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  1. THE WHIRLWIND by Whispering Jack This experience of supporting Melbourne is a bit like walking your way through an emotional whirlwind. You get very little time to savour the rare experience of a seven goal win over what is acknowledged as the leading team in the competition on their home patch before one of your finest young players suffers a concussion for the fourth time in twelve months and all of a sudden his career is in question. That's what happened to Angus Brayshaw less than 24 hours after the team triumphantly strode off the Adelaide Oval last Saturday evening. The highs and the lows of competition sport are well known and they happen to everyone - it's a given. But the whirlwind for Demon fans is an ill wind from hell that blows strong, and hot: in fact its white hot and you get to feel the heat a matter of two days down the track when another young man who it was said would one day the best key forward in the land, is diagnosed as having testicular cancer. The pundits can talk about the Demons' win in Adelaide as the most outstanding victory of any team for the season to date, but what does it mean when one of your own is suffering from such a shattering diagnosis coming less than two weeks after the passing of his father? They say that the cancer can be overcome, that this type of surgery carries a high rate of success, that "... this was an extremely early detection and Jesse is expected to make a full recovery and will return to football this year." The comfort comes from the knowledge that there are people like Sam Rowe, the Carlton defender who ironically was struck in the face by Hogan, incurring him a two week suspension as a result in Round 2, who survived the ordeal of treatment for the ailment and recovered to play football again. And Rowe reached out to offer him counseling and assistance in his darkest hours. But from the club's perspective, it all continues. There's a game to be won against the Kangaroos with their giant ruckman standing in the way while the Demons' own talls look on from the sidelines, leaving an undersized ruck department to fight against the odds. They haven't beaten North Melbourne for a while - not since Nathan Jones' career was in its infancy back in 2006. John Howard was the Prime Minister back then, Sexyback by Justin Timberlake was the number one song in the country and a Japanese horse named Delta Blues was being prepared to win the Melbourne Cup. A little freckle-faced kid called Clayton Oliver was in grade two. One of the constants throughout Melbourne's last decade of pain has been North Melbourne's dominance over the club. That winning streak currently stands at 15 games in a row including the last seven games between them at the MCG. The streak will be broken at some stage and if the Demons can bring last week's form into Sunday's game then it will happen sooner rather than later. It wasn't all that long ago that Melbourne's midfield depth was derided by some so-called experts including those who used statistics to demonstrate its weakness in the engine room. But that is a case that can no longer be argued with a straight face. Today's Demon on ball brigade is absolutely ferocious. They are ranked in the top four in the competition for centre clearances (despite their current ruck woes), contested possessions tackles. Perhaps this is what prompted Kevin Bartlett to claim that the Dees are one of only three Victorian sides that can win the premiership this year. The problem is that the team's depth has been hit hard by those injuries to key players. I would like to think that Melbourne can overcome the injury plague and win again this week even without Gus, Jesse and the big blokes. Good clubs manage to do such things consistently. Ask the Western Bulldogs who did it last year when they walked through the whirlwind to overcome similar adversity. For the Demons, it would be a real triumph of the soul. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Sunday 21 May, 2017 at the MCG at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins North Melbourne 79 wins 1 draw At MCG Melbourne 54 wins North Melbourne 36 wins Last five times Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 5 wins The Coaches Goodwin 0 wins Scott 0 wins MEDIA TV - Channel 7, Fox Sports 3 at 3.00pm (live) RADIO - TBA THE BETTING Melbourne to win $1.50 North Melbourne to win $2.60 THE LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 21.10.136 defeated Melbourne 20.11.131 at Blundstone Oval in Round 3 2016. The Kangaroos were quick out of the blocks with a roaring gale at their backs and had seven straight goals on the board before the Demons troubled the scorers but after trailing by 36 points at the first break they played a nine-goal second term to be seven points ahead at halftime. North then regained the lead halfway through the third and led by 3 goals at the final break with Melbourne pushing forward to level the scores 8 minutes into the final term. The Kangaroos regrouped and the Melbourne fightback left it 5 points adrift when Billy Stretch gathered the ball near goal as the siren sounded. MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince C: Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver, Tomas Bugg HF: Christian Petracca, Jack Watts, Mitch Hannan F: Jeff Garlett, Cameron Pedersen, Dom Tyson FOLL: Tom McDonald, Jordan Lewis, Jack Viney I/C: Dean Kent, Christian Salem, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman EMG: Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen Billy Stretch NO CHANGE NORTH MELBOURNE B: Marley Williams, Robbie Tarrant, Ed Vickers-Willis HB: Aaron Mullett, Scott D Thompson, Jamie Macmillan C: Sam Gibson, Ben Cunnington, Mason Wood HF: Kayne Turner, Jarrad Waite, Luke McDonald F: Nathan Hrovat, Ben Brown, Shaun Higgins FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Jed Anderson, Ryan Clarke I/C: Shaun Atley, Taylor Garner, Lachlan Hansen, Andrew Swallow, EMG: Sam Durdin, Declan Mountford, Braydon Preuss IN: Taylor Garner, Aaron Mullett, Andrew Swallow, Jarrad Waite OUT: Jed Anderson (foot) Trent Dumont (concussion), Sam Durdin (omitted), Jy Simpkin (AC Joint) IT ALL FIGURES by Stan the Stats Man More than a third of the season has passed by so it's time to look at how the Melbourne list has been traveling. The club has often been compared with another AFL up-and-comer in St. Kilda but I can assure you that the Saints have few injury worries to date by comparison with Melbourne and one or two other clubs in the competition. That's just one thing that stands out from the simple analysis below. 1. Jesse Hogan MFC games 4, goals 9 An eventful season so far but not for good reasons. He was suspended in Round 2, missed a week mourning the loss of his father and now the cancer diagnosis. 2. Nathan Jones MFC games 8, goals 6 The hard nosed skipper has led from the front throughout the season so far. 3. Christian Salem MFC games 8, goals 3 Has raised his game a level whether playing in midfield or defence. 4. Jack Watts MFC games 8, goals 13 After a less than encouraging pre season period, Watts has hardly put a foot wrong as a forward or back up ruckman. 5. Christian Petracca MFC games 8, goals 12 Has made good progress and is starting to live up to his high draft selection. 6. Jordan Lewis MFC games 5, goals 3 A magnificent acquisition for the club who has provided inspiration and leadership but with one major blemish being his suspension for 3 matches after a brain fade in Round 2. 7. Jack Viney MFC games 8, goals 3 Made a slow start to the season and has started to come good in the last few weeks. 8. Heritier Lumumba Retired without even making a start to his pre season. 9. Jack Trengove CD games 5, goals 1 Still biding his time playing consistent football in the VFL but will he get another opportunity to play at the highest level? 10. Angus Brayshaw MFC games 2, goals 1, CD games 3, goals 1 Troubled by concussion issues and his short term future remains in doubt. 11. Max Gawn MFC games 3, goals 1 Injured in Round 3 and underwent hamstring surgery after the game, the All Australian ruckman's presence in the ruck is being sorely missed. 12. Dom Tyson MFC games 7, goals 1 Form has been a little inconsistent but he's been really important when up and running. 13. Clayton Oliver MFC games 8, goals 1 The young midfielder is having an outstanding second season. Probably leading in the club's best and fairest and even spoken of as a possible All Australian. 14. Michael Hibberd MFC games 4, goals 1, CD games 2, goals 0 A prolific ball winner with great delivery skills and a good stopper in defence. Already an important player with the Demons after missing the early games with injury. 15. Billy Stretch MFC games 5, goals 2, CD games 2, goals 0 After a good start, his form dropped off ever so slightly and he found himself out of the side. 16. Dean Kent MFC games 3, goals 5, CD games 3, goals 3 Form has been indifferent but he has his chance now. 17. Sam Frost MFC games 5, goals 0 Came back from some pre season injury worries as a much improved player in defence. 18. Jake Melksham MFC games 6, goals 0, CD games 1, goals 1 Had some good moments but found himself down at Casey where he earned a suspension after playing a blinder. 19. Mitch Hannan MFC games 7, goals 7 Has been good in his debut year at the club. 20. Colin Garland Suffered an ACL injury before the start of the season. Sidelined for 2017. 21. Cameron Pedersen MFC games 3, goals 5, CD games 2, goals 3 Working hard against tough odds and taller opposition as a fill in ruckman/forward. 22. Aaron Vandenberg Yet to take the field during the regular season due to a heel injury. 23. Bernie Vince MFC games 7, goals 1 Played a great tagging role in recent weeks and was terrific on Rory Sloane. 24. Jay Kennedy-Harris MFC games 3, goals 0, CD games 2, goals 1 Didn't do enough to impress in his three match stint after a long period out through injuries. 25. Tom McDonald MFC games 8, goals 4 Strong leader in defence who has also gone forward and played on the ball during the club's ruck crisis. 26. Sam Weideman MFC games 5, goals 3, CD games 1, goals 0 Was strong in the tackling department against Adelaide but needs to impose himself more as a tall forward. 27. Liam Hulett CD games 2, goals 0, CD DL games 1, goals 0 Struggling at the moment at Casey after missing part of the pre season. 28. Oscar McDonald MFC games 6, goals 0, CD games 2, goals 0 His form was patchy early but has come back strongly after a stint with the Casey Demons. 29. Jayden Hunt MFC games 8, goals 4 Having a wonderful season highlighted by his blistering pace, adventurous running and athleticism. 30. Alex Neal-Bullen MFC games 6, goals 3, CD games 1, goals 1 Had is moments this year and is on the fringe at the moment. 32. Tomas Bugg MFC games 4, goals 2, CD games 1, goals 5 Working his way into a regular spot in the Demon line up. 33. Jake Spencer MFC games 2, goals 0 Waited a long time to get an opportunity at AFL level but suffered a shoulder injury in just his second game back. 34. Mitch King CD games 4, goals 0 King is a developing player coming back from an ACL and is being given time at Casey. 35. Ben Kennedy CD games 5, goals 2 Struggling to gain a spot at Melbourne, Kennedy has been working on his game down at Casey. 36. Jeff Garlett MFC games 8, goals 20 Dangerous forward having a terrific season and finally gaining recognition for the value of his role to the team. 37. Dion Johnstone CD games 5, goals 2 Speedy forward who can lay a tackle is learning the trade in the VFL. 38. Tim Smith ® MFC games 2, goals 1, CD games 1 goals 0 Unlucky to suffer a broken rib in his second game. 39. Neville Jetta MFC games 8, goals 2 Steady as a rock playing the small defender's role. 40. Patrick McKenna A hamstring tear has prevented him from playing at either AFL or VFL level. Had another setback at training this week. 41. Mitchell White ® CD games 4, goals 1 Working hard as a defender at Casey but missed last week. 42. Josh Wagner MFC games 2, goals 0, CD games 1, goals 0 Had some injury woes in the pre season but has come back into the team and slotted in well in defence. 43. James Harmes MFC games 4, goals 3, CD games 3, goals 0 Lost his place in the Melbourne team but bounced back with a strong performance at Casey last week. 44. Joel Smith ® MFC games 1, goals 0 Was going along nicely in defence on debut when he suffered an injured shoulder and will miss at least the rest of the first half of the season. 45. Declan Keilty ® CD games 5, goals 3 Rookie spare parts man getting experience as a back up ruckman with key position roles in the VFL. 47. Lachlan Filipovic ® CD DL games 4, goals 0 Project ruckman getting game time in the Development League with the Casey Demons. 48. Corey Maynard ® CD games 4, goals 1 Was coming along nicely performing better than expected and getting plenty of the ball as a midfielder at Casey when he suffered a big hit and will miss his second game this week as a result.
  2. Not just for the players, but for the supporters as well. Once again, a Melbourne side comes into a game off the back of a first class performance against Adelaide, playing against a team that lost by nearly 7 goals the previous week, at home ... yes there was only going to be one result. Another match that should have/could have been won ... and it wasn’t. Once again the side failed to turn up in the first quarter, and it was obvious from the first ten minutes that Melbourne weren’t playing serious committed football. It was fortunate that North couldn’t kick straight with 13 scoring shots to 7 and only a 26 point lead at quarter time. In a bad coaching mistake, Tom McDonald played at full forward while his brother Oscar was left to mind the North man-mountain, Ben Brown. Tom didn’t get a touch and Brown had a party, as Oscar is not physically well developed enough to take on someone built like Brown. Tom goes back and Brown doesn’t get another grab until the final quarter. With the proper structure reestablished, the backline suddenly looked solid again as Frost and Hibberd in particular provided the solid attack out of defence, instead of struggling to contain the North big men up forward. Once again the Melbourne fight back come and the Demons found themselves down by 2 points at the major break. But coming from behind just saps strength and eventually the players pay. The third quarter was just a repeat of the first quarter as all around the ground the Melbourne players just looked tired. Dom Tyson just continues to go through the motions, especially when the ball is beyond his reach. He was the same last week, yet it was covered by the efforts of others around him. He no longer gets a start in the middle, yet cannot generate enough vigour to make the contest around the ball when playing off the wing at centre bounces. Two tackles in a game is simply not good enough for someone who plays around the ball. Jack Watts looks even more tired, but can be expected since he has now had to shoulder ruck duties for over the past month. He simply isn’t built for that job, especially when he is brought in against the current best ruckman in the competition in Goldstein. Cam Pedersen played another great game, but Goldstein simply was able to feed his mids with precise taps, something Jacobs didn’t do last week. With Clayton Oliver tagged and Bernie Vince tagging Higgins, it left a solitary one on one situation in the middle. Goldstein was always able to tap it to the right spot to advantage the North player, no matter who was standing there. Without a proper ruck, and without a proper forward, Melbourne were always going to struggle against a bigger bodied North. But with tired players now crying for the mid-season bye, the battle became even harder. At the end of the third quarter the Demons again found themselves 22 points down. And despite a spirited comeback in the final quarter, to get within a kick, North just had too much strength and finally won by a 14 point margin. We had chances, Tom Bugg in particular who with 3 set shots and an easy snap, scored 4 points. Bernie had the chance to give us the lead in the final quarter with an easy snap, but again missed. In the end, the opportunities were lost, and all the momentum with it. Our opportunities were further stymied by a simply appalling umpiring display. Not a single holding the ball was paid in favour of Melbourne, deliberate OOB paid against us after a North player knocked the ball out, a blatant kick out on the full was paid a mark, and from at least two of these North goals resulted. With a final tally of 22 frees to 10 there was a one sided disparity, yet the unwillingness to award obvious frees is now becoming endemic within the umpiring fraternity. Play on seems to be the only call some umpires are capable of making. Unfortunately, the Demon tank is rather empty still. Weidemann is getting games, simply because we have no-one else at Casey who can play forward. We haven’t the luxury of leaving him there for a couple of games to gain confidence, and he was shoved aside and monstered by Tarrant and Thompson. He doesn’t help himself with a complete lack of second efforts and also just stops once the ball is outside his reach,as he watches his opponent stream downfield. Kent, Bugg and Wagner had shockers, but once again the pickings at Casey are slim, and to be honest, not much of an upgrade in the forms of Melksham, ANB, Trengove or Stretch. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel, and any further injuries will severely deplete our ability to put a competitive side on the park, at least until we see the return of Gawn, Spencer, Hogan and Vandenberg. With the current injury list, the side has been making good use of the medical profession. The supporters have been suffering a severe case of MFCSS (Melbourne Football Club Supporter Syndrome), yet in both cases there is no short term cure. Do we expect to win against Gold Coast in Alice next week? The MFCSS says probably not, as 2 metre Peter, Ablett and Lynch are due for break-out games, as they come off a bye. We have some very tired individuals and no prospect of injured players returning. So based on these facts, there is a better than even chance that the Demons will come out and trounce the Suns. We certainly hope so, or the fans will be calling for the doctor themselves. Melbourne 2.5.17 8.7.55 9.9.63 13.12.90 North Melbourne 6.7.43 8.9.57 12.13.85 15.14.104 Goals Melbourne Hannan 3 Pedersen 2 Frost, Jetta Jones, Kent Lewis Oliver Salem Viney North Melbourne Brown 5 Wood 3 Garner 2 Cunnington Higgins McDonald Williams Ziebell Best Melbourne Hibberd Viney T. McDonald Jones Hannan Jetta North Melbourne Brown, Cunnington, Turner, Goldstein, Thompson, Tarrant Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Cunnington (right ankle/knee) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Nicholls, Hosking, Hay Official crowd 33,218 at the MCG
  3. A number of commentators were calling Melbourne's win over Adelaide "season-defining" and I wish that were true but the reality is that our season to date has been defined by other things, such as injuries, illness and suspensions to important players, slow starts to games, narrow losses and defeats snatched from the jaws of victory. I don't really like the expression "season-defining" and I would prefer that it be confined to the context of a single win in September but if it must be used then it should apply to the day when the club finally shows that it can perform consistently as it did last Saturday night at Adelaide and win games that it's expected to win. Melbourne opened the season with a great win over St Kilda but in the following march it played poorly against Carlton. We haven't played two good games in a row so far this year. It's time.
  4. This experience of supporting Melbourne is a bit like walking your way through an emotional whirlwind. You get very little time to savour the rare experience of a seven goal win over what is acknowledged as the leading team in the competition on their home patch before one of your finest young players suffers a concussion for the fourth time in twelve months and all of a sudden his career is in question. That's what happened to Angus Brayshaw less than 24 hours after the team triumphantly strode off the Adelaide Oval last Saturday evening. The highs and the lows of competition sport are well known and they happen to everyone - it's a given. But the whirlwind for Demon fans is an ill wind from hell that blows strong, and hot: in fact its white hot and you get to feel the heat a matter of two days down the track when another young man who it was said would one day the best key forward in the land, is diagnosed as having testicular cancer. The pundits can talk about the Demons' win in Adelaide as the most outstanding victory of any team for the season to date, but what does it mean when one of your own is suffering from such a shattering diagnosis coming less than two weeks after the passing of his father? They say that the cancer can be overcome, that this type of surgery carries a high rate of success, that "... this was an extremely early detection and Jesse is expected to make a full recovery and will return to football this year." The comfort comes from the knowledge that there are people like Sam Rowe, the Carlton defender who ironically was struck in the face by Hogan, incurring him a two week suspension as a result in Round 2, who survived the ordeal of treatment for the ailment and recovered to play football again. And Rowe reached out to offer him counseling and assistance in his darkest hours. But from the club's perspective, it all continues. There's a game to be won against the Kangaroos with their giant ruckman standing in the way while the Demons' own talls look on from the sidelines, leaving an undersized ruck department to fight against the odds. They haven't beaten North Melbourne for a while - not since Nathan Jones' career was in its infancy back in 2006. John Howard was the Prime Minister back then, Sexyback by Justin Timberlake was the number one song in the country and a Japanese horse named Delta Blues was being prepared to win the Melbourne Cup. A little freckle-faced kid called Clayton Oliver was in grade two. One of the constants throughout Melbourne's last decade of pain has been North Melbourne's dominance over the club. That winning streak currently stands at 15 games in a row including the last seven games between them at the MCG. The streak will be broken at some stage and if the Demons can bring last week's form into Sunday's game then it will happen sooner rather than later. It wasn't all that long ago that Melbourne's midfield depth was derided by some so-called experts including those who used statistics to demonstrate its weakness in the engine room. But that is a case that can no longer be argued with a straight face. Today's Demon on ball brigade is absolutely ferocious. They are ranked in the top four in the competition for centre clearances (despite their current ruck woes), contested possessions tackles. Perhaps this is what prompted Kevin Bartlett to claim that the Dees are one of only three Victorian sides that can win the premiership this year. The problem is that the team's depth has been hit hard by those injuries to key players. I would like to think that Melbourne can overcome the injury plague and win again this week even without Gus, Jesse and the big blokes. Good clubs manage to do such things consistently. Ask the Western Bulldogs who did it last year when they walked through the whirlwind to overcome similar adversity. For the Demons, it would be a real triumph of the soul. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Sunday 21 May, 2017 at the MCG at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins North Melbourne 79 wins 1 draw At MCG Melbourne 54 wins North Melbourne 36 wins Last five times Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 5 wins The Coaches Goodwin 0 wins Scott 0 wins MEDIA TV - Channel 7, Fox Sports 3 at 3.00pm (live) RADIO - TBA THE BETTING Melbourne to win $1.50 North Melbourne to win $2.60 THE LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 21.10.136 defeated Melbourne 20.11.131 at Blundstone Oval in Round 3 2016. The Kangaroos were quick out of the blocks with a roaring gale at their backs and had seven straight goals on the board before the Demons troubled the scorers but after trailing by 36 points at the first break they played a nine-goal second term to be seven points ahead at halftime. North then regained the lead halfway through the third and led by 3 goals at the final break with Melbourne pushing forward to level the scores 8 minutes into the final term. The Kangaroos regrouped and the Melbourne fightback left it 5 points adrift when Billy Stretch gathered the ball near goal as the siren sounded. MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince C: Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver, Tomas Bugg HF: Christian Petracca, Jack Watts, Mitch Hannan F: Jeff Garlett, Cameron Pedersen, Dom Tyson FOLL: Tom McDonald, Jordan Lewis, Jack Viney I/C: Dean Kent, Christian Salem, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman EMG: Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen Billy Stretch NO CHANGE NORTH MELBOURNE B: Marley Williams, Robbie Tarrant, Ed Vickers-Willis HB: Aaron Mullett, Scott D Thompson, Jamie Macmillan C: Sam Gibson, Ben Cunnington, Mason Wood HF: Kayne Turner, Jarrad Waite, Luke McDonald F: Nathan Hrovat, Ben Brown, Shaun Higgins FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Jed Anderson, Ryan Clarke I/C: Shaun Atley, Taylor Garner, Lachlan Hansen, Andrew Swallow, EMG: Sam Durdin, Declan Mountford, Braydon Preuss IN: Taylor Garner, Aaron Mullett, Andrew Swallow, Jarrad Waite OUT: Jed Anderson (foot) Trent Dumont (concussion), Sam Durdin (omitted), Jy Simpkin (AC Joint) IT ALL FIGURES by Stan the Stats Man More than a third of the season has passed by so it's time to look at how the Melbourne list has been traveling. The club has often been compared with another AFL up-and-comer in St. Kilda but I can assure you that the Saints have few injury worries to date by comparison with Melbourne and one or two other clubs in the competition. That's just one thing that stands out from the simple analysis below. 1. Jesse Hogan MFC games 4, goals 9 An eventful season so far but not for good reasons. He was suspended in Round 2, missed a week mourning the loss of his father and now the cancer diagnosis. 2. Nathan Jones MFC games 8, goals 6 The hard nosed skipper has led from the front throughout the season so far. 3. Christian Salem MFC games 8, goals 3 Has raised his game a level whether playing in midfield or defence. 4. Jack Watts MFC games 8, goals 13 After a less than encouraging pre season period, Watts has hardly put a foot wrong as a forward or back up ruckman. 5. Christian Petracca MFC games 8, goals 12 Has made good progress and is starting to live up to his high draft selection. 6. Jordan Lewis MFC games 5, goals 3 A magnificent acquisition for the club who has provided inspiration and leadership but with one major blemish being his suspension for 3 matches after a brain fade in Round 2. 7. Jack Viney MFC games 8, goals 3 Made a slow start to the season and has started to come good in the last few weeks. 8. Heritier Lumumba Retired without even making a start to his pre season. 9. Jack Trengove CD games 5, goals 1 Still biding his time playing consistent football in the VFL but will he get another opportunity to play at the highest level? 10. Angus Brayshaw MFC games 2, goals 1, CD games 3, goals 1 Troubled by concussion issues and his short term future remains in doubt. 11. Max Gawn MFC games 3, goals 1 Injured in Round 3 and underwent hamstring surgery after the game, the All Australian ruckman's presence in the ruck is being sorely missed. 12. Dom Tyson MFC games 7, goals 1 Form has been a little inconsistent but he's been really important when up and running. 13. Clayton Oliver MFC games 8, goals 1 The young midfielder is having an outstanding second season. Probably leading in the club's best and fairest and even spoken of as a possible All Australian. 14. Michael Hibberd MFC games 4, goals 1, CD games 2, goals 0 A prolific ball winner with great delivery skills and a good stopper in defence. Already an important player with the Demons after missing the early games with injury. 15. Billy Stretch MFC games 5, goals 2, CD games 2, goals 0 After a good start, his form dropped off ever so slightly and he found himself out of the side. 16. Dean Kent MFC games 3, goals 5, CD games 3, goals 3 Form has been indifferent but he has his chance now. 17. Sam Frost MFC games 5, goals 0 Came back from some pre season injury worries as a much improved player in defence. 18. Jake Melksham MFC games 6, goals 0, CD games 1, goals 1 Had some good moments but found himself down at Casey where he earned a suspension after playing a blinder. 19. Mitch Hannan MFC games 7, goals 7 Has been good in his debut year at the club. 20. Colin Garland Suffered an ACL injury before the start of the season. Sidelined for 2017. 21. Cameron Pedersen MFC games 3, goals 5, CD games 2, goals 3 Working hard against tough odds and taller opposition as a fill in ruckman/forward. 22. Aaron Vandenberg Yet to take the field during the regular season due to a heel injury. 23. Bernie Vince MFC games 7, goals 1 Played a great tagging role in recent weeks and was terrific on Rory Sloane. 24. Jay Kennedy-Harris MFC games 3, goals 0, CD games 2, goals 1 Didn't do enough to impress in his three match stint after a long period out through injuries. 25. Tom McDonald MFC games 8, goals 4 Strong leader in defence who has also gone forward and played on the ball during the club's ruck crisis. 26. Sam Weideman MFC games 5, goals 3, CD games 1, goals 0 Was strong in the tackling department against Adelaide but needs to impose himself more as a tall forward. 27. Liam Hulett CD games 2, goals 0, CD DL games 1, goals 0 Struggling at the moment at Casey after missing part of the pre season. 28. Oscar McDonald MFC games 6, goals 0, CD games 2, goals 0 His form was patchy early but has come back strongly after a stint with the Casey Demons. 29. Jayden Hunt MFC games 8, goals 4 Having a wonderful season highlighted by his blistering pace, adventurous running and athleticism. 30. Alex Neal-Bullen MFC games 6, goals 3, CD games 1, goals 1 Had is moments this year and is on the fringe at the moment. 32. Tomas Bugg MFC games 4, goals 2, CD games 1, goals 5 Working his way into a regular spot in the Demon line up. 33. Jake Spencer MFC games 2, goals 0 Waited a long time to get an opportunity at AFL level but suffered a shoulder injury in just his second game back. 34. Mitch King CD games 4, goals 0 King is a developing player coming back from an ACL and is being given time at Casey. 35. Ben Kennedy CD games 5, goals 2 Struggling to gain a spot at Melbourne, Kennedy has been working on his game down at Casey. 36. Jeff Garlett MFC games 8, goals 20 Dangerous forward having a terrific season and finally gaining recognition for the value of his role to the team. 37. Dion Johnstone CD games 5, goals 2 Speedy forward who can lay a tackle is learning the trade in the VFL. 38. Tim Smith ® MFC games 2, goals 1, CD games 1 goals 0 Unlucky to suffer a broken rib in his second game. 39. Neville Jetta MFC games 8, goals 2 Steady as a rock playing the small defender's role. 40. Patrick McKenna A hamstring tear has prevented him from playing at either AFL or VFL level. Had another setback at training this week. 41. Mitchell White ® CD games 4, goals 1 Working hard as a defender at Casey but missed last week. 42. Josh Wagner MFC games 2, goals 0, CD games 1, goals 0 Had some injury woes in the pre season but has come back into the team and slotted in well in defence. 43. James Harmes MFC games 4, goals 3, CD games 3, goals 0 Lost his place in the Melbourne team but bounced back with a strong performance at Casey last week. 44. Joel Smith ® MFC games 1, goals 0 Was going along nicely in defence on debut when he suffered an injured shoulder and will miss at least the rest of the first half of the season. 45. Declan Keilty ® CD games 5, goals 3 Rookie spare parts man getting experience as a back up ruckman with key position roles in the VFL. 47. Lachlan Filipovic ® CD DL games 4, goals 0 Project ruckman getting game time in the Development League with the Casey Demons. 48. Corey Maynard ® CD games 4, goals 1 Was coming along nicely performing better than expected and getting plenty of the ball as a midfielder at Casey when he suffered a big hit and will miss his second game this week as a result.
  5. TO THE SWORD by The Oracle There was a time when a seven goal first quarter haul against the Demons would be enough to spell doom and disaster - a defeat of in excess of ten goals and perhaps more than 100 points. Similarly, if the skipper failed to get his hands on ball for an effective disposal in the first quarter. That is what happened to Melbourne against North Melbourne in their Round 19 game - it simply was not in the contest in the opening term and trailed by 28 points conceding nine scoring shots to one (a goal to Chris Dawes) by time on. Viv Michie then missed everything from 35 metres out and a lucky 50 metre penalty and goal to Jesse Hogan temporarily provided some respite but by the first break they were staring down the barrel and 34 points in arrears. Little wonder that four years have passed since Melbourne won consecutive games of football or that it holds the AFL's current longest losing streak against another club, namely 14 on end to the Shinboners! From the opening, the Demons struggled to hold the little men of the opposition - Lindsay Thomas kicked the first and the last goal of the quarter and scored five for the day which was virtually the difference between the teams in the end, Robin Nahas seemingly revived his career for the nth time against Melbourne and Boomer was Boomer. What the Demons did next only partly atoned for their weak opening but they, at least showed a capacity to fight back and if the rumours of an illness having swept the club during the week went true and provided a genuine excuse for that weakness, then the comeback was even more meritorious. Max Gawn came back from a bit of an early spanking at the hands of the AFL's leading ruckman to provide an interesting match up and Dom Tyson produced his best game after a stellar 2014 but a lacklustre 2015 season to date. Jack Viney underlined his improvement beyond expectations and these contributions were invaluable at a time when the club's prime midfield movers in Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince were well down on their recent form. Then of course, the two key forwards hit the target and thanks to Chris Dawes playing his best for the season and Jesse Hogan continuing his pathway to the top as a power forward (he's not there yet but how many 20 year olds in their first year can boast such impressive KPI's?), the game turned. By half time, they were three goals down and at various times in the third quarter the margin was only two points but they could never get in front and that goal on the siren to Brown which gave North a 10 point lead really hurt. However, the thing that hurts a team really badly are the brain fades like the kick off by Jack Watts who is having his best season to date that hit an opponent or the dropped mark by Jeff Garlett only 35 metres out from goal. Those costly errors at crucial times can kill you and their likes did exactly that. The great fightback was cruelled by costly errors and the Roos needed only a few minutes in the final stanza to put the Demons to the sword and effectively snuff out the fightback. The end result - a 35 point defeat - was disappointing but will be far worse if the team fails to learn the lesson of a slow start and those lapses of concentration that can turn momentum of a game. Melbourne 2.0.12 6.4.40 11.6.72 14.8.92 North Melbourne 7.4.46 9.4.58 12.10.82 19.13.127 Goals Melbourne Hogan 4 Dawes 3 Brayshaw Gawn Garlett N Jones Neal-Bullen J Viney J Watts North Melbourne Thomas 5 Waite 3 Brown Harvey Higgins Nahas 2 Cunnington Jacobs Petrie Best Melbourne Hogan Dawes Viney Tyson Cross T McDonald North Melbourne Higgins Goldstein Cunnington Thomas Jacobs Waite Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Howe (ankle) North Melbourne Brown (corked calf) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Substitutions Melbourne North Melbourne Umpires Shane McInerney Andrew Stephens Leigh Fisher Official Crowd 30,695 at MCG
  6. There was a time when a seven goal first quarter haul against the Demons would be enough to spell doom and disaster - a defeat of in excess of ten goals and perhaps more than 100 points. Similarly, if the skipper failed to get his hands on ball for an effective disposal in the first quarter. That is what happened to Melbourne against North Melbourne in their Round 19 game - it simply was not in the contest in the opening term and trailed by 28 points conceding nine scoring shots to one (a goal to Chris Dawes) by time on. Viv Michie then missed everything from 35 metres out and a lucky 50 metre penalty and goal to Jesse Hogan temporarily provided some respite but by the first break they were staring down the barrel and 34 points in arrears. Little wonder that four years have passed since Melbourne won consecutive games of football or that it holds the AFL's current longest losing streak against another club, namely 14 on end to the Shinboners! From the opening, the Demons struggled to hold the little men of the opposition - Lindsay Thomas kicked the first and the last goal of the quarter and scored five for the day which was virtually the difference between the teams in the end, Robin Nahas seemingly revived his career for the nth time against Melbourne and Boomer was Boomer. What the Demons did next only partly atoned for their weak opening but they, at least showed a capacity to fight back and if the rumours of an illness having swept the club during the week went true and provided a genuine excuse for that weakness, then the comeback was even more meritorious. Max Gawn came back from a bit of an early spanking at the hands of the AFL's leading ruckman to provide an interesting match up and Dom Tyson produced his best game after a stellar 2014 but a lacklustre 2015 season to date. Jack Viney underlined his improvement beyond expectations and these contributions were invaluable at a time when the club's prime midfield movers in Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince were well down on their recent form. Then of course, the two key forwards hit the target and thanks to Chris Dawes playing his best for the season and Jesse Hogan continuing his pathway to the top as a power forward (he's not there yet but how many 20 year olds in their first year can boast such impressive KPI's?), the game turned. By half time, they were three goals down and at various times in the third quarter the margin was only two points but they could never get in front and that goal on the siren to Brown which gave North a 10 point lead really hurt. However, the thing that hurts a team really badly are the brain fades like the kick off by Jack Watts who is having his best season to date that hit an opponent or the dropped mark by Jeff Garlett only 35 metres out from goal. Those costly errors at crucial times can kill you and their likes did exactly that. The great fightback was cruelled by costly errors and the Roos needed only a few minutes in the final stanza to put the Demons to the sword and effectively snuff out the fightback. The end result - a 35 point defeat - was disappointing but will be far worse if the team fails to learn the lesson of a slow start and those lapses of concentration that can turn momentum of a game. Melbourne 2.0.12 6.4.40 11.6.72 14.8.92 North Melbourne 7.4.46 9.4.58 12.10.82 19.13.127 Goals Melbourne Hogan 4 Dawes 3 Brayshaw Gawn Garlett N Jones Neal-Bullen J Viney J Watts North Melbourne Thomas 5 Waite 3 Brown Harvey Higgins Nahas 2 Cunnington Jacobs Petrie Best Melbourne Hogan Dawes Viney Tyson Cross T McDonald North Melbourne Higgins Goldstein Cunnington Thomas Jacobs Waite Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Howe (ankle) North Melbourne Brown (corked calf) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Substitutions Melbourne North Melbourne Umpires Shane McInerney Andrew Stephens Leigh Fisher Official Crowd 30,695 at MCG
  7. Get up boys, it's unlikely but who knows ... we need Hogan to kick a bag which is entirely possible, I'm excited to watch them after last week ... keeping in mind that after the way we played last week not to expect too much this week ... come on dees:-)
  8. INCONSISTENT BASTERDS by JVM Melbourne and North Melbourne are two teams whose form during the 2015 season is regarded by all and sundry as extremely inconsistent. Their highs and their lows over the year so far have been well documented and fans of both clubs have been heard leaving some of their games muttering the words "inconsistent basterds" as an apt description of the cause of their frustrations. On this basis, one might think it would be a difficult task to select the winner of this week's contest at the MCG and yet the Kangaroos are rightly firm favourites with the pundits to win the match up. The favouritism no doubt stems from the fact that they seem to be finding some consistency at last with wins in their last four matches. But if you look at who they've beaten since their 55-point loss to the Gold Coast Suns on the day of Garry Ablett Junior's comeback game five weeks ago, a different story emerges. They have since beaten Geelong (at a time when the Cats were at their absolute poorest), Essendon, Brisbane and Carlton whilst enjoying the AFL's dream fixture and it's been a while since they've had to fight out a pressure game against one of the competition's power house clubs. Of course, at this stage of the journey Melbourne fans can only dream about winning two games in a row (let alone four) and there's that little matter of North's 13-game winning streak that goes back all the way to late in 2006 when Nathan Jones' career was in its infancy that makes them such firm favourites. When you consider that young Demons like Jesse Hogan, Angus Brayshaw, James Harmes and Alex Neal-Bullen were running around in the Under 11s and 10s when their club last prevailed over this week's opponent, it brings the enormity of the task into perspective. And yet, I have this feeling that the time is ripe for Melbourne to overturn yet another long-running hoodoo. So far this year the club has smashed many of these, starting with the game over the Suns which marked its first opening round win in a decade. On the eve of Anzac Day, it beat Richmond to record its first Friday night win in a long time, Hogan kicked five goals against the Saints (albeit in a losing game) to end several years when the best an individual player had scored in a game was three and the wins against Geelong at Simonds Stadium and last week at Collingwood ended long droughts against those clubs. In the case of those latter victories, they were completely unexpected which is what one expects from inconsistent teams. But if there has been one consistent thing about both clubs this year, it has been the form of their main ruckmen. Todd Goldstein has been great for the Kangaroos all year, is a certain All Australian and has been mentioned as a Brownlow chance. Max Gawn only grabbed the first ruck mantle at Melbourne after half a season at Casey but has been the stand out big man ever since and (pardon the pun) continues to grow in stature. If Maxy can win his battle against Goldstein on Sunday he will consolidate a position among the top three or four ruckmen in the competition and go a long way to putting an end to his club's days as inconsistent basterds. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Sunday 9th August, 2015 at MCG at 1.10 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins North Melbourne 77 wins 1 draw At MCG Melbourne 54 wins North Melbourne 35 wins Last five times Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 5 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Scott 2 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel at 1.00pm (live) RADIO - Triple M 3AW THE BETTING Melbourne to win $3.60 North Melbourne to win $1.29 LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 19.9.123 defeated Melbourne 14.9.93 at Etihad Stadium in Round 23, 2014 North rested some of their leading lights on the eve of the finals Melbourne the opportunity to stay in the game until the second half when the Roos took control and moved away to win by 5 goals. Nathan Jones and Dom Tyson were the best of the Demons. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Daniel Cross, Tom McDonald, Jeremy Howe C: Jack Grimes, Dom Tyson, Heritier Lumumba HF: Angus Brayshaw, Chris Dawes, Bernie Vince F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C (from): James Harmes, Matt Jones, Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen EMG: Mark Jamar, Ben Newton, Billy Stretch IN: Matt Jones OUT: Aaron vandenBerg (ankle) NORTH MELBOURNE B: Sam Wright, Robbie Tarrant, Lachlan Hansen HB: Nick Dal Santo, Scott Thompson, Ben Jacobs C: Shaun Higgins, Jack Ziebell, Shaun Atley HF: Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Taylor Garner F: Ben Brown, Jarrad Waite, Lindsay Thomas FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Ben Cunnington, Andrew Swallow I/C: Sam Gibson, Luke McDonald, Aaron Mullett, Robin Nahas EMG: Majak Daw, Kayne Turner, Max Warren IN: Lachlan Hansen, Aaron Mullett, Robin Nahas OUT: Ryan Bastinac (omitted), Michael Firrito (suspended), Kayne Turner (omitted) The way things seem to be panning out in the run to the finals, this game is crucial to North's end of year prospects. A defeat in their clash with Melbourne could well prove a disaster for the Kangaroos whose last three games are against teams likely to contest the 2015 finals series. I've already mentioned the ruck contests as being crucial to the outcome but they will also set the scene for an intriguing midfield battle. North has been solid and steady in this area for some time but has lacked brilliance during the long absence of Daniel Wells. A little over twelve months ago this would have been a game decider in favour of North but Nathan Jones has now been joined by Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson and a couple of exciting strong tackling hard youngsters in Jack Viney and Angus Brayshaw and will be no pushovers. With Jack Watts coming of age and a couple of forward targets like Chris Dawes and Jesse Hogan there is every chance that this game will produce an upset. Melbourne by 10 points.
  9. Melbourne and North Melbourne are two teams whose form during the 2015 season is regarded by all and sundry as extremely inconsistent. Their highs and their lows over the year so far have been well documented and fans of both clubs have been heard leaving some of their games muttering the words "inconsistent basterds" as an apt description of the cause of their frustrations. On this basis, one might think it would be a difficult task to select the winner of this week's contest at the MCG and yet the Kangaroos are rightly firm favourites with the pundits to win the match up. The favouritism no doubt stems from the fact that they seem to be finding some consistency at last with wins in their last four matches. But if you look at who they've beaten since their 55-point loss to the Gold Coast Suns on the day of Garry Ablett Junior's comeback game five weeks ago, a different story emerges. They have since beaten Geelong (at a time when the Cats were at their absolute poorest), Essendon, Brisbane and Carlton whilst enjoying the AFL's dream fixture and it's been a while since they've had to fight out a pressure game against one of the competition's power house clubs. Of course, at this stage of the journey Melbourne fans can only dream about winning two games in a row (let alone four) and there's that little matter of North's 13-game winning streak that goes back all the way to late in 2006 when Nathan Jones' career was in its infancy that makes them such firm favourites. When you consider that young Demons like Jesse Hogan, Angus Brayshaw, James Harmes and Alex Neal-Bullen were running around in the Under 11s and 10s when their club last prevailed over this week's opponent, it brings the enormity of the task into perspective. And yet, I have this feeling that the time is ripe for Melbourne to overturn yet another long-running hoodoo. So far this year the club has smashed many of these, starting with the game over the Suns which marked its first opening round win in a decade. On the eve of Anzac Day, it beat Richmond to record its first Friday night win in a long time, Hogan kicked five goals against the Saints (albeit in a losing game) to end several years when the best an individual player had scored in a game was three and the wins against Geelong at Simonds Stadium and last week at Collingwood ended long droughts against those clubs. In the case of those latter victories, they were completely unexpected which is what one expects from inconsistent teams. But if there has been one consistent thing about both clubs this year, it has been the form of their main ruckmen. Todd Goldstein has been great for the Kangaroos all year, is a certain All Australian and has been mentioned as a Brownlow chance. Max Gawn only grabbed the first ruck mantle at Melbourne after half a season at Casey but has been the stand out big man ever since and (pardon the pun) continues to grow in stature. If Maxy can win his battle against Goldstein on Sunday he will consolidate a position among the top three or four ruckmen in the competition and go a long way to putting an end to his club's days as inconsistent basterds. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Sunday 9th August, 2015 at MCG at 1.10 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins North Melbourne 77 wins 1 draw At MCG Melbourne 54 wins North Melbourne 35 wins Last five times Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 5 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Scott 2 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel at 1.00pm (live) RADIO - Triple M 3AW THE BETTING Melbourne to win $3.60 North Melbourne to win $1.29 LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 19.9.123 defeated Melbourne 14.9.93 at Etihad Stadium in Round 23, 2014 North rested some of their leading lights on the eve of the finals Melbourne the opportunity to stay in the game until the second half when the Roos took control and moved away to win by 5 goals. Nathan Jones and Dom Tyson were the best of the Demons. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Daniel Cross, Tom McDonald, Jeremy Howe C: Jack Grimes, Dom Tyson, Heritier Lumumba HF: Angus Brayshaw, Chris Dawes, Bernie Vince F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C (from): James Harmes, Matt Jones, Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen EMG: Mark Jamar, Ben Newton, Billy Stretch IN: Matt Jones OUT: Aaron vandenBerg (ankle) NORTH MELBOURNE B: Sam Wright, Robbie Tarrant, Lachlan Hansen HB: Nick Dal Santo, Scott Thompson, Ben Jacobs C: Shaun Higgins, Jack Ziebell, Shaun Atley HF: Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Taylor Garner F: Ben Brown, Jarrad Waite, Lindsay Thomas FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Ben Cunnington, Andrew Swallow I/C: Sam Gibson, Luke McDonald, Aaron Mullett, Robin Nahas EMG: Majak Daw, Kayne Turner, Max Warren IN: Lachlan Hansen, Aaron Mullett, Robin Nahas OUT: Ryan Bastinac (omitted), Michael Firrito (suspended), Kayne Turner (omitted) The way things seem to be panning out in the run to the finals, this game is crucial to North's end of year prospects. A defeat in their clash with Melbourne could well prove a disaster for the Kangaroos whose last three games are against teams likely to contest the 2015 finals series. I've already mentioned the ruck contests as being crucial to the outcome but they will also set the scene for an intriguing midfield battle. North has been solid and steady in this area for some time but has lacked brilliance during the long absence of Daniel Wells. A little over twelve months ago this would have been a game decider in favour of North but Nathan Jones has now been joined by Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson and a couple of exciting strong tackling hard youngsters in Jack Viney and Angus Brayshaw and will be no pushovers. With Jack Watts coming of age and a couple of forward targets like Chris Dawes and Jesse Hogan there is every chance that this game will produce an upset. Melbourne by 10 points.
  10. We haven't beaten this team since very early in Nathan Jones' career. It's about time. Our last meeting was on 30th August last year when they beat us easily in a high scoring shoot out. NORTH MELBOURNE B: Lachlan Hansen, Scott Thompson, Jamie Macmillan HB: Shaun Atley, Nathan Grima,Sam Wright C: Nick Dal Santo, Andrew Swallow, Ben Jacobs HF: Kayne Turner, Ben Brown, Daniel Wells F: Mason Wood, Drew Petrie, Aaron Black FOLL: Daniel Currie, Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell EMG: Trent Dumont, Brad McKenzie, Scott McMahon IN: Daniel Currie, Lachlan Hansen, Jamie Macmillan, Daniel Wells, Mason Wood OUT: Michael Firrito (soreness), Todd Goldstein (soreness), Levi Greenwood (calf), Luke McDonald (back), Lindsay Thomas (knee) NEW: Mason Wood (Geelong Falcons) MELBOURNE B: Lynden Dunn, James Frawley, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Bernie Vince C: Jordie McKenzie, Daniel Cross, Rohan Bail HF: Viv Michie, Max Gawn, Christian Salem F: Jack Fitzpatrick, Chris Dawes, Dean Kent FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Matt Jones, Aidan Riley, Jack Viney, Jack Watts EMG: Dom Barry, Daniel Nicholson, Cameron Pedersen IN: Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley OUT: Colin Garland (knee), Cameron Pedersen (omitted)
  11. NO ILLUSIONS by The Oracle The euphoria of last week's dramatic final minute victory over Essendon was quickly well and truly consigned into past history not long after the Melbourne team ran onto the MCG for its game against North Melbourne. The reason for this was that the Demons' pedestrian style of football, limited skills and an insatiable capacity to constantly turn the ball over into an opponent's lap was never going to be enough to win them a game against quality opposition. Indeed it was only their accuracy in the first half that fully prevented the game from turning into a 2013 style blowout of epic proportions and instead they were left with a reality check and a 41-point defeat. The Kangaroos applied the early heat but thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Bernie Vince who maintained great composure throughout the game, the Demons were still in the contest at the first break and clawed their way back in the second term after they fell four goals in arrears through some sloppy football. Early in the third, they threatened again when Chris Dawes goaled to leave them only seven points down despite being far inferior in almost every aspect of play. It was at this stage that North upped the ante, applied the blow torch and booted six goals in ten minutes, most of them on the back of fumbly turnovers caused by poor disposal and stupid decision making. To its credit, Melbourne managed to regroup thanks to some positional changes at the end but the mistakes continued and prevented it from making any semblance of a come back. The truth is that there is still a lack of players with the quality and flair of Vince who produced a stunning 41-possession game and the attack simply does not have the potency or depth of the better sides in the competition. There were times when one wondered where the next goal would come from. The ball was constantly bombed into an attack where the team was outnumbered and if the ball hit the ground there were no crumbing forwards to finish off the goals as we saw from the Kangaroos who had twelve goal kickers on the day to Melbourne's six. This imbalance of forward strength was a major difference and a problem that will continue to dog the club for the remainder of the season with games against some of the competition's big hitters including Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Fremantle, Geelong and a return game against North Melbourne to come. Despite the club's big steps forward the result of this game should leave us with no illusions that there is a long way to go. Melbourne 3.0.18 6.0.36 8.4.52 10.6.66 North Melbourne 4.5.29 7.8.50 14.12.96 15.17.107 Goals Melbourne Dawes Vince 3 Bail Frawley Pedersen Reilly North Melbourne Greenwood Mullett Thomas 2 Atley Black Brown Cunnington Harvey Nahas Petrie Swallow Ziebell Best Melbourne Vince N Jones Cross Dunn M Jones Pedersen North Melbourne Greenwood Dal Santo Thompson Petrie Harvey Ziebell Cunnington Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Watts (back) North Melbourne Nahas (shoulder) Swallow (knee) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Rosebury Bannister Fleer Crowd 26,615 at the MCG
  12. Your votes please - 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... Jones rule applies.
  13. The euphoria of last week's dramatic final minute victory over Essendon was quickly well and truly consigned into past history not long after the Melbourne team ran onto the MCG for its game against North Melbourne. The reason for this was that the Demons' pedestrian style of football, limited skills and an insatiable capacity to constantly turn the ball over into an opponent's lap was never going to be enough to win them a game against quality opposition. Indeed it was only their accuracy in the first half that fully prevented the game from turning into a 2013 style blowout of epic proportions and instead they were left with a reality check and a 41-point defeat. The Kangaroos applied the early heat but thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Bernie Vince who maintained great composure throughout the game, the Demons were still in the contest at the first break and clawed their way back in the second term after they fell four goals in arrears through some sloppy football. Early in the third, they threatened again when Chris Dawes goaled to leave them only seven points down despite being far inferior in almost every aspect of play. It was at this stage that North upped the ante, applied the blow torch and booted six goals in ten minutes, most of them on the back of fumbly turnovers caused by poor disposal and stupid decision making. To its credit, Melbourne managed to regroup thanks to some positional changes at the end but the mistakes continued and prevented it from making any semblance of a come back. The truth is that there is still a lack of players with the quality and flair of Vince who produced a stunning 41-possession game and the attack simply does not have the potency or depth of the better sides in the competition. There were times when one wondered where the next goal would come from. The ball was constantly bombed into an attack where the team was outnumbered and if the ball hit the ground there were no crumbing forwards to finish off the goals as we saw from the Kangaroos who had twelve goal kickers on the day to Melbourne's six. This imbalance of forward strength was a major difference and a problem that will continue to dog the club for the remainder of the season with games against some of the competition's big hitters including Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Fremantle, Geelong and a return game against North Melbourne to come. Despite the club's big steps forward the result of this game should leave us with no illusions that there is a long way to go. Melbourne 3.0.18 6.0.36 8.4.52 10.6.66 North Melbourne 4.5.29 7.8.50 14.12.96 15.17.107 Goals Melbourne Dawes Vince 3 Bail Frawley Pedersen Reilly North Melbourne Greenwood Mullett Thomas 2 Atley Black Brown Cunnington Harvey Nahas Petrie Swallow Ziebell Best Melbourne Vince N Jones Cross Dunn M Jones Pedersen North Melbourne Greenwood Dal Santo Thompson Petrie Harvey Ziebell Cunnington Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Watts (back) North Melbourne Nahas (shoulder) Swallow (knee) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Rosebury Bannister Fleer Crowd 26,615 at the MCG
  14. ANOTHER BAD MEMORY TO ERASE by George on The Outer With Carlton maintaining its losing streak of 12 straight losses against Hawthorn, the pressure is now on Melbourne to remove the miserable record that it has against North Melbourne of a similar 11 straight losses. The last time the Demons managed to overcome the Roos was way back in Round 20, 2006 when we defeated them in front of 29K at the MCG by 20.12 (132) to 12.10 (82). It was one of current skipper Nathan Jones' first games. That was certainly an eternity ago, and the memories of a Melbourne side kicking 132 points in any game has long since faded. The more recent memory is far, far more painful as North demolished the Demons less than twelve months ago - in Round 18, 2013. That result was Melbourne's second largest losing margin in a year that the club and its supporters would surely want to forget completely. Times are a little different nowadays. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Sunday 22nd June 2014 at MCG at 4.40 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins North Melbourne 75 wins 1 draw At MCG Melbourne 54 wins North Melbourne 34 wins Last five times Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 5 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Scott 0 wins MEDIA TV Fox Footy Channel at 4:30pm (live) RADIO - 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Melbourne to win $3.70 North Melbourne to win $1.28 LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 22.18.150 defeated Melbourne 4.4.28 at Etihad Stadium in Round 18, 2013 In modern day terms the Demons played like a lifeless pack of spuds (see also below) THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Jack Grimes C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Daniel Cross HF: Rohan Bail, James Frawley, Cameron Pedersen F: Dean Kent, Chris Dawes, Jack Watts FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Matt Jones, Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley, Christian Salem EMG: Sam Blease Dan Nicholson Dean Terlich NO CHANGE NORTH MELBOURNE B: Luke McDonald, Scott D Thompson, Lachlan Hansen HB: Shaun Atley, Michael Firrito, Aaron Mullett C: Sam Gibson, Andrew Swallow, Levi Greenwood HF: Nick Dal Santo, Robbie Tarrant, Brent Harvey F: Aaron Black, Drew Petrie, Lindsay Thomas FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington I/C: Leigh Adams, Ryan Bastinac, Brad McKenzie, Robin Nahas EMG: Liam Anthony, Ben Brown, Trent Dumont IN: Brad McKenzie OUT: Liam Anthony It is interesting to contrast this with the side the Demons sent out onto the field that miserable day: B: Dunn Pedersen Tapscott HB: McDonald Frawley Clisby C: Viney Trengove Grimes HF: M Jones Watts Howe F: Davey Dawes Fitzpatrick FOLL : Gawn Sylvia N Jones I/C: Blease Byrnes Toumpas SUB: Kent What a vastly different side that will present for the Red and Blue this week, less than 12 months later. Not only do we find Paul Roos coaching the side, and rebuilding confidence following all those shattering years, but the line-up across every line has been altered. In some cases, we have the same players but their form is a striking improvement over what they were producing last year (Dunn, Pedersen). The painful outcome of last year looked like this: MELBOURNE 1.0 3.2 4.4 4.4 (28) NORTH MELBOURNE 3.5 6.9 14.12 22.18 (150) GOALS Melbourne: Tapscott Fitzpatrick Dawes Byrnes North Melbourne: Bastinac 4 Black 4 Wells 2 Adams 2 Cunnington 2 Petrie 2 Mullett 2 Goldstein 2 Harvey Ziebell BEST Melbourne: N.Jones (some things never change) Sylvia McDonald Gawn Dunn Toumpas North Melbourne: Goldstein Cunnington Harvey Hansen Thompson Bastinac Adams Ziebell With a heart stopper of a result against the Bombers and a build-up of faith among the players and the supporters as a result, a very, very different outcome can be expected. A 4.40pm start wont suit most supporters and North are notorious for low crowd numbers. However, the Demon army is rolling again. The last time they met a paltry 16K people turned up, but it was at Etihad stadium as well. This time its at the G and finally we have a team that we can be proud of, so far greater numbers should be on the agenda.
  15. With Carlton maintaining its losing streak of 12 straight losses against Hawthorn, the pressure is now on Melbourne to remove the miserable record that it has against North Melbourne of a similar 11 straight losses. The last time the Demons managed to overcome the Roos was way back in Round 20, 2006 when we defeated them in front of 29K at the MCG by 20.12 (132) to 12.10 (82). It was one of current skipper Nathan Jones' first games. That was certainly an eternity ago, and the memories of a Melbourne side kicking 132 points in any game has long since faded. The more recent memory is far, far more painful as North demolished the Demons less than twelve months ago - in Round 18, 2013. That result was Melbourne's second largest losing margin in a year that the club and its supporters would surely want to forget completely. Times are a little different nowadays. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Sunday 22nd June 2014 at MCG at 4.40 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins North Melbourne 75 wins 1 draw At MCG Melbourne 54 wins North Melbourne 34 wins Last five times Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 5 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Scott 0 wins MEDIA TV Fox Footy Channel at 4:30pm (live) RADIO - 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Melbourne to win $3.70 North Melbourne to win $1.28 LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 22.18.150 defeated Melbourne 4.4.28 at Etihad Stadium in Round 18, 2013 In modern day terms the Demons played like a lifeless pack of spuds (see also below) THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Jack Grimes C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Daniel Cross HF: Rohan Bail, James Frawley, Cameron Pedersen F: Dean Kent, Chris Dawes, Jack Watts FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Matt Jones, Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley, Christian Salem EMG: Sam Blease Dan Nicholson Dean Terlich NO CHANGE NORTH MELBOURNE B: Luke McDonald, Scott D Thompson, Lachlan Hansen HB: Shaun Atley, Michael Firrito, Aaron Mullett C: Sam Gibson, Andrew Swallow, Levi Greenwood HF: Nick Dal Santo, Robbie Tarrant, Brent Harvey F: Aaron Black, Drew Petrie, Lindsay Thomas FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington I/C: Leigh Adams, Ryan Bastinac, Brad McKenzie, Robin Nahas EMG: Liam Anthony, Ben Brown, Trent Dumont IN: Brad McKenzie OUT: Liam Anthony It is interesting to contrast this with the side the Demons sent out onto the field that miserable day: B: Dunn Pedersen Tapscott HB: McDonald Frawley Clisby C: Viney Trengove Grimes HF: M Jones Watts Howe F: Davey Dawes Fitzpatrick FOLL : Gawn Sylvia N Jones I/C: Blease Byrnes Toumpas SUB: Kent What a vastly different side that will present for the Red and Blue this week, less than 12 months later. Not only do we find Paul Roos coaching the side, and rebuilding confidence following all those shattering years, but the line-up across every line has been altered. In some cases, we have the same players but their form is a striking improvement over what they were producing last year (Dunn, Pedersen). The painful outcome of last year looked like this: MELBOURNE 1.0 3.2 4.4 4.4 (28) NORTH MELBOURNE 3.5 6.9 14.12 22.18 (150) GOALS Melbourne: Tapscott Fitzpatrick Dawes Byrnes North Melbourne: Bastinac 4 Black 4 Wells 2 Adams 2 Cunnington 2 Petrie 2 Mullett 2 Goldstein 2 Harvey Ziebell BEST Melbourne: N.Jones (some things never change) Sylvia McDonald Gawn Dunn Toumpas North Melbourne: Goldstein Cunnington Harvey Hansen Thompson Bastinac Adams Ziebell With a heart stopper of a result against the Bombers and a build-up of faith among the players and the supporters as a result, a very, very different outcome can be expected. A 4.40pm start wont suit most supporters and North are notorious for low crowd numbers. However, the Demon army is rolling again. The last time they met a paltry 16K people turned up, but it was at Etihad stadium as well. This time its at the G and finally we have a team that we can be proud of, so far greater numbers should be on the agenda.
  16. Last week we turned around a 148 point loss into a 1 point win against Essendon. This week the turnaround needed is a mere 122 points to tie the game and 123 for a 1 point win. MELBOURNE Backs Lynden Dunn Cameron Pedersen Dean Terlich Half backs Tom McDonald James Frawley Mitchell Clisby Centreline Jack Viney Jack Trengove Jack Grimes Half forwards Shannon Byrnes Jack Watts Jeremy Howe Forwards Aaron Davey Chris Dawes Jack Fitzpatrick Followers Max Gawn Colin Sylvia Nathan Jones Interchange Sam Blease Matt Jones Dean Kent Jimmy Toumpas Emergencies Daniel Nicholson Jake Spencer Luke Tapscott NORTH MELBOURNE Backs Lachlan Hansen Scott Thompson Cameron Delaney Half backs Aaron Mullett Nathan Grima Taylor Hine Centreline Daniel Wells Sam Gibson Shaun Atley Half forwards Ben Cunnington Drew Petrie Brent Harvey Forwards Aaron Black Robbie Tarrant Lindsay Thomas Followers Todd Goldstein Andrew Swallow Jack Ziebell Interchange Leigh Adams Ryan Bastinac Jamie Macmillan Brad McKenzie Emergencies Luke Delaney Ben Jacobs Sam Wright
  17. Yes the Demons have done it again! Played one hundred minutes of football and managed a lousy four goals for a whole game. At least at Geelong a couple of weeks ago there was the reasonable excuse of a river running through the ground. We are truly setting the record books alight this year as this was our ninth game where we have kicked less than ten goals. And since this was round 18, thats ½ of the games played! How we dream of the old days. Saturday afternoon at the footy. Playing against another Melbourne based side. The memories ... and if it were the old days, the season would be over by now. Although our season has in truth long been over. Could it be that Mark Neeld really wasnt the problem? Darwin aftermath perhaps? Or is the truth much simpler: We just have a team full of absolute lazy spuds! The coach doesnt stop a player chasing, or contesting. Tropical heat doesnt mean you cant stand alongside your opponent, even more so if you didnt actually play in Darwin. The sheer number of spectators on the ground should have been brought to the attention of security. Sadly, even removing them wouldnt have made any difference to the score or the result. Fining them the $7K that was flashed up so often on the screen would have been a good starting point. Taking them to the Metropolitan Assessment Prison next door would have been an even better option. Nine Melbourne players had 10 possessions or less. What hope do we have when half the team is simply bludgeing? And bludgeing off the backs of Nathan Jones and Max Gawn who once again showed what is required at AFL level football. Or a young Jack Viney who is prepared to put in 110% even in his first year of football. Things were certainly not helped by our own ineptitude, with the grand total of 41 clangers for the team. No wonder North won by over twenty goals; they simply had a couple of extra players on the ground. Except they were wearing Red and Blue jumpers. Seven years of this we have been watching now. Any more of this and there will be more spectators on the ground than in the seats in the stands. Melbourne 1.0.6 3.2.20 4.4.28 4.4.28 North Melbourne 3.5.23 6.9.45 14.12.96 22.18.150 Goals Melbourne Byrnes Dawes Fitzpatrick Tapscott North Melbourne Bastinac Black 4 Adams Cunnington Goldstein Mullett Petrie Wells 2 Harvey Ziebell Best Melbourne Sylvia N Jones Frawley N Jones McDonald Dunn North Melbourne Cunnington Harvey Hansen Bastinac Goldstein Gibson Injuries Melbourne James Frawley (hamstring strain) North Melbourne Swallow (achilles) Changes Melbourne Dean Terlich replaced by Luke Tapscott North Melbourne Nil Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Findlay Bannister Burgess Official Attendance 16,959, at Etihad Stadium
  18. Cast your votes please - 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
  19. ETIHAD INVADED BY SPECTATORS! ... CALL SECURITY by George on The Outer Yes the Demons have done it again! Played one hundred minutes of football and managed a lousy four goals for a whole game. At least at Geelong a couple of weeks ago there was the reasonable excuse of a river running through the ground. We are truly setting the record books alight this year as this was our ninth game where we have kicked less than ten goals. And since this was round 18, thats ½ of the games played! How we dream of the old days. Saturday afternoon at the footy. Playing against another Melbourne based side. The memories ... and if it were the old days, the season would be over by now. Although our season has in truth long been over. Could it be that Mark Neeld really wasnt the problem? Darwin aftermath perhaps? Or is the truth much simpler: We just have a team full of absolute lazy spuds! The coach doesnt stop a player chasing, or contesting. Tropical heat doesnt mean you cant stand alongside your opponent, even more so if you didnt actually play in Darwin. The sheer number of spectators on the ground should have been brought to the attention of security. Sadly, even removing them wouldnt have made any difference to the score or the result. Fining them the $7K that was flashed up so often on the screen would have been a good starting point. Taking them to the Metropolitan Assessment Prison next door would have been an even better option. Nine Melbourne players had 10 possessions or less. What hope do we have when half the team is simply bludgeing? And bludgeing off the backs of Nathan Jones and Max Gawn who once again showed what is required at AFL level football. Or a young Jack Viney who is prepared to put in 110% even in his first year of football. Things were certainly not helped by our own ineptitude, with the grand total of 41 clangers for the team. No wonder North won by over twenty goals; they simply had a couple of extra players on the ground. Except they were wearing Red and Blue jumpers. Seven years of this we have been watching now. Any more of this and there will be more spectators on the ground than in the seats in the stands. Melbourne 1.0.6 3.2.14 4.4.28 4.4.28 North Melbourne 3.5.23 6.9.41 14.12.9622.18.150 Goals Melbourne Byrnes Dawes Fitzpatrick Tapscott North Melbourne Bastinac Black 4 Adams Cunnington Goldstein Mullett Petrie Wells 2 Harvey Ziebell Best Melbourne Sylvia N Jones Frawley N Jones McDonald Dunn North Melbourne Cunnington Harvey Hansen Bastinac Goldstein Gibson Injuries Melbourne James Frawley (hamstring strain) North Melbourne Swallow (achilles) Changes Melbourne Dean Terlich replaced by Luke Tapscott North Melbourne Nil Reports MelbourneNil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Findlay Bannister Burgess Official Attendance 16,959, at Etihad Stadium
  20. A LUCKY DAY ... FOR SOME by JVM With a little bit of luck, North Melbourne will continue its recent record of domination over Melbourne when the two clubs meet at Etihad Stadium this weekend. On face value the timing of the game at 2:10pm on a Saturday afternoon suggests a return to traditional values but there is nothing truly traditional about this game. The venue is an enclosed stadium which has a roof that might be closed for the game depending on the weather conditions. Although this is Melbourne's "home" game, the ground is actually home to the "visiting" club and given that nobody remembers the last time that the Demons won a game at the place or indeed, when they last won a game against the Kangaroos, one wonders where the term "home ground advantage" fits into the equation. This has not been a particularly memorable year for either club. The horror stretch that Melbourne has endured over the past seven years is continuing and has been well documented but for North fans, it has also been a series of disasters and bad luck despite the club having a near injury-free list for the third or fourth year in a row. Last year, they had a dream fixture which helped them make it into the finals before they ran into a brick wall and a 16 goal crushing at Patersons Stadium at the hands of the Eagles. This year the luck of the draw eluded them. They have also played a number of quality games for 2½ quarters or so and then allowed opposition teams to come back from substantial deficits to win games at the last gasp. After a series of such games, they failed to reverse the trend by 1 point last week against Carlton when they came back from a six goal deficit late in the third term. Late in the evening, when the game was there to be won, an unlucky bounce robbed Brent Harvey of a chance to kick the winning goal for North. Such has been its luck for the whole season. But if there is to be any respite for the beleaguered Roos then it has to be this week against the Dees. It's not as if Melbourne hasn't improved by any of the usual measures since Neil Craig took over as coach. A change of coaching regime will do that simply because it brings in the refreshing winds of change usually after a difficult period in which self-doubt and a lack of confidence has prevailed over a losing group. However, it's often not enough to bring about sustainable improvement which might have to wait until the permanent new coach is appointed and installed. In the interim, the Demons are likely to meander through the season showing the odd glimpse of promise amid some more of the same frustrating shortcomings that have been their hallmark over the past five or so years. And all this points to the fact that Saturday promises to be North Melbourne's lucky day. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Saturday 27th July 2013 at Etihad Stadium at 2.10 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins North Melbourne 69 wins 1 draw At Etihad Stadium Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 6 wins Since 2000 Melbourne 7 wins North Melbourne 13 wins The Coaches Craig 0 wins Scott 0 wins MEDIA TV Fox Sports Channel 3 live at 1:30pm. RADIO - TripleM THE BETTING Melbourne to win $15.00 North Melbourne to win $1.01 LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 19.13.127 defeated Melbourne 11.7.73 at Etihad Stadium in Round 18, 2012 It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that these teams clashed at Etihad and the finals bound Kangaroos were in control from go to whoa as they coasted their way to a comfortable nine goal win to make it five wins from five encounters between the teams at this venue. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE Backs Lynden Dunn Cameron Pedersen Dean Terlich Half backs Tom McDonald James Frawley Mitchell Clisby Centreline Jack Viney Jack Trengove Jack Grimes Half forwards Shannon Byrnes Jack Watts Jeremy Howe Forwards Aaron Davey Chris Dawes Jack Fitzpatrick Followers Max Gawn Colin Sylvia Nathan Jones Interchange Sam Blease Matt Jones Dean Kent Jimmy Toumpas Emergencies Daniel Nicholson Jake Spencer Luke Tapscott NORTH MELBOURNE Backs Lachlan Hansen Scott Thompson Cameron Delaney Half backs Aaron Mullett Nathan Grima Taylor Hine Centreline Daniel Wells Sam Gibson Shaun Atley Half forwards Ben Cunnington Drew Petrie Brent Harvey Forwards Aaron Black Robbie Tarrant Lindsay Thomas Followers Todd Goldstein Andrew Swallow Jack Ziebell Interchange Leigh Adams Ryan Bastinac Jamie Macmillan Brad McKenzie Emergencies Luke Delaney Ben Jacobs Sam Wright Had the Kangaroos won those five games lost by under a goal this season they would be 7th on the ladder and not in 13th place which is where they sit at the present time. Of course, my aunt would be my uncle if she had a hairy chest but what this means to me is that Melbourne is not taking on a team whose form is that of an outfit struggling in the bottom six in the competition. Had the breaks gone their way, this team could easily be in the mix to play deep into the finals. Whilst it is is true that under caretaker coach Neil Craig the Demons have shown some improvement, they continue to lag well below most sides in the competition in every key performance indicator. From centre clearances to inside 50s to average disposals and scores, they are far enough behind the likes of North Melbourne that they simply dont have the ammunition to crack even a quirky side like the Kangaroos on their home turf. This leaves us with but one conclusion. North Melbourne by 60 points.
  21. Today is the day of the game; the game is on today. Hence the title. Duh. So ... is anyone else very interested to see how Cam Pedersen will go today against his old team? The guy is 26 and is in the first year of a THREE YEAR CONTRACT (I know, right?). He is in his prime, and should be a leader on the field. This is his chance to make something of himself. Let's hope he can. And ... Go!
  22. With a little bit of luck, North Melbourne will continue its recent record of domination over Melbourne when the two clubs meet at Etihad Stadium this weekend. On face value the timing of the game at 2:10pm on a Saturday afternoon suggests a return to traditional values but there is nothing truly traditional about this game. The venue is an enclosed stadium which has a roof that might be closed for the game depending on the weather conditions. Although this is Melbourne's "home" game, the ground is actually home to the "visiting" club and given that nobody remembers the last time that the Demons won a game at the place or indeed, when they last won a game against the Kangaroos, one wonders where the term "home ground advantage" fits into the equation. This has not been a particularly memorable year for either club. The horror stretch that Melbourne has endured over the past seven years is continuing and has been well documented but for North fans, it has also been a series of disasters and bad luck despite the club having a near injury-free list for the third or fourth year in a row. Last year, they had a dream fixture which helped them make it into the finals before they ran into a brick wall and a 16 goal crushing at Patersons Stadium at the hands of the Eagles. This year the luck of the draw eluded them. They have also played a number of quality games for 2½ quarters or so and then allowed opposition teams to come back from substantial deficits to win games at the last gasp. After a series of such games, they failed to reverse the trend by 1 point last week against Carlton when they came back from a six goal deficit late in the third term. Late in the evening, when the game was there to be won, an unlucky bounce robbed Brent Harvey of a chance to kick the winning goal for North. Such has been its luck for the whole season. But if there is to be any respite for the beleaguered Roos then it has to be this week against the Dees. It's not as if Melbourne hasn't improved by any of the usual measures since Neil Craig took over as coach. A change of coaching regime will do that simply because it brings in the refreshing winds of change usually after a difficult period in which self-doubt and a lack of confidence has prevailed over a losing group. However, it's often not enough to bring about sustainable improvement which might have to wait until the permanent new coach is appointed and installed. In the interim, the Demons are likely to meander through the season showing the odd glimpse of promise amid some more of the same frustrating shortcomings that have been their hallmark over the past five or so years. And all this points to the fact that Saturday promises to be North Melbourne's lucky day. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Saturday 27th July 2013 at Etihad Stadium at 2.10 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins North Melbourne 69 wins 1 draw At Etihad Stadium Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 6 wins Since 2000 Melbourne 7 wins North Melbourne 13 wins The Coaches Craig 0 wins Scott 0 wins MEDIA TV Fox Sports Channel 3 live at 1:30pm. RADIO - TripleM THE BETTING Melbourne to win $15.00 North Melbourne to win $1.01 LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 19.13.127 defeated Melbourne 11.7.73 at Etihad Stadium in Round 18, 2012 It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that these teams clashed at Etihad and the finals bound Kangaroos were in control from go to whoa as they coasted their way to a comfortable nine goal win to make it five wins from five encounters between the teams at this venue. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE Backs Lynden Dunn Cameron Pedersen Dean Terlich Half backs Tom McDonald James Frawley Mitchell Clisby Centreline Jack Viney Jack Trengove Jack Grimes Half forwards Shannon Byrnes Jack Watts Jeremy Howe Forwards Aaron Davey Chris Dawes Jack Fitzpatrick Followers Max Gawn Colin Sylvia Nathan Jones Interchange Sam Blease Matt Jones Dean Kent Jimmy Toumpas Emergencies Daniel Nicholson Jake Spencer Luke Tapscott NORTH MELBOURNE Backs Lachlan Hansen Scott Thompson Cameron Delaney Half backs Aaron Mullett Nathan Grima Taylor Hine Centreline Daniel Wells Sam Gibson Shaun Atley Half forwards Ben Cunnington Drew Petrie Brent Harvey Forwards Aaron Black Robbie Tarrant Lindsay Thomas Followers Todd Goldstein Andrew Swallow Jack Ziebell Interchange Leigh Adams Ryan Bastinac Jamie Macmillan Brad McKenzie Emergencies Luke Delaney Ben Jacobs Sam Wright Had the Kangaroos won those five games lost by under a goal this season they would be 7th on the ladder and not in 13th place which is where they sit at the present time. Of course, my aunt would be my uncle if she had a hairy chest but what this means to me is that Melbourne is not taking on a team whose form is that of an outfit struggling in the bottom six in the competition. Had the breaks gone their way, this team could easily be in the mix to play deep into the finals. Whilst it is is true that under caretaker coach Neil Craig the Demons have shown some improvement, they continue to lag well below most sides in the competition in every key performance indicator. From centre clearances to inside 50s to average disposals and scores, they are far enough behind the likes of North Melbourne that they simply dont have the ammunition to crack even a quirky side like the Kangaroos on their home turf. This leaves us with but one conclusion. North Melbourne by 60 points.