Season 2021 – Look Out, Here We Come!

January 23, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons, Our history, Our stories 

Nigel Dawe

Neither a monkey or even a dust mite on our backs this year!

I don’t know if you’d call it hard core, committed, neurotic, fanatical or just ridiculous, maybe it’s a swirling, churning one-eyed combination of all five, but ever since I was a kid I have ‘occupied’ myself during the final credits of every film with trying to recognise or fleetingly pick out any famous Melbourne Demon last names.

As such, I don’t think I’ve ever spotted a ‘Barassi’ or a ‘Warne-Smith’ represented in any capacity of a matinee film; however, the other day after having sat through near on 3 hours of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ with my 7-year-old daughter, I spied (and I’m not making this up) a ‘Lyon Beckwith’ in the film’s credits!

Not sure about you, but having a first name after perhaps the best player we’ve had at the club in the past 50 years and a last name after a two-time premiership captain from the ‘50s, would have to be an absolutely one-off celluloid occurrence, not to mention a red and blue referential miracle.
Needless to say, with me there is no pre-season, post-season or outright season in itself when it comes to the Melbourne Demons figuring, or pardon the pun ‘featuring’ in some daily way in my heart and mind. But that said, this pre-season is shaping as one of the most promising and talent crackling affairs that I can ever personally recall.

Our bounding, fit and seemingly balanced mix of players aside, it’s the cast that we’ve managed to assemble (almost by stealth) in our coaching and administrative quarters, that has me daring to believe and now menacingly murmur – “Yes, this will be our year!”

At some point over the passing of seasons, I remember hearing and retaining a comment made by the great (now in his 95th year) dual-premiership captain – Noel McMahen along the lines, “not until you fill the four heads [being Chadwick, Warne-Smith, Norm Smith and Cardwell] in the famous ‘Architects of Five Premierships’ photo, will you see anything like the success of what we saw in the ’50s and ’60s.”

Without lumbering the calamitous weight of expectation on the shoulders of our current ‘equivalents’, I’m looking so forward to seeing the collective effects generated by Alan Richardson, Mark Williams, Simon Goodwin and Gary Pert, add on a seasoned Adem Yze for good measure, and you have that aforementioned photo recreated, and then some.

While there’s quite a lot of talk around the traps about our club having the longest current premiership drought (57 years of silver-less Septembers to be precise) I don’t see this as being either a monkey or even a dust mite on the back of anyone associated with the club.

Football is a game played in a stand-alone, year-by-year fashion by players that live and die (without sounding too gladiatorial) by their exploits in ‘real-time’, such things as ‘seasons without a premiership’ are light years away from the realm of any footballer’s direct sphere of influence or control. That our oldest current player in Nathan Jones was born in 1988, puts into perspective the illogical chronological conundrum of holding anyone physically accountable for an overall inter-generational lack of success.

As for ‘premiership windows’, I always cringe when I hear this modern-day dupe of a phrase, for mine, like the best of budding cat burglars – every year is a premiership ‘window’ to be scrambled into in red-hot pursuit of the ultimate loot. If you don’t agree, then refer to the ‘Baby Bombers’ of ’93 or the marauding Hawks of ’08, to name just two supreme groups that came from the clouds to pull off the ultimate of ‘steals’.

I’d love someone to have mentioned such a ‘cute’ inanimate concept like a ‘premiership window’ to the game’s brimstone coaches of by-gone eras like Norm Smith or Checker Hughes; the notion of not having the troops committed or competent enough to win the competition in any given season would’ve absolutely confounded them.

Similarly, in the words and rollicking ‘Ocean’s 11’ spirit of perhaps world sport’s most celebrated and successful coaches of all-time, Vince Lombardi once ‘unpacked’ his approach to such things, by matter-of-factly saying, in his very concise ex-school teacher way (and something that could now well suffice for a rallying catchphrase for our primed Dees of ’21):
“Want it; desire it; earn it; take it.”

Architects of 5 premierships - Chadwick, Warne-Smith, Norm Smith and Cardwell


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