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Redleg

MFC Didn't Vote for Merger

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mate if you were working for a MERGER,,,then we shall desist talkng RIGHT NOW !!

I was 11 at the time, mate.

And don't sow what you don't know.

The MFC had loyal Demons working for the merger and they were working to fark over the Hawks.

They thought they were doing the best thing for the MFC.

It has been 17 years and when do we understand and forgive?

WHEN?

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"The MFC members voted for the merger".

I am sick to death of this statement being made in the media. It is used to denigrate the club and members.

The truth is that many MFC members were denied a vote on the issue, many were refused entry to the meeting and the vote, if one can call it that, was carried by proxy votes, kept in a safe, for a time they were needed to stack a vote.

The people who provided thoses proxies, had absolutely no idea they would be used in a merger vote. They were obtained from people who were given free memberships and told to sign over proxies.

To call that a proper vote, on the most contentious issue in the club's history, is nothing short of a disgrace and an insult to the members of the club at the time.

I wish someone would make this perfectly clear to the media and get this stopped once and for all. We should not allow this denigration to continue.

Big deal. It wasn't a merger in any case, It was a takeover of hawthorn and would have been fantastic for Melbourne. $6m cash, pick of the players, training facilities, support of the AFL etc etc

For what?? For losing the Demon name?

We have had numerous names through the years so in reality this would have been nothing.

Who cares what the media say. We get pilloried constantly for a range of things. The biggest issue for me is crowd support. They constantly refere to our low support numbers or being on welfare from the AFL yet refuse to look at the stadium deals an, TV deals and rigged fixture. The media a moronic imbeciles.

What I have found in the last 12 months is the less I read the happier I am.

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WHEN?

When we have on field success

I suspect our leaders at the time had faith in the AFL hierarchy and their vision

Their guidance is perhaps not dissimilar to that of a great country which installs a regime or dictator and then five years later reverses policy and ends up fighting against the same

Or perhaps they are like those who meddle in genetic engineering

U have two have faith that they know what they are doing and the probability is approximately 62%

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I don't know enough about the facts you talk of Redleg re the proxy vote, but IMO I think you should call into SEN when Dermie is on and put him on the spot re this issue, he would if the shoe were on the other foot

Maybe I will.

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Don't think that because I am young I didn't have family in that sh!tfight.

I had family and friends working for the merger for the club - how about that?

I am supposed to see them as traitors?

Mike Sheahan wrote a couple years back that the MFC tried to "eat the HFC whole." That's what these pro-merger Demons were trying to do, they were as nefarious as you would hope them to be. They wanted "Crawford, Waverley, 10k members and be back to the Demons in 5 years" - that is a direct quote.

I don't need you to tell me whether I have to see anyone in a different light because of what happened so long ago.

Myth has been wrapped up in truth and we are stuck in the history again.

In a week where Demonland has embraced the future without being so wrapped in its glorious past, we should be able to move on from our inglorious past.

RP my intent on this is not to go back and have a go at people who held certain views. As you say that is past and buried.

My beef is with the lie that keeps being perpetuated and thrown at us, that we in fact voted for the merger and deserve virtually to not exist.

There was never a legal, proper vote, held by the members of the MFC. Therefore a rigged result is not proof of what the MFC members did, wanted or decided.

To keep repeating it indefinitely, is a disgrace and a stain on the members and the club.

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I blame Schwab, Don, and 186, I know you're with me WYL...

Glad you now see what inaction after 186 has done Stuie.

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Glad you now see what inaction after 186 has done Stuie.

Yeah who would have thought 186 caused us to nearly merge... rah rah rah

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"The MFC members voted for the merger".

I am sick to death of this statement being made in the media. It is used to denigrate the club and members.

The truth is that many MFC members were denied a vote on the issue, many were refused entry to the meeting and the vote, if one can call it that, was carried by proxy votes, kept in a safe, for a time they were needed to stack a vote.

The people who provided thoses proxies, had absolutely no idea they would be used in a merger vote. They were obtained from people who were given free memberships and told to sign over proxies.

To call that a proper vote, on the most contentious issue in the club's history, is nothing short of a disgrace and an insult to the members of the club at the time.

I wish someone would make this perfectly clear to the media and get this stopped once and for all. We should not allow this denigration to continue.

Red, in the end many members (at least those in favour of the no-merger alternative) were IMO either duped, deceived and/or abandoned.

Duped by a President that forgot to seek the members' tacit approval before proceeding.

Deceived by connections within (and without) the Board (eg., Bill Guest) who used questionable methods to obtain proxies from non demon supporters under duress. He was even filmed doing so at his workplace and was quite happy to boast of his efforts at the time.

Abandoned by most past players of the club who met at Jolimont HQ one night at the request of the late Ian Ridley, and signed off on giving their tacit approval to a merger with the Hawks. Yes, a few select players from this group changed their mind in the last week (or in some cases on the day of the vote or a few days out from the vote) ie., Barassi/Tunbridge/Wells. However in reality, those members/supporters against the merger were, in the main, abandoned by past players and greats of the club in favour of merging. Regardless of the voting shinanigans on the night at Dallas Brooks, unfortunately this is a stain that can never be reversed or re written from our history.

However it should be noted that 2 past players stood tall for the club and vehemently rejected the merger. Brian Dixon and Alan Johnson. I'm not sure where Alan finished up but he was there at the beginning with Brian in the early formative days of the "alternative" push. So we can at least say we (as in the no merger alternative group) were not completely abandoned. Obviously Brian and others within the alternative then managed to garner the support of Diamond Joe. And so history was made.

The one positive that i take from it all, is that it was only a 53% vote (approx 440 votes i believe) in favour of the merger with the pro merger team tipping the scales (from all reliable reports) with the injection of up to 1,000 dodgy proxies (taken out of the vault as you say). Yes there were pro merger last minute membership votes in there as well from all reports so it's hard to know who won the battle with last minute votes etc. But my understanding of the alternative "magic" votes were that they were mostly from existing "real" members who showed how passionate they were about the club by dipping into their pockets to purchase extra memberships through family and friends who were Melbourne devotees but not necessarily members at the time. Much like present day Carlton supporters!

What i do know is there's no way any club or it's supporters/opposing members would have accepted, in any way whatsoever, such a narrow margin regardless of how it was achieved, nor begrudgingly moved forward with the planned merger.

The one major positive from this unfortunate and ill considered proposal/period was that the club has now changed its constitution so that a merger can only take place if 75% of members vote in favour.

Sadly we had to go through much pain, much expense and excessive hand wringing/nashing of teeth to achieve what should have been written into the constitution 16 years earlier when separating from the MCC as a public company in 1980.

In general, this is a painful ugly period of our history and i agree, very much misrepresented by what is mostly an ill informed, poorly researched bunch of footy journos who love to stick the boots into us whenever they get the chance or there's a slow AFL news day.

Edited by Rusty Nails
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Yes this really bugs me and has affected big time the way we are viewed. I worked hard on the no merger campaign as others on this site did. Trust me it would have been taken to court over the dodgy members added and our lack of access to lists etc. We were ready and funded to go. We would not have let it happen. It suits the media and other clubs to continue the story.

Carn Dees. Never Give Up

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Red, in the end many members (at least those in favour of the no-merger alternative) were IMO either duped, deceived and/or abandoned.

Duped by a President that forgot to seek the members' tacit approval before proceeding.

Deceived by connections within (and without) the Board (eg., Bill Guest) who used questionable methods to obtain proxies from non demon supporters under duress. He was even filmed doing so at his workplace and was quite happy to boast of his efforts at the time.

Abandoned by most past players of the club who met at Jolimont HQ one night at the request of the late Ian Ridley, and signed off on giving their tacit approval to a merger with the Hawks. Yes, a few select players from this group changed their mind in the last week (or in some cases on the day of the vote or a few days out from the vote) ie., Barassi/Tunbridge/Wells. However in reality, those members/supporters against the merger were, in the main, abandoned by past players and greats of the club in favour of merging. Regardless of the voting shinanigans on the night at Dallas Brooks, unfortunately this is a stain that can never be reversed or re written from our history.

However it should be noted that 2 past players stood tall for the club and vehemently rejected the merger. Brian Dixon and Alan Johnson. I'm not sure where Alan finished up but he was there at the beginning with Brian in the early formative days of the "alternative" push. So we can at least say we (as in the no merger alternative group) were not completely abandoned. Obviously Brian and others within the alternative then managed to garner the support of Diamond Joe. And so history was made.

The one positive that i take from it all, is that it was only a 53% vote (approx 440 votes i believe) in favour of the merger with the pro merger team tipping the scales (from all reliable reports) with the injection of up to 1,000 dodgy proxies (taken out of the vault as you say). Yes there were pro merger last minute membership votes in there as well from all reports so it's hard to know who won the battle with last minute votes etc. But my understanding of the alternative "magic" votes were that they were mostly from existing "real" members who showed how passionate they were about the club by dipping into their pockets to purchase extra memberships through family and friends who were Melbourne devotees but not necessarily members at the time. Much like present day Carlton supporters!

What i do know is there's no way any club or it's supporters/opposing members would have accepted, in any way whatsoever, such a narrow margin regardless of how it was achieved, nor begrudgingly moved forward with the planned merger.

The one major positive from this unfortunate and ill considered proposal/period was that the club has now changed its constitution so that a merger can only take place if 75% of members vote in favour.

Sadly we had to go through much pain, much expense and excessive hand wringing/nashing of teeth to achieve what should have been written into the constitution 16 years earlier when separating from the MCC as a public company in 1980.

In general, this is a painful ugly period of our history and i agree, very much misrepresented by what is mostly an ill informed, poorly researched bunch of footy journos who love to stick the boots into us whenever they get the chance or there's a slow AFL news day.

Good post Rusty.

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Yes this really bugs me and has affected big time the way we are viewed. I worked hard on the no merger campaign as others on this site did. Trust me it would have been taken to court over the dodgy members added and our lack of access to lists etc. We were ready and funded to go. We would not have let it happen. It suits the media and other clubs to continue the story.

Carn Dees. Never Give Up

That is my understanding of the possible Court challenge also. I was told that it would succeed in record time once it got into a Court room.

I just believe that now we are trying to turn this club on its head and get things done properly. Part of that should involve expunging for all time the hurtful and incorrect notion that the members of the MFC abandoned their history and voted to merge their club.

They didn't.

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Build a bridge guys....

Will the bridge get us to the promised land?

LOL

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I find it interesting that so many contributors are complaining about how the Club has been portrayed in the mainstream media by way of false reporting such as how the Club was fined for tanking. The MSM will never allow the facts to get in the way of a good story. Unfortunately that doesn't just apply to football coverage. It extends to political coverage as well. Repeat a lie often enough and the majority will think it's the truth. I also think that a large section of the football media believe they are the story.

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RP my intent on this is not to go back and have a go at people who held certain views. As you say that is past and buried.

My beef is with the lie that keeps being perpetuated and thrown at us, that we in fact voted for the merger and deserve virtually to not exist.

There was never a legal, proper vote, held by the members of the MFC. Therefore a rigged result is not proof of what the MFC members did, wanted or decided.

To keep repeating it indefinitely, is a disgrace and a stain on the members and the club.

I understand and I am frustrated about how the media remember that time - but for slightly different reasons.

Unfortunately, you can't change hard perception of others that simply want to look down on you. And that's what it is - we 'voted' to end ourselves.

I know it is BS because we actually tried to eat Hawthorn like a snake and you know it because of some subterfuge, deliberate confusion, and dirty tactics.

But does it matter anymore?

It only matters if we let it - some still harbour ill-feeling towards those in the pro-merger camp. That is something that is getting in the way of the club moving forward.

We can't change media perception but we can move on internally and we just have to.

Edited by rpfc

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Of course we move on but I will not let people tell me that rank and file supporters voted to merge. That would be gutless and most Dee supporters have not given up on our club. In fact I think our membership numbers are remarkable for a club that has had such a tough time over the last few years. Carn Dees Never Give Up

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Big deal. It wasn't a merger in any case, It was a takeover of hawthorn and would have been fantastic for Melbourne. $6m cash, pick of the players, training facilities, support of the AFL etc etc

Kind of sounds like what we are getting now....and we didnt even have to merge

Edited by Bring Back Barassi

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Its OK Red...some of us will never forget that day,

The truth is remembered and understood...if not by the masses.

But Redleg is right, people should stick up for the club and tell people, "No, that's not right, get your facts right".

Each time someone says what Dermie says, more and more, people believe it actually happened. When as Redleg points out, it didn't.

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Here we go again.

1. I wont forget.

2. I wont forgive the people who wanted to take my club away from me and become hawks.

3 As I have said before on this subject, I was there and asked whats his name a question from the floor, the first question of the night .

4 I got there early before 6 and we were subjected to over and hour of club crap on the screen. ALL PRO MERGER. In all that time do you know what they didn't play , Yep you got it right they never once played not ONCE the club song. I suppose if you are a traitor you don't want to be reminded of what you are betraying.

5 Where does this crap about swallowing hawthorn come from?

6 Look no further than the make up of the NEW board, 7 hawthorn members 5 MFC members 2 mcc members and the pres nominated by the mcc with hawthorn having a veto on the selection. No say by the MFC on the election of the Melbourne Hawks Pres. ALL 15 members have full voting rights. DO THE SUMS we were getting gobbled up not them.

7 I still have all the papers sent to members by both sides [ I collect throwaway items like that, I even have 2 proxy forms where you can only give your proxy to whats his name.

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Here we go again.

1. I wont forget.

2. I wont forgive the people who wanted to take my club away from me and become hawks.

3 As I have said before on this subject, I was there and asked whats his name a question from the floor, the first question of the night .

4 I got there early before 6 and we were subjected to over and hour of club crap on the screen. ALL PRO MERGER. In all that time do you know what they didn't play , Yep you got it right they never once played not ONCE the club song. I suppose if you are a traitor you don't want to be reminded of what you are betraying.

5 Where does this crap about swallowing hawthorn come from?

6 Look no further than the make up of the NEW board, 7 hawthorn members 5 MFC members 2 mcc members and the pres nominated by the mcc with hawthorn having a veto on the selection. No say by the MFC on the election of the Melbourne Hawks Pres. ALL 15 members have full voting rights. DO THE SUMS we were getting gobbled up not them.

7 I still have all the papers sent to members by both sides [ I collect throwaway items like that, I even have 2 proxy forms where you can only give your proxy to whats his name.

Are you talking about Ian Ridley?

Well, that's a shame ex52k2.

We remain a fractured club. Crippled by emotion and chained to memory and ill-feeling on a subject consigned to history.

Perhaps, jnrmac is right, we will only forgive and forget when we start winning.

Perhaps in our current predicament all we have is the stirred passion of moments like this.

Oh, and the 'swallowing' of Hawthorn was told to me personally by those who wrote those clauses you just posted - using the MCC as a proxy MFC. A hardly independent arbiter of the Hawks downfall.

But it is irrelevant now, just as it was a day after that day and has been for 17 years.

Let it go.

Ian Ridley has gone, but many Demons remain who thought they were doing the best thing by the club.

When do you forgive them?

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Just ask don scott who was taking over who, he will tell u, he was opposed to the merger because he beveled, that the dees where taking over the hawks

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What i can never understand is why Melbourne people thought it was in our best interest to merge/take over...i will never understand that. I was horrified at the idea.

Still am.

Edited by why you little
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A big factor behind the defeat of the Merger IMO believe it or not was Eddie Mcguire. Whilst the MFC administration were sneakily trying to get the merger plans that far advanced that there would be no time to mount any opposition,Eddie actually broke the news on the Footy Show.

Whatever you make think of Eddie he has directly and indirectly done some good things for our football club.

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What i can never understand is why Melbourne people thought it was in our best interest to merge/take over...i will never understand that. I was horrified at the idea.

Still am.

And you don't have to understand. And you can be horrified.

And you can still forgive those Melbourne people and move on.

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We no longer need to go into raptures about young draftees stepping up to the plate for round one because that simply isn’t going to happen. The younger recruits will all be given plenty of time. However, there are three (perhaps four if you add former Collingwood VFL player Marty Hore) ready-made potential additions to the team who have arrived from other clubs to add strength to Melbourne’s 2019 campaign. The added depth will certainly put pressure on the veterans like Jones and Jordan Lewis - that sort of pressure being another plus for teams that want to go places in this tough competition.  The addition of another club’s captain to your list is something that doesn’t happen often so my first observation is that Steven May from the Suns looms as a significant addition to the ranks. That was made clear from my first sighting of him on the track - he cuts a very imposing figure out on the ground and one can’t escape the feeling that his move to Melbourne is one that will be a great one for his career and for the club. Imagine him and Jake Lever as additions to the defensive structure of the side that took part in last year’s finals. Imagine another revitalised former Sun in Kade Kolodjashnij and a fit and re-energised Jayden Hunt and/or Billy Stretch added to that mix tearing down the flanks or the wings. At 206 cm and 109 kg Braydon Preuss is a big man and it’s hard to reconcile why North Melbourne let him go. True, Todd Goldstein had a good season last year and Ben Brown and Majak Daw (before his tragic issues) were considered adequate pinch hitters in the ruck but Preuss is a monster who promises to provide major headaches to opposing clubs that struggle now to counter Max Gawn. With the new rules coming in this season, pity their ruck divisions at centre bounces and pity the defences having to counter resting talls.  Speaking of pity, I want to go back to the rehab group for a moment and talk Jack Viney who set the tone for the rest of the players in this group with his steely determination and toughness. Back in the day, it was generally considered that being on the injured list gave players the opportunity to slack off a bit at training. Pity anyone with that view when Jack Viney’s around! Late in the session, he was doing repetitions around the boundary with Brayshaw and Lever and he attacked them with brutality. It was understandable that he was able to beat off the latter but, by the end, he had Angus gasping in his wake. Viney was restricted to only 10 of a possible 25 games due to those nagging foot injuries and was rarely able to play at his best when he was on the field. On that basis, you could almost consider a fully recovered Viney as a “recruit” in 2019. The other players who impressed at training were 2018’s big improver James Harmes and the youngster who could take that improver’s mantle, Bayley Fritsch who seems to be relishing his first full AFL pre season.  Then there’s Christian Petracca. I’m looking for him to really break out this year. Imagine that!

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    THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS by Whispering Jack

    Melbourne atoned for the heartbreak of its frustrating finish to the 2017 season by, at long last, making the finals and then disposed of two highly credentialed and experienced teams in Geelong and Hawthorn before it capitulated meekly to eventual premier West Coast in the Preliminary Final in Perth. The club’s progression has been forward and upward since it finished 2013 with two wins and appointed Paul Roos as coach. The number has increased to four, seven, 10, 12, and now 14 games. The Demons made the finals for the first time in a dozen years and are now tracking for their first premiership in five and a half decades.
     
    In the women’s game, the club’s second season of AFLW competition was dogged throughout by inaccuracy in front of goal causing it to again just miss out on grand final honours finishing third after losing 4.7.31 to 5.3.33 to rivals and eventual premiers, the Western Bulldogs in the final round. The Demons were well led by Daisy Pearce and had a star player in  Karen Paxman. They will miss their skipper Pearce, who will be out of the forthcoming season on maternity leave - a first for the womens competition. The Demons started their men’s campaign with a win in their section of the novelty AFLX competition, then won their two JLT  Community Series games against North Melbourne in Hobart and St Kilda at Casey Fields, the latter in unconvincing fashion after building a big lead early.  The opening round AFL match against Geelong resulted in a disappointing loss after a missed shot from Max Gawn in the final thirty seconds ceded a 3 point loss. The club won its next two matches, again unconvincingly although their round 3 win against North Melbourne broke a long run of defeats going back over more than a decade. A poor game against Hawthorn and a final term collapse on Anzac Day Eve against the Tigers had Melbourne down with a 2 - 3 record.  The revival began against Essendon and continued over the ensuing weeks as the Demons stretched their winning run to six games culminating with big wins against Carlton and Adelaide at Alice Springs and a solid victory over the Bulldogs. At the halfway mark of the season they were challenging for a top four spot on 8 wins and 3 defeats. The improvement had come from the return of injured pair Tom McDonald and Angus Brayshaw, the dominance of Max Gawn in the ruck and the strong form of Clayton Oliver and the young midfield. Jesse Hogan was consistently in the goals. Jake Lever who had taken a while to get his bearings but was solid during the six game winning spree sustained an ACL injury in round 11 and it took a while for the defence to recover from his loss, regroup and consolidate. In the interim, the experimentation in this area was partly the reason for a poor month that saw a  three-game losing streak including a disappointing loss to lowly St. Kilda. Earlier defeats to Collingwood on Queens Birthday and away to Port Adelaide might have been expected but the  loss to the Saints hit hard and possibly cost the team the coveted double chance.  Melbourne might have lost its star recruit, Lever, in midseason but the club did unearth two young players in Bailey Fritsch and Charlie Spargo who were both drafted in the 30s and established themselves as regulars for much of the year although they understandably ran out of steam a little at the end of the season. The Demons regrouped after the slump. The back line steadied when Sam Frost returned to help the improving Oscar McDonald in a key defensive role but, after returning to the winning list against the Dockers in Darwin and the Bulldogs at the MCG, they suffered some disappointing losses involving an after-the-siren goal to Zach Tuohy in the return game against Geelong and a home upset against   Sydney after some shocking inaccuracy in the first quarter and a half kept the Swans in the game. The injuries were mounting and the loss of Hogan at that point in time appeared devastating to a team that had yet to record a win against a top eight side. All that changed dramatically over the next four games starting with the Eagles in Perth and followed with a big win over the Giants that saw Melbourne finish in fifth place with a percentage of 131%. Then followed the emotion of a return to finals football and sound victories against seasoned playoff teams in Geelong and Hawthorn in front of crowds that gave majority support to the perennial underdog buoyed by the return from injury of co-skipper Jack Viney and the emergence at last of young key forward Sam Weideman who more than amply filled Hogan’s shoes.  Not for the first time in the modern history of the club, the wall was hit out west. The Demons looked spent in the early moments of their preliminary final in Perth against West Coast and much like last year’s lapse at the final hurdle against Collingwood, this one game is likely to inhabit the players’ collective memory over the summer and into the new season. Many players excelled and grew in 2018 and the depth of the club revealed itself when injuries struck. Max Gawn won the ‘Bluey’ Truscott’ medal and led an emerging midfield including the co-skippers Nathan Jones and Viney, a resurgent Angus Brayshaw (3rd in the Brownlow), Christian Petracca and Christian Salem and the incredibly improved James Harmes who stepped up several levels in the course of a season. The forward line was the best in the competition as many avenues were opened up to goals, breaking down only in that last final. The disappointment of that performance will surely act as a spur for even further improvement in 2019. That improvement is expected to come from a defence bolstered by the recruitment of former Gold Coast skipper Steven May and the expected return of Jake Lever in the first month or so of the season. They join some solid performers in defence including Michael Hibberd and the indefatigable Neville Jetta - a star both on and off the field. The Demons also picked up a handy defender from the Suns in Kade Kolodjashnij and a big ruck back up for All-Australian ruckman Gawn in Braydon Preuss. The club drafted a bevy of youngsters who will all take time to develop at Casey. Melbourne farewelled Jesse Hogan, Dom Tyson and Dean Kent to other clubs via trades and Tom Bugg found a new home through the draft. Former club champion Bernie Vince retired late in the season after a meritorious 100 game career at his second club. Vince will not be entirely lost to the Demons as he has returned to the club in a part-time leadership and ambassadorial role for 2019.  The loss that will hurt deeply is that of retiring CEO Peter Jackson who has overseen the six year progression from a team that won only two games in 2013 to become a preliminary finalist in 2018. Gary Pert has stepped into the breach to finish the task of leading the club to the promised land and a premiership.

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    DRAFT STORY: THE BYSTANDERS by Whispering Jack

    It was an eerie feeling, like floating on air high above the events taking place on the ground below. This was the New Draft, a two day festival of little importance to Melbourne supporters on the first night and seemingly, of little consequence on the following day. It was as if we were the bystanders of the 2018 AFL National Draft. From the time the Demons traded away their first round selection in this year’s event as part of the deal to secure Jake Lever more than 12 months ago, it was always likely to turn out this way. A little over a month ago, the club held picks 36, 46, 54, 62 and 65 which, once transposed into a world of potential priority picks and father-son and academy bidders, meant that its first choice would be pushing close to a pick near number fifty. It was akin to leaving you standing three city blocks away from Marvel Stadium and well outside the Jack Lukosious zone in draft night calculations. Even when the trades improved things somewhat marginally to a starting point of 23 and 28 (eventually 27 and 33), it meant you had just moved from William Street to King Street but the entrance to the venue was still on the distant horizon. It was probably just as well that we were that far away because opening night was excruciatingly painful, producing a clumsy and almost unwatchable production compared with the American counterparts in the NFL and NBA which it shamelessly sought to emulate. Gillon McLachlan produced a fitting highlight when he pounced onto centre stage only to discover he had nothing to announce despite the sounding of all the bells and whistles but for us - nothing. Not even the prospect of a live trade managed to keep us in the game.  When the show was over, Sam Walsh, the precocious Croweaters, the King brothers (we drafted the wrong big Max King a few years ago) and a bevy of others were gone. The Swans pulled a swifty trade to get a great deal for their next academy sensation and the Blues did nicely to steal the 2018 Morrish Medallist from the Tigers. Those who were previously uninformed of the new format were left baffled and confused that the Demons weren’t selecting on the night. By the rising of the sun on day two, we were virtually on the promenade at Marvel Stadium, hoping for a little action now that we were a matter of a few picks away from pole position. The AFL had sneakily changed the starting time from 10.00am to noon but even then we were hardly bashing down the doors to get in despite the dreary conditions outside. But when the draft restarted, we somehow remained the bystanders. The months (and for some, the years) of following potential draftees, the national championships, junior competitions, TAC Cup finals, draft combines, phantom drafts, power rankings, teams of the year and the late speculation all flashed past our eyes to produce ... on the face of it ... not a great deal. On top of that, there were no bolters, no All-Australian sliders who somehow mysteriously drifted into our laps, nor even any players finding their way to us from a list of so-called hidden gems” that was floating about. In the end, Melbourne took an inside midfielder in South Australian Tom Sparrow with pick 27 after making an unsuccessful bid for the Bulldog’s father-son prospect Rhylee West. Then came a real bolter in Oakleigh Charger James Jordon at 33, another South Australian, Aaron Nitschke, at 53 and a mature aged defender in Collingwood VFL’s Marty Hore with 56. If there was any icing on the cake, it came when the club was not required to bid for Next Generation Academy dasher Toby Bedford who was taken late at pick 75. The return to type came with the selection of Kade Chandler in the rookie draft. I should make it clear that this is not a criticism of the selection decisions but rather I’m pointing to the low profiles of those picked. As with any draft decision made, the proof of their value is never determined on the night but well down the track, often years into the future. The apparent left-of-centre approach to the draft may well pay dividends in the future for a club with a young team on the ascent  - the players selected are not shrinking violets. They are all aggressive ball-winners known for their relentless attack on the football. In that respect, none of them are bystanders.

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    THE KID - A TRIBUTE TO COLIN by Whispering Jack

    There are some truly endearing memories that I have of the Kid, one or two of them off the ground and others on the field of play. It seemed to me that at every club function I attended, one of the constants was the sight of the much-loved Colin Sylvia, face smiling and friendly, surrounded by admirers, young and old, male and female. There was the promotional clip (Foxtel, I think) with Colin in the locker room beside skipper David Neitz draped in towels and joking. It was as if, from the very beginning, the new boy on the block was being typecast as a larrikin, albeit a lovable one who, in our hopes, would one day  become a hero. And that was the problem for the recruit from Merbein which, during my childhood produced another star Demon in Hassa Mann, a shy country lad who went on to captain the club, played in a few premierships and was a solid citizen off the field. The new kid from Merbein simply kept getting into trouble.  There were problems with a girlfriend, he broke team curfews, missed the odd recovery session, left the scene of a car accident (it’s unclear if he was the driver). He was often in the wrong place and the wrong condition at the wrong time but we all still loved him. After all, he was going to be our hero. On the field, he was something else. The first time I saw him was in a practice match for Melbourne’s then affiliate Sandringham, at the Beach Road Oval, ironically named after another blond larrikan Trevor Barker who also passed at far too young and age but from cancer. There was one brief moment that defined Sylvia’s potential as a contender when he gathered the ball near the centre, swiveled past an opponent and barreled the ball from 70 metres out. Years later when I recalled that piece of play with him at a club best and fairest night, he laughed and said he remembered it but thought the kick was “from closer to 80 metres out”. It took a year or so to get his career going and it built slowly but surely within a few years during which time he grew in stature to the point that it wasn’t necessary to call him by his surname. He was Colin and we loved him. The tough break for Colin was that Melbourne went into decline just as he was approaching his prime. Most supporters would agree that his best game came on Sunday, 24 May, 2009 on the MCG in front of almost 40,000 fans against Hawthorn when he amassed 24 kicks, 13 handballs, 9 marks and 4 goals that were just not enough to get the Demons across the line.  He continued to play good football for the year despite the fact that the club was regularly accused of tanking its matches and again into 2010 but at around that time, the injuries in the form of groin and shoulder problems came, the team was performing miserably as the veterans left while other young saviours who were replacing them struggled. The contender was also struggling to live up to his potential status as a hero; he was failing and the fun had gone. After 157 games and 129 goals, the Kid departed for Fremantle at the end of 2013. Things didn’t work out in the West and, amid ongoing controversy about his attitude and behaviour under Ross Lyon, Colin managed six more games that were mostly unremarkable. Career over before his 29th birthday with life after football bringing further challenges for a young man who found retirement from the game at its top level a tough gig.  Colin was working to get his life on track when his car collided with another vehicle last Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Nineteenth Street and Benetook Avenue in the Mildura suburb of Irymple. He died on the scene and will be buried today. We loved him to death - our deepest sympathies go to his family. “I'm the kid who has this habit of dreaming
    Sometimes gets me in trouble too
    But the truth is I could no more stop dreaming
    Than I could make them all come true” - Buddy Mondlock  

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    THE TRADING CHRONICLES 2018 by Whispering Jack

    PART TWO - NO CHOICE There was a time before he even played a single game at AFL level that Jesse Hogan was regarded as the player who would lift Melbourne from the bottom of the ladder. He’s been at the club since he was selected in the 2012 mini-draft but circumstances caused him to wait two seasons before making his AFL debut. He achieved Rising Star status in 2015, kicked more than 40 goals in three of his four seasons, had his disappointments with injuries, illness and personal issues with the loss of his father and yet, Hogan the Saviour seemed forever absent for the club’s most triumphant moments.  Hogan is now a Docker after the Demons traded him for national draft picks 6 and 23 on the final day of the AFL's trade period. This is despite the fact that he was contracted to Melbourne for 2019 and would have earned good money. There’s no doubting his quality as a footballer but he wanted to go home and the likelihood remained high that he might be gone after another season filled with unwelcome distractions of an uncertain future at the club. And not for the first time. When expectations are high for the future after making it to a Preliminary Final, full commitment to the cause beyond the now is paramount. In the end, there was no choice. Moving on to the future, the three players introduced to the Melbourne Football Club  have the attributes of commitment, willingness to work hard and the ability to fill needs. Former Gold Coast co-captain Steven May, a hard-at-it defender has a five year contract. The skillful Kade Kolodjashnij who brings run and carry to the table and mature ruckman Braydon Preuss both join the club with three year deals.  There is no certainty in the business of sport but Melbourne appears to have done well in a trade period that also saw it upgrade its draft position to a point where it now has two picks in the 20s. There is still a lot to do at the draft table, some rookie upgrades and possible acquisition of delisted free agents to fill the eight vacant places on the club’s lists. Where does this all leave the Melbourne Football Club? Age journalist Peter Ryan summed up the Demons’ trade period in At a glance: Assessing each club's 2018 AFL trade period when he wrote  “At a glance: Going for the flag”. Of course, it’s too early to make a reasoned analysis of the trade period because the outcome is never determined in the moment. Time will tell for all clubs and in 2018 there were so many different agendas and strategies. There were clubs that used it to dump the burden of high salaries, some wanted better draft position while others aimed to fulfill certain needs. In the end 42 players changed clubs by way of trades but by draft time at the end of November, there will be many more new faces at every club. The completed trades - Trade Tracker

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    THE TRADING CHRONICLES 2018 by Whispering Jack

    PART ONE - BETWEEN RUCKS AND HARD PLACES Melbourne has been rather pragmatic in its approach to the off season Free Agency and Trade period. After methodically releasing a larger than usual number of players through delistings, it has also traded away a couple of others who it clearly regards as being surplus to the requirements of team focused on a top four finish in 2019 and to this date, acquired a big ruckman to accompany its All Australian Max Gawn in that campaign. The Demons’ lists have undergone a major refit since the final siren sounded on Preliminary Final day. At that point, we knew of the retirements of Harley Balic and Bernie Vince and soon after the announcements came of Tom Bugg, Dion Johnstone, Mitch King, Pat McKenna and Cam Pedersen and rookie Lachie Filipovic. On Friday, the trades of Dean Kent (to St Kilda) and Dom Tyson (North Melbourne) were signed off, bringing the number of departures to double figures.  The Kangaroos traded Brayden Preuss to the Demons to give Melbourne the competition’s most potent ruck combination.  If things were going well for Melbourne’s football manager Josh Mahoney, they certainly went sour with the news late on Friday that Fremantle had withdrawn its interest in securing forward Jesse Hogan by way of a trade. The decision threw the Demons’ plans of securing Gold Coast defender Steven May along with a raft of other potential trades depending on the outcome of those deals. The Dockers have been chasing WA native Hogan for some four years and last week they paraded him through their headquarters. After it was announced that Hogan had passed his medical, it was thought to be a formality that a trade would be arranged after the obligatory bargaining period.  Fremantle General Manager of Football, Peter Bell, just two weeks into the job, announced - “We have been undertaking a due diligence process as part of a possible trade to secure Jesse Hogan. “As part of that process, we have had discussions with Jesse, the player’s management and Melbourne. “While discussions were proceeding it became clear that what Melbourne would be seeking for a trade would not be possible for our club to meet. “As such, we have informed Melbourne and Jesse’s management that we will not be continuing further with the due diligence process.” This was Bell’s reaction to Melbourne’s refusal to accept his club’s offer of National Draft Pick 11 and a future second-round pick with the Demons expecting two early selections including # 5 that the Dockers would be expecting in a deal with Brisbane for Lachie Neale (Bell is reportedly expecting two first round picks). The reaction might have come as a surprise but it needs to be looked at in the context of what is happening at the very top at the Fremantle Football Club. In August, its list manager Brad Lloyd departed for Carlton and the task of dealing with the free agency and trading was taken over by CEO Steve Rosich in concert with Bell after his appointment. They are certainly doing things differently in a trade period during which all of the other clubs have been businesslike in their approach — the Freo pair’s dealings over Hogan, Rory Lobb, Neale and a clumsy approach to Geelong’s Tim Kelly who wants to go to the Eagles have raised scorn and disdain throughout the football fraternity and their own fans aren’t happy either! This has left Hogan back with the Demons for the time being as he plays out the final year of his contract in 2019 (unless the Dockers have a change of heart in the next few days). Mahoney has made it clear that the club is not in a position to follow up a trade for May without completing a deal for Hogan.  The bonus for the club however, is that it can go into the pre season with a quality key position forward approaching the prime of his career while the team is in the premiership window. Meanwhile, at the other end of the continent, the Dockers are likely to languish, living with a dysfunctional recruiting structure and scorned by the rest of the football community. Good luck with that! Docker shocker as Freo pull pin on Hogan pursuit This is the full list of trades after five days: • Reece Conca joined Fremantle as a free agent. The Tigers don't get any compensation.
    • Richmond signed Tom Lynch as a restricted free agent. Gold Coast opted not to match the offer. The Suns got pick No.3 as compensation.
    • Luke Dahlhaus joined Geelong as an unrestricted free agent. The Western Bulldogs got a round two pick as compensation (No.27).
    • Scott Lycett joined Port Adelaide as a restricted free agent after the Eagles decided not to match Port's offer. Port got pick 20 as compensation.
    • The Cats traded Lincoln McCarthy, pick 55 and pick 58 to the Lions. In return, the Lions sent over picks 43 and 61.
    • Richmond sent Corey Ellis, Anthony Miles and a future third round pick to the Suns for a future third round pick.
    • The Blues used one of their special assistant pre-draft picks to send Nathan Kreuger to Geelong in exchange for pick 43.
    • The Lions and the Suns did a pick swap. Brisbane ended up with 32, 41, 44 and 77. Gold Coast got 24, 58 and 79.
    • Mitch McGovern and a future third round pick made their way from Adelaide to Carlton. Carlton sent back Shane McAdam (their second pre-draft special assistance pick) and a future fifth round pick.
    • Sydney sent pick 13 to the Crows. In return, they got pick 40. They also got picks 26 and 28 from Carlton.
    • Jared Polec and Jasper Pittard moved to North Melbourne from Port Adelaide. Also sent over: pick 48. In return, Power received pick 11 and a future fourth round pick.
    • Sydney's Gary Rohan was traded to Geelong for pick 61.
    • The Swans sent pick 61 to North Melbourne in exchange for Ryan Clarke.
    • St Kilda traded Tom Hickey, pick 60 and a future fourth rounder to the Eagles. In return, the Saints got pick 39 and a future fourth round pick.
    • Alex Fasolo joined Carlton as an unrestricted free agent. Collingwood got pick 57 as compensation.
    • Gold Coast signed Josh Corbett (Werribee) and Chris Burgess ( West Adelaide) as two of their special assistance picks.
    • Port Adelaide and Fremantle swapped picks: Power got pick six and a future third round selection, and sent picks 11, 23, 30 and 49 to the Dockers.
    • Sydney Swans have traded Dan Hannebery and its Rd 2 selection, currently number 28 (on traded from Carlton) to St Kilda for its Rd 2 selection, currently selection number 39 (on traded from West Coast), and its Future Round Two Selection.
    • Melbourne have traded Dean Kent to St Kilda for its Rd 4 selection, currently selection number 65.
    • Melbourne have traded Dom Tyson to North Melbourne for Brayden Preuss and its Rd 4 selection, currently selection number 62 (on traded from the Sydney Swans).
    • GWS Giants have traded Will Setterfield and its Rd 4 (71), to Carlton for its Rd 3 (43), and Future Round Two Selection.

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    CHANGES 2018 by The Oracle

    PART 1 - UPHEAVAL AND CHANGE Every year, as soon as the grand final siren sounds, the 18 AFL clubs enter into a new season that lasts for two months and ends in the drafts. This is the time of transition and sometimes upheaval for the clubs as their lists change in the hope for each of them that they can regenerate their lists to the point where they can challenge for a premiership flag. The official proceedings start today with the opening of the restricted free agency offer and unrestricted free agency period starts and on Monday, the NAB AFL Trade Period kicks off. The coming off season of change is looming large at the Melbourne Football Club in comparison with last year when the club farewelled only six senior list players (including one, Heritier Lumumba, who had retired before that season even began) and one rookie. Their replacements came via trades and the draft, leaving the 2018 Melbourne Football Club player list (with new players in italics) as follows - PRIMARY LIST: Oskar Baker Harley Balic Angus Brayshaw Tomas Bugg Bayley Fritsch Sam Frost Jeff Garlett Max Gawn Mitch Hannan James Harmes Michael Hibberd Jesse Hogan Jayden Hunt Neville Jetta Dion Johnstone Nathan Jones Jay Kennedy Harris Dean Kent Mitch King Jake Lever Jordan Lewis Oscar McDonald Tom McDonald Pat McKenna Jake Melksham Alex Neal-Bullen Clayton Oliver Cameron Pedersen Christian Petracca Harrison Petty Christian Salem Charlie Spargo Joel Smith Billy Stretch Dom Tyson Aaron vandenBerg Bernie Vince Jack Viney Josh Wagner Sam Weideman  ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY A Lachlan Filipovic Declan Keilty Corey Maynard Tim Smith  As in the past, the process has been going on for months and even longer in the case of the assessment of younger talent. The 18 clubs have all been working feverishly looking for potential trades and for which some players on their lists are moved on.  The Demons have already added two Category B rookies who will shortly commence their apprenticeships at the club. The changes were being foreshadowed even before season’s end when two Demons - Harley Balic and Bernie Vince - had also announced their retirements.  The floodgates were opened almost as soon as the final siren sounded at Optus Stadium on Preliminary Final day. The first delistings included Tom Bugg, Mitch King, Pat McKenna and Cam Pedersen, who announced his retirement, and rookie Lachie Filipovic. Yesterday, Dion Johnstone was added to that group.  Then there are those being mentioned in despatches as being on the trade table from Dean Kent who almost has his foot in the door at St Kilda, to Jesse Hogan, seemingly bound for Fremantle delisted) and others such as Dom Tyson and Aaron vandenBerg said to be exploring options for various reasons. This means a potential of a dozen new faces including names such as May, Kolodjashnij, Preuss and many more in the club’s new period of upheaval and change ...

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