Tuesday 17 October 2017

New Jack Watts City

In the flash of a tweet the most divisive project since the Stanford Prison Experiment ended with a whimper. After nine years of dialling W for Watts the number you are trying to call has shifted to an 08 area code and is no longer connected. For reasons more emotional than sporting I'm cut up about it. All that mental energy spent willing him to do well so we he could shove an arm deep down the throat of all the detractors comes to an end as he's practically given away for the equivalent of a packet of chips just as we're starting to come good.

I'm not going to use his obituary to rewrite history and turn him into something he wasn't, but I wouldn't have thought he formed the barrier between mid-table mediocrity and a finals berth at the very least. Since Hogan arrived he was no longer expected to kick massive bags, he was there as a forward option and a cog in the larger machine. An cog who made good decisions in a sea of people who had no idea what to do next except get rid of the ball as quickly as possible. Obviously he could have done more like knocking a few people over or taking screaming pack marks, but even if he was never destined to become a Hell's Angel who'd kill your grandmother to get to a hard ball, his positive attributes surely outweighed cashing in for pick 31 and starting again with some random kid.

In a career where he's been blamed - sometimes fairly, but usually because he was an easy target - for everything but the rise of ISIS let's focus on the positives. Like his wonderfully casual nine-iron goalkicking, and how he was a bloody good lead on the rare occasion where we'd kick to the advantage of forwards rather than panic roosting towards the square. For somebody regularly slaughtered for not being enough of a raw meat eating alpha male fuckstick he was also our most dependable forward to drop back into defence at the end of a quarter. Who floats back to take the saving mark and gets us out of jail with an on-target kick now? I'm probably Sizzle McDonald's #1 advocate but while he's got the marking covered I don't particularly fancy him having to hit a target when we're a point up with 30 seconds left.

It wasn't always smooth sailing, but I had a Come to Jack moment against Sydney in Round 6, 2014. He only had five kicks, cost us a goal by dropping a mark in defence and was being treated by many of our fans (some who are probably throwing themselves onto the funeral pyre in despair now) like the man who invented leaded petrol. That night I realised that it didn't matter where we'd drafted him, he was never going to win the Brownlow and the best thing to do was to bunker down, enjoy the good times for as many games as possible and accept that he wasn't going to play 22 stunners a year. From then I've been much calmer, no longer wanting to throttle his detractors or engage in pointless arguments with Twitter eggs about how he did just as much as Nic Nat. Live and let live.

Since then he's gone up and down like a rollercoaster, but on the whole I've genuinely enjoyed him. If you believe the ham-fisted propaganda campaign there could have been issues with intensity of training and setting of standards for younger players etc.. etc.. etc.. but really just how bad could it have been? Did he have a dodgy pre-season or was it 23 consecutive home and away weeks of running diagonally across The Tan and pouring a bottle of water over the head to appear sweaty? Could I get an itemised list of all the minimum standards that he wasn't achieving, rather than that being used as convenient shorthand for "I have no idea but am trying to sound knowledgeable".

I'm not convinced man management is about everyone necking themselves until their hamstrings are about to tear out and fly down the Yarra, but maybe there are things we don't know. Things that make punting him out the door in exchange an almost derisory draft pick make sense. That's why I can't get properly outraged, but I am terrifically grim at what is probably the most emotionally draining trade (even including the SME going) of my supporting life. Wasn't all that fussed about Woewodin, didn't give two shits about Johnstone, but this has torn my heart out. Behind Nathan Jones he's the player I most wanted to molest over the fence after a winning Grand Final. To be fair what's happened today probably enhances my opportunity to see him win big. Probably after knocking us out of the eight after another Round 23 debacle.

Speaking of Round 23 (because I'm never going to stop until we're good), there was a lead and goal that didn't make the highlights package but which should be required research for Port on how to best feed him. Meanwhile we've got our fingers crossed that a whole-hearted defender who's had one Cuthbertson-esque purple patch and a thin kid who's spent most of two years in the reserves are going to successfully play foil to Hogan. You never know when a seemingly weird decision is going to cause magic to fall from the sky, but I'll wait for solid evidence before being convinced this wasn't just the execution of a scapegoat. Like when dictators publicly execute a few criminals at random as encouragement for everyone else to straighten up and fly right. In this case, at least, he gets a chance to redeem himself. I hope he does so well that we get somebody good at 31 and still regret having made the trade.

I'm not going to burn Simon Goodwin in effigy on Brunton Avenue yet. At least not until we're kicking 4.8.32 every week next year because Hogan's injured, Pedersen's a 31-year-old journeyman who can't be expected to deliver every week and McDonald is no longer playing with the element of surprise. But what shits me about this debate, even until this afternoon when I was holding on to hope that he'd stay and be a redemption story worthy of a Rocky movie, is how people were happy to throw him in the bin just because he's never going to become a superstar of the comp.

I've heard and understood the case for trading him. In fact I think he's doing the smartest thing by going somewhere else for a fresh start, and I'm determined to wait and see what happens with the pick and forward line in general next year, but gut feeling is either something very dodgy has gone on behind the scenes or this is a tremendous cock-up. I don't know if I'd be any happier if were for pick 20 or 25 (even though that leaves you effectively selecting from the same group of players), but there's a psychological barrier about the 30s that makes it feel like an extra ounce of piss has been extracted. This is not how a sane and rational man thinks, but I'm not a sane and rational man I'm a Melbourne supporter.

Forget what happened years ago (except for how his pissweak teammates refused to defend his honour on debut by punching on), 150 games later it doesn't matter that we picked him first or 99th he filled a role, and every team needs role players. Richmond and the Bulldogs had about 15, and if you're confident that Oliver, Petracca, Hogan, Lever are heading for the stars then what's the point of getting through all the difficult years then folding the moment things start to turn in our favour? If it turns out well then I'll kneel down and join the Mahoney/Goodwin Kiss My Ass Club, but until then I reserve the right to hold healthy scepticism about the deal and conveniently emerging negative stories. Next there'll be Russians plastering that one about his locker all over Facebook.

There is suggestion that salary cap pressure contributed to us having to chuck him but, a) who's the dickhead who got us into that position after 11 years without finals and not one genuine, fully developed superstar on the list, and b) funny how that only came out after people had been cracking the shits for a few days, and after it had already been suggested that he could stay if he wanted to. 

So what would have happened if he had decided not to go? Pretty high risk signing Lever to big money without having a contracted player officially off the books. They must have been reasonably confident that the negative press dumped in the last fortnight was enough to make sure they got the desired outcome. Who's running this joint, Harvey Weinstein? Then it turned out we might be paying part of his salary next season anyway and it became apparent that the manager of a Tijuana whorehouse had seized control. At least I don't think there's a membership brochure in the mail featuring his beaming face on the cover. Though it does represent the final death-knell for my proposed '2018: You Ready?' campaign.

Anyway, this has left me gloomy as all fuck, but at the same time once the shock of leaving his comfort zone and having to live in Adelaide wear off I'm sure at least he'll be happy. I look forward to a dramatic resurrection in this career of Jimmy Toumpas as they create the most lethal combination of MFC draftees in history.

As for us the best thing to do next year is to keep a calm head (remember, the receptionist and the Twitterist aren't the ones signing off on the deal - at least try to be civil) and remember that the club will - we hope - outlive the careers and probably lives of everyone currently on the list. I'm not your mother to tell you what to do, but this doesn't feel like the sort of thing you'd refuse to renew a membership over - especially if you sat through fielding a guy who'd threatened to kill a witness to him kicking a woman around and joyfully clapped like a seal while we were throwing games for draft picks.

None of this post was pre-prepared, because even though it was always coming I didn't think I'd be emotionally affected so much. So, because I cannot fathom any more #wattschat I leave you with my top 10 memorable moments of a thwarted career.

Honourable mentions
The time in the early days of Facebook when Juice Newton forgot to turn the privacy settings on and we got to see photos of him and Watts running riot with housewives in Bali.

The Energy Watch ad, where despite being an amateur he was a better actor than the father/son team who were so wooden you could make a table out of them.

10. The debut - Round 11, 2009
What an appropriate MFC-sized clusterfuck it was. First he was rolled into the team well before he was ready just to try and spark a few thousand extra people through the gate. He had a VCE exam the next day, but player welfare be buggered who needs to concentrate on education when you're a #1 pick?

For the grand total of +1700 on the previous year's Queen's Birthday crowd we treated him like the second coming Jesus in videos and live announcements, then when he finally trotted off the bench for the first time Collingwood players mugged him while 17 teammates stood around going "gee that's rough". The only thing we can be thankful of is that it would never happen again today, half our side would be rubbed out for a month if anyone tried it.

9. Blind turn around no one - Round 20, 2011
In a complex side that went from good to bad to good to fucking awful, this was his best season to date. He played every game, he kicked multiple goals a few times and looked like he was on the up. Then 186 and associated sagas turned up and ruined everything, but in the week immediately following that shemozzle he lifted our spirits with this piece of video game style trickery. Now it seems funny that the closest player to him was Brock McLean, another high draft pick we couldn't get 100% out of and flogged to another club.

8. The troubled Neeld relationship - 2012/13
It shouldn't surprise anyone that a guy operating at an intensity level like Michael Douglas in Falling Down was going to struggle to cope with somebody who didn't always look like they were about to launch a killing spree. His motivational tactics started with a public potting in November 2011, and things never got any better. Neeld has perhaps been slightly unfairly treated in that people will believe any old story you make up about him, but I hope that now Jack is free to tip the bucket on the club we'll find out if it's true that the coach really did scream in his face that he was a "weak cunt". Which would have been ironic for a man who had a chintzy Keep Calm And Carry On sign in his office.

7. In defence - Round 10, 2012
In a way the coach's reasoning to sending him into defence was sound. If he wasn't going to kick goals he might as well use his good skills and decision making elsewhere. It had started two games earlier, when back in the side after a fortnight out he had 34 touches against Sydney. It wasn't hard to rack up possessions in the backline that night considering we lost by 101 points, so this was by far the better

On the night where Colin Garland played a starring role forward, Jack was dominant in defence and scored his first of three maximums in the Brownlow. It was one of several dozen false starts where we thought he'd finally discovered his niche, but like everything in those two years things didn't take long to sour. He was not a defender. But to be fair, in that team neither was anyone else.

4. Enter the scapegoat - Round 2, 2013
People had been coming for him from about 10 minutes after he was drafted, including notorious Melbourne player assassin Leigh Matthews who piled onto him after about six games, but this was where it originally hit the big time. When he was the unlucky one to be subbed off amongst 21 other players who could have gone with him, there were sounds like might have been triumphant, mocking cheering from Essendon fans, our lot emptying their frustrations on the easiest target or a healthy mixture of both.

He was clearly becoming mentally frazzled, so when he was dropped it seemed like a good opportunity to either give him a rest or a casual trot at Casey. Instead we did neither and brought him along to the next game as an emergency. When asked why he was there Neil Craig said because they didn't want to have to play The Spencil if there was an injury - to which I asked why did you pick him as an emergency in the first place then you lunatics?

5. On the loose at lastRound 13, 2013
Arguably his best ever performance, coming at the start of a purple patch that not surprisingly coincided with his nemesis getting the arse. In his 64th game he finally got off the leash as a forward and was able to lead and mark, instead of battling for overhead marks that he wasn't suited for or withering away on a flank.

He kicked four to help set up a big lead, before the Bulldogs piled on seven goals in 15 minutes to reduce the margin from 44 to two. Given that we were 1-11, and had only won by a last quarter avalanche against an expansion team full of kids the importance of holding on cannot be understated. If we'd lost it would have been worse than the Chris Sullivan Line game (and that would have been replaced with the Jeremy Howe Line), but after helping build the lead he then went into defence and took a mark on the last line to hold them out and deliver a popular win. We didn't get another one for about 10 months.

4. Another round of lows - Round 6 2015
Roos had convinced Watts to stay at the end of 2013 when it looked like he was going to walk, and might have got the best out of him in 2016 but the first two years were a mixed bag. Three goals in Round 1 of 2015 were another false dawn, and by Round 6 he was starting as the sub and coming on to half encouragement and half Bronx Cheers from dickheads who wanted him to do badly so their point would be proven. He was going so badly even that poon 'Stevo' could crack gags on him.

After this it was suggested that he'd dropped himself, which sounded like a face-saving way of hiding being dropped to me. And it turned out to be good news for him because he missed us losing to Hawthorn by a hundred. Despite this rocky start the coach would eventually call him the heart and soul of the club, only to leave and watch it all go tits up. Given that Goodwin was actually coaching in 2016 are we to understand that he had the footy side covered and Roos was there to successfully spread good vibes and appear at press conferences?

3. The last great game - Round 4, 2016
It may be telling to his ultimate fate that the last time he absolutely tore a game to shreds was the start of last season. This was an underrated demolition job on the Pies that obviously nobody except me watched, because it was entirely forgotten by the time he did them in with one kick a year and a bit later. Four goals in a near flawless performance, save for an uncharacteristic miss from right in front, much to the visible disgust of the Pies mutant I was sitting with.

2. The winning goal - Round 19, 2016
With five games left nobody was yet thinking about the Mighty Ducks Finish run to the finals, and they might never have had a chance if it wasn't for this. That we stuffed it up in the end shouldn't detract from the casual way he chipped through the winner under immense pressure. See, sometimes a player being casual isn't cause to crucify them. I hope you prefer watching tormented run-ups that veer from side-to-side like Luke Hodge approaching a booze bus.

1. Queen's Birthday redemption - Round 12, 2017
It was far from his best game, but that run and finish to win the game was . The same journalists who had been potting him for years queued up to talk up how he'd finally 'arrived' 18 months after he'd started playing really well. There was such a carnival atmosphere after this that victory was celebrated in a guerrilla Facebook Live session alongside Jayden Hunt from inside a spa. That's the sort of comic genius I want, even if he's not suited to living a Bear Grylls style existence on the side of a mountain.

Ironically it (the game, not the Facebook extravaganza) was his last great moment with us, he did little coming back from injury and clearly had his cards marked after that. If there's one life lesson to be learnt from the Melbourne Football Club it's that you should never be happy because a let-down is just around the corner.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

2017 End of Year 'Spectacular'

Friends, interested onlookers from other teams, and flat out bad humans who are just here to revel in the misfortune of others. Welcome to picturesque Dawson's Field in the Jordanian desert, where we gather tonight to celebrate a season in which the Melbourne Football Club won more games in 22 rounds than any time since 2006 and still left fans wanting to walk into the sea with pockets full of rocks.

For supporters of a club whose promises are emptier than a seat at Spotless Stadium it's a night to remember the good times, the bad times, and that time our season fell to bits as we didn't lay a tackle for 10 minutes. Where we come to terms with a world that contains both Footscray and Richmond premiership players, and to hug a St Kilda fan in solidarity as we're left together on the bottom of the historical Laughing Stock League.

This is a formally constituted meeting of Every Day Is Like Sunday - Demonblog.com with all commissioners present. Please rise for our anthem:

Distinguished guests and people who accidentally found this by a rogue Google Search, our first presenter is a man who knows a lot about almost getting there then going to water, welcome to the stage professional golfer Jean Van De Velde.

"Well hello sports fans, it's fantastic to be here tonight. At least I know the desert is one place I'm not likely to end up ankle deep in a pond HA HA HA...


Anyway, I've been asked to introduce a night of celebration for a team that made significant progress before necking themselves with a catastrophic failure at the final hurdle. I can sympathise, nobody wants to talk about my $1.5 million career prize money, they're only interested in when I could have won the British Open with a six but put the ball in the drink.

Like my now forgotten three rounds and 17 holes of glory at Carnoustie, nobody's going to want to talk about the time the Dees pulled off a roaring comeback against Adelaide and won running away, or when they strangled the reigning premiers and hit the Chris Sullivan Line for the first time in five years. All that they'll remember about 2017 is a six goal to one first quarter in Round 23 where barely a fingernail was raised in defiance.

Fortunately it's not my job

But tonight I've been asked to look back to a happier time, those sunny weeks where everything's made up and the points don't matter, as we look at the best of the pre-season."

2017 Paul Prymke Plate for Pre-Season Performance


With no countback in operation (because they are a tool of Satan), we have the first triple tie in Demonblog award history. And what better award than the one that started as an excuse to use a gimmick name. With a three game window of opportunity to score votes it's hardly Goodes/Ricciuto/Buckley, but for us it will do. We'll have half a dozen plates struck next season.

9 - Jesse Hogan, Jayden Hunt, Clayton Oliver
7 - Max Gawn
5 - Christian Petracca
3 - Jake Melksham, Bernie Vince, Jack Viney
2 - Dion Johnstone, Nathan Jones, Jordan Lewis, Christian Salem, Jake Spencer
1 - Jay Kennedy-Harris, Joel Smith

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
2017 - Jesse Hogan, Jayden Hunt and Clayton Oliver

Our next presenter was booked by accident. We asked head office to get us somebody famous for choking, and the next thing old time singing sensation Mama Cass turned up. Well, we've paid for her now so we may as well push on.

"If you did your research properly you'll find that I actually died of a dud heart, and not from choking on a ham sandwich. But I've not had much work since 1974 so this will have to do.

It's my pleasure to present an award that recognises the best player on Melbourne's list who played their first AFL game during the year, no matter how many years they'd been on the list. Players from the previous season remained eligible if they debuted in the last four weeks including finals if relevant (NB: they are never relevant). Christ on a bike, this award has more exclusions than a credit card application. I'm going for a Kentucky...

Jeff Hilton Rising Star Medal

What a fizzer this year's Hilton was. It's not been so poorly contested since 2005 when the fact that zero players were eligible should have provided a glimpse into the grim, dystopian future that we were about to suffer.

Last year only three players polled, but Hunt, Petracca and OIiver had 34 votes between them. The early favourite - having debuted i in the last month of 2017 was Sam Weideman, but when he declined to turn up the winner was free to motor around collecting votes at his own pace.

Corey Maynard can consider himself unlucky given that he holds a two vote a game career average that suggest he will win every award he enters for the rest of his career, but the good news is that having debuted in Round 19 this year's 500-1 shot will be in the running next year.

4 - Mitch Hannan
2 - Corey Maynard
0 - Lachlan Filipovic, Liam Hulett, Dion Johnstone, Declan Keilty, Mitch King, Pat McKenna, Joel Smith, Tim Smith, Sam Weideman

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)
2017 - Mitch Hannan ($15)

Demonbracket VI

It was another great season for Australia's number one bracket based sports voting competition, with record numbers of voters. Let's not get sidetracked by that only being around 100 people, that's more than decide the TV ratings and people jump out of windows over those.

In what turned out to be an otherwise rotten season, Max Gawn at least got to take one honour home. I'm sure he's filed it away in his trophy cabinet along with the All-Australian blazer and the BOG for Queen's Birthday 2016 that he comically flexed like a dumbbell.

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
2017 - Max Gawn d. Jack Viney

2018 seedings

As always, the defending champion has the honour of being seeded first. He's then followed by the top seven placegetters in the Best and Fairest, giving them all a bye through to the first round and a favourable draw where they'll avoid each other until the quarter finals at the earliest. The 7th Bracket promises to be the most hotly contested yet, and will kick off shortly after Australia Day. More details in early January.

1 - Max Gawn
2 - Clayton Oliver
3 - Jack Viney
4 - Nathan Jones
5 - Jordan Lewis
6 - Neville Jetta
7 - Michael Hibberd
8 - Christian Petracca

In Memoriam

A tribute to everyone and everything we've lost this year.

Liam Hulett

*Light applause, plus much disappointment that we didn't find a way to be upset with him so he could leave on a "Hulett - the dog's out" headline.*

Mitch White

*Intermittent applause, with one person screaming something barely audible but certifiably offensive about the Sydney game*

Ben Kennedy

* Moderate applause, several people going "oh yeah, didn't he play for us once?" and much disquiet about how we haven't recruited a successful player from Collingwood since Peter Moore*

Jake Spencer

*Me going bonkers, everyone else barely moved. Heavy suspicion that if nobody else is keen we'll be welcoming him back as a rookie anyway.*

Jack Trengove

*A tearful standing ovation and flowers handed over by brother of a premiership player and fellow anti-MFC class action member Jack Grimes*

The joy of hanging shit on Richmond

* Sobbing, wistful resignation and snarky comments about why their players end up with The Killers and ours with The Career Killers *

The right to be moralistic about $cully doing a runner

Nah, you can stick this one up your arse I'm not accepting it. And it's not even because this guy is coming (until he changes his mind or the Crows stooge us) via a proper trade, and not bolting in the night to leave us to our own fate with compo. Or that we're nicking him with our own money, not the AFL's blank chequebook.

None of that means it's morally correct, and that's what makes it so good. Nobody's telling the GWS fan not to enjoy the $2 Million Turd's Cliff Young style running and Yiannis Kouros-esque disposal, and I'm not here to tell Adelaide fans that they should be calm about this. In fact bring it on, let's have a real 2018 style Carnival of Hate. I'll bet my house that they won't manage to be even moderately as amusing as we were, and that it will instead involve munters climbing the dugout for the first time since Darren Milburn KOed Stephen Silvagni.

So howl freely Crows fans. Like we still strive to prove to the players who've left us in dubious circumstances (and failed on Frawley), living well is the best revenge.

The chance of playing in an elimination final

* General commotion, stamping of feet and people trying to call an EGM to sack the coach, board and receptionist*

Jack Watts

*Amazing scenes of chaos and turmoil, as the 50% pro-Watts camp in the audience launch violently into the 50% antis. Innocent children are forced to flee in every direction as knife-wielding assailants are mowed down by folding chairs thrown from the other side of the aisle. Eventually heavily armed riot police are forced to intervene and quell the madness *

The 2017 End of Year Spectacular will resume shortly. Resist the temptation to read or talk to loved ones. Do not attempt sexual relations as years of following the Melbourne Football Club have left your genitals withered and useless

As the last waft of tear gas clears the stage we're able to resume, and who better to welcome to the stage than a lady who knows all about leaving a room full of people in tatters and crying. Like Melbourne fans she too has suffered, from confronting her husband's insatiable appetite for rooting on national television, to flubbing an unloseable election against a terracotta dickhead. If the presidency was decided in a popular vote like Mark of the Year she'd have won. From New York it's Hillary Clinton...

"You know, I've had a lot of time to think since November 2016. Most of that time has been spent thinking about the shitful existence of Melbourne supporters. But in January the spirits of Demons fans everywhere were lifted by a side playing for the love of the game.

They set the blueprint for the men by narrowly missing the finals, but because you knew they were always trying it didn't leave you wanting to self-harm by dropping bricks on our head in the style of Christian Salem.

It is now my pleasure to present the inaugural award celebrating the club's top female player"

Debbie Lee Medal for Women's Player of the Year

Our longest serving player was pushed all the way, but much to the delight of that kid in the Chemist Warehouse ad Daisy not only finally kicked a goal, but she got the votes to become our first Women's Player of the Year.

Added bonus, if you're thinking about having a kid any time soon there's a chance that Daisy's safe hands may be at the business end. She promises not to flick out a quick handball to a passing obstetrician, but you never know when muscle memory will kick in. Your child would be honoured.

Let's be entirely honest here, we're pro-Debbie but when Daisy retires this award will be renamed after her within the hour.

26 - Daisy Pearce
22 - Karen Paxman
18 - Elise O'Dea
10 - Lily Mithen
9 - Alyssa Mifsud, Cat Phillips
4 - Laura Duryea, Katherine Smith
2 - Lauren Pearce
1 - Deanna Berry

Honour roll
2017 - Daisy Pearce (next year we'll be sullying the purity of the women's game by introducing betting markets like all the other major awards)

2017 Year in Review Part One

Hi everyone, I'm the man who has lived in a bunker since 2010. The organisers have asked me to ascend to the surface and find out what happened this year for the first time.

Round 1 vs St Kilda - Awakenings
"Well surely we're not going to win in Round 1 again. Or at Docklands. Or against St Kilda ever again? Well bugger me, it seems we did. Nice start, let's have more of it. Could do without going four goals down every time though..."

Round 2 vs Carlton - The Mediocre Escape

"It was uncomfortable and involved unnecessary violence but we got there. Our first 2-0 start in many years, meaning we really only need to go 10-10 from the remaining games and rack up a bit of percentage and we'll make the eight. Then I might move back to ground level".

Round 3 vs Geelong - Kicking into danger
"We had a stroke of luck here, playing an away game against Geelong somewhere other than that taxpayer funded East German concrete shithole. Oh, goodbye Max Gawn. And accurate goalkicking. And four points. At least we've got an easy game next..."

Round 4 vs Fremantle - Touching cloth

"WHAT IN THE NAME OF CHRIST WERE THEY DOING? What hope is there for any of you? Tell you what I'd do, cut up my membership and post it to SEN".

Round 5 vs Richmond - Reinventing hell

"Where we might very well have won if we hadn't lost two players for 3/4 of the game. Needed more Richmond numpties prematurely trying to sack their coach. At least we'll always have the Tiges to make us look good right?"

Round 6 vs Essendon - Fortress Shithole

"A third trip to Docklands in six weeks should have been cause for en masse slashing of wrists and people throwing themselves onto the electrical wires in the Southern Cross train yards, but what do you know we got away with it. It's starting to look suspiciously like we play this place better than our home ground".

Round 7 vs Hawthorn - But then the demon, much too soon, returned one Sunday afternoon

"So Hawthorn are no good now right? And we beat them last year even when we were still shit, so obviously that's going to happen again now and... oh dear".

Round 8 vs Adelaide - Whale Oil Beef Hooked

"If I'd known about the Hawthorn debacle I'd have put a plastic bag over the air pipes to the bunker, and at five goals down here it still seemed like a good idea. Then we went bananas, rampaged to victory. If Foxtel could run a cable underground I'd have been left trying to remember what the PIN number was to access the adult movie channel".

Round 9 vs North Melbourne - Stranglewank Sunday

"Oh for fucks sake we didn't lose to them again did we?"

Round 10 vs Gold Coast - Nobody does it better
"For the fourth week in a row we went well behind before finally having a go. This left us 2-2 in those games. It really is no way for a sensible team to go about things".

Round 12 vs Collingwood - The slaves will grow wings and overthrow their masters

"Oh Jack, lovely Jack. What a finish. It's definitely onwards and upwards for you from here. Nothing will hold you back now".

Aaron Davey Medal for Goal of the Year

This is where we come together and celebrate the great goals. It was much easier when we only kicked about three a week, but now that they mean something it's significantly more rewarding sifting through them to find a weekly nominee.

Most career nominations

19 - Jeff Garlett (2015-2017)
6 - Christian Petracca (2016-2017)
6 - Jack Watts (2014-2017)
5 - Bernie Vince (2014)
5 - Dean Kent (2014, 2016)
5 - Nathan Jones (2014-2016)

2017 nominees
Round 1 - Mitch Hannan
Round 2 - Jeff Garlett
Round 3 - Jack Watts
Round 4 - Christian Petracca
Round 5 - Jayden Hunt
Round 6 - Jordan Lewis
Round 7 - Jack Viney
Round 8 - Clayton Oliver
Round 9 - Sam Frost
Round 10 - Jeff Garlett [2]
Round 12 - Jack Watts
Round 13 - Jack Watts [2]
Round 14 - Tom McDonald
Round 15 - Christian Petracca [2]
Round 16 - Jake Melksham
Round 17 - Jayden Hunt [2]
Round 18 - Jeff Garlett [3]
Round 19 - Jake Melksham [2]
Round 20 - Jake Melksham [3]
Round 21 - Mitch Hannan [2]
Round 22 - Cameron Pedersen
Round 23 - Cameron Pedersen [2]

The route to success in this competition is now clear, kick a match-winning goal. Now three of the four all-time medallists have been for moments that won a game. Salem (with assists from half the side) and Watts did it from set shots, and now the unlikely figure of Tom McDonald joins them for this mighty effort.

2018 Coleman Medallist Tom McSizzle can also be thankful for assists. Oliver's lightning hands and Hibberd's perfectly weighted kick to the square that we in no way acknowledge might have been a shot got the ball to the square, but the end was pure gold. He refused to go down in a vigorous tackle from a man who looks like a pub brawler, then when all was lost lobbed the ball in the air and pinged his foot at it for the best horizontal MFC goal since Jakovich vs North in '91.

Honour roll
2014 - Christian Salem
2015 - Nathan Jones
2016 - Jack Watts
2017 - Tom McDonald

And now a sportsman who knows what it's like to try and unsuccessfully scale Everest. For the Dees 100 point wins, finals and flags remain elusive, and for this man winning Wimbledon was as likely as crossing the Sahara atop an ostrich. Bugger me it's Ivan Lendl!

"I'll have you know I also won eight other Grand Slam tournaments and $21 million dollars in prizemoney so..."

*gives the international sign for a fist up the keister and walks off in a huff*

Well that's never happened before. It's $21 million and out, because we're not paying for him tonight.

Guess I'll take over, as we pay tribute to those brave few big men who take big bumps at the bounces, and are usually injured in any year that doesn't start with 2 and end with 016.

2017 Jim Stynes Medal for Ruckman of the Year

If you're coming in late this probably looks like a rampant victory, but the full story tells a much sadder tale. As long time readers will remember, there was a rule change after the 2013 season when Jack Fitzpatrick won despite barely playing a centre bounce all season.

The qualifying mark became 10 hitouts per game (though we never considered a minimum number of games, a loophole that will probably be exploited at some point), well above the 6.54 the now sadly Puttin' On The Fitz ripped out in his title winning season. This guarantees no more than three or four eligible players a season.

In 2017 we had three until the last week, with Cameron Pedersen doing a Fitz by getting his votes as a forward but only after reaching the all important qualification mark during Gawn's absence. He hit the lead late in the season, while just hovering over 10 per game, before dropping to 9.8 after the final round. This disqualified him, vaulting Maximum back to the top of the pile. Shattering news for the man with the most NQR nickname in footy.

12 - Max Gawn
1 - Jake Spencer
DQ - Lachlan Filipovic, Sam Frost, Mitch King, Tom McDonald, 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)
2017 - Max Gawn (4) ($1.25 fav)

Our last major presenter of the night is a man who knows about being tarred with the choker brush after one moment of madness. We've already done the golf gimmick, but what theme night would be complete without a visit from the Shark...

"So why am I here? Oh yes, that'd be right. When you need somebody who stuffed up an unloseable sporting scenario of course I'd be your man. Nobody ever calls and asks me to talk about winning majors or getting your gear off in the great outdoors, it's all six shot lead this, Nick Faldo that. I'm sick of it.

Speaking of men who can't hold onto a lead for shit, it's time for our next award".

Marcus Seecamp Medal for Defender of the Year

He came, he saw, he got injured quickly. Then he returned to become the first defender since Tom McDonald in 2015 to seriously challenge for the Jakovich.

We enjoyed him racking up possessions like a midfielder, taking marks and roosting the ball down the line with all sorts of abandon, he probably didn't enjoy seeing Essendon play finals after we died in the arse at the last minute. Looking forward to more of the same in 2018, preferably with more realistic facial hair and a finals appearance.

31 - Michael Hibberd
21 - Neville Jetta
18 - Jayden Hunt
12 - Sam Frost
9 - Christian Salem
5 - Oscar McDonald
4 - Bernie Vince
2 - Josh Wagner
0 - Colin Garland, Declan Keilty, Heritier Lumumba, Joel Smith, Billy Stretch, Mitch White
DQ - Tomas Bugg, Corey Maynard, Tom McDonald, Jake Melksham, Cameron Pedersen, Jack Watts

Honour Roll
2005 - Nathan Carroll and Ryan Ferguson
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)
2017 - Michael Hibberd ($16)

2017 Year in Review Part Two

Round 13 vs Footscray - This machine kills finalists
"This is more like it. What a performance, we squashed them straight out of the gate and merrily wandered off to our most comfortable win against a good team in years. Keep this up and there's no way we'll miss the eight.

Round 14 vs West Coast - Start the bulldozers, the job is done
"Pardon me, Tom McDonald did WHAT? At Subiaco? Well bugger me, miracles do happen".

Round 15 vs Sydney - The big fizz
"Ha ha, that crazy Tom Bugg, always getting involved in crazy scenarios. Actually, I have no idea who Tom Bugg is".

Round 16 vs Carlton - The Big Steal

"It's like a Bizzaro World version of 2006, where in this case we only just beat Carlton twice and probably just miss the finals instead of just scraping in".

Round 17 vs Adelaide - Malfunction at the junction

"Geez, I hope folding like a house of cards in the last quarter and losing by heaps doesn't come back to haunt us in Round 23" 

Round 18 vs Port Adelaide - The plot thickens

"Alright, we're back on track. Just need to beat North and we're practically home"

Round 19 vs North Melbourne - Fear of Flying
"I am going to go right off if we lost to these bastards again...


Round 20 vs Greater Western Sydney - Australian Capsizing Team

"Well that's an innovative way to continue a run of poxy opening quarters"

Round 21 vs St Kilda - The dream shall never die (but I might)
"Well if we're usually terrible in first quarters and we won it by heaps this time then it stands to reason that we'd go on and beat them by 20 goals doesn't it? 
Apparently not"

Round 22 vs Brisbane - Breathing into a paper bag
"Oh joy, we might incredibly hard work of this but at least it's left our fate in our own hands going into the last round. Could have done with a few more goals in the last quarter I reckon"

Round 23 vs Collingwood - Home and broken hearted
"Well that title doesn't sound particularly promising. Wait a minute, where is the Elimination Final? Is there a part three of this review somewhere?

*flicks through the pages, quickly becomes agitated and mouths the phrase "what the fuck is going on here?" to nobody in particular*

What? That's it? Bugger this, I'm going back downstairs and sticking a rolled-up newspaper in my oxygen vent".

And that's the last we'll see of that guy, until this time next year when we need content to fill an end of year post. That's almost all we've got time for this evening, just one more award left to present. But it's the biggest of them all, an award that pays tribute to the man who defines 'cult figure', a colossus of the early 1990s who until recently hadn't been seen in polite company for 20 years. We hoped he might present the award in person, but he's busy in Manilla. So I'll do it on his behalf, ladies and gentlemen this is your....

2017 Allen Jakovich Medal for Player of the Year

We're so used to second year player self-immolating after a grand start that everyone must have been holding their breath for The Hamburglar in 2017. End result - the first second year player to win the Jakovich since Nathan Jones in 2007, the longest priced winner since betting markets began, and a special merit award for doing funny things wherever he goes like a improved model Sam Blease.

In between feuding with cricketers and plonker Carlton fans he found time to rack up ridiculous numbers, defying every attempt to stop him. Sure there were a bunch of one metre handballs to a player already under the pump, but we would have withheld the award for years if the top vote-getters were disqualified for minor flaws. Let's instead concentrate on all the times he heroically extracted the ball from a minefield, plowing in and getting rid of it so quickly that at one point umpires just started guessing and pinging him for throws.

Can he keep it up? All signs point to yes, he just has an instinctive ability to find teammates that surely can't be coached or Melbourned out of him. Unlike the similarly fast starting Brock McLean nobody's turning a blind eye to the occasional bout of weirdness and making strange noises about him becoming captain. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. If MFC history is anything to by we'll be trying to trade him to Port Adelaide for pick 30 by this time next year.

And so could I ask you to all to please stand...

Not you...

... and before he leaves on a Yobbos Up The Guts style comedy tour of regional Australia, please join me in a toast to this year's Every Day Is Like Sunday - Demonblog.com Player of the Year. Mr Clayton Oliver.

35 - Clayton Oliver
31 - Michael Hibberd
27 - Nathan Jones
25 - Jack Viney
24 - Christian Petracca
21 - Neville Jetta
18 - Jayden Hunt
16 - Tom McDonald
15 - Cameron Pedersen
13 - Jeff Garlett
12 - Sam Frost, Max Gawn, Jack Watts
11 - Jordan Lewis
9 - Christian Salem
8 - James Harmes
7 - Jake Melksham, Dom Tyson
5 - Jesse Hogan, Oscar McDonald
4 - Mitch Hannan, Bernie Vince
2 - Dean Kent, Corey Maynard, Alex Neal-Bullen, Josh Wagner
1 - Jake Spencer

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)
2017 - Clayton Oliver ($35)

And that's a wrap comrades. Football gods willing, nothing will occur that requires an emergency post between now and the end of the year so we'll be shutting up shop until then, moving the entire operation to Twitter and potentially Facebook. The projected return to posting will either be the Demonbracket 2018 preview post in early January (with the actual tournament kicking off after Australia Day again) or the start of AFLW season coverage.

Until then, hug a Demon, buy a membership, take an interest in other sports and sit by the banks of a river long enough to see your enemies float by.