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We've lost clearances the past two weeks despite being the best team in the comp prior to that.

Wonder if that's to do with the return of Jack Viney? Lacking a bit of touch going through there?

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1 hour ago, billyblanks29 said:

We've lost clearances the past two weeks despite being the best team in the comp prior to that.

Wonder if that's to do with the return of Jack Viney? Lacking a bit of touch going through there?

I would hate to admit you are right but I suspect you are to some degree Billy.

The return of Jack has actually put a bit of a spanner into what was a very balanced and tuned mid field IMHO.

And what is the missing ingredient .... Gus!!!!

Tacking Gus outside and putting Jack in has seen one too many players (not always but too often vs previously) attacking the ground ball while their opponent slips out the back for a lucky bounce or over the top handball against the grain to get the ball going behind the unnecessary extra attacking player (Viney / Harmes etc) for the give off / clearance.

Also on Saturday Jack did not defend whoever he was on too well early on in many  cases (initially DeGoey then Treloar) possibly as he is not switched on defensively as yet and/or power lacking....maybe both.

He was either giving them too much room by attacking the pill when he didn't need to (ie, other players at the drop were closer to the ball drop but he still went in leaving his opponent free) or not defending goal side of his opponent when the ball was in the oppositions 50.

He wasn't alone here though.  Just take the tape to the ball up (or ball in) with 15 minutes to go in the first quarter and you will witness at least 3 Pies goal side of the pill and only Nev (standing an opponent!  Goal side!) between those three and their goals.  Surprise surprise the Pies got it out the back to an unmarked Pie for I think their 3rd goal for the quarter.   Jack one offender but not alone.  Check where Clarry and some of the others are positioned also (i'll give you a guess where most of their opponents were!).   Really poor stuff and efforts that will go towards losing contests and possibly the game.  Certainly not in isolation but when added together they can conspire to hurt the final result.  And as we know, in a final if you get off to a poor start (or allow your opponent to get off to a good or great one) you are pretty much toast in most cases!

We also did some very ordinary things on Saturday in set ups like the one described  above.

For another great example of a really amateur set up and play watch Pedders go up in the ruck against Cox with 9:30 to go in the first.

Mistake 1.  Pedders is on the incorrect side of Cox giving him goal side position to start the throw in.  Viney actually covers Treloar well in the initial contest from this ruck duel so he wasn't all bad all the time. Credit where credit's due.

Mistake 2.  Pedders leaves Cox to attack the ground ball and eventually tackles Adams, who gets there first (ie, see ball get ball instead of covering your direct opponent goal side!).

Mistake 3.  Salem allows himself to also get drawn in to the ground ball contest but gets caught in no mans land (ie, doesn't quite get to the opponent to effect a tackle but also doesn't sit off him far enough to potentially effect an intercept or tackle a potential receiver goal side either).

Result:  With Nev, Pedders and to a lessor degree Salem,  all tackling Adams (or attempting to put a feeble hand in to effect a fumble in the case of Salem) this allows Cox (who has wisely stayed out) to wait out and grab the handball from a slippery Adams (who couldn't be shut down by two tacklers....Nev & Pedders!).  With Cox's direct opponent (Pedders) on the ground after his tackle, Cox is able to turn around with enough time to size up the goals and kick his second goal on his preferred right foot (having no one in front of him goal side...ie, Pedders, or potentially a tackle or scrap which might put him off his kick....eg, Salem!). 

Some players also lacked intensity in some contests.  For a great early example have a look at Hulk's effort to spoil Howe marking a tumble round the corner kick about the 10 minute mark in the 1st out of the centre from Viney (under pressure).  Way off AFL level and certainly not finals worthy.  Only one example but again, it all adds up and other players couldn't help but notice this surely.  It becomes catchy, just as the look of Howe taking what appears on the surface to be a strong contested mark in defence (but wasn't) might be a bit of confidence booster for the opp.  If you aren't going to give your all at every contest and pick and choose when to go at this point then I don't know.  What are you doing?  Rubbish like that has to be stamped out. Complete team and coach killer especially early in a match.

For a good example of what we should expect look at Vince's effort to spoil DeGoey when he was way out of the contest from the resulting play following Howe's mark.  Gives a soft free kick but at least he gave it his all, stopped DeGoey tacking an easy mark (knocking him over), even though a free kick resulted.  Or clarry's effort to run down a Pie on the wing very early in the first resulting in a turnover and our first goal to Hannan.

Maybe it was partly to do with a tired younger brigade.  Maybe partly to do with Viney returning.  Pedders having pretty much no effect and making fundamental mistakes along with others in set ups etc.  maybe it was having no real run with player (or two) to run with DeGoey and Treloar for much of the game and instead have the duties assigned to a few who really weren't sure who they were on at any point and instead just picking up a random loose player (allowing mis matches like DeGoey on Clarry at times....to make an easy escape for another easy clearance...etc).  I would be training and using one or two dedicated lock down players here and certainly not our best mids in Viney, Clarry, Jones or Brayshaw.  ANB and/or Harmes all day for mine (as part of the starting 4).  Keep your best players free, to do their best work, and make the opp work their ass off trying to shut US down!

I know the FD will have been allover this one like a rash but they need to.  It was pretty ordinary in so many ways and they (and the coach) must take part of the blame.  The Pies were super well drilled and knew exactly what needed doing (where to position/block/one or two in MAX at the drop of the ball the rest keep their feet and wait for the spill / handball etc) and for some reason we did a lot of things that IMHO looked very amateurish (just as we did against the Hawks!).   I hope Goody is learning after two horrible results where similar mistakes are where made (including match ups) and early intensity was lacking on such a big game day... again.

 

Edited by Rusty Nails
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11 hours ago, Rusty Nails said:

I would hate to admit you are right but I suspect you are to some degree Billy.

The return of Jack has actually put a bit of a spanner into what was a very balanced and tuned mid field IMHO.

And what is the missing ingredient .... Gus!!!!

- TLDR  space saving edit by timbo -

I know the FD will have been allover this one like a rash but they need to.  ....

 

Just wow! How much time did you spend breaking that down? (serious q, not being a smarty pants)

Bravo sir.

Edited by timbo
space saving edit

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Great post @Rusty Nails

Witnessed much of that myself. 

Pederson is a really limited player. Some of his decision making in regards to positioning, contest work, who to tackle, when to chase ball etc is very very poor. 

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That’s some serious dissecting @Rusty Nails.

Well done. Sitting ground level you miss a lot of what happens on the other side of the ground and I can’t bring myself to watching losing replays. Thank you.

 

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33 minutes ago, stevethemanjordan said:

Great post @Rusty Nails

Witnessed much of that myself. 

Pederson is a really limited player. Some of his decision making in regards to positioning, contest work, who to tackle, when to chase ball etc is very very poor. 

Yep, great analysis.  It shows that Pedo playing as the hit-em-up forward in the VFL (and dominating) is very different to the role that Tim Smith or Wieds plays.  Would be hard to imagine that Weids doesn't come in on the back of that, and Pedo is perhaps an option if TMac cant get up (god forbid) and plays a role closer to goal?

The setups around the restarts are an issue, and I believe we need a dedicated tagger (not 'tagger of the week').  I know we are building flexibility, but we want our best guys to be getting the ball and doing something with it, not scragging shirts all day.  We have some time over the bye to reset, but there is a lot that needs to be tweaked so that we get the most out of our setups.  Buckley outcoached Goody, no doubt.

Can we carry Viney and Jones both in the middle ATM???

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15 hours ago, billyblanks29 said:

We've lost clearances the past two weeks despite being the best team in the comp prior to that.

Wonder if that's to do with the return of Jack Viney? Lacking a bit of touch going through there?

Geez, would hate to admit Viney's return is responsible for the nadir in clearances but that is a strong possibility when combined with a drop-off in form of others, as well. Viney needs several weeks of roving to get back into great form with killer instincts. 

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5 hours ago, timbo said:

Just wow! How much time did you spend breaking that down? (serious q, not being a smarty pants)

Bravo sir.

I didnt time it Timbo and hate going back through a loss.  No way i could mentaly handle a whole losing match unless i was getting paid!  Im guessing approx an hour and a quarter on the first 20 minutes.  Long enough to give the remote a good workout but short enough to avoid the war office sending me to the dog house.

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4 hours ago, stevethemanjordan said:

Great post @Rusty Nails

Witnessed much of that myself. 

Pederson is a really limited player. Some of his decision making in regards to positioning, contest work, who to tackle, when to chase ball etc is very very poor. 

I really hadn't dissected him much in the past in detail Steve so it might be a one off and it was only the first quarter.  Not saying Pedders is all bad but that first 20 minutes of his was bog ordinary.   There was also another piece of play around the 5 or 10 minute mark on the Southern wing when he had a chance to disguise an out of bounds but fluffed it.  Then had to try and tackle the Pie player that got the resulting ball that bumbled back inside and missed that, only to watch him waltz off and deliver inside 50.

If the rest of his game was along these lines there is no way he is getting a follow up...unless the FD is a bit forgiving re concussion effect.

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4 hours ago, Dee Zephyr said:

That’s some serious dissecting @Rusty Nails.

Well done. Sitting ground level you miss a lot of what happens on the other side of the ground and I can’t bring myself to watching losing replays. Thank you.

 

Np DZ.  I was behind the goals Punt road end and considering the bulk of play in the first quarter was up the other end i needed to see more of what happened.   I hate going over losses also but must be a masochist. 20 minutes was all i could muster but much of the early damage and tone of the match was set by then i believe.

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I see a Filth supporter was up to their usual thuggery by breaking the jaw and trying to pinch the bike of one of our fans leaving the MCG. They are really the lowest form of pond life. It’s happening every week.

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How many contested marks in our Defensive 50 did O Mac, Hibberd and Jetta take between them? Would have been be lucky to have been one. Not good enough from our number 1 key defender and our 2 veterans down back.

Everyone has defended our defence due to our midfield being destroyed by the Pies. But I thought our defence was a disorganised rabble and failed our first Post Lever test miserably. If this keeps up,  Tom McDonald will be playing in defence by rd 19. 

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26 minutes ago, Bring-Back-Powell said:

How many contested marks in our Defensive 50 did O Mac, Hibberd and Jetta take between them? Would have been be lucky to have been one. Not good enough from our number 1 key defender and our 2 veterans down back.

Everyone has defended our defence due to our midfield being destroyed by the Pies. But I thought our defence was a disorganised rabble and failed our first Post Lever test miserably. If this keeps up,  Tom McDonald will be playing in defence by rd 19. 

Hibberd, Jetta, Omac had zero contested marks between them so you’re correct. But also Collingwood lowered their eyes and didn’t bomb into 50 as much as we did.

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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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    HEARTBREAK WEEKEND by KC from Casey

    The Casey Demons led the 2018 Grand Final from the beginning until the 13 minute mark of the final quarter of the VFL Grand Final at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon but were overrun in the finish by the Box Hill Hawks. The defeat was the team’s second in a season-decider in three seasons and marked yet another heartbreaking climax to a year of many highlights for the club. The Demons had opened the game in promising fashion moving the ball with great speed and converted four times to take a 25 point lead in the early going. They were ferocious with their tackling with 20 in the first term alone and by half time had shown up the effort of their senior counterparts by exceeding their total tally of tackles from the day before. Casey dominated proceedings in most facets of the game for almost all of the opening half but some crucial shots at goal from easy range. One of the few statistics where they were bested was the free kick count - one of the factors that seemed to keep the Hawks in the game. When the siren sounded to signal the start of the long break the Demons led by 23 points but an after-the-siren goal to Box Hill reduced the lead and gave the Hawks great hope leading into the final half.  The rejuvenated Hawks lifted their game after the break and they gradually clawed back at Casey’s lead, assisted by their complete dominance in the ruck where they smashed the undersized Casey ruck division through the agency of Pittonet who amassed an enormous 57 hit outs and took 7 big marks. This division has been problematic for the Demons all season and was exacerbated of late by the poor form of Mitch King who was not selected for the finals and the injury to young Lachie Filipovic. In their stead, Cam Pedersen, Tim Smith and Mykelti Lefau who were gallant in the preliminary final, simply struggled this week. And so, when it came to the final term of the biggest match of the season, Casey faltered and was unable to produce one of those stirring finishes that got it through a number of the 12 consecutive victories of earlier in the season. Some of its name players were unable to produce: there were far too many passengers and a number will no doubt be forced to look elsewhere in 2019. Bayley Fritsch was an exception. He provided plenty of run off the back line and showed great application and heart to prove the judgement of the senior Demon selection panel off key when they omitted him from the team that went to Perth.  The defensive work of Declan Keilty and Harry Petty was excellent in the first half and both have potential as key position defenders. Bernie Vince was solid and creative in his swan song game and Tom Bugg worked hard for four quarters.  The Casey listed crew were mainly underwhelming. Corey Wagner worked hard as did Jay Lockhart while Jimmy Munro tackled strongly as usual.  Unfortunately, they weren’t as effective or consistent as they have been for most of the season.  The scoreboard when the final siren sounded heralded yet another disappointment in the Demons’ Heartbreak Weekend. There’s always next year. Peter Jackson VFL 2018 Casey Demons 4.4.28 5.9.39 8.11.59 8.14.62 Box Hill Hawks 1.1.7 3.4.22 7.8.50 10.12.72 Goals   Casey Demons Bugg Kennedy-Harris Lefau Lockhart Machaya Pedersen Scott T Smith  Box Hill Hawks Moore 3 Jones Hanrahan Lovell  Moore O'Brien O'Rourke Ross  Best Casey Demons Fritsch C Wagner Petty Keilty Vince Bugg Box Hill Hawks Mirra Moore Pittonet Hanrahan Cousins O'Brien Statistics  Tomas Bugg 1 goal 15 kicks 9 handballs 24 disposals 5 marks 7 tackles 114 dream team points
    Tom Freeman 10 kicks 4 handballs 14 disposals 4 marks 4 tackles 67 dream team points
    Bayley Fritsch 1 behind 13 kicks 7 handballs 20 disposals 8 marks 1 tackle 83 dream team points
    Jeffrey Garlett 1 behind 3 kicks 2 handballs 5 disposals 2 marks 3 tackles 27 dream team points
    Mitch Gent 4 kicks 4 handballs 8 disposals 1 mark 3 tackles 36 dream team points
    Jayden Hunt 7 kicks 5 handballs 12 disposals 4 marks 3 tackles 33 dream team points
    Jack Hutchins 2 kicks 3 handballs 5 disposals 2 marks 1 tackle 22 dream team points   
    Declan Keilty 7 kicks 6 handballs 13 disposals 3 marks 5 tackles 53 dream team points
    Jay Kennedy Harris 1 goals 1 behind 13 kicks 5 handballs 18 disposals 3 marks 6 tackles 89 dream team points
    Mykelti Lefau 1 goal 4  kicks 2  handballs 6 disposals 4 marks 1 tackles 6 hit outs 32 dream team points
    Jay Lockhart 1 goals 1 behind 10 kicks 3 handballs 13 disposals 4 marks 3 tackles 61 dream team points 
    Pat McKenna 1 behind 2 kicks 1 handball 3 disposals 1 mark 1 tackle 17 dream team points
    Cory Machaya 1 goal 1 behind 5 kicks 5 handballs 10 disposals 5 marks 3 tackles 53 dream team points
    James Munro 1 behind 5 kicks 6 handballs 11 disposals 2 marks 12 tackles 78 dream team points
    Cameron Pedersen 1 goal 7 kicks 3 handballs 10 disposals 4 marks 5 tackles 12 hit outs 72 dream team points
    Harry Petty 5 kicks 7 handballs 12 disposals 5 marks 42 dream team points
    Angus Scott 1 goal 6 kicks 3 handballs 9 disposals 5 marks 4 tackles 62 dream team points
    Tim Smith 1 goals 1 behind 11 kicks 5 handballs 16 disposals 4 marks 7 tackles 6 hit outs 95 dream team points
    Cory Stockdale 2 kicks 1 handballs 3 disposals 2 tackles 10 dream team points
    Bernie Vince 3 behinds 18 kicks 1 handballs 19 disposals 4 marks 7 tackles 99 dream team points
    Corey Wagner 1 behind 15 kicks 6 handballs 21 disposals 2 marks 7 tackles 87 dream team points
    Josh Wagner 8 kicks 6 handballs 14 disposals 4 marks 3 tackles 61 dream team points
    Mitch White 9 kicks 5 handballs 14 disposals 4 marks 3 tackles 59 dream team points  

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    NO CONTEST by George on The Outer

    This was the first finals series the Melbourne Football Club has participated in a dozen years and its first Preliminary Final for 18. The club got here in 2018 because it built its reputation on contest, but in the end the game against West Coast was no contest as the Eagles ran out winners by over ten goals. The match itself was really over by quarter time, as the young Demons were simply swamped by a side that was bigger, stronger and ultimately had more intent on achieving its goal.  The game, while disappointing from an outcome perspective, should motivate the Demons in the same way that the Round 22 match against Collingwood did last year.  It was what finals football was all about and while they had performed admirably in winning their past 2 matches to progress to the Preliminary, this was when things got serious.   Melbourne was exposed in the same way that Richmond was exposed on Friday night because, to get into the Big Dance, you cannot afford to come into any game half-hearted, injured or with stop gap players. Right from the start the Demons were in trouble, with errant handballs and players slipping constantly at critical moments. While West Coast scored four goals to zip in the first quarter, three of those came directly from Melbourne turnovers. Coupled with some undisciplined acts from Jordan Lewis, the momentum that a young team relied upon to forge forward was completely and utterly deflated.   It didn’t get any better in the second quarter and by half time the Eagles held a ten goal lead, which was to be the final margin. The coach would have been fuming as he watched Melbourne revert to the old style of play of standing back and expecting others to do the work. I heard it mentioned that the Demons had only three tackles to ¼ time and a paltry 30 odd for the whole game - a poor result from a side that prides itself on contest. 
     
    Statistics lovers would think Angus Brayshaw played a good game.  But stumbles, fumbles and miskicks don’t get recorded.  The stat which did get recorded was the eight clangers. The fact that he wasn’t on the ground for a majority of the third term indicates that something was wrong with him, and his grunt and surety was missed, despite the numbers.   All around the ground, we were seeing structures which were not what had been seen in past weeks or months.  Tom McDonald was playing back, Aaron vndenBerg almost full time in the middle, Joel Smith supposedly selected as a backman spent most of the game forward.  When players are being thrown around like this, it can only mean that an attempt is being made to fill gaps.   The result is the was little in the way of forward structure, but then the ball didn’t get down there until the second half of the game, and even then there was no genuine marking target.  How we would have relished Jesse Hogan in front of goal - perhaps next year? The mids were simply destroyed, not from the clearances, but by the outside run which enabled them to deliver cleanly to their forwards in Darling, Kennedy, Cripps and LeCras.  As mentioned last week, when we have Jones and Tyson on the wing, there is no run for us, but importantly, they cannot keep up with the opposition.  Then with Alex Neal-Bullen able to just hit 50% disposal efficiency, it showed that even when we had the ball, we simply butchered it. The forwards had a shocker of a day as well.  Without T McDonald there to provide a target for good parts of the game, the likes of Melksham, Hannan and Spargo rarely had a viable touch, with all of them barely into double figure disposals. Sam Weideman reverted to being unable to hold a mark this week, and Christian Petracca kept trying to give the ball off to others when inside 30m himself. His set shots were nothing to behold again.  Plenty of work needs to be done for him in this area over summer.  The backs were overwhelmed by the amount of ball coming in, but the lack of composure was telling, especially compared with their work-rate last week.  Sadly, Oscar McDonald and Michael Hibberd failed to effect a single tackle, Sam Frost, Lewis and Christian Salem one each. Neville Jetta at least had three.  The mids weren’t much better and their numbers were mostly twos and threes. Overall there were seven players who didn’t lay a single tackle in the game. Simply not good enough in any game, let alone a Preliminary Final. Can the Demons learn from this game?  The coach has already indicated that contest is king and that is particularly the case in Finals, especially when you get to the pointy end. The fans can be proud and happy with the performance during the season, and have seen the results following years of promises and nothing to show but there has to be more. And there is much more improvement to come, simply because the majority of this group is still young. They came up against a side on its home turf which played in a Grand Final just three years ago, finished the home and away  season in second spot and were handed (and took) the initiative in the first ten minutes of the game. They deserve to be Grand Finalists again this year, but we must learn to perform to the standard required to get to the final stage, that they displayed in this game ... an in particular, to always provide a contest. I just can’t wait for the cricket and tennis to be over ...
     
    Melbourne 0.3.3 0.6.6 5.9.39 7.13.55 West Coast Eagles 4.8.32 10.9.69 15.10.100 18.13.121 Goals  Melbourne Melksham 2 Hannan Harmes Oliver  J Smith Weideman West Coast Eagles Kennedy 4 Cripps Darling LeCras 3, Hutchings Redden Rioli Ryan Venables Best  Melbourne Harmes Oliver vandenBerg Petracca J Smith Viney  West Coast Eagles Kennedy Redden Cripps Hurn McGovern Sheed LeCras Injuries  Melbourne Nil  West Coast Eagles Nil Reports Melbourne Nil  West Coast Eagles Nil Umpires Nicholls, Meredith, Chamberlain  Official crowd 59,608 at Optus Stadium

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