Jump to content

  • Latest Podcast: Preseason Wrap Up

Sign in to follow this  
Whispering_Jack

GONE TROPPO by JVM

Recommended Posts

The Melbourne Football Club has certainly made an impression on the Top End of the nation in recent times. The club conducted an intensive preseason lasting a week or so late last year. Players lived and trained in an army barracks, walked through crocodile infested Kakadu in intensely hot and humid conditions and were feted by the local community. More recently some of its players felt even more intense heat in the cockpit of a light plane sweating it out through an emergency landing in circumstances that might easily have been a matter of life and death.

Regrettably, none of the bravado displayed in the heat up there has helped avoid embarrassment at the hands of opposition clubs when it comes to playing a game of football. The Demons have been diabolical this season whether home or away but since the departure of Mark Neeld as coach, the players have been given more freedom and were coming out of their shells until they ran into the rampant Cats on their home turf right in the middle of a deluge which left their lighter bodied frames vulnerable to a hiding. The conditions probably saved them from a much larger defeat.

This week, in a vastly different climate and on almost the opposite side of the continent, the team comes up against a vastly different opponent but one which was Geelong's last conqueror. Brisbane was languishing a little until recently after brushing all comers aside in the preseason NAB Cup. They trailed Geelong by 52 points close to three quarter time at the Gabba before their resurgence got them home after the siren. They lost to the Hawks the following week but have won two on end including that come from behind win last week against the Roos. In their past four final quarters, the Lions have posted 166 points to their opposition's 79. Given Melbourne's recent final term lapses (remember the Bulldogs game), I don't think I would back the Demons even if they were 10 goals ahead at the final break.

As this is the first time for the season that Melbourne comes up against a repeat opponent, it gives us an opportunity to compare performances from the Neeld regime to the one under Neil Craig but I can't see the Demons improving on the 28 point shortfall from Round 5, particularly if Brent Moloney comes up fit. Beamer seems to be on a mission to torment his former fans as if his abysmal output when playing for the club in 2012 wasn't torment enough.

You see, if Melbourne has gone backwards in one area in the past month, its been in the midfield which last week was almost invisible at centre square contests leading to the most lopsided inside 50 counts since they started counting them. And that's exactly what's driving us all Troppo!

THE GAME Melbourne v Brisbane Lions at TIO Stadium, Darwin, Saturday 20 July, 2013 at 7.10pm.

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Melbourne 21 wins Brisbane Lions 18 wins

TIO Melbourne 0 wins Brisbane Lions 0 wins

Since 2000 Melbourne 8 wins Brisbane Lions 10 Wins

The Coaches Craig 0 wins Voss 0 wins

MEDIA

TV Fox Footy Channel 3 live at 7.30pm

RADIO SEN ABC

THE BETTING Melbourne $4.30 Brisbane Lions $1.21

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Brisbane Lions 17.20.122 defeated Melbourne 14.10.94 in Round 5, 2013 at the Gabba

After an even first quarter, the home side established a narrow lead at half time before Jonathan Brown did in the third quarter what good, strong power forwards tend to do against the Demons. He blew them away.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE


Backs Lynden Dunn Colin Garland Dean Terlich
Half backs Tom McDonald James Frawley Mitch Clisby
Centreline Jimmy Toumpas Jack Trengove Jack Grimes
Half forwards Colin Sylvia Jack Watts Shannon Byrnes
Forwards Aaron Davey Chris Dawes Jeremy Howe
Followers Max Gawn Jack Viney Nathan Jones
Interchange Sam Blease Jack Fitzpatrick Matt Jones Dean Kent
Emergencies Jordie McKenzie Cameron Pedersen Jake Spencer

In Jack Viney

Out Daniel Nicholson

BRISBANE LIONS

Backs Jed Adcock Matt Maguire Joel Patfull
Half backs Ryan Harwood Justin Clarke Brent Staker
Centreline Pearce Hanley Tom Rockliff Sam Mayes
Half forwards Dayne Zorko Jordan Lisle Rohan Bewick
Forwards Josh Green Daniel Merrett Ashley McGrath
Followers Matthew Leuenberger Jack Redden Daniel Rich
Interchange Sam Docherty Ryan Lester Andrew Raines Elliot Yeo
Emergencies James Polkinghorne

In Sam Docherty Jordan Lisle Elliot Yeo

Out Jonathan Brown Mitch Golby James Polkinghorne

THE LATE MAIL

My late mail delivered by Bill Lawry's carrier pigeon returning after fleeing Lords is that Jonathan Brown and Mitch Golby are out of the Brisbane Lions side for the game in Darwin. They join veteran midfielders Simon Black and Brent Moloney on the sidelines for the Lions which probably offsets the fact that former Brisbanite Mitch Clark continues to be missing from the Melbourne line up.

Now, if only Mark Neeld was still around, he would no doubt explain the significance of the absence of the Brisbane quartet in terms of raw numbers of experience as expressed in games played. Leaving aside young Golby who has added some grunt to its defence, Brisbane is missing more than 700 games of AFL experience and almost the same number of goals scored. In economic terms they together comprise the equivalent of the gross national product of some South American banana republics and enough to raise even Alan Stockdale's eyebrows.

What this means is that the game takes on an entirely different complexion. I don't have the precise figures (actually I don't have any figures at all) but I'm guessing that the differential between age, experience and body strength has narrowed markedly while Melbourne's main advantage over Brisbane (average IQ) would have gone through the roof with the absence of Brown and Moloney. This leaves only two considerations - the weather and the superiority of the opposition midfield. These were the two factors that in my view, led to that embarrassing record inside 50 differential against the Cats last week.

I checked the weather report and they're predicting warm, sunny conditions during the day (max 32, min 19) and little or no rain although humidity will be high up to 95%. That means it won't be bucketing down as it did at Simonds Stadium so the Dees will have some respite on the weather front. Unfortunately, the Lions still have the advantage in the midfield even with Black and Moloney missing. Leuenberger should have the edge in terms of experience over Gawn and Fitzpatrick and Rich, Redden and Rockliff are likely to dominate the clearances with Raines sitting on Nathan Jones.

Elsewhere, Melbourne needs to capitalise on the absence of Jonathan Brown who always manages to do a number against the unlucky backman who draws the short straw and has to play on him while the forward line should relish the additional opportunities and score more than four goals.

Notwithstanding, the Lions late surge to come from over 50 points down at the Gabba last month still resonates and the fact that they fancy themselves as finals contenders is enough to convince me that they have the added incentive to get themselves over the line.

Brisbane by 15 points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Social Media

  • Match Previews, Reports & Articles

    GAME, SET & SCRATCH by Paddy Gosch

    I always believe in starting off any report by accentuating the positive and in that regard, as at the time of writing, the Demons have not reported any injuries so that’s my major positive from today’s practice game v the Magpies (albeit that we know the club is somewhat lax in reporting these things so my best wishes go out if any of today’s participants are in intensive care at the Alfred).  Another positive was that Razor Ray performed his umpiring duties admirably which is more than I can say about the two other duds who shall remain nameless because I’m trying to stay positive. On that note, Melbourne proved that it can win games against good opposition away from home in front of a 70% hostile crowd (and let me remind you that Collingwood finished 2018 a mere bee’s diaphragm away from the premiership), Angus Brayshaw showed he is already approaching his stellar form of last year unperturbed by the injuries he was carrying late last year and a change in head gear. A fully fit Aaron vandenBerg will also be a major plus over last year. The Max Gawn/Braydon Pruess ruck/forward combo worked a treat and will have opposition defenders struggling as they reach for the footy in stratospheric heights. The 6-6-6 set up will suit the style of the club  as we head into a new year and a new day. More positives from the dominance of the midfield despite missing a swag of stars. Promise of some good contributions to come from Christian Petracca, Alex Neal-Bullen, James Harmes and Christian Salem - virtually the secondary midfield and the run of a rejuvenated Jayden Hunt and the enthusiasm of young Tom Sparrow - the Demons’ bird in the hand for the future. Oscar McDonald was great in defence and one asks how good will this line be when Steven May comes in and Jake Lever returns from his knee injury. In the meantime, the club’s mature-age draftee from Collingwood VFL’s Marty Hore looks like a good bet to fill a spot from the get go. Sam Frost was also good. And how about new leadership group member Nev Jetta, who was initially ruled out of the AFLX extravaganza through injury, but recovered dramatically enough to not miss a beat in the game today? The Demons started slowly when they conceded a couple of goals to Jamie Elliot but after that, they moved into positive mode and it soon became game, set and scratch match.   POST MATCH DISCUSSION: http://demonland.com/forums/topic/45624-post-practice-match-discussion-melbourne-v-collingwood/ Melbourne 4.1.25 5.4.34 8.6.54 11.6.72 Collingwood 2.1.13 3.5.23 4.5.29 7.6.48 Best Gawn Preuss Harmes Salem Brayshaw O McDonald Goals Preuss 2 Garlett Harmes Kennedy Harris Neal-Bullen T Smith Sparrow Stretch Weideman  

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    SCRATCH by Paddy Gosch

    The Demons are set to take on the old enemy Collingwood in a good old fashioned Scratch Match on Friday Morning. It is unknown what form the match will take, how many quarters there will be, their length, the amount of rotations or even whether they'll keep score. One thing we do know for sure is that both coaching staffs will be keeping their cards close to their chests to ensure neither will glean too much from their competition. The Dees will likely be without some of their stars as Tom McDonald and Nathan Jones trained in the rehab group on Wednesday, the former pulling out of the AFLX 2.0 as he will be going under the knife for a "very minor procedure" to ensure he plays in the JLT and is "no chance to miss Round 1". Other players in the rehab group at the latest training sessions included Jake Lever (knee) and Mitch Hannan (knee). Steven May (hamstring) was attending the AFL's Indigenous Conference will not play as he aims to be fit for Round 1. Neville Jetta,  who was also at the Conference is unlikely to play as he too has been in the rehab group for the past few weeks. Both Jack Viney (foot) and new recruit Kade Kolodashnij (adductor) were not at Wednesday's skills work session and have already been ruled out of any preseason practice matches. Viney is eyeing a Round 1 return whereas Kolodashnij will return early in the season. New recruit Aaron Nietschke tore his ACL during last Friday's match simulation at Casey Field's and will miss the whole of the 2019 season. Bayley Fritsch who replaces Tom McDonald as Melbourne's only representative at the AFLX will also likely miss. Of the rest of the playing group most will be available but I would assume that some of the players who had off-seasons surgeries might have shorter game times. Clayton Oliver and James Harmes both had shoulder surgeries and have only recently returned to the main training group and despite having resumed contact and keeping up their match fitness in rehab might be restricted in their game time if they play at all. Christian Petracca who had a procedure to clean up his knee in the offseason has had a stint in the rehab but has returned the main group as has Angus Brayshaw (back). I would expect Jake Melksham and Oskar Baker to sit this scratch match out as both have only just returned to the main group. It will be interesting to see if the Dees will trial their new two ruckman game plan with the inclusion of Braydon Preuss to the list. Both he and Max Gawn have done full preseasons but with Brodie Grundy unlikely to line up due to only just returning to Collingwood's main training group following a toe complaint the Dees might decide to rest Max and let Preuss go solo. Other Magpies players who will miss the game are Jordan De Goey, who injured his ankle in a match simulation last week, Will Hoskin-Elliot (leg), Jeremy Howe (corked thigh) and Lynden Dunn (knee). The match which will be played at the Olympic Park Oval on Friday 22nd February @ 10:00am. The game will be LIVE streamed by the club on their website and on the club's app. https://www.melbournefc.com.au/news/2019-02-20/practice-match-info Match details Collingwood v Melbourne
    Date: Friday, February 22
    Match start time: 10.00am (AEDT)
    Live stream begins: 9.45am (AEDT)
    Venue: Olympic Park Oval
    Entry: Free Live stream Thanks to Zurich, the match will be streamed live across the Melbourne website and app, with pre-match coverage beginnning at 9.45am AEDT. If you can't watch live, the full match will be available via the website and app post-game. Getting to Olympic Park Oval Olympic Park Oval is located on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Batman Avenue. Public transport Olympic Park Oval is located a short walk from Richmond train station. Jolimont station is also located a 10 minute walk away. Tram route 70 also stops near the ground at AAMI Park (stop 7D). Tram route 48 and 75 are also located in the vicinity near Jolimont Station. Bus 246 (Latrobe Uni - Elsternwick Station) travels down Punt Road, stopping at the corner of Olympic Blvd. From here patrons can walk to Olympic Park. Read more about public transport here. Parking info Non-event car parking is available opposite AAMI Park at the National Tennis Centre. See more info here. Limited parking may also be available across the river on Alexandra Avenue. Around the ground Membership and merchandise tent Melbourne will have a marquee set up for Membership queries and merchandise purchases on Olympic Boulevard. Food and beverage The Glasshouse at the Holden Centre will be open for food and drink purchases.

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    IMAGINE by Whispering Jack

    The Demons made their official return to the training track for 2019 on a sunny Saturday morning at Goschs Paddock with most of the interest initially centred on a small patch of ground in one of the pockets where the rehab group was going through the paces. Some good pieces of news on that score. The  rehab group is considerably smaller than it was prior to the Christmas break with Christian Petracca (knee), James Harmes (shoulder), Jayden Hunt (shoulder), Neville Jetta (shoulder), Oscar McDonald (hip) and Tim Smith (foot) all having fully recovered and training with the main group.  More good news. The remaining rehabbers were all training at a reasonable level leaving one to think that they all should be right for the opening of the season, with the exception of Jake Lever (knee) who might not be that far away by the end of March. Key midfielders Jack Viney (foot), Angus Brayshaw (back) and Clayton Oliver (shoulders) have been on modified training programmes but appear on target to return to full training in the next month along with Oskar Baker (hamstring, Mitch Hannan (knee), Billy Stretch (toe) and Aaron vandenBerg (shoulder). Nathan Jones was apparently troubled by hamstring tightness and took it easy with a bit of sparring practice and Jake Melksham was the only player missing (possibly because his wife is expecting a child any day now).  And after Friday’s shocking news of Tom Mitchell’s broken leg at Hawthorn’s training, the really good news was that nobody ended the session on crutches or in a moon boot. The story going round during the break of a renewal of Tom McDonald’s toe woes was just that - a tale with no substance. There’s a blister on a big toe but mine’s worse than his and it’s not going to stop me from being at the MCG on Saturday 23 March when the season starts with a game against Port Adelaide. So with that game in mind, the attention turned to the blokes who were training their butts off in the warm-up to what promises a tough month or two heading up to the 2019 season.  I’ve tried to steer away from all of the media speculation about Melbourne being one of the top three in line for the premiership but the inescapable take away from the session is the observation that the maturing list now runs strong and deep in quality and the club’s recruiting appears to have added icing to the cake.  We are light years away from the position we occupied when Dave Misson arrived to find that the club’s fitness and training regime was well below the standards of most AFL clubs. 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!

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Special Features

    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.

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Special Features

    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.

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Special Features

    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  

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Special Features

    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

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Special Features

    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.

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Special Features

    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 ...

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Special Features 2

×