The 2022 Doullies – Mongrel Defensive Awards

Here at The Mongrel, we have a flair for the extravagant. Soon, we will publish our fourth annual forwards awards – The Pluggies, for the best offensive efforts of the season, but far from being entirely swayed by those who kick bags of goals, we’re looking to be an equal-opportunity award giver.

Then, we’ll move onto the Swannies – awards designed specifically for the midfielders… as if they don’t get enough already, right?

But first, we’re looking at the defenders.

Not to step on the toes of the late Danny Frawley’s Golden Fist Award, we’d like to drill down a bit further, into the ins and outs of being a defender in the modern game. It’s now so much more than just beating your man, and there are stats to track how well a defender performs.

How many one-percenters is a player notching? How many times are they the one that exits defensive 50? What about the interceptors? Or the guys gaining valuable metres for their teams?

We’ll be drilling down into each category to come up with the winners in each distinct category, but what should we call these awards? Something that does the prestigious awards justice…

The Alex Rance Awards? Settle down, Tiger-haters… I wouldn’t name it after someone who has so recently departed the game.

The Matty Scarlett Awards? The Dustin Fletchers? The Prestis? The Denchies?

The Bruce Doull Awards?

Ahhhh, now we’re getting somewhere. In honour of the Flying Doormat, maybe we could shorten the name. It’s not the Oscars, not the Logies, and it certainly fits right in with the Pluggies.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, the 2022 Doullies.

 

THE BRUCE DOULL AWARD for the best overall defensive performance.

 

And the nominees are…

JAMES SICILY (HAWTHORN)

TOM STEWART (GEELONG)

TOM BARRASS (WEST COAST)

SAM TAYLOR (GWS)

JACK SINCLAIR (ST KILDA)

 

AND THE WINNER IS… JAMES SICILY

Despite what the All-Australian selectors think, Sicily had a monster year for the Hawks, doing a bit of everything… no, scratch that – doing A LOT of everything as he played tall, mopped up his and other players’ messes, and set the Hawks alight from defence.

Registering three defensive triple doubles (double figures in one-percenters, intercepts, and rebounds… only ever done six times), he was the glue that held the Hawthorn backline together during a season that was pretty difficult at times.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Dylan Grimes

2020 – Luke Ryan

2021 – Jacob Weitering

 

THE “DENNIS RODMAN I CAN’T REALLY SCORE BUT BY GOD, I CAN REBOUND” AWARD for the best Rebound 50 performance

 

And the nominees are…

LUKE RYAN (FREMANTLE)

JAMES SICILY (HAWTHORN)

STEVEN MAY (MELBOURNE)

JORDAN DAWSON (ADELAIDE)

ISAAC CUMMING (GWS)

 

AND THE WINNER IS… JORDAN DAWSON

Sicily actually had more in this category, but I elected to go with Dawson given the penetration he got with those kicks. Both he and basically every other person listed here had the benefit of taking kick-ins, which acted as a pretty significant boost to their numbers over the course of the season, but given all players in this mix were guilty of it, I felt it evened out.

What made Dawson’s year even more impressive is that he spent around the first third of the season playing on the wing before dropping back to half-back and becoming the Crows’ best interceptor and clean-up player.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Dylan Grimes

2020 – Luke Ryan

2021 – Luke Ryan

 

THE FORMER DYLAN GRIMES AWARD – Best performance by a defender in a supporting role

Right, before I get you all complaining, to qualify for this award I can’t have a player ranked as a top two defender at a club. If there is a CLEAR two players thought of as better, then you’re in with a show.

 

On with the nominees…

LEWIS YOUNG (CARLTON)

HARRY HIMMELBERG (GWS)

PADDY MCCARTIN (SYDNEY)

 

AND THE WINNER IS… HARRY HIMMELBERG

 

When Leon Cameron was sacked allowed to leave on his own terms in 2022, one of the pleasant surprises was the move of Himmelberg into defence, where he took to the role like a duck to a dinner plate.

Apologies to duck lovers.

Himmelberg was permitted to play the interceptor role and looked like he was born to do it. With a new coach in the seat for 2023, it will be interesting to see whether Double-H is afforded the same freedom to roam around defensive fifty, or is shifted back to the forward fifty.

I suppose it is a nice problem to have for Adam Kingsley.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Brad Sheppard

2020 – Trent McKenzie

2021 – Isaac Cumming

 

THE FORREST GUMP “AND I JUST KEPT RUNNING” AWARD for the most metres gained

 

And the nominees are…

JORDAN DAWSON (ADELAIDE)

JAMES SICILY (HAWTHORN)

BAILEY DALE (WESTERN BULLDOGS)

JAYDEN SHORT (RICHMOND)

 

AND THE WINNER IS… JAYDEN SHORT

A three-peat for Short!

Started in defence early in the year, switched into the middle and STILL managed to rack up metres gained like some sort of God of Distance.

Whilst we may have seen the end of Short in defence full time, that boot of his creates chaos when he is able to launch 60 metres after running 15, and the Tigers can always throw him behind the footy when they’re lacking a bit of drive from the back half.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Daniel Rich

2020 – Jayden Short

2021 – Jayden Short

 

 

THE RODNEY DANGERFIELD “NO RESPECT” AWARD for the player consistently playing great defensive footy and getting very little credit.

Before I begin – to qualify, you must have NEVER been an All-Australian.

 

And the nominees are

JACK HENRY (GEELONG)

BRENNAN COX (FREMANTLE)

TOM BARRASS (WEST COAST)

 

AND THE WINNER IS – TOM BARRASS (WEST COAST)

I guess Henry and Cox still get no respect, huh?

For now.

Barrass really came into his own in 2022 once Jeremy McGovern gave up the ghost and sat out the remainder of the season. From Round 11 onwards, Barrass was a defensive monster, pulling in intercepts and killing contests with the best of them, averaging over eight one-percenters and 8.5 intercepts in that period.

With the Eagles struggling, Barrass put his hand up as someone who can be relied on to do a big job and zone off to assist when necessary, to the point where plenty of people started throwing his name out as a possible AA candidate late in the season.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Robbie Tarrant

2020 – Steven May

2021 – Harrison Petty

 

 

THE IVAN DRAGO “YOU DON’T WANNA BE ON THE END OF ONE OF THOSE FISTS” AWARD for contest killing

 

And the nominees are…

HARRIS ANDREWS (BRISBANE)

TOM MCCARTIN (SYDNEY)

LEWIS YOUNG (CARLTON)

DARCY MOORE (COLLINGWOOD)

 

AND THE WINNER IS… LEWIS YOUNG

Harris Andrews had more over the course of the season, but I am going with Lewis Young, who was unlucky to miss out on the Former Dylan Grimes Award above.

Amongst some of his work in 2022, Young managed to equal the highest number of one-percenters in a game (25 – tied with Harris Andrews from 2018) and became part of a select club to compile two 20+ one-percenter games.

Carlton looked like they may have struggled for a second key defender to aid Jacob Weitering, but Lewis Young made it all good this year.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Harris Andrews

2020 – Liam Jones

2021 – Harris Andrews

THE “YOU CERTAINLY DON’T LOOK OLD ENOUGH BUT I’LL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT” AWARD for the best young defender in the game.

Must be 22 years of age or younger.

 

And the nominees are

NICK DAICOS (COLLINGWOOD)

TOM MCCARTIN (SYDNEY)

NICK MURRAY (ADELAIDE)

JOSH GIBCUS (RICHMOND)

JORDON BUTTS (ADELAIDE)

SAM DE KONING (GEELONG)

 

AND THE WINNER IS… SAM DE KONING

What? Not Nick Daicos?

Come on guys, he’s a midfielder doing his time in defence. Doesn’t do much actual defending.

At the start of 2022., I remember speculating whether SDK could possibly crack the Geelong back six.

Well, not only did he do that, but he excelled in the role and made himself indispensable to the Cats. Happy to take on big jobs or act as an interceptor, De Koning established himself as one of the best young defenders in the game, once again seeing Geelong replenish their list with the right person at the right time.

Damn them…

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Not awarded

2020 – Noah Balta

2021 – Tom McCartin

 

 

THE DUSTIN FLETCHER “SNEAK FORWARD AND HURT THEM ON THE SCOREBOARD” AWARD

 

AND THE WINNER IS – DANIEL RIOLI (RICHMOND)

RUNNER UP – ZACH TUOHY (GEELONG)

 

Rioli has been a revelation in defence, actively looking to punish teams that do not pay enough respect to his ability to run from half-back and get on the end of a handball chain.

After playing as a forward for many seasons, quite a few people (myself included – I’ll put my hand up) wondered whether Rioli did enough. After all, he was a three-time premiership player who went missing for long periods. The benefit of hindsight tells us that it was more the role he played than a lack of ability or desire that limited him. He was awesome in the defensive role this year, and had ten snags to his name as a result.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Jed Bews

2020 – Heath Shaw

2021 – Zach Tuohy

 

THE KOBE BRYANT “GOING OUT WITH A BANG” AWARD for best performance in his last game

 

AND THE WINNER IS – MICHAEL HURLEY (ESSENDON)

I don’t think anyone begrudged Michael Hurley getting a great send-off by the Bombers, did they? And by the token, we won’t begrudge him picking up this award despite the fact he played forward in the game.

Rolled out in Round 23 by the Bombers after looking as though his career was completely dusted due to a horrible infection, Hurley got on the end of a piece of play late in the game. He went back, and slotted the goal.

Whilst the Tigers refused to buy into the sentimentality of the occasion, winning by 11 goals, it was great to see such a warrior get the chance to have a farewell game.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Luke Hodge

2020 – Harry Taylor

2021 – David Astbury

 

 

THE LEO BARRY “COMING UP BIG WHEN IT COUNTS” AWARD for the best defensive performance of the finals

 

AND THE WINNER IS – JACK HENRY (GEELONG)

It was back in Round Two that Jack Henry lined up on Buddy Franklin and watched the Sydney Superstar go back and slot his 1000th goal.

Against him.

It would be easy to accept that this would be how you’d be remembered – the bloke playing on Buddy when he kicked his thousandth goal.

But no… Jack Henry had other ideas, and when the Swans and Cats tangled in the Grand Final, Henry completely owned his contest against Franklin, restricting him to five touches and no goals for the afternoon in perhaps Franklin’s worst game of the season.

And thus, Henry flipped the script, going from the guy who had the 1000th goal kicked on him to the guy who blanketed Lance Franklin in a Grand Final. Pretty handy work, there Jack.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2019 – Bachar Houli

2020 – Lachie Henderson

2021 – Christian Salem

 

And there we go; our fourth instalment of ‘The Doullies’.

Hopefully, it is taken in the tone it is intended, but you just can never tell with some people… they get so fired up.

Thanks to everyone who has jumped on as a member and decided to support us. Your help enables us to produce better content and more of it. 2023 will be another big year for The Mongrel, and we hope to give you more than your money’s worth as members.

 

 

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