If there has there been a more prestigious award than the MFC/AGB Gnomies, I have seen it.
Brother RT, this time filing from Sri Lanka, puts his vernier caliper to Melbourne's 2011 and discovers the season was precisely 234 millimetres from complete fiasco:
The Sir Robert Flower Best & Fairest Award – Brent Moloney. Was sensational early season, although he drifted off markedly in the second half of the season. Needs to lose the binge drinking aspect to his all round performance. Jones was very consistent and could challenge, Frawley had some fine games after an understandably slow start. Martin could surprise in the voting.
The Allen Jakovich Best First Year Player Award – Jeremy Howe. Great mark, leads up, good with both feet, kicks decently for goal and reads the play well. Great mid-sized forwards are rare these daze. It’s either small evil little Milne types or hulking tall robots and ex-basketballers. A sparky from Dodges Ferry already reads - genuine cult value. As does Max Gawn, who will be given plenty of time to develop. Nicholson, Evans both gave unexpected glimpses. Tapscott and Blease sort of like 1st yearers and hopefully both 200+ game players.
The Guy Rigoni Biggest Surprise Packet Award – No one really came from the clouds like Jordie McKenzie and Bail did last year. Sadly. Pass.
The Andrew Leoncelli Most Improved Award – Stefan Martin. Difficult to get a read on since drafted but finally stamped the modern footy 2nd ruckman ticket with intent. And he has brains. If that means anything.
The Brent Grgic Most Disappointing Award – Cale Morton. Lacks any sort of grunt or presence and can turn it over, all this after showing reasonable progress in his first two seasons and there now is a real likelihood of wasting a # 4 pick on a stick insect. Most annoying. Davey had a shocker by any measure. Green a couple of 4 goal hauls, otherwise captain calamity.
The Paul Hopgood Effort Award – Ricky Petterd. A bit up and down but you can never question his effort. Tackles like a maniac and can become a bit of a game changer. Jordie Mac the other real top notch tackler and grunt merchant but he dropped off a bit and deserves a rest then a big pre-season.
The Stephen Tingay Young Player Potential Award – Jack Trengove. Done everything required of a prime draft pick in his first 2 years. Loves to tackle and get his hands dirty but also runs, links up, can take a grab and kick a smart goal. Further recognition should surely follow. Jack Watts is heading that way too but you would expect that from these two. If one of those two lads doesn’t become a star we may as well pack it in.
The Glenn Lovett Established Player But Could Be A Superstar Award – Hard to pick one as we have so few established players left. Michael Newton anyone?? I think not. Pass.
The Jeff Farmer Demons Goal Of The Year Award - Liam Jurrah. Against the Lions early season. Had us off our seats, as we stood on the steps...Not enough of it from Liam however.
The Shaun Smith Demons Mark Of The Year Award – Ricky Petterd. It had to be at Shitihad, so no chance of seeing it live. Stretch had it right, a big grab right in front of the MCG members, not in front of the sparse, feral Bulldogs supporters at the sh*t heap in a bad loss. Howe, Trengove, Sylvia all showing some aerial skills. We can always say to opposing supporters “but we took more big marks!”
The Jeremy Nichols Blink And You’ll Miss Him Award – Robert Campbell. Certainly a speculative rookie pick. Will now always be renowned for being a Demon listed player rather than a Hawks premiership player. Jake Spencer another ruckman, with 8 games from 4 seasons, who will be lucky to add to those stellar career figures as we build a decent ruck contingent with Jamar, Gawn, Martin.
The Nick Smith X-Factor Award – Addam Maric. Given a fair airing this season but hasn’t come close to grasping the nettle. For a renowned dead eyed goalkicker, he can miss. He just looks like he should be bullied. Still could be part of the master plan but needs a big, cheating 2012.
The Anthony Ingerson Older Player But Keep On List Until He Claps Out Award – Jared Rivers. A great spoiler and is needed down back for the experience. Will hardly dominate but is more reliable than Warnock. Perhaps.
The Darren Cuthbertson Frustration Award – Jamie Bennell. He shows so many glimpses of true indigenous magic (yes, Adam Goodes - “magic”) but has never once collected over 20 possessions (best is 20, average per game 11) in 50 games. Should never have given him Brad Miller’s #. All the indigenous lads all had poor seasons, with poor Oz looking the worst affected.
The Darren Kowal Designated Kicker Out From Goal Award – Luke Tapscott. Best long kick since Michael O’Sullivan. Col Garland a nice long kick too. We still were pretty average in transitioning it from the kickout, without going into complete Kowal howler territory.
For the hell of it:
The HMAS Holland Battleship Award – Bate and Dunn. They’re like a (second rate) comedy team. Hale and Pace or Penn and Teller perhaps. Recruited the same year with a similar (high) ranking, about the same height, key forwards but not quite that, played about the same number of games (Bate 90, Dunn 81). Showed good early career glimpses, couldn’t handle the post Daniher nadir years but got games because even Newton, Jace Bode and others were clowning around, showed some form as the pendulum swung back our way but still look more at home with a scorpion on the front of their jumpers. On the trade table for certain but now it’s more beef jerky than a decent rib eye.
The Gerard Healy Filthy Traitor Award – Tom Scully. “DOG!!” – Tim F., the Steps, Aug 28th 2011.
“On track to being a consistent top 4 power” was written in this same forum this time last year I think. What a season....Hardly any to relish and enjoy, except for a Bombers win which set them in a tailspin, a Tigers win which showed their true colours and a trashing or 2 against tea bags. 13th place a kick in the groin, as we only needed to play half decent footy to make the finals given our draw. We went into the Trailer Park massacre off the back of a Darwin win, with reasoned hope of making finals, an inkling that Bailey would be offered a year and you could sort of justify the drop off in anticipated progress, then KAPOW!! 37 lucky goals later to the Cats and it’s uber crisis time.
Off field did seem firmly on the right track, albeit with typical Melbourne media rumours. Again the TP massacre bought things out in the open in such a raw way. If we didn’t have $$$ from the Top End Of Town, we’d be well and truly rooted.
I still fancy it doesn’t take much in modern footy. A good injury run, decent and predicted development from the youngsters, a surprise packet or two, some close, team building wins against good opponents and most importantly some bruising football with a tangible strategy / game plan, so even if we don’t measure up we’re not rightly labelled as “soft” or “bruise free”. The need-games-in-legs excuse is still a reality but slowly fading, a final 8 spot is not too unrealistic a target in 2012. I think I said previously that we have moved slowly from a low budget Plan 9 type comedy to more of a mainstream pic with a half decent cast, but now have slipped back into an indie black comedy with a dysfunctional production team all on the sauce or snort, who should be bringing out fine if somewhat always left field movies.