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MATCH PREVIEW AND TEAM SELECTION - ROUND 21

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Demonland    5,056

MOJO LOST by Whispering Jack

Has Melbourne peaked too early again this year?

Last year, after displaying their best football for years with wins against Hawthorn by 29 points at the MCG in Round 20 and Port Adelaide by 40 points at the Adelaide Oval in Round 21, the Demons' form dropped away dramatically. With ten wins under their belt, they needed to win the remaining two matches of the season to have a chance of making the finals. The first of those games was against lowly Carlton which was on a long losing streak and they lost that and their finals aspirations, doing so without raising a whimper. That effort was followed up with a capitulation to Geelong at Simonds Stadium, the venue of one of the team's other more famous victories merely a season and a half earlier.

The conventional wisdom that came from post-season reviews was that by the time of the game against Port Adelaide, the young side was starting to show signs of exhaustion after a long, hard, challenging season. They had a lead of 39 points at half time in the Adelaide Oval game but those who were close to the team said they could see by the way the opposition surged with little response in the third quarter that the Demons were about to hit the wall. 

Although I am not an insider and indeed have only watched the past two games on the screen, I sense deja vu when looking back at the past month. 

The Demons were sensational in the first half against Port Adelaide building a 44 point lead early in time on of the second quarter before holding on to win by a small margin. We were still congratulatory, confident, looking forward to the finals and eyeing the prospect of a top four placing.

But while we never looked back to what had taken place some twelve months earlier when disaster struck after the team's previous win over Port Adelaide, the danger of a repeat of history was staring us right in the face. 

The young Melbourne team was unchanged from the week before as it traveled to Tasmania to take on North Melbourne which (like Carlton last year) was on a long losing streak and it proceeded to lose by four points after a listless final quarter performance. A week later, it proceeded to leak goals at the rate of knots in the opening quarter at Canberra against the Giants. The final losing margin of 35 points flattered the Demons.

The signs are all there. The team is no longer winning at the stoppages and in the contests and this is happening despite the fact that it has Max Gawn back winning the ruck hit outs. The inside grunt is no longer as constant and opposition pressure is forcing that one handball too many, leading to errors. The outside run and spread that was evident earlier in the season is almost non-existent. The youngsters are tiring and the important players who suffered injuries six to eight weeks ago have returned without the same impact and explosive power that they displayed earlier in the year.

The Demons badly need an injection of outside pace. Jayden Hunt who is one of the young guns whose form has dropped in recent weeks can't do it all by himself even if he regains his mojo. I'm looking for some inspiration from the selectors this week because the trend of the past month has to be reversed if the club's dream of a return to finals action is to be achieved in 2017.

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THE GAME

Melbourne v St Kilda Sunday 13 August 2017 at the MCG at 1.10pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall  Melbourne 119 wins, St Kilda 91 wins, 1 drawn

At MCG Melbourne 58 wins St. Kilda 35 wins

Past five meetings Melbourne 1 win, St Kilda 4 wins

The Coaches Goodwin 1 win, Richardson 0 wins 

MEDIA

TV - Fox Footy Channel, live at 1.00pm

RADIO - TBA

THE BETTING

Melbourne to win - $1.65, St. Kilda to win - $2.25 to win 

THE LAST TIME THEY MET 

Melbourne 18.12.120 defeated St. Kilda 13.12.90 in Round 1, 2017 at Etihad Stadium

The Demons set the season for their season with a slow start before they got going in a second quarter goal spree that blew the Saints away. Clayton Oliver, Nathan Jones and Jordan Lewis all finished with 30+ possession games in a promising start to 2017

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE

B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta
HB:Bernie Vince, Cameron Pedersen, Jayden Hunt
C: Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver, Jordan Lewis
HF: Christian Petracca, Tom McDonald, Jake Melksham
F: Jeff Garlett, Mitch Hannan, Alex Neal-Bullen
FOLL: Max Gawn, Dom Tyson, Jack Viney
I/C:Angus Brayshaw, Mitch Hannan, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman
EMG: Corey Maynard, Billy Stretch, Jack Watts

IN: Angus Brayshaw, Mitch Hannan, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman

OUT: Sam Frost (omitted), Corey Maynard (omitted), Christian Salem (omitted), Jack Watts (omitted)

ST KILDA

B: Jarryn Geary, Nathan J. Brown, Dylan Roberton
HB: Jack Newnes, Jake Carlisle, Jimmy Webster
C: Shane Savage, Luke Dunstan, Jack Billings
HF: Jack Steele, Josh Bruce, Maverick Weller
F: Jade Gresham, Tim Membrey, Jack Sinclair
FOLL: Billy Longer, Sebastian Ross, Jack Steven
I/C (from): Blake Acres, Sam Gilbert, Koby Stevens, Brandon White 
EMG: Tom Hickey, Jack Lonie, Daniel McKenzie

IN: Sam Gilbert

OUT: Nick Riewoldt (concussion)

The L's mount for the Demons as the W's begin to dry up. They were final four contenders in mid season, cocky and arrogant until those injuries took hold and then, against the Swans, the cracks began to appear. It's been a downhill slide ever since and, after four losses in the past six games, Melbourne finds itself on the brink of elimination from the finals race - defeat against the Saints will surely see it slide out of contention. The same applies to its opponent.

Ironically, the last time Melbourne defeated St Kilda on the MCG, the teams were locked in a fight for their season's survival in the 2006 Elimination Final. However, that win heralded the end of an era and the club spiraled downward into the abyss. It's taken more than a decade and 2017 has been a year of hope and promise but the events of the last month or so has seen all that begin to unravel.

The Demons are on their last chance to lift themselves back into the race. They have beaten all of the teams around them on the ladder including the Saints. They have a draw they sees them playing out the home and away series at the MCG against teams that are out of the top eight. The selectors have sent a strong message about what they require from the side by dropping out of form players.

There are no excuses.

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--coach--    392

I actually think we are loosing our center dominance as a result of having max in the ruck. We have played our best games when we have a clear knowledge of what will happen in the ruck duel. When max was out we knew we would loose the ruck contest, so we planned for that by simply assuming it would be hit straight to one of the opposition players and manning up hard on those players looking to shark it off them. At the moment max is not in his best form, but we are setting up as if we will win the ruck contest, but since that is not happening we are winning little of the center clearance.

i say we go back to playing pedo or watts or similar in ruck, assume we will loose the contest, and go back to what was working for us, sharking it off the opposition ruck. Play max forward around 35m out from goal to create a target for the long bomb we so dearly love, and play our crumbing forwards around or behind him for when it hits the deck or for the quit handball over the back.

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DeeWiz    101

We've had a few key players back in the team from injury for a number of weeks now like Gawn, Viney, Jones, Watts, Tyson etc. Surely by now some of these guys should be back to full match fitness. It's difficult to maintain consistency with such a disrupted season injuries wise, but this is the moment where it should start clicking again.

No excuses now! We all called it weeks ago, once all our cavalry is back we will finish the season with the wind in our sails. It all starts here against the Saints.

There are only two possible scenarios from here on in:

  1. Finish strongly, win all 3 games and land in the finals full of confidence; or
  2. Fold like a bunch of [censored] and end our season with a wimper

I've got confidence in our leadership group that they will do everything possible to achieve #1 rather than #2.

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bandicoot    686
5 hours ago, --coach-- said:

I actually think we are loosing our center dominance as a result of having max in the ruck. We have played our best games when we have a clear knowledge of what will happen in the ruck duel. When max was out we knew we would loose the ruck contest, so we planned for that by simply assuming it would be hit straight to one of the opposition players and manning up hard on those players looking to shark it off them. At the moment max is not in his best form, but we are setting up as if we will win the ruck contest, but since that is not happening we are winning little of the center clearance.

i say we go back to playing pedo or watts or similar in ruck, assume we will loose the contest, and go back to what was working for us, sharking it off the opposition ruck. Play max forward around 35m out from goal to create a target for the long bomb we so dearly love, and play our crumbing forwards around or behind him for when it hits the deck or for the quit handball over the back.

I wonder what the mids would say if you told them that Max wont be rucking. The reason we lost to North and Hawthorn earlier in the year was because we didn't have Gawn. 

Did you see his first half vs Port? He schooled Ryder in the ruck and against GWS was one of only a few players contributing. 

The team is significantly better with him in the ruck. 

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--coach--    392
Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, bandicoot said:

I wonder what the mids would say if you told them that Max wont be rucking. The reason we lost to North and Hawthorn earlier in the year was because we didn't have Gawn. 

Did you see his first half vs Port? He schooled Ryder in the ruck and against GWS was one of only a few players contributing. 

The team is significantly better with him in the ruck. 

I don't disagree at all that when he is rucking well we have a significant advantage in the center, trouble is he isn't as dominant as he has been in the past in my opinion. GWS was a great example as many of his taps when straight to GWS players.

what I'm saying is, if he's not having his best game and we are getting beaten in the middle what harm is there in mixing it up a little and putting him down forward?

For what it's worth, we have won 5 out of 10 games with Gawn in the side, and 5 out of 9 with him out of the side.

Dont get me wrong, I love the guy and want him on the ground in every single game for ever, just I think we can be more creative with him when things aren't going well.

Edited by --coach--

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bandicoot    686

Our win over the Saints in round 1 came from:

  • Gawns dominance in the ruck. 49 hit outs to Hickey 19. Hickey hasn't played for a few weeks and Gawn will be matched up against Longer. I don't believe Longer will be a match for Gawn
  • Gawn then helped Oliver, Lewis, Jones and Vince to significantly win the clearances. Tyson didn't play and Viney had a quiet game. They wont be able to stop all 6 of them on Sunday
  • This then allowed us to keep possession and didn't allow the saints to play their game. 
  • Reiwoldt had a field day kicking 4 goals. I don't believe he will have as much impact as he did in round 1. 

Saints are quicker than we are so if we give them space we will always be on the back foot.

Clearances and contested possessions are critical for us winning. If Gawn brings his A game then the mids will feed off him and we should win. 

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Monocology    215

Currently enjoying Fargo series which result in nightmares almost every time.

Last Saturdays first half centre clearance was a dead-set living horror show. I think 'Coach' is on the money - hoping coaching staff have learnt the lessons from last two games.

Going to shuffle along to game but may take a reefer as I'm not sure how more of the same will leave me.

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hemingway    2,460
50 minutes ago, bandicoot said:

Our win over the Saints in round 1 came from:

  • Gawns dominance in the ruck. 49 hit outs to Hickey 19. Hickey hasn't played for a few weeks and Gawn will be matched up against Longer. I don't believe Longer will be a match for Gawn
  • Gawn then helped Oliver, Lewis, Jones and Vince to significantly win the clearances. Tyson didn't play and Viney had a quiet game. They wont be able to stop all 6 of them on Sunday
  • This then allowed us to keep possession and didn't allow the saints to play their game. 
  • Reiwoldt had a field day kicking 4 goals. I don't believe he will have as much impact as he did in round 1. 

Saints are quicker than we are so if we give them space we will always be on the back foot.

Clearances and contested possessions are critical for us winning. If Gawn brings his A game then the mids will feed off him and we should win. 

The saints will jump into Gawn at every opportunity. 

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Bring-Back-Powell    1,720
53 minutes ago, bandicoot said:

 

  • Reiwoldt had a field day kicking 4 goals. I don't believe he will have as much impact as he did in round 1. 

Careful what you say about him. He can be on one leg and he'd still destroy us.

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Ben E    109
7 hours ago, --coach-- said:

I actually think we are loosing our center dominance as a result of having max in the ruck. . . At the moment max is not in his best form . . .

i say we go back to playing pedo or watts or similar in ruck, assume we will loose the contest, and go back to what was working for us, sharking it off the opposition ruck . . .

Disagree on all fronts. Big Maxy is one of the few players who can hold his head up over the last two games, and his performance v Port before that was the reason we won that game. About time the mids - other than Oliver - work their [censored] out and take advantage of Max's work at the stoppages, which remains elite.

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Wiseblood    12,058
43 minutes ago, hemingway said:

The saints will jump into Gawn at every opportunity. 

Didn't work in Round 1.  Maxy has worked it out.

Nervous as all hell about this one.  Lose it and we will be super, super lucky to sneak into the 8.  Win it and we're back on track.  

Please win it.

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greenmachine    15

this is def danger game think the saints are on rise and they have to win very scared abut this games

happy.gifhappy.gif
happy.gif
happy.gifhappy.gif

 

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Petraccattack    13,077

Elimination final 1 of 3

About time this club stood up and took its chances for the first time in god knows how long.

Even when we played finals in 2004-2006 we always faded late in the season and threw away golden opportunities.   It is an MFC tradition, and it has to stop this week or it never will.

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deebug    185

I hope they come out to play strong from the start, as one of our greats once said play like DEMONS.:lol::lol:

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Demon77    648

When we played the Saints in Round 1 we had Jesse and the Weed in. Jesse destroyed Carlisle that day and the Weed although not as influential did make Brown accountable. We can't afford to bomb the ball time and time again going forward otherwise Carlisle will pick everything off.

Im curious to see if we will set up with 2 stay at home forwards or go in small, similar to the Essendon game.

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--coach--    392
2 hours ago, Monocology said:

Currently enjoying Fargo series which result in nightmares almost every time.

Last Saturdays first half centre clearance was a dead-set living horror show. I think 'Coach' is on the money - hoping coaching staff have learnt the lessons from last two games.

Going to shuffle along to game but may take a reefer as I'm not sure how more of the same will leave me.

Which season? We're on three and I'd say the first two we're much better 👍

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frankie_d    708
2 hours ago, hemingway said:

The saints will jump into Gawn at every opportunity. 

This. It's been a pattern since his return. Other teams are smacking into him off the ball and in the ruck. We need to protect him

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Deemented Are Go!    1,246
2 hours ago, dees189227 said:

James brayshaw just hinted his nephew could be playing this weekend. 

Where'd you hear that?!

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dees189227    1,795
1 hour ago, Deemented Are Go! said:

Where'd you hear that?!

I was listening to the rush hour on mmm and JB mentioned how he was actually going to the melbourne saints game with his brother Mark (Angus's dad) and said I have a suspicion he may get in this week. 

I may be wrong but just writing what I heard. 

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Abe    9,855
6 hours ago, bandicoot said:

Our win over the Saints in round 1 came from:

  • Gawns dominance in the ruck. 49 hit outs to Hickey 19. Hickey hasn't played for a few weeks and Gawn will be matched up against Longer. I don't believe Longer will be a match for Gawn
  • Gawn then helped Oliver, Lewis, Jones and Vince to significantly win the clearances. Tyson didn't play and Viney had a quiet game. They wont be able to stop all 6 of them on Sunday
  • This then allowed us to keep possession and didn't allow the saints to play their game. 
  • Reiwoldt had a field day kicking 4 goals. I don't believe he will have as much impact as he did in round 1. 

Saints are quicker than we are so if we give them space we will always be on the back foot.

Clearances and contested possessions are critical for us winning. If Gawn brings his A game then the mids will feed off him and we should win. 

Rewoldt is In serious doubt to play at all.

they will also be without armitidge and Montagna 

its also at the G which the saints struggle to defend. 

Our strength is we should have a lot of potential goal scorers and lots of depth through the middle. The two biggest threats they have are membrey and Steven. I'd be happy for jetta to play a shut down role on membery 

we desperately need jack Viney and jack watts back to their best to win this game and go on and make finals. 

I think we'll definitely see hannan back in the side, not sure on brayshaw 

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DemonOX    3,869
Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Abe said:

Rewoldt is In serious doubt to play at all.

they will also be without armitidge and Montagna 

Having players out worked real well last week against the afls love child. 

When it comes to the MFC having opp players out is bad news imo. 

Rather the saints be at full strength. 

Edited by DemonOX

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layzie    172
Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, DemonOX said:

Having players out worked real well last week against the afls love child. 

When it comes to the MFC having opp players out is nad news imo. 

Rather the saints be at full strength. 

So true, the only thing predictable about us is our unpredictability. Let's play who we play.

Edited by layzie

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loges    622
5 hours ago, --coach-- said:

Which season? We're on three and I'd say the first two we're much better 👍

Would put season 3 behind season 1 but before season 2 for enjoyment

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Pennant St Dee    3,197
7 hours ago, Petraccattack said:

Elimination final 1 of 6

About time this club stood up and took its chances for the first time in god knows how long.

Even when we played finals in 2004-2006 we always faded late in the season and threw away golden opportunities.   It is an MFC tradition, and it has to stop this week or it never will.

Just needed to change the first line

  • Haha 1

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