2012 pre-season was the final push the club needed over the edge from shambles to utter disaster, and they may be right but it doesn't mean we're stopping now. From the heights of 2013 when Tom McDonald sizzled his way to fame, to the dizzying lows of last year when players couldn't give a rats we've seen it all.

This year the torch was passed from two time winner Nathan Jones to the master's apprentice. Congratulations Jack Viney, who rode the momentum of being voted the People's Champion into a season where he was a Brownlow contender before punching Brad/Brett (whichever one) Ebert in his angular head.

Honour Roll
2012 - James Frawley d. Nathan Jones
2013 - Tom McDonald d. Mitch Clark
2014 - Nathan Jones d. Jack Watts
2015 - Nathan Jones d. Dom Tyson
2016 - Jack Viney d. Nathan Jones

Demonbracket VI
Competition dates will be confirmed when the pre-season fixture is released, but what we do know is that the top eight finishers in the Best and Fairest all survived into the new season so there's no drama with the seedings.

1 - Jack Viney
2 - Nathan Jones
3 - Max Gawn
4 - Dom Tyson
5 - Jack Watts
6 - Tom McDonald
7 - Bernie Vince
8 - Jesse Hogan

It promises to be the most exciting bracket yet, with any number of those contenders a chance at lifting the title. We'll also have the dramatic scenario of all of Michael Hibberd, Jordan Lewis and Jake Melksham starting from the preliminary round as zero game players. Here's to us drafting some players with kooky names to throw further confusion into the mix.

I may run a Women's Team bracket in the warm-up to that season starting. Where else will you get the chance to vote for an ultimate frisbee player?

2016 Year in Review - Part one

NAB Challenge match one vs Port Adelaide - Building dreams from the ground up
Where we were all at sea on an unusually large ground in the first half, before giving everyone a thrill by storming back to pip the Power in what was an otherwise pointless match.

NAB Challenge match two vs Footscray - This is living
Where we ventured to Craigieburn, watched Goldenballs Boyd struggle into a vicious breeze and had no earthly idea that the season would end with the Bulldogs winning the flag while we barely held on to mid-table mediocrity.

NAB Challenge match three vs St Kilda - Beware the tides of March
Where we completed the perfect pre-season and emerged with nothing to show for it except good feelings and the hope that we might not end the season as an impediment on the competition again.

Round 1 vs Greater Western Sydney - The life erotic
Where we narrowly held on to win despite that little turd $cully having a flying ping at goal in the dying seconds. If it had gone in before the siren I'd have been banned from attending or viewing any of the 21 games to follow.

Round 2 vs Essendon - The Mouse That Bored
Where I realised that it might have been better if we'd lost to GWS, because we'd probably have taken the Bombers more seriously and not ended the day looking like complete dickheads. I tried to laugh off the effects of defeat until I accidentally drove on the wrong side of the road on the way home.

Round 3 vs North Melbourne - Divine wind
Where we travelled to Hobart, failed to contend with a cyclonic seven goal breeze to one end of the ground, went seven goals down, came back to get in front, went behind again and launched a furious last minute comeback which went within seconds of coming off. For the first time Max Gawn's claims that he wanted to be the top ruckman in the competition were taken seriously after his 100 hitout battle with Todd Goldstein.

Round 4 vs Collingwood - Floating to the surface
Where we levelled our record in the first month of the season for the first game in years, as Nathan Buckley wasted Scott Pendlebury in defence while we racked up a match-winning lead. The Pies never got close again, I saw an extremely fat man importing his own food into a catered corporate box, Jeremy Howe made a high profile blunder and a good time was had by all.

Round 5 vs Richmond - Gawn Service
Where we finally won two games in a row in the same season for the first time in five years, as Richmond were so easily dispatched that Alex Rance went nuts and hammered Jack Watts in the back of the head. Earlier Tomas Bugg had launched the Era of Buggery by starting fights with anyone he could find and 'shhhing' the Tigers cheersquad as he ran into an open goal. This caused celebrity Richmond fan Jon Ralph to have a sook.

Round 6 vs St Kilda - Don't believe the hype
Where we ended a week of saturation media coverage by playing a blockbusting five minutes then dying in the arse. Whatever a defensive zone is supposed to do ours didn't qualify, and Jesse Hogan picked the wrong week to kick seven goals because everyone was too busy complaining to remember him doing it.

Round 7 vs Gold Coast - How I learned to stop worrying and love the long bomb
Where we came, saw and conquered in Australia's sporting graveyard. At one point we were piling on so many goals with such ease that I took off around my house doing a high steppin' celebration. We should have pushed on to win by 100 but a thumping victory was a reasonable consolation prize.

Round 8 vs Footscray - Throw your hate in the ring
Where we lost by five goals but it felt like we lost by 15. The Bulldogs were still not much more than fringe top four contenders, but we were clearly not a finals side. The rest of the season was seemingly to be endured not enjoyed.

Round 9 vs Brisbane - I knew the bridge when she used to be a moll
Where we finally dismissed a shit team with ease, even after necking our chances of a massive win with one quarter of failed razzle dazzle football. After two months of forming a great partnership the Watts/Hogan combination fizzled when Jesse decided to team up with Jeff Garlett instead.

Round 10 vs Port Adelaide - Assisted Football Living
Where we went to Alice Springs and the loss prompted everyone to complain about selling games interstate without stopping to consider that we played such a loose style of optional defence that Port would have rumbled us on any ground in the free world.

2016 Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year

For the second time in three years your Hollywood style novelty goal was beaten to the title by a nice, well taken set shot at a crucial time. The ball is back in the court of Jeff Garlett and Co. to do something remarkable and/or ridiculous.

Congratulations to Jack Watts, who takes the prize home for his winning goal against Gold Coast. Still not convinced Wagner meant to kick it directly to him but who's complaining?

Despite never winning Jeff Garlett retains a clear lead in all-time nominations with 12.

Round 1 - Ben Kennedy
Round 2 - Jeff Garlett
Round 3 - Dean Kent
Round 4 - Jack Watts
Round 5 - Jeff Garlett [2]
Round 6 - Nathan Jones
Round 7 - Jeff Garlett [3]
Round 8 - Christian Petracca
Round 9 - Jeff Garlett [4]
Round 10 - Max Gawn
Round 11 - Dean Kent [2]
Round 12 - Christian Petracca [2]
Round 13 - Christian Petracca [3]
Round 15 - Jeff Garlett [5]
Round 16 - Dean Kent [3]
Round 17 - Jack Viney
Round 18 - Christian Petracca [4]
Round 19 - Jack Watts [2]
Round 20 - Jayden Hunt
Round 21 - Nathan Jones [2]
Round 22 - Jayden Hunt [2]
Round 23 - Angus Brayshaw

Honour Roll
2014 - Christian Salem
2015 - Nathan Jones
2016 - Jack Watts

2016 Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year

He started life as a forward, and had to fight back from being given the arse to return via the rookie list. Now we crown our first 'small' defender winner of this award since 2012. Congratulations Nifty, may somebody outside the Dees recognise that you're one of the best small defenders in the competition eventually.

His rise to prominence would have given hope to Viv Michie when they tried to convert him into a defender as well. That didn't work nearly as well and he was soon delisted.

19 - Neville Jetta
12 - Jayden Hunt
11 - Tom McDonald
8 - Christian Salem, Billy Stretch
2 - Heritier Lumumba
0 - Lynden Dunn, Colin Garland, Jack Grimes, , Dean Terlich
DQ - Tomas Bugg, Sam Frost, Cameron Pedersen

Honour Roll
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 - Lynden Dunn ($25)
2015 - Tom McDonald ($14)
2016 - Neville Jetta ($13)

2016 Jeff Hilton Medal for Rookie of the Year

In a narrow field the only three players to poll in the Hilton this year fought out a ding dong battle for the title, with Hunt bridging a five point gap with a last round best on ground in what was otherwise an abortion of a performance. After Hogan's win last year it's a great advertisement for players missing at least one year before debuting. 

With our draft picks in a state of shambles next year award might go anywhere, but with Sam Weideman eligible due to debuting in the last month of the season he'll probably start red hot favourite.

12 - Jayden Hunt, Christian Petracca
10 - Clayton Oliver
0 - Liam Hulett, Max King, Mitch King, Oscar McDonald, Joel Smith, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman, Mitch White

Honour roll
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)
2013 - Jack Viney ($5)
2014 - Jay Kennedy-Harris ($15)
2015 - Jesse Hogan ($4.50)
2016 - Jayden Hunt ($50) and Christian Petracca ($10)

2016 Year in Review - Part two

Round 11 vs Hawthorn - Water, water everywhere so let's all have a drink
Where we gave the three time premiers a reasonable scare for three quarters in the wet before they ran away from us in the last. Featured Bernie Vince being reported by an umpire who just guessed he'd whacked an opponent, leading to some bench-warmer Australian NBA player having a Jon Ralph style sook on Twitter.

Round 12 vs Collingwood - Maximum Force
Where we finally won on Queen's Birthday again for the first time since 2007, with Max Gawn taking advantage of the Pies attempt to neutralise him by playing three ruckmen to be best on ground. For his performance he was handed a trophy which he used to flex like it was a dumbbell.

Round 13 vs Sydney - All at sea
Where we took our hot form from Queen's Birthday and watched it sink deep into the SCG turf on a soaking wet day. We started well and kicked three goals.. for the match. Our score only narrowly missed the lowest total we'd ever registered in an interstate game.

Round 15 vs Adelaide - The malady lingers
Where after a week off to ponder the ratshit performance in the wet we returned to the MCG and played one quarter of blistering football that gave us a chance of victory. Naturally we stuffed it up and were left with no chance by the last quarter.

Round 16 vs Fremantle - Steamy wonder
Where we finally conquerered Darwin again, opening up a match-winning lead against the surprisingly shit Dockers before going into our shell again. At half-time Peter Jackson announced that we'd extended the Northern Territory deal to the distress of everyone but me, because I was too busy watching the sweat pooling on his wonderfully bald head. At the end Max Gawn challenged Jamar/Colbert in Darwin for the greatest post match interview ever when he suggested that he'd prepared for the humidity by leaving the heater on.

Round 17 vs St Kilda - The sadness will last forever
Where we went back to Docklands to play the Saints for the third time in a year and discovered that the favours they'd done us in the pre-season game were all part of an elaborate rope a dope scheme.

Round 18 vs West Coast - How the West was wasted
Where rain helped us to our best performance at Subiaco in years. We registered an almost record number of inside 50s but couldn't convert that into a win due to an utterly dysfunctional forward structure. Everything began to seem hopeless and bleak again.

Round 19 v Gold Coast - Trial by ordeal
Where we engaged in a death struggle to beat the Suns, highlighted by one of their players being pinched for a deliberate out of bounds when he was having a shot. In what felt like a good advertisement for the way our season was going we managed to turn that into a Suns goal. We led with 20 seconds left and Bernie Vince with the ball in hand, he could have kicked literally anywhere else except straight to Tom Lynch. With Demons players rejecting the chance to form a human pyramid on the goal line Lynch fortunately missed and we didn't know it yet but our season remained alive.

Round 20 vs Hawthorn - Brawl State vs Natural High
Where after years of the Hawks treating us like peasants we rose up and made a statement. After a lot of games over the years that have gone from 'alive' to 'over' in the blink of an eye it was refreshing for it to happen to another side for once. The excitement was such that I didn't even realise until the next day that we were now a quite reasonable chance of getting to the last round with our finals chances in our own hands.

Round 21 vs Port Adelaide - Talent plus attitude equals dollars
Where we did a carbon copy of the Fremantle game in nicer conditions, rushing to a winning lead then going silent for a quarter, withstanding a low power comeback before winning comfortably. Featured the magic scenario of famous agitator Tomas Bugg hiding behind an umpire inside 50 then popping out from behind him to take a mark and kick a crucial goal. At the end our players acted like they'd won the flag and did several laps of honour high fiving people. There's no way that could ever come back to haunt them...

Round 22 vs Carlton - Blue Murder
Where we had the world in our hands and completely stuffed it up, like the damaged, abused club we are. All we needed was a win against a side who had lost nine in a row... back to the days of losing after starting overwhelming favourite.

Round 23 vs Geelong - Decade ends, era endures
We might not having won at Kardinia Park even if we'd beaten Carlton, but we might not have lost by 111 points either. Having strips torn off us at that ground was an appropriate way to end a decade which had been 'highlighted' by a grand slam porking at the same place. The #fistedforever era lives on.

2016 Allen Jakovich Medal

Who else to finish the worst 10 years of our lives than the Decade of Disaster's greatest player? In a controversial victory he just edged out Max Gawn's insurgent campaign, but the best and fairest results proved that I wasn't the only one to think that he deserved to be at the top end of the table.

We live in hope of his eventual canonisation, and will be opening a Kickstarter to build the statue in his honour the moment he retires.

47 - Nathan Jones
46 - Max Gawn
43 - Jack Viney
32 - Jack Watts
22 - Bernie Vince
19 - Neville Jetta, Dom Tyson
14 - Jesse Hogan
12 - Jayden Hunt, Christian Petracca
11 - Tom McDonald
10 - Clayton Oliver
8 - Christian Salem, Billy Stretch
7 - Jayden Hunt
4 - Ben Kennedy, Dean Kent
3 - Sam Frost, Aaron vandenBerg
2 - Angus Brayshaw, Tomas Bugg, Jeff Garlett, James Harmes, Matt Jones, Heritier Lumumba
1 - Cameron Pedersen

Honour Roll
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) 
2014 - Nathan Jones [4] ($3.50) 
2015 - Jack Viney ($15)
2016 - Nathan Jones [5] ($8)

All time Demonblog award winners
Combined across Jakovich, Seecamp, Hilton, Stynes, Davey and Demonbracket wins

10 - Nathan Jones
5 - James Frawley
3 - Mark Jamar, Tom McDonald, Jack Viney, Jeff White
2 - Cameron Bruce, Aaron Davey, Brad Green, Jack Grimes, Jeremy Howe, Stefan Martin, Jack Watts
1 - Matthew Bate, Nathan Carroll, Lynden Dunn, Ryan Ferguson, Jack Fitzpatrick, Jesse Hogan, Jayden Hunt, Neville Jetta, Travis Johnstone, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Heritier Lumumba, Brock McLean, Brent Moloney, Cale Morton, Michael Newton, Paul Johnson, Christian Petracca, [REVOKED], Jared Rivers, Christian Salem, Colin Sylvia, Paul Wheatley, Matthew Whelan

Well that's it for another year. Dream big, hope for the best, don't stress about playing at Etihad Stadium in Round 1, buy the book and keep looking towards the stars.

We'll be back with a Demonbracket preview in early January before the tournament kicks off in earnest near the end of the month.