Over to you, Richard Tea:
The Sir Robert Flower Best & Fairest Award – Nathan Jones. 3 time (consecutive) Bluey Truscott medallist. Only Jim Stynes and Allen La Fontaine have won more times (4). For the record – Mueller, Fowler (not Flower – who surprisingly only won 1) and Mann have won 3 also. He’s indestructible?! Missed 1 game in 5 seasons, 5 since his debut and doesn’t shirk any contest. You just know when we’re finally on the up he’ll have some weird, wacky injury, like lifting a phone book at home and buggering his back ala G Rigoni. Is fast becoming a Demon great (the best tattooed one at any rate). Typically not even in All Australian top 40 consideration. Pinheads. Vince, Tyson & Dunn polled predictably well.
The Allen Jakovich Best First Year Player Award – Christian Salem. He and Jay K-H were the only first year players who debuted this season. Salem mostly on the back of that one kick for goal gets the nod after only really showing a tantalising taste. Hopefully decent AFL exposure this year for both of them and really see some tricks in ’15. Both are light but with more muscle they can surely develop (a taboo Demons word I know) their defensive game and ability to break tackles. Dom Barry in yr 2 also debuted but has had a significant Scorpion grounding and is still very much a WIP it seems.
The Guy Rigoni Biggest Surprise Packet Award – Cam Pedersen. A true Otway potato last season, cult value the next. Could well fall back into spud country but pleasing to see at least one of the crop from the Neeld hobby farm show some surprising improvement.
The Andrew Leoncelli Most Improved Award – Neville Jetta. Loved how when he was delisted at the end of last season our sentiments were – “slow, gets caught, good riddance” – then he’s re-signed as a rookie pretty quickly after and we’re – “good rookie selection, adds experience, has upside.” Definite upside. Had a touch of the Matty Whelans about him this season. His cut out job on Betts in that memorable Adelaide win was something else and kept nearly all the matched up small forwards on a short leash.
The Brent Grgic Most Disappointing Award – Jack Watts. Experienced supercoach comes in, transforms Jack from private schoolboy p00f into a genuine 5 star key player. Not quite going according to plan after some reasonable signs in a couple of earlier rounds but the stats don’t lie: 6thyear in the system, almost 100 games, polled Brownlow votes in just 3 games, B & F position: 2014 – 10th, 2013 – 11th, 2012 – 16th, 2011 – 9th, 2010 – 25th. Can’t take a contested mark, doesn’t get enough of it when in the midfield or running loose outside mix. An indelible image of him is arms outstretched waiting for the ball to come out of a pack. Obvious speculation on a trade but I sometimes feel his next move should be auditioning as a back-up singer for Air Supply. Casey Blease and Casey Strauss look wasted high picks. Far too early to nominate Toumpas but for a #3 pick he’s seeing far too much of the windswept VFL grounds wings already.
The Paul Hopgood Effort Award – Daniel Cross. Comes back in 7 weeks after a break in his leg, seen running laps after the Lions game to get him ready for the next week. Could’ve won the B&F if he played all the games?! A true professional footballer. Great pity is he’s 31. What a great first dozen games of the season. Hopefully not a typically Demonesque Byron Pickett-like great first dozen games then goes walkabout. Can’t see it somehow. Viney and Dawes certainly have the effort but looked a bit like dispirited footballers later in the season. Viney at least made un-Demonlike national headlines for all the proper reasons.
The Stephen Tingay Young Player Potential Award – Dom Tyson. Only 21, a good mover who can get it a lot both in close and outside and has good goal sense. 2nd in B&F shows a top 1st season. Can only imagine the media blockheads if he’d had a quiet year.
The Glenn Lovett Established Player But Could Be A Superstar Award – Jeremy Howe. He is now getting it over 20 times a game plus you add the spectacular aspects and you could have 24 carat. Great move to play down back, as he reads the game really well. Like the fact he’s kept a low profile, as we all say if he’s playing for any other team the media would drooling over in.
The Jeff Farmer Demons Goal Of The Year Award – “Pedersen ices the game!!” Salem’s goal was of course supreme. Kent can kick a decent goal too.
The Shaun Smith Demons Mark Of The Year Award – Jeremy Howe. No real MOTY standout but just consistent high marking one grab excellence. No other current AFL player comes close. Just needs a supreme one right in front of the members at a key time in a key game. Like to see a few others nailing some high marks, as it seems Howe or bust at the moment.
The Jeremy Nichols Blink And You’ll Miss Him Award – Jesse Hogan? I don’t think so. He’s already easily the most spoken about Demons player who is yet to debut. (In copying and pasting last year’s list, I had nominated Tom Gillies last time. I had completely forgotten about him.......)
The Nick Smith X-Factor Award – Jake Spencer. Coming up for his 8th season next year. 29 games (poor Frank has played in only 3 Demons wins in his 7 year career - that gotta be a record somehow! He didn’t have his first win til his 5th year vs the Gold Coast in ’12. I’m thinking to myself when watching that replay “why is Spencer in the middle of the huddle getting the sports drink all over him? Don’t tell me that’s his first win....”) If and when Frawley goes, Frank will be the 5th longest serving player at the club?! Can serve up a premier league turnover of 2 and that kick for goal a couple of years back vs the Blues was legendary but he somehow manages to show enough x-factor each year to keep you (semi) interested.
The Anthony Ingerson Older Player But Keep On List Until He Claps Out Award – Mark Jamar. I remember being on the steps last year, every time on chatting to Mick Doble, we’re both dishing it out on Jamar. He looked totally cooked. Especially in the first half of this season he looked like the Jamar of old. One or two more years left you’d think, then hopefully Big Max is consistent A-grade.
The Darren Cuthbertson Frustration Award – Jesse Hogan. Purely on the frustration of not being on the MCG doing his stuff. Fasten yer seat belts for some serious H Time in ’15. If he goes down again in early ’15....then you just have to put down your glasses, the witchdoctor finally wins out.
The Darren Kowal Designated Kicker Out From Goal Award – Lynden Dunn. We have our designate for the next few seasons it seems. The best one was a long Dunn bomb into the centre which immediately resulted in a goal. Coast to coast in 10 seconds. Pity it was at the death of the Gold Coast game and an appalling Ablett free had already iced the game for them. Weird footballer is Dunn. Weird looking, weird running style, weird name in Lynden. Not fussed if he plays like the first dozen games.
An ancillary award or two:
The Spalding-Lovett-Stretch-Flower Passage Of Play Award – Pederson-Jones-McKenzie-McDonald-Tyson-Viney-Cross-Salem. And against the Lab Rats. Nothin’ sweeter.
Dog $cully And/Or Free Agency Scab Let’s Put A Cancer Thru The Club Award – James Frawley. Expecting the “I’ve loved my time at the club but felt I needed to look at better opportunities elsewhere.....” today.
The Roos Era was pretty much going according to plan at about round 12. % about 70, competitive except for a game or 2 and some really memorable wins, albeit with some understandable goal scoring deficiencies. If you’d said at the start of the season that by Rd 12 you would beat Carlton, Essendon (by a point), Richmond and Adelaide in Adelaide, I’d have taken it and run. Roos also did have the misfortune of not having a Clark-Dawes-Hogan forward set up at any stage which you expect would’ve resulted in a win or 2 more earlier in the season. 10 loses in a row to finish the season with a couple of head thuds. Some contests over quicker than a Neeld facial twitch and nutty ones like the Lions Etihad fiasco. A general feeling of deflation after the early enthusiasm.
Off field a breakeven result would be a terrific performance considering the draw, W-L etc. Roos & Jackson still seem a good pairing but the next important step is to install a Roos successor. No idea on this Glen Bartlett dude. The only thing I heard was that he had a vision of turning the Demons into the NY Yankees of the AFL. If the NYY’s were remotely in our W-L zone, he’d have his feet in cement and be having his last breath as he sinks to the bottom of the Hudson river.
Naturally with the trade period, delisting, draft, draw, pre-season training we’ll all be back making sound predictions going into the ’15 pre-season.
I reckon we’ll make the 8 next year.
“Yeah, nice one....”