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JTR

Meanwhile . . . down at Glenferrie Road . . . .

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  • Don't buy into the Melbourne hype. Well done to them and they will get pumped up all week, we'll be given no chance but we will win by at least 6 goals.
  • Geee Geelong got reamed by the cheating umpires tonight. I hate Geelong but while the umpires continue to have zero accountability they will continue to get worse and worse. With even umpiring Geeling probably win, it was that bad.
  • Geelong backed themselves to beat Melbourne head to head, and never fired a shot. As a result, all of Melbourne's lesser lights looked like superstars.
  • Main worry for me was how bad demons goalkicking was. Law of averages will have them kicking Arsey ones next week
  • Melbourne play manic but dumbarse football. If we keep our composure and structure we will smash them.
  • We trashed Melbourne's brand with the 66 point belting in round 4 so I'm welcoming to demons back to the MCG with open arms next weekend. They will be having nightmares this week about the possibility of another spanking.
  • Not sure what game some saw today. I think Melb played better game than yesterday's tigers. Anyone who thinks we will have it easy next week is kidding themselves. Melb tacking was 1st grade and the intensity they bought - if they repeat next week will end our season. To me both cats and Hawks looked slow and tired against two hungry teams.
  • Their forward line is ordinary and ours is much better than their defence. Hawks by 13.
  • I think we can't fall down to Melbourne's level, we are better but they are aggro and if we fall into their pace we could go out in straight sets. I don't think they have any edge pressure wise over us and we are definitely more skilled, just gotta keep composed which we couldn't against a much better pressure side in Richmond than Melbourne are.
  • Don’t underestimate what Melbourne just did. Their contested ball and pressure was brutal and their run and spread was impressive. Sure they gave Cats a few chances to stay in it but the margin flattered Cats. And What chance Demons convert that poorly again next week?  We need to be right on our game.
  • Dees appeared to cope with the pressure of finals footy pretty well imo. They just let themselves down a bit with kicking for goal. I thinks its even money next week.
  • Gotta say, so glad it is not Geelong next week. I am so over the nailbiters that our matches turn in to.
  • With composure we’ll take Melbourne. There pressure was nothing like Richmond’s. I’m looking forward to next week.
  • Personally think Melbourne dont defend against kicking teams well. They love a scrap, but seem to struggle against us, and always play much better v geelong. If its dry, there is absolutely no reason to not be confident. If its wet, it will be tougher.
  • Make no mistake we will need to kill Bambi. It will be Hawks vs Australia next Friday. Dees looked extremely dangerous last night and far too quick for the Cats. Dees are more dangerous and unpredictable without Hogan taking up space.
  • If the conditions are good and we play with the same intensity as we did last time against the Dees we will win this. We laid 115 tackles, 20 in the forward 50 last time we met. Compared to their 74 and 8. I also think our team looks better on paper than the team that took on the Dees in round 4 (with the exception of Strats). I'm not sure the Dees list is much better than it was back then, Hogan and Lever both played in that game.
  • Melbourne have great midfield depth no real jets on the wings, I hope to see impey, smith played in attacking positions take them on.
  • Melbourne are very dangerous if they can move the ball quickly and find a short-kick target. If last time was anything to go by, they will target Hawthorn's 'defender' without a defensive side; Sicily. Richmond did in the 2nd half and look what happened.  Melbourne become vulnerable if you clog up the passage. They will also bomb the ball into the F50 in a faahion that will bring a tear of joy to Clarkson's eye.
  • When things are going downhill for Melbourne, they are the most dominant side in the comp. But their Achilles heel is that when things are going against them, they drop their [censored] and struggle to turn it around. Case and point our game earlier in the year. Just got to make the game uncomfortable for a while to make them collapse - if not they could win by 10 goals.
  • I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
  • Didn't see much of Gawn in the second half. Was sporting a compression bandage on his calf and received treatment in rooms after the game. I'd like to see McEvoy run him ragged
  • Melbourne are the AFLs 2018 fairytale. Gil likes to have a Cinderella story each year now, and this year I think it’s the Dees. We need to be prepared for some shocking frees against us. Mark my words folks, we will get the Sydney Swans round 23 treatment...
  • Don’t mind the narrative going into this game- Melbourne; only team capable of beating Richmond, us; worst top four team in history. I want them drinking as much of their own bath water as possible. Truth is, our lead in to finals was a lot more difficult than the media would have you believe. And Melbourne are absolutely clueless when the ball enters their forward fifty.
  • Melbourne will be hot favourites - media narrative already has them winning. That is great. If there is one club that does not handle expectation well it is Melbourne. Melbourne are high on talent but we beat them comfortably earlier in the year. Their system doesn’t worry me the same way Richmond’s does.
  • Melbourne have a very solid game plan, although when the game is not played their way they don’t have a plan B. We will exploit this and give them a bath. The third will be the time to put them to the sword. 45 point win please.
  • Hate to say it but for the love of god kick to whoever Lewis is manning. The champ is on his last legs and is deadset approaching crab levels.
  • To beat Melbourne Smith, Gunston, Breust and Shiels all need to play well. Opposition teams are putting a hard tag on Smith and he's had no impact the last month. He needs to find a way to beat the tagger otherwise there's no one else who can run and carry like he does.
  • Weight of expectation will weigh heavily on Melbourne , they play a “chaotic “ brand of footy but don’t set up as well behind the ball as Richmond which will give us opportunities we didn’t get Thursday night.
  • Melbourne definitely is a better side to when we played them in round 4. In fact I felt of the four matches that were played among the 8 teams they were the best - (yes felt better than Richmond.)
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Most of that was pretty reasonable. I’m happy for them to be confident - taking them by surprise will make taking them down all the sweeter.

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Week 2 of finals both teams should be confident. 

I'm more interested in what the experts and neutral supporters think and it appears everyone is leaning toward the dees. 

Lewy will play a blinder, he is yet to knock off his old club.... what better stage to do it? 

Friday cant come quick enough, another week of work where not much will get done :(

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4 minutes ago, Nasher said:

Most of that was pretty reasonable. I’m happy for them to be confident - taking them by surprise will make taking them down all the sweeter.

They'll blame the umpires and that will be the icing.

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Just now, GCDee said:

Friday cant come quick enough, another week of work where not much will get done :(

Stay tuned to Demonland to assist you with that lack of productivity.

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Sounds just like every opinion posted on our gamestyle 'within' Demonland...

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Hawthorn's supporters have always been the most arrogant going around, even before their glory period of 2008-2015.

Hope all Dees supporters get to the game again. Repeat the dominance in size and noise level again this week. Nothing sweeter than putting the Hawks out in straight sets (except for maybe the pies going out in straight sets too).

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26 minutes ago, Demon Disciple said:

Hawthorn's supporters have always been the most arrogant going around, even before their glory period of 2008-2015.

Hope all Dees supporters get to the game again. Repeat the dominance in size and noise level again this week. Nothing sweeter than putting the Hawks out in straight sets (except for maybe the pies going out in straight sets too).

Absolutely.

But I'm not counting any chickens just yet.

If we bring the same level of intensity and phyicality that we have for the past month or so, I recon we should roll them, but who knows.  How about that bloke talking up how Lewis is spent - he was one of our best players Vs Geelong I thought.  I get that he is venerable one on one in space, but I think that both he and the side are pretty focused on him not ending up in that position too regularly and if it happens once or twice a game, so be it.

So many of them are making their comparisons based on the game we played against them earlier in the year, which is fair enough (I'd probably do the same thing in their position), but that was pretty much our worst game of the year.  We learnt alot of things out of that game that I hope for the life of me arn't repeated next time around.   They should also remember that we blew them apart in the first quarter and if they think about it, that should worry them.  No Viney or T Mac last time around either.

 I would love to blow the Hawks away in the last quarter after a hard fort game like we did in 2015 - that would be great.  It would probably have us well and truly labeled as the side to beat outside of Richmond, but I think we would just have to embrace that and get on with things.  After all the tags which have been thrown at us over the years, you would hope the side has got use to the fugazi!

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Going to be a cracking game..

Clarkson is no noob, but Hardwick's game bested him.

Some reasoned and some not so much views from Glenferrie. The same will be said of us surely.

I reckon we'll outlast them in a dire contest.

We actually seem to be getting better, more resilient and hardened.

I respect the abilities of Hawthorn. They should return the same.

A nice time to avenge 87 and 88 ;)

We're coming off 3 wins against top 8 teams...they have had some good ..some bad..some so-so results of late.

Again...a cracking game awaits

 

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13 minutes ago, beelzebub said:

Going to be a cracking game..

Clarkson is no noob, but Hardwick's game bested him.

Some reasoned and some not so much views from Glenferrie. The same will be said of us surely.

I reckon we'll outlast them in a dire contest.

We actually seem to be getting better, more resilient and hardened.

I respect the abilities of Hawthorn. They should return the same.

A nice time to avenge 87 and 88 ;)

We're coming off 3 wins against top 8 teams...they have had some good ..some bad..some so-so results of late.

Again...a cracking game awaits

 

We cannot kick 1 goal 13 plus one out of bounds and three chips that fall short into the goal square over two quarters and expect not to get absolutely belted by the Hawks next week. We must get our forward act together. I have been banging on a bit this year but we just have to nail those set shots from 35m and get some, let’s say 50% accuracy on our snap shots for goal. Is that too much to ask? 

Every other part of our game plan is working and says we should get 60 plus inside 50 entries which should guarantee a win. Competitive pressure and Conversion is the key this week. 

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Mostly the same posters regurgitating the same [censored] over and over again, with the occasional random post trying to compensate for Hawthorn's own inadequacies by constantly bringing up round 4.

One even went as far as to suggest a midfield with Burgoyne was intimidating for us...after we just spanked Dangerwoodlett.

The occasional Hawks nuffie pipes in with a rational interpretation of the game...but not before jerking over their own forward line.

We are "manic", "downhill", and "erratic". Hawthorn is composed, refined and experienced.

The game won't be won or lost in the area of experience. This will be a changing of the guard. Either Hawthorn's young players stand up (deer in headlights against the Tigers), or we will smash them.

Expecting a similarly low scoring match that could go either way. The lack of respect and blatant disregard for the opponent is rather astonishing on that Hawthorn board. Their arrogance may well have peaked. At least Geelong supporters acknowledged what we could do. Hawthorn fans are like, "Yeah they're okay, but..." 

I hope we [censored] bury them.

Edited by praha
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47 minutes ago, beelzebub said:

Going to be a cracking game..

Clarkson is no noob, but Hardwick's game bested him.

Some reasoned and some not so much views from Glenferrie. The same will be said of us surely.

I reckon we'll outlast them in a dire contest.

We actually seem to be getting better, more resilient and hardened.

I respect the abilities of Hawthorn. They should return the same.

A nice time to avenge 87 and 88 ;)

We're coming off 3 wins against top 8 teams...they have had some good ..some bad..some so-so results of late.

Again...a cracking game awaits

 

I hear most of what you are saying Bub, but it will take much more than winning Friday's final to properly avenge 87, 88 and most of the last decade.

...but it would be a good start.

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There's a brave Demon soul trying to educate them on the BF board but you'd have more luck smashing your head against a brick wall.  I suppose their confidence is well earned after years of success but I just can't imagine feeling that confident every week.  They keep saying how if it wasn't wet on the weekend they would have rolled the Tigers, but clearly if it wasn't wet they would have lost by 70+.  Some amazingly over-confident Hawks supporters getting around.

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14 hours ago, JTR said:

Their forward line is ordinary and ours is much better than their defence. Hawks by 13.

Obviously never heard of Nev Jetta

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14 hours ago, Nasher said:

Most of that was pretty reasonable. I’m happy for them to be confident - taking them by surprise will make taking them down all the sweeter.

Good comment.  Compared to the garbage/bias you read on other club sites this is reasonably balanced without the emotion either. Some comments actually reflect demonland comments during the season.

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I swear to god some footy fans are retarded. People keep saying the holy trinity is the best midfield? yeah in 2013 maybe. Look at the numbers and hell just watch Brayshaw, Oliver, Harmes, Gawn all go to work.

They bring up Smith's been tagged for a while and not looked good. Hopefully if it's true that we do the same. We've got a habit of being suprised and beaten by the obvious

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They finished top 4 so have every right to feel confident and be favourites, but we’re very far from the team they faced the first time around. 

I feel like a dry day favours us as we just don’t seem to play wet weather footy well and Al Clarkson has drilled them very well, despite being completely outplayed by Richmond he is still a masterful tactitioner and he looked downright [censored] off at the press conference. 

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There is a post claiming McEvoy is every bit as influential as Gawn and that Harmes and Petracca B-Grade spuds.

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Meh, no real difference between here and there really. Some decent insight mixed in with some of the biggest nuffies who ever nuffed.

Each game for mine is a learning experience and whether we can stay ahead of the curve. Finals throw up all kinds of challenges and it's a case of whether we adjust quicker than them.

Clarko is the best coach of the modern era and will adjust. We play a very similar style to Richmond (albeit without their experience and ability to take advantage of half chances) and he has surely had a chance to look over the tape from Thursday.

Goody needs to look at the Sydney game to see where we are vulnerable. If we go into Friday trying to play showtime football on every passage, they will eat us alive. Hawthorn have always been a brilliant field kicking team and they will try to pick the eyes out of our one to one defending. 

Lewy is bloody key here. Knowing when to go and when to hold up is paramount. 

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16 hours ago, JTR said:

When things are going downhill for Melbourne, they are the most dominant side in the comp. But their Achilles heel is that when things are going against them, they drop their [censored] and struggle to turn it around. Case and point our game earlier in the year. Just got to make the game uncomfortable for a while to make them collapse - if not they could win by 10 goals.

This^

If Chris Scott was half the coach Clarkson is, then this would’ve been the 1st half Geel plan last week.

Dees v Hawks will be the game of the finals.

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Jetta onto Burgoyne.......no infringements when they are kicking for goal in last quarter.......Razer my favourite umpire hopefully.

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1 minute ago, willmoy said:

Jetta onto Burgoyne.......no infringements when they are kicking for goal in last quarter.......Razer my favourite umpire hopefully.

Oh s*&% i wonder who the umpires are going to be for Friday night?

 

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2 minutes ago, deebug said:

Oh s*&% i wonder who the umpires are going to be for Friday night?

 

If it's Nichols you might as well admit defeat.

Hopefully since he umpired the Saturday game, he won't get the Friday as it is a shorter turnaround including the travel.

Fingers crossed we get the same 3 from last Friday. It was a very well umpired game. Free kicks even and fair. 

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1 minute ago, Jaded said:

If it's Nichols you might as well admit defeat.

Hopefully since he umpired the Saturday game, he won't get the Friday as it is a shorter turnaround including the travel.

Fingers crossed we get the same 3 from last Friday. It was a very well umpired game. Free kicks even and fair. 

Can that happen, having the same umpires as last week? 

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1 hour ago, BigFez said:

There is a post claiming McEvoy is every bit as influential as Gawn and that Harmes and Petracca B-Grade spuds.

Harmes is rapidly approaching "A" grade status. His second half of the year has been a big factor in our improvement.

Trac, however,is not better than a "B" grader, and its up to him to change that. Not a spud, but certainly not a champ.

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    IMAGINE by Whispering Jack

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

    It was an eerie feeling, like floating on air high above the events taking place on the ground below. This was the New Draft, a two day festival of little importance to Melbourne supporters on the first night and seemingly, of little consequence on the following day. It was as if we were the bystanders of the 2018 AFL National Draft. From the time the Demons traded away their first round selection in this year’s event as part of the deal to secure Jake Lever more than 12 months ago, it was always likely to turn out this way. A little over a month ago, the club held picks 36, 46, 54, 62 and 65 which, once transposed into a world of potential priority picks and father-son and academy bidders, meant that its first choice would be pushing close to a pick near number fifty. It was akin to leaving you standing three city blocks away from Marvel Stadium and well outside the Jack Lukosious zone in draft night calculations. Even when the trades improved things somewhat marginally to a starting point of 23 and 28 (eventually 27 and 33), it meant you had just moved from William Street to King Street but the entrance to the venue was still on the distant horizon. It was probably just as well that we were that far away because opening night was excruciatingly painful, producing a clumsy and almost unwatchable production compared with the American counterparts in the NFL and NBA which it shamelessly sought to emulate. Gillon McLachlan produced a fitting highlight when he pounced onto centre stage only to discover he had nothing to announce despite the sounding of all the bells and whistles but for us - nothing. Not even the prospect of a live trade managed to keep us in the game.  When the show was over, Sam Walsh, the precocious Croweaters, the King brothers (we drafted the wrong big Max King a few years ago) and a bevy of others were gone. The Swans pulled a swifty trade to get a great deal for their next academy sensation and the Blues did nicely to steal the 2018 Morrish Medallist from the Tigers. Those who were previously uninformed of the new format were left baffled and confused that the Demons weren’t selecting on the night. By the rising of the sun on day two, we were virtually on the promenade at Marvel Stadium, hoping for a little action now that we were a matter of a few picks away from pole position. The AFL had sneakily changed the starting time from 10.00am to noon but even then we were hardly bashing down the doors to get in despite the dreary conditions outside. But when the draft restarted, we somehow remained the bystanders. The months (and for some, the years) of following potential draftees, the national championships, junior competitions, TAC Cup finals, draft combines, phantom drafts, power rankings, teams of the year and the late speculation all flashed past our eyes to produce ... on the face of it ... not a great deal. On top of that, there were no bolters, no All-Australian sliders who somehow mysteriously drifted into our laps, nor even any players finding their way to us from a list of so-called hidden gems” that was floating about. In the end, Melbourne took an inside midfielder in South Australian Tom Sparrow with pick 27 after making an unsuccessful bid for the Bulldog’s father-son prospect Rhylee West. Then came a real bolter in Oakleigh Charger James Jordon at 33, another South Australian, Aaron Nitschke, at 53 and a mature aged defender in Collingwood VFL’s Marty Hore with 56. If there was any icing on the cake, it came when the club was not required to bid for Next Generation Academy dasher Toby Bedford who was taken late at pick 75. The return to type came with the selection of Kade Chandler in the rookie draft. I should make it clear that this is not a criticism of the selection decisions but rather I’m pointing to the low profiles of those picked. As with any draft decision made, the proof of their value is never determined on the night but well down the track, often years into the future. The apparent left-of-centre approach to the draft may well pay dividends in the future for a club with a young team on the ascent  - the players selected are not shrinking violets. They are all aggressive ball-winners known for their relentless attack on the football. In that respect, none of them are bystanders.

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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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