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Found 36 results

  1. THE LAST TIME THEY MET

    One of the great memories of 2016 ... MELBOURNE B: Sam Frost, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Billy Stretch C: Christian Petracca, Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson HF: Jeff Garlett, Jack Watts, Clayton Oliver F: Sam Weideman, Cameron Pedersen, Dean Kent FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Tomas Bugg, James Harmes, Aaron Vandenberg EMG: Colin Garland, Matt Jones IN: Tomas Bugg, Clayton Oliver, Cameron Pedersen, Sam Weideman OUT: Chris Dawes (omitted), Jesse Hogan (knee), Matt Jones (omitted), Josh Wagner (omitted) NEW: Sam Weideman HAWTHORN B: Taylor Duryea, Ben Stratton, Brendan Whitecross HB: Shaun Burgoyne, Josh Gibson, Grant Birchall C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Bradley Hill HF: Luke Breust, Jack Gunston, Will Langford F: Tim O'Brien, Ben McEvoy, Cyril Rioli FOLL: Jonathon Ceglar, Jordan Lewis, Luke Hodge I/C: Kaiden Brand, Kurt Heatherley, Jonathan O'Rourke, James Sicily EMG: Blake Hardwick, Dallas Willsmore IN: Kurt Heatherley, Cyril Rioli OUT: James Frawley (shoulder), Blake Hardwick (omitted)
  2. FINDING A WAY ... AGAIN

    FINDING A WAY ... AGAIN by George on the Outer In his losing press conference last week Simon Goodwin said that good teams manage to find a way to win, and Melbourne needed to do that. Despite the further loss of players to injury and absence of Jesse Hogan following the death of his father, the Demons DID indeed find a way to put Essendon away with an emphatic 38 point win at their once hoodoo ground of Etihad Stadium. The first half of the game was as scrappy and as un-skilled encounter as one could witness at an AFL match. Spectators could be forgiven thinking that there was a howling wind and wet sloppy conditions given the unforced errors from both sides. By half time in the perfect environment inside an enclosed stadium, both sides could only manage 4 goals each. Essendon's woes were compounded by Joe “the goose” Daniher unable to kick straight recording a solitary goal for the match despite 8 shots. This was in sharp contrast to when the two teams met a couple of years ago when he seemed unable to miss the big sticks. That game they won, and this one they didn’t. It was the second half of the game where it all turned around. Suddenly the Demons found that way that the coach had spoken about the week before, and piled on eight goals in the third quarter and a further five in the last. Despite this being only his sixth AFL game as coach, we are starting to see that Goodwin is able to nut out what is going wrong and make the changes necessary to get the job done. In this game one of the big moves was getting Bernie Vince out of the backline, where he was nothing short of a liability with his poor decision-making and lack of nous when playing as a spare man in defence. Into the middle he goes, and a different player emerges with 25 touches, 4 clearances and 8 contested possessions. Christian Salem moves back to replace him and suddenly the kick-ins are no longer a heart in mouth situation. This then enabled Frost to towel up Daniher, and Tom McDonald to move further up the ground as a more attacking player, picking up 26 touches including 6 contested. Michael Hibberd continued to impress and provide drive and strength with 24 touches of his own. Suddenly, the backline was as solid as it could possibly be and the mids kept getting their hands on the ball. The return of Cam Pedersen to the side as a replacement ruck worked really well, for while he may have lost the hit-out stats to Tom Bellchambers, it was he who racked up 19 possessions to Bellchambers' miserable 9. Best of all was that he relieved the necessity for Jack Watts to ruck, which resulted in Watts kicking 4 goals when up forward. How we could have used that scenario in the final quarter last week! The other thing that became obvious in the second half was the change in disposal ratios. An overuse of handball in close was costing the Demons dearly with turnovers. They were getting the hands on the ball courtesy of Jones, Viney and Oliver, but it simply wasn’t being used efficiently. In the second half, we saw Tyson and Oliver using their feet to push the ball forward and opportunities started to happen in the forward line. Mitch Hannan and Jeff Garlett chimed in for three goals each and the Dons simply had no answer to the forward pressure of the Demons - particularly Christian Petracca who dobbed four of his own, while playing predominantly in front of goal, and simply bullocking his way to contested possession and marking. Finally it was comforting to see Jordan Lewis back again with his calming influence. In his absence, Melbourne seemed to manage to cough up goals in the last minutes of quarters but today he stood as a final guard against that happening and provided that surety with foot when playing behind the ball. If there were 44K at Etihad Stadium today, I will eat my hat. With a capacity of barely 50K the number of vacant seats was obvious to all and sundry, both at the ground and on television. This compares to when the Demons played the Saints in the first round when an attendance of 36K was quoted and barely a seat available in the house. One would be forgiven for thinking that this smacks of manipulation of attendance figures for a club that is being looked after well by the AFL. Are they trying to make Essendon look good and garner more TV games for them? Melbourne 2.4.16 4.6.30 12.9.81 17.10.112 Essendon 2.2.14 4.8.32 6.12.48 10.14.74 Goals Melbourne Petracca Watts 4 Garlett Hannan 3 Lewis T McDonald Pedersen Essendon Fantasia Hooker 2 Bellchambers Colyer Daniher, McDonald-Tipungwuti McGrath Parish Best Melbourne T McDonald Petracca Lewis Oliver Hibberd Pedersen Frost Essendon Goddard Hurley Merrett McGrath Gleeson Changes Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Injuries Melbourne Nil Essendon Brown (ankle) Reports Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Umpires Haussen, Nicholls, Hay Official crowd 44,040 at Etihad Stadium
  3. In his losing press conference last week Simon Goodwin said that good teams manage to find a way to win, and Melbourne needed to do that. Despite the further loss of players to injury and absence of Jesse Hogan following the death of his father, the Demons DID indeed find a way to put Essendon away with an emphatic 38 point win at their once hoodoo ground of Etihad Stadium. The first half of the game was as scrappy and as un-skilled encounter as one could witness at an AFL match. Spectators could be forgiven thinking that there was a howling wind and wet sloppy conditions given the unforced errors from both sides. By half time in the perfect environment inside an enclosed stadium, both sides could only manage 4 goals each. Essendon's woes were compounded by Joe “the goose” Daniher unable to kick straight recording a solitary goal for the match despite 8 shots. This was in sharp contrast to when the two teams met a couple of years ago when he seemed unable to miss the big sticks. That game they won, and this one they didn’t. It was the second half of the game where it all turned around. Suddenly the Demons found that way that the coach had spoken about the week before, and piled on eight goals in the third quarter and a further five in the last. Despite this being only his sixth AFL game as coach, we are starting to see that Goodwin is able to nut out what is going wrong and make the changes necessary to get the job done. In this game one of the big moves was getting Bernie Vince out of the backline, where he was nothing short of a liability with his poor decision-making and lack of nous when playing as a spare man in defence. Into the middle he goes, and a different player emerges with 25 touches, 4 clearances and 8 contested possessions. Christian Salem moves back to replace him and suddenly the kick-ins are no longer a heart in mouth situation. This then enabled Frost to towel up Daniher, and Tom McDonald to move further up the ground as a more attacking player, picking up 26 touches including 6 contested. Michael Hibberd continued to impress and provide drive and strength with 24 touches of his own. Suddenly, the backline was as solid as it could possibly be and the mids kept getting their hands on the ball. The return of Cam Pedersen to the side as a replacement ruck worked really well, for while he may have lost the hit-out stats to Tom Bellchambers, it was he who racked up 19 possessions to Bellchambers' miserable 9. Best of all was that he relieved the necessity for Jack Watts to ruck, which resulted in Watts kicking 4 goals when up forward. How we could have used that scenario in the final quarter last week! The other thing that became obvious in the second half was the change in disposal ratios. An overuse of handball in close was costing the Demons dearly with turnovers. They were getting the hands on the ball courtesy of Jones, Viney and Oliver, but it simply wasn’t being used efficiently. In the second half, we saw Tyson and Oliver using their feet to push the ball forward and opportunities started to happen in the forward line. Mitch Hannan and Jeff Garlett chimed in for three goals each and the Dons simply had no answer to the forward pressure of the Demons - particularly Christian Petracca who dobbed four of his own, while playing predominantly in front of goal, and simply bullocking his way to contested possession and marking. Finally it was comforting to see Jordan Lewis back again with his calming influence. In his absence, Melbourne seemed to manage to cough up goals in the last minutes of quarters but today he stood as a final guard against that happening and provided that surety with foot when playing behind the ball. If there were 44K at Etihad Stadium today, I will eat my hat. With a capacity of barely 50K the number of vacant seats was obvious to all and sundry, both at the ground and on television. This compares to when the Demons played the Saints in the first round when an attendance of 36K was quoted and barely a seat available in the house. One would be forgiven for thinking that this smacks of manipulation of attendance figures for a club that is being looked after well by the AFL. Are they trying to make Essendon look good and garner more TV games for them? Melbourne 2.4.16 4.6.30 12.9.81 17.10.112 Essendon 2.2.14 4.8.32 6.12.48 10.14.74 Goals Melbourne Petracca Watts 4 Garlett Hannan 3 Lewis T McDonald Pedersen Essendon Fantasia Hooker 2 Bellchambers Colyer Daniher, McDonald-Tipungwuti McGrath Parish Best Melbourne T McDonald Petracca Lewis Oliver Hibberd Pedersen Frost Essendon Goddard Hurley Merrett McGrath Gleeson Changes Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Injuries Melbourne Nil Essendon Brown (ankle) Reports Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Umpires Haussen, Nicholls, Hay Official crowd 44,040 at Etihad Stadium
  4. Demonland Player of the Year

    Cast those votes please folks ...
  5. POST MATCH DISCUSSION - Round 6

    My dislike for Ess knows no bounds. So of all games this year this is the one I desperately wanted us to win. And we did - without 2 of our best players. A real four quarter effort. So proud we rose above all the setbacks. A win that will be a huge confidence boost for the team. Demons take a bow.
  6. GAMEDAY - Round 6

    It's just another day but you wonder what else it's going to bring?
  7. ADVENTUROUS by Whispering Jack No sooner had the battle-wearied Demons stopped to rest and lick their wounds from the Anzac Day eve clash with the Tigers, than it was time to select the team to take on Essendon which grabbed their spot in the top eight with their triumphant win over Collingwood on Tuesday. Melbourne has certainly been through the wringer in the past month, particularly so after the events of the Carlton game in round 2. At that time, the headlines were about the loss to suspension of Jesse Hogan and Jordan Lewis but in the interim injuries in mid-game in rounds 3 and 5 to tall ruckmen Max Gawn and Jake Spencer interspersed with other injuries and calamities such as poor kicking for goal and poor decision-making at crucial times in matches have all taken their toll. So much so that what looked like being a bright start to a new era of success and likely finals appearances is unravelling before our very eyes. While Hogan and Lewis are now both free of their suspensions, the Demons have a crisis on their hands - they need to dramatically recast their side after three consecutive losses. This challenge is something that doesn't necessarily have to be looked at from a position of despair or loathing. Melbourne remains strong in the midfield and continues to be build up its stocks in this area with the return of a Lewis determined to atone for the sin of his three week suspension. Everyone agrees that Simon Goodwin needs to be adventurous to come up with a plan to overcome the current crisis, and if he succeeds, then it will strengthen his team in the long run and make it more formidable when his big men eventually do return. The main task at hand is to reshape the ruck lineup while ensuring that the forward line structure can also operate efficiently. In recent weeks, when the team's ruckmen have gone down in mid game or had to be rested, their replacements have come almost exclusively from tall forwards resulting in a depletion of their ranks causing scoring to dry up. With the shortage of tall ruckmen likely to be an ongoing issue for two months, the way that coach Simon Goodwin and his team respond to this crisis and the tactics and strategies they come up with to solve the problem could well determine the course of the club throughout the season and beyond. THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium Sunday, 30 April, 2017 at 1.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Essendon 129 wins Melbourne 81 wins 2 draws At Etihad Stadium Essendon 3 wins Melbourne 1 win The last five meetings Essendon 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches Worsfold 0 wins Goodwin 0 wins MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel - Live at 1;00pm RADIO - THE BETTING Essendon $1.92 to win Melbourne $1.92 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Essendon 11.14.80 defeated Melbourne 10.7.67 at the MCG, Round 2, 2016 One of Melbourne's low points during the Paul Roos years was its loss at the hands of the depleted but determined Bombers at the MCG a week after they beat the highly fancied Giants. The Demons had been notable for producing massive form swings when expected to perform well but this one took the cake. THE TEAMS ESSENDON B: Patrick Ambrose, Michael Hurley, Martin Gleeson HB: Mark Baguley, Mitch Brown, Ben McNiece C: Travis Colyer, Zach Merrett, Andrew McGrath HF: Orazio Fantasia, Cale Hooker, David Zaharakis F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Joe Daniher, Brendon Goddard FOLL: Tom Bellchambers, Ben Howlett, Dyson Heppell I/C: Josh Green, Conor McKenna, Darcy Parish, Jobe Watson EMG: Kyle Langford,Brent Stanton, James Stewart IN: Tom Bellchambers, Martin Gleeson, Ben Howlett, Kyle Langford, Conor McKenna, James Stewart OUT: Aaron Francis (rested), James Kelly (rested), Matt Leuenberger (rested),Brent Stanton (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jordan Lewis, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince C: Jayden Hunt, Nathan Jones, Jake Melksham HF: Christian Petracca, Jack Watts, Alex Neal-Bullen F: Jay Kennedy-Harris, Mitch Hannan, Jeff Garlett FOLL: Cameron Pedersen, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney I/C: Tomas Bugg, Oscar McDonald, Christian Salem, Dom Tyson EMG: James Harmes, Billy Stretch, Sam Weideman IN: Tomas Bugg, Mitch Hannan, Jordan Lewis, Oscar McDonald, Cameron Pedersen OUT: James Harmes (omitted), Jesse Hogan (family bereavement), Jake Spencer (shoulder), Timothy Smith (lung), Billy Stretch (omitted) GIVE US A REST PLEASE My how the worm has turned. This time last year, the Bombers were so light on in their playing stocks that they had to turn to the AFL for the right to supplement their list with additional top ups coming mostly from suburban competitions and retirees. Notwithstanding that they had half a dozen hacks in their line up, they were too good for the Demons in their round 2 match at the MCG. The Dees were just too arrogant - they thought all they had to do to win was to just turn up. Fast forward a little over 12 months and we see an Essendon brimming full of confidence following their famous ANZAC Day victory over Collingwood resting Aaron Francis, Josh Kelly and Matt Leuenberger for their match up against an injury-depleted Melbourne at their nemesis ground Etihad Stadium. The sheer arrogance of it? Knowing that the Demons are heading into Sunday's match up without their two leading ruckmen in Max Gawn and Jake Spencer, the Bombers have decided that the 201 cm, 108 kg Tom Bellchambers who hasn't seen duty in the AFL for almost two years will be good enough to do the job against a 193 cm Cam Pedersen who is now apparently several kgs lighter than his "official" weight of 99 kg recorded prior to his off season shoulder surgery. The Bombers can talk about resting players because of the short break but their supporters are thinking this time around that all their team has to do to win is just turn up. All the Demons will be hoping for is that Pedersen can stand up for more than the half a game of football their ruck personnel are currently lasting for these days in order that the team can get an even break at the stoppages. Whilst it's true that Melbourne has struggled to put together four quarters of consistency with key players going down in mid-game in recent weeks, I have a feeling that things might not be as bad as they look. After all, they managed to stay in the game against the Tigers until time on in the last quarter despite having virtually no rotations available. And they have Jordan Lewis back with the mission of atoning for his sins and actually giving the team something back for those barren three weeks of his absence. The Demons need to improve their efficiency inside fifty metres, particularly early in games. They had the opportunity in each of their last three matches to put away the opposition in the opening half and but for their failure to do so, could well have been sitting on 5 - 0 instead of a 2 - 3 win/loss ratio. There's a lot of coulda, shoulda and woulda in there but Simon Goodwin has promised to be adventurous and sooner or later, fortune will favour the brave. Melbourne has the midfield talent to overcome the apparent ruck disadvantage and besides, I think it's time for a turn of good fortune. If nothing else, the supporters deserve a rest after a month of things going horribly wrong. They're bound to go right very soon. Melbourne by 12 points
  8. ADVENTUROUS by Whispering Jack

    No sooner had the battle-wearied Demons stopped to rest and lick their wounds from the Anzac Day eve clash with the Tigers, than it was time to select the team to take on Essendon which grabbed their spot in the top eight with their triumphant win over Collingwood on Tuesday. Melbourne has certainly been through the wringer in the past month, particularly so after the events of the Carlton game in round 2. At that time, the headlines were about the loss to suspension of Jesse Hogan and Jordan Lewis but in the interim injuries in mid-game in rounds 3 and 5 to tall ruckmen Max Gawn and Jake Spencer interspersed with other injuries and calamities such as poor kicking for goal and poor decision-making at crucial times in matches have all taken their toll. So much so that what looked like being a bright start to a new era of success and likely finals appearances is unravelling before our very eyes. While Hogan and Lewis are now both free of their suspensions, the Demons have a crisis on their hands - they need to dramatically recast their side after three consecutive losses. This challenge is something that doesn't necessarily have to be looked at from a position of despair or loathing. Melbourne remains strong in the midfield and continues to be build up its stocks in this area with the return of a Lewis determined to atone for the sin of his three week suspension. Everyone agrees that Simon Goodwin needs to be adventurous to come up with a plan to overcome the current crisis, and if he succeeds, then it will strengthen his team in the long run and make it more formidable when his big men eventually do return. The main task at hand is to reshape the ruck lineup while ensuring that the forward line structure can also operate efficiently. In recent weeks, when the team's ruckmen have gone down in mid game or had to be rested, their replacements have come almost exclusively from tall forwards resulting in a depletion of their ranks causing scoring to dry up. With the shortage of tall ruckmen likely to be an ongoing issue for two months, the way that coach Simon Goodwin and his team respond to this crisis and the tactics and strategies they come up with to solve the problem could well determine the course of the club throughout the season and beyond. THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium Sunday, 30 April, 2017 at 1.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Essendon 129 wins Melbourne 81 wins 2 draws At Etihad Stadium Essendon 3 wins Melbourne 1 win The last five meetings Essendon 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches Worsfold 0 wins Goodwin 0 wins MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel - Live at 1;00pm RADIO - THE BETTING Essendon $1.92 to win Melbourne $1.92 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Essendon 11.14.80 defeated Melbourne 10.7.67 at the MCG, Round 2, 2016 One of Melbourne's low points during the Paul Roos years was its loss at the hands of the depleted but determined Bombers at the MCG a week after they beat the highly fancied Giants. The Demons had been notable for producing massive form swings when expected to perform well but this one took the cake. THE TEAMS ESSENDON B: Patrick Ambrose, Michael Hurley, Martin Gleeson HB: Mark Baguley, Mitch Brown, Ben McNiece C: Travis Colyer, Zach Merrett, Andrew McGrath HF: Orazio Fantasia, Cale Hooker, David Zaharakis F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Joe Daniher, Brendon Goddard FOLL: Tom Bellchambers, Ben Howlett, Dyson Heppell I/C: Josh Green, Conor McKenna, Darcy Parish, Jobe Watson EMG: Kyle Langford,Brent Stanton, James Stewart IN: Tom Bellchambers, Martin Gleeson, Ben Howlett, Kyle Langford, Conor McKenna, James Stewart OUT: Aaron Francis (rested), James Kelly (rested), Matt Leuenberger (rested),Brent Stanton (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jordan Lewis, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince C: Jayden Hunt, Nathan Jones, Jake Melksham HF: Christian Petracca, Jack Watts, Alex Neal-Bullen F: Jay Kennedy-Harris, Mitch Hannan, Jeff Garlett FOLL: Cameron Pedersen, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney I/C: Tomas Bugg, Oscar McDonald, Christian Salem, Dom Tyson EMG: James Harmes, Billy Stretch, Sam Weideman IN: Tomas Bugg, Mitch Hannan, Jordan Lewis, Oscar McDonald, Cameron Pedersen OUT: James Harmes (omitted), Jesse Hogan (family bereavement), Jake Spencer (shoulder), Timothy Smith (lung), Billy Stretch (omitted) GIVE US A REST PLEASE My how the worm has turned. This time last year, the Bombers were so light on in their playing stocks that they had to turn to the AFL for the right to supplement their list with additional top ups coming mostly from suburban competitions and retirees. Notwithstanding that they had half a dozen hacks in their line up, they were too good for the Demons in their round 2 match at the MCG. The Dees were just too arrogant - they thought all they had to do to win was to just turn up. Fast forward a little over 12 months and we see an Essendon brimming full of confidence following their famous ANZAC Day victory over Collingwood resting Aaron Francis, Josh Kelly and Matt Leuenberger for their match up against an injury-depleted Melbourne at their nemesis ground Etihad Stadium. The sheer arrogance of it? Knowing that the Demons are heading into Sunday's match up without their two leading ruckmen in Max Gawn and Jake Spencer, the Bombers have decided that the 201 cm, 108 kg Tom Bellchambers who hasn't seen duty in the AFL for almost two years will be good enough to do the job against a 193 cm Cam Pedersen who is now apparently several kgs lighter than his "official" weight of 99 kg recorded prior to his off season shoulder surgery. The Bombers can talk about resting players because of the short break but their supporters are thinking this time around that all their team has to do to win is just turn up. All the Demons will be hoping for is that Pedersen can stand up for more than the half a game of football their ruck personnel are currently lasting for these days in order that the team can get an even break at the stoppages. Whilst it's true that Melbourne has struggled to put together four quarters of consistency with key players going down in mid-game in recent weeks, I have a feeling that things might not be as bad as they look. After all, they managed to stay in the game against the Tigers until time on in the last quarter despite having virtually no rotations available. And they have Jordan Lewis back with the mission of atoning for his sins and actually giving the team something back for those barren three weeks of his absence. The Demons need to improve their efficiency inside fifty metres, particularly early in games. They had the opportunity in each of their last three matches to put away the opposition in the opening half and but for their failure to do so, could well have been sitting on 5 - 0 instead of a 2 - 3 win/loss ratio. There's a lot of coulda, shoulda and woulda in there but Simon Goodwin has promised to be adventurous and sooner or later, fortune will favour the brave. Melbourne has the midfield talent to overcome the apparent ruck disadvantage and besides, I think it's time for a turn of good fortune. If nothing else, the supporters deserve a rest after a month of things going horribly wrong. They're bound to go right very soon. Melbourne by 12 points
  9. THE LAST TIME THEY MET

    We couldn't beat them when they had half a side and we had an All Australian ruckman ESSENDON B: Matt Dea, Mitch Brown, Mark Baguley HB: James Gwilt, Michael Hartley, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti C: Brendon Goddard, David Zaharakis, Jackson Merrett HF: Zach Merrett, Patrick Ambrose, Kyle Langford F: Mathew Stokes, Joe Daniher, Nick Kommer R: Matthew Leuenberger, Ryan Crowley, Darcy Parish I: Martin Gleeson, Orazio Fantasia, Adam Cooney, James Kelly IN: Nick Kommer, Michael Hartley (debut), Orazio Fantasia OUT: Craig Bird (omit.), Jonathan Simpkin (omit.), Shaun McKernan (omit.) MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Heritier Lumumba HB: Matt Jones, Colin Garland, Christian Salem C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBerg HF: Jack Watts, Cam Pedersen, James Harmes F: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Tom Bugg, Ben Kennedy Emg: Lynden Dunn, Billy Stretch, Sam Frost In: Lumumba, Brayshaw Out: Oscar McDonald (ankle), Sam Frost
  10. After a promising start to the season with three NAB Challenge wins and another in the opening game of the season proper, everyone was lining up to board the Dee-train for 2016. The trouble is that it barely got out of the station before the supporters realised there were too many passengers (again!) and no-one was driving the locomotive. When players start believing their own publicity, and take a win against a crippled side for granted, then it seems Melbourne will guarantee an insipid performance and lose the un-loseable. Against the Bombers, with a side made up of retired geriatrics and kids, the performance was simply putrid. Gold Coast showed how to beat Essendon last week. Come on hard, early and put a couple of quick goals on the board, and they will wilt. No, our players came out half-hearted and expected someone, anyone to lift the tempo. Of course no-one did. And we continually gifted them goals with simply appalling turnovers. This kept them in the game and built their hopes. The end result was a foregone conclusion from the 1st quarter. Just as equally disappointing was the lack of response from the coaching box. Thank heavens Joe Daniher cannot kick straight, because the game would have been over at half-time. But all day long he was allowed to go one-on-one with his respective opponent, be that McDonald or Garland. His height will always win out and it did. Contrast that with the double and triple teaming against Jesse Hogan. That is how a coach can shut down a dominant forward, but nothing was done in 100 minutes of football.And we allowed Essendon to have unmarked wingers for the majority of the game. How a 2nd gamer in Tipungwuti was allowed such freedom to move the ball forward without an obvious opponent was damning. His 20 disposals was more than 18 of the Melbourne players! The selection panel has plenty to answer for again, for the omission of Dunn (save his having a mystery injury) left the team without a viable third tall in the backline and also someone who can kick beyond 50m to clear the zone that Essendon had set. He may not provide the run, but he doesn’t have to if he repels the attacks in the first place! Disappointingly, the mids failed to provide the necessary advantage that Gawn was providing in the ruck. Not at the centre bounce, but the lack of intensity around the ground where it was needed most. But that was only emblematic of a team going at half-pace. Brayshaw was obviously not ready for the seniors and ran out of puff early on, but Oliver showed his class with his efforts when he was injected into the middle. Matt Jones needs to stay at Casey permanently as he is just not up to AFL standard, two of his turnovers resulting directly in Essendon goals. Jack Viney and Nathan Jones battled all day, but Bernie Vince provided little, despite 28 possessions. Dean Kent in contrast provided nothing with only 5 touches. Ben Kennedy was fantastic and stood out in stark contrast to others on the field. With three goals and 21 touches, 11 of them contested, he was exactly the role model for winning. Sadly, others didn’t follow. Jeff Garlett is exciting when on song, but provided little in forward pressure. Hogan was similarly inclined, so the ball bounced out of attack all too frequently. This was a disgraceful performance from the side, not untypical of the worst of the past couple of years. How much have we progressed? Have we progressed? There is a good case to say nothing at all if you watched today’s game. Against the bigger bodies at North in Tassie next weekend we will struggle, if this effort is the best we can produce. Melbourne 1.4.10 6.4.40 7.7.49 10.7.67 Essendon 2.2.14 7.7.49 8.10.58 11.14.80 Goals Melbourne Kennedy 3 Garlett 2 Brayshaw Harmes Hogan Oliver Watts Essendon Brown Daniher Z Merrett 2 Hartley, Kommer, Langford, Parish Stokes Best Melbourne Kennedy N Jones Viney Gawn Essendon Z Merrett Daniher Zaharakis Parish J Merrett Goddard Kelly McDonald-Tipungwuti Changes Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Injuries Melbourne Nil Essendon Fantasia (knee) Matt Dea (nose) Reports Melbourne Nil Essendon Patrick Ambrose for rough conduct on James Harmes in the second quarter. Umpires Fisher, Stephens, Pannell Official crowd 50,424 at the MCG
  11. GAMEDAY - Round 2, 2016

    I'm sailing on the Yellow Sea somewhere between South Korea and China but my thoughts later today will be focused on the G. Go Dees.
  12. ON TRACK by Whispering Jack Nathan Jones is saying that the Demons are finally back on track. There is no doubt that the signs are good and they always are when you can number those who could potentially force their way into the best 22 from outside Saturday's winning team against the GWS Giants on the fingers of both hands. Yes, both hands. At Good Friday’s training session which was followed by an extended training session for players not selected which included game simulation and match practice with members of the Casey Scorpions squad, I counted a few there who were overlooked but who would normally have been pegged in as obvious selections. You can add a couple of the emergencies for Saturday who had to be rested and a couple of early draft selections on show for the first time coming back from long term injury. There are a couple of mates from Glenelg who have had a brief taste and are not far away, along with a couple of rookies fighting for an upgrade who had played well in Melbourne's last win of 2015 at Etihad Stadium - also against the Giants. This week's opponent is Essendon and by way of contrast to the above, you need only flash back three years in time when the teams also met in Round 2 under much different circumstances. Back then, it was Melbourne that was reeling in an out of control downward spiral and its list was so problematic that it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that half of the players who ran out that day might have struggled for games elsewhere. Such has been the rejuvenation of the Melbourne list in the interim under Paul Roos. However, it has not only been the change in personnel but also, there's been a sea change in culture, style of game and attitude and particularly so this year as the more attacking influence of coach-in-waiting Simon Goodwin begins to kick in. The greater depth in the playing group is an outcome of the work of Roos and co in the transformation of the club from a basket case to a contender. There still remain some ghosts of the past that must be laid to rest. The Bombers were at a low ebb when these teams met in Round 15 last year. They were sinking under the cloud of the long running drugs saga, their form was abysmal coming off a 110-point loss to St Kilda the week before, key players were missing with injury and James Hird's coaching tenure was under attack. It should have been an easy win for the Demons but they made a mess of it. Essendon is again at a low ebb now as it faces a season in the wilderness minus a dozen suspended players. The Bombers are in disarray. That would normally be a worry for a Melbourne team that seems to underperform when expected to do well but not this time. I expect Melbourne with its new found hardness, its purpose and more attacking mindset to lay to rest another ghost of the past. These things must be done to ensure the club remains on track. Melbourne by 40 points. THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at the MCG Saturday, 2 April, 2016 at 2.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Essendon 128 wins Melbourne 81 wins 2 draws At the MCG Essendon 65 wins Melbourne 45 wins 1 draw The last five meetings Essendon 2 wins Melbourne 3 wins The Coaches Worsfold 0 wins Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel – live at 1.30 pm RADIO - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC THE BETTING Essendon $6.00 to win Melbourne $1.12 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Essendon 10.9.69 defeated Melbourne 7.18.60 at the MCG, Round 15, 2015 Melbourne dominated the play in the first half but couldn't put the Bombers away and was made to pay when they were outscored by one goal to six in the third quarter. Inaccuracy in front of goal didn't help. THE TEAMS ESSENDON B: Matt Dea, Mitch Brown, Mark Baguley HB: James Gwilt, Michael Hartley, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti C: Brendon Goddard, David Zaharakis, Jackson Merrett HF: Zach Merrett, Patrick Ambrose, Kyle Langford F: Mathew Stokes, Joe Daniher, Nick Kommer R: Matthew Leuenberger, Ryan Crowley, Darcy Parish I: Martin Gleeson, Orazio Fantasia, Adam Cooney, James Kelly IN: Nick Kommer, Michael Hartley (debut), Orazio Fantasia OUT: Craig Bird, Jonathan Simpkin, Shaun McKernan MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Heritier Lumumba HB: Matt Jones, Colin Garland, Christian Salem C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBerg HF: Jack Watts, Cam Pedersen, James Harmes F: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Tom Bugg, Ben Kennedy Emg: Lynden Dunn, Billy Stretch, Sam Frost IN: Angus Brayshaw, Heritier Lumumba OUT: Sam Frost, Oscar McDonald
  13. ON TRACK by Whispering Jack

    ON TRACK by Whispering Jack Nathan Jones is saying that the Demons are finally back on track. There is no doubt that the signs are good and they always are when you can number those who could potentially force their way into the best 22 from outside Saturday's winning team against the GWS Giants on the fingers of both hands. Yes, both hands. At Good Friday’s training session which was followed by an extended training session for players not selected which included game simulation and match practice with members of the Casey Scorpions squad, I counted a few there who were overlooked but who would normally have been pegged in as obvious selections. You can add a couple of the emergencies for Saturday who had to be rested and a couple of early draft selections on show for the first time coming back from long term injury. There are a couple of mates from Glenelg who have had a brief taste and are not far away, along with a couple of rookies fighting for an upgrade who had played well in Melbourne's last win of 2015 at Etihad Stadium - also against the Giants. This week's opponent is Essendon and by way of contrast to the above, you need only flash back three years in time when the teams also met in Round 2 under much different circumstances. Back then, it was Melbourne that was reeling in an out of control downward spiral and its list was so problematic that it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that half of the players who ran out that day might have struggled for games elsewhere. Such has been the rejuvenation of the Melbourne list in the interim under Paul Roos. However, it has not only been the change in personnel but also, there's been a sea change in culture, style of game and attitude and particularly so this year as the more attacking influence of coach-in-waiting Simon Goodwin begins to kick in. The greater depth in the playing group is an outcome of the work of Roos and co in the transformation of the club from a basket case to a contender. There still remain some ghosts of the past that must be laid to rest. The Bombers were at a low ebb when these teams met in Round 15 last year. They were sinking under the cloud of the long running drugs saga, their form was abysmal coming off a 110-point loss to St Kilda the week before, key players were missing with injury and James Hird's coaching tenure was under attack. It should have been an easy win for the Demons but they made a mess of it. Essendon is again at a low ebb now as it faces a season in the wilderness minus a dozen suspended players. The Bombers are in disarray. That would normally be a worry for a Melbourne team that seems to underperform when expected to do well but not this time. I expect Melbourne with its new found hardness, its purpose and more attacking mindset to lay to rest another ghost of the past. These things must be done to ensure the club remains on track. Melbourne by 40 points. THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at the MCG Saturday, 2 April, 2016 at 2.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Essendon 128 wins Melbourne 81 wins 2 draws At the MCG Essendon 65 wins Melbourne 45 wins 1 draw The last five meetings Essendon 2 wins Melbourne 3 wins The Coaches Worsfold 0 wins Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel – live at 1.30 pm RADIO - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC THE BETTING Essendon $6.00 to win Melbourne $1.12 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Essendon 10.9.69 defeated Melbourne 7.18.60 at the MCG, Round 15, 2015 Melbourne dominated the play in the first half but couldn't put the Bombers away and was made to pay when they were outscored by one goal to six in the third quarter. Inaccuracy in front of goal didn't help. THE TEAMS ESSENDON B: Matt Dea, Mitch Brown, Mark Baguley HB: James Gwilt, Michael Hartley, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti C: Brendon Goddard, David Zaharakis, Jackson Merrett HF: Zach Merrett, Patrick Ambrose, Kyle Langford F: Mathew Stokes, Joe Daniher, Nick Kommer R: Matthew Leuenberger, Ryan Crowley, Darcy Parish I: Martin Gleeson, Orazio Fantasia, Adam Cooney, James Kelly IN: Nick Kommer, Michael Hartley (debut), Orazio Fantasia OUT: Craig Bird (omit.), Jonathan Simpkin (omit.), Shaun McKernan (omit.) MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Heritier Lumumba HB: Matt Jones, Colin Garland, Christian Salem C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBerg HF: Jack Watts, Cam Pedersen, James Harmes F: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Tom Bugg, Ben Kennedy Emg: Lynden Dunn, Billy Stretch, Sam Frost In: Lumumba, Brayshaw Out: Oscar McDonald (ankle), Sam Frost
  14. THE LAST TIME THEY MET

    First of all, it seems that whenever we play the Bombers on the MCG, it's their home game. Good for their financial bottom line, not ours. Second of all, the last time they met, it was Round 15, 2015 and we were raging favourites against a side that had been ripped apart by 110 points a week earlier by the Saints. The selected teams were as follows:- ESSENDON B: Mark Baguley, Michael Hurley, James Gwilt HB: Jackson Merrett, Jake Melksham, Ariel Steinberg, Martin Gleeson C: Brent Stanton, Dyson Heppell, David Zaharakis HF: Zach Merrett, Joe Daniher, Michael Hibberd F: Patrick Ambrose, Cale Hooker, Jayden Laverde FOLL: Shaun McKernan, Ben Howlett, Brendon Goddard I/C: Alex Browne, Heath Hocking, Nick O'Brien, Jason Ashby, Shaun Edwards EMG: Jonathan Giles, Elliott Kavanagh, Kyle Langford IN: Patrick Ambrose, Jason Ashby, Alex Browne, Shaun Edwards, Heath Hocking, Jayden Laverde OUT: Adam Cooney (hamstring), Courtenay Dempsey (omitted), Elliott Kavanagh (omitted), Jake Melksham (hamstring), Jobe Watson (shoulder) NEW: Jayden Laverde (19, Western Jets) MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Billy Stretch C: Daniel Cross, Bernie Vince, Heritier Lumumba HF: Alex Neal-Bullen, Chris Dawes, Jeff Garlett F: Angus Brayshaw, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Jay Kennedy-Harris, James Harmes, Aaron vandenBerg, Dom Tyson EMG: Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar, Jack Fitzpatrick IN: James Harmes, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Heritier Lumumba, Aaron vandenBerg OUT: Rohan Bail, Matt Jones, Jake Spencer, Jimmy Toumpas (all omitted) NEW: James Harmes (19, Dandenong Stingrays) Third of all, after team selection on the Thursday nigh before the game, two more Essendon players dropped out with injury - Heath Hocking (back) and Jake Melksham (hamstring). They were replaced by virtual unknowns in Jason Ashby and Shaun Edwards. The Bombers were at their lowest ebb. Fourth of all, the lesson is that you can never be too overconfident when approaching any game of football. We all know the result of that game.
  15. To quote from Demonland's own Oracle in his Match Preview: When, in recent history, has Melbourne ever won a game starting as the favourite? Once again the Demon supporters who have B.T.D.T knew all too well what was going to happen. Essendon on their knees, lost their captain, the club under a long-running drug investigation, senior players missing through injury, a 110 point thrashing the previous week, and not having a win since Round 8. Surely the reinvigorated Demons would be a certainty to chalk up the win, and better their whole season's performance from 2014? And as the Oracle noted, that a similarly depleted, (or even more depleted) Essendon side won against the Demons in the pre-season - another certain win that was just as equally squandered. But the heart won out for the Oracle over the head, with his final prediction of a Demon win, and guess what? Yes, the Demons managed to resurrect the career of James Hird, and shatter, yet again, the Demon supporters hopes. The first half of the match was a shocker for both sides, with both managing a meagre 3 goals each. Meanwhile the umpires (how do we manage to get Justin Schmitt as the senior umpire again?) were putting in a similar shocker to the Richmond-Carlton game the night before. Thirty-eight thousand plus spectators witnessed the first goal of the game to James Gwilt as being positively over the line on multiple replays, but miraculously the video umpire struggled to determine where the white line was. Simple for thousands but obviously not for one! A deliberate out of bounds against Essendon was not called until the field umpire who was 10 metres away from the action checked with Schmitty who was 100 metres away! What are these people paid to do? But it was Melbourne which was gradually throwing the game away in front of goal. Ultimately twenty-five scoring shots including three "posters" and a few more which went OOBs on the full, should have seen an easy win to the Demons but not when you can only muster 7 majors from such an effort! And ultimately it was effort which was severely lacking. With young kids like Harmes, Stretch, ANB, Brayshaw and Hogan in the side, the effort part of the game has to come from those of more experience. Yet not a peep came from Dawes, Garlett, Howe and a few others. ANB only got 8 touches, but he had more tackles (6), than Cross, Dawes, McDonald, Watts and Jetta all combined! All on a day where tackling was an easy option, with the congestion and slippery ball. In the ruck Max Gawn has cemented his position as our number 1 with an extraordinary 58 hit-outs. Now, all of them werent to advantage, and a fair number were toward exactly the wrong side of the contest, but at least he was giving us opportunities, particularly in the middle. If he can finally get a full pre-season, he will be a category 1 player for us in 2016. The return of Aaron Vandenberg was a positive and the efforts of Jones, Viney, and Vince in the middle and around the ground were of their usual high standard. Vineys work to limit Heppel was good, but he needed more support and at least and equal amount of effort from others in the side. The forward line was dysfunctional, as evidenced by the scoreline, and was shown up even more when Tom McDonald went forward in the last quarter and nearly won the game if only he had kicked straight! The fact that he was able to lead and mark when other couldnt for ¾ of the game was a tragic indictment on them. Yes, once again we managed to lose a game that screamed out as a certain 4 points. Once again the players approached the game with only a half-hearted demeanour, and they got the result that type of attitude produces. The game of AFL is to be played at 100% effort, for 100% of the game. We the supporters know that all too well, because too often we have seen those players in the Red and Blue do exactly what they did today. And each and every time the result is the same. Too often we have B.T.D.T.!!! Melbourne 1.3.9 3.9.27 4.13.37 7.18.60 Essendon 1.3.9 3.4.22 9.7.61 10.9.69 Goals Melbourne Garlett Hogan Howe Jetta McDonald Tyson vandenBerg Essendon Daniher 5 Edwards 2 Heppell Howlett Stanton Best Melbourne Gawn, Vince, Jones, vandenBerg, McDonand Dunn Viney Essendon Hurley Daniher Stanton Goddard Heppell Gwilt Changes Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Substitutions Melbourne Jay Kennedy-Harris replaced James Harmes in the third quarter Essendon Jason Ashby replaced Alex Browne (concussion) in the second quarter Injuries Melbourne Nil Essendon Alex Browne (concussion) Reports Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Umpires Schmitt Mitchell Deboy. Official Crowd 38,861 at the MCG.
  16. B.T.D.T (been there, done that) by George on the Outer To quote from Demonland's own Oracle in his Match Preview: When, in recent history, has Melbourne ever won a game starting as the favourite? Once again the Demon supporters who have B.T.D.T knew all too well what was going to happen. Essendon on their knees, lost their captain, the club under a long-running drug investigation, senior players missing through injury, a 110 point thrashing the previous week, and not having a win since Round 8. Surely the reinvigorated Demons would be a certainty to chalk up the win, and better their whole season's performance from 2014? And as the Oracle noted, that a similarly depleted, (or even more depleted) Essendon side won against the Demons in the pre-season - another certain win that was just as equally squandered. But the heart won out for the Oracle over the head, with his final prediction of a Demon win, and guess what? Yes, the Demons managed to resurrect the career of James Hird, and shatter, yet again, the Demon supporters hopes. The first half of the match was a shocker for both sides, with both managing a meagre 3 goals each. Meanwhile the umpires (how do we manage to get Justin Schmitt as the senior umpire again?) were putting in a similar shocker to the Richmond-Carlton game the night before. Thirty-eight thousand plus spectators witnessed the first goal of the game to James Gwilt as being positively over the line on multiple replays, but miraculously the video umpire struggled to determine where the white line was. Simple for thousands but obviously not for one! A deliberate out of bounds against Essendon was not called until the field umpire who was 10 metres away from the action checked with Schmitty who was 100 metres away! What are these people paid to do? But it was Melbourne which was gradually throwing the game away in front of goal. Ultimately twenty-five scoring shots including three "posters" and a few more which went OOBs on the full, should have seen an easy win to the Demons but not when you can only muster 7 majors from such an effort! And ultimately it was effort which was severely lacking. With young kids like Harmes, Stretch, ANB, Brayshaw and Hogan in the side, the effort part of the game has to come from those of more experience. Yet not a peep came from Dawes, Garlett, Howe and a few others. ANB only got 8 touches, but he had more tackles (6), than Cross, Dawes, McDonald, Watts and Jetta all combined! All on a day where tackling was an easy option, with the congestion and slippery ball. In the ruck Max Gawn has cemented his position as our number 1 with an extraordinary 58 hit-outs. Now, all of them werent to advantage, and a fair number were toward exactly the wrong side of the contest, but at least he was giving us opportunities, particularly in the middle. If he can finally get a full pre-season, he will be a category 1 player for us in 2016. The return of Aaron Vandenberg was a positive and the efforts of Jones, Viney, and Vince in the middle and around the ground were of their usual high standard. Vineys work to limit Heppel was good, but he needed more support and at least and equal amount of effort from others in the side. The forward line was dysfunctional, as evidenced by the scoreline, and was shown up even more when Tom McDonald went forward in the last quarter and nearly won the game if only he had kicked straight! The fact that he was able to lead and mark when other couldnt for ¾ of the game was a tragic indictment on them. Yes, once again we managed to lose a game that screamed out as a certain 4 points. Once again the players approached the game with only a half-hearted demeanour, and they got the result that type of attitude produces. The game of AFL is to be played at 100% effort, for 100% of the game. We the supporters know that all too well, because too often we have seen those players in the Red and Blue do exactly what they did today. And each and every time the result is the same. Too often we have B.T.D.T.!!! Melbourne 1.3.9 3.9.27 4.13.37 7.18.60 Essendon 1.3.9 3.4.22 9.7.61 10.9.69 Goals Melbourne Garlett Hogan Howe Jetta McDonald Tyson vandenBerg Essendon Daniher 5 Edwards 2 Heppell Howlett Stanton Best Melbourne Gawn, Vince, Jones, vandenBerg, McDonand Dunn Viney Essendon Hurley Daniher Stanton Goddard Heppell Gwilt Changes Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Substitutions Melbourne Jay Kennedy-Harris replaced James Harmes in the third quarter Essendon Jason Ashby replaced Alex Browne (concussion) in the second quarter Injuries Melbourne Nil Essendon Alex Browne (concussion) Reports Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Umpires Schmitt Mitchell Deboy. Official Crowd 38,861 at the MCG.
  17. Post your votes here please ... as soon as the final siren sounds
  18. GAME DAY - Round 15

    Does anyone remember the 2004 movie "The Day after Tomorrow"? It's one of the greatest films ever made about extreme weather conditions and features a combination of killer tornados, extreme hurricanes, incredible tidal waves, destructive floods and the commencement of a new ice age which just about sums up the forecasts for this afternoon's game and I must add ... in conditions such as those predicted ... anything can happen in a game of footy ... and it probably will
  19. RED ALERT by The Oracle

    This could only happen to Melbourne. Last Sunday, St. Kilda which had hitherto won just four games this season played a game against Essendon which was also on the same number of wins. The Bombers started as slight favourite and produced a performance that was so monumentally pathetic that it has to rank up there with the phenomenon known as "186" that was visited upon the Melbourne Football Club in 2011. After all, Geelong which inflected that defeat on the Demons went on to win the flag that year while the Saints who vanquished the Bombers at Etihad Stadium last weekend were not long ago considered wooden spoon favourite. They were so limp that they allowed the young Saints 141 more possessions, 23 more inside 50s, double the number of marks on the day (142 marks to 71) and effortless goal after effortless goal and in light of this, their 110-point loss, the seventh worst in their entire history was their equivalent of "186". The only difference was that the Essendon Board didn't sack the coach. Then came the news that Essendon skipper Jobe Watson has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury to join a swag of other household names at Bomberland sitting on the sidelines. Names like Paul Chapman (groin - 1-2 weeks), Adam Cooney (hamstring - 2 weeks), Tom Bellchambers (foot - 8 weeks), Travis Colyer (foot - 6-8 weeks), Jake Carlisle (ankle - 4-6 weeks) and the wonderful Orazio Fantasia (groin - 1-2 weeks). And the oldest man in the game, Dustin Fletcher who was in the game long before many current day competitors surfaced in their maternity wards has been missing for several weeks since he played his 400th AFL game. So the Bombers appear to be at their lowest ebb at the very same time when they face the Demons. They are so down in the dumps that the betting agencies have installed Melbourne as the favourite to win this week's game at the G and that's where the red flag comes into contention. When, in recent history, has Melbourne ever won a game starting as the favourite? Oh you might say that the Melbourne of 2015 is a different team to that of years gone by - that it's been competitive without actually winning more games than, say last year when it had the same number of wins at this stage of the journey. But let's not forget that Essendon still occupies one position higher by dint of its superior percentage (admittedly only by 1.6%). But how different is Melbourne right at this minute to the Melbourne of the past? Much was made of the fact that the team introduced seven new faces for the opening game of the season to go with some of the young up and comers introduced in the past year or so. I was contemplating this very thing in the early moments of last Saturday night's game in Darwin. Of the "seven", only Jeff Garlett and Jesse Hogan were still on the ground, the latter returning after missing a game through hamstring soreness. Where were the rest of the magnificent seven? Angus Brayshaw (subbed off with a neck injury after just two minutes); Sam Frost (missing since round three with a broken toe); Heritier Lumumba (foot); Ben Newton (at Casey coming back from concussion); Aaron Vandenberg (out for a month with a hamstring injury) And where were those young guns with promise who were there for that round 1 victory over the Suns? Jay Kennedy-Harris (at Casey after recovering from a groin injury); Dean Kent (missing since Anzac Day eve with a hamstring injury); and Christian Salem (also missing with a hammy first incurred two months ago and still 3 weeks away). All on top of that season-ending knee injury to Christian Petracca incurred back in February. This all suggests that the team hasn't changed much, that Saturday's game looms as the battle between the Norm Smith curse and the ASADA curse and the red flag has been well and truly raised. THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at the MCG Saturday, 11 July, 2015 at 1.40pm. HEAD TO HEAD Overall Essendon 127 wins Melbourne 81 wins 2 draws At the MCG Essendon 64 wins Melbourne 45 wins 1 draw The last five meetings Essendon 1 win Melbourne 4 wins The Coaches Hird 0 wins Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel at 1.30pm (live) RADIO - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Essendon $2.35 to win Melbourne $1.59 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 12.6.78 defeated Essendon 10.17.77 Round 13, 2014 at the MCG This game produced one of the highlights of Melbourne's dismal 2014 season when a chain of disposals ended with a dramatic last minute mark and goal to Christian Salem to the Demons get up by the narrowest of margins against an inaccurate Essendon after trailing at one stage by 33 points. The lowlight was that it was the team's last win for 2014. THE TEAMS ESSENDON ​ B: Mark Baguley, Michael Hurley, James Gwilt HB: Jackson Merrett, Jake Melksham, Ariel Steinberg, Martin Gleeson C: Brent Stanton, Dyson Heppell, David Zaharakis HF: Zach Merrett, Joe Daniher, Michael Hibberd F: Patrick Ambrose, Cale Hooker, Jayden Laverde FOLL: Shaun McKernan, Ben Howlett, Brendon Goddard I/C: Alex Browne, Heath Hocking, Nick O'Brien, Jason Ashby, Shaun Edwards EMG: Jonathan Giles, Elliott Kavanagh, Kyle Langford IN: Patrick Ambrose, Jason Ashby, Alex Browne, Shaun Edwards, Heath Hocking, Jayden Laverde OUT: Adam Cooney (hamstring), Courtenay Dempsey (omitted), Elliott Kavanagh (omitted), Jake Melksham (hamstring), Jobe Watson (shoulder) NEW: Jayden Laverde (19, Western Jets) MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Billy Stretch C: Daniel Cross, Bernie Vince, Heritier Lumumba HF: Alex Neal-Bullen, Chris Dawes, Jeff Garlett F: Angus Brayshaw, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Jay Kennedy-Harris, James Harmes, Aaron vandenBerg, Dom Tyson EMG: Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar, Jack Fitzpatrick IN: James Harmes, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Heritier Lumumba, Aaron vandenBerg OUT: Rohan Bail, Matt Jones, Jake Spencer, Jimmy Toumpas (all omitted) NEW: James Harmes (19, Dandenong Stingrays) After team selection on Thursday night, two more Essendon players dropped out with injury - Heath Hocking (back) and Jake Melksham (hamstring). They were replaced by virtual unknowns in Jason Ashby and Shaun Edwards - even more bad news for the Demons who probably did zero homework on these blokes who will no doubt be the stars of the game The game is being billed as the Clash for Cancer and the face of the game from Essendon’s point of view is healed cancer sufferer Adam Ramanauskas. Given the club’s recent history with the illness and the loss of former greats Jim Stynes and Sean Wight and our association with breast cancer awareness, it’s a great cause and worthy of our support. The Essendon team appears to be falling apart with more injuries announced (as above) since Thursday night’s team selection. This is extremely problematic for Melbourne as the Bombers line up appears to be looking more and more like the one they one they put out on the field for the third NAB Challenge game back in March which was played at Etihad Stadium. Remember that? Essendon was coming off two shattering defeats including a pounding at the hands of St. Kilda (ahem). Melbourne had put in a fair performance in Fremantle against the Dockers and followed it up with a win against the Bulldogs in Ballarat. With the Bombers fielding a second rate side bereft of the remaining players among the Essendon 34 who were then awaiting the outcome of the AFL Tribunal decision on the ASADA doping charges, the Demons were raging favourites and a loss to this rag, tag depleted excuse for a football team was regarded as unthinkable. The unthinkable happened. So when the ball is bounced for the opening of the game at the MCG, let’s not labour under any delusions. It’s a danger game for the Demons. Former Bomber Matthew Lloyd has said that he expects the ‘little things’ to tell a big story when the teams meet. “I’m going to be looking at the first two or three stoppages, the effort around the ball, the contests, the pressure around the ball,” Lloyd said. “I think that’s where it all stems from, your confidence comes from all the little things. “The chases, the tackles, the smothers; and the rest just falls into line from there.” The likelihood of rain, strong winds and possible hailstorms promises a scrappy match in difficult conditions and in those instances, it’s the more settled team that wins in the end. I will therefore shun the curses, the red alerts, the history of Melbourne losing games when favourite and tip the Demons to finish on top by 22 points.
  20. RED ALERT by The Oracle This could only happen to Melbourne. Last Sunday, St. Kilda which had hitherto won just four games this season played a game against Essendon which was also on the same number of wins. The Bombers started as slight favourite and produced a performance that was so monumentally pathetic that it has to rank up there with the phenomenon known as "186" that was visited upon the Melbourne Football Club in 2011. After all, Geelong which inflected that defeat on the Demons went on to win the flag that year while the Saints who vanquished the Bombers at Etihad Stadium last weekend were not long ago considered wooden spoon favourite. They were so limp that they allowed the young Saints 141 more possessions, 23 more inside 50s, double the number of marks on the day (142 marks to 71) and effortless goal after effortless goal and in light of this, their 110-point loss, the seventh worst in their entire history was their equivalent of "186". The only difference was that the Essendon Board didn't sack the coach. Then came the news that Essendon skipper Jobe Watson has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury to join a swag of other household names at Bomberland sitting on the sidelines. Names like Paul Chapman (groin - 1-2 weeks), Adam Cooney (hamstring - 2 weeks), Tom Bellchambers (foot - 8 weeks), Travis Colyer (foot - 6-8 weeks), Jake Carlisle (ankle - 4-6 weeks) and the wonderful Orazio Fantasia (groin - 1-2 weeks). And the oldest man in the game, Dustin Fletcher who was in the game long before many current day competitors surfaced in their maternity wards has been missing for several weeks since he played his 400th AFL game. So the Bombers appear to be at their lowest ebb at the very same time when they face the Demons. They are so down in the dumps that the betting agencies have installed Melbourne as the favourite to win this week's game at the G and that's where the red flag comes into contention. When, in recent history, has Melbourne ever won a game starting as the favourite? Oh you might say that the Melbourne of 2015 is a different team to that of years gone by - that it's been competitive without actually winning more games than, say last year when it had the same number of wins at this stage of the journey. But let's not forget that Essendon still occupies one position higher by dint of its superior percentage (admittedly only by 1.6%). But how different is Melbourne right at this minute to the Melbourne of the past? Much was made of the fact that the team introduced seven new faces for the opening game of the season to go with some of the young up and comers introduced in the past year or so. I was contemplating this very thing in the early moments of last Saturday night's game in Darwin. Of the "seven", only Jeff Garlett and Jesse Hogan were still on the ground, the latter returning after missing a game through hamstring soreness. Where were the rest of the magnificent seven? Angus Brayshaw (subbed off with a neck injury after just two minutes); Sam Frost (missing since round three with a broken toe); Heritier Lumumba (foot); Ben Newton (at Casey coming back from concussion); Aaron Vandenberg (out for a month with a hamstring injury) And where were those young guns with promise who were there for that round 1 victory over the Suns? Jay Kennedy-Harris (at Casey after recovering from a groin injury); Dean Kent (missing since Anzac Day eve with a hamstring injury); and Christian Salem (also missing with a hammy first incurred two months ago and still 3 weeks away). All on top of that season-ending knee injury to Christian Petracca incurred back in February. This all suggests that the team hasn't changed much, that Saturday's game looms as the battle between the Norm Smith curse and the ASADA curse and the red flag has been well and truly raised. THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at the MCG Saturday, 11 July, 2015 at 1.40pm. HEAD TO HEAD Overall Essendon 127 wins Melbourne 81 wins 2 draws At the MCG Essendon 64 wins Melbourne 45 wins 1 draw The last five meetings Essendon 1 win Melbourne 4 wins The Coaches Hird 0 wins Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel at 1.30pm (live) RADIO - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Essendon $2.35 to win Melbourne $1.59 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 12.6.78 defeated Essendon 10.17.77 Round 13, 2014 at the MCG This game produced one of the highlights of Melbourne's dismal 2014 season when a chain of disposals ended with a dramatic last minute mark and goal to Christian Salem to the Demons get up by the narrowest of margins against an inaccurate Essendon after trailing at one stage by 33 points. The lowlight was that it was the team's last win for 2014. THE TEAMS ESSENDON ​ B: Mark Baguley, Michael Hurley, James Gwilt HB: Jackson Merrett, Jake Melksham, Ariel Steinberg, Martin Gleeson C: Brent Stanton, Dyson Heppell, David Zaharakis HF: Zach Merrett, Joe Daniher, Michael Hibberd F: Patrick Ambrose, Cale Hooker, Jayden Laverde FOLL: Shaun McKernan, Ben Howlett, Brendon Goddard I/C: Alex Browne, Heath Hocking, Nick O'Brien, Jason Ashby, Shaun Edwards EMG: Jonathan Giles, Elliott Kavanagh, Kyle Langford IN: Patrick Ambrose, Jason Ashby, Alex Browne, Shaun Edwards, Heath Hocking, Jayden Laverde OUT: Adam Cooney (hamstring), Courtenay Dempsey (omitted), Elliott Kavanagh (omitted), Jake Melksham (hamstring), Jobe Watson (shoulder) NEW: Jayden Laverde (19, Western Jets) MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Billy Stretch C: Daniel Cross, Bernie Vince, Heritier Lumumba HF: Alex Neal-Bullen, Chris Dawes, Jeff Garlett F: Angus Brayshaw, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Jay Kennedy-Harris, James Harmes, Aaron vandenBerg, Dom Tyson EMG: Rohan Bail, Mark Jamar, Jack Fitzpatrick IN: James Harmes, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Heritier Lumumba, Aaron vandenBerg OUT: Rohan Bail, Matt Jones, Jake Spencer, Jimmy Toumpas (all omitted) NEW: James Harmes (19, Dandenong Stingrays) After team selection on Thursday night, two more Essendon players dropped out with injury - Heath Hocking (back) and Jake Melksham (hamstring). They were replaced by virtual unknowns in Jason Ashby and Shaun Edwards - even more bad news for the Demons who probably did zero homework on these blokes who will no doubt be the stars of the game The game is being billed as the Clash for Cancer and the face of the game from Essendon’s point of view is healed cancer sufferer Adam Ramanauskas. Given the club’s recent history with the illness and the loss of former greats Jim Stynes and Sean Wight and our association with breast cancer awareness, it’s a great cause and worthy of our support. The Essendon team appears to be falling apart with more injuries announced (as above) since Thursday night’s team selection. This is extremely problematic for Melbourne as the Bombers line up appears to be looking more and more like the one they one they put out on the field for the third NAB Challenge game back in March which was played at Etihad Stadium. Remember that? Essendon was coming off two shattering defeats including a pounding at the hands of St. Kilda (ahem). Melbourne had put in a fair performance in Fremantle against the Dockers and followed it up with a win against the Bulldogs in Ballarat. With the Bombers fielding a second rate side bereft of the remaining players among the Essendon 34 who were then awaiting the outcome of the AFL Tribunal decision on the ASADA doping charges, the Demons were raging favourites and a loss to this rag, tag depleted excuse for a football team was regarded as unthinkable. The unthinkable happened. So when the ball is bounced for the opening of the game at the MCG, let’s not labour under any delusions. It’s a danger game for the Demons. Former Bomber Matthew Lloyd has said that he expects the ‘little things’ to tell a big story when the teams meet. “I’m going to be looking at the first two or three stoppages, the effort around the ball, the contests, the pressure around the ball,” Lloyd said. “I think that’s where it all stems from, your confidence comes from all the little things. “The chases, the tackles, the smothers; and the rest just falls into line from there.” The likelihood of rain, strong winds and possible hailstorms promises a scrappy match in difficult conditions and in those instances, it’s the more settled team that wins in the end. I will therefore shun the curses, the red alerts, the history of Melbourne losing games when favourite and tip the Demons to finish on top by 22 points.
  21. LAST TIME THEY MET

    This game produced one of the highlights of Melbourne's dismal 2014 season when a chain of disposals ended with a dramatic last minute mark and goal to Christian Salem to the Demons get up by the narrowest of margins against an inaccurate Essendon. The lowlight was that it was the team's last win for 2014. THE TEAMS ESSENDON B: Jake Carlisle, Cale Hooker, Courtenay Dempsey HB: Michael Hibberd, Michael Hurley, Mark Baguley C: Brendon Goddard, Dyson Heppell, Jake Melksham HF: Zach Merrett, Joe Daniher, David Zaharakis F: Jason Winderlich, Patrick Ryder, Patrick Ambrose Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Heath Hocking, Brent Stanton I/C: Paul Chapman, Dustin Fletcher, Ben Howlett, David Myers EMG: Travis Colyer, Cory DellOlio, Elliott Kavanagh IN: Michael Hurley, Jason Winderlich OUT: Cory DellOlio, Jobe Watson (hip surgery) MELBOURNE B: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Jack Grimes C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Daniel Cross HF: Nathan Jones, Chris Dawes, Rohan Bail F: Cam Pedersen, James Frawley, Jack Watts Foll: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Dean Kent, Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley Christian Salem EMG: Max Gawn, Dean Kent, Dan Nicholson, Dean Terlich IN: Dean Kent, Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley OUT: Max Gawn, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Dean Terlich
  22. "Elevator Driver carry me please Elevator Driver move Elevator Driver carry me please Elevator Driver move Past the stories of confusion To my penthouse of illusion, Elevator Driver" ~ from the song by the Masters Apprentices Teams, like colours, rise and ebb. When Melbourne last faced Essendon it was a Saturday night at the MCG early last year and in an atmosphere of helpless desperation they surrendered to an opponent which had something to prove in the wake of the raging supplements scandal. The mood of the supporters that night was one of anger and loss of hope as the Bombers treated their team to the tune of a 148-point crushing. Callers to late night talk back spoke in agonising terms of how their club and the players had betrayed them - so early in the season, the team was languishing deep in the basement. A lot happened after that night but the pain would persist throughout a season that saw two coaches come and go with little to enthuse the faithful or give rise to any hope that the team could lift itself out of those depths. The club needed something or at least someone to take control of its on field fortunes and to start a process whereby it could see some movement forward and upward. Enter the elevator driver - Paul Roos. He came to the club, rolled up his sleeves and began to work on its personnel, training and preparation, its tactics, strategy, its psychology and its culture and team philosophy. His advent has not come without controversy or criticism as was seen last week from the output of some of the more hysterical types in the media who were lashing the emphasis on defence which saw the team struggle to score goals in the final quarter and a half against Collingwood on Queens Birthday. Never mind that playing ugly has already seen Roos coach such ducklings and transform them quickly into premiership Swans in another time. Never mind that against Essendon, Roos' team was so defensive in mindset that it conceded 14 inside 50s before going into its own attacking circle and were goalless at quarter time - it's second consecutive term without a major score. Never mind because the Demons plugged away, hustling and bustling and thanks to the sterling play of those defenders, led by Lynden Dunn, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta, Col Garland and co dominating in the opposition's half, they had stayed within striking distance. Their efforts were reinforced by the efforts of Jordie McKenzie and Daniel Cross who had specific jobs to do, the Demon defence forced Essendon to butcher the ball under pressure, miss goals and targets and more importantly expend vital energy reserves in moving across the field to counter Melbourne's new found style. And so despite falling behind by 33 points by early in the second half, Melbourne was able to lift its game to the top floor. Inspired by the indefatigable leadership of Nathan Jones, the rising talents of Dom Tyson and Jack Viney, the experience and class of Bernie Vince and on a wave of power ruckwork from Mark Jamar, the turnaround came and the Demons struck the unsuspecting Bombers in the heart. Taking over in the midfield, the opportunities started presenting to the forwards who all played their part and in the end, a couple of unlikely young heroes in Dean Kent and Christian Salem played their part in bringing down the Bombers and signalling another move upward for their club. And you can put it all down to great team effort and another small triumph for the elevator operator. Melbourne 0.3.3 3.3.21 7.6.48 12.6.78 Essendon 2.4.16 5.12.42 8.12.60 10.17.77 Goals Melbourne Kent Frawley Pedersen Watts 2 Grimes N Jones Salem Vince Essendon Zaharakis 4 Ambrose Chapman Daniher Goddard Merrett Ryder Best Melbourne Dunn N Jones Viney Pederson Jamar Tyson Essendon Zaharakis Goddard Heppell Hibberd Carlisle Ambrose Changes Melbourne Nil Essendon Fletcher replaced in the selected side by Kavanaugh Injuries Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Reports Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Reports Melbourne Nil Essendon Nil Umpires Justin Schmitt Troy Pannell Brendan Hosking Crowd 44,622 at the MCG In memory of Jim Keays an Australian master musician and a Demon fan who passed away last week at far too young an age
  23. GAMEDAY - Round 13

    It's a big day for the sport today with Essendon taking the field for the first time since the issue of the SHOW-CAUSE notices on top of last night's results which mean that the Bombers will be in the top eight at the end of the round if they win. I imagine that there are many Bomber fans not happy with the course of the latest events re the ASADA investigation and it might be good policy for supporters to treat them with caution and respect. After all, if we lose today, our players are likely to be served with SNOW-CAUSE notices and you know how we would react to that sort of a ribbing.
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