Jump to content

  • Latest Podcast: JLT 02 Brisbane

Sign in to follow this  

ON THE ROAD AGAIN by Whispering Jack

Recommended Posts

The highway to Geelong has long been a well travelled road for Victorians, used for a variety of purposes ranging from trade, commerce and industry, education, leisure and entertainment. One could include sport as part of the last category but, for fans of the Melbourne Football Club, trips down that road have rarely reached any definition of the word "entertainment". Rather, they have often been equated with horror stories ending in long, silent and forlorn wintertime trips back to the city and home.

Those days are over now with the Demons on the cusp of their first finals appearance in a dozen seasons. That's not to say the flakey up and down Cats will be easy meat on their home turf this week at GMHBA Stadium but they are now better rounded, more experienced and are traveling the road to Sleepy Hollow on a mission.

Melbourne has been bruised many times at this venue in the past. Even as its teams were on the improve and coming out of their dark times, they would sometimes get ahead of themselves and falter. When they last ventured down that highway, in Round 23, 2016, they were massacred by 111 points only weeks after beating the then reigning premiers Hawthorn. 

The Demons are therefore well aware as they journey on the road again that they will definitely  have to leave at home the accolades and adulation they have been receiving as a result of that blistering third quarter against the Western Bulldogs with its highlights reel  on constant rotation of big Max slapping the ball down to his young midfielders toying with Doggie on ballers and spearing the ball forward at will. Such moments are rare in football.

They have fallen for the hype on one or two occasions already this year but this time they know they have to focus on Geelong, its strong midfield and defence, the narrow ground and on overcoming the advantage a feral home crowd gives to the Cats and to be able to play their game on their terms.

I'm confident Melbourne can do this. The players are demonstrating a strong belief in each other and trust in themselves. These are elements that make a team capable of taking on the big challenges ahead of them, the first of which they face on Saturday night at the end of the highway.

Geelong v Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday 21 March 2018 at 7.25pm
Overall Geelong 129 wins Melbourne 84 wins 2 draws

At  GMHBA Stadium Geelong 38 wins Melbourne 18 wins 1 draw

The last five meetings Geelong 4 wins Melbourne 1 win

The Coaches Scott 2 wins Goodwin 0 wins
TV - Channel 7 live at 7:00pm Fox Footy Channel live at 7:20pm

RADIO -  Triple M 3AW ABC ABC Grandstand
LAST TIME THEY MET Geelong 14.13.97 defeated Melbourne 13.16.94 at the MCG in Round 1, 2018

The game will best be remembered for that missed shot at goal by Max Gawn in its last minute but the Demons lost it in the last ten minutes of the second quarter when they let four goals slip past to give the Cats a stranglehold on the game.


B: Tom Stewart, Jake Kolodjashnij, Zach Tuohy 
HB: Cameron Guthrie, Lachie Henderson, Jack Henry 
😄 Mark Blicavs, Joel Selwood, Scott Selwood 
HF: Sam Menegola, Gary Ablett, Brandan Parfitt 
F: Quinton Narkle, Tom Hawkins, Daniel Menzel 
Foll: Rhys Stanley, Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan 
I/C: Jed Bews, Jordan Cunico, Jamaine Jones, Tim Kelly 
Emg: Ryan Abbott, Jordan Murdoch, Sam Simpson, Jackson Thurlow 

In: Jordan Cunico, Lachie Henderson

Out: Wylie Buzza (omitted), Sam Simpson (omitted)


B: James Harmes, Sam Frost, Neville Jetta 
HB: Christian Salem, Oscar McDonald, Jordan Lewis 
😄 Dom Tyson, Clayton Oliver, Nathan Jones 
HF: Jake Melksham, Jesse Hogan, Bayley Fritsch 
F: Jeff Garlett, Tom McDonald, Charlie Spargo 
Foll: Max Gawn, Angus Brayshaw, Bernie Vince 
I/C: Jay Kennedy Harris, Alex Neal-Bullen, Christian Petracca, Joel Smith 
Emg: Oskar Baker Cameron Pedersen Josh Wagner Sam Weideman

In: Joel Smith, Dom Tyson 

Out: Mitch Hannan (jarred knee), Michael Hibberd (quad) 

There’s been a lot written and spoken about the inconsistency of the Cats in recent times but the reality is that they have recorded just one victory since their last game at GMHBA Stadium when they beat North there in Round 12. That one win was against the Swans in Sydney and might appear to have been impressive but given the question marks about that club, one wonders. Geelong has dropped games in the past couple of months to clubs out of the top eight in Essendon, the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide and it wasn’t all that long ago (Round 10) that a late surge saved them them from football’s ultimate humiliation in 2018 - a home defeat at the hands of a woefully inaccurate Carlton.

By comparison, it could be said that the Demons seem to have shed their three game mid season slump after recording consecutive wins in impressive style against albeit weaker opponents (noting that two of the losses during that “slump” were by less than two goals in games that were controversial for some of the umpiring decisions that went against them). All that said, the questions confronting Melbourne are whether it is capable of claiming a big “scalp” and whether its recent uptick in injuries will hurt the club in the tough lead up to the finals.

In assessing this game, the midfield battles will - as they always are these days - be crucial. The Demons have the competition’s outstanding ruckman and a young emerging midfield while the Cats have those seasoned campaigners in their engine room. Clearly, the winner in that contest is the one most likely to take the spoils.

And then there is also the battle between Melbourne’s attack which averages 105 points per game and is ranked first in the competition and the Cats’ defence which has conceded just 56 points on average from five matches at GMHBA Stadium although that figure includes games against the Blues, the Saints and GWS when the Giants were decimated by injury. 

For this game, much will depend on the key forwards. If one of Jesse Hogan, Tom McDonald or Tom Hawkins have a big night out, that could be decisive.

I think the Demon ship has been steadier and this, plus the team’s greater depth will get it home in the end for a narrow win on the road.

Melbourne by 8 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

    THE WALKING WOUNDED by Paddy Gosch

    Forget the fact that Melbourne narrowly missed out on getting the four JLT points on offer for a second consecutive week and the blow to the ego of a supposed top four contender losing ... well almost at home ... to a team that has recently dwelt in the AFL cellar and won a mere five games in 2018. The things that emerged from the horror final JLT outing was that the Demons are a long way from being prepared to take on the rigours of a long tough season in which they have one of the hardest fixt

    Demonland |
    Match Reports


    The Demons have named a star studded line up in it’s final practice match before the season proper. They take on the emerging Brisbane Lions out at Casey which is the second of three matches at the ground on Saturday. Many of the Dees best 22 have been recalled including Vice Captains Max Gawn and Neville Jetta whilst Captains Nathan Jones and Jack Viney will play restricted minutes in the VFL curtain raiser. Former Gold Coast co-captain Steven May will play his first official game for Melb

    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    HIT OUT by Paddy Gosch

    As far as preseason hit outs go, the Demons’ first JLT Community Series fixture against the Tigers in the blistering heat at Shepparton, was instructive of a number of things but not really conclusive as to how each team will fare in the regular season against the competition's big guns (which includes against each other). That’s the way these practice match hit outs go. Neither of the teams was at full strength, particularly Melbourne but if you were looking for the reason for the 12 point

    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    HOT OUT OF THE CITY by Paddy Gosch

    The Dees travel out of the city for game one of two JLT Community Series practice matches before the season proper. Our first match takes us to the floodplains of the Goldburn River in Northern Victoria to the city of Shepparton. We take on the Tigers for the first of at least 3 encounters with the 2017 Premiers this year. The game will be played in scorching temperatures so expect plenty of rotations, ice vests, fans running overtime and extra water carriers. The Demons are coming off a wi

    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    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

    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

    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 M

    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

    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

    Demonland |
    Special Features

  • Create New...