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Found 43 results

  1. We welcome your input into the discussion on today’s game.
  2. Your votes please ... 6,5,4,3,2,1
  3. Demonland

    Match Report - Round 6

    INJECTORS by George on the Outer Probably not a word that sits well around the Essendon Football Club, but it was the injection of youth, skill and old fashioned toughness that saw Melbourne eventually run out easy winners at the old nemesis stadium at the Docklands. The addition of Charlie Spargo was a breath of fresh air as his first half efforts saw him with a pair of goals in his first game of AFL, but it was also his natural football abilities which will see him have a promising future. Eighteen touches, including nine contested, in his first game at 88% disposal efficiency was exactly what Melbourne has been missing in the past couple of weeks. While he needs to build his body to endure, he has the football smarts and skills so lacking in others currently getting a run. The return of Tom McDonald also injected that much needed strength and surety both in the backline, ruck and up forward that has also been missing. And similarly, ten contested possessions from a big man was telling. Jordan Lewis returned and the two week recovery period suited him well, and he was able to compete at a much better level than earlier in the season. Bayley Fritsch and Mitch Hannan were the icing on the cake for the Demons, each scoring three goals, but it was their work around the packs in the forward line, with Fritsch particularly injecting both marking and disposal efficiency, that also had been so lacking in his absence up forward. Their return will make it nearly impossible for the likes of Tom Bugg and Jeff Garlett to press for a senior spot, at least in the short term, barring any injuries. It is absolutely telling just to look at the goal-scorers this week with those 4 (Fritsch, Hannan, Tom McDonald and Spargo) being responsible for ten of the 16 goals scored. What a difference that made to the team and the result! But it wasn’t all going one way. At least not in the first half. The Demons trailed at both breaks and had amassed a paltry four goals to half time, but fortunately only trailed by a goal at that stage. This was in part due to the backline, which also showed signs of return to the form of 2017. Nev Jetta blanketed McDonald-Tipungwuti, while Oscar McDonald completely destroyed Daniher, who could only managed three behinds for the whole game. Michael Hibberd resumed his sweeping role, and his penetrating kicks downfield broke the Essendon lines time and time again. Then in the third quarter Nathan Jones decided that enough was enough and he simply ploughed his way through the opposition with 9 touches. Helped by Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver, suddenly the ball was being kicked out of the centre and around the packs, putting pressure on the Essendon defence. With T McDonald, Hogan and Weidemann as targets, and Melksham, Fritsch, and Hannan crumbing successfully, suddenly Melbourne piled on seven goals to a solitary Essendon major. Even big Max got in on the act and put through a couple of ripper boundary banana’s that upset the Bomber fans no end. Pity he has been unable to kick straight when in front, or he would have had four for the game instead of the two he finished with. Still, for a ruckman who had 42 hitouts, this was fair output for the afternoon. And while the Demons lapsed in the final minutes to gift Essendon a couple of goals after being eight up, the end result was still a six goal win. The injection of talent had a dramatic effect, and will have a huge effect with confidence going in to next weeks game against St.Kilda. However, there were still too many non-contributors, particularly Alex Neal-Bullen, James Hames and Dom Tyson who all still do not spread or get involved with the play when in their vicinity. Harmes keeps getting caught, when he tries to barge through instead of kicking the ball forward. Tyson remains glacially slow and continues to turn the ball over and kick to contests instead of to the teams advantage. ANB just trots up and down the field, and a meagre eight disposals for the game will guarantee Christian Petracca, recovering from his dog bite, a spot for next week. The team returns to Etihad for next week’s encounter with St Kilda, and while it might sound trite, this is yet another must win game for the Demons who are sitting in the middle of the pack on 12 points, with only one top eight team in the on the same number. To put it another way, the team is already a game behind the majority of the teams in the top eight and its percentage is not all that flash. This cost them a finals appearance last year, a lesson that does not yet seem to have been learned. If Melbourne is to progress it must must win its next two games in order to put space between it and the teams in the bottom half of the ladder. After the past couple of weeks, the club finally took a small step in the direction of that much talked about injection of confidence and faith necessary to build a winning culture. A small step, but nevertheless, a positive one ... Melbourne 1.3.9 4.7.31 11.10.76 16.12.108 Essendon 2.3.15 5.7.37 6.9.45 10.12.72 Goals Melbourne Fritsch Hannan 3 Gawn Hogan T McDonald Melksham Spargo 2 Essendon Stringer 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti Smith 2, Laverde, Stewart, Zaharakis Best Melbourne Gawn Salem Hannan Hibberd Fritsch O McDonald T McDonald Essendon Merrett Zaharakis Ambrose Hurley McGrath Smith Injuries Melbourne Hogan (right ankle) Essendon Nil Reports Nil Umpires Foot, Rosebury, Williamson Official crowd 35,964 at Etihad Stadium
  4. Probably not a word that sits well around the Essendon Football Club, but it was the injection of youth, skill and old fashioned toughness that saw Melbourne eventually run out easy winners at the old nemesis stadium at the Docklands. The addition of Charlie Spargo was a breath of fresh air as his first half efforts saw him with a pair of goals in his first game of AFL, but it was also his natural football abilities which will see him have a promising future. Eighteen touches, including nine contested, in his first game at 88% disposal efficiency was exactly what Melbourne has been missing in the past couple of weeks. While he needs to build his body to endure, he has the football smarts and skills so lacking in others currently getting a run. The return of Tom McDonald also injected that much needed strength and surety both in the backline, ruck and up forward that has also been missing. And similarly, ten contested possessions from a big man was telling. Jordan Lewis returned and the two week recovery period suited him well, and he was able to compete at a much better level than earlier in the season. Bayley Fritsch and Mitch Hannan were the icing on the cake for the Demons, each scoring three goals, but it was their work around the packs in the forward line, with Fritsch particularly injecting both marking and disposal efficiency, that also had been so lacking in his absence up forward. Their return will make it nearly impossible for the likes of Tom Bugg and Jeff Garlett to press for a senior spot, at least in the short term, barring any injuries. It is absolutely telling just to look at the goal-scorers this week with those 4 (Fritsch, Hannan, Tom McDonald and Spargo) being responsible for ten of the 16 goals scored. What a difference that made to the team and the result! But it wasn’t all going one way. At least not in the first half. The Demons trailed at both breaks and had amassed a paltry four goals to half time, but fortunately only trailed by a goal at that stage. This was in part due to the backline, which also showed signs of return to the form of 2017. Nev Jetta blanketed McDonald-Tipungwuti, while Oscar McDonald completely destroyed Daniher, who could only managed three behinds for the whole game. Michael Hibberd resumed his sweeping role, and his penetrating kicks downfield broke the Essendon lines time and time again. Then in the third quarter Nathan Jones decided that enough was enough and he simply ploughed his way through the opposition with 9 touches. Helped by Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver, suddenly the ball was being kicked out of the centre and around the packs, putting pressure on the Essendon defence. With T McDonald, Hogan and Weidemann as targets, and Melksham, Fritsch, and Hannan crumbing successfully, suddenly Melbourne piled on seven goals to a solitary Essendon major. Even big Max got in on the act and put through a couple of ripper boundary banana’s that upset the Bomber fans no end. Pity he has been unable to kick straight when in front, or he would have had four for the game instead of the two he finished with. Still, for a ruckman who had 42 hitouts, this was fair output for the afternoon. And while the Demons lapsed in the final minutes to gift Essendon a couple of goals after being eight up, the end result was still a six goal win. The injection of talent had a dramatic effect, and will have a huge effect with confidence going in to next weeks game against St.Kilda. However, there were still too many non-contributors, particularly Alex Neal-Bullen, James Hames and Dom Tyson who all still do not spread or get involved with the play when in their vicinity. Harmes keeps getting caught, when he tries to barge through instead of kicking the ball forward. Tyson remains glacially slow and continues to turn the ball over and kick to contests instead of to the teams advantage. ANB just trots up and down the field, and a meagre eight disposals for the game will guarantee Christian Petracca, recovering from his dog bite, a spot for next week. The team returns to Etihad for next week’s encounter with St Kilda, and while it might sound trite, this is yet another must win game for the Demons who are sitting in the middle of the pack on 12 points, with only one top eight team in the on the same number. To put it another way, the team is already a game behind the majority of the teams in the top eight and its percentage is not all that flash. This cost them a finals appearance last year, a lesson that does not yet seem to have been learned. If Melbourne is to progress it must must win its next two games in order to put space between it and the teams in the bottom half of the ladder. After the past couple of weeks, the club finally took a small step in the direction of that much talked about injection of confidence and faith necessary to build a winning culture. A small step, but nevertheless, a positive one ... Melbourne 1.3.9 4.7.31 11.10.76 16.12.108 Essendon 2.3.15 5.7.37 6.9.45 10.12.72 Goals Melbourne Fritsch Hannan 3 Gawn Hogan T McDonald Melksham Spargo 2 Essendon Stringer 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti Smith 2, Laverde, Stewart, Zaharakis Best Melbourne Gawn Salem Hannan Hibberd Fritsch O McDonald T McDonald Essendon Merrett Zaharakis Ambrose Hurley McGrath Smith Injuries Melbourne Hogan (right ankle) Essendon Nil Reports Nil Umpires Foot, Rosebury, Williamson Official crowd 35,964 at Etihad Stadium
  5. THE LONG WAY HOME by Whispering Jack Recently, I was at Carrara for the Commonwealth Games and while watching the women’s 10,000 metre final, it was clear that the runners on the outside of the front bunch were going to be the first to tire and when that happened, they fell by the wayside. It’s been the same of late with the Demons. On the big stage against Richmond on Tuesday night, they were plodding along that Members wing taking the long way home, often finding themselves cornered, under pressure and resorting to chains of risky handballs that would inevitably come unstuck allowing them to be picked off by waiting Tigers who would move the ball into the corridor and set up their attacks. There has to be something wrong as well when, despite the overwhelming dominance of Max Gawn in the ruck, and some solid quality in its onball division, Melbourne fails to achieve winning figures in terms of clearances from the midfield and from the stoppages. This feature is also compounded by the drying up of scoring opportunities through a lack of goal kicking power, despite the team having demonstrated earlier in the year, in both the pre season and the first few games, multiple goal scorers and a power key forward in Jesse Hogan. With Hogan often doing a lot of his work up to 100 metres from the goal face, he’s going to be productive in the middle but this leaves very little, if any, marking power up forward. Even when Sam Weideman was up there, it was so easy for the premiership winning defence to pick off the ball and repulse the Demon attacks. This was no better demonstrated by one of the most stunning statistics of Tuesday night. In the opening quarter, Melbourne had 19 entries into the forward fifty metre arc and managed a solitary goal - the snap from Jake Melksham at the two minute mark of the game. They should have set themselves for a good win with that number of forward opportunities - it turned out an epic fail that would bite hard by the end of the game. The Demons are fortunate in that on Sunday, they come up against an equally shambolic and disappointing side in Essendon which was poor when it lowered its colours to Collingwood on Anzac Day. One would hope that Simon Goodwin comes up with something different this week because if he allows his players to box themselves out of the inside running and take the same old ineffective options, the result will be the same as it has been for the last two weeks. THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium Sunday, 29 April, 2018 at 1.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Essendon 129 wins Melbourne 82 wins 2 draws At Etihad Stadium Essendon 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The last five meetings 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches Worsfold 0 wins Goodwin 1 win MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel - Live at 1.00pm RADIO - SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 17.10.112 defeated Essendon 10.14.74 at Etihad Stadium, Round 6, 2017 Melbourne got itself back on the winner’s list after three losses in a row with a solid effort at Etihad Stadium. The Demons were helped by Joe Daniher’s yips in front of goal and Jack Watts’ accuracy - the much maligned forward booted four goals. THE TEAMS ESSENDON B: Brendon Goddard, Michael Hurley, Adam Saad HB: Patrick Ambrose, Cale Hooker, Dyson Heppell ? Matt Guelfi, Jayden Laverde, Kobe Mutch HF: Ben McNiece, Jake Stringer, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti F: David Zaharakis, Joe Daniher, Mark Baguley Foll: Matthew Leuenberger, Devon Smith, Jackson Merrett I/C: Darcy Parish, Andrew McGrath, Zach Merrett, James Stewart, Emg: Dylan Clarke, Kyle Langford, Shaun McKernan, Jordan Ridley In: Patrick Ambrose, Jayden Laverde, Matthew Leuenberger, Ben McNiece, Kobe Mutch Out: Josh Begley (injured), Tom Bellchambers (rested), Josh Green (injured), Michael Hartley (rested), David Myers (rested) MELBOURNE B: Jake Lever, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Bernie Vince, Michael Hibberd, Jayden Hunt ? Jordan Lewis, Nathan Jones, Christian Salem HF: Angus Brayshaw, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham F: Alex Neal-Bullen, Sam Weideman, James Harmes Foll: Max Gawn, Dom Tyson, Clayton Oliver I/C: Bayley Fritsch, Mitch Hannan, Tom McDonald, Charlie Spargo Emg: Jeff Garlett, Joel Smith, Timothy Smith, Josh Wagner In: Bayley Fritsch, Mitch Hannan, Jordan Lewis, Tom McDonald, Charlie Spargo Out: Jeff Garlett (omitted), Dean Kent (hamstring), Christian Petracca (finger), Billy Stretch (omitted), Josh Wagner (omitted) New: Charlie Spargo GETTING EVEN Some years ago, I attended a Melbourne Football Club luncheon where the keynote speaker was Chris Connolly, the former Demon player and Fremantle coach who more lately, was the back at the club as its football manager. As has been customary at this organisation, the place was in crisis at the time (both on and off the field) and Connolly was taking questions from the floor after his rather optimistic spiel about the club’s long term future (and it seems to me that the definition of “long term” in that context insofar as the Demons are concerned is ever expanding beyond expectations). One questioner took aim at the team make up after the previous week’s loss and suggested that it was time for heads to roll and for massive changes to be made. Connolly’s response was that in his estimation, a large shake up was unnecessary and further, that when a club makes five changes or more, the chances of a win were virtually zero. So this week, as two of the competition’s more disappointing teams face off against each other, Connolly’s words will be tested. Both sides have made five changes and, on that basis, there can only be one result - a draw. And that is my prediction for this week. That result is justified not only on the basis of the Connolly theory but on a factual basis. These two teams are evenly matched. At this stage of the season, the Bombers are 13th in the AFL ladder with 8 points and a percentage of 89.2, just 0.4% ahead of Melbourne in 14th place with the same number of premiership points. The Demons of course, are becoming used to lagging others in percentage by such a small margin to an extent that is very much to their detriment. Both sides are having trouble winning matches, their forward lines are more than somewhat dysfunctional and the only thing they seem to be good at of late, is total capitulation in the final quarter. After the Demons’ frustrating finish to 2017, one would have expected much better than what they’ve served up late in their games this year - at the very least a bit of fight at the end to save face. But it hasn’t happened. The Bombers are similarly, in total disarray. I would be heavily tempted normally to tip Melbourne on the basis that the team selection appears to help cover some of the gaping holes revealed in its structure over the past two weeks but the words of Chris Connolly keep ringing in my ears. So for this game, I can see Joe Daniher booting 8 goals (four on each of the McDonald brothers) but the Demons somehow snatching a draw from the jaws of victory. My tip - for the second week in a row, the AFL will see a drawn game.
  6. Recently, I was at Carrara for the Commonwealth Games and while watching the women’s 10,000 metre final, it was clear that the runners on the outside of the front bunch were going to be the first to tire and when that happened, they fell by the wayside. It’s been the same of late with the Demons. On the big stage against Richmond on Tuesday night, they were plodding along that Members wing taking the long way home, often finding themselves cornered, under pressure and resorting to chains of risky handballs that would inevitably come unstuck allowing them to be picked off by waiting Tigers who would move the ball into the corridor and set up their attacks. There has to be something wrong as well when, despite the overwhelming dominance of Max Gawn in the ruck, and some solid quality in its onball division, Melbourne fails to achieve winning figures in terms of clearances from the midfield and from the stoppages. This feature is also compounded by the drying up of scoring opportunities through a lack of goal kicking power, despite the team having demonstrated earlier in the year, in both the pre season and the first few games, multiple goal scorers and a power key forward in Jesse Hogan. With Hogan often doing a lot of his work up to 100 metres from the goal face, he’s going to be productive in the middle but this leaves very little, if any, marking power up forward. Even when Sam Weideman was up there, it was so easy for the premiership winning defence to pick off the ball and repulse the Demon attacks. This was no better demonstrated by one of the most stunning statistics of Tuesday night. In the opening quarter, Melbourne had 19 entries into the forward fifty metre arc and managed a solitary goal - the snap from Jake Melksham at the two minute mark of the game. They should have set themselves for a good win with that number of forward opportunities - it turned out an epic fail that would bite hard by the end of the game. The Demons are fortunate in that on Sunday, they come up against an equally shambolic and disappointing side in Essendon which was poor when it lowered its colours to Collingwood on Anzac Day. One would hope that Simon Goodwin comes up with something different this week because if he allows his players to box themselves out of the inside running and take the same old ineffective options, the result will be the same as it has been for the last two weeks. THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium Sunday, 29 April, 2018 at 1.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Essendon 129 wins Melbourne 82 wins 2 draws At Etihad Stadium Essendon 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The last five meetings 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches Worsfold 0 wins Goodwin 1 win MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel - Live at 1.00pm RADIO - SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 17.10.112 defeated Essendon 10.14.74 at Etihad Stadium, Round 6, 2017 Melbourne got itself back on the winner’s list after three losses in a row with a solid effort at Etihad Stadium. The Demons were helped by Joe Daniher’s yips in front of goal and Jack Watts’ accuracy - the much maligned forward booted four goals. THE TEAMS ESSENDON B: Brendon Goddard, Michael Hurley, Adam Saad HB: Patrick Ambrose, Cale Hooker, Dyson Heppell ? Matt Guelfi, Jayden Laverde, Kobe Mutch HF: Ben McNiece, Jake Stringer, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti F: David Zaharakis, Joe Daniher, Mark Baguley Foll: Matthew Leuenberger, Devon Smith, Jackson Merrett I/C: Darcy Parish, Andrew McGrath, Zach Merrett, James Stewart, Emg: Dylan Clarke, Kyle Langford, Shaun McKernan, Jordan Ridley In: Patrick Ambrose, Jayden Laverde, Matthew Leuenberger, Ben McNiece, Kobe Mutch Out: Josh Begley (injured), Tom Bellchambers (rested), Josh Green (injured), Michael Hartley (rested), David Myers (rested) MELBOURNE B: Jake Lever, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Bernie Vince, Michael Hibberd, Jayden Hunt ? Jordan Lewis, Nathan Jones, Christian Salem HF: Angus Brayshaw, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham F: Alex Neal-Bullen, Sam Weideman, James Harmes Foll: Max Gawn, Dom Tyson, Clayton Oliver I/C: Bayley Fritsch, Mitch Hannan, Tom McDonald, Charlie Spargo Emg: Jeff Garlett, Joel Smith, Timothy Smith, Josh Wagner In: Bayley Fritsch, Mitch Hannan, Jordan Lewis, Tom McDonald, Charlie Spargo Out: Jeff Garlett (omitted), Dean Kent (hamstring), Christian Petracca (finger), Billy Stretch (omitted), Josh Wagner (omitted) New: Charlie Spargo GETTING EVEN Some years ago, I attended a Melbourne Football Club luncheon where the keynote speaker was Chris Connolly, the former Demon player and Fremantle coach who more lately, was the back at the club as its football manager. As has been customary at this organisation, the place was in crisis at the time (both on and off the field) and Connolly was taking questions from the floor after his rather optimistic spiel about the club’s long term future (and it seems to me that the definition of “long term” in that context insofar as the Demons are concerned is ever expanding beyond expectations). One questioner took aim at the team make up after the previous week’s loss and suggested that it was time for heads to roll and for massive changes to be made. Connolly’s response was that in his estimation, a large shake up was unnecessary and further, that when a club makes five changes or more, the chances of a win were virtually zero. So this week, as two of the competition’s more disappointing teams face off against each other, Connolly’s words will be tested. Both sides have made five changes and, on that basis, there can only be one result - a draw. And that is my prediction for this week. That result is justified not only on the basis of the Connolly theory but on a factual basis. These two teams are evenly matched. At this stage of the season, the Bombers are 13th in the AFL ladder with 8 points and a percentage of 89.2, just 0.4% ahead of Melbourne in 14th place with the same number of premiership points. The Demons of course, are becoming used to lagging others in percentage by such a small margin to an extent that is very much to their detriment. Both sides are having trouble winning matches, their forward lines are more than somewhat dysfunctional and the only thing they seem to be good at of late, is total capitulation in the final quarter. After the Demons’ frustrating finish to 2017, one would have expected much better than what they’ve served up late in their games this year - at the very least a bit of fight at the end to save face. But it hasn’t happened. The Bombers are similarly, in total disarray. I would be heavily tempted normally to tip Melbourne on the basis that the team selection appears to help cover some of the gaping holes revealed in its structure over the past two weeks but the words of Chris Connolly keep ringing in my ears. So for this game, I can see Joe Daniher booting 8 goals (four on each of the McDonald brothers) but the Demons somehow snatching a draw from the jaws of victory. My tip - for the second week in a row, the AFL will see a drawn game.
  7. Demonland

    The Last Time They Met

    No use dwelling on the Richmond game. We have another one to worry about in 5 day’s time... Last time we beat them at our new home away from home - a place where conditions are not usually greasy so the fumbling might be reduced somewhat. 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)
  8. Lucifer's Hero

    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.
  9. Demonland

    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
  10. Demonland

    Demonland Player of the Year

    Cast those votes please folks ...
  11. Demonland

    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)
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Whispering_Jack

    GAMEDAY - Round 6

    It's just another day but you wonder what else it's going to bring?
  15. Demonland

    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
  16. Demonland

    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
  17. 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
  18. Whispering_Jack

    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.
  19. 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
  20. Demonland

    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
  21. Demonland

    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.
  22. 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.
  23. Post your votes here please ... as soon as the final siren sounds
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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