THIS column has become such a juggernaut we are dedicating an entire column to our own version of honours for the 2017 season.
That whilst all the other scribes and bloggers and twitter menaces have their say on who was the best, the worst, their highlights of the season, why would I begrudge this snowball of an audience by not chipping in with our own version.
So as we celebrate the home and away year in this chasm between the last round and the first week of finals, let’s look back and reminisce by calling it as we see it, who outperformed, underperformed and work out just who had the shitter year out of Damien Barrett and Mark Robinson.
Some of the following awards are cliché and obvious, some though are a bit different and unique to the Get Serious platform, so get on board, get yourself a cupper and a bicky, and prepare to be enlightened.
SURPRISE OF THE YEAR:
Nominees: Liam Jones (Carlton), Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn), Ben Brown (North Melbourne)
Winner: Ben Brown – Bloody hell, the once-third ruck option down at Arden St. almost won the Coleman in a team barely able to avoid the wooden spoon. And the crucial kicker to be as good as the season was, it won’t be a flash in the pan. Given he is only 24 Shinboner fans can expect him to build on his 63-goal season, which is a scary thought really.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR:
Nominees: Gold Coast, Western Bulldogs, AFL Senior Executives, the married ones, who should know better….
Winner: The Match Review Panel – stuff the nominees, we had to give it to the MRP. Do we need to explain this one, I mean Jack Redpath, Brodie Grundy, Toby Greene, the list goes on. Horrid, awful, un-Australian really…
GAME OF THE YEAR:
Nominees: Round 2 Geelong defeats North Melbourne by 1 point; Round 4 (Good Friday), Bulldogs defeats North Melbourne by 3 points; Round 14, Sydney defeats Essendon by 1 point; Round 19, Collingwood draw with Adelaide; Round 22, Adelaide defeats Sydney by 3 points.
Winner: Round 4 (Good Friday), Bulldogs defeats North Melbourne by 3 points – great game, great occasion. There were so many close, exciting, high standard games this year, it was the best season on record for close finishes, but we loved this game back in April. It was well promoted, it worked beautifully as an initiative, and on the fast track at Etihad the final term especially was pulsating.
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Nominees: Don Pyke (Adelaide), John Longmire (Sydney), Damien Hardwick (Richmond)
Winner: Don Pyke – Horse and Dimma are stiff but here’s why: Horse has got the Swans into great shape, but we’re going to knock a couple points off for the start of the year from a coaching standpoint, and Dimma, he would have yielded a similar result to last year if it wasn’t for two things, the soft draw and the turnover of assistants. Pyke has kept the Crows up all year and deserves the minor premiership.
TEAM OF THE YEAR:
Nominees: Adelaide Crows, Sydney Swans, Richmond
Winner: Sydney Swans – so we knocked points off Longmire in the previous award, but the best team for much of the year were the Swans, who almost knocked off the top of the ladder Crows in Adelaide. Yes, not a super start, but since Round Six no-one comes close, a phenomenal performance, scary, and given the Dogs saluted from 7th last year, the 6th placed Swans are a massive show to go one better in 2017.
THE ABEL TASMAN PERPETUAL PLATE (MISS OF THE YEAR)
Named after Dutch sailor Abel Tasman, who on his journeys centuries ago, discovered Tasmania, discovered New Zealand, but sailed straight past Australia, and instead of being a Commonwealth country under British rule, we so easily could have been pot-smoking tulip farmers. Bloody Abel.
Runner Up: Josh Bruce (St Kilda) for not one but two shockers in the goal square, down in Tassie against Hawthorn and against Richmond at Etihad.
Winner: Melbourne – when your marketing department comes up with the website banner for finals arrangements, you better do better than six first quarter tackles when Collingwood has already kicked six goals and stuff up the unmissable finals spot at the final hurdle.
THE LANCE ARMSTRONG AWARD FOR HONESTY (LIE OF THE YEAR)
Runner Up: Perth radio shock-jock Who-Cares McSomebody who had Nat Fyfe as a lock to St Kilda, weeks later the Dockers captain re-committed to the club for five years.
Winner: Jordan De Goey – blamed a broken hand on playing with the dog before eventually confessing he did it in a weekend scuffle at a watering hole. Now come on Jordan…
THE Y2K BUG GOLDEN JUG (WORST PREDICTION OF THE YEAR)
Winner: Me – for predicting West Coast will finish a strong third or that I had Fremantle improving resoundingly into eight spot. Yuck.
THE GET SERIOUS PREDICTION OF THE YEAR
Essendon – In the lead up to the season proper I was bullish about the Bombers in 2017, that the 2016 wooden spooner could do the unthinkable and ascend into a September appearance as early as a year later, and then March 30 suggested Dons fans get ready for finals, they are good enough now. Low and behold, they came through like a treat, well done to the club and the faithful alike, pretty amazing year.
FIRST YEAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Nominees: Andrew McGrath (Essendon), Sam Petrveski-Seton (Carlton), Sam Powell-Pepper (Port Adelaide)
Winner: Andrew McGrath (Essendon) – you don’t believe how much I wanted to award my pre-season Rising Star pick SPP but one must concede the Bombers defender did just enough to pip the bull from Alberton. Amazing poise and contribution, consistently over the entire year too, so whilst it’s closer than many think, especially those Victorians who don’t see enough of Port Adelaide, this one goes to McGrath.
THE CHER MEMORIAL TROPHY (“If I could turn back time” REGRET OF THE YEAR)
Winner – Chris Mayne (Collingwood) – Four years. And VFL track-watchers advise his form in the seconds as the year progressed was hardly progressing either, not good. Four. Years.
THE 1944 NORMANDY LANDINGS MEDAL (TACTICAL MOVE OF THE YEAR)
Winner: James Sicily (Hawthorn) – Sicily was an ‘ok’ key forward prospect in a club who started the season 3-6. Alastair Clarkson throws the magnets around, turns Sicily into a tall ranging midfielder and with great success it helps turn the Hawks season around. From that point, the Hawks lose only three of the next ten games and 22-year old averages 24 disposals and nine marks a game in that stretch – a superb positional move.
THE GET SERIOUS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong), Dustin Martin (Richmond), Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn)
Winner: Dustin Martin (Richmond) – Geelong are annoying but somehow get the job done, and hosted a preliminary final as recently as last year. The Tigers meanwhile stunk so bad last year if their coach not had this year already on his contract he would have been booted. We award this to Martin over Danger because of the influence he has had on his side finishing where it has. We rate the Cats list a little better than the Tigers list, structurally, especially with tall stocks, the Cats do a lot better than the Tigers. But the games that Martin has single handedly won are mesmerising, and not to downplay Dangers’ 2017, he has been a jet, this column just acknowledges that in our view, Martin was a smidge more valuable, a smidge more influential, a smidge better.
And now the big one….
THE SEAN SPICER ‘SWINGERS PARTY KEYS IN THE BOWL’ PAPER MACHE BOWL FOR OUTSTANDING MEDIA PERFORMANCE IN FOOTBALL JOURNALISM
Damien Barrett – ‘breaking’ the Rod Butters story about his alcohol and drug issues as President of St Kilda on the Footy Show when the Herald Sun ran the same tale as a feature six years ago, and also for being very boring, more narcissistic as the year progressed, and for claiming on his own podcast St Kilda had double standards for criticising Sam Newman’s transgender comments when by doing so was double standards in itself.
Mark Stevens – late entry, but for following Dustin Martin to Auckland this week, chucking a microphone under his chin at the airport and expecting something. Martin is as introverted a footballer anyway, let alone the fact he was going to get nothing close to ‘hi Stevo, look, I can reveal to your audience exclusively, since you made the effort to make the trip over here, that I will be moving to North Melbourne next year”. And for ‘making up’ that the Pies want/need Jarrod Harbrow. Time to take a look in the mirror Stevo, average by you.
Mark Robinson – one thing to send out an insensitive tweet about a player with depression, but it’s another thing to reach out with an apology letter, after being told not to, which included an interview request at the same time to further feather your own nest. Seriously you can’t make this stuff up sometimes.
The Winner – Mark Robinson. Not a great year for the chiefy chief-chief of the sport’s biggest publisher. But the clincher for our friend Slobbo ‘Time to say no at the dinner table’ Robinson, was when he accused in the wake of Tom Boyd’s public battle with depression, that manager Liam Pickering or president Peter Gordon might be to blame for the illness, for not thinking of the psychological repercussions of the monster contract that Boyd signed in moving to the Dogs a couple years ago. Really? Very ordinary stuff. Time for a spell we think, maybe a ‘promotion’ to the classifieds section of the Colac Observer, or into photocopying for the Ovens Valley Bugle?