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Found 16 results

  1. When we could win against top 8 sides even when there was a wide discrepancy in free kicks paid to the opposition over us ... THE TEAMS WEST COAST EAGLES B: Shannon Hurn, Eric Mackenzie, Will Schofield HB: Thomas Cole, Tom Barrass, Brad Sheppard C: Andrew Gaff, Matt Priddis, Elliot Yeo HF: Lewis Jetta, Jack Darling, Dom Sheed F: Liam Duggan, Jeremy McGovern, Drew Petrie FOLL: Nathan Vardy, Sam Mitchell, Luke Shuey I/C: Jamie Cripps, Josh Hill, Mark Hutchings, Malcolm Karpany EMG: Chris Masten, Jack Redden, Sharrod Wellingham IN: Josh Hill, Malcolm Karpany OUT: Mark LeCras (hip), Jackson Nelson (hamstring) MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Oscar McDonald, Michael Hibberd HB: Jayden Hunt, Sam Frost, Jordan Lewis C: Jake Melksham, Clayton Oliver, Christian Salem HF: Christian Petracca, Cam Pedersen, James Harmes F: Jeff Garlett, Tom McDonald, Mitch Hannan FOLL: Max Gawn, Bernie Vince, Jack Viney I/C: Tomas Bugg, Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch, Dom Tyson EMG: Ben Kennedy, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman IN: Max Gawn, Billy Stretch OUT: Nathan Jones (quadriceps), Jack Watts (hamstring)
  2. Demonland

    THE LAST TIME THEY MET

    Melbourne did everything but win this game. We owe them for this alone. WEST COAST EAGLES B: Brad Sheppard, Eric Mackenzie, Thomas Barrass HB: Sharrod Wellingham, Jeremy McGovern, Shannon Hurn C: Chris Masten, Matt Priddis, Elliot Yeo HF: Andrew Gaff, Jack Darling, Josh Hill F: Jamie Cripps, Josh J. Kennedy, Mark LeCras FOLL: Scott Lycett, Jack Redden, Luke Shuey I/C: Sam Butler, Liam Duggan, Jonathan Giles, Jackson Nelson EMG: Patrick McGinnity, Will Schofield, Dom Sheed IN: Liam Duggan, Jonathan Giles, Eric Mackenzie, Jackson Nelson OUT: Mitchell Brown (omitted), Mark Hutchings (omitted), Patrick McGinnity (omitted), Will Schofield (soreness), MELBOURNE B: Josh Wagner, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Matt Jones C: Christian Petracca, Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson HF: Jeff Garlett, Jack Watts, James Harmes F: Chris Dawes, Jesse Hogan, Dean Kent FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Billy Stretch, Sam Frost, Alex Neal-Bullen EMG: Ben Newton, Tomas Bugg, Ben Kennedy IN: Chris Dawes, Sam Frost, Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch Out: Jack Grimes (omitted), Kennedy (omitted), Aaron vandenBerg (hip), Mitch White (omitted)
  3. TWO OUT OF THREE AIN'T? by George on the Outer Well that was the JLT pre-season practice series and the final one for Melbourne was away against a side that lost in the first round of the 2016 finals to the ultimate premiers. Both clubs took the field in this game with probably their best available sides so we expected what should have been and was a close tussle. The thing that was noticeable was that the game was treated as a true practice match with both coaches trying different options, but not giving too much away. Melbourne under Simon Goodwin went into the game with the two ruck option again but did it work? We really don't know because although Jake Spencer finished with three goals, he also had a paltry seven possessions and his hit-outs were against WCE’s third and fourth choice ruckmen in Vardy and Petrie. Melbourne also played a match attempting to simulate a 22 man team set up as close as possible which left Jack Trengove stranded on the boundary line. Has he recovered from his tragic injury run - again, we now simply don’t know yet but the team was left one man short in the Perth heat. For almost three quarters, the game itself was almost goal for goal with some momentary lapses allowing the Eagles a margin of less than a couple goals until a run of goals in the final term allowed the Eagles to nudge out to a winning margin. Even then, with ten minutes to go, the Demons could have been within a kick, save for some easy misses in front of goal from Jesse Hogan and Sam Weideman. The result could have been different, but we won’t know. The unfortunate observation was the lack of finishing skill into the forward line. At one point, eight West Coast goals in succession had come came from Melbourne turnovers into the forward areas. The quick counter attack saw the defenders with simply no chance, and both LeCras and Kennedy took advantage as they were left either one on one or on their own in a replica of Pagans paddock. No defender in the league could defend against that. We have to give Dom Tyson some leeway since it was his first hit-out for a long time, but some of his field kicking was way way below par. Likewise, Jack Watts needed to show more than what he produced, particularly with his defensive efforts. For someone with a selection cloud over himself, it was necessary to show the same level of intensity that Clayton Oliver, Tomas Bugg, Jayden Hunt, Nathan Jones and Max Gawn were displaying. Does he have it in himself to get to the level to play round one - we still don’t know. Oliver played an absolute blinder again. His vision in tight situations, and his ability to get the ball when it seems impossible, are rapidly approaching elite level. Thirty-one touches including 13 contested is well up there with the best, and yet the Coach had him off the field for long periods, probably because in his case - we do know about his capabilities yet. Others needed to be evaluated and were given the chance. James Harmes, ANB, Weideman and Colin Garland are at the fringe area of selection, and while the latter is a work in progress in need of senior game time, the others only showed enough to confirm their fringe status. Will we see much of them during the season - we don’t know as they aren’t knocking the door down, and we still have the likes of Jeff Garlett, Dean Kent, Nev Jetta and eventually VDB as choices before them. The match showed that the Demons still have a way to go. We should have known that the inconsistency of youth would show a drop-off of what we now expect from Christian Petracca and even Jack Viney. They still played well, but they just weren’t there at times. Finally, let's reflect that despite this series being a training run for both sides, the team has beaten last year's premier on its own home turf, flogged a bottom for side that for some reason it usually struggles with and has taken it right up to another finalist. We don’t know if that means anything or nothing at all but for years we have been saying "we want to be competitive" and "we want to challenge for finals and better". In order to do this, we have to win comprehensively when expected and to be truly in the game against the better sides. That we have done, and if it translates into the season proper, then finals will beckon. We still don’t know what we can take away, but two out of three ain’t bad. Isn't it? P.S: Will the AFL please stop using W.A. based umpires in games in WA? They need to be exposed to how the rules are applied in the rest of the country and not just in Domain Stadium. Melbourne 0.2.2.14 0.6.3.39 0.8.5.53 1.9.7.70 West Coast 0.3.5.23 0.7.5.47 0.12.8.80 0.14.11.95 Supergoals Melbourne Jayden Hunt West Coast Nil Goals Melbourne Spencer 3 Hogan 2 Brayshaw Jones Salem Viney West Coast Kennedy 5 Darling LeCras Vardy 2 Gaff Hill Priddis Best Melbourne Oliver Oliver and Oliver Hunt Lewis Bugg Salem West Coast Mitchell Masten Gaff Vardy Kennedy Wellingham LeCras Injuries Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil Reports Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil Umpires Haussen Dalgleish Kamolins Adams Official crowd 5,337 at Domain Stadium
  4. THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH by Whispering Jack In the wake of last Sunday's six goal loss against St Kilda, there has been plenty of handwringing and blame thrown around concerning the perceived slow pace of Melbourne's development as a club under Paul Roos. Former Demon star David Schwarz laid the boots into the club when he said he was frustrated by the lack of progress, albeit despite some steady improvement since Roos took over after a disastrous two-win season under Mark Neeld and Neil Craig in 2013. The Ox labelled the club's record at Etihad Stadium "a joke" and claimed the Saints were closer to ending their premiership drought than the Demons. "That is crap. That is mental now. That is ridiculous," he said, speaking of the team's lame performance last Sunday. Some added blame on poor team selection decisions and some were unhappy that the club sacrificed a home game and then had to come off an energy-sapping game in the heat and humidity of Darwin. Others still, said that Roos was simply out coached as the likes of Max Gawn, Nathan Jones and few others were kept under control when the Saints seized the game's momentum halfway through the second quarter. There might be something in all of these "excuses" but the reality is that the club has been consistently steering a course in a very much youth oriented direction, one which often lends itself to inconsistency of performance from week to week but which has the capacity to result ultimately in a team that will go places - and in far quicker time than the Saints for that matter. I say that because Schwarz in his frustration ignored the fact that St Kilda's win came on the back of the experience of Riewoldt, Montagna, Gilbert, Dempster and a couple of others who are unlikely to be around in two years’ time. On the other hand, Melbourne has a number of its own older heads on the list either playing at Casey or out altogether with injuries. The Demons by choice, did not to select the likes of Lynden Dunn, Colin Garland and Chris Dawes for the game and others of the older guard like Heritier Lumumba, Cam Pedersen and Dean Terlich all have limited futures at the club. So it's very much a case of the baby Demons, a young side that fell into a hole when its structure broke down halfway through the second quarter. It happened when Jesse Hogan left the ground to get some attention to his injured hip at around the same time that Max Gawn went off for a short rest. Suddenly, the Demons, already light on for tall players with the late withdrawal of Sam Frost, had an undersized look - especially on its forward line. In the blink of an eye, they were overrun. What's that got to do with this week's game in Perth at another hoodoo ground - Domain Stadium where they have not beaten the Eagles since 2002? It seems unlikely that the Demons will compromise on the direction of its selection policies so that a young team will again be exposed to an opponent with greater experience. This time, it's one with four consecutive wins which is particularly dangerous on its own ground where it has won eight of its nine games at Domain Stadium this season at a winning average of 64.6 points per game. That young Melbourne defence has allowed far too much through - an average of 93.3 points against throughout the season. The statistics simply don't lie - the young Demons will struggle at Domain but are investing in the future. West Coast by 46 points. THE GAME West Coast v Melbourne at Domain Stadium, Saturday 24 July, 2016 at 4.40pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall West Coast 32 wins Melbourne 15 wins At Patersons Stadium West Coast 14 wins Melbourne 5 wins Past five meetings West Coast 5 wins Melbourne 0 wins The Coaches Simpson 3 wins Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 4.30pm RADIO - Triple M SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING West Coast to win - $1.10 Melbourne to win - $7.00 THE LAST TIME THEY MET West Coast 16.18.114 defeated Melbourne 9.6.60 Round 14, 2016 at TIO Stadium, Darwin Melbourne was coming off a confidence boosting win against the Cats and took some of that north to Darwin where they remained competitive in the heat-sapping conditions for three quarters before the Eagles' experience and strength took over allowing them to steam away to an easy win. THE TEAMS WEST COAST EAGLES B: Brad Sheppard, Eric Mackenzie, Thomas Barrass HB: Sharrod Wellingham, Jeremy McGovern, Shannon Hurn C: Chris Masten, Matt Priddis, Elliot Yeo HF: Andrew Gaff, Jack Darling, Josh Hill F: Jamie Cripps, Josh J. Kennedy, Mark LeCras FOLL: Scott Lycett, Jack Redden, Luke Shuey I/C: Sam Butler, Liam Duggan, Jonathan Giles, Jackson Nelson EMG: Patrick McGinnity, Will Schofield, Dom Sheed IN: Liam Duggan, Jonathan Giles, Eric Mackenzie, Jackson Nelson OUT: Mitchell Brown (omitted), Mark Hutchings (omitted), Patrick McGinnity (omitted), Will Schofield (soreness), MELBOURNE B: Josh Wagner, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Matt Jones C: Christian Petracca, Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson HF: Jeff Garlett, Jack Watts, James Harmes F: Chris Dawes, Jesse Hogan, Dean Kent FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Billy Stretch, Sam Frost, Alex Neal-Bullen EMG: Ben Newton, Tomas Bugg, Ben Kennedy IN: Chris Dawes, Sam Frost, Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch Out: Jack Grimes (omitted), Kennedy (omitted), Aaron vandenBerg (hip), Mitch White (omitted)
  5. In the wake of last Sunday's six goal loss against St Kilda, there has been plenty of handwringing and blame thrown around concerning the perceived slow pace of Melbourne's development as a club under Paul Roos. Former Demon star David Schwarz laid the boots into the club when he said he was frustrated by the lack of progress, albeit despite some steady improvement since Roos took over after a disastrous two-win season under Mark Neeld and Neil Craig in 2013. The Ox labelled the club's record at Etihad Stadium "a joke" and claimed the Saints were closer to ending their premiership drought than the Demons. "That is crap. That is mental now. That is ridiculous," he said, speaking of the team's lame performance last Sunday. Some added blame on poor team selection decisions and some were unhappy that the club sacrificed a home game and then had to come off an energy-sapping game in the heat and humidity of Darwin. Others still, said that Roos was simply out coached as the likes of Max Gawn, Nathan Jones and few others were kept under control when the Saints seized the game's momentum halfway through the second quarter. There might be something in all of these "excuses" but the reality is that the club has been consistently steering a course in a very much youth oriented direction, one which often lends itself to inconsistency of performance from week to week but which has the capacity to result ultimately in a team that will go places - and in far quicker time than the Saints for that matter. I say that because Schwarz in his frustration ignored the fact that St Kilda's win came on the back of the experience of Riewoldt, Montagna, Gilbert, Dempster and a couple of others who are unlikely to be around in two years’ time. On the other hand, Melbourne has a number of its own older heads on the list either playing at Casey or out altogether with injuries. The Demons by choice, did not to select the likes of Lynden Dunn, Colin Garland and Chris Dawes for the game and others of the older guard like Heritier Lumumba, Cam Pedersen and Dean Terlich all have limited futures at the club. So it's very much a case of the baby Demons, a young side that fell into a hole when its structure broke down halfway through the second quarter. It happened when Jesse Hogan left the ground to get some attention to his injured hip at around the same time that Max Gawn went off for a short rest. Suddenly, the Demons, already light on for tall players with the late withdrawal of Sam Frost, had an undersized look - especially on its forward line. In the blink of an eye, they were overrun. What's that got to do with this week's game in Perth at another hoodoo ground - Domain Stadium where they have not beaten the Eagles since 2002? It seems unlikely that the Demons will compromise on the direction of its selection policies so that a young team will again be exposed to an opponent with greater experience. This time, it's one with four consecutive wins which is particularly dangerous on its own ground where it has won eight of its nine games at Domain Stadium this season at a winning average of 64.6 points per game. That young Melbourne defence has allowed far too much through - an average of 93.3 points against throughout the season. The statistics simply don't lie - the young Demons will struggle at Domain but are investing in the future. West Coast by 46 points. THE GAME West Coast v Melbourne at Domain Stadium, Saturday 24 July, 2016 at 4.40pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall West Coast 32 wins Melbourne 15 wins At Patersons Stadium West Coast 14 wins Melbourne 5 wins Past five meetings West Coast 5 wins Melbourne 0 wins The Coaches Simpson 3 wins Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 4.30pm RADIO - Triple M SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING West Coast to win - $1.10 Melbourne to win - $7.00 THE LAST TIME THEY MET West Coast 16.18.114 defeated Melbourne 9.6.60 Round 14, 2016 at TIO Stadium, Darwin Melbourne was coming off a confidence boosting win against the Cats and took some of that north to Darwin where they remained competitive in the heat-sapping conditions for three quarters before the Eagles' experience and strength took over allowing them to steam away to an easy win. THE TEAMS WEST COAST EAGLES B: Brad Sheppard, Eric Mackenzie, Thomas Barrass HB: Sharrod Wellingham, Jeremy McGovern, Shannon Hurn C: Chris Masten, Matt Priddis, Elliot Yeo HF: Andrew Gaff, Jack Darling, Josh Hill F: Jamie Cripps, Josh J. Kennedy, Mark LeCras FOLL: Scott Lycett, Jack Redden, Luke Shuey I/C: Sam Butler, Liam Duggan, Jonathan Giles, Jackson Nelson EMG: Patrick McGinnity, Will Schofield, Dom Sheed IN: Liam Duggan, Jonathan Giles, Eric Mackenzie, Jackson Nelson OUT: Mitchell Brown (omitted), Mark Hutchings (omitted), Patrick McGinnity (omitted), Will Schofield (soreness), MELBOURNE B: Josh Wagner, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Matt Jones C: Christian Petracca, Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson HF: Jeff Garlett, Jack Watts, James Harmes F: Chris Dawes, Jesse Hogan, Dean Kent FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Billy Stretch, Sam Frost, Alex Neal-Bullen EMG: Ben Newton, Tomas Bugg, Ben Kennedy IN: Chris Dawes, Sam Frost, Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch Out: Jack Grimes (omitted), Kennedy (omitted), Aaron vandenBerg (hip), Mitch White (omitted)
  6. Demonland

    THE LAST TIME THEY MET

    To this day I can't remember a single thing about this game played in Darwin. I must have suffered from heat fatigue. MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Colin Garland HB: Daniel Cross, Lynden Dunn, Jimmy Toumpas C: Rohan Bail, Jack Viney, Jack Watts HF: Jeff Garlett, Chris Dawes, Jeremy Howe F: Angus Brayshaw, Jesse Hogan, Jake Spencer FOLL: Max Gawn, Bernie Vince, Nathan Jones I/C: Matt Jones, Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch, Dom Tyson EMG: Jack Fitzpatrick, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Aidan Riley IN: Colin Garland, Jesse Hogan OUT: Heritier Lumumba (foot), Aidan Riley (omitted) WEST COAST EAGLES B: Shannon Hurn, Will Schofield, Brad Sheppard HB: Sam Butler, Jeremy McGovern, Sharrod Wellingham C: Elliot Yeo, Matt Priddis, Andrew Gaff HF: Chris Masten, Jack Darling, Jamie Cripps F: Mark Le Cras, Josh Kennedy, Josh Hill FOLL: Nick Naitanui, Scott Selwood, Luke Shuey I/C: Liam Duggan, Xavier Ellis, Dom Sheed, Callum Sinclair EMG: Mark Hutchings, Fraser McInnes, Matt Rosa IN: Sam Butler OUT: Matt Rosa (omitted)
  7. Please cast your votes and make them count.
  8. Our correspondent William from West Perth was at the game. Here's his story as told to Whispering Jack You could have been forgiven if you thought that the Melbourne bus had arrived at Patersons Stadium well into the time on period of the first quarter because, by the time the Dees started playing, the Eagles already had a score of 4.1.25. When Melbourne did arrive the team was downright embarrassing. On the long Subiaco ground, they picked their tallest side for the year but they never really gave the big blokes a chance. You would have thought that they might have put in an effort to move the ball quickly in their direction to take full advantage of their height but instead they stumbled and fumbled and persisted in moving the ball sideways until they turned it over or gave away a stupid free kick. With the West Coast Eagles still in the hunt for a finals place and percentage always likely to play a part in deciding their participation, it was unlikely that they were going to take this game easily. They outsmarted the visitors at every turn and were doing so even before the game started. As already mentioned, Melbourne had selected a top heavy side for this ground and that played into West Coast's hands. The decision to omit giant Nick Naitanui with 179cm running defender Adam Carter left another mismatch in favour of the home side that had its run and spread down pat on the night. As a result, they had no trouble dealing with their tired, slow, disjointed and out-of- form opponents. They pulled up in the end content with a 66 point win and a perfect lead up to the final round. What can I say about Melbourne? Well, one thing it did well was that it furthered its case for a priority pick. On that performance, the odds on a favourable decision would have improved. Playing his 150th game, Bernie Vince stood out like a beacon. He kicked the team's first goal late in the opening quarter with a great snap and never stopped working on his way to picking up 34 possessions. Daniel Cross did the job on Matt Priddis and the club's two most reliable players for the season, skipper Nathan Jones and another 2014 newcomer in Dom Tyson worked their butts off as did Rohan Bail. There were unfortunately however, too many who weren't up to it on the night. They played without skill, thought or heart and once again, the match statistics said it all. They had more disposals, won the contested possessions, hit outs, stoppages and were close in the clearances but once again lost by more than 10 goals. What they lacked was the ingredient that makes the game exciting and is the icing on the cake that generates scores these days - plenty of running and spreading and smart play. These things add excitement to a game and enthusiasm to a team which is something the Eagles had plenty of and the Demons had none on the night. Melbourne1.1.7 3.3.21 5.4.34 8.5.53 West Coast 6.1.37 9.5.59 16.9.105 18.11.119 Goals Melbourne Fitzpatrick 2 Bail Dawes Howe Pedersen Tyson Vince West Coast Kennedy LeCras 4 Darling 3 Hill 2 Cripps Gaff Lycett McGinnity Shuey Best Melbourne Vince N Jones Cross Tyson Howe Bail West Coast LeCras Masten Gaff Shuey Hurn Mackenzie Injuries Melbourne Garland (knee) West Coast Hutchings (thigh) Changes Melbourne Nil West Coast Nick Naitanui replaced by Adam Carter in the selected side. Reports Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil Umpires Craig Fleer, Luke Farmer, Matthew Leppard Official Attendance 35,083 at Patersons Stadium
  9. Whispering_Jack

    GAME DAY - Round 22

    It's going to be a long, long day ... and the misery and the pain is likely to continue. Can we beat Carlton's 5.7.37 from last night? Can we avoid a 100 pointer? Will our five ruckman policy pay off? All these and more questions will be answered by the end of the day.
  10. ONE GOAL IN MIND by Whispering Jack It was a little over a month ago that the Melbourne Football Club was just two and a half minutes off recording a remarkable victory over top four aspirant Port Adelaide when it led 10.9.69 to 9.12.66 late in Round 18 match. Victory would have given the Demons their fifth win for the season with two eminently winnable home matches coming up against fellow cellar dwellers in Brisbane and GWS and in between, a tough assignment against ladder leader Hawthorn. Beyond those games stood a then struggling West Coast and a flakey North Melbourne. Who knows how the run home might have panned out if the stars had aligned and the team had moved forward rather than backward from that moment in time 26 minutes into the final term at the Adelaide Oval when a kick launched into the Melbourne forward line by Mark Jamar found an unattended Port Adelaide defender? What we do know is what happened next. The ball went coast to coast through a vacant corridor, was eventually marked by Jay Schulz who threaded it through goal to give the lead to Port. The Demons' last chance to rebound to victory was snuffed out a moment later by an errant pass from Jack Grimes to Dom Tyson which fell out of bounds on the full. The reaction to the club's defeat was generally positive and we went into the bye week buoyed at the prospect of a strong finish to the season. Fast forward to the Brisbane game and five minutes into the final term, Melbourne's defensive style has served it well in a fairly scrappy game. After Rohan Bail's goal it leads by 13 points and when Daniel Merrett is reported for striking Cam Pedersen, the question is asked - are the Lions in disarray? Bernie Vince misses a difficult shot from the boundary and the Demons lead 6.14.50 to a meagre 5.6.36 but Brisbane takes the game on and overruns them doubling their score on the way to a well-deserved 23 point win. Paul Roos reacts savagely citing the club's recent history and poor culture. Melbourne wasn't expected to set the world on fire the following week against Hawthorn but many regarded the 50 point defeat against the ladder leaders and co-favourites for the premiership a comparatively respectable one. Then on to GWS at the MCG last Sunday and, as appalling as they were on the day, they managed to win the contested possessions (125 to 118), hit outs (44 to 28), clearances (34 to 30) and inside 50s (45 to 42). Of course, those figures prove the old adage about lies, damn lies and statistics because the young Giants ran them into the ground despite losing players through injury to the point where they were restricted to virtually one interchange. When the dust settled the young newcomers to the competition had utterly demolished the oldest. Those two home matches against lowly interstate clubs that were expected to see the Demons close in on the end of the season with some confidence-boosting wins to hold them in good stead for the future ended in disaster and a combined losing total of 87 points. This despite a similar number of scoring shots for an incredible score line of 9.31 to 26.16, a testament to the team's inability to convert scoring opportunities into goals. Apart from the odd snigger there was no claim that Melbourne was tanking, one which was afforded widespread currency five years ago when Melbourne lost its Round 18 game against Richmond after the Tigers goaled after the siren. Back then, the Demons were supposed to not be trying to win. After all, they were playing James Frawley in the forward line. Somehow, they still managed to kick 12 goals that day despite having three players injured during the match. Now that Melbourne is actually trying to win its games but can only manage to score three goals against the newest franchise, the football world is up in arms denying it the right available on the AFL's books for draft assistance based on the sins it was supposed to have committed five years ago; back when it kicked a score that's about 35% above its average this season. I have no explanation for this, but the way things are trending, it's quite possible that Melbourne might not even score a goal on Saturday night at Pattersons Stadium against the West Coast Eagles which would even further vindicate the view of some real smart thinkers that it not only does not need but also does not deserve any help at all in its quest to rise above its current deplorable position. THE GAME Melbourne v West Coast v Melbourne at Patersons Stadium Saturday 23 August, 2014 at 7.40 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall West Coast 30 wins Melbourne 15 wins At Patersons Stadium West Coast 13 wins Melbourne 5 wins Past five years West Coast 5 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches Simpson 1 win Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV Fox Sports Channel 3 at 7.30pm RADIO SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING West Coast to win - $1.02 Melbourne to win - $13.00 THE LAST TIME THEY MET West Coast 18.15.123 defeated Melbourne 4.6.30 Round 2, 2014 at the MCG The Eagles had their own way from start to finish in what was an embarrassment for all at the club. THE TEAMS WEST COAST B: Jeremy McGovern, Eric Mackenzie, Jamie Bennell HB: Shannon Hurn, Mitchell Brown, Will Schofield C: Patrick McGinnity, Matt Priddis, Andrew Gaff HF: Jamie Cripps, Josh Kennedy, Chris Masten F: Nic Naitanui, Jack Darling, Josh Hill FOLL: Dean Cox, Mark Hutchings, Luke Shuey I/C: Sam Butler, Mark LeCras, Scott Lycett, Dominic Sheed EMG: Jacob Brennan, Adam Carter, Brant Colledge IN: Mark Le Cras OUT: Simon Tunbridge (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Lynden Dunn, James Frawley, Colin Garland HB: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Jeremy Howe C: Matt Jones, Jack Viney, Daniel Cross HF: Bernie Vince, Cameron Pedersen, Jack Watts F: Max Gawn, Chris Dawes, Jack Fitzpatrick FOLL: Mark Jamar Nathan Jones Dom Tyson I/C: Rohan Bail, Dean Kent, Viv Michie, Christian Salem EMG: Dom Barry, Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley IN: Rohan Bail, Jack Fitzpatrick, Cameron Pedersen OUT: Dom Barry (omitted), Jack Grimes (hamstring), Aidan Riley (omitted) THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE Speaking on his afternoon radio programme on SEN, former star Demon forward David Schwarz predicted that one Round 22 game will result in a tied result. After all, there have to date been no drawn matches this season and The Ox believes it would be unusual if there was not one such result over a year. Initially, I was skeptical about the idea but given the nature of this season and some of the incredible results that we've been seeing, I decided that idea the might have some credence. The Machiavellian in me decided that the most likely candidate for a Round 22 dead heat is the game between Richmond and St. Kilda. The Tigers have moved from having a disastrous season at 3 - 10 to win seven games in a row, level the win/loss ledger and now find themselves on the cusp of an unlikely finals appearance. It would be just like them to blow that opportunity by tieing a game against the bottom side and securing ninth place for another season. But such a loss would most likely give Melbourne an unwanted wooden spoon and that cannot possibly be allowed to happen. Surely not? At this point I contemplated the almost impossible. Could Melbourne, which was so comprehensively outplayed on the MCG earlier in the season by this week's opponent, turn it all around in the space of only six days and after a long flight west? Could they lift in front of their old coach and long time servant of both clubs Neale Daniher whose physical plight was so sadly highlighted during the week? After all their last interstate jaunt almost produced a stunning victory against Port Adelaide who are currently ripping sides apart in their bid for a top four spot. Then I thought about it a little more and decided to tip the ice bucket on the whole idea. Firstly, the Eagles have been in great form recently and were a bit stiff to lose against the Bombers last week at Etihad. They need to win their two remaining matches and build on their percentage to have a chance of playing in the finals. This remains eminently doable. Secondly, Melbourne would not only have to turn around its abysmal recent form highlighted by poor skills, a lack of pace and weak efforts, all of which usually expose teams out on the long expanse of Patersons Stadium. Finally, the incredible team selection which sees all of those big blokes chosen up forward where the team's current style of play dictates the ball should not be delivered. Last week, we saw 208cm Max Gawn frustrated when players kicked the ball sideways to the boundary instead of in his direction in the goal square. This week, he'll have another tall bloke standing on either side frozen out of the game on that full forward line while others further afield fiddle around with the ball in their usual pedestrian fashion. In other words, hell is freezing over and the Demons are as cold as ice. West Coast should win and win well.
  11. It was a little over a month ago that the Melbourne Football Club was just two and a half minutes off recording a remarkable victory over top four aspirant Port Adelaide when it led 10.9.69 to 9.12.66 late in Round 18 match. Victory would have given the Demons their fifth win for the season with two eminently winnable home matches coming up against fellow cellar dwellers in Brisbane and GWS and in between, a tough assignment against ladder leader Hawthorn. Beyond those games stood a then struggling West Coast and a flakey North Melbourne. Who knows how the run home might have panned out if the stars had aligned and the team had moved forward rather than backward from that moment in time 26 minutes into the final term at the Adelaide Oval when a kick launched into the Melbourne forward line by Mark Jamar found an unattended Port Adelaide defender? What we do know is what happened next. The ball went coast to coast through a vacant corridor, was eventually marked by Jay Schulz who threaded it through goal to give the lead to Port. The Demons' last chance to rebound to victory was snuffed out a moment later by an errant pass from Jack Grimes to Dom Tyson which fell out of bounds on the full. The reaction to the club's defeat was generally positive and we went into the bye week buoyed at the prospect of a strong finish to the season. Fast forward to the Brisbane game and five minutes into the final term, Melbourne's defensive style has served it well in a fairly scrappy game. After Rohan Bail's goal it leads by 13 points and when Daniel Merrett is reported for striking Cam Pedersen, the question is asked - are the Lions in disarray? Bernie Vince misses a difficult shot from the boundary and the Demons lead 6.14.50 to a meagre 5.6.36 but Brisbane takes the game on and overruns them doubling their score on the way to a well-deserved 23 point win. Paul Roos reacts savagely citing the club's recent history and poor culture. Melbourne wasn't expected to set the world on fire the following week against Hawthorn but many regarded the 50 point defeat against the ladder leaders and co-favourites for the premiership a comparatively respectable one. Then on to GWS at the MCG last Sunday and, as appalling as they were on the day, they managed to win the contested possessions (125 to 118), hit outs (44 to 28), clearances (34 to 30) and inside 50s (45 to 42). Of course, those figures prove the old adage about lies, damn lies and statistics because the young Giants ran them into the ground despite losing players through injury to the point where they were restricted to virtually one interchange. When the dust settled the young newcomers to the competition had utterly demolished the oldest. Those two home matches against lowly interstate clubs that were expected to see the Demons close in on the end of the season with some confidence-boosting wins to hold them in good stead for the future ended in disaster and a combined losing total of 87 points. This despite a similar number of scoring shots for an incredible score line of 9.31 to 26.16, a testament to the team's inability to convert scoring opportunities into goals. Apart from the odd snigger there was no claim that Melbourne was tanking, one which was afforded widespread currency five years ago when Melbourne lost its Round 18 game against Richmond after the Tigers goaled after the siren. Back then, the Demons were supposed to not be trying to win. After all, they were playing James Frawley in the forward line. Somehow, they still managed to kick 12 goals that day despite having three players injured during the match. Now that Melbourne is actually trying to win its games but can only manage to score three goals against the newest franchise, the football world is up in arms denying it the right available on the AFL's books for draft assistance based on the sins it was supposed to have committed five years ago; back when it kicked a score that's about 35% above its average this season. I have no explanation for this, but the way things are trending, it's quite possible that Melbourne might not even score a goal on Saturday night at Pattersons Stadium against the West Coast Eagles which would even further vindicate the view of some real smart thinkers that it not only does not need but also does not deserve any help at all in its quest to rise above its current deplorable position. THE GAME Melbourne v West Coast v Melbourne at Patersons Stadium Saturday 23 August, 2014 at 7.40 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall West Coast 30 wins Melbourne 15 wins At Patersons Stadium West Coast 13 wins Melbourne 5 wins Past five years West Coast 5 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches Simpson 1 win Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV Fox Sports Channel 3 at 7.30pm RADIO SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING West Coast to win - $1.02 Melbourne to win - $13.00 THE LAST TIME THEY MET West Coast 18.15.123 defeated Melbourne 4.6.30 Round 2, 2014 at the MCG The Eagles had their own way from start to finish in what was an embarrassment for all at the club. THE TEAMS WEST COAST B: Jeremy McGovern, Eric Mackenzie, Jamie Bennell HB: Shannon Hurn, Mitchell Brown, Will Schofield C: Patrick McGinnity, Matt Priddis, Andrew Gaff HF: Jamie Cripps, Josh Kennedy, Chris Masten F: Nic Naitanui, Jack Darling, Josh Hill FOLL: Dean Cox, Mark Hutchings, Luke Shuey I/C: Sam Butler, Mark LeCras, Scott Lycett, Dominic Sheed EMG: Jacob Brennan, Adam Carter, Brant Colledge IN: Mark Le Cras OUT: Simon Tunbridge (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Lynden Dunn, James Frawley, Colin Garland HB: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Jeremy Howe C: Matt Jones, Jack Viney, Daniel Cross HF: Bernie Vince, Cameron Pedersen, Jack Watts F: Max Gawn, Chris Dawes, Jack Fitzpatrick FOLL: Mark Jamar Nathan Jones Dom Tyson I/C: Rohan Bail, Dean Kent, Viv Michie, Christian Salem EMG: Dom Barry, Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley IN: Rohan Bail, Jack Fitzpatrick, Cameron Pedersen OUT: Dom Barry (omitted), Jack Grimes (hamstring), Aidan Riley (omitted) THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE Speaking on his afternoon radio programme on SEN, former star Demon forward David Schwarz predicted that one Round 22 game will result in a tied result. After all, there have to date been no drawn matches this season and The Ox believes it would be unusual if there was not one such result over a year. Initially, I was skeptical about the idea but given the nature of this season and some of the incredible results that we've been seeing, I decided that idea the might have some credence. The Machiavellian in me decided that the most likely candidate for a Round 22 dead heat is the game between Richmond and St. Kilda. The Tigers have moved from having a disastrous season at 3 - 10 to win seven games in a row, level the win/loss ledger and now find themselves on the cusp of an unlikely finals appearance. It would be just like them to blow that opportunity by tieing a game against the bottom side and securing ninth place for another season. But such a loss would most likely give Melbourne an unwanted wooden spoon and that cannot possibly be allowed to happen. Surely not? At this point I contemplated the almost impossible. Could Melbourne, which was so comprehensively outplayed on the MCG earlier in the season by this week's opponent, turn it all around in the space of only six days and after a long flight west? Could they lift in front of their old coach and long time servant of both clubs Neale Daniher whose physical plight was so sadly highlighted during the week? After all their last interstate jaunt almost produced a stunning victory against Port Adelaide who are currently ripping sides apart in their bid for a top four spot. Then I thought about it a little more and decided to tip the ice bucket on the whole idea. Firstly, the Eagles have been in great form recently and were a bit stiff to lose against the Bombers last week at Etihad. They need to win their two remaining matches and build on their percentage to have a chance of playing in the finals. This remains eminently doable. Secondly, Melbourne would not only have to turn around its abysmal recent form highlighted by poor skills, a lack of pace and weak efforts, all of which usually expose teams out on the long expanse of Patersons Stadium. Finally, the incredible team selection which sees all of those big blokes chosen up forward where the team's current style of play dictates the ball should not be delivered. Last week, we saw 208cm Max Gawn frustrated when players kicked the ball sideways to the boundary instead of in his direction in the goal square. This week, he'll have another tall bloke standing on either side frozen out of the game on that full forward line while others further afield fiddle around with the ball in their usual pedestrian fashion. In other words, hell is freezing over and the Demons are as cold as ice. West Coast should win and win well.
  12. Demonland

    THE LAST TIME THEY MET

    After kicking themselves out of an opening round win against St. Kilda, Melbourne named an unchanged line up for its first home clash of the season. The selectors were obviously supremely confident. MELBOURNE B: Lynden Dunn, James Frawley, Alex Georgiou HB: Jack Grimes, Tom McDonald, Dean Terlich C: Jack Trengove, Dom Tyson, Daniel Cross HF: Jack Watts, Cam Pedersen, Jimmy Toumpas F: Jeremy Howe, Jack Fitzpatrick, Rohan Bail FOLL: Jake Spencer, Nathan Jones, Bernie Vince I/C: Shannon Byrnes, Matt Jones, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Viv Michie EM: Sam Blease, Michael Evans, Dean Kent No change WEST COAST B: Jamie Bennell Darren Glass Mitch Brown HB: Shannon Hurn Eric Mackenzie Xavier Ellis C: Matt Rosa Matt Priddis Andrew Gaff HF: Jamie Cripps Josh Kennedy Chris Masten F: Mark LeCras Jack Darling Nic Naitanui FOLL: Dean Cox Scott Selwood Luke Shuey IC: Brad Sheppard, Callum Sinclair, Sharrod Wellingham, Elliot Yeo EM: Brant Colledge, Josh Hill, Scott Lycett In: Brad Sheppard Out: Dom Sheed
  13. Demonland

    RUMOURS

    RUMOURS by William from West Perth Rumour has it that over the off season Melbourne footballers trained harder and longer than they had ever done before. They ran long distances, sprinted, worked with weights and did it all to exacting programmes devised by some of the best credentialled sports scientists in the business. At the same time they were supposed to have worked on honing their skillsets and learning a new whiz bang game plan that would turn them from whacky and unpredictable pretenders into the hardest team in the competition to play against. Two weeks into the football season, we now know them only to be rumours. The blokes spent most of summer sitting on beaches, feasting on ice creams and sipping piña coladas. That's how it appeared as they went through the motions against a powerful, highly disciplined and motivated West Coast Eagles who thumped them mercilessly from pillar to post at Paterson's Stadium on their way to a record 108 point victory. Melbourne's resistance was pathetic from go to whoa (in the Demons' case, the whoa happened midway through the second term). The skills were deplorable as was the lack of pressure, poor tackling and the oh so predictable manner of delivery of the ball forward. Indeed, the biggest surprise was the fact that its full forward Mitch Clark managed to boot five goals (admittedly a couple were in junk time) given that he was often pitted against two opponents when the ball was shoddily delivered somewhere remotely near to his position on the ground. There were a few others such as James Magner and Nathan Jones who contributed but for the most part, the rest of the team would have been better of managing the 30 degree heat at Cottesloe Beach. The should have been joined by the umpires. It's true that West Coast's pressure caused the Demons to give away a number of free kicks but the Eagles didn't take long to cotton on to the fact that if they ducked their heads into a tackle, there were any number of gratuitous free kicks on offer. They tell me one of the umpires (Leppard) carries the nickname "Def" but fair dinkum, they might as well add "Blind" as well. Not that Melbourne was ever going to win or that there's any rule that states the number of free kicks should be equal but 21-1 at half time is virtually enough to ensure game, set and match to the beneficiaries. It sure doesn't do wonders for the confidence of a team that's been battered black and blue both on and off the field in the past week. Still, umpires, heat and a game plan that doesn't make sense aside, it was truly a deplorable performance and it certainly doesn't auger well for the rest of the year or decade if you must know. Melbourne 1.1.7 4.2.26 6.2.38 9.4.58 West Coast Eagles 4.3.27 11.8.74 19.14.128 25.16.166 Goals Melbourne Clark 5 Dunn Jones 2 West Coast Eagles Darling Lynch 4 Hams Hill S Selwood 3 Waters 2 Gaff Kennedy Kerr Naitanui A Selwood Shuey Best Melbourne Magner Jones Clark Watts McDonald West Coast S Selwood Priddis Hurn Gaff Shuey Darling Changes Melbourne Martin (hip) replaced by McDonald West Coast Nil Injuries Melbourne Nil West Coast Embley (shoulder) Reports MelbourneNil West Coast Nil Umpires Farmer Fila Leppard Crowd 35,674 at Subiaco
  14. Demonland

    RUMOURS

    RUMOURS by William from West Perth Rumour has it that over the off season Melbourne footballers trained harder and longer than they had ever done before. They ran long distances, sprinted, worked with weights and did it all to exacting programmes devised by some of the best credentialled sports scientists in the business. At the same time they were supposed to have worked on honing their skillsets and learning a new whiz bang game plan that would turn them from whacky and unpredictable pretenders into the hardest team in the competition to play against. Two weeks into the football season, we now know them only to be rumours. The blokes spent most of summer sitting on beaches, feasting on ice creams and sipping piña coladas. That's how it appeared as they went through the motions against a powerful, highly disciplined and motivated West Coast Eagles who thumped them mercilessly from pillar to post at Paterson's Stadium on their way to a record 108 point victory. Melbourne's resistance was pathetic from go to whoa (in the Demons' case, the whoa happened midway through the second term). The skills were deplorable as was the lack of pressure, poor tackling and the oh so predictable manner of delivery of the ball forward. Indeed, the biggest surprise was the fact that its full forward Mitch Clark managed to boot five goals (admittedly a couple were in junk time) given that he was often pitted against two opponents when the ball was shoddily delivered somewhere remotely near to his position on the ground. There were a few others such as James Magner and Nathan Jones who contributed but for the most part, the rest of the team would have been better of managing the 30 degree heat at Cottesloe Beach. The should have been joined by the umpires. It's true that West Coast's pressure caused the Demons to give away a number of free kicks but the Eagles didn't take long to cotton on to the fact that if they ducked their heads into a tackle, there were any number of gratuitous free kicks on offer. They tell me one of the umpires (Leppard) carries the nickname "Def" but fair dinkum, they might as well add "Blind" as well. Not that Melbourne was ever going to win or that there's any rule that states the number of free kicks should be equal but 21-1 at half time is virtually enough to ensure game, set and match to the beneficiaries. It sure doesn't do wonders for the confidence of a team that's been battered black and blue both on and off the field in the past week. Still, umpires, heat and a game plan that doesn't make sense aside, it was truly a deplorable performance and it certainly doesn't auger well for the rest of the year or decade if you must know. Melbourne 1.1.7 4.2.26 6.2.38 9.4.58 West Coast Eagles 4.3.27 11.8.74 19.14.128 25.16.166 Goals Melbourne Clark 5 Dunn Jones 2 West Coast Eagles Darling Lynch 4 Hams Hill S Selwood 3 Waters 2 Gaff Kennedy Kerr Naitanui A Selwood Shuey Best Melbourne Magner Jones Clark Watts McDonald West Coast S Selwood Priddis Hurn Gaff Shuey Darling Changes Melbourne Martin (hip) replaced by McDonald West Coast Nil Injuries Melbourne Nil West Coast Embley (shoulder) Reports MelbourneNil West Coast Nil Umpires Farmer Fila Leppard Crowd 35,674 at Subiaco
  15. Whispering_Jack

    GAME DAY - Round 2

    I thought I'd kick off Gameday early so we can actually talk about footy instead of the other stuff that's been in the media. I think it's fair to say there are a lot of pessimists around and probably rightly so after our last half last week and the sombre mood that seems to be pervading the club. On the other hand, we have 22 blokes out there. What if everyone of them played at his best? Here are the midfield match ups taken from today's Herald Sun:- Cox v Jamar Kerr v Trengove Shuey v Magner Priddis v Grimes Gaff v Watts Rosa v Jones Then there's the second ruck of: Naitanui v Martin And if you compare attacks v defence, we don't match up too badly. Yes, we need to be at our best and we don't have the star factor but I'm not buying into a 24 goal defeat either.
  16. Demonland

    WHO ARE WE?

    WHO ARE WE? by Whispering Jack A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since Melbourne's NAB Cup win over Collingwood when we were all so excited about the direction the club was taking under new coach Mark Neeld. It might have been a Mickey Mouse NAB Cup game in which both teams were missing regular key players, but there were definite signs that the hard work of summer was about to pay some dividends. It's hard to believe that only one month has elapsed since that time of unbridled optimism for the immediate future of the Melbourne Football Club. Since then the club has lurched from one disaster after another starting with the Liam Jurrah crisis and reaching a crescendo with a disastrous situation created by Jason Mifsud, an AFL official talking out of school to media person Grant Thomas who promptly published untrue allegations against Demon coach Mark Neeld. What should be a major crisis for the AFL and it's leadership has been turned into an opportunity for diverse groups and individuals to dump on one of its clubs. In the interim, Melbourne has barely raised a whimper on the field copping a couple of NAB Cup wallopings and a humiliating 41 point drubbing at home against the Brisbane Lions who finished in 15th place last year. Moreover, the club has been subjected to a blaze of criticism from good judges of football and from the bad. David King claims that "Melbourne has been masquerading as a football club for years". Robert Shaw says "Jack Watts was hijacked by the Melbourne Football Club at 17 years of age ... straight into an institution." Others accuse the playing group of being mentally and physically fragile, lacking in talent and demonstrating a shortage of the pride, passion and interest necessary to achieve success. Some of the criticism is justified but some of it is muddled and without any depth of thought or insight. The usual response when a team gets a lashing from the press is to return fire and prove the pundits wrong. Melbourne's problem is that it faces a the difficult task of rejuvenation in what has become it's "house of hell" - Paterson's Stadium - a cursed place where not a single current Melbourne player has seen victory. It last won there in Round 19, 2002. A few years before that, the Demons did manage to produce a shock victory over the Eagles in Perth with an undermanned and depleted side. That was in round 14, 1998 when Melbourne 14.12.96 defeated West Coast 11.13.79 in Robbo's break out game. It would be an understatement to say that the club needs a repeat of the heroics the team produced on that day. Demon coach Mark Neeld has ridden the waves of last week's disasters with class. He was impressive in handling the after match presser last Saturday and has been strong on the Mifsud issue correctly shunning the advice of AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou to take legal action over Thomas' comments. Neeld is resolute. He isn't interested in pursuing personal vendettas or engaging in witch hunts over who leaked the story to the AFL official who passed on the malicious gossip to someone who wasn't too particular about fact checking, a practice employed by most reputable journalists before going to print. He knows he has to keep focussed on the main purpose of his job and that is to develop his list, to win games and ultimately, premierships. The greatest coach in the club's history was brought down in the midst of preoccupation with a defamation action, a situation from which it has never fully recovered. The team Neeld takes across the Nullarbor must not be distracted by the off field events. The players need to show that they're prepared to have a dip as they did a month ago against one of the competition's flag favourites. Their performance this week against the Eagles could well define the direction they will take in the coming months and years. It will prove who we are as a club. - Ralph Waldo Emerson (American author and poet) THE GAME West Coast Eagles v Melbourne at Paterson's Stadium - Saturday 7 April 2012 at 4:40pm (AEST). HEAD TO HEAD Overall West Coast 27 wins Melbourne 15 wins At Patersons Stadium West Coast 13 wins Melbourne 5 wins Since 2000 West Coast 11 wins Melbourne 7 wins The Coaches Worsfold 0 wins Neeld 0 wins MEDIA Fox Footy Channel live at 4.30 pm (Victoria) RADIO SEN ABC774 THE BETTING West Coast to win $1.06 Melbourne to win $9.00 LAST TIME THEY MET West Coast 16.14.110 defeated Melbourne 9.8.62 at Etihad Stadium Round 21, 2011 The Demons were two weeks into the post Dean Bailey era and after a competitive first twenty minutes or so, managed to sink into the standard insipid fare they produced at the time. Jeremy Howe was a stand out and Sam Blease showed some flashes but for the most part it was dross. THE TEAMS WEST COAST EAGLES Backs Beau Waters Darren Glass Will Schofield Half backs Adam Selwood Eric Mackenzie Shannon Hurn Centreline Andrew Gaff Matthew Priddis Matthew Rosa Half forwards Ashton Hams Quinten Lynch Jack Darling Forwards Josh Hill Josh Kennedy Chris Masten Followers Dean Cox Luke Shuey Daniel Kerr Interchange Andrew Embley Nic Naitanui Scott Selwood Ashley Smith Emergencies Sam Butler Patrick McGinnity Gerrick Weedon No change. MELBOURNE Backs Clint Bartram James Frawley Joel Macdonald Half backs Colin Garland Jared Rivers Jamie Bennell Centreline Nathan Jones Jack Grimes Jack Watts Half forwards Jeremy Howe James Sellar Ricky Petterd Forwards Brad Green Mitchell Clark Lynden Dunn Followers Mark Jamar James Magner Jack Trengove Interchange Rohan Bail Matthew Bate Tom McDonald Jordie McKenzie Emergencies Aaron Davey Josh Tynan (Stef Martin) In Jamie Bennell Lynden Dunn Tom McDonald Ricky Petterd James Sellar Out Sam Blease Aaron Davey Stef Martin Brent Moloney (injured) Josh Tynan New James Sellar (Adelaide) Umpires L Farmer M Leppard G Fila RAINY DAY WOMEN #12 & 35 "Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone But I would not feel so all alone Everybody must get stoned" - by Bob Dylan I couldn't help thinking about this Dylan song every time I picked up a newspaper or switched on the radio or television set this week. And just so you don't get any wrong impressions, the writer has said of his work that the reference to stoning was in the biblical sense. It seems no matter what happens, whether the truth is told about us or not, whether we do the honourable thing or not, we're going to get "stoned" and the critics are out there like vultures circling their prey particularly because we're vulnerable at the moment. And perhaps it's because of that vulnerability that the West Coast Eagles are treating this game with a touch of caution. They happen to be almost the flavour of the month after coming into last season as the previous year's wooden spooner, rising to preliminary finalists and opening last week with a big away from home win against the Bulldogs (who should prepare themselves for a stoning if they fail in Adelaide on Saturday). The Eagles don't have an A class midfield like the other premiership contenders but it's handy and has some emerging young contenders like Shuey, Gaff and Masten to go with experienced hands in Priddis, Kerr, Scott Selwood and Rosa. The Eagles also have what many would call the competition's predominant ruck division in Cox and Naitanui. The comparison with Melbourne couldn't be starker if you go on last week's form where it got nothing from its ruck division or from its onballers at the stoppages. When you then consider that the Demons couldn't better the Eagles at home two years ago when they were wooden spooners, it suggests we're in for another one-sided contest again this weekend. While the indications are that the team hasn't bottomed out after the disruptions of the past month and the process of adjusting to a new style of play, there are some glimmers of hope on the horizon. The two young co-captains are in the starting midfield. Jack Grimes had about four minutes there in last year's Adelaide game before he was injured. There are many who believe he has the capacity to add some flair to the Demon on ball division. Likewise, Trengove who had an interrupted pre season and showed some early good signs last week is ready to take another step forward in the midfield. Nathan Jones is progressing well in his second year in a leadership role and James Magner was a revelation in his debut last week. With players like these stepping up to the plate, there is no reason why club could not improve quickly around the stoppages and reverse the disasters of the last half of last week's game. It's a tough ask especially with Melbourne winning only 4 of its past 28 games on the road (and half of them were on neutral territory). On the other hand, the Demons have a strong defence when it gets its act together and it’s been augmented this week by the size of James Sellar. Similarly, the attack now has a tall key in Mitch Clark who took a while to get going last week. This week Ricky Petterd and Lynden Dunn come in to assist him and we’re all waiting for Jack Watts and Jeremy Howe to take the extra step forward. I keep coming back to that 1998 game when the Demons won against all odds in the west. I think of how competent and composed the current squad looked against Collingwood a month ago and how the team dominated possession in the latter half of last week’s first term but failed to score goals to match their ascendency. These are all long shots but if they click, the score will be a lot closer than many of the experts who are stoning us right now would have us all think. West Coast by 16 points.
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