Chelsea Roffey, Jeremy Howe and free agency - three things worth liking about the 2012 AFL season.
I was originally going to make this blog an end-of-season update on my inaugural White or Wrong, bottom-16 players of the AFL.
Then I realised how much post-season, longing-for-footy-again melancholy had set in during the past five days and figured I couldn't possibly bring myself to hate on 16 blokes that badly.
Although, now that I think about it, Cyril Rioli would feature under the "only as bad as your last game" theory and Chris Dawes would be pretty close to No. 1 (biggest improver - Zac Dawson, who I have to begrudgingly admit is far more effective than I ever thought he was).
Still, tradition dictates that the lazy, footy-missing writer contribute a numbered list of some kind at this time of year.
So here are 10, maybe slightly obscure things I loved about the 2012 AFL season.
10. Chelsea Roffey: I could tread carefully around this one and talk about how Chelsea's grand final goal umpiring appointment was a great step forward for the role of women in footy. But the reality is that she's bloody cute. Chelsea, if by chance you are reading this, please know that I enjoy long walks along the beach, cosy nights in by the fireplace and waving little white flags above my head in a criss-cross, figure-of-eight pattern.
9. Peter Donegan: Not technically a part of this season but the campaign for him to get a footy gig next year with Seven has to start somewhere. If he continues to be ignored after such an outstanding performance at the London Olympics, then we'll know for sure the Match Review Panel is in charge of commentary team selection.
8. Mullets: Kudos to Ivan Maric and Taylor Walker for ignoring an era of weird sideparts and boofy brush-ups by letting it all hang out down the back. Now for an explanation of what the hell is going on with Walker's right ear...
7. Lie detector tests: So many (valid) criticisms of Channel Seven's coverage this year but the Saturday evening polygraph tests were surprisingly amusing. Best bits - Matthew Scarlett gleefully admitting he he was doing the rest of the league a favour by belting Hayden Ballantyne and Luke Darcy having to sheepishly cop to being a millionaire.
6. Jeremy Howe: Single-handedly bringing back the art of hangers to the AFL. Absolutely no idea if he can do anything else but loving him all the same.
5. Freo's season: First the Ross Lyon appointment, then a spanking of Geelong in the finals and very nearly a preliminary final spot. Not since Siren-Gate in Tassie has it felt so much like the rest of the country is taking the Dockers seriously. If only we hadn't then gone fishing for Brendon Goddard and come back with Danyle Pearce.
4. Free agency: Bandwagon politics dictates I should say this ruins the tapestry of the sport. But what's so wrong about a bunch of blokes who don't get to choose their initial employers, having the right to work where they want after eight years of service? Besides which, given the column inches devoted to Cloke and Goddard this year, imagine the ever-growing intrigue if Buddy Franklin holds off on signing with the Hawks well into next year.
3. The Sydney Swans: It's been a long, long season for White Or Wrong, given my continual refusal to believe the Swans are any good. I even have the tipping numbers - or lack thereof - to show for it. Time to finally admit Sydney is a great side and thoroughly deserved its flag. And start thinking of some reasons why they shouldn't do it again next year...
2. Foxtel: Has taken footy broadcasting to a new level this year. AFL 360 is the best program in the business, Open Mike has been outstanding and EMT is more-than watchable despite Eddie McGuire hosting. And that's not even touching on the technology used before, during and after match telecasts. Brilliant.
1. The Ryder Cup: Hands-down the sporting event of the year and showed the AFL how it could and should be done when it comes to state-of-origin footy. Here's a revolutionary idea - just get the best players in the game, pay them stuff-all and let them slug it out in the name of pride. Let's make it happen.
10 things I didn't so much like: anything to do with the MRP (should be renamed the WTF); Brett Kirk's attempt at boundary riding (let's hope he's easier to understand as an assistant coach); Sam Newman's "interview" with Andrew Demetriou (my pet Dalmatian is more fierce); another midfield-dominated Brownlow Medal; Kepler Bradley being dropped for Freo's last final; the mess that is goal-line video adjudication; the passing of Jimmy Stynes and John McCarthy.