Monday, 8 December 2014

TL:DR's Digest - September to December 2014


Bring a packed lunch, there's a lot to get through. A warning to new players, what follows consists entirely of half baked opinion and not one actual insight into the Melbourne Football Club will follow.

As you'd know from last year there's no such thing as an off-season in these parts, just a few brief rest periods amidst the delistings, trades and drafts - also known as the best time of the year to be a Melbourne fan. Then comes training the house down, the inevitable serious pre-season injury to a key player and it's off we go for another round of what hope this time won't involve industrial strength levels of pain, blues or agony.

I'm not expecting anybody else to adhere to these ridiculous timeframes, you might wish to actually take a break, but I'm hopelessly addicted so bugger it let the good times roll until the last hapless (but no doubt appreciative) player is added to rookie list, then after an appropriate break the next season starts about two minutes later. Whisper it quietly but I don't even really enjoy this competition anymore, I'm just fully invested in being there when the Melbourne Football Club finally jams it right down the throat of its numerous critics.

It wasn't always this way, until the mid 2000's I could take or leave footy in the off-season. When they televised the drafts I'd get into it, but you'd be lucky to know who the projected top pick was let alone who you were in the mix at selection #72. The year Nathan Jones got drafted I was listening on the radio while driving to Albury (!?) and was deliberately going slow so the signal wouldn't drop out before our pick, even though I had no idea who he was. Thank god those days are over, now even print newspapers claw at relevancy by going in balls-and-all on phantom drafts and aimless speculation about who's "in the mix" to go to Fremantle at section #68.

Having said all that if we pick up the story after the North Melbourne game there has rarely been a better time to take a break from thinking about your team. The season really did end with a whimper, and unlike last year when the final game was followed by RoosNews and that exciting period after a new coach comes in where anything can happen. This time all we had to ponder before the trading started was at what time Frawley would slip out the press release announcing he was joining [insert name of premiership contender here].

After a brief flourish in the first half of the season we limped over the line, and while my usual response to suggestions about shortening the season is to send Anthrax in the mail if there's ever been three seasons in a row where a team could have done with a euthanasia four weeks out from the end then we've just seen them with our own eyes. Unless you've already gouged them out. I don't have to go back to my posts in the last few weeks (and thank god for that) to remember that burnout had well and truly set in by late August. It wasn't just the players who had hit the wall. I could have rotated myself out or retired with hurt feelings but where’s the fun in that? This is the blog that shows up to work even when violently ill and proceeds to spread toxicity to all in its vicinity. Luckily it's a very small workplace.

So what's happened since Saturday 30 August 2014? Other than the sad and sudden loss of Robbie Flower not much that has shaken the foundations of the place. It's not been without its storylines though - after all this is the Melbourne Football Club we're discussing here, the only time things get boring are between the first and last sirens on any given Sunday.

From that point until the moment I hit publish on this post the 2014 off-season went something like this:

The Mad Monday debacle
It's been a while, so in case you've forgotten there was some minor controversy over the costumes worn by Alex Georgiou and Dean Terlich. It was the sort of 'scandal' that sets 'social media' alight for about 36 hours with people taking the moral highground as if they they've never done anything stupid in their life but which only actually insults about 5% of the general community before being completely forgotten. And forgotten it was, unless you subscribe to the conspiracy theory (which I most certainly do not) that it contributed to Georgiou getting the boot and would have done the same for Terlich if he hadn't just signed a new deal.

It's hard to believe that two professional sportsmen would have a conversation which ultimately ended with one of them dressing as a recently convicted child sex offender and the other as a young girl. At first I thought Terlich was supposed to be Colonel Sanders and Georgiou the bird from The Wizard Of Oz, but they obviously thought nobody was going to buy that line and admitted guilt instead.

What an odd concept the Mad Monday dress-up extravaganza is. If this shambles didn't kill the idea stone dead then surely the footage of Trent Cotchin conducting a supposedly serious interview dressed neck to toe like Ace Frehley two days after the greatest run to the finals in modern times had ended badly must have been the final blow to the concept. I know your traditional drinkin', fightin' and rootin' footy trips of old are now out of fashion because some glory-hunting arsehole will have their camera out posting it all on their Tumblr page but the concept seems odd to me.

There really aren't that many things you can dress as that would get you into trouble but the fact that footy players manage to achieve the feat just goes to prove that (much like the royals) they're living on a different planet. It's not even the idea that neither of them thought the costumes would cause offence, but that they were also fine with everyone posting photos on Instagram. Insanity, and it's not like Georgiou at least (I can't vouch for Terlich) was a stupid guy, he was and probably is once again an engineer who apparently got 1st class honours at university. That's what being in a footy environment will do to you.

The Exhibition Series
Given the difference in effort expended during the preliminary finals and used to a reasonable run of close grand finals I went into the final match of the year expecting Hawthorn to win in a thriller, but but the ferocity of the way they put the Swans to the sword reminded me of the knife through hot-butter way teams have picked us apart over the last few years. Sydney had enough dignity to keep it from blowing out in a total annihilation, but it was still a stunning display of power.

In a competition where being the best side over the first 23 rounds ultimately means nothing there's no guarantee that they're going to win against next season, but considering the hardships they went through this season it's almost impossible to come up with a scenario that doesn't have them going into prelim week next year as red-hot premiership favourites.

Somebody might get lucky and knock them off that week - or at least go close like Port did - but they've just got too much quality from top to bottom. And forget premierships, any outfit who can rise above the handicap of playing in brown to sell $3.7m of merchandise in one calendar year is to be feared.

The List
This was well received, mainly by people pissing themselves laughing at us. I know there's been a few things worth adding since but I'll do an update when I've got 100 to add sometime around April. Sadly it didn't end up delivering us a priority pick but you can't say I didn't give them enough material to work with.

Admittedly originally calling it the LOLMFC list then getting on a tragedy roll and including people's deaths was a bit NQR, but sadly the person who pointed it out in the comments also came off like a real whiny SOB so I didn't actually think to change it until more people had read that post than all the others from this year combined. Nobody else seemed to care mind you, and quite frankly I enjoyed being 'notable' (not even relatively, but it's been 10 years so give me something here) for about 18 hours before normal service resumed.

Best and Fairest
He's won more fictional awards from me than he can fit in an imaginary cabinet so there should be no surprise that I think Nathan Jones was a worthy winner of his third straight Bluey. Best and Fairests take place in an alternative universe where votes are cast under an arcane system understood by nobody except the coaches themselves, and are the only award in footy other than Demonbracket that defenders have any hope in, but any reasonable analysis of our season would have to come out with Jones on top.

So if he started the night as an unbackable favourite and did as expected all the interest was in the minor placings - and almost more notable than Jones' victory was Tyson finishing second aged just 21. Despite drastic improvement our midfield was still garbage compared to most others last year, but with all due respect to Matt Jones I feel far more comfortable seeing Dom named our second best mid this year. More help is on the way, and the more AFL standard midfielders we roll in and give these guys a hand the more likely one of them is going to go hog wild and win a Brownlow sometime in the next few years.

Rounding out the top five were Vince - a rare hands-down, grandslam victory for this club in the trade/draft period as we effectively swapped him for Sylvia who did nowt for the Dockers - Dunn, who hit the wall late in the season with almost everyone else but must have been in All-Australian contention after he kicked the shit out of Essendon's entire forward line single handedly on that glorious Sunday night at the MCG and Cross who didn't cost us anything and will presumably do great work teaching the kids again this year before hanging up the boots.

Back to Jones, should I be concerned that contract negotiations are reported to have been opened with him on September 11 but despite us having about $7 million in the salary cap he hasn't signed on yet? There's plenty of time, and I'm certainly not expecting anything before the new year now we can use any signing to boost memberships, but if the words "putting off contract negotiations" are used people are going to self-harm and if he walks out as a free agent thousands will flock en masse to The People's Ground and despairingly jam their own heads in a folding seat.

Nicholson and Clisby delisted
The first two victims of the continued Rebuild of a Rebuild of a Rebuild came shortly after the season finished, implying that absolutely no thought had been given to retaining them. I can't say I was surprised on Nicholson, he'd done extremely well to play 32 games considering we found him in the amateurs but other than 2012 when he was zipping around playing reasonably well in a rancid team he wasn't much more than spare parts. He offered nothing in one game this year, and Roos was understandably keen to machine-gun anybody who was there when he arrived but didn't represent a reasonable prospect of being 'best 22' (as if any team ever has its entire best 22 available to play) in the future.

Clisby, on the other hand, surprised me. Not so much that they got rid of him, I can make a case for that, but that they didn't think twice about it. As usual I have no idea what happened behind the scenes, but he was more than reasonable in a few appearances as a rookie in his first season and emergency a few times at the start of this year before getting injured. I could have done with him as a rookie, but even though he was alleged to have "attracted some interest" from other clubs he'll be back at North Adelaide next year.

Peter Jackson signs a contract extension
And hoorah for that, he's a great man. Being bailed out like nobody's business by the AFL last year clearly helped our overall position, but making a small profit this year considering how everything eventually went tits up is a great achievement. The amusing part of it is that St Kilda has lost more over two years than we have but haven't received anywhere near the same assistance. Maybe they didn't ask for it, but then again maybe they didn't have this guy operating the levers...



Mitch Clark goes for a fresh start
Now this was another king-sized fist from left-field. From late in the season rumours started going around that he was back in training and that a triumphant comeback was on the cards. Was the man who briefly shone brighter than pretty much everyone on our list for the last five years going to storm back and fulfil the thrilling potential he'd teased us with before his foot starting falling apart like a leprosy victim? Was it fuck. Not with us anyway.

In the end I'm not entirely convinced that we were trying all that hard to keep him because of (insert rumour here), but nevertheless the best forward and arguably best ruckman (based on a handful of appearances) we've had for years is gone, and in the end he cost us about $60k a goal. But at least most of them were nice goals.

I suspect that after three full seasons of teetering on the brink of $cully taking my house in a defamation action you’re expecting similar treatment of Mitch but I'm afraid I've got some bad news. Your views my vary and you may already be spraypainting a bedsheet to take down to Kardinia Park as part of a carnival of hate. I support your right to do whatever you damn well please on this occasion, but I won't be participating.

You could save yourself the time and send him an abusive tweet instead, it does seem like he reads them all. Seems like an odd thing to do for somebody on doctors orders to get a 'fresh start' for his recovery, but recover however works for you. Maybe he's holding his response to the nasty stuff for when he's accepting the Norm Smith Medal after booting eight goals in a grand final.

If it seems like an incredible double standard to go to the ends of the earth to hammer one player for scumming on us but giving another what amounts to a free pass then bad luck. Having spent 10+ years into my mid 20's absolutely clinically bonkers I don't feel comfortable launching a public campaign against somebody who has - for whatever reason fair or foul - hit rock bottom. It's a bit different to Turncoat Tom not even having the balls to say he was leaving until he'd "gone to tour the facilities" and come out with a multi-million dollar contract.

I hope he plays reasonably well mid into his 30's without dominating, makes enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life and never wins a flag - at least until after we've done it first.

Billy Stretch nominated
Given that Chris Johnson and Chris Sullivan currently rank as two of the best three Father/Son draft picks we've ever had I'll take almost anybody's offspring at this point. In the never ending quest to rebuild the shattered fragments of our midfield so much the better that he's a 'winger' (whatever that means these days) with allegedly "elite endurance" and has already played SANFL seniors. Good start, and we ended up getting him for a reasonable price so no issues there.

Ironically he finds himself coming to the club at the worst possible time to be a midfielder given we've drafted two in front of him and also have the likes of Toumpas and Salem in the mix as well, but there's no pressure on Billy to play round 1 next year so he's got plenty of time to get it right. I expect he'll play seniors at some point next year unless we're intent on committing football suicide by running Petracca and Brayshaw into the ground by making them play 22 matches - which seems like a real MFC thing to do so don't rule it out.

If you need any further convincing that this signing - for the price of an inconsequential draft pick - is a good thing let's cross to Billy himself: "I grew up barracking for the Dees — and I always wanted to play for them; it is awesome to fulfil that dream". All together now... awww.

Blease agrees to 'part ways'
I still don't know why you can't have a few attacking wildcards in your side, and I wish he'd been given a better run this year but then again I'm not a tactical mastermind like Paul Roos just somebody who is desperate to see some exciting football for the first time in years. If the coach wants defence he gets it, and Slamming Sam's zero best and fairest votes from two appearances shows you how interested Roos was in him.

Once he was on his way it seemed natural that he'd be off to GWS to reunite Miami Vice, but upon
closer inspection he's probably the last sort of player they need right now - never mind the fact that everyone's probably stopped listening to what his mate's got to say until he plays more than one good game in a row. Blease is a much better fit (cliche) for the Cats, who can enjoy the best traits of his game (running fast, kicking goals) but with enough cover to ensure that his utter disinterest in defending doesn't cause issues.

We'll always have the memories. May he crack in and have a crack liberally down at Kardinia Park.


Simon Goodwin signs on
Two years as an assistant under Roos then 'three years' as senior coach seems like a good deal to me - and we've got at least two years and one round to dream about him being our next premiership coach before we all turn on him and start lobbying the board to give him the sack.

A dab hand at the trade in his playing days he gets good reviews as a midfield coach, which is handy considering we've drafted 250 of them in the last few years. He's also been praised for his work as a senior assistant at Essendon while they were knee deep in controversy, but you wouldn't be a modern day Bombers identity without some whiff of scandal following you around.

The best bit about signing him is the suggestion that Adelaide sacked their coach in order to install Goodwin, only for him to say "I'll be right thanks" and join us instead. Whether that's true or not I have no idea, but it felt good to seemingly get one over somebody else for once. Now watch the absolute nobody the Crows installed in the job instead lead them into a glory era.

No priority pick
Considering what we were (rightfully under the rules of the day) going to get for Frawley there was never a doubt in the world that the AFL would turn us down for a priority pick. Not because we weren't shit enough for one (10 wins in three seasons if you've forgotten), but because everyone else in the country would have jumped up and down so much Australia would have tilted two or three degrees to the east.

The fact that they could have given us any pick between #1 and #122 didn't seem to come into the argument, as everyone focused on us getting something between #1 and #3 and we ended up going home for - in the words of noted philosopher Chris Finch - a pot noodle and a wank. Ultimately it was no big deal to miss out, it would have been nice to have somebody acknowledge that we've been a total shambles on field for the last three seasons by doing more than writing smarmy newspaper articles mocking our drafting, but in the end our revenge will be one less handout sweeter.

Dangerfield and the Star Search
What a complete shambles this was, almost as if the whole thing was designed by evil geniuses at the AFL to keep us interested across the otherwise ridiculously drawn out trade period. With two top picks to deal with, Roos' well known aversion to the draft and salary cap room in and out of the yin yang it seemed certain that we'd at the very least pull off another Tyson 2013 style high pick for player + lower pick heist. Despite suffering premature mockery in the name of landfill journalism that worked out pretty well for everyone (because - note to aspiring journalists - not every trade needs to have a winner and a loser) so why not?

Then before you knew it we were being linked with everyone except Lance Franklin, the people were jumping at bullshit forum rumours from somebody who knows somebody's cousin and if you're insane enough to involve yourself in forums (guilty as charged) you could enjoy the carnival atmosphere of a desperate fanbase losing their mind trying to solve riddles which promised to unlock the secrets of where picks 2 and 3 were going. The answer in the end was 'nowhere', but it was quite a ride to end up in exactly the same place.

There's a chance that the whole thing was a massive swizz, but riddles aside I did have a sense that something big was going on behind the scenes even before the Conspiracy-O-Metre blew an o-ring
when late on an otherwise boring Friday afternoon it was revealed that we'd all but agreed to flog Jack Trengove to Richmond. Initially it seemed like either it was going to be one of the two picks + the pick 12 we got from the Tigers to somebody for (Dangerfield/Kennedy/god knows who else) OR all three of them for the mother of all deals.

My first instinct was that it represented one of the greatest back-stabbings of our time considering what we've put Trengove through in the last couple of years, and when I found out I was ready to turn around and go throw a brick through the wall of the Demon Shop. But as the weekend on I started to wonder whether it perhaps wasn't best for all parties involved. We get Player X and one of the top picks, Jack gets a fresh start away from the place that made him captain well before his time only for the ship to smash into rocks and capsize about 20 minutes later, Richmond get a player who at his best has looked bloody good.

If we'd swapped both picks 2 and 3 for Dangerfield, Kennedy or almost any other individual player who could do a knee tomorrow I'd have been shattered, but keeping one of them and getting the acknowledged superstar would have probably allowed me to turn a blind eye to my gut feeling that we were doing the wrong thing by Trengove.

Then on the morning when the deal was supposed to go down pop went the megatrade and pop, unfortunately, went Jack's foot taking his career away in the short time if not forever. At this point it's projected that he'll miss all of next season and there's no guarantees he'll be back in 2016. Which is quite depressing. The question will forever remain whether we knew what was going on (but perhaps not that it was as serious as it turned out to be) and tried to cynically sell Richmond a pup, whether our system failed to spot the issues or whether it was just shocking luck for all involved.

The last thwarted storyline of the trade period was not revealed until after it was all over, that GWS had offered us pick seven for Jeremy Howe. On any fair analysis he's probably not worth that much, but I'm glad we told them to get stuffed. How often do we get anybody who is even remotely marketable, not to mention somebody who can play equally well both forward or back? Perhaps if we'd flogged pick whatever + pick whatever for A+ player whoever it might have been nice to get another top pick - but it would still have been hard to swallow. In the end given that we were keeping 2/3 it would have been white hot insanity to lose another 78 games of experience and guaranteed money in the bank to roll the dice on yet another kid.

What a fortnight it was. You'd like to say we'll never see the likes of it again but it'll probably all happen again with a different cast.

Enter Lumumba
Speaking of divisive trades, here's one that broke the internet well before whichever Kardashian posed for a photo with an oiled up kan. The artist formerly known as Harry O to Melbourne had been on the cards ever since the least subtle meeting of all time took place featuring him openly having a chinwag with Roos and Dawes in a suburban shopping strip. It was as good as done well before before the Trengove 'deal' came and went in drastic circumstances, but the but the complication of Clark choosing to go to Geelong instead of Collingwood meant it dragged out for most of the trade period - via a brief suggestion that he was going to go to North instead - before we finally managed to arrange a hot three-way to get bring him in.

I've watched 10 wins in our last 66 games for premiership points, I don't give the proverbial fat rat's clacker about his political views or outside activities. I've reached the point where I'd take players with almost any baggage if it meant improvement, and getting Lumumba seems like a good result to me considering if Mitch had done what we thought he was going to we'd have got squat. Consider this a bonus and strap yourself in for the ride.

Messy exit from the Pies aside four top five finishes in the best and fairest of a finals (or near enough to) team will do me quite nicely thanks. I understand concerns about 'team harmony' (because having a side wherever everyone seems to be best mates has worked a treat for us over the last few years hasn't it?) and that people think he's going to show up and demand the office Christmas party is cancelled for not being inclusive enough but at least wait until it happens before losing your mind. He's already done the right thing and effectively media banned himself, so what else do you want?

Ask yourself the simple question "Is Heritier Lumumba a better player than Dean Terlich?" and I think you'll find the answer is yes. I couldn't care less if he high-fived the Dalai Lama at a Socialist Alliance meeting while draped in the flag of the German Democratic Republic as long as he plays a decent standard of football. Makes a change to have a player who's not all about smashing parmas, playing FIFA and scoring free haircuts. You don't have to join him at meetings about the indigenous people of the Gobi Desert, but don't use it as an excuse to write him off before he's played a game. As a Melbourne fan you're better than that, at least wait until half time of Round 1.

It shouldn't surprise anybody that I'd find myself drawn to an eccentric thinker even if I probably wouldn't agree with 90% of his political agenda, but even more than the obvious football reasons I want to see him succeed here just to stick it up all the sooks who were going around threatening to withdraw support if we recruited him. They're probably the same people who slaughter Jack Watts every week (semi-guilty as charged) but secretly hope he fails so they can say "I told you so!" (not I your honour), and are probably looking for any excuse to give the game away until there's a bandwagon worth jumping on.

As long as this generation of fans doesn't stuff up and kill the club it will live a lot longer than any of the players who wear the jumper. Remember that before rushing to conclusions that one player is going to bring the whole enterprise to its knees.

Frawley exercises the option...
... and not a single person was surprised. Choosing to go to the premiers is probably the least courageous decision that any player has ever made in his life, but I can't get too upset about this either. At least players who ditch you as a free agent have given it a decent go and signed a couple of contracts before they walk out. He could have gone to Gold Coast for free a few years back and has been rewarded by playing in a cesspool ever since - even when he came out with the fanciful "I'll sign when I see signs of improvement" and then neglected to do so it just seemed like the kind of thing footballers do these days.

Eventually claims like that and "I'm putting off negotiations to the end of the season" will become such an amazing cliche that players will have to stop using it. It'll be interesting to see what communications strategy the AFLPA come up with next to allow players to get through the season without being bottled off the field. The way we were going between the Brisbane game and the end of the season Frawley might have got that treatment, but by then nobody could care less any more because we all knew he was going to a better place to win flags while we all wither on the vine.

Of course he was never going to admit it and had to play the game all year. If the alternative is an NRL style fiasco where players are signing contracts with other clubs at the end of Round 1 then I think I'd rather be lied to. Wouldn't it be better if a player would come out and say "I'm going at the end of the year, it's been emotional" without having actually signed then bow out with a couple of rounds left to give somebody else a go.

People argue that the rugby league system is more 'honest' but I hate the idea of a player (or a coach - what in god's name are these people doing?) signing elsewhere halfway through the year and not giving the club the chance to win them over via success or writing fake letters from 'kids' with their 'pocket money' sticky taped to it. At least if they have 'discussions' with other clubs without actually signing they can pull out later.

Sadly this unpleasant business is the new world order of football, get used to it. You can't complain too much because one day we'll turn the tables and swipe somebody else's players instead. Personally I'd rather they added more rookies to lists and paid them better money than they'd get working the deep-fryer at KFC than inflating the salaries of players who have already had long, well paid careers but that's obviously never going to happen because for top players it would like turkeys voting for Christmas.

Anyway, like Clark I hope Frawley does well but doesn't win anything either. So that's both Hawthorn and Geelong on the banned list, which fits in well with my policy of keeping premierships away from Victorian clubs. If only they'd actually stop winning them (unless they're playing GWS) that would be dandy..

Meanwhile SEN had the gall to use Frawley's announcement that he was leaving in a promo as an example of how they're first with the breaking news, even though the actual live on-air announcement was followed by the hosts guffawing about how it wasn't actually news.

Robert Flower passes away
What a sad story this was, unexpectedly coming out of nowhere on your typical otherwise-boring weeknight. I never saw the man play but the reverence people of that era speak about him with says it all. It's not the ironic "that was fun for five minutes" way we speak about an Allen Jakovich, or the way my generation are still amazed at Jim Stynes going from from a having to have an escort around the field in practice games to becoming the best player in the land within a few short years - this was on another level where both on and off-field he struck a chord with everyone who had ever known him.

It's difficult to speak about his career having only seen highlights and read his autobiography, but the fact that on the night he died I had two phone calls from men in their late 40's and 50's almost in tears says it all. Where do I contribute to the fund to build that statue outside the MCG with LOYALTY written underneath?

Compensation elation
There's no way in a fair market that James Frawley was worth pick three, but stiff shit that's the system we're operating under. Hawthorn fans who moan while comparing what they got for Franklin are welcome to relinquish their claim to two premierships and come live with us on a cardboard box under a freeway. I'd much rather have finished 9th and got compensation pick 10 but instead we got to watch 11 weeks of junktime and the twin abortions against Brisbane and GWS. It's a lifestyle choice.


Garlett joins

What a joy it was to get our hands on a player who can actually be described as a 'small forward' without your pants erupting into flames. Not to mention a 25-year-old who has kicked 183 goals in 107 games (fun fact - we only kicked 190 as a team in 2014), with a proven track record of success playing for mediocre sides.

In the end we got him ludicrously cheap thanks to his falling out with Malthouse (who seems like he'd be easy to fall-out with) and some late night street violence shenanigans with Mitch Robinson but it was such a good deal for us that I'm not even going to call it a risk worth taking because I'm convinced that there is 0% risk involved.

The only downside is having people call him "Jeffy" in a non-ironic fashion, but I'll soon forget that when he starts kicking goals out of his arse left, right and centre.

The failure of ruthless capitalism
In an attempt to fill in the slow parts of the off-season and hopefully cash in on footy/pay for the hosting of Demonwiki out of somebody else's pockets I finally started a project I'd been sitting on for a year - a site dedicated to keeping an up-to-date list of player contract statuses across the league. I maintain it's a good idea, and you're welcome to the domain names at cost price, but the idea quickly foundered when I realise that I do not in any way actually care about what is happening at 17 other clubs and have no interest in starting now.

In addition to complete apathy for the non-MFC football industry the romantic notion of people finding it (laden with ads of course) while Googling for “Elliot Yeo contract status” was hampered by the fact that I’ve got no time to actually keep up with all the changes. Site deleted, domains redirected to my one true love Demonwiki, dot-com bubble 2.0 without the inflation. So that experience was a downer, but I should have known how it was going to end based on all the ‘special features’ on here that have been left unfinished over the years. Never again.

Sam Frost 
A former rookie list defender lightly played across his first two seasons with the Giants when they were getting beaten to the bejesus belt every other week who became a regular this year as they achieved some semblance of respectability. Hardly a back-story likely to get kids rushing out to buy jumpers with his number on the back, but from what little I know of him (come on, as if I'm watching GWS games that don't involve us. I'd rather drink lye) I can see him getting a start in Round 1.

The big question is whether St Kilda stitched us up royally by walking past our table on the last day of the trade period and dropping hints that they were going to inject some life into the otherwise moribund pre-season draft by picking him gratis with selection one, thwarting us like Fremantle did with Jack Hannath a few years ago. Either way we paid up in the end, so while it would be foolish to say "and he'd better be worth it" he had actually better be worth it because The People (i.e me) will be clamouring for an all-Sizzle Brothers backline by about round 4.

Finally, if you believe a three year old highlight video he has also played forward, so the more the merrier in case we need to do another Rivers/Frawley switcheroo before he leaves us to join a premiership contender.

Strauss delisted
Never really got going before the broken leg and rarely looked like doing anything spectacular after returning from it. Having followed the Dees for so long I'm not sure what constitutes "it" anymore but sadly he didn't have "it". Had he started his career in a less dysfunctional club somebody might have gotten 'it' out of him, but alas he can be marked down as another victim for The Career Killers.

Let the record show that sadly he never managed a single vote in the Jakovich across his 24 games. I haven't checked the AHG.com.au Futility Honour Board but that could possibly be the record for most games without a cracker in the votes. I'm sure I put him in the apologies once, which is probably scant consolation at this point in his career.

Georgiou delisted
The full story of this has yet to be told but I wouldn't be surprised if he did the maths then voluntarily lobbed himself off the cliff after realising he could make heaps more money than as an AFL rookie by playing every week in the SANFL and holding down a full-time job. But thank god we're auctioning experienced players to the highest bidder under free agency right?

You'd have thought he'd prove handy cover for the defence while Oscar McDonald bulks up and gets into the swing of things, but obviously they decided that cover from Pedersen, Watts, Howe etc.. was good enough to either let him go or to not vigorously try and talk him out of leaving. 

I doubt his Mad Monday antics cost him, after all he was the victim, but it will still go down as the oddest final act as a listed player since Nathan Carroll biffed Ben Holland in the taxi rank.

McCartney joins
This was a good result, he had his detractors at the Bulldogs but it seems that on the balance of things he was unlucky to get the sack (for god's sake the man won 20 from 66 - he would be carried on shoulders if he'd coached us to that record) so I'm going to go with this being a positive. I'm aware that Footscray fans were sharply divided on him, but whenever somebody called the radio and complained about him they sounded like a member of the Chris From Camberwell style lunatic fringe so I choose not to believe them.

The idea of having a succession plan for mentoring the future coach almost blows my mind, but he's spent time in charge of a far more successful club than ours and left with at least some of his dignity still attached so I'm as chuffed to sign him as I would be for any other assistant coach.

On top of a far superior record to anything we've done recently he clearly had developed some good young players, so if he's got NFI how to actually coach a game then that's hardly our issue between now and whenever he takes over as caretaker after Goodwin gets the boot.

Tapscott delisted
Now this one really does make me gloomy. Remember back to those heady days of early 2011 when he had a belter of a first three games running off half-back and clearing out of defence with long kicks. His first kick was so delightful (including the potentially shambolic running from the goalsquare) that they made a YouTube video out of it

This was clearly the start of something big. Or not as the case may be. He never got more disposals in a game than in his first two, and the next thing he was on the downward spiral with Tim Land inadvertently abusing him. From there he excelled mainly in having a wide-eyed, insane look in his eye during fights and provoking Collingwood fans into whining about him belting people.

Nevertheless he had a reasonable first season down back, but then for some unknown bloody reason, possibly from the same geniuses who decided that James Magner should be converted into a forward, we decided to make him a forward. All the while our defence was being used as target practice for the rest of the league, and we could very well have done with a long-kicking, large individual somewhere around half-back. But no, he was either down the other end kicking grass or in the VFL swearing under his breath as a hurricane strength cold breeze blew across the bad part of Cranbourne.

Who knows, he might not have made it anyway but I can't help but feel we buried him a bit in the end. Which seems to be a common theme around this parts.

Ben Newton
Couldn't get a game at Port Adelaide, Port almost made the grand final, therefore he must be good. It's a philosophy that has slaughtered almost every club in the competition at some point or another so let's hope we're not the latest victim. He certainly has reasonable reviews behind him in the SANFL, and Port did want to keep him but that's no surprise given that they spent three injury riddled years trying to get him on the park in the first place.

Reports suggest we'd been gagging for him all year, so with far more chance of getting a run in our midfield than theirs I'm happy to give him a go. He probably didn't know we were going to go out and draft two more midfielders straight away, but even if he's only played four senior games at least he's got four seasons on them. Another one who will definitely play next year and be given a chance to stake his claim (FURIOUS CLICHE!) to bigger and better things.

I'd never heard of him until he joined us.

Barry quits
From a football perspective this didn't particularly concern me, and at least he was polite enough to pull the pin before the final list lodgement, but November did seem like an early start for bad news stories. Luckily we all got over it about 15 minutes later and everyone at Demonblog wishes him well in his future endeavours.

It turned out that he'd lost interest and hadn't even bothered to go for a run since the end of the season (which finally gave me something in common with an AFL listed player), so given that he'd down nxt to nowt in five games over two years I'm fairly comfortable with him chasing the dream in central Australia if that’s what works for him. Out he goes and in comes pick 53 - one speculative chance for another...

Evans delists himself
... though it would have only been in comes pick 40 had Michael Evans not taken the long walk shortly after. Rumour has it that he'd blazed a trail for Barry but losing interest during the season and was always set to get the chop but that we were planning to redraft him as a rookie. Apparently he wasn't into it ($55k base? I can't understand why) and will instead be appearing in a suburb near you instead next season.

I'm up in the air about whether this makes me sad or not. He definitely showed a bit at times - like in his debut and the GWS 12 goal fourth quarter demolition job where Max Gawn aimed at a comedy wig wanker - but was he ever going to be anything more than a fringe player? I doubt it. Every team has to have some players on the outskirts, but if being paid starvation wages on the rookie list wasn't for him then it’s not the biggest loss in the world.

With scant inside information I'm not entirely sure why Evans was preferred to Tapscott as a delist/re-rookie candidate, but in the end he saved us the trouble by making his own decision despite Trengove's injury probably assuring him a season-long promotion back to the main list. Like (I am assuming) Georgiou I wouldn't be surprised if he did the maths and realised he could make more money playing in the WAFL and working a real job than getting paid chump change by us for playing three senior games and spending the rest of the year scrabbling around on VFL grounds resembling en tout cas tennis courts where somebody has stolen the sweeper.

The logo and clash jumpers
I haven't got the same white-hot hatred for the current logo as some (though if briefly leaked figures are to believed a slim majority of people actually preferred it), but am in favour of chopping it just to make a clean break as it represents the era where we'd lost by 20 goals once a month. The good news for shield-skeptics and anti-Schwab commandos alike is that it appears to be on the brink of retirement.

We'll play this season under it, after all let's have another season of financial stability or near to it before we go splashing cash changing all the letterheads, but it seems the monogram logo is creeping up behind it with an axe in hand. Fair enough too, we tried fancy and it didn't work let's give timeless simplicity a go. Personally I'd prefer a demon to be involved somehow, but as other 'modern' logos demonstrate (Adelaide, Brisbane, Hawthorn) it would probably end up looking terrible. I used to think a demon would help with attracting/retaining young fans, but let's face it if there are any left the best way to get to them would be to win a few games so they can walk the halls of education like a boss instead of having the piss taken out of them by bandwagoners who have turned on their own family to shack up with Hawthorn.

What's going to get the monogram logo over more than anything else is its appearance on a red clash jumper. Hooray for all involved at our end in getting that approved, and to the league for dramatically exercising common sense for the first time since they wrote us a large compo cheque for pick three. Were I not retiring as a half-kit wanker I'd buy one and immediately curse somebody's career by putting their number on thr back. There's a white one as well, which will presumably be worn against the likes of Essendon, which looks far less thrilling but is unfortunately a necessity. At least it's not offensive like the silver monstrosity of a few years back.

The diet
I don't give a rats about the science behind it, as long as the players don't turn into fat porkies who can barely get around the field without having to stop for a breather. Let's face it, with the condition we're in a 'revolutionary' diet is a drop in the ocean compared to all the other things we have to get right. If it helps 1% that's one more than most of the things we've tried recently. Eat anything between twigs and burgers made out of horsemeat if you think it helps.

The National Draft
Some of us still believe that romance has a place in football, and for that reason more than any (well, having the two top picks helped) I was thrilled with our result on draft night - or as it's more commonly referred to around these parts "our grand final". Like a drawn grand final we'll have to wait to find out whether we win in the end, but for the sake of brief heart-warming moments before everyone involved is sullied by the ruthless world of professional football you can't go past two supposed 'friends' being drafted together, picking up the son of a former player, the confirmed very good friend of that son and our first brother combination since Anthony McDonald retired.

Can any of them play? I don't know, ask one of the hundreds of people who are suddenly draft experts at this time of the year. The first two have great write-ups, the other three have good write-ups but there were 1500 players nominated (some of them presumably for comedy value only) so obviously they're not complete suburban plodders. Whether or not any of them are going to be the player we need to grab the rest of the club by the collar and drag it to its feet won't be known for a couple of seasons yet but no doubt they'll have fun trying even if we continue to be an impediment to the competition. I can't see how we don't also get another pick in the top four next season, so start working on your phantom drafts now.

Fox Footy were nice enough to break their schedule of non-stop repeats of games involving us kicking three goals to give us live draft coverage, and while they aspire to be ESPN covering the NFL Draft and more often than not come across like Channel 31 covering the Moonee Valley trots at least unlike a few years back it's actually shown. Whether or not it's worth watching is another matter entirely, and I can understand the people whose default attitude is "what's the point?" then either find out what happened in the papers the next day or wait and see who runs out in round 1. It just feels right to me to watch, but it's like being the person who has to own every bit of vinyl some obscure band has ever released or - more appropriately - being off your mind on gear you don't know why you do it but you just do.

Neitz joins Hawthorn
Fair enough too, there was a brief outpouring of angst when it was announced but aren't we the same people who rebelled against the "jobs for the boys" culture of automatically hiring ex-players? I've no doubt he could have shown Jesse Hogan a thing or two, but let's no be overly dramatic about this - he can get his coaching experience with the Hawks like most of our other mid 2000's list and then we'll bring him back to cut a swathe in the future. Or the next thing you'll see he'll be wearing a brown polo shirt and running around the MCG with a premiership cup in hand.

Grimes gives up captaincy
And rightly so too. His appointment made more sense than Trengove's at the time, but in retrospect it was still lunacy to have him as the senior captaincy partner at 22-years-old. He's had a reasonably good run with injury over the last three seasons (other than one caused by a tackle, and you can't blame his body for that) but has noticeably gone backwards as a player. At least now he can focus on that instead of trying to help prop up the shattered morale of 40 teammates.

Hopefully we end the experiment with multiple captains and just go with Jones on his own as long as the rest of the 'leadership group' (and have I ever told you how much I hate leadership groups) do their bit filling in during the traditional Monday morning soul-destroying "sorry we lost by 20 goals, we'll try harder next week" press conferences instead of wheeling Jones out to face the music every week.

The pre-season draft
PASS

The rookie draft
God knows when this post will actually be published, but at the time of writing this section I know nothing more about Aaron Vandenberg and Mitchell White (not the 41-year-old ex-West Coast player apparently) than what's easily accessible via Google. The first one is yet another midfielder (we'll get it right one day) and the latter a rebounding defender, which you can never have enough of. 

Vandenberg's 'Brad Green at Manchester United' fact is his 56 touches in a game for Ainslie, but while a professional recruiting outfit would obviously have done far more research on him than that there's no telling if that figure stands up or was just him taking advantage of shithouse opposition a'la Max Gawn's 80 hitouts against Bendigo this year when the opposition ruckman was apparently about two foot shorter than Maximum. He has a reasonably interesting back-story for the purposes of TV profile pieces if he does hit the big time, and you never know who'll shoot through the ranks in the pre-season but considering all the midfielders we've got on the senior list I suspect he'll be returning to his country roots by spending a lot of time at Casey Fields.

As for Mitchell White I wouldn't know who he was if I had to pick him out of a police lineup. Apparently had a bad run with injuries (will fit in well) but came back to win Dandenong's best and fairest this year. If you want to be reassured that any speculative draft selection is the next coming of Gary Ablett there's always a forum thread for you.

So all good on paper, but don't hold your breath waiting for a new superstar to emerge. In the dark years our 'new' rookies to play senior games have been McKenzie (78*), Nicholson (32), Wonaeamirri (31), Spencer (29*), Magner (19), Valenti (15), Clisby (8), Georgiou (7), Couch (3), Hughes (2) and McNamara (2). The first three all had brief periods where it looked like they were going to be good players but long gone are the days when we were turning up Aaron Daveys and James McDonalds.

I'm a bit glum that we didn't give Tapscott another go, especially considering there was a spot open for recycling after Evans pulled the pin, but I'll see how these two go before I get high and mighty. If they're any good we've done the right thing, if they're not then Tapscott was only moments away from bursting out and winning the Brownlow. Either way I'll be pretending that I thought it was the right decision all along.

We're in the money

At least we are compared to last year where we ended up begging for money to 'stay afloat'. In reality there was no way last year was going to put us away, and as far as I can tell we would have gotten away with a similar result this year too but it would have left us halfway through the deadly downward spiral towards relocation/merger/just plain being told to piss off.

The good first half of the season would have had a huge hand in the $161k operating profit, because once we lost the plot all the memberships and sponsorships had been locked away, but it's still a great effort to get us back in the black instead of representing a giant sucking sound along Brunton Avenue.

What now?
Last year I made a big deal about putting the past behind us and moving towards a glorious future, but as deepression set in when the year began to unravel that was practically all I talked about. It ended with me trying to make a case for us getting a charity draft pick so let's admit that until such time which we play in a final the events of 2007 onwards remain highly relevant.

But having said that let's try and concentrate on the future instead of the past. I fail to see anybody other than perhaps Footscray, hopefully Carlton and Essendon if everyone gets banned for half the year falling below us but I think we can once again improve our competitiveness and win at least six games, kick some reasonable scores and go home with a decent percentage even if that leaves us in the bottom three again. It's a long road back to the top, and while we're currently somewhere outside of Coober Pedy without a functioning GPS system I think we're finally heading in the right direction instead of going around in circles.


Next stop Demonbracket IV in late January and early February, then onto the pre-season and back into battle. Have at it sports fans.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Demonbracket 50: Your comprehensive guide

The tournament is now closed. Thanks for your support.

Round 1, Part 1
1. Robert Flower 236 (96%) d. Ray Biffen 9 (4%)
Clint Bartram 219 (89%) d. Shane Grambeau 26 (11%)
Sean Wight 225 (92%) d. Nathan Carroll 20 (8%)
Anthony Ingerson 181 (74%) d. Greg Parke 64 (26%)
Peter Walsh 211 (86%) d. Dale Dickson 34 (14%)
Henry Coles 171 (70%) d. Matthew Warnock 74 (30%)
Andrew Obst 213 (87%) d. Kelly O'Donnell 32 (13%)
9. Brett Lovett 233 (95%) d. George Lakes 12 (5%)
Stephen Tingay 159 (65%) d. 12. Stan Alves 86 (35%)
Alan Jarrott 204 (83%) d. Shane Fitzsimmons 41 (17%)
David Schwarz 241 (98%) d. Shane Zantuck 4 (2%)
Brian Wilson 210 (86%) d. Ryan Ferguson 35 (14%)
Darren Kowal 197 (80%) d. Andrew Moir 48 (20%)
Aaron Davey 222 (91%) d. Paul Callery 23 (9%)
Graham Osborne 132 (54%) d. Anthony Dullard 113 (46%)
5. Steven Febey 233 (95%) d. Darren Jolly 12 (5%)

Round 1, Part 2

David Neitz 211 (94%) d. Sean Charles 13 (6%)
Guy Rigoni 191 (85%) d. Simon Godfrey 33 (15%)
Greg Hutchison 189 (84%) d. Michael O'Sullivan 35 (16%)
Laurie Fowler 166 (74%) d. Frank Giampaolo 58 (26%)
Matthew Febey 206 (92%) d. Denis Clark 18 (8%)
Gary Baker 189 (84%) d. Brock McLean 35 (16%)
Shane Woewodin 115 (51%) d. Andrew Leoncelli 109 (49%)
Garry Lyon 162 (72%) d. Clint Bizzell 62 (28%)
Cameron Bruce 191 (85%) d. Adrian Battiston 33 (15%)
Bret Bailey 137 (61%) d. Simon Eishold 87 (39%)
Graeme Yeats 119 (53%) d. Andy Lovell 105 (47%)
Gary Hardeman 171 (76%) d. Gerard Healy 53 (24%)
Liam Jurrah 190 (85%) d. Cale Morton 34 (15%)
Kevin Dyson 175 (78%) d. Michael Byrne 49 (22%)
Earl Spalding 182 (81%) d. Daniel Bell 42 (19%)

Jeff White 188 (84%) d. Peter Keenan 36 (16%)

Round 1, Part 3

James McDonald 171 (84%) d. Carl Ditterich 33 (16%)
Travis Johnstone 187 (92%) d. Graham Molloy 17 (8%)
Glenn Lovett 147 (72%) d. Mark Jackson 57 (28%)
Steven Stretch 133 (65%) d. Shaun Smith 71 (35%)
Paul Prymke 117 (57%) d. Ross Brewer 87 (43%)
Steven Smith 138 (68%) d. Brent Moloney 66 (32%)
Greg Healy 137 (67%) d. Troy Broadbridge 67 (33%)
Greg Wells 140 (69%) d. Anthony McDonald 64 (31%)
Allen Jakovich 192 (94%) d. Marcus Seecamp 12 (6%)
Matthew Whelan 181 (89%) d. Peter Giles 23 (11%)
Stephen Newport 138 (68%) d. Tony Elshaug 66 (32%)
Andrew Lamprill 106 (52%) d. Paul Johnson 98 (48%)
Darren Bennett 198 (97%) d. Paul Hamilton 6 (3%)
Brad Miller 155 (76%) d. Ben Holland 49 (24%)
Matthew Bate 118 (58%) d. Warren Dean 86 (42%)
Adem Yze 196 (96%) d. Peter Rohde 8 (4%)

Round 1, Part 4

Jeff Farmer 153 (63%) d. Brad Green 91 (37%)
Rod Grinter 235 (96%) d. Stephen Icke 9 (4%)
David Williams 161 (66%) d. Graham Gaunt 83 (34%)
Danny Hughes 203 (83%) d. Russell Richards 41 (17%)
Paul Hopgood 225 (92%) d. Luke Williams 19 (8%)
Peter Moore 165 (68%) d. Tony Campbell 79 (32%)
Alan Johnson 170 (70%) d Brent Crosswell 74 (30%) 
Todd Viney 204 (84%) d. Nathan Brown 40 (16%)
Russell Robertson 205 (84%) d. Trevor Rollinson 39 (16%)
Steve O'Dwyer 175 (72%) d. Daniel Ward 69 (28%)
Ricky Jackson 178 (73%) d. Tony Sullivan 66 (27%)
Alistair Nicholson 192 (79%) d. John Tilbrook 52 (21%)
Paul Wheatley 219 (90%) d. Brent Grgic 25 (10%)
Ross Dillon 205 (84%) d. Des Campbell 39 (16%)
Max Walker 136 (56%) d. Chris Connolly 108 (44%)
Jim Stynes 235 (96%) d. David Cordner 9 (4%)


Round 2

Robert Flower 205 (97%) d. Clint Bartram 7 (3%)
Sean Wight 167 (79%) d. Anthony Ingerson 45 (21%)
Peter Walsh 188 (89%) d. Henry Coles 24 (11%)
Brett Lovett 172 (81%) d. Andrew Obst 40 (19%)
Stephen Tingay 208 (98%) d. Alan Jarrott 4 (2%)
David Schwarz 200 (94%) d. Brian Wilson 12 (6%)
Aaron Davey 190 (90%) d. Darren Kowal 22 (10%)
Steven Febey 205 (97%) d. Graham Osborne 7 (3%)
David Neitz 189 (89%) d. Guy Rigoni 23 (11%)
Greg Hutchison 116 (55%) d. Laurie Fowler 96 (45%)
Matthew Febey 155 (73%) d. Gary Baker 57 (27%)
Garry Lyon 167 (79%) d. Shane Woewodin 45 (21%)
Cameron Bruce 179 (84%) d. Bret Bailey 33 (16%)
Graeme Yeats 125 (59%) d. Gary Hardeman 87 (41%)
Liam Jurrah 130 (61%) d. Kevin Dyson 82 (39%)
Jeff White 149 (70%) d. Earl Spalding 63 (30%)
James McDonald 156 (74%) d. Travis Johnstone 56 (26%)
Glenn Lovett 113 (53%) d. Steven Stretch 99 (47%)
Steven Smith 126 (59%) d. Paul Prymke 86 (41%)
Greg Healy 129 (61%) d. Greg Wells 83 (39%)
Allen Jakovich 155 (73%) d. Matthew Whelan 57 (27%)
Stephen Newport 135 (64%) d. Andrew Lamprill 77 (36%)
Darren Bennett 136 (64%) d. Brad Miller 76 (36%)
Adem Yze 202 (95%) d. Matthew Bate 10 (5%)
Jeff Farmer 144 (68%) d. Rod Grinter 68 (32%)
Danny Hughes 172 (81%) d. David Williams 40 (19%)
Paul Hopgood 110 (52%) d. Peter Moore 102 (48%)
Todd Viney 187 (88%) d. Alan Johnson 25 (12%)
Russell Robertson 164 (77%) d. Steve O'Dwyer 48 (23%)
Alistair Nicholson 107 (51%) d. Ricky Jackson 105 (49%)
Paul Wheatley 173 (82%) d. Ross Dillon 39 (18%)
Jim Stynes 197 (93%) d. Max Walker 15 (7%)

Round 3

Robert Flower 184 (89%) d. Sean Wight 22 (11%)
Brett Lovett 164 (80%) d. Peter Walsh 42 (20%)
David Schwarz 149 (72%) d. Stephen Tingay 57 (28%)
Aaron Davey 117 (57%) d. Steven Febey 89 (43%)
David Neitz 199 (97%) d. Greg Hutchison 7 (3%)
Garry Lyon 170 (83%) d. Matthew Febey 36 (17%)
Cameron Bruce 120 (58%) d. Graeme Yeats 86 (42%)
Jeff White 145 (70%) d. Liam Jurrah 61 (30%)
James McDonald 165 (80%) d. Glenn Lovett 41 (20%)
Greg Healy 137 (67%) d. Steven Smith 69 (33%)
Allen Jakovich 193 (94%) d. Stephen Newport 13 (6%)
Adem Yze 166 (81%) d. Darren Bennett 40 (19%)
Jeff Farmer 181 (88%) d. Danny Hughes 25 (12%)
Todd Viney 194 (94%) d. Paul Hopgood 12 (6%)
Russell Robertson 187 (91%) d. Alistair Nicholson 19 (9%)
Jim Stynes 190 (92%) d. Paul Wheatley 16 (8%)


Round 4
Robert Flower 153 (96%) d. Brett Lovett 7 (4%)
David Schwarz 129 (81%) d. Aaron Davey 31 (19%)
David Neitz 110 (69%) d. Garry Lyon 50 (31%)
Jeff White 102 (64%) d. Cameron Bruce 58 (36%)
James McDonald 133 (83%) d. Greg Healy 27 (17%)
Allen Jakovich 89 (56%) d. Adem Yze 71 (44%)
Todd Viney 94 (59%) d. Jeff Farmer 66 (41%)
Jim Stynes 129 (81%) d. Russell Robertson 31 (19%)


Quarter Final
Robert Flower 107 (65%) d. David Schwarz 57 (35%)
David Neitz 146 (89%) d. Jeff White 18 (11%)
Allen Jakovich 85 (52%) d. James McDonald 79 (48%)
Jim Stynes 128 (78%) d. Todd Viney 36 (22%)


Semi Final
Robert Flower 122 (60%) d. David Neitz 81 (40%)
Jim Stynes 120 (59%) d. Allen Jakovich 83 (41%)


Third place playoff
Allen Jakovich 82 (51%) d. David Neitz 81 (49%)

Grand Final
Robert Flower 83 (51%) d. Jim Stynes 80 (49%)

Amongst all the fun you've been having watching the modern Demons it may have escaped your attention that we've not won a senior flag since 1964. While this is no bloody help to anybody, the one thing we can say with absolute confidence is that no matter where you came in between 1965 and recent years that you will have fond memories of some great footballers. 

Demonbracket 50 is your once in a generation chance to work your way through a knockout competition, voting on matchups between individual players based on who you prefer for whatever reason. You might have seen them in the flesh, you may have read of their deeds, or you may decided to vote for them because you like the colour of their hair. 

Just like the regular Demonbracket (which will return January/February 2015 bracket fans) how you vote is up to you - and this time due to the use of web voting it's personal. We're not trying to find the 'best' player, we're trying to find your favourite for whatever reason makes sense to you.

The field
We selected the top 123 MFC game playing debutants since 1965, excluding current players and those who will play for another club next year + four wildcards chosen jointly by the organising committee (myself plus Twitterists @benno_76 and @elliotswart) and one by MFC website mastermind Matt Burgan.

Seeds
1 - Robert Flower 
2 - Jim Stynes
3 - David Neitz 
4 - Adem Yze
5 - Steven Febey
6 - Brad Green
7 - James McDonald
8 - Jeff White
9 - Brett Lovett
10 - Todd Viney
11 - Russell Robertson
12 - Stan Alves
13 - Garry Lyon
14 - Greg Wells
15 - Cameron Bruce
16 - Allen Jakovich (the China Southern Airlines Super-Seed)

Entrants based on games played

17 - Gary Hardeman
18 - Steven Smith
19 - Tony Sullivan
20 - Graeme Yeats 
21 - Aaron Davey
22 - David Schwarz
23 - Ray Biffin
24 - Steven Stretch
25 - Stephen Tingay
26 - Travis Johnstone
27 - Brian Wilson
28 - Sean Wight
29 - Matthew Whelan
30 - Andrew Obst
31 - Graham Osborne
32 - Andrew Leoncelli
33 - Nathan Brown
34 - Matthew Febey
35 - Greg Healy
36 - Laurie Fowler
37 - Shane Woewodin
38 - Daniel Ward
39 - Alan Johnson
40 - Paul Wheatley
41 - Rod Grinter
42 - Brad Miller
43 - Peter Keenan
44 - Gerard Healy
45 - Gary Baker
46 - Glenn Lovett
47 - Danny Hughes

48 - Peter Giles
49 - Brent Moloney
50 - Ross Brewer
51 - Andy Lovell
52 - Anthony Ingerson
53 - Greg Parke
54 - Jeff Farmer
55 - Peter Rohde
56 - Denis Clark
57 - Paul Hopgood
58 - Alistair Nicholson
59 - Earl Spalding
60 - Anthony Dullard
61 - Guy Rigoni
62 - Darren Kowal
63 - Simon Godfrey
64 - Anthony McDonald 
65 - Peter Walsh 
66 - Clint Bartram
67 - Matthew Bate
68 - Stephen Newport
69 - Greg Hutchison
70 - Adrian Battiston
71 - Brock McLean
72 - Alan Jarrott
73 - Marcus Seecamp
74 - Shane Zantuck
75 - Clint Bizzell
76 - Ross Dillon
77 - Max Walker
78 - Chris Connolly
79 - Steve O'Dwyer
80 - Carl Ditterich
81 - Russell Richards
82 - Kelly O'Donnell
83 - Bret Bailey
84 - Ricky Jackson
85 - Stephen Icke
86 - Henry Coles
87 - Peter Moore
88 - Simon Eishold
89 - Brent Grgic
90 - Paul Callery
91 - Tony Campbell
92 - Darren Bennett
93 - Andrew Moir
94 - Cale Morton
95 - Nathan Carroll
96 - Kevin Dyson
97 - Graham Gaunt
98 - Paul Johnson
99 - Graham Molloy
100 - David Williams
101 - Tony Elshaug
102 - Ben Holland
103 - Daniel Bell
104 - Shane Fitzsimmons
105 - Shaun Smith
106 - Shane Grambeau
107 - Michael Byrne
108 - Dale Dickson
109 - Matthew Warnock
110 - John Tilbrook
111 - Frank Giampaolo
112 - David Cordner
113 - Michael O'Sullivan
114 - Peter Hamilton
115 - Luke Williams
116 - Des Campbell
117 - George Lakes
118 - Trevor Rollinson
119 - Paul Prymke
120 - Brent Crosswell
121 - Darren Jolly
122 - Sean Charles
123 - Ryan Ferguson

--- Organising committee wildcards ---
124 - Mark Jackson
125 - Troy Broadbridge 
126 - Warren Dean
127 - Liam Jurrah
--- Burgs' AHG.com.au Super Selection ---
128 - Andrew Lamprill