The Tradition Continues. (Unless you are Channel Seven spruiking the Australian Masters, in which case the Tradition Stopped when Nine got the rights.)
Brother RT, released back into society after a 20 year stretch in Sydney, is once again on deck to host the keenly anticipated 2010 MFC/AGB Gnomies. Be upsitting, please:
The Sir Robert Flower Best & Fairest Award – Brad Green. Has had easily the best of his 11 seasons. He is much more consistently top draw these daze and sensibly being played forward most of the time, he kicked over 50 goals for the first time. Could / should be the next captain. Frawley, Jamar very competitive for the Bluey. Davey, Sylvia bubbling under the surface as consistent game breakers. Moloney would be up there if he had played 22 games.
The Allen Jakovich Best First Year Player Award – Trengove / Scully. Difficult to separate the future 200+ game prime movers (probably Scully by a nose), they immediately looked comfortable at this level, as you would expect from midfield picks 1 and 2 but good to see it play out in practice in season 1. Still shaking my head at 39 Scully possessions in the wet against the top 4 bound Dogs (18 in the heat of the last qtr) in just his 7th game of AFL football. Saw a glimpse of real Gyz potential and ready to view Tap, Gawn, Fitz in due course (and belatedly Blease). It felt like Watts was a 1st year player and good to see Pick 1 status should not be an impatient media nightmare but pure 6 ft 4 Brighton Grammar poncy schoolboy basketballer transformed into a genuine Lyon / Schwarz MFC thoroughbred.
The Guy Rigoni Biggest Surprise Packet Award – Jordie McKenzie. Whilst seeing glimpses late last season, it was surprising how quickly he has matured into a hard at it tackling machine who is a good decision maker in heavy traffic. Highlighted when he was out for a game or two and our midfield intensity was strangely lacking something. Still only a rookie....but not for long. Bail certainly surprised as well, plenty of dash and poise and has added regally to his 30 seconds of 2009 AFL footy.
The Andrew Leoncelli Most Improved Award – Mark Jamar. Took 7 years but worth the wait, smashed some of the best around, AA spot virtually assured. We sort of thought something was in the air last year but certainly didn’t expect this. Vital key ruckman dilemma solved without wasting prime draft picks or trades. Decision only remains on his backup and let us pray he stays healthy. Ricky Petterd was a major improver as a forward before injury curtailed.
The Brent Grgic Most Disappointing Award – Stefan Martin. Had a real chance early in the season but couldn’t grasp the relief ruckman concept, injured later and interest in what is done with him from here as he has obvious talent but there seems no room in his favoured tall backman role, and forward or ruck don’t appear his bag.
The Paul Hopgood Effort Award – Nathan Jones. Smart move to make him into a more accountable run with type. Never questioned his endeavour but decision making, delivery have improved and he has a happy knack of kicking a team lifting goal. Even his tatts aren’t too offensive. Clint Bartram not far behind for effort in a super season and showed 2006 was no fluke.
The Stephen Tingay Young Player Potential Award – Jamie Bennell. Has skill to burn (does skill burn or am I thinking pace? Which he has as well...) and while he still doesn’t rack up major stats just yet, if he does, watch out. More of an attacking small forward this season rather than running back. Can frustrate and a kick up the ar$e in Rd 22 but turning out to be a fine 3rd round pick, Mr Worsfold.
The Glenn Lovett Established Player But Could Be A Superstar Award – Colin Garland. Incredibly good season considering 2009 and we could be looking at AA pretty soon or worst case one of those super dependable backmen who gets the dangerous opponents, never get the wraps they deserve but are loved by the supporters. Either way we have the genuine Demon article.
The Jeff Farmer Demons Goal Of The Year Award - Lynden Dunn. Fresh in the memory that one. Pity he didn’t kick the one straight after. Bennell grubber v the Dogs a good one.
The Shaun Smith Demons Mark Of The Year Award – Colin Sylvia? Yuk, yuk...no, Liam Jurrah all the way to AFL HQ for that one. Sylvia was trying desperately to win it for a while. Bennell with a one hander against Freo and a mark in front of the members with a slippery ball against the Dogs weren’t even in the ball park given the quality of LJ’s. It won’t be a flash in the Juice Newton pan either for Liam.
The Jeremy Nichols Blink And You’ll Miss Him Award – Tom McNamara. Unfortunately too many decent and improving backline options in front of him to add to his 3 games in 2009. Same problem for Cheney. Danny Hughes a good story to play AFL footy but with the forward line now starting to take shape 2 games is about it for honest old Dan.
The Nick Smith X-Factor Award – Jake Spencer. 3 years on the list, 8 games, can’t kick over a jam tin just yet but we will probably enact The Jamar Rule on him and please don’t enact The Woodman Rule.
The Anthony Ingerson Older Player But Keep On List Until He Claps Out Award – Cam Bruce. Surprisingly may be GC bound but if not, no harm playing him for the next season or 2. Even though Rick may break a few more remote controls with Cam’s handballing options.
The Darren Cuthbertson Frustration Award – Matthew Bate. Should not be playing for Casey and played some quality games early / mid season but drifted out of it like he can do. Maybe it’s the weird left foot kicking style, maybe it’s the orangutan running style, maybe it’s the orange hair visible from Mars.
The Darren Kowal Designated Kicker Out From Goal Award – Aaron Davey / Col Garland. A distinct improvement. Coast to coast the operative words in ‘11. Actually probably the best it’s been since......Ray Biffen booted it long to Robbie’s wing. Although we can drift into Kowal territory every so often.
On track to being a consistent top 4 power which is what you need to be to hoist the cup. Best potential, depth and list assembled in all my time supporting. We’ve never had this opportunity, so if we blow it we only have the usual Demon scapegoats to blame - Dennis Jones, Paul McNamee, Gerard Healy, OJ Simpson...Cannot wait for 2011 to roll round and will see a fair share live too. Although at least we have the Ashes this summer.
Best game I was at. The Easter Pies game. After the pre-season and Hawks Rd 1 debacle shook the confidence, I went away after that game knowing we were on the right track, even with a forward line of Ricky P and little else. Ricky marking it with 3 seconds to go would have been pure joy but it was never all about win / loss this year.
Best game viewed on TV. The Swans MCG game. Pity I missed the start. It was like watching a TV series for the first time, thinking “how good is this?!” and looking forward to the next episode.
What other team can you support when you start at the Prince Patrick for lunch on Aug 29th, talk to an American Demons supporter who outlines the Demons Even Year Theory, wander over for a Twilight Game where the Demons try every possible method of losing whilst being the far better team, and succeed, with the umpires dutifully playing their part, kick the ball after outside the MCG with an Estonian Demon supporting guy’s son who says “kick it to me, I wanna be Liam Jurrah!”, wind up at some seedy Tabaret next to the Vaucluse after 11 hours solid drinking, still talking Demons, and get ushered to another area by the bouncer because “you are making too much noise (for the poker playing patrons?!)”, the other area being an outside area with a heater on the roof, the bouncer being Macedonian (“do you know Peter Diacos?”), we wander back inside as we leave past a place inside that would’ve been perfectly fine for him to put us. Simply and often stated – How Could You Barrack For Any Other Team?
The whole club is virtually unrecognisable from 2 years ago. Record membership, no crippling debt, AFL patting us like we’re a cute puppy, Jimmy looking miraculously well, MCC ties solid, new office and training facilities, new and improved logo, Casey initiative working well, sensible recruiting and particularly trading (Grimes, Gyz look complete bonuses), crowds healthier than ever, media giving us a free ride, Darwin a decent “home” game $$$ in the till option. We may even get a decent draw, with some Friday Night action. That wizened old cynical jinxy West Indian voodoo witchdoctor is lurking out there somewhere close by like he did in ’95 and ’01 but if we bugger this chance up badly I’m finally packing it in and joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Hillsong. They at least have more consistent spiritual doctrines.