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Match Preview and Team Selection - Semi Final

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THE VISIT by Whispering Jack

Melbourne and Hawthorn have faced each other intermittently on the VFL/AFL finals stage since the latter entered the competition in 1925. In their formative years, the Hawks were the eternal battlers and it took them more than three decades to make the finals. When they finally did make it, they were visitors in the Demons’ golden era, a period during which they won six flags in a decade from 1955 to 1964.

Hawthorn literally came out of the cold when it won its first final in 1957 against Carlton on a freezing day that brought hail to the MCG but a fortnight later, it suffered its first finals defeat ever at the hands of Melbourne in the Preliminary Final. Four years later, the Hawks turned the tables in the Second Semi Final on the way to their first premiership in 1961. They also prevailed in the 1963 Preliminary Final before going down to the Cats in the big dance. A year later, the Demons knocked the Hawks out of the finals race thanks to a miraculous late goal from “Hassa” Mann in the penultimate round before going on to win their twelfth and last premiership. 

Still, Hawthorn’s visit into Melbourne’s parade had produced its first premiership triumph and a 2:1 record in finals against the club:-

• 1957 Preliminary Final Melbourne 22.12.144 defeated Hawthorn 11.10.76

• 1961 Second Semi Final Hawthorn 12.8.80 defeated Melbourne 11.7.73

• 1963 Preliminary Final Hawthorn 11.11.77 defeated Melbourne 10.8.68

The ensuing period saw the clubs gradually change places in the premiership pecking order. In the 70s and 80s, the Hawks were ascendant and the Demons lamentable. When they did recover to return to finals status, it was they who were to be the visitors in Hawthorn’s triumphant years. The teams met three times again in finals for one Melbourne win but the Demons could not sustain a run of form sufficient to gain the ultimate reward, either then or in the years that followed. The finals record in that period between the clubs:-

• 1987 Preliminary Final Hawthorn 11.14.80 defeated Melbourne 10.18.78

• 1988 Grand Final Hawthorn 22.20.152 defeated Melbourne 6.20.56

• 1990 Elimination Final Melbourne 10.13.73 defeated Hawthorn 8.16.64

Their fortunes ebbed and flowed but it was the Hawks that were soon back in the finals, picking up three premierships in the past decade while the Demons again languished. 

On Friday night, Melbourne will pay another visit to the finals stage when it meets Hawthorn at the MCG in a Semi Final. The fans are asking the question whether the time has come for the Demons to take up the ascendency and to usher in a new golden era for the club.

THE GAME

Hawthorn v Melbourne at the MCG Friday 14 September 2018 at 7.50pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Melbourne 75 wins Hawthorn 87 wins

At MCG Melbourne 36 wins Hawthorn 46 wins 

Last 5 meetings Melbourne 1 win Hawthorn 4 wins 

The Coaches Goodwin 0 win s Clarkson 2 wins 

MEDIA

TV - Channel 7 live at 7:30pm Fox Footy Channel live at 7:30pm

RADIO -  Triple M 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Hawthorn 18.7.115 defeated Melbourne 6.12.48 in Round 4, 2018 at the MCG

It was the worst day of the home and away season for the Demons on a wet MCG. They started well enough and led by 19 points deep in the first term and were still in the game at half time before falling in a heap after the main break. The Hawks were in superlative form and their shots at goal rarely missed while the home side broke down time after time when it went into attack before capitulation in the end. Despite the 67 point flogging, Melbourne made only one less forward 50 entry than did Hawthorn.

THE TEAMS  
 
HAWTHORN 

B: Taylor Duryea, James Frawley, Blake Hardwick 
HB: Jarman Impey, James Sicily, Ryan Burton 
😄 Isaac Smith, Tom Mitchell, Liam Shiels 
HF: Shaun Burgoyne, Jarryd Roughead, Jack Gunston 
F: Luke Breust, Conor Nash, Paul Puopolo 
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Daniel Howe, James Worpel 
I/C: Ricky Henderson, David Mirra, Harry Morrison, Ryan Schoenmakers 
Emg: Kaiden Brand, Jonathon Ceglar, James Cousins, Brendan Whitecross  

In: Taylor Duryea, David Mirra, Ryan Schoenmakers 

Out: Jonathon Ceglar (omitted), Ben Stratton (hamstring) Jaeger O'Meara (knee)

MELBOURNE

B: Neville Jetta, Oscar McDonald, Jordan Lewis
HB: Christian Salem, Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd
😄 Dom Tyson, Jack Viney, James Harmes
HF: Jake Melksham, Tom McDonald, Angus Brayshaw
F: Sam Weideman, Aaron vandenBerg, Alex Neal-Bullen
Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver
I/C: Bayley Fritsch, Mitch Hannan, Christian Petracca, Charlie Spargo
Emg: Jay Kennedy Harris, Jayden Hunt, Joel Smith, Tim Smith

No change

Over the past two years there has been a sea change of major proportions in the standing of the clubs sitting on top of the AFL tree with the dominant teams of the past decade in Hawthorn, Sydney and Geelong making way to some new faces in the race for premiership honours.

The Western Bulldogs led the way in 2016 and, although they stumbled after their premiership victory, their place was taken by Richmond which pushed the boundaries of pressure-cooker football to the limit in last year’s finals. 

The first week of this year’s final series saw the continuing adjustment in positioning of the game’s leading teams. The Cats and the Swans crashed badly and the Hawks who had already tasted a year out of the finals race, started well enough against the reigning premiers but they were finally worn down by relentless pressure. 

Hawthorn now face up to a Melbourne combination that was similarly aggressive in their taming of Geelong in their first finals appearance in 12 years. While it would be foolish to simply suggest on the evidence of this one week that the Demons are on the cusp of a new era of supremacy over the Hawks, there is a strong case to be made that the histories of the two clubs are about to intersect again on Friday night. 

That case is based on a number of the key indicators of the game that suggest the young Demons are on track to follow in the path of the Tigers not only this week, but in the medium term as well.

The major indicator of a team’s strength in the modern game is its midfield and in this regard Melbourne has been to the fore this year. The club boasts the highest-ranked ruckman in Max Gawn and its midfield players are number one in centre clearances. That combination is potent and deadly because when they are at the top of their game the result is a winning brand of high scoring football. This was diminished to an extent last week because of their inaccuracy in front of goal in the second and third quarters but it’s unlikely that this will be repeated twice in a row.

Gawn was expected to face a two pronged Hawthorn ruck combination of McEvoy/Ceglar but the latter was dropped this week. In his absence, McEvoy has an unenviable task in stopping the Demons’ All-Australian big man.

The Hawks have a very handy mid in Tom Mitchell but will sorely miss Jaeger O’Meara against a mainly youthful Melbourne midfield that is multifaceted and deep in quality. Led by Nathan Jones and Jack Viney, the freakish young talent of Clayton Oliver, Angus Brayshaw and the up and coming sensation James Harmes with Dom Tyson and Alex Neal-Bullen in support, it’s hard to see a team that is placed 13th in clearances to overcome this combination.

That is not to say that the Hawks will be easy pickings. They have plenty of talent but the Demons have more and they have the momentum and confidence as they go into the game with an unchanged lineup.

Melbourne by 18 points

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Feeling confident that we will open a can of whoop-ass this Friday.

Boys will still be seething from round 4 and obliterate the Hawks.

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I can't explain how excited I am about this.  I don't think I've felt as good about our footy team as I do now.  Even in 2000 - that was a great ride, but it was against the odds and we were never going to beat the unstoppable Bummers in that year.  This year, we've navigated just about every hurdle we needed to (can't beat top 8 sides being the biggest), we're in form at the right time, we play a style of footy that is built for finals, and we're every bit as good as any of the teams we're going to come up against.  

It's the polar opposite of how I felt in the run of games prior to the West Coast game, where the leadup to every game felt like a complete grind. Just waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the team to clear that final hurdle to prove they are as capable as we all hoped. Finally they got there with the West Coast win.

The game's obviously not won yet though and by Friday afternoon I won't even be able to pretend to work anymore and I'll be on the brink of a good spew - standard fare for all of us this week I suppose.  I'll be bitterly disappointed if we can't get it done, but we also have to understand that by this stage of the comp, every team will be as determined as we are, and there can only be one winner in every game. I believe we will anyway, we are good enough.

Go Melbourne.

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Just welcomed a new Demon member to the world at just the right time that I can get to the game this Friday!!! Was due last Friday, arrived this morning, our 3rd child (2 girls, now a boy).

Im taking this as an omen 😁😁😁

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Is that our closest W/L ratio against old clubs? Some of the others I've seen are so lopsided against us.

 

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26 minutes ago, —coach— said:

Just welcomed a new Demon member to the world at just the right time that I can get to the game this Friday!!! Was due last Friday, arrived this morning, our 3rd child (2 girls, now a boy).

Im taking this as an omen 😁😁😁

Well done mate.

Your third child so you don’t even have to ask for permission I figure. 

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27 minutes ago, —coach— said:

Just welcomed a new Demon member to the world at just the right time that I can get to the game this Friday!!! Was due last Friday, arrived this morning, our 3rd child (2 girls, now a boy).

Im taking this as an omen 😁😁😁

Congrats! Our 2nd is due very soon and wife's parents away so I can't get down to SF just in case. So cheer for me!

Have a ball! Hope mum and #3 are well!

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6 minutes ago, McQueen said:

Well done mate.

Your third child so you don’t even have to ask for permission I figure. 

Cheers 🍻 

Exactly, just told her I WILL be going, she understands, she follows the dogs so had had her time!

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7 minutes ago, -Ⓥ- said:

Congrats! Our 2nd is due very soon and wife's parents away so I can't get down to SF just in case. So cheer for me!

Have a ball! Hope mum and #3 are well!

Thanks funny looking symbol!

Mum and bubs very well, happy and healthy! Only just got to the hospital in time, born 5mins after arrival!

best of luck with your second, look forward to our kids playing for the Demons together in 20years time in our 23rd premiership!

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39 minutes ago, —coach— said:

Just welcomed a new Demon member to the world at just the right time that I can get to the game this Friday!!! Was due last Friday, arrived this morning, our 3rd child (2 girls, now a boy).

Im taking this as an omen 😁😁😁

Congrats coach. Have you popped the number 11 guernsey on him yet?

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13 minutes ago, —coach— said:

Thanks funny looking symbol!

Mum and bubs very well, happy and healthy! Only just got to the hospital in time, born 5mins after arrival!

best of luck with your second, look forward to our kids playing for the Demons together in 20years time in our 23rd premiership!

I have plans to be standard greenside at Augusta as #1 lifts his 2nd trophy.

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Age Real Footy Podcast

Caro: Dees by 25

Bartel: Dees a goal

Niall: Dees but not high confidence

Gleeson: Dees

 

Niall: Clarkson must choose a small/fast side and just out run the Dees.

 

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58 minutes ago, McQueen said:

Feeling confident that we will open a can of whoop-ass this Friday.

Boys will still be seething from round 4 and obliterate the Hawks.

Agreed, McQ. Need some pretty serious teamwork, mobility, muscle and intent to beat the buggers, though. Trac needs to really perform in this match using muscle, brain and both hands to see ball, get ball, use ball and kick 4 goals when we might need them. Fritsch must play forward, as a utility, as well. 

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27 minutes ago, Dee Zephyr said:

Congrats coach. Have you popped the number 11 guernsey on him yet?

😁 He has his official guernsey presentation with the club next week, Gawny was more than happy to hand it over 👍

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5 minutes ago, —coach— said:

😁 He has his official guernsey presentation with the club next week, Gawny was more than happy to hand it over 👍

How does that work/how did you set that up?

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1 hour ago, —coach— said:

Just welcomed a new Demon member to the world at just the right time that I can get to the game this Friday!!! Was due last Friday, arrived this morning, our 3rd child (2 girls, now a boy).

Im taking this as an omen 😁😁😁

Always good news to announce the next generation. 

Make em demons by showing the passion for the dees. Success at the right time will help.

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31 minutes ago, Deemania since 56 said:

Agreed, McQ. Need some pretty serious teamwork, mobility, muscle and intent to beat the buggers, though. Trac needs to really perform in this match using muscle, brain and both hands to see ball, get ball, use ball and kick 4 goals when we might need them. Fritsch must play forward, as a utility, as well. 

I think it’ll be pretty straight forward and a duplicate style to the Geelong win. We just need to convert.

Fritta stays back when Hannan is in the side. The precise kicking of Lewis (not all the time), Salem and Fritsch switching play from half back is fast becoming a feature of our game. I don’t think the hawks can cope this just like many sides couldn’t with theirs in years gone by. 

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There was a Hawks fan who phoned Gary Lyon and Tim Watson on SEN this morning. He said he thought that Melbourne and their fans were getting ahead of themselves. His justification was that some of the fans had already booked flights to Perth and that the Hawks would not play as badly as they did against Richmond, playing Melbourne. He also implied that the Hawks have our measure. Anybody else hear it and have an opinion? Gary deflected it. 

Edited by Thehardtackler

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Every single news article is about us.  Hawks flying under the radar.  They didn't finish top 4 without reason.  I'm nervous about this build up.  The gloating Hawks supporters will be unbearable if we lose this.

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1 hour ago, —coach— said:

Just welcomed a new Demon member to the world at just the right time that I can get to the game this Friday!!! Was due last Friday, arrived this morning, our 3rd child (2 girls, now a boy).

Im taking this as an omen 😁😁😁

Congrats mate! My wife and I are expecting our first child (daughter) right after the grand final - I'm also taking this as an omen. I'm slightly concerned that if we are to make it to the grand final my anxiety alone will probably put my wife in labor, let alone how I'd be on the day. I'd hate to have the watch the game in the delivery room on an iPad! 

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3 hours ago, McQueen said:

I think it’ll be pretty straight forward and a duplicate style to the Geelong win. We just need to convert.

Fritta stays back when Hannan is in the side. The precise kicking of Lewis (not all the time), Salem and Fritsch switching play from half back is fast becoming a feature of our game. I don’t think the hawks can cope this just like many sides couldn’t with theirs in years gone by. 

Good comments, thanks

 

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3 hours ago, BigFez said:

Every single news article is about us.  Hawks flying under the radar.  They didn't finish top 4 without reason.  I'm nervous about this build up.  The gloating Hawks supporters will be unbearable if we lose this.

Had a big startle this morning, almost fatal, actually. The Adelaide 'Advertiser' had four large-column articles in the sports page about the Dees, and a whole back page photo of Harmes looking temptingly ready for the Hawks. This newspaper normally does not bother itself with any news - let alone headlines - on the Dees, hence the surprise.

Edited by Deemania since 56

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".........A year later, the Demons knocked the Hawks out of the finals race thanks to a miraculous late goal from “Hassa” Mann in the penultimate round before going on to win their twelfth and last most recent premiership. "

You make it sound like we will never win one again. :-)

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I can’t describe the depth of my loathing for the Hawthorn football club.  Growing as a kid through the 80’s and early 90’s (born in 78) it seemed like half of my mates barracked for the Hawks and bar a period of maybe 5 years, they have absolutely owned us.  

Since the 1987 prelim. I have detested them.

 Countless beltings of the team and 31 years of their arrogant supporters giving it to us.

I want nothing more than to knock them off this weekend.  

I want a changing of the guard moment.  

I want them hurt.

I want them to fear the Melbourne Football Club. 

 

 

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