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Found 39 results

  1. It was a dirty day, especially with Lever doing down, but good sides win games when things aren't going their way. We did that today and showed real maturity after it took us 15 minutes to get going. The big one for me was our back line. With Lever going down it left us with just Oscar as a tall defender, and we still kept them to a low score while also doing some wonderful things across half back. Jetta was immense, Hibberd did some good things, Lewis and Vince provided calm heads and even Harmes patrolled across there once Lever went down. It's becoming a real strength of our side. Our mids were smashed in the clearances, which was really surprising. But on the flip side they worked their backsides off once we went 3 goals down and helped to turn things around. Oliver and Gus, in particular, were fantastic. And then you have Hogan and Macca who both kicked bags and showed how awesome they can be together for a long, long time. Awesome stuff. Special mention to Bayley Fritsch as well. What a pick up this kid is. When we traded Watts for the pick we took him with we clearly knew what we were doing. 26 touches and 14 marks is a day out and he just keeps getting better and better. We are 8-3 and playing great footy. We now get an 8 day break and hopefully Lever isn't too badly injured and won't need to spend too much time on the sidelines. Bring on the Filth and our 7th win in a row!!
  2. Can we please have your votes folks ... 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
  3. Demonland

    Match Report - Round 11

    THE FUGAZI GETS LOUDER by George on The Outer While Melbourne hardly played its best brand of football against the Western Bulldogs, in the end an eight goal win and another boost to percentage has done nothing to quell the fugazi (noise) around the club. After a fifth successive win at Docklands where not a solitary victory was recorded from 2008 to 2015 and with six consecutive wins under the their belts, it is not surprising that the Demon bandwagon is truly up and running. And while the coach and players are trying to keep “a Lid” on it, as we have only reached the half way point of a long, long season, these wins are making a finals appearance this year more of a certainty. The toll that the season and competition takes was shown in no uncertain terms today, when Jake Lever went down with what looks like a season ending knee injury. Others, in Jake Melksham and Tim Smith copped a battering during the game, and will be truly grateful for the nine-day break until the next match. And after the injury losses that befell the club last season, we are too familiar with the cost of losing talented players. Perhaps the grinding nature of the season to date was also showing up in the first quarter as Melbourne just looked tired and out of sorts after their complete demolition of Adelaide the previous week. The Dogs led at quarter time, thereby ending Melbourne’s streak of winning quarters, but it is the result at the end of the game that matters, and the Demons regained some of their composure and simply steamrolled the opposition to run out 49 point winners. With the early loss of Lever, the backs had to regroup, and that they certainly did. Neville Jetta in a tribute to the Douglas Nicholls Round, played an absolute blinder across half-back with 24 touches, 9 marks and 11 contested possessions. Time and time again, it was Neville or nothing and each time he beat his and other opponents to repel the Dogs forward thrusts. He was ably assisted by Michael Hibberd and Oscar McDonald who are proving to be equally solid “impassables” in defence. In the middle Max Gawn got on top after a slow start in the ruck and finished with an incredible 57 hitouts. While the Dogs continued to win clearances, they were always under pressure, while the Demons were cleaner and more methodical with their work at the stoppages. The result: after ¼ time, the Demons kicked 13 goals to a mere four from the Bulldogs. The mids had a field day, but not just in the middle as 14 Melbourne players had 19 or more disposals in the game. They were getting bucketloads of the ball, none more so than Angus Brayshaw and Clarrie Oliver with 39 and 38 touches respectively. It is a sign of the progression of this side, that we hardly notice the 26 and 22 touches from Jones and Viney, something which would have topped the tally sheet not that long ago. Up forward the tag team of Jesse Hogan and Tom McDonald cut the opposition defence to pieces again, posting nine goals between them - more than the Dogs total score. Bayley Fritsch, Alex Neal-Bullen and Mitch Hannan continue to be live-wires on the edges and provide those critical links to the forwards. Fritsch has been a revelation and 14 marks in this game as a first year player has cemented his spot in the short term, and longer probably. The Fugazi continues, and you expect there to be plenty of it in the lead up to the QB game against the Pies, who make plenty of their own fugazi, even when they are rubbish. For the Demons, they can do no more than to continue to do what they are doing at the moment, which is to defeat whoever is drawn to play them aeach week. Melbourne 2.1.13 7.4.46 11.7.73 15.10.100 Western Bulldogs 3.3.21 4.6.30 6.8.44 7.9.51 Goals Melbourne Hogan 5 T McDonald 4 Brayshaw Fritsch Hannan Jones Neal-Bullen Petracca Western Bulldogs Bontempelli 2 Gowers Honeychurch Roughead Schache Suckling Best Melbourne Brayshaw Jetta Hogan Gawn T McDonald Oliver Western Bulldogs Bontempelli Hunter McLean Suckling Macrae Morris Injuries Melbourne Lever (knee) Melksham (ankle) T Smith (neck) Western Bulldogs Dickson (hamstring) Reports Nil Umpires Chamberlain, Hay, Wallace Official crowd 28,485 at Etihad Stadium
  4. While Melbourne hardly played its best brand of football against the Western Bulldogs, in the end an eight goal win and another boost to percentage has done nothing to quell the fugazi (noise) around the club. After a fifth successive win at Docklands where not a solitary victory was recorded from 2008 to 2015 and with six consecutive wins under the their belts, it is not surprising that the Demon bandwagon is truly up and running. And while the coach and players are trying to keep “a Lid” on it, as we have only reached the half way point of a long, long season, these wins are making a finals appearance this year more of a certainty. The toll that the season and competition takes was shown in no uncertain terms today, when Jake Lever went down with what looks like a season ending knee injury. Others, in Jake Melksham and Tim Smith copped a battering during the game, and will be truly grateful for the nine-day break until the next match. And after the injury losses that befell the club last season, we are too familiar with the cost of losing talented players. Perhaps the grinding nature of the season to date was also showing up in the first quarter as Melbourne just looked tired and out of sorts after their complete demolition of Adelaide the previous week. The Dogs led at quarter time, thereby ending Melbourne’s streak of winning quarters, but it is the result at the end of the game that matters, and the Demons regained some of their composure and simply steamrolled the opposition to run out 49 point winners. With the early loss of Lever, the backs had to regroup, and that they certainly did. Neville Jetta in a tribute to the Douglas Nicholls Round, played an absolute blinder across half-back with 24 touches, 9 marks and 11 contested possessions. Time and time again, it was Neville or nothing and each time he beat his and other opponents to repel the Dogs forward thrusts. He was ably assisted by Michael Hibberd and Oscar McDonald who are proving to be equally solid “impassables” in defence. In the middle Max Gawn got on top after a slow start in the ruck and finished with an incredible 57 hitouts. While the Dogs continued to win clearances, they were always under pressure, while the Demons were cleaner and more methodical with their work at the stoppages. The result: after ¼ time, the Demons kicked 13 goals to a mere four from the Bulldogs. The mids had a field day, but not just in the middle as 14 Melbourne players had 19 or more disposals in the game. They were getting bucketloads of the ball, none more so than Angus Brayshaw and Clarrie Oliver with 39 and 38 touches respectively. It is a sign of the progression of this side, that we hardly notice the 26 and 22 touches from Jones and Viney, something which would have topped the tally sheet not that long ago. Up forward the tag team of Jesse Hogan and Tom McDonald cut the opposition defence to pieces again, posting nine goals between them - more than the Dogs total score. Bayley Fritsch, Alex Neal-Bullen and Mitch Hannan continue to be live-wires on the edges and provide those critical links to the forwards. Fritsch has been a revelation and 14 marks in this game as a first year player has cemented his spot in the short term, and longer probably. The Fugazi continues, and you expect there to be plenty of it in the lead up to the QB game against the Pies, who make plenty of their own fugazi, even when they are rubbish. For the Demons, they can do no more than to continue to do what they are doing at the moment, which is to defeat whoever is drawn to play them aeach week. Melbourne 2.1.13 7.4.46 11.7.73 15.10.100 Western Bulldogs 3.3.21 4.6.30 6.8.44 7.9.51 Goals Melbourne Hogan 5 T McDonald 4 Brayshaw Fritsch Hannan Jones Neal-Bullen Petracca Western Bulldogs Bontempelli 2 Gowers Honeychurch Roughead Schache Suckling Best Melbourne Brayshaw Jetta Hogan Gawn T McDonald Oliver Western Bulldogs Bontempelli Hunter McLean Suckling Macrae Morris Injuries Melbourne Lever (knee) Melksham (ankle) T Smith (neck) Western Bulldogs Dickson (hamstring) Reports Nil Umpires Chamberlain, Hay, Wallace Official crowd 28,485 at Etihad Stadium
  5. Josh

    GAMEDAY - Round 11

    Up bright and early and can see Etihad (or whatever it's called now) from our hotel. Wandered down to the Woolshed last night for some over priced craft beer (don't they sell VB in the city anymore) but will go there again today anyway. I think Bulldogs are about 3 months early as they are going to need an effort of marvel proportions to win this one. Dee's by 15... Goals. Jonesey will tear it up.
  6. THAT'S LIFE by Whispering Jack The fortunes of the Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs Football Clubs intersected when the two sides met in June last year at Etihad Stadium. The Demons were finally and slowly emerging from years of deprivation and suffering in the competition's lower depths while the Bulldogs were rapidly descending from the dizzy heights of the previous year's unexpected September glory. Despite the fact that both sides seemed to be heading in different directions, the outcome was still a shock to all, with the hitherto inconsistent Melbourne combination dominating throughout and, perhaps in a portent of things to come, winning all four quarters. We thought we had made it. We almost had it all but it turned out, that the hopes of a top four placing or even a finals finish were to prove premature, perhaps because the Demons were experiencing a "That's Life" moment as described in the Frank Sinatra hit song. They were riding high during that particular month and they were cut down in the next one but you could mount an argument that it all began with what was otherwise a very happy afternoon at Etihad for Melbourne fans. The victory however, was soured in the final quarter when co-captain Nathan Jones (quad) and Jack Watts (hamstring tightness) were both taken off as a precaution for assessment during the coming week. In the end, both missed the next month and they were joined on the sidelines in the weeks to come by a number of others including the team’s other skipper, Jack Viney. Melbourne went on to record a great victory over the Eagles on the following Saturday but the number of consecutive six day breaks, the injuries and a controversial suspension to Tomas Bugg in the next game against the Swans, all took their toll. The weakened team found themselves flat on their faces and, despite attempts to pick themselves up and get back in the race, the tiring Demons were floundering. Despite the fact that they were perilously close to making the finals for the first time in over a decade, they simply rolled themselves up in a big ball and died at the last hurdle. Poets, dreamers, philosophers and crooners like Frank might well ask whether the experience of a "That's Life" moment last year was a sign for the club and supporters that it was too soon to be thinking of premierships; that had the Demons fallen into the top eight, they might well have suffered the same fate as their replacement Essendon, which was bundled out in humiliation at the hands of the Swans by 80 points in the Elimination Final. The club has bounced back and we now find it again challenging for the finals and a top four finish even more strongly but this time, the team is much better equipped with greater depth, class, durability and experience than it had at this time last year. Just as the great Sinatra was able overcome and recover from extended periods of failure in his career, the time is now right for the Melbourne Football Club. That's life! THE GAME Western Bulldogs v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, Saturday 2 June, 2018 at 1.45pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall: Western Bulldogs 76 wins Melbourne 86 wins 1 draw At Etihad Stadium: Western Bulldogs 9 wins Melbourne 7 wins Last Five Meetings: Western Bulldogs 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches: Beveridge 0 wins Goodwin 1 win MEDIA TV - Fox Sports Live at 1.30pm Radio - Triple M 3AW ABC ABC Grandstand THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 17.11.113 defeated Western Bulldogs 8.8.56 at Etihad Stadium, Round 13, 2017 Melbourne smashed the reigning premiers by 57 points to move to fifth place on the AFL ladder. It was a spiteful encounter fueled before the game when Tomas Bugg controversially taunted Bulldog Jason Johannisen on social media. The ploy worked as the Demons took advantage of a hesitant opponent to record a comfortable win and stamp their credentials for a place in the finals. THE TEAMS WESTERN BULLDOGS B: Matthew Suckling, Jackson Trengove, Ed Richards HB: Bailey Williams, Dale Morris, Easton Wood C : Jason Johannisen, Lachie Hunter, Patrick Lipinski HF: Caleb Daniel, Josh Schache, Tory Dickson F: Luke Dahlhaus, Marcus Bontempelli, Billy Gowers Foll: Tom Boyd, Toby McLean, Jack Macrae I/C: Hayden Crozier, Mitch Honeychurch, Jordan Roughead, Roarke Smith Emg: Tom Campbell, Lin Jong, Lukas Webb, Lewis Young In: Mitch Honeychurch, Dale Morris Out: Zaine Cordy (concussion), Bailey Dale (foot) MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Angus Brayshaw, Jake Lever, Jordan Lewis C : Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones HF: James Harmes, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham F: Tim Smith, Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca Foll: Max Gawn, Christian Salem, Clayton Oliver I/C: Bayley Fritsch, Mitch Hannan, Alex Neal-Bullen, Charlie Spargo Emg: Tom Bugg, Cameron Pedersen, Tom Bugg, Joel Smith, Billy Stretch NO CHANGE THE PARADOX The paradox about a game in which Melbourne starts as clear favourite is the fact that the Western Bulldogs will take the field with more than half a team comprised of premiership players while their counterparts have just one, and only a handful have even been a part of finals football. Co-captain Nathan Jones, who will be playing in his 250th match, is the only current team member to have tasted the finals experience as a Demon. That we have to go back in time only 20 months to the time when the Western Bulldogs stormed their way to the flag, is testament to the fickleness of our sport. They were on top one day and twelve months later, they finished in the bottom half of the ladder. Today, with almost half the season gone, they occupy a place in the bottom six with a percentage south of 80. And yet, the Doggies still have some of the game’s elite within their ranks. The in-form Jack Macrae is at the head of many of the media’s best player rankings, Marcus Bontempelli is regarded among the game’s top shelf while it was not long ago that the likes of Luke Dahlhaus, Lachlan Hunter, Jason Johannisen and Easton Wood were the toast of the town. Despite their past two defeats at the hands of top eight sides, they did win three games on the trot in rounds six to eight. The problem for the Bulldogs is that they have lost enough of the keys to the premiership success through retirement, injury or loss of form and have been unable to fill the void in class. As a consequence, their team appears unbalanced, inexperienced and down in confidence. In short, they are a long way from being capable of replicating the magic of September, 2016. Going back to those very recent heady days, it would have been unthinkable to consider them as being vulnerable to Melbourne in any game played at where the Bulldogs were lords and masters. These days however, the ground is a veritable fortress for the Demons who shook off the gloom of consecutive losses to Hawthorn and Richmond earlier this year to beat Essendon and St Kilda at the beginning of their current winning streak. They have won four games in a row at Etihad Stadium, a place which was not long ago viewed by their fans with shock, fear and awe. But it’s a different Melbourne these days. On the back of its current winning streak, it has established an unenviable record - it leads the competition in percentage, it’s the highest scoring team, number one for inside 50s and marks inside that area and most importantly, is the winner of the contested possession count. Add the dominance of ruckman Max Gawn and the fact that Jack Viney is finding his feet (and pardon the pun) after his long stint out with injury, it’s hard tipping against the Demons who could only lose if they start bathing in the glory of the complimentary publicity they’ve been receiving of late. With co-captain Nathan Jones leading then out for his 250th game reminding them of how much effort is required for a downtrodden side to lift itself back up to get in the race, I expect the team to be well grounded and up to the task of making it six in a row. Melbourne by 51 points
  7. Demonland

    THAT'S LIFE by Whispering Jack

    The fortunes of the Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs Football Clubs intersected when the two sides met in June last year at Etihad Stadium. The Demons were finally and slowly emerging from years of deprivation and suffering in the competition's lower depths while the Bulldogs were rapidly descending from the dizzy heights of the previous year's unexpected September glory. Despite the fact that both sides seemed to be heading in different directions, the outcome was still a shock to all, with the hitherto inconsistent Melbourne combination dominating throughout and, perhaps in a portent of things to come, winning all four quarters. We thought we had made it. We almost had it all but it turned out, that the hopes of a top four placing or even a finals finish were to prove premature, perhaps because the Demons were experiencing a "That's Life" moment as described in the Frank Sinatra hit song. They were riding high during that particular month and they were cut down in the next one but you could mount an argument that it all began with what was otherwise a very happy afternoon at Etihad for Melbourne fans. The victory however, was soured in the final quarter when co-captain Nathan Jones (quad) and Jack Watts (hamstring tightness) were both taken off as a precaution for assessment during the coming week. In the end, both missed the next month and they were joined on the sidelines in the weeks to come by a number of others including the team’s other skipper, Jack Viney. Melbourne went on to record a great victory over the Eagles on the following Saturday but the number of consecutive six day breaks, the injuries and a controversial suspension to Tomas Bugg in the next game against the Swans, all took their toll. The weakened team found themselves flat on their faces and, despite attempts to pick themselves up and get back in the race, the tiring Demons were floundering. Despite the fact that they were perilously close to making the finals for the first time in over a decade, they simply rolled themselves up in a big ball and died at the last hurdle. Poets, dreamers, philosophers and crooners like Frank might well ask whether the experience of a "That's Life" moment last year was a sign for the club and supporters that it was too soon to be thinking of premierships; that had the Demons fallen into the top eight, they might well have suffered the same fate as their replacement Essendon, which was bundled out in humiliation at the hands of the Swans by 80 points in the Elimination Final. The club has bounced back and we now find it again challenging for the finals and a top four finish even more strongly but this time, the team is much better equipped with greater depth, class, durability and experience than it had at this time last year. Just as the great Sinatra was able overcome and recover from extended periods of failure in his career, the time is now right for the Melbourne Football Club. That's life! *** Scroll Down for Whispering Jack's Prediction *** THE GAME Western Bulldogs v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, Saturday 2 June, 2018 at 1.45pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall: Western Bulldogs 76 wins Melbourne 86 wins 1 draw At Etihad Stadium: Western Bulldogs 9 wins Melbourne 7 wins Last Five Meetings: Western Bulldogs 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches: Beveridge 0 wins Goodwin 1 win MEDIA TV - Fox Sports Live at 1.30pm Radio - Triple M 3AW ABC ABC Grandstand THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 17.11.113 defeated Western Bulldogs 8.8.56 at Etihad Stadium, Round 13, 2017 Melbourne smashed the reigning premiers by 57 points to move to fifth place on the AFL ladder. It was a spiteful encounter fueled before the game when Tomas Bugg controversially taunted Bulldog Jason Johannisen on social media. The ploy worked as the Demons took advantage of a hesitant opponent to record a comfortable win and stamp their credentials for a place in the finals. THE TEAMS WESTERN BULLDOGS B: Matthew Suckling, Jackson Trengove, Ed Richards HB: Bailey Williams, Dale Morris, Easton Wood C : Jason Johannisen, Lachie Hunter, Patrick Lipinski HF: Caleb Daniel, Josh Schache, Tory Dickson F: Luke Dahlhaus, Marcus Bontempelli, Billy Gowers Foll: Tom Boyd, Toby McLean, Jack Macrae I/C: Hayden Crozier, Mitch Honeychurch, Jordan Roughead, Roarke Smith Emg: Tom Campbell, Lin Jong, Lukas Webb, Lewis Young In: Mitch Honeychurch, Dale Morris Out: Zaine Cordy (concussion), Bailey Dale (foot) MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Angus Brayshaw, Jake Lever, Jordan Lewis C : Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones HF: James Harmes, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham F: Tim Smith, Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca Foll: Max Gawn, Christian Salem, Clayton Oliver I/C: Bayley Fritsch, Mitch Hannan, Alex Neal-Bullen, Charlie Spargo Emg: Tom Bugg, Cameron Pedersen, Joel Smith, Billy Stretch NO CHANGE THE PARADOX The paradox about a game in which Melbourne starts as clear favourite is the fact that the Western Bulldogs will take the field with more than half a team comprised of premiership players while their counterparts have just one, and only a handful have even been a part of finals football. Co-captain Nathan Jones, who will be playing in his 250th match, is the only current team member to have tasted the finals experience as a Demon. That we have to go back in time only 20 months to the time when the Western Bulldogs stormed their way to the flag, is testament to the fickleness of our sport. They were on top one day and twelve months later, they finished in the bottom half of the ladder. Today, with almost half the season gone, they occupy a place in the bottom six with a percentage south of 80. And yet, the Doggies still have some of the game’s elite within their ranks. The in-form Jack Macrae is at the head of many of the media’s best player rankings, Marcus Bontempelli is regarded among the game’s top shelf while it was not long ago that the likes of Luke Dahlhaus, Lachlan Hunter, Jason Johannisen and Easton Wood were the toast of the town. Despite their past two defeats at the hands of top eight sides, they did win three games on the trot in rounds six to eight. The problem for the Bulldogs is that they have lost enough of the keys to the premiership success through retirement, injury or loss of form and have been unable to fill the void in class. As a consequence, their team appears unbalanced, inexperienced and down in confidence. In short, they are a long way from being capable of replicating the magic of September, 2016. Going back to those very recent heady days, it would have been unthinkable to consider them as being vulnerable to Melbourne in any game played at where the Bulldogs were lords and masters. These days however, the ground is a veritable fortress for the Demons who shook off the gloom of consecutive losses to Hawthorn and Richmond earlier this year to beat Essendon and St Kilda at the beginning of their current winning streak. They have won four games in a row at Etihad Stadium, a place which was not long ago viewed by their fans with shock, fear and awe. But it’s a different Melbourne these days. On the back of its current winning streak, it has established an unenviable record - it leads the competition in percentage, it’s the highest scoring team, number one for inside 50s and marks inside that area and most importantly, is the winner of the contested possession count. Add the dominance of ruckman Max Gawn and the fact that Jack Viney is finding his feet (and pardon the pun) after his long stint out with injury, it’s hard tipping against the Demons who could only lose if they start bathing in the glory of the complimentary publicity they’ve been receiving of late. With co-captain Nathan Jones leading then out for his 250th game reminding them of how much effort is required for a downtrodden side to lift itself back up to get in the race, I expect the team to be well grounded and up to the task of making it six in a row. Melbourne by 51 points
  8. There is a quote that is often misattributed to Albert Einstein which goes along these lines: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” meaning that if you always follow an unsuccessful pattern, you will inevitably always fail. It turns out that Einstein never said it but whoever did, perfectly encapsulated the 2018 campaign of the Melbourne women's team. Since after the opening round, the Demons have been shooting themselves in the foot with strong starting quarters followed by poor kicking for goal and performances that were punctuated by hesitancy and indecisive play, some absolute howlers (missing after running into open goals has been a special) that ultimately cost them a grand final place. Against the Bulldogs, the same mad pattern was there for all to see although this time, they had first use of the breeze after captain Daisy Pearce won the toss so they were always likely to hold a lead at the end of the opening term. And so it was, that Melbourne controlled the ball for much of the term when kicking to the southern end. As usual they had a lopsided inside 50 advantage of 11 to 2, but all they had to show for the dominance was a seven point lead thanks to a solitary Richelle Cranston goal. After the break, the Bulldogs showed the Demons how things should be done properly by going on the attack and, after a couple of early behinds, the goals came regularly - they snagged three goals in the first 12 minutes and though the visitors came back with a goal to Karen Paxman in a rare foray forward, it would have taken a genius like Einstein to get them across the line from there. Katherine Smith’s snapped goal just three minutes into the the third term offered some hope but those insane Demons lapsed into their pattern of wastefulness. They kept the Doggies scoreless for what is often known as “the premiership quarter” but they managed only one goal from seven scoring shots with their second use of the breeze. It was the old familiar pattern from that game in Fremantle. No urgency and no desire to go in for the kill but rather, a slow approach that gave opposition defenders the chance to apply that little bit of extra pressure when going for goal. They tried hard to stem the flow in the last and even tantalised the fans by regaining the lead with Kate Hore’s diving mark and goal but, as fate would have it, the Bulldogs’ Brooke Lochland kicked accurately for the winning goal with less than a minute and a half left to play. The pattern had been followed: the season was over. Melbourne 1.1.7 2.1.13 3.7.25 4.7.31 Western Bulldogs 0.0.0 3.2.20 3.2.20 5.3.33 Goals Melbourne Cranston Hore Paxman Smith Western Bulldogs Berry Brennan Conti Kearney Lochland Best Melbourne Paxman Smith L Pearce Downie O'Dea, Jakobsson Western Bulldogs Kearney Blackburn Bruton Spark, Conti Birch Injuries Melbourne Lampard (knee) Western Bulldogs Nil Umpires Mirable, Dore, Johanson Official crowd 7,593 at VU Whitten Oval
  9. Going early I know but ... so are the Doggies' supporters ?
  10. BEST ON SHOW by the Oracle Once the dramatic events of the AFL's sensational Round 12 were done and dusted, all the talk of the town was about the dogs. The question as to whether the Western Bulldogs were experiencing a premiership hangover was one of the biggest discussion points in football. The young side that captured the hearts and the imagination of the football public with their fantastic exploits in 2016 were said to no longer be as hungry or as ruthless as they were back then. Some even suggested they were in danger of possibility dropping out of the top eight altogether. Which inevitably makes the encounter between Melbourne and the Bullies at Etihad Stadium this weekend a truly intriguing contest. For starters, despite the close scrutiny and the handwringing over some of their recent displays, Luke Beveridge's charges are starting as strong favourite, perhaps largely due to the gravitas generated from being the reigning premier or simply because of the expected return from injury of a trio of stars from last year's finals campaign - Tom Boyd, Dale Morris and Clay Smith along with the likely promotion of Tom Liberatore who starred when the teams met last year. For the Demons' part, they're coming into this game on a high after the pulsating come from behind victory over the Magpies, a win that was remarkable because they managed to overcome the fact that they lost the hit out count by a massive 14 to 65 and were out marked by 62 to 112. That sort of discrepancy suggests in simple terms that in order to win the game a massive effort was required at ground level and this in turn, creates another dilemma for coach Simon Goodwin who potentially has both of his twin 200cm towers available for selection. Will he change what has been an effective structure over the past few weeks to bring in one of those big men and what will he do to cater for the string of six day breaks and interstate trips coming up in the immediate future? In a season of topsy turvy results and unpredictability, it's hard to discern what team from either club will be on show at the weekend, or even from quarter to quarter within the match. Will the Demons continue the momentum of their push up the ladder, will the Bulldogs bite as they did last September or merely bark without impacting the result of the game. Which team will put its best on show? THE GAME Western Bulldogs v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, Sunday 18 June, 2017 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall: Western Bulldogs 76 wins Melbourne 85 wins 1 draw At Etihad Stadium: Western Bulldogs 9 wins Melbourne 6 wins Last Five Meetings: Western Bulldogs 4 wins Melbourne 1 win The Coaches: Beveridge 0 wins Goodwin 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel live at 3.00pm Radio - Triple M, 3AW, SEN, ABC, ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Western Bulldogs $1.50 to win Melbourne $2.60 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Western Bulldogs 17.12.114 defeated Melbourne 12.10.82 at Etihad Stadium, Round 8, 2016 The Bulldogs were at the top of their game while the young Demons were coming off a 73 point win away from home against the Suns and were momentarily in the top eight. However, they failed to match the relentless tackling of their opponents with the currently unloved Bulldog, Tom Liberatore, ironically leading the tackle count with 19. Jack Viney was the Demons' best. THE TEAMS WESTERN BULLDOGS B: Dale Morris, Zaine Cordy, Jason Johannisen HB: Shane Biggs, Easton Wood, Matthew Suckling C: Lachie Hunter, Jack Macrae, Tory Dickson HF: Caleb Daniel, Tom Boyd, Toby McLean F: Lin Jong, Jake Stringer, Liam Picken FOLL: Jordan Roughead, Marcus Bontempelli, Mitch Wallis I/C: Luke Dahlhaus, Bailey Dale, Mitch Honeychurch, Tom Liberatore EMG: Tom Campbell, Lukas Webb, Bailey Williams IN: Tom Boyd, Zaine Cordy, Mitch Honeychurch, Tom Liberatore, Dale Morris OUT: Marcus Adams (foot), Matthew Boyd (omitted), Travis Cloke (soreness), Tim English (omitted) Fletcher Roberts (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Oscar McDonald, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Michael Hibberd, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince C: Jayden Hunt, Jordan Lewis, Nathan Jones HF: Clayton Oliver, Jack Watts, Mitch Hannan F: Tom Bugg, Christian Petracca, Jeff Garlett FOLL: Cam Pedersen, Dom Tyson, Jack Viney I/C: James Harmes, Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen, Christian Salem EMG: Ben Kennedy, Jake Spencer, Sam Weideman NO CHANGE There's one thing you can't rely upon these days when trying to predict the outcome of AFL games and that's current form. If you could, then Melbourne would be an odds on favourite, having lost only once in the last month and a half while the Western Bulldogs have won only once since round 8 and are coming off a 46-point loss against Sydney. Their lacklustre form, an unsettled line up and their inability to match the pressure and intensity of 2016 are certainly worrying for their coach and supporters and yet, they remain well fancied to win this match against the Demons who go into the game with an unchanged team from Monday's Queens Birthday blockbuster win. Melbourne is seemingly on the up and up while the Dogs are likely to drop out of the top eight after this round if they lose this game - an extraordinary state of affairs for a reigning premier. The factor that turns everything on its head is ironically the one that is often used as a pointer to why a given team will lose and that's team stability. The Bulldogs go into the game with five changes which many suggest is counterproductive to winning especially against a team with "no change" posted against its name following team selection. However, in the unstable football climate of 2017, this doesn't quite stand up. Former skipper and 290 gamer, Matthew Boyd may well be the eighth Bulldog premiership player to be dropped this year, but they have some handy players coming back and primed to add the intensity the team's performances have been lacking during the past month or so. Young Libba was their match winner when the teams last met and the other inclusions add solidity to the side. And their young stars like Bontempelli, Stringer and McCrae are all due for big games. The Demons won't be easy to beat - they are a tough proposition this year - ranked in the top four for contested possessions and tackles and seventh for clearances. They do however, have a tendency towards inconsistency both during and between games and their slow starts are a worry. One theory concerning this trend is the lack of a tall ruckman which has hounded the club after early-season injuries to Max Gawn and Jake Spencer but the decision to shun the latter now that he's fit and available, suggests the Melbourne selectors disagree. They will be banking on the no ruck policy but I'm not sure that strategy works often enough in these unpredictable times. Western Bulldogs by 3 points.
  11. The train trip home following the Melbourne v Doggies match was almost deathly quiet. It was packed with Demon supporters, yet there was little exuberance following the win. Trouble is the fans had no idea what to do now that their team is sitting comfortably in the top eight (in fifth place to be precise), a full game and percentage clear. Their team had just beaten the reigning premier by almost ten goals; it had won its third game in succession and did that coming off a six-day break at a ground where until a little over twelve months ago, it had experienced a long unbroken string of failure. And this with its All Australian ruckman and a serious quality key forward out of action! Wadda we do? The MFCSS is strong, but there must now be the realisation that in season 2017 the Demons are the real deal. It is not too hard to think that but for the couple of close games lost when injury intervened, the team could be well be sitting on top of the AFL ladder! With much hype before the game about the aggressive approach the Demons were going to bring, it was to be quite frank, truly unexpected when that is exactly what Melbourne did. Right from the start (and not after incurring a four goal deficit, as has often been the case this year) the players were right in the faces of the Bulldogs. They were unable to get their swarming forward running going as they were pressured constantly into fumbles and turnovers. Surprisingly, Luke Beveridge failed to respond in any way from the box as he stuck with the same structures throughout the game. Melbourne had a wave of players coming off half-back at centre bounces, while the Bulldogs had either three or four players on the wing. Whichever side the ball came to the Dogs were always a man down. This situation was helped enormously by the great work done in the ruck by primarily Tom McDonald. While the Dogs won the hit out count by 61 to 19, the clearance number was an extraordinary 40 to 34 in the Demons' favour. Clayton Oliver continued his stellar year, and if you watch him carefully he is simply not entitled to get the ball as often as he does. But he is as tough as nails and just keeps on doing it. He then delivers to the runners and the Demons are away. What a contrast to 2 or 3 years ago when Nathan Jones battled manfully alone in the middle. Today with Oliver, Viney, Lewis and others we even saw Simon Goodwin “blooding” Mitch Hannan in the engine room as well. Tom Bugg did exactly what his name suggested and annoyed and pestered the Footscray players to the point where they gifted him a free kick after a Demon goal to score yet another. Not only that but he provided plenty of run and contested marking both up forward and around the ground. When the team plays this well, it is difficult to record the efforts of everyone. But Oscar McDonald was a standout in the backline with 23 disposals, 12 marks and 8 rebounds from defensive 50. Michael Hibberd was equally as unforgiving and stingy with 27 touches 11 marks and 5 rebound 50’s. A special mention to Neville Jetta who doesn’t worry the statisticians too much, but there should be a special stat for “thank goodness Neville was there”, because his spoiling and contesting is simply first rate and he is always where and when needed. There may be some injury concerns, not surprisingly given the brutal aspects that the Demons brought to the game, with Nathan Jones, Jack Watts and Jayden Hunt all taking a battering, but in the cases of Watts and Jones they were afforded the luxury of resting for virtually the whole last quarter. So wadda we do now? In years past, a follow-up game against West Coast in Perth after another six-day break would be a certain flogging. After this game and the style and emphatic display put on by the Demons, the expectations are surely higher. It is the chance to put another bogy to bed with a Perth win, but if it were to happen, then the rest of the competition will really sit up and take notice. And the Demon fans will really find their voices ... Melbourne 4.2.26 8.6.54 14.7.91 17.11.113 Western Bulldogs 0.1.1 3.3.21 6.5.41 8.8.56 Goals Melbourne Watts 3 Bugg Garlett Hannan T McDonald 2 Harmes Melksham Neal-Bullen Petracca Salem Tyson Western Bulldogs Bontempelli T Boyd Dahlhaus Daniel Dickson Liberatore Picken Roughead Best Melbourne Hibberd Oliver Watts T McDonald O McDonald Petracca Garlett Western Bulldogs Bontempelli Hunter Wallis Liberatore Daniel Changes Melbourne Nil Western Bulldogs Nil Injuries Melbourne Jones (thigh) Watts (hamstring) Western Bulldogs Jong (knee) Reports Melbourne Nil Western Bulldogs Nil Umpires Foot, Rosebury, Hosking, Findlay Official crowd 33,667 at Etihad Stadium
  12. Demonland

    MATCH REPORT - Round 13

    WADDA WE SING, WADDA WE DO? by George on the Outer The train trip home following the Melbourne v Doggies match was almost deathly quiet. It was packed with Demon supporters, yet there was little exuberance following the win. Trouble is the fans had no idea what to do now that their team is sitting comfortably in the top eight (in fifth place to be precise), a full game and percentage clear. Their team had just beaten the reigning premier by almost ten goals; it had won its third game in succession and did that coming off a six-day break at a ground where until a little over twelve months ago, it had experienced a long unbroken string of failure. And this with its All Australian ruckman and a serious quality key forward out of action! Wadda we do? The MFCSS is strong, but there must now be the realisation that in season 2017 the Demons are the real deal. It is not too hard to think that but for the couple of close games lost when injury intervened, the team could be well be sitting on top of the AFL ladder! With much hype before the game about the aggressive approach the Demons were going to bring, it was to be quite frank, truly unexpected when that is exactly what Melbourne did. Right from the start (and not after incurring a four goal deficit, as has often been the case this year) the players were right in the faces of the Bulldogs. They were unable to get their swarming forward running going as they were pressured constantly into fumbles and turnovers. Surprisingly, Luke Beveridge failed to respond in any way from the box as he stuck with the same structures throughout the game. Melbourne had a wave of players coming off half-back at centre bounces, while the Bulldogs had either three or four players on the wing. Whichever side the ball came to the Dogs were always a man down. This situation was helped enormously by the great work done in the ruck by primarily Tom McDonald. While the Dogs won the hit out count by 61 to 19, the clearance number was an extraordinary 40 to 34 in the Demons' favour. Clayton Oliver continued his stellar year, and if you watch him carefully he is simply not entitled to get the ball as often as he does. But he is as tough as nails and just keeps on doing it. He then delivers to the runners and the Demons are away. What a contrast to 2 or 3 years ago when Nathan Jones battled manfully alone in the middle. Today with Oliver, Viney, Lewis and others we even saw Simon Goodwin “blooding” Mitch Hannan in the engine room as well. Tom Bugg did exactly what his name suggested and annoyed and pestered the Footscray players to the point where they gifted him a free kick after a Demon goal to score yet another. Not only that but he provided plenty of run and contested marking both up forward and around the ground. When the team plays this well, it is difficult to record the efforts of everyone. But Oscar McDonald was a standout in the backline with 23 disposals, 12 marks and 8 rebounds from defensive 50. Michael Hibberd was equally as unforgiving and stingy with 27 touches 11 marks and 5 rebound 50’s. A special mention to Neville Jetta who doesn’t worry the statisticians too much, but there should be a special stat for “thank goodness Neville was there”, because his spoiling and contesting is simply first rate and he is always where and when needed. There may be some injury concerns, not surprisingly given the brutal aspects that the Demons brought to the game, with Nathan Jones, Jack Watts and Jayden Hunt all taking a battering, but in the cases of Watts and Jones they were afforded the luxury of resting for virtually the whole last quarter. So wadda we do now? In years past, a follow-up game against West Coast in Perth after another six-day break would be a certain flogging. After this game and the style and emphatic display put on by the Demons, the expectations are surely higher. It is the chance to put another bogy to bed with a Perth win, but if it were to happen, then the rest of the competition will really sit up and take notice. And the Demon fans will really find their voices ... Melbourne 4.2.26 8.6.54 14.7.91 17.11.113 Western Bulldogs 0.1.1 3.3.21 6.5.41 8.8.56 Goals Melbourne Watts 3 Bugg Garlett Hannan T McDonald 2 Harmes Melksham Neal-Bullen Petracca Salem Tyson Western Bulldogs Bontempelli T Boyd Dahlhaus Daniel Dickson Liberatore Picken Roughead Best Melbourne Hibberd Oliver Watts T McDonald O McDonald Petracca Garlett Western Bulldogs Bontempelli Hunter Wallis Liberatore Daniel Changes Melbourne Nil Western Bulldogs Nil Injuries Melbourne Jones (thigh) Watts (hamstring) Western Bulldogs Jong (knee) Reports Melbourne Nil Western Bulldogs Nil Umpires Foot, Rosebury, Hosking, Findlay Official crowd 33,667 at Etihad Stadium
  13. Whispering_Jack

    GAMEDAY - Round 13

    A week ago Neale Daniher addressed the Melbourne team ahead of their game v Collingwood saying, "in a week's time you won't remember a thing I said". They went out and recorded a famous victory over Collingwood but now, a week later, let's remind ourselves and hope that they go out and do it again ...
  14. Demonland

    BEST ON SHOW by The Oracle

    Once the dramatic events of the AFL's sensational Round 12 were done and dusted, all the talk of the town was about the dogs. The question as to whether the Western Bulldogs were experiencing a premiership hangover was one of the biggest discussion points in football. The young side that captured the hearts and the imagination of the football public with their fantastic exploits in 2016 were said to no longer be as hungry or as ruthless as they were back then. Some even suggested they were in danger of possibility dropping out of the top eight altogether. Which inevitably makes the encounter between Melbourne and the Bullies at Etihad Stadium this weekend a truly intriguing contest. For starters, despite the close scrutiny and the handwringing over some of their recent displays, Luke Beveridge's charges are starting as strong favourite, perhaps largely due to the gravitas generated from being the reigning premier or simply because of the expected return from injury of a trio of stars from last year's finals campaign - Tom Boyd, Dale Morris and Clay Smith along with the likely promotion of Tom Liberatore who starred when the teams met last year. For the Demons' part, they're coming into this game on a high after the pulsating come from behind victory over the Magpies, a win that was remarkable because they managed to overcome the fact that they lost the hit out count by a massive 14 to 65 and were out marked by 62 to 112. That sort of discrepancy suggests in simple terms that in order to win the game a massive effort was required at ground level and this in turn, creates another dilemma for coach Simon Goodwin who potentially has both of his twin 200cm towers available for selection. Will he change what has been an effective structure over the past few weeks to bring in one of those big men and what will he do to cater for the string of six day breaks and interstate trips coming up in the immediate future? In a season of topsy turvy results and unpredictability, it's hard to discern what team from either club will be on show at the weekend, or even from quarter to quarter within the match. Will the Demons continue the momentum of their push up the ladder, will the Bulldogs bite as they did last September or merely bark without impacting the result of the game. Which team will put its best on show? THE GAME Western Bulldogs v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, Sunday 18 June, 2017 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall: Western Bulldogs 76 wins Melbourne 85 wins 1 draw At Etihad Stadium: Western Bulldogs 9 wins Melbourne 6 wins Last Five Meetings: Western Bulldogs 4 wins Melbourne 1 win The Coaches: Beveridge 0 wins Goodwin 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel live at 3.00pm Radio - Triple M, 3AW, SEN, ABC, ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Western Bulldogs $1.50 to win Melbourne $2.60 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Western Bulldogs 17.12.114 defeated Melbourne 12.10.82 at Etihad Stadium, Round 8, 2016 The Bulldogs were at the top of their game while the young Demons were coming off a 73 point win away from home against the Suns and were momentarily in the top eight. However, they failed to match the relentless tackling of their opponents with the currently unloved Bulldog, Tom Liberatore, ironically leading the tackle count with 19. Jack Viney was the Demons' best. THE TEAMS WESTERN BULLDOGS B: Dale Morris, Zaine Cordy, Jason Johannisen HB: Shane Biggs, Easton Wood, Matthew Suckling C: Lachie Hunter, Jack Macrae, Tory Dickson HF: Caleb Daniel, Tom Boyd, Toby McLean F: Lin Jong, Jake Stringer, Liam Picken FOLL: Jordan Roughead, Marcus Bontempelli, Mitch Wallis I/C: Luke Dahlhaus, Bailey Dale, Mitch Honeychurch, Tom Liberatore EMG: Tom Campbell, Lukas Webb, Bailey Williams IN: Tom Boyd, Zaine Cordy, Mitch Honeychurch, Tom Liberatore, Dale Morris OUT: Marcus Adams (foot), Matthew Boyd (omitted), Travis Cloke (soreness), Tim English (omitted) Fletcher Roberts (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Oscar McDonald, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Michael Hibberd, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince C: Jayden Hunt, Jordan Lewis, Nathan Jones HF: Clayton Oliver, Jack Watts, Mitch Hannan F: Tom Bugg, Christian Petracca, Jeff Garlett FOLL: Cam Pedersen, Dom Tyson, Jack Viney I/C: James Harmes, Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen, Christian Salem EMG: Ben Kennedy, Jake Spencer, Sam Weideman NO CHANGE There's one thing you can't rely upon these days when trying to predict the outcome of AFL games and that's current form. If you could, then Melbourne would be an odds on favourite, having lost only once in the last month and a half while the Western Bulldogs have won only once since round 8 and are coming off a 46-point loss against Sydney. Their lacklustre form, an unsettled line up and their inability to match the pressure and intensity of 2016 are certainly worrying for their coach and supporters and yet, they remain well fancied to win this match against the Demons who go into the game with an unchanged team from Monday's Queens Birthday blockbuster win. Melbourne is seemingly on the up and up while the Dogs are likely to drop out of the top eight after this round if they lose this game - an extraordinary state of affairs for a reigning premier. The factor that turns everything on its head is ironically the one that is often used as a pointer to why a given team will lose and that's team stability. The Bulldogs go into the game with five changes which many suggest is counterproductive to winning especially against a team with "no change" posted against its name following team selection. However, in the unstable football climate of 2017, this doesn't quite stand up. Former skipper and 290 gamer, Matthew Boyd may well be the eighth Bulldog premiership player to be dropped this year, but they have some handy players coming back and primed to add the intensity the team's performances have been lacking during the past month or so. Young Libba was their match winner when the teams last met and the other inclusions add solidity to the side. And their young stars like Bontempelli, Stringer and McCrae are all due for big games. The Demons won't be easy to beat - they are a tough proposition this year - ranked in the top four for contested possessions and tackles and seventh for clearances. They do however, have a tendency towards inconsistency both during and between games and their slow starts are a worry. One theory concerning this trend is the lack of a tall ruckman which has hounded the club after early-season injuries to Max Gawn and Jake Spencer but the decision to shun the latter now that he's fit and available, suggests the Melbourne selectors disagree. They will be banking on the no ruck policy but I'm not sure that strategy works often enough in these unpredictable times. Western Bulldogs by 3 points.
  15. Demonland

    THE LAST TIME THEY MET

    It was in Round 8 last year and they got hold of us early to lead by three goals at quarter time and we simply couldn't get back up. This year, it's changed! MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Tomas Bugg HB: Josh Wagner, Colin Garland, Jayden Hunt C: Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson, Clayton Oliver HF: Jack Watts, Cameron Pedersen, Jeff Garlett F: James Harmes, Jesse Hogan, Ben Kennedy FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Viv Michie, Christian Petracca, Christian Salem, Billy Stretch EMG: Jack Grimes, Oscar McDonald, Alex Neal-Bullen IN: Christian Salem OUT: Dean Kent (back) WESTERN BULLDOGS B: Matthew Boyd, Fletcher Roberts, Dale Morris HB: Shane Biggs, Easton Wood, Jed Adcock C: Lachie Hunter, Thomas Liberatore, Tory Dickson HF: Liam Picken, Tom Campbell, Jack Stringer F: Luke Dahlhaus, Jack Redpath, Mitch Wallis FOLL: Jordan Roughead, Jackson Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli I/C: Bailey Dale, Caleb Daniel, Toby McLean, Bailey Williams EMG: Josh Dunkley, Mitch Honeychurch, Lin Jong, IN: Bailey Williams OUT: Marcus Adams (finger)
  16. IT'S THE MIDFIELD STUPID by Whispering Jack The AFL's JLT Series isn't all about winning games. There's no ladder or table to tell you where your team's at and there's no finals series or premiership cup for your captain or captains to hold up at the end of it all. In fact, it's nothing more than a glorified practice match schedule dressed up for television, running side by side with the women's competition and a handful of other sports that vie for our attention at this time of the year. While it's always better to come out of it with a win or at least a decent performance (especially against the stronger sides) and without any serious injuries to your playing list, the series is really about testing out your players (especially your newcomers), your systems and style of play and preparing your team for the long arduous season ahead. In that regard, Melbourne fans could come away from the game at Whitten Oval knowing that most of the boxes were ticked (Josh Wagner's injury is said to be not as bad as it looked) and importantly, a very seriously good midfield is emerging - and we all know it's the midfield that underpins the success of a club. The extra numbers that play in these games afforded new coach Simon Goodwin the opportunity to test forgotten man Jake Spencer in the ruck and give his All Australian Max Gawn an easier day at the office with less on ball work and more time up forward. That seemed to work and even if the plan won't always be adopted in the regular season, the option is always there. It's clear though that with no third men up Gawn is set to give his on ball division an armchair ride this season - and it will be a different, more varied and younger brigade this year than it was under Paul Roos and significantly better than the third world model that was in place when the list was in such poor shape five years and more ago. Against the reigning premier on their home patch in their first post flag game, the Demons' rucks allowed the likes of Jack Viney, Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and Christian Salem to win more clearances, control of the ball in the middle and ultimately a winning edge in inside 50 numbers. Those players are all young and they have the experience of Nathan Jones, Bernie Vince and Hawthorn's gift to the club Jordan Lewis around with the luxury of having them patrol the half back line in games such as these. And there's a bit of run about the place with Jayden Hunt and Billy Stretch. The media pack were raving about Travis Cloke's impact on the Bulldogs and his supergoal was a ripper but it was Jesse Hogan who picked up four and took some great clunking marks to suggest he will improve his goal kicking record further in 2017. He had a great foil in Sam Weideman who, for the record, matched Cloke's haul and should have kicked at least one other after he marked strongly in the second quarter and missed a relatively easy shot. Tom Bugg was his usual pesky self and also bobbed around goal. Another plus for the Demons was the first up appearance of Category B recruit Joel Smith who showed a great deal of promise, particularly early in the game. He definitely has the makings of a player. If there was a downside, it was the two glaring lapses late in the second quarter and again late in the last when the team gave away goals too easily and allowed the Doggies back into the game both times. In a seven or eight minute period before half time, the intensity dropped, the defence went missing and a 22 point lead was squandered. Weideman's goal just before the siren to restore the lead to three points was all that enabled the team to go into the sheds at the break with their heads up high. A similar fade out occurred late in the game after the Dees had led by 25 points at one stage well beyond the halfway mark of the final term. The club could do with the steadiness of Nev Jetta and the rebounding work of Michael Hibberd in its defence to halt these lapses in games. The signs are good after one practice match and next week's another game but what really impresses me is the fact that Melbourne is developing a strong young midfield engine room and that is where games are ultimately won and lost when premiership points and the big prizes are at stake. Melbourne 0.4.2.26 0.8.3.51 0.12.5.77 0.14.8.92 Western Bulldogs 0.2.0.12 1.6.3.48 1.8.4.61 2.9.14.86 Nine pointers Melbourne Nil Western Bulldogs Cloke Johannissen Goals Melbourne Hogan 4 Weideman 2 Brayshaw Bugg Garlett Gawn Jones Neal-Bullen Petracca Viney Western Bulldogs Dahlhaus Hunter 2 Cloke Dale Lynch Daniel McLean Best Melbourne Hogan Viney Lewis Salem Brayshaw Gawn O McDonald Western Bulldogs Dahlhaus Liberatore Cloke Hunter McLean Johannisen Injuries Melbourne Wagner (dislocated fibula) Western Bulldogs Roughead (right knee) Reports Nil Umpires Williamson Dalgleish Rosebury Margetts Official crowd 7,581 at Whitten Oval
  17. TRADITIONAL RIVALS by Bewitched There is no greater "traditional rivalry" in women's football in the early days of the game at its highest level than that between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. The two clubs virtually single-handedly lifted the profile of the game in recent years to a level where the new national competition under the aegis of the AFLW could even be contemplated. Melbourne won all of their early exhibition games until the very last one in 2016 when it copped a bit of a hiding so it was fitting that the Demons would finish on top in their first encounter for premiership points yesterday at Whitten Oval. And what could be more fitting than for the skipper Daisy Pearce to be the star of the game in her team's 14 point win in the first male/female AFL double header in a game that saw her team go to a 2 - 1 record and enter the top four for the first time in the history of the competition? It was the Bulldogs that controlled proceedings early but Harriet Cordner from the famous Melbourne family making history with a late goal to put the team within a couple of points at quarter time. It was then Daisy's turn to take over in the midfield and the Demons dominated the second quarter with the wind at their backs. Goals to Deanna Berry and Alyssa Mifsud saw them to a 14 point half time lead, an advantage they held at the end of the game. The Bulldogs fought back early in the third quarter but two goals to Mifsud restored the advantage and the team's scored one each in the final term. Full marks to the strong Demon midfield of Daisy Pearce, Karen Paxman and Elise O'Dea who kep their team on top for most of the game and to Mifsud for her three exciting goals. Melbourne's prospects of contesting the AFLW grand final will be enhanced if it can overcome Carlton at Casey Fields on Saturday. Melbourne 1.1.7 3.5.23 5.7.37 6.7.43 Western Bulldogs 1.3.9 1.3.9 3.4.22 4.5.29 Goals Melbourne Mifsud 3 Berry Cordner Hickey Western Bulldogs Clarkson Gardner McLeod Wildes Goals Melbourne D Pearce Mifsud O'Dea Hickey Paxman Mithen Western Bulldogs Blackburn Kearney Scott Wildes Injuries Melbourne L Pearce (shin) Western Bulldogs Nil Umpires Michael Pell, Ryan Guy, Nathan Toner Crowd 8,000 (estimate) at the Whitten Oval https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZsxbf_eiEU&sns=em
  18. Demonland

    TRADITIONAL RIVALS by Bewitched

    There is no greater "traditional rivalry" in women's football in the early days of the game at its highest level than that between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. The two clubs virtually single-handedly lifted the profile of the game in recent years to a level where the new national competition under the aegis of the AFLW could even be contemplated. Melbourne won all of their early exhibition games until the very last one in 2016 when it copped a bit of a hiding so it was fitting that the Demons would finish on top in their first encounter for premiership points yesterday at Whitten Oval. And what could be more fitting than for the skipper Daisy Pearce to be the star of the game in her team's 14 point win in the first male/female AFL double header in a game that saw her team go to a 2 - 1 record and enter the top four for the first time in the history of the competition? It was the Bulldogs that controlled proceedings early but Harriet Cordner from the famous Melbourne family making history with a late goal to put the team within a couple of points at quarter time. It was then Daisy's turn to take over in the midfield and the Demons dominated the second quarter with the wind at their backs. Goals to Deanna Berry and Alyssa Mifsud saw them to a 14 point half time lead, an advantage they held at the end of the game. The Bulldogs fought back early in the third quarter but two goals to Mifsud restored the advantage and the team's scored one each in the final term. Full marks to the strong Demon midfield of Daisy Pearce, Karen Paxman and Elise O'Dea who kep their team on top for most of the game and to Mifsud for her three exciting goals. Melbourne's prospects of contesting the AFLW grand final will be enhanced if it can overcome Carlton at Casey Fields on Saturday. Melbourne 1.1.7 3.5.23 5.7.37 6.7.43 Western Bulldogs 1.3.9 1.3.9 3.4.22 4.5.29 Goals Melbourne Mifsud 3 Berry Cordner Hickey Western Bulldogs Clarkson Gardner McLeod Wildes Goals Melbourne D Pearce Mifsud O'Dea Hickey Paxman Mithen Western Bulldogs Blackburn Kearney Scott Wildes Injuries Melbourne L Pearce (shin) Western Bulldogs Nil Umpires Michael Pell, Ryan Guy, Nathan Toner Crowd 8,000 (estimate) at the Whitten Oval https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZsxbf_eiEU&sns=em
  19. THIS IS THE MOMENT by Whispering Jack "This is the moment! This is the day, When I send all my doubts and demons On their way!" ~ THIS IS THE MOMENT (from the musical Jekyll and Hyde) Melbourne has been described as the Jekyll and Hyde of the AFL. As it attempts to clamber up from the basement of the competition where it has spent so many moments of despair, it continues to tantalise supporters with great highs only to disappoint them with unexpected lows. How can you explain its Round 2 performance against a lowly undermanned Essendon wedged in between games against two highly rated teams in GWS Giants and North Melbourne? The same question can be asked of the game against St Kilda just two weeks ago. You could put the inconsistency down to the fact that the team is one of the youngest in the competition and that's what you expect from inexperience. There's certainly some truth in that but there comes a time when even young sides must rise to the challenge and this week's game at the MCG against the Western Bulldogs is precisely that time. The Demons are in their own way tracking the Bulldogs of twelve months ago. At the start of 2015, they were a young team, unfashionable and not fancied to advance much, if at all, after a 7-15 record in the year before. Under new coach Luke Beveridge, they started well winning their first two games, got thumped by the Hawks and had a revelatory win in Sydney beating the Swans by four points in an unexpected result before losing to lowly St Kilda at Etihad Stadium after leading at one stage by 55 points. They went into a losing streak going down at the same venue against Fremantle and before losing to Melbourne at the MCG by 39 points in the equivalent round to this week's game. Going into their bye round in midseason they had five wins from ten matches before building up a head of steam to finish with fourteen wins – doubling their tally from 2014 and making the finals. I believe the Bullies had their moment in that game at the SCG when they beat Sydney away from home. I called it a revelation because of the nature of the win – a breakthrough against a leading team, one they were not expected to beat. Now, it’s Melbourne’s turn for their breakthrough. The time is right, they play a strong team that’s in good form but the Western Bulldogs have played all of their matches to date at Etihad Stadium. They have yet to travel interstate or to play on the big MCG which, despite the stands surrounding it, is still open to the elements. I sense they are vulnerable. And, this is the moment for Melbourne. THE GAME Melbourne v Western Bulldogs at The MCG Sunday 24 May 2015 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall: Melbourne 85 Western Bulldogs 75 wins 1 draw At MCG: Melbourne 45 wins Western Bulldogs 27 wins Last Five Meetings: Melbourne 2 wins Western Bulldogs 3 wins The Coaches: Roos 1 win Beveridge 1 win MEDIA TV - Fox Sports 3, Channel 7 live at 3.00pm Radio - Triple M, 3AW THE BETTING Melbourne $2.75 to win Western Bulldogs $1.45 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Western Bulldogs 24.9.153 defeated Melbourne 8.7.55 at Etihad Stadium, Round 20, 2015 The ruthless Bulldogs opened in blistering form to lead at the first break by 8.3.51 to 0.2.2 while Demons were virtually spectators as their opponents ran rings around them. Their first goal to Jeff Garlett was scored at the halfway mark of the second term, by which time they were more than 10 goals in arrears. Jesse Hogan scored a few goals, Tom McDonald worked hard in defence and Jack Watts player well but for the most part, the game was a train wreck for Melbourne. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Tomas BuggHB: Josh Wagner, Colin Garland, Jayden HuntC: Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson, Clayton OliverHF: Jack Watts, Cameron Pedersen, Jeff GarlettF: James Harmes, Jesse Hogan, Ben KennedyFOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack VineyI/C: Viv Michie, Christian Petracca, Christian Salem, Billy Stretch EMG: Jack Grimes, Oscar McDonald, Alex Neal-Bullen IN: Christian Salem OUT: Dean Kent (back) WESTERN BULLDOGS B: Matthew Boyd, Fletcher Roberts, Dale Morris HB: Shane Biggs, Easton Wood, Jed AdcockC: Lachie Hunter, Thomas Liberatore, Tory DicksonHF: Liam Picken, Tom Campbell, Jack StringerF: Luke Dahlhaus, Jack Redpath, Mitch WallisFOLL: Jordan Roughead, Jackson Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli I/C: Bailey Dale, Caleb Daniel, Toby McLean, Bailey Williams EMG: Josh Dunkley, Mitch Honeychurch, Lin Jong, IN: Bailey Williams OUT: Marcus Adams (finger) SAM THE STATS MAN'S ROUND UP - 2016 TO DATE BRAYSHAW, Angus MFC 3 games, 3 goals, CSFC 2 games 2 goals - the young midfielder who had an exciting debut season has suffered a few knocks which have set back his progress this year. BUGG, Tomas MFC 7 games, 2 goals - the little "pest" has made a good start at the club with his hardnosed attitude. DAWES, Chris CSFC 1 game, 2 goals - has been hampered by a calf injury for some time and played his first game in the VFL last Sunday. DUNN, Lynden MFC 4 games, 1 goal, CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - form in defence has been disappointing and was relegated to the VFL last week. FROST, Sam MFC 5 games, 4 goals, CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - form as a forward has been up and down. GARLAND, Colin MFC 3 games, 0 goals, CSFC 4 games, 1 goal - another defender who has not reached his previous high levels of performance. GARLETT, Jeffrey MFC 5 games, 11 goals - missed a couple of games with an ankle injury but always dangerous up forward. GAWN, Max MFC 7 games 7 goals - has come on in leaps and bounds and is on his way to becoming an elite ruckman. GRIMES, Jack CSFC 4 games 5 goals - playing with good form at Casey but seems to be on the outer at the club. HARMES, James MFC 7 games, 7 goals - utility player who is one of the big improvers at the club and had a breakout game last week against the Suns gaining a NAB Rising Star nomination. HOGAN, Jesse MFC 7 games, 17 goals - the next big thing in power forwards. Has had a few minor hiccups this year but have us a glimpse of the future with a 7 goal haul in a losing team against the Saints. HULETT, Liam CSFC 4 games, 8 goals - strong bodied youngster who is developing through the Scorpions. HUNT, Jayden MFC 4 games, 0 goals, CSFC 1 game, 1 goal - has grasped the opportunity after languishing on the club with a back injury in his first two seasons. Shows great dash. JETTA, Neville MFC 7 games, 0 goals - great application in the Demons' defence. JONES, Matthew MFC 4 games, 0 goals - had a good start to the season but suffered a setback with injury after four games. JONES, Nathan MFC 7 games, 4 goals - after last season's post season surgery, he is slowly returning to his best. KENNEDY, Ben MFC 7 games, 7 goals - settled in nicely as a goal kicking small forward. KENNEDY-HARRIS, Jay CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - broke down with a severe hamstring injury in Casey's first game and remains weeks away from a return. KENT, Dean MFC 7 games, 9 goals - has returned from his hamstring woes of last year to establish his place as a valuable member of the club's forward division. KING, Max ® CSFC 4 games, 4 goals - working on his development as a tall forward/ruckman at Casey. KING, Mitch CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - the big man broke down with an ACL injury early in his opening game down at Casey. LUMUMBA, Heritier MFC 5 games, 0 goals - had injury problems last year that resulted in post season surgery and has been hot and cold on return. McDONALD, Oscar MFC 1 game, 0 goals, CSFC 4 games, 0 goals - showed good pre season form but an ankle injury slowed him down. McDONALD, Tom MFC 7 games, 0 goals - has again had some strong performances in defence and is an important member of the team's defence. MELKSHAM, Jake - suspended as a result of the ASADA supplements investigation and CAS decision. MICHIE, Viv ® MFC 1 game, 0 goals, CSFC 4 games, 3 goals - some strong displays at Casey demanded an uplift from the rookie list but he has opposition for a midfield spot. NEAL-BULLEN, Alex CSFC 4 games, 3 goals - form at Casey has been good and he is knocking on the door to senior selection. NEWTON, Ben CSFC 4 games, 5 goals - coming back from a long injury lay off and is another midfielder pushing for promotion to the AFL. OLIVER, Clayton MFC 5 games, 3 goals, CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - has had an enormous impact as a tough midfield clearance player. Won a NAB Rising Star nomination in his debut game. PEDERSEN, Cameron MFC 6 games, 5 goals, CSFC 1 game, 2 goals - relishing the role as forward/ruckman. PETRACCA, Christian MFC 2 games, 2 goals, CSFC 3 games, 3 goals - finally earned a game after recovering from last year's ACL and a broken toe in the middle of the preseason and is starting to live up to the hype. SALEM, Christian MFC 6 games, 1 goal - shows plenty of skill and class and will only get better. SMITH, Joel ® CSFC 3 games,1 goal - the young rookie has switched sports from basketball and is showing promising signs with the Casey Scorpions. SPENCER, Jake CSFC 2 games, 2 goals - returned to the VFL after a long layoff with a plantar fascia injury. STRETCH, Billy MFC 2 games, 1 goal, CSFC 2 games, 0 goals - improving youngster with pace and silky skills. TERLICH, Dean CSFC 5 games, 2 goals - has shown some good form at Casey but is well back in the queue for selection in his position. TRENGOVE, Jack - CSFC 5 games, 4 goals - putting his hand up for selection. TYSON, Dom MFC 7 games, 7 goals - showing glimpses of returning to the stellar form of his first season at the club. VANDENBERG, Aaron MFC 3 games, 3 goals - the big-bodied midfielder's progress has been stalled by a serious ankle injury. VINCE, Bernie MFC 6 games 5 goals - an important player in the Demon line up who recently re-signed in a great show of faith. VINEY, Jack MFC 7 games, 4 goals - tough, hard and rising towards elite. WAGNER, Josh ® 5 games, 0 goals - this year's revelation was uplifted from the rookie list and has displayed lots of composure in defence. WATTS, Jack MFC 7 games, 14 goals, CSFC - having his best season in the Demons' forward line. WEIDEMAN, Sam CSFC 4 games, 13 goals, has shown great potential and will be given time to develop in the VFL. A key forward with a big future. WHITE, Mitch ® CSFC 5 games, 2 goals - the young left footer is in the waiting room at Casey biding his time for his opportunity.
  20. Whispering_Jack

    Game Day 6/3/16

    The Doggies had a stand out season in 2015 rising from 7 wins to 14 and making the finals. The Demons are aiming to follow suit in 2016.
  21. DOG FOOD by George on The Outer The Melbourne side that turned up against Footscray at Etihad stadium was simply turned into dog food. by the Bulldogs as they cruised to a near 100 point victory. But dog food was what was served up to the Melbourne fans, yet again, as they witnessed the Bullies kick 8 goals in the first quarter to a miserable 2 points followed by 6 goals in the second, and then to finally concede 10 goals in the last quarter!! If it wasn't for Footscray having a little sleep in the 3rd quarter, a score line similar to the 186 game was threatening. It was bad enough that Melbourne had to bring in VFL standard players like Rohan Bail, Viv Michie and Matt Jones, who didn’t let the sceptics down as they dished up turnover after turnover to the opposition but they were ably assisted by Jack Watts and Jeremy Howe with their usual half-hearted efforts, giving the Bulldogs opportunities that should simply never have been open to them. If anyone thinks either player should be at the club next year, then take a quick look at the highlights reel, because neither will feature (again!). This is Watt’s 7thyear and Howe’s 5th. They wouldn’t be given the latitude and luxury at other clubs. It is about time that time was called. When you have a series of players who can’t play at AFL level and another couple who don’t want to play at that level, then the 100 point loss is inevitable. The recruiting team will have an easy job at the end of the year (yet again) ditching and trading out these types. The game played by Melbourne was simply disgraceful! The toughness, tenacity and skills displayed by the Women’s team before the main event was such a sharp contrast. All over the ground the girls were prepared to run and to put their bodies on the line when called upon. Likewise the Bulldogs men were simply prepared to run, run and then run some more. Time and time again they broke the lines with the Melbourne players barely getting a jog up behind them. They would have blown the game well away with these efforts alone, but with the clangers we gifted them ... it simply provided icing on the cake. Eleven of their players racked up 20 disposals or more. Our team could only muster five. But it was just as much about the type of disposals. Short dinky kicks or handpasses to put teammates under pressure shouldn’t count. Few were able to hold their heads up … Jesse Hogan fought and produced the results we have now come to expect from this talented 20 year old. He was even moved to the mid-field to provide some sort of impact, and he did exactly that. Pity we don’t have another 20 of him to put on the ground. Tom McDonald played everywhere as well, trying to produce something to spark the side. He played forward, back and pinch hit in the ruck when Max Gawn needed a rest. He certainly won a fair share of the ruck contests and probably wrote himself a future role over Chris Dawes who simply is incapable in rucking contests (the Bulldogs kicked four goals in the last quarter from clearances while he was rucking). Jack Viney was in everything again, but was operating almost as a lone hand in the middle. And he keeps fighting right up to the end. Angus Brayshaw is another tough and hard fighter, but he is tiring as can only be expected toward the end of his first year. Alex Neal-Bullen is showing something upon which we can build, and so is James Harmes as they pick up the pace of AFL. Yes, we were dog food today. Dog food for the Bulldogs and dog food in quality. Dog food was served up for the fans again ... what could possibly be in store for us next week against the lowly Blues? Melbourne 0.2.2 2.4.16 7.7.49 8.7.55 Western Bulldogs 8.3.51 14.5.89 14.7.91 24.9.153 Goals Melbourne Hogan 3 Garlett 2 Dawes Gawn Watts Western Bulldogs Stringer 4 Bontempelli Dickson Grant 3 Crameri Jong Redpath 2 Biggs Dahlhaus Hunter Macrae Wallis Best Melbourne McDonald Viney Hogan Gawn Western Bulldogs Dahlhaus, Wallis, Boyd, Grant, Stringer, Hunter, Macrae, Murphy Changes Melbourne Matt Jones replaced Christian Salem (ill) in the selected side Western Bulldogs Nil Injuries Melbourne Neville Jetta (neck) Western Bulldogs Nil Substitutes Melbourne Jack Grimes replaced Neville Jetta (neck) at half-time Western Bulldogs Caleb Daniel replaced Sam Darley at three-quarter time Reports Melbourne Nil Western Bulldogs Nil Umpires Pannell, Mitchell, Wallace Official crowd 27,805 at Etihad Stadium
  22. Demonland

    DOG FOOD by George on The Outer

    The Melbourne side that turned up against Footscray at Etihad stadium was simply turned into dog food. by the Bulldogs as they cruised to a near 100 point victory. But dog food was what was served up to the Melbourne fans, yet again, as they witnessed the Bullies kick 8 goals in the first quarter to a miserable 2 points followed by 6 goals in the second, and then to finally concede 10 goals in the last quarter!! If it wasn't for Footscray having a little sleep in the 3rd quarter, a score line similar to the 186 game was threatening. It was bad enough that Melbourne had to bring in VFL standard players like Rohan Bail, Viv Michie and Matt Jones, who didn’t let the sceptics down as they dished up turnover after turnover to the opposition but they were ably assisted by Jack Watts and Jeremy Howe with their usual half-hearted efforts, giving the Bulldogs opportunities that should simply never have been open to them. If anyone thinks either player should be at the club next year, then take a quick look at the highlights reel, because neither will feature (again!). This is Watt’s 7thyear and Howe’s 5th. They wouldn’t be given the latitude and luxury at other clubs. It is about time that time was called. When you have a series of players who can’t play at AFL level and another couple who don’t want to play at that level, then the 100 point loss is inevitable. The recruiting team will have an easy job at the end of the year (yet again) ditching and trading out these types. The game played by Melbourne was simply disgraceful! The toughness, tenacity and skills displayed by the Women’s team before the main event was such a sharp contrast. All over the ground the girls were prepared to run and to put their bodies on the line when called upon. Likewise the Bulldogs men were simply prepared to run, run and then run some more. Time and time again they broke the lines with the Melbourne players barely getting a jog up behind them. They would have blown the game well away with these efforts alone, but with the clangers we gifted them ... it simply provided icing on the cake. Eleven of their players racked up 20 disposals or more. Our team could only muster five. But it was just as much about the type of disposals. Short dinky kicks or handpasses to put teammates under pressure shouldn’t count. Few were able to hold their heads up … Jesse Hogan fought and produced the results we have now come to expect from this talented 20 year old. He was even moved to the mid-field to provide some sort of impact, and he did exactly that. Pity we don’t have another 20 of him to put on the ground. Tom McDonald played everywhere as well, trying to produce something to spark the side. He played forward, back and pinch hit in the ruck when Max Gawn needed a rest. He certainly won a fair share of the ruck contests and probably wrote himself a future role over Chris Dawes who simply is incapable in rucking contests (the Bulldogs kicked four goals in the last quarter from clearances while he was rucking). Jack Viney was in everything again, but was operating almost as a lone hand in the middle. And he keeps fighting right up to the end. Angus Brayshaw is another tough and hard fighter, but he is tiring as can only be expected toward the end of his first year. Alex Neal-Bullen is showing something upon which we can build, and so is James Harmes as they pick up the pace of AFL. Yes, we were dog food today. Dog food for the Bulldogs and dog food in quality. Dog food was served up for the fans again ... what could possibly be in store for us next week against the lowly Blues? Melbourne 0.2.2 2.4.16 7.7.49 8.7.55 Western Bulldogs 8.3.51 14.5.89 14.7.91 24.9.153 Goals Melbourne Hogan 3 Garlett 2 Dawes Gawn Watts Western Bulldogs Stringer 4 Bontempelli Dickson Grant 3 Crameri Jong Redpath 2 Biggs Dahlhaus Hunter Macrae Wallis Best Melbourne McDonald Viney Hogan Gawn Western Bulldogs Dahlhaus, Wallis, Boyd, Grant, Stringer, Hunter, Macrae, Murphy Changes Melbourne Matt Jones replaced Christian Salem (ill) in the selected side Western Bulldogs Nil Injuries Melbourne Neville Jetta (neck) Western Bulldogs Nil Substitutes Melbourne Jack Grimes replaced Neville Jetta (neck) at half-time Western Bulldogs Caleb Daniel replaced Sam Darley at three-quarter time Reports Melbourne Nil Western Bulldogs Nil Umpires Pannell, Mitchell, Wallace Official crowd 27,805 at Etihad Stadium
  23. Whispering_Jack

    GAME DAY - Round 20

    As dawn brings the first rays of light, it's clear that we're in for one of the better days of a cold, harsh winter. A sunny day with light winds and a top of 17 degrees is expected - no better day to break your hoodoo in a stadium where they usually close the roof I'm feeling confident, anyway.
  24. HISTORY TALKS ... by The Oracle History says that Melbourne has no chance whatsoever of beating the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday evening. This is despite the fact that when the two clubs locked horns about 12 weeks ago, the Demons had an emphatic 39 point win. However, that result came at the end of the Doggies' three game losing streak - their lowest ebb for the year to date - and the landscape has changed dramatically since then. In fact, the Western Bulldogs have rewritten their history in that short space of time. Today it's unanimous among most pundits that the Dishlickers under Luke Beveridge are the feel good story of the season having recently pushed aside the Tigers from that mantle before sneaking ahead of the Swans to snatch a place in the top four. There's also the matter of the venue for this meeting. The Westen Bulldogs have a sensational record against Melbourne at Etihad Stadium with eight wins from nine games while the place is a "bogey" ground for the Demons whose only win over the Dogs there was in in round 19, 2007 - a game that marks the historic (or should I say prehistoric?) occasion of their last win at the Docklands. Since then, Melbourne has been involved in the AFL's biggest venue hoodoo losing 21 games in a row at Etihad. Their last trip there would still be causing them nightmares after conceding a hard fought lead in the last twenty seconds against St. Kilda to go down in embarrassing fashion by 2 points. What this means is that a Demon win will not only defy history; it will be a major upset and in order to achieve that, it will require a supreme effort from the team leaders and the younger brigade like Jesse Hogan, James Brayshaw and up and comers in Max Gawn and Jack Viney. And even then ... THE GAME Western Bulldogs v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium Sunday 16 August 2015 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall: Western Bulldogs 74 wins Melbourne 85 wins 1 draw At Etihad Stadium: Western Bulldogs 8 wins Melbourne 6 wins Last Five Meetings: Western Bulldogs 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches: Beveridge 0 wins Roos 1 win MEDIA TV - Channel 7 Fox Sports 3 @ 3.00pm (live) Radio - Triple M 3AW THE BETTING Western Bulldogs $1.22 to win Melbourne $4.25 to win LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 15.13.103 defeated Western Bulldogs 9.10.64 at the MCG in Round 8, 2015 After a slow start the Demons took control and made a statement to the rest of the football world that they wouldn't be pushed around any more. They led at every change to win by 39 points with key positions Jesse Hogan and Cam Pedersen kicking three goals each. TEAMS WESTERN BULLDOGS B: Dale Morris, Michael Talia, Matthew Boyd HB: Robert Murphy, Joel Hamling, Easton Wood C: Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Shane Biggs HF: Luke Dahlhaus, Tory Dickson, Stewart Crameri F: Lachie Hunter, Jack Redpath, Jake Stringer FOLL: Tom Campbell, Mitch Wallis, Liam Picken I/C: Caleb Daniel, Sam Darley, Jarrad Grant, Lin Jong EMG: Tom Boyd, Daniel Pearce, Josh Prudden IN: Robert Murphy OUT: Bailey Dale (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Daniel Cross, Tom McDonald, Jeremy Howe C: Jack Grimes, Angus Brayshaw, Heritier Lumumba HF: Matt Jones, Chris Dawes, Bernie Vince F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Rohan Bail, James Harmes, Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen, Christian Salem EMG: Mark Jamar, Aidan Riley, Billy Stretch IN: Rohan Bail OUT: Dom Tyson (hamstring) One of these sides is fighting for a top four spot while the other is firmly entrenched in the bottom six but their immediate fate and the outcome of this game might well be determined by a couple of key forwards who have taken their time to establish places in their respective teams and have had very different pathways into the AFL. Melbourne's Jesse Hogan was drafted by the Demons as a 17 year old from Western Australia in October 2012 when he was taken as a pre-listed selection in the AFL's mini draft. We had a glimpse of him in the 2013 NAB Cup but he could not play AFL for Melbourne in his first season and he spent the year playing with the Casey Scorpions where he won that club's best and fairest and kicked 39 goals in 15 games. A knee injury late against Bendigo late in the year put a premature end to his season (he missed the VFL finals) but worse was to come when he injured his back in a 2014 pre season game which ruled him out for all but one game with the Casey Scorpions. He finally made his AFL debut in this year's season opener on 4 April 2015 against the Gold Coast kicking two goals and taking seven marks. His goal tally is now up to 36; he leads the competition in contested marks and is favourite for the AFL Rising Star. He already has a bag of five goals against St. Kilda at Etihad and last week, he booted four goals and was his team's best in their defeat at the hands of North Melbourne. The Bulldogs' Jack Redpath (194cm, 104kg) from Kyneton was selected with pick 62 in the 2012 Rookie Draft. The tall forward was already 21 years of age when drafted and like Hogan made his preseason debut in the first round of the 2013 NAB Cup. However, he spent two seasons in the VFL with Williamstown and then most of last year with Footscray before making his AFL debut in Round 16 of 2014. He was the Bulldogs' leading goal kicker in their VFL premiership team and is now beginning to establish himself at full forward ahead of high priced young recruit Tom Boyd from the Giants. His career games total is 10 and he has kicked a modest total of 12 goals but against Port Adelaide last week he kicked four goals. Although not directly opposed to each other, if one of these power forwards can fire and boot a bag of goals, his team's winning chances will soar. The same can be said of the ruck duels. The Demon midfield is improving steadily and the Doggies on ball division has also come on in leaps and bounds under the tutelage of coach Luke Beveridge. The ruck is where I expect Melbourne to press home the advantage of an in form 208cm Max Gawn who is one of the top four ruckmen in the competition in terms of hit outs and contested marks and who was an emergency when these teams last met. Newly re-signed on a three year contract, Gawn has been a revelation since he broke into the side in mid season after a heartbreaking run with injuries. He keeps getting better and if he's on song this week against the Western Bulldogs, we could see Melbourne rewrite some more of its history and break yet another hoodoo in 2015.
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