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Found 42 results

  1. Melbourne came close to causing an upset at both meetings last year after giving Port a start. Now's the time ... THE TEAMS PORT ADELAIDE B: Cam O'Shea, Jack Hombsch, Dom Cassisi. HB: Matthew Broadbent, Tom Jonas, Jasper Pittard C: Jared Polec, Travis Boak, Kane Cornes HF: Paul Stewart, Justin Westhoff, Matt White F: Robbie Gray, Jay Schulz, Chad Wingard FOLL: Matthew Lobbe, Ollie Wines, Brad Ebert I/C: Hamish Hartlett, Jarman Impey, Benjamin Newton, Aaron Young EMG: Thomas Logan, Sam Gray, John Butcher IN: John Butcher, Dom Cassisi, Benjamin Newton, Paul Stewart OUT: Sam Gray, Thomas Logan, Kane Mitchell (all omitted) MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, James Frawley, Lynden Dunn HB: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Jeremy Howe C: Jack Grimes, Bernie Vince, Jordie McKenzie HF: Jack Viney, Cameron Pedersen, Jack Watts F: Rohan Bail, Chris Dawes, Aidan Riley FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Dean Kent, Sam Blease, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Luke Tapscott EMG: Viv Michie, Max Gawn, Dean Terlich IN: Sam Blease, Jay Kennedy-Harris OUT: Matt Jones, Dean Terlich
  2. NO WONDERLAND IN ALICE by George on the Outer The first ever game for Premiership points in Alice Springs, a magnificent ground and day, the Demons leading the top placed side in the competition half way through the finals quarter ... yes it was all set for a true fairy-tale ending. But it was not to be. Having run Port into the ground physically, and stuck their noses in front only a few Demons knew what to do next. Unfortunately, it wasnt the ones who had the ball within their grasp, or the where with all to follow the coaches instructions to the letter. To see all the good work squandered by a few was dis-heartening to say the least. Unforced turnovers, kick-outs to no-one but the opposition, lame handballs into the air instead of directly to a team-mate, they all resulted in opposition goals in those final 10 minutes. These players were in the same situation as Alice was when faced with the same dilemma: "Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.'" Paul Roos has shown a team how to be successful. Roos has shown them which fork in the road to take, but they choose to follow their own path! Disciplined adherence to instructions saw us frustrate the opposition, and keep possession. A four goal start to Port didnt help the situation, although, once again, by doing what they have been trained to do, they eventually clawed their way back into the game. But in the end football is a very simple game. You beat your opponent and you have done your bit. If more of the team do the same you win simple! However, we still see players who think they have done enough, and go into coast mode. Watts with 15 possessions to half-time could only manage 6 in the second half. Bail was destructive at the start, and unsighted thereafter. Compare that with the 30 possessions to Dom Tyson and Nathan Jones, who were ably backed up again by Cross, Jones M and Viney. They were all going strong in the final quarter when it was needed, but doing it all alone. Roos would have been disappointed because when he coached Sydney they were renowned for not giving up final quarter leads. They killed the game, and their opponents scoring opportunities, because they followed his instructions. Most supporters would be happy to have only lost by 20 points to this side. Last year's team would have given up a 10 goal+ victory to the opposition after being behind by 4 goals. Resilience has been learnt and method has been learnt. But a loss is a loss. Worse when it is simply "another game we should have won". Finally, for those that may criticize the club for playing this game in the NT, the financial return will be far greater than anything possible at home, and it truly was a picture book profile for the game of AFL. The team and some players would be well advised to remember the line from the Queen of Hearts: "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that." Without that approach there will never be the fairytale ending ... Melbourne 2.2.14 7.4.46 10.5.65 11.9.75 Port Adelaide 5.4.34 8.4.52 10.9.69 14.11.95 Goals Melbourne Bail Frawley Pedersen Salem Tyson 2 Gawn Port Adelaide Gray Schulz Westhoff 2 Boak Brad Ebert Mitchell Neade Polec White Wines Young Best Melbourne Tyson M Jones N Jones Vince Howe Dunn McDonald Port Adelaide Broadbent Boak Cornes Wines Mitchell Hombsch Injuries Melbourne Nil Port Adelaide Wingard (concussion) Changes Melbourne Aidan Riley by Jimmy Toumpas Port Adelaide Nil Reports Melbourne Nil Port Adelaide Nil Umpires Schmitt Dalgleish Foot Crowd 5,655 at TIO Traeger Park
  3. 6, 5 ... all the way to ... 1 And don't forget the Jones rule
  4. The first ever game for Premiership points in Alice Springs, a magnificent ground and day, the Demons leading the top placed side in the competition half way through the finals quarter ... yes it was all set for a true fairy-tale ending. But it was not to be. Having run Port into the ground physically, and stuck their noses in front only a few Demons knew what to do next. Unfortunately, it wasnt the ones who had the ball within their grasp, or the where with all to follow the coaches instructions to the letter. To see all the good work squandered by a few was dis-heartening to say the least. Unforced turnovers, kick-outs to no-one but the opposition, lame handballs into the air instead of directly to a team-mate, they all resulted in opposition goals in those final 10 minutes. These players were in the same situation as Alice was when faced with the same dilemma: "Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.'" Paul Roos has shown a team how to be successful. Roos has shown them which fork in the road to take, but they choose to follow their own path! Disciplined adherence to instructions saw us frustrate the opposition, and keep possession. A four goal start to Port didnt help the situation, although, once again, by doing what they have been trained to do, they eventually clawed their way back into the game. But in the end football is a very simple game. You beat your opponent and you have done your bit. If more of the team do the same you win simple! However, we still see players who think they have done enough, and go into coast mode. Watts with 15 possessions to half-time could only manage 6 in the second half. Bail was destructive at the start, and unsighted thereafter. Compare that with the 30 possessions to Dom Tyson and Nathan Jones, who were ably backed up again by Cross, Jones M and Viney. They were all going strong in the final quarter when it was needed, but doing it all alone. Roos would have been disappointed because when he coached Sydney they were renowned for not giving up final quarter leads. They killed the game, and their opponents scoring opportunities, because they followed his instructions. Most supporters would be happy to have only lost by 20 points to this side. Last year's team would have given up a 10 goal+ victory to the opposition after being behind by 4 goals. Resilience has been learnt and method has been learnt. But a loss is a loss. Worse when it is simply "another game we should have won". Finally, for those that may criticize the club for playing this game in the NT, the financial return will be far greater than anything possible at home, and it truly was a picture book profile for the game of AFL. The team and some players would be well advised to remember the line from the Queen of Hearts: "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that." Without that approach there will never be the fairytale ending ... Melbourne 2.2.14 7.4.46 10.5.65 11.9.75 Port Adelaide 5.4.34 8.4.52 10.9.69 14.11.95 Goals Melbourne Bail Frawley Pedersen Salem Tyson 2 Gawn Port Adelaide Gray Schulz Westhoff 2 Boak Brad Ebert Mitchell Neade Polec White Wines Young Best Melbourne Tyson M Jones N Jones Vince Howe Dunn McDonald Port Adelaide Broadbent Boak Cornes Wines Mitchell Hombsch Injuries Melbourne Nil Port Adelaide Wingard (concussion) Changes Melbourne Aidan Riley by Jimmy Toumpas Port Adelaide Nil Reports Melbourne Nil Port Adelaide Nil Umpires Schmitt Dalgleish Foot Crowd 5,655 at TIO Traeger Park
  5. We can beat this mob way from the MCG and Adelaide Oval. Last time we did that was in a NAB Cup game in near desert conditions at Renmark and the boys did the job. Any reason we can't repeat that in Alice Springs?
  6. JUGGERNAUT by Whispering Jack The Port Adelaide juggernaut which has cut a swathe through some of the AFL's leading lights in recent weeks takes on a different direction this Saturday. Their last three outings at Adelaide Oval have produced wins against quality opposition in the form of Geelong, Fremantle and Hawthorn (somewhere in between there was also a routine away victory over GWS Giants), but this week the Power head into uncharted territory in the centre of the country to take on a rested Melbourne team in Alice Springs. Ken Hinkley and his men will need to remind themselves that whilst they are taking on opposition that is nowhere near the quality of those his side has beaten of late, this is not the same Melbourne that it faced and gave a spanking to when they last met on the day he officially took the reins at his club a season and a half ago. Paul Roos has installed more than just a sense of belief into this outfit and, if you look at its season to date, there seems to be a definite pattern emerging. In the first three games, there was still some hesitancy among many of the team to fall into line with the new regime and players lapsed back into some of their past habits. Lacking the best of their tall forwards and ruckmen, the team performance was only marginally better than in its past couple of seasons with the result that it sat at the foot of the table with a 0 - 3 record and, thanks to a massive capitulation at the hands of the Eagles, a percentage in the 50s. Although it was early days, many were suggesting that the club would struggle to win a game. The coach was able to see the positives of these early games and when the team beat Carlton in Round 4, they had the support of most of the football world. It was a sympathy vote for the downtrodden but most had little belief that they could sustain winning form for very long. They did make a fairly good fist of things in the next couple of rounds against the Suns and the Swans at the MCG, both definite top four contenders. The infusion of tall, strong players - first Chris Dawes as a key forward, then Mark Jamar in the ruck - saw to it that the Demons were now becoming more than just competitive for long periods of time. The second group of three matches matches to date yielded a 1 - 2 record and the team was off the bottom. The trip to Adelaide saw an inspired Melbourne produce one of its best halves of football in years in the first, topped off with a gritty, determined battle to hold on and win its first game after a dozen barren years in that city. They were unlucky to lose an arm wrestle against the Bulldogs a week later but followed it up by winning a scrap of a game against Richmond. That made it 2 - 1 in the last group of three games and for a brief period the team found itself out of the bottom four. The scalps to date include two of last year's finallists and a team that was strongly touted to be there in September after also making top four in 2012. There should be no illusions for the Demons about the road ahead or the fact that they are about to face some tough challenges in the coming month but, for the first time in years, a clash against a top-of-the-table adversary doesn't fill me with as much apprehension as it would have done in the very recent past. Nor does the memory and the pain of Round 1, 2013. And that feeling is based on more than the mere fact that the team suddenly has belief in itself ... THE GAME Melbourne v Port Adelaide on Saturday 31 May, 2014 at 1.40pm at TIO Treager Park, Alice Springs HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 11 wins Port Adelaide 15 wins At TIO Treager Park Melbourne 0 wins Port Adelaide 0 wins Past five years Melbourne 3 wins Port Adelaide 5 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Hinkley 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 1.30pm RADIO - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Melbourne to win - $8.00 Port Adelaide to win - $1.08 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Port Adelaide 19.19.133 defeated Melbourne 8.6.54 Round 1, 2013 at the MCG The Demons were hit with a sledgehammer on its home turf in the opening round. They were woeful with only a single goal after the main break, the only bright lights being the tireless work of Nathan Jones and the debut of Jack Viney. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Tom McDonald, Dean Terlich HB: Neville Jetta, Lynden Dunn, Jack Grimes C: Daniel Cross, Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince HF: Rohan Bail, James Frawley, Jack Watts F: Cameron Pedersen, Max Gawn, Jeremy Howe FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Matt Jones, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Aidan Riley, Christian Salem EMG: Jordie McKenzie, Daniel Nicholson, Jimmy Toumpas IN: James Frawley, Neville Jetta OUT: Chris Dawes (suspended), Jimmy Toumpas (omitted) PORT ADELAIDE B: J Hombsch, A Carlile, J Impey HB: M Broadbent, J Trengove, J Pittard C: J Polec, T Boak, K Cornes HF: A Moore, J Westhoff, M White F: R Gray, J Schulz, C Wingard FOLL: M Lobbe, O Wines, B Ebert I/C: K Mitchell, J Neade, P Stewart, A.Young EMG: K Amon, S Gray, B Newton IN: P Stewart, A Moore, J Neade OUT: D Cassisi, A Monfries, H Hartlett A TOWN LIKE ALICE The location of this fixture, the first match in VFL-AFL history to be played for premiership points in Alice Springs, is at the heart of the AFL's Indigenous Round. Both clubs are well represented by indigenous players and the game also recognises the MFC's initiative in entering its partnership with the Northern Territory during the time when Jimmy Stynes led the club. Without wishing to dwell too much on the lamented Liam Jurrah as he languishes in prison (and rightly so because of his guilt for a serious offence) the circumstances, the place and the recent timing of racial taunts against Adam Goodes and Neville Jetta all highlight the fact that so much more work needs to be done in relation to the issues that divide this nation's community of peoples and in particular, problems in remote Aboriginal communities like Jurrah's home of Yuendumu which is down the road (give or take a few hundred kilometres) from where this game will be played. Melbourne welcomes back James Frawley who has some big shoes to fill in the form of those that belong to Chris Dawes who symbolised the team's revival his great physical presence earlier in the season. It's a big task but Paul Roos has faith in him as the primary forward target this week. "Dawesy has been in good form and we're going to miss him, there's no question, but certainly having Frawley come back you almost get a like-for-like [replacement]. They're different types but they're going to play similar positions," Roos said on during the week. Neville Jetta replaces Jimmy Toumpas (omitted) and will be relied upon to stop one of a few important opposition goal sneaks. Port Adelaide didn't get to the top of the table without reason and, as Roos pointed out, the "strength of Port is their evenness ... they don't have too many weaknesses." He will need to be able to identify and exploit any weaknesses this team might have if the Demons can proceed on their slow march forward. Port has lost Cassisi, Monfries and Hartlett but although this will help the Melbourne cause, it remains the outsiders to win. However, I expect that it's going to be another tight affair and, in those circumstances, anything can happen.
  7. The Port Adelaide juggernaut which has cut a swathe through some of the AFL's leading lights in recent weeks takes on a different direction this Saturday. Their last three outings at Adelaide Oval have produced wins against quality opposition in the form of Geelong, Fremantle and Hawthorn (somewhere in between there was also a routine away victory over GWS Giants), but this week the Power head into uncharted territory in the centre of the country to take on a rested Melbourne team in Alice Springs. Ken Hinkley and his men will need to remind themselves that whilst they are taking on opposition that is nowhere near the quality of those his side has beaten of late, this is not the same Melbourne that it faced and gave a spanking to when they last met on the day he officially took the reins at his club a season and a half ago. Paul Roos has installed more than just a sense of belief into this outfit and, if you look at its season to date, there seems to be a definite pattern emerging. In the first three games, there was still some hesitancy among many of the team to fall into line with the new regime and players lapsed back into some of their past habits. Lacking the best of their tall forwards and ruckmen, the team performance was only marginally better than in its past couple of seasons with the result that it sat at the foot of the table with a 0 - 3 record and, thanks to a massive capitulation at the hands of the Eagles, a percentage in the 50s. Although it was early days, many were suggesting that the club would struggle to win a game. The coach was able to see the positives of these early games and when the team beat Carlton in Round 4, they had the support of most of the football world. It was a sympathy vote for the downtrodden but most had little belief that they could sustain winning form for very long. They did make a fairly good fist of things in the next couple of rounds against the Suns and the Swans at the MCG, both definite top four contenders. The infusion of tall, strong players - first Chris Dawes as a key forward, then Mark Jamar in the ruck - saw to it that the Demons were now becoming more than just competitive for long periods of time. The second group of three matches matches to date yielded a 1 - 2 record and the team was off the bottom. The trip to Adelaide saw an inspired Melbourne produce one of its best halves of football in years in the first, topped off with a gritty, determined battle to hold on and win its first game after a dozen barren years in that city. They were unlucky to lose an arm wrestle against the Bulldogs a week later but followed it up by winning a scrap of a game against Richmond. That made it 2 - 1 in the last group of three games and for a brief period the team found itself out of the bottom four. The scalps to date include two of last year's finallists and a team that was strongly touted to be there in September after also making top four in 2012. There should be no illusions for the Demons about the road ahead or the fact that they are about to face some tough challenges in the coming month but, for the first time in years, a clash against a top-of-the-table adversary doesn't fill me with as much apprehension as it would have done in the very recent past. Nor does the memory and the pain of Round 1, 2013. And that feeling is based on more than the mere fact that the team suddenly has belief in itself ... THE GAME Melbourne v Port Adelaide on Saturday 31 May, 2014 at 1.40pm at TIO Treager Park, Alice Springs HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 11 wins Port Adelaide 15 wins At TIO Treager Park Melbourne 0 wins Port Adelaide 0 wins Past five years Melbourne 3 wins Port Adelaide 5 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Hinkley 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 1.30pm RADIO - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Melbourne to win - $8.00 Port Adelaide to win - $1.08 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Port Adelaide 19.19.133 defeated Melbourne 8.6.54 Round 1, 2013 at the MCG The Demons were hit with a sledgehammer on its home turf in the opening round. They were woeful with only a single goal after the main break, the only bright lights being the tireless work of Nathan Jones and the debut of Jack Viney. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Tom McDonald, Dean Terlich HB: Neville Jetta, Lynden Dunn, Jack Grimes C: Daniel Cross, Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince HF: Rohan Bail, James Frawley, Jack Watts F: Cameron Pedersen, Max Gawn, Jeremy Howe FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Matt Jones, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Aidan Riley, Christian Salem EMG: Jordie McKenzie, Daniel Nicholson, Jimmy Toumpas IN: James Frawley, Neville Jetta OUT: Chris Dawes (suspended), Jimmy Toumpas (omitted) PORT ADELAIDE B: J Hombsch, A Carlile, J Impey HB: M Broadbent, J Trengove, J Pittard C: J Polec, T Boak, K Cornes HF: A Moore, J Westhoff, M White F: R Gray, J Schulz, C Wingard FOLL: M Lobbe, O Wines, B Ebert I/C: K Mitchell, J Neade, P Stewart, A.Young EMG: K Amon, S Gray, B Newton IN: P Stewart, A Moore, J Neade OUT: D Cassisi, A Monfries, H Hartlett A TOWN LIKE ALICE The location of this fixture, the first match in VFL-AFL history to be played for premiership points in Alice Springs, is at the heart of the AFL's Indigenous Round. Both clubs are well represented by indigenous players and the game also recognises the MFC's initiative in entering its partnership with the Northern Territory during the time when Jimmy Stynes led the club. Without wishing to dwell too much on the lamented Liam Jurrah as he languishes in prison (and rightly so because of his guilt for a serious offence) the circumstances, the place and the recent timing of racial taunts against Adam Goodes and Neville Jetta all highlight the fact that so much more work needs to be done in relation to the issues that divide this nation's community of peoples and in particular, problems in remote Aboriginal communities like Jurrah's home of Yuendumu which is down the road (give or take a few hundred kilometres) from where this game will be played. Melbourne welcomes back James Frawley who has some big shoes to fill in the form of those that belong to Chris Dawes who symbolised the team's revival his great physical presence earlier in the season. It's a big task but Paul Roos has faith in him as the primary forward target this week. "Dawesy has been in good form and we're going to miss him, there's no question, but certainly having Frawley come back you almost get a like-for-like [replacement]. They're different types but they're going to play similar positions," Roos said on during the week. Neville Jetta replaces Jimmy Toumpas (omitted) and will be relied upon to stop one of a few important opposition goal sneaks. Port Adelaide didn't get to the top of the table without reason and, as Roos pointed out, the "strength of Port is their evenness ... they don't have too many weaknesses." He will need to be able to identify and exploit any weaknesses this team might have if the Demons can proceed on their slow march forward. Port has lost Cassisi, Monfries and Hartlett but although this will help the Melbourne cause, it remains the outsiders to win. However, I expect that it's going to be another tight affair and, in those circumstances, anything can happen.
  8. MELBOURNE Backs Lynden Dunn Tom Gillies Dan Nicholson Half backs Jack Watts James Frawley Colin Garland Centreline Jack Viney Jack Grimes Jimmy Toumpas Half forwards Jeremy Howe James Sellar Colin Sylvia Forwards Shannon Byrnes Mitch Clark David Rodan Followers Mark Jamar Jordie McKenzie Nathan Jones Interchange Sam Blease Matthew Jones Cameron Pedersen Luke Tapscott Emergencies Aaron Davey Jake Spencer Dean Terlich New Shannon Byrnes (Geelong) Tom Gillies (Geelong) Matt Jones (Box Hill VFL) Cameron Pedersen (North Melbourne) David Rodan (Port Adelaide) Jimmy Toumpas (Woodville-West Torrens SANFL) Jack Viney (Casey VFL) PORT ADELAIDE Backs Tom Jonas Jackson Trengove Campbell Heath Half backs Jasper Pittard Cameron O'Shea Lewis Stevenson Centreline Matthew Broadbent Brad Ebert Kane Cornes Half forwards Justin Westhoff Paul Stewart Angus Monfries Forwards Chad Wingard Jay Schulz Jake Neade Followers Jarrad Redden Hamish Hartlett Travis Boak Interchange Matthew Lobbe Kane Mitchell Andrew Moore Oliver Wines Emergencies Jack Hombsch Daniel Stewart Aaron Young New Campbell Heath (Sydney) Kane Mitchell (Claremont WAFL) Angus Monfries (Essendon) Jake Neade (North Ballarat U18) Lewis Stevenson (West Coast) Oliver Wines (Murray U18)
  9. Demons Fans boo off team after Round 1 capitulation. A simply disgraceful team performance by the Melbourne Football club where they managed a solitary goal in a half of football, saw them rightly booed from the ground by their fans. And for all the apologists who say the team shouldnt be bagged ... that's rubbish! When a couple of first game 18 year olds show how to play a game of football, as an example, then players who had pulled on the jumper for 50 or 100 games should hang their heads in shame. Once again the supporters turned out in droves with over 20,000 paying their money and providing encouragement. For that they were treated disgracefully as they witnessed half-hearted efforts and lack of simply football smarts throughout the whole game. If it werent for the likes of Mitch Clark, Jack Grimes, Jack Viney and Nathan Jones the result would have been as one toothless Port supporter described after the match -Road Kill. How true that was! Port were prepared to run. Port were prepared to back up their team-mates and keep playing simple football. It was what we have come to know them as. It is their culture. Melbourne players in contrast played like a group of upper-class schoolboys. Avoiding the heavy contact, and hoping someone else will do the hard work, just to avoid getting the hands dirty. Simple tactics of manning up were either not followed or issued, as countless Port goals were slammed through with barely a Melbourne player in sight. Grimes tried hard to rally the troops with some genuine dash, and Blease added that which was missing for the first ¾ of the game. Clark played his heart out, but with no other assistance up forward his output was nullified. Viney will surely win the Rising Star award for this week with 22 disposals. And they were all hard fought and valuable. However, his long time friend Oliver Wines had an equally impressive debut for the Power. A sharp contrast with Col Sylvia (yet again) who simply refuses to cover his or any man, while he is all too happy to let others get the ball to him ... if he feels like it. The fans booed the team off at half-time and again at full time. They could see the sub-standard performance and the lack of effort being shunted out. Any supporter can stomach a team that is better than yours, but they certainly couldnt stomach what they saw today. Melbourne 3.1.19 7.2.44 7.3.45 8.6.54 Port Adelaide 5.3.33 11.6.72 16.13.109 19.19.133 Goals MelbourneClark Howe 2 Byrnes McKenzie Pedersen Viney Port Adelaide Schulz 4 Monfries Stewart 3 Hartlett 2 Cornes Heath Moore Pittard Westhoff Wingard Wines Best Melbourne Grimes Viney Clark N Jones M Jones Port Adelaide Hartlett Monfries Schulz Ebert Cornes Westhoff Injuries Melbourne Clark (ankle) Port Adelaide Nil Changes Melbourne Nil Port Adelaide Nil Reports Melbourne Nil Port Adelaide Nil Substitions Melbourne Sam Blease replaced Mitch Clark (final quarter) Port Adelaide Kane Mitchell replaced Angus Monfries (final quarter) Umpires Farmer Ryan Pannell Crowd 22,924 at the MCG
  10. After six often turbulent months of off season goings on, the season begins in a few hours time and it comes not a moment too soon. The results of round one have demonstrated that pre season form isn't necessarily an indicator of how teams will perform when the real stuff starts so we wait in anticipation to see what the new look Demon team will bring us ...
  11. The long hot summer of 2012-3 will not be forgotten by many of us associated with the Melbourne Football Club but, even as I begin to write, with the temperatures still hovering in the thirties, the questions about the club's future still linger. We are on the brink of a seventh season since the Demons tasted the finals or even won an opening match. The big hitters of the competition seem way ahead of where Melbourne is currently placed in terms of its perceived playing strength and nobody seriously thinks it can challenge for September action this year and perhaps even the next. Supporters can only hope that the coming of autumn finally marks the culmination of one of the worst periods in the club's history, a time in which it might not exactly have hit rock bottom in terms of ladder ranking but otherwise in so many other aspects, it failed to even remotely live up to expectations. The things that brought the club to the dark places it has occupied in recent times are well-documented and have been the subject of heated debate but, as we stand on the brink of a new season, I return to a time exactly two years ago when most Melbourne fans waited with anticipation and a measure of confidence for the opening of a new season. Back then, the club appeared to be on a steep upward curve. At the end of 2010 it had more than doubled its tally of wins to 8½ over the previous year and some pundits were predicting finals action in 2011. Coach Dean Bailey was even on record as suggesting that his then club was possibly on the brink of an era that would bring not just one but many premierships. Brisbane's Michael Voss thought the same way. The first two teams Melbourne faced in 2011 were, by coincidence, the teams that played off for last years premiership. The opening round's opponents were the Sydney Swans who had been given a spanking by Melbourne late the season inflicting some deep wounds on Paul Roos and giving him the biggest defeat of his coaching career just as it was ending. But despite our lofty expectations, the rematch some seven or eight months later was a close and hard fought encounter with the Demons coming back from well behind to take the lead late in the game only to see the Swans claw back in the final desperate moments to give their new coach two premiership points on his debut. From that point onward, the fortunes of two sides that had been so evenly matched that day diverged completely. One marched off with ticker tape and a flag by the end of 2012 while the other wallowed at the foot of the table ahead only of the newly hatched franchises. In the second round of 2011, Melbourne took on Hawthorn who wasted opportunities in the first quarter but were dominated in the second so that moments before the main break they trailed by 27 points. The Dees still enjoyed a three goal buffer when they went into the rooms at half time. It was the third quarter that defined not only this particular game but also the club's following two seasons. The loss of control was so complete that the team stood back helplessly as the relentless Hawks pounded away for the full thirty minutes of that term scoring an incredible 8 goals 11 behinds to one goal and one point. People talk of the 186 game later that season as the measuring stick of the depths to which the club had plumbed but, on reflection, this was the day upon which the writing was truly placed on the wall. I missed that game due to a prior engagement and put the result down to a case of a young developing team hitting a brick wall against a rampant opposition and because it won the next game (against the Suns) so convincingly, the significance of the Hawks' took a while to sink in. Well ... actually, it took another game because the same Melbourne was back on display in the first quarter against West Coast in Perth. It was truly a case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for most of the season until it all finally imploded. Perhaps others saw the team's disintegration in 2011 sooner than I did, but by mid-season it was clear that something was amiss and we now know that there were deep divisions that ended in carnage and turmoil both on and off the field in the year that followed. Controversy, the sacking of the coach after one of the most savage on field beatings in the history of the game, the death of a President, the dismissal of a major sponsor, criminal charges brought against a key player, fabrications and often unwarranted attacks in the media and elsewhere on key club personnel, injuries, leaked information and a 7 month long investigation that belonged to the Middle Ages. These were attended by a time in which we saw a total revamp of the football department so that we now have a bevy of new coaches, medical and fitness staff, almost half the playing group has moved on and there have been changes in body sizes and shapes, fitness, the introduction of a new training regimen and radical changes in playing style. Its fair to say that when we get back to the football on Sunday afternoon, the team that runs out onto the ground against Port Adelaide will be substantially different to that which carried our hopes into battle two years ago against the Swans and, for that matter, even twelve months ago against the Lions in last year's season opener. The question is whether the club is better off for all the changes that have been made? THE GAME Melbourne v Port Adelaide Sunday 31 March, 2013 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 1:10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 11 wins Port Adelaide 14 wins At the MCG Melbourne 7 wins Port Adelaide 1 wins Since 2000 Melbourne 8 wins Port Adelaide 12 wins MEDIA TV FOX FOOTY CHANNEL - 1:00pm LIVE Radio ABC Triple M 3AW SEN THE BETTING Melbourne to win $1.82 Port Adelaide to win $2.00 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Port Adelaide 12.12.84 defeated Melbourne 8.8.56 at TIO Stadium, Darwin, Round 17, 2012. Melbourne made a solid start on a temperate Darwin evening booting five goals in the first quarter before it was torn apart by a dominant Port Adelaide midfield led by Travis Boak who was still weighing up his future with that club. Jack Grimes played a solid but not spectacular captain's game but otherwise, it was an all too familiar scenario for the Demons as they limped their way towards the season's end. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE Backs Lynden Dunn Tom Gillies Dan Nicholson Half backs Jack Watts James Frawley Colin Garland Centreline Jack Viney Jack Grimes Jimmy Toumpas Half forwards Jeremy Howe James Sellar Colin Sylvia Forwards Shannon Byrnes Mitch Clark David Rodan Followers Mark Jamar Jordie McKenzie Nathan Jones Interchange Sam Blease Matthew Jones Cameron Pedersen Luke Tapscott Emergencies Aaron Davey Jake Spencer Dean Terlich New Shannon Byrnes (Geelong) Tom Gillies (Geelong) Matt Jones (Box Hill VFL) Cameron Pedersen (North Melbourne) David Rodan (Port Adelaide) Jimmy Toumpas (Woodville-West Torrens SANFL) Jack Viney (Casey VFL) PORT ADELAIDE Backs Tom Jonas Jackson Trengove Campbell Heath Half backs Jasper Pittard Cameron O'Shea Lewis Stevenson Centreline Matthew Broadbent Brad Ebert Kane Cornes Half forwards Justin Westhoff Paul Stewart Angus Monfries Forwards Chad Wingard Jay Schulz Jake Neade Followers Jarrad Redden Hamish Hartlett Travis Boak Interchange Matthew Lobbe Kane Mitchell Andrew Moore Oliver Wines Emergencies Jack Hombsch Daniel Stewart Aaron Young New Campbell Heath (Sydney) Kane Mitchell (Claremont WAFL) Angus Monfries (Essendon) Jake Neade (North Ballarat U18) Lewis Stevenson (West Coast) Oliver Wines (Murray U18) PREDICTION by Whispering Jack When Mark Neeld's stint as coach began 12 months ago, most Demon fans had high expectations for the season ahead and certainly, very few were prepared for the season from hell that eventuated. Six months later, it was clear that the club's reaction to a 16th place finish that was only marginally ahead of the AFL's two new expansion franchises was swift, decisive and far ranging. Over the two months that followed, a third of the playing list was turned over but the changes were expected by those who had watched the team closely during 2012 and who had listened to the words of Mark Neeld and Neil Craig. The heads that rolled were mainly those of players who simply hadn't worked hard enough or bought in to the new style they were seeking to instill into the young team. The only departure who figured high in the club's best and fairest award was Jared Rivers, in his late twenties, and facing the prospect of being squeezed out of defence by young guns Jack Watts and Tom McDonald and a resurgent Lynden Dunn. So it came as no surprise when the Melbourne selection table installed seven new faces into the team to take on Port Adelaide, thereby retaining that magic ratio of new players at one third. The minute the number of new faces was announced, the so-called "experts" looked to the heavens, rolled their eyes and declared the Demons to be dead in the water. What they ignored was the fact that the visitors had also named a large contingent of newcomers including 150 game player Angus Monfries but, in terms of experience, he's well and truly shaded by Melbourne's two new 100 gamers in Shannon Byrnes and David Rodan. The mind games have also been well and truly in play with Ken Hinkley emphasising that he was only interested in playing fit players in his team - Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley puts fitness first in round one selection, the inference being that his opponents were going into the game with underdone players. The Demons will certainly have Mitch Clark lacking in match fitness but he's playing at one end of the ground and he's been working well to a programme throughout the summer. A few others hadn't played for a couple of weeks but they bring a much stronger fitness base into the game. The Demons did leave out Chris Dawes, Tom McDonald and co-captain Jack Trengove who must have all been close to selection. The new look Melbourne side gives the game a new dimension in that, whilst it's generally considered (going on past performances) that its all-important midfield is at the bottom end of accepted AFL standards and well below those of the leading teams in the competition, we simply don't know how the infusion of so many newcomers will affect the situation. It is for this reason that we simply cannot assess how much the team will advance in 2014. The pundits tell us that Brent Moloney, who polled 19 Brownlow votes in 2011, will be a big loss but they forget how poor he was last year and that he ended the season looking decidedly uninterested even down at Casey. I'll back the keenness and enthusiasm of untried trio Matt Jones, Jimmy Toumpas and Jack Viney and the wisdom and experience of Byrnes and Rodan over what last year's midfield served up last year. And the team has Nathan Jones and Jack Grimes to lead the way, Jordie McKenzie hungry to conquer the opposition's best and some expectations from Sam Blease and Colin Sylvia to add to the mix. Unpredictable - yes and more likely to be the least predictable midfield in the competition, but definitely not hopeless as some might paint things. To my mind, the most significant aspect of selection was the decision to leave out Aaron Davey - a demonstration perhaps that the club's depth is greater and that reputations and the past no longer matter when picking teams. And while Port Adelaide might hold a slight advantage in the middle, I put Melbourne ahead with Mark Jamar in the ruck, a much stronger defence and an edge in attack. That, together with a powerful home ground advantage should be enough to get Melbourne home. Melbourne to win by 27 points ... and one more prediction ... if the above is the outcome of the team's opening round match, then not a single club official will be looking grim faced as he leaves the ground.
  12. OPPORTUNITY LOST by Mean Gene Football as a game is all about making the most out of your opportunities. When you fail to do that then its likely that you'll fail in your objective of winning and Melbourne certainly proved that in front of a meagre crowd of 6,714 at TIO Stadium for its encounter with Port Adelaide. Among those in attendance for the Top End game were some bemused looking US marines who picked an unusual venue for a spot of R 'n' R from their battles in Afghanistan. Their opponents from Al Quaeda were smarter. They gave the game a miss which was the right move because it turned into one that was well deserving of the AFL's smallest crowd of the year. A depleted Melbourne side came out of the blocks looking bound for a winning result for the second week in a row, this time against a fellow cellar dweller. And for the second week in a row, they blew their chances. Brad Green was in fine marking form in the early going as the Dees made a promising start in the mild to warm conditions. Stef Martin was handling the rucking duties in concert with Jake Spencer and when he went forward, booted an inspirational goal. The defence was working hard and forcing the Power forwards into error. They held a handy 13-point lead at quarter time but the momentum of the game turned dramatically in the second term when their scoreboard advantage was soon reeled in by a Port Adelaide that showed far more desperation for the win and for the football. Meanwhile, Melbourne continued to do what it has been doing best - hugging the boundary lines, making the wrong decisions with the football and breaking down up forward. Port Adelaide was not much better but, by going down the corridor, it was able to at least score. The result was that the Power had taken a firm grip on the game by half time even if the lead was only 9 points. With Green covered and Martin, who looked had looked dangerous when he went forward early in the proceedings now nowhere to be seen, the Demon forward line had gone missing. It was clear that they lacked the scoring power to win the game. From that point on, the Demons seemed to do most of the attacking but failed to make very much of their opportunities while their opponents managed to score goals when they went into attack. Strangely enough, it was Melbourne who finished with far more inside 50s (55 to 45) than Port yet this advantage was turned into a deficit of 16 to 24 in scoring shots and after quarter time, they converted only 3 out of 11 into goals. Of course, there was no Mitch Clark or Liam Jurrah up on the forward line or anyone else apart from Green early and a couple of goals from Jared Rivers in the last half but let's face it, the latter is a good defender playing a makeshift role up forward. The forward line selected for this match was never going to be likely to win a game like this with an ineffectual midfield providing sub standard delivery. Melbourne was not even able to gain inspiration from the hanger which Jeremy Howe took - he was one of the offenders when it came to converting opportunities to score goals. Perhaps it was the steamy conditions of tropical Darwin or the fact that there's nothing to play for (although for quite a few their futures in the game were on the line) but there weren't many four quarter performances on the night. Captain Jack Grimes was one of them , Tom McDonald was the best of the defenders and one or two others put in some effort but this was a game that could have been won had the team not failed to grasp its opportunities. Melbourne 5.0.30 5.1.31 7.5.47 8.8.56 Port Adelaide 2.5.17 5.10.40 8.10.58 12.12.84 Goals Melbourne Green Rivers 2 Blease Jones Martin Sylvia Port Adelaide P Stewart 5 Boak Broadbent Brett Ebert Lobbe D Stewart Wingard Young Best Melbourne Grimes Jones McDonald Nicholson Sylvia Macdonald Port Adelaide Boak P Stewart Cassisi Brett Ebert Pearce Cornes Injuries Melbourne Nil. Port Adelaide Pittard (ribs) Changes Melbourne Nil. Port Adelaide Nil. Reports Melbourne Nil. Port Adelaide Nil. Umpires Dalgleish Kamolins Hosking Crowd 6,714 at TIO Stadium.
  13. OPPORTUNITY LOST by Mean Gene Football as a game is all about making the most out of your opportunities. When you fail to do that then its likely that you'll fail in your objective of winning and Melbourne certainly proved that in front of a meagre crowd of 6,714 at TIO Stadium for its encounter with Port Adelaide. Among those in attendance for the Top End game were some bemused looking US marines who picked an unusual venue for a spot of R 'n' R from their battles in Afghanistan. Their opponents from Al Quaeda were smarter. They gave the game a miss which was the right move because it turned into one that was well deserving of the AFL's smallest crowd of the year. A depleted Melbourne side came out of the blocks looking bound for a winning result for the second week in a row, this time against a fellow cellar dweller. And for the second week in a row, they blew their chances. Brad Green was in fine marking form in the early going as the Dees made a promising start in the mild to warm conditions. Stef Martin was handling the rucking duties in concert with Jake Spencer and when he went forward, booted an inspirational goal. The defence was working hard and forcing the Power forwards into error. They held a handy 13-point lead at quarter time but the momentum of the game turned dramatically in the second term when their scoreboard advantage was soon reeled in by a Port Adelaide that showed far more desperation for the win and for the football. Meanwhile, Melbourne continued to do what it has been doing best - hugging the boundary lines, making the wrong decisions with the football and breaking down up forward. Port Adelaide was not much better but, by going down the corridor, it was able to at least score. The result was that the Power had taken a firm grip on the game by half time even if the lead was only 9 points. With Green covered and Martin, who looked had looked dangerous when he went forward early in the proceedings now nowhere to be seen, the Demon forward line had gone missing. It was clear that they lacked the scoring power to win the game. From that point on, the Demons seemed to do most of the attacking but failed to make very much of their opportunities while their opponents managed to score goals when they went into attack. Strangely enough, it was Melbourne who finished with far more inside 50s (55 to 45) than Port yet this advantage was turned into a deficit of 16 to 24 in scoring shots and after quarter time, they converted only 3 out of 11 into goals. Of course, there was no Mitch Clark or Liam Jurrah up on the forward line or anyone else apart from Green early and a couple of goals from Jared Rivers in the last half but let's face it, the latter is a good defender playing a makeshift role up forward. The forward line selected for this match was never going to be likely to win a game like this with an ineffectual midfield providing sub standard delivery. Melbourne was not even able to gain inspiration from the hanger which Jeremy Howe took - he was one of the offenders when it came to converting opportunities to score goals. Perhaps it was the steamy conditions of tropical Darwin or the fact that there's nothing to play for (although for quite a few their futures in the game were on the line) but there weren't many four quarter performances on the night. Captain Jack Grimes was one of them , Tom McDonald was the best of the defenders and one or two others put in some effort but this was a game that could have been won had the team not failed to grasp its opportunities. Melbourne 5.0.30 5.1.31 7.5.47 8.8.56 Port Adelaide 2.5.17 5.10.40 8.10.58 12.12.84 Goals Melbourne Green Rivers 2 Blease Jones Martin Sylvia Port Adelaide P Stewart 5 Boak Broadbent Brett Ebert Lobbe D Stewart Wingard Young Best Melbourne Grimes Jones McDonald Nicholson Sylvia Macdonald Port Adelaide Boak P Stewart Cassisi Brett Ebert Pearce Cornes Injuries Melbourne Nil. Port Adelaide Pittard (ribs) Changes Melbourne Nil. Port Adelaide Nil. Reports Melbourne Nil. Port Adelaide Nil. Umpires Dalgleish Kamolins Hosking Crowd 6,714 at TIO Stadium.
  14. I'm going to kick off Game Day early with a trip down memory lane to this exact day back 56 years ago to 21 July, 1956. I'm researching that season for a Demonland feature on the 1956 season which was a premiership year for the Melbourne Football Club. It was also the year of the Melbourne Olympics which were held after the footy season and, for me, it was the first year that I really got into football and my favourite team although I had been a fan since Christmas 1954 when I received a tie with a picture of a Melbourne footballer emblazoned on it. Anyway, that's another story. The funny thing is that this game (Round 14 1956) is one of the first I can remember listening to on the radio and it was our first loss of the season:- Melbourne vs Footscray Saturday, 21 July Venue: MCG Attendance: 47,956 Melbourne 0.5.5 3.10.22 6.1450 7.17.59 Footscray 1.4.10 4.6.30 7.8.50 10.12.72 Goalkickers: Stuart Spencer 3, Peter Cook 1, Robert B Johnson 1, Ken Melville 1, Athol Webb 1 We lost another game two weeks later but finished with 16 wins 2 losses to finish on top and we beat Collingwood in the final round, the second semi and the grand final (in addition to an earlier round). Fifty-six years later, we have the AFL, interstate clubs and Andrew Demetriou. Melbourne long ago ceased to be the dominant club and tonight we play a home game in the Northern Territory partly because we need the money such a fixture generates. We're playing Port Adelaide who used to be the Magpies in South Australia. We played them in an exhibition game in 1956 and beat them by 10 points. Will history repeat tonight?
  15. THE CURSE by Whispering Jack Exactly twelve months have passed since Melbourne travelled to the Top End where it took on Port Adelaide and delivered Dean Bailey his last win as an AFL senior coach. The team laboured hard in Darwin's heat and humidity and was always going to finish in front of the Power whose season had been horrible to that point and was only going to get worse. For Melbourne, the four premiership points for the win gave it 9th position on the ladder and a definite chance to participate in the AFL finals series for the first time since 2006. The Demons were facing a tough month but there were three relatively easy games waiting at the end of the run home and a game in hand over its rivals for a finals berth who all had equally difficult tasks ahead of them. We all know the outcome of the story of how a club imploded; the way in which it fell to pieces, the on and off field convulsions, the crisis of confidence of the players, the thrashings, the injuries, the falling away of form and the fact that in the interim, the coach left in harsh circumstances, the club's young number 1 draft hopeful walked out chasing the almighty dollar, the demise of a major sponsorship, the president sadly passed away and the team managed only three wins over the past twelve months, two of them to the new franchises. The trip north for a game at Darwin's picturesque TIO Stadium is meant to serve a number of purposes, the main one being to bolster the club's finances. It is also designed to create a link between the Melbourne Football Club and the community of the Northern Territory and in particular the indigenous community which has produced so many excellent players in recent years. In light of the aftermath of that trip north, one might be forgiven for believing that somehow and for some unknown reason on that steamy night, a curse was visited on the Demons and their indigenous heroes. Melbourne returned home to a game against Hawthorn and, with Liam Jurrah and Tom Scully missing through illness and injury, a tired team was easily overpowered and beaten. Six days on and the team was decimated by Geelong as it suffered the second largest defeat in the game's history. Another day later and the coach was gone. The club's indigenous players have all fared badly over the past twelve months. Austin Wonaeamirri was still mourning the untimely deaths of his father Matthew and his close relative Maurice Rioli and missed the Darwin game. He returned to the club and suffered a bad injury to his ankle on comeback at Casey. It effectively ended his career and he was delisted at the end of the year. Jurrah was injured late in the season, breaking a wrist in a fall after taking a trademark hanger in the team's win over Gold Coast. The surgery to repair the wrist was unsuccessful, it required more work and while in rehabilitation, he travelled home to Yuendumu. The result of that visit has been well documented and will play itself out in the NT court system. Jurrah finally returned from injury but in his comeback game against Sydney, a game lost by in excess of 100 points, he injured an ankle and has not played a game since. Aaron Davey was also recuperating from a knee injury when the team went to Darwin last year. He returned to the side some weeks later but was out of form and frustrated. He was reported for an uncharacteristic infraction against Richmond, missed the final two games and has had a torrid time with injury and form ever since. He was at the centre of the Jason Mifsud racism controversy earlier this year and many felt that the incident had touched his soul badly. Less than a fortnight ago, his season ended with the discovery of stress fractures in a foot. Neville Jetta was on the comeback trail from shoulder surgery a year ago but it was discovered that the operation had failed and the result was more surgery and a major interruption to his pre season. Then, in a practice game at Casey, he twisted an ankle badly and he has only recently started playing again in the VFL. On Saturday night, he returns to the Melbourne side for his first game since late last season. Jetta's mate Jaimie Bennell has just gone through an indifferent season drifting between Melbourne and Casey before he too succumbed to one of the game's toughest injuries last weekend and he underwent knee surgery on an ACL yesterday. Rookie Kelvin Lawrence who has struggled at Casey and last played in the Scorpions' reserves is also out at the moment with a calf injury as he fights for his future on the club's lists. I should point out that it's not only the club's indigenous players who make up Melbourne's large injury list and, of course, there's no scientific basis for believing in curses. This week, veteran broadcaster Tony Charlton joked with compere Mike Sheahan on his programme about another alleged curse which some believe afflicts the club - the Norm Smith curse. Charlton believes that talk of such curses is nothing more than sheer nonsense. There probably is a logical reason for everything bad that's happened to the Melbourne Football Club over the years since it last tasted premiership glory. The same can be said of the events of the past twelve months. The likelihood is that they are related to a number of complex matters such as those which the club and its coaches are impressing on supporters at those briefings that are happening at the moment. So there probably is no Top End curse and all of those bad things are coincidental. But just in case, I'll be scouring the television screen on Saturday night before the game hoping to catch a glimpse of somebody in the crowd making all of the appropriate gestures necessary to lift the cursed spell - because enough is enough! THE GAME Melbourne v Port Adelaide Saturday 21 July, 2012 at the TIO Stadium, Darwin, 7:40pm AEST HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 11 wins Port Adelaide 13 wins At TIO Stadium Melbourne 2 wins Port Adelaide 0 wins Since 2000 Melbourne 8 wins Port Adelaide 11 wins The Coaches Neeld 0 wins Primus 0 wins MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel (Live) at 7:30pm Radio – SEN ABC774 THE BETTING Melbourne to win $2.30 Port Adelaide to win $1.60 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Port Adelaide 17.10.112 defeated Melbourne 15.14.104 at Adelaide Oval, Round 24, 2011. This was the first ever game at the beautiful Adelaide Oval which is being redeveloped for more football and, in the AFL's endless drive for dollars, it will no doubt soon become a concrete amphitheatre rivalling Metricon and Skoda Stadiums for sheer ugliness. If you wanted proof of the curse then this game was it. Even if it was depleted by injury, Melbourne should have won the game easily but some mysterious umpiring decisions kept Port in the game all day and mysteriously in front by eight points at the end of the game. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE Backs Daniel Nicholson James Frawley Colin Garland Half backs Joel Macdonald Tom McDonald Jack Grimes Centreline Rohan Bail Colin Sylvia Sam Blease Half forwards Ricky Petterd Stefan Martin Jeremy Howe Forwards James Magner Jared Rivers Brad Green Followers Jake Spencer Jack Trengove Nathan Jones Interchange Thomas Couch Lynden Dunn Neville Jetta James Strauss Emergencies Matthew Bate Jordan Gysberts James Sellar In Lynden Dunn Neville Jetta James Magner Jake Spencer Out Matthew Bate (omitted) Jamie Bennell (knee) Jordie McKenzie (groin) Mark Jamar (calf) PORT ADELAIDE Backs Jackson Trengove Alipate Carlile Paul Stewart Half backs Tom Logan Troy Chaplin Domenic Cassisi Centreline Matthew Broadbent Travis Boak Kane Cornes Half forwards Andrew Moore Justin Westhoff Danyle Pearce Forwards John McCarthy Daniel Stewart Brett Ebert Followers Matthew Lobbe Bradley Ebert Matt Thomas Interchange Thomas Jonas Jasper Pittard Chad Wingard Aaron Young Emergencies Darren Pfeiffer Brent Renouf David Rodan In Domenic Cassisi Jasper Pittard Out Darren Pfeiffer Jarrad Redden BEATING THE CURSE I've been reading an article about how Melbourne's performance since its shock win in round 10 against the Bombers has progressively gotten worse in several key areas - Falling down. The writer in question notes that since the Demons beat Greater Western Sydney in round 13, the defence has collapsed, with Melbourne now the third easiest side to score against in the competition (surprisingly, it's also currently third last), while its average disposal differential and uncontested possession differential have both slipped drastically in the same period. To gain an understanding of the reason for the sharp decline in these statistics, Demon legend Garry Lyon was consulted. He was at a loss to come up with an explanation but opined:- ''They are having 30 minutes of footy when they don't appear to be in the contest at all. Why is that? There is no excuse for it. It's certainly something they need to sort out. ''Their skill execution has been something that has been really disappointing. The fundamental footy has been disappointing, but it hasn't been for want of trying. They were pretty competitive against Collingwood, after Collingwood kicked the first eight goals. Against Freo, they were 20 points up with five minutes to go in [the] third quarter. ''They have been competitive for periods of the game, but when they are uncompetitive they are getting monstered.'' Lyon did admit in the end that the fall away against the Dockers could have something to do with the fact that ruckman Mark Jamar hobbled from the field with an injured calf and Jamie Bennell ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament but it all remained a mystery. I suppose injury played its part. With your All Australian ruckman out of the game after five minutes and your ability to rotate in a tight game seriously impaired, it might explain why a team full of young players, a few coming back from long term injury might tire badly. That the writer also failed to examine the rest of the club's injury list and the extensive number of players from its best 22 also out missing was probably an oversight. He also carried out no analysis of the changes in those KPI statistics over a longer period, say the past twelve months. Specifically, since the Demons last made the trip up to the tropics and Darwin. This brings me to Saturday night's Top End clash against Port Adelaide which would, in a round billed as one of closely matched and exciting contests, stand out like a sore thumb if it weren't for the fact that the Dockers await the Giants in Perth for what will most likely be a right royal execution. I'm actually surprised that a journalist wasn't dispatched during the week to check out Port Adelaide's statistics for heroic acts in football of late. After all, it was well in the game against Essendon at half time last week and lost by 50 points. The week before it was crushed by Adelaide in the latest version of the Showdown. No signs of any alarm there? Right, then I might have to tip them to beat Melbourne. If there was any logic in this football caper I think I would be safe in relying on the teams' respective performances against Essendon who Melbourne beat by 5 points - a much better result than Port's capitulation. The Demons might have undergone a sharp decline in recent KPI's but I would prefer to deal in cold, hard facts and I know for a fact that the team that was selected to travel north this week is dedicated to removing the Top End curse placed on it exactly twelve months ago when they last travelled to the Territory. Ending the curse will depend primarily on who controls the midfield and in this respect, I think the Demons will surprise despite the fact that they decided to leave out Brent Moloney who polled maximum Brownlow votes on both occasions when these teams met in 2011. I look at Melbourne's rucks in Jake Spencer and Stef Martin and I am automatically filled with confidence about their capacity to overcome Matthew Lobbe and whoever else the Power are going to use in the ruck in this game (you can tell I don't know much about the opposition). Spencer killed them last week in the VFL while Martin stepped into the breach quite nicely when Jamar had to pull up stumps early against the Dockers. There's been a lot spoken and written about Travis Boak recently but quite frankly, I think he's under pressure and too distracted to perform against Nathan Jones who is one of the most improved midfield performers in the competition this year. He would surely have far more recognition if not for Melbourne's plight this year and the fact that the journos and commentators persist in going on wild goose chases searching for reasons why a young club, with a large injury list isn't travelling so well at the moment. In any event, I'm backing Jones, Colin Sylvia, Jack Trengove, Rohan Bail and first year hard nuts James Magner and Tom Couch to more than match Port Adelaide's on ball division to give their team the winning edge in this game. I'm also delighted that Neville Jetta is finally back and playing after an horrific run with injuries over the past twelve months. Although, one can't expect too much given that he had a truncated pre season and several months on the sidelines, he has shown previously that he loves this ground and can carry the responsibility that goes with being the only one of Melbourne's wonderful indigenous players left standing at the moment. I have this vision of Nev swooping on the ball, running into goal and kicking the matchwinner to put the Top End curse to rest for once and for all. I'm therefore tipping Melbourne to win by a point.
  16. THE CURSE by Whispering Jack Exactly twelve months have passed since Melbourne travelled to the Top End where it took on Port Adelaide and delivered Dean Bailey his last win as an AFL senior coach. The team laboured hard in Darwin's heat and humidity and was always going to finish in front of the Power whose season had been horrible to that point and was only going to get worse. For Melbourne, the four premiership points for the win gave it 9th position on the ladder and a definite chance to participate in the AFL finals series for the first time since 2006. The Demons were facing a tough month but there were three relatively easy games waiting at the end of the run home and a game in hand over its rivals for a finals berth who all had equally difficult tasks ahead of them. We all know the outcome of the story of how a club imploded; the way in which it fell to pieces, the on and off field convulsions, the crisis of confidence of the players, the thrashings, the injuries, the falling away of form and the fact that in the interim, the coach left in harsh circumstances, the club's young number 1 draft hopeful walked out chasing the almighty dollar, the demise of a major sponsorship, the president sadly passed away and the team managed only three wins over the past twelve months, two of them to the new franchises. The trip north for a game at Darwin's picturesque TIO Stadium is meant to serve a number of purposes, the main one being to bolster the club's finances. It is also designed to create a link between the Melbourne Football Club and the community of the Northern Territory and in particular the indigenous community which has produced so many excellent players in recent years. In light of the aftermath of that trip north, one might be forgiven for believing that somehow and for some unknown reason on that steamy night, a curse was visited on the Demons and their indigenous heroes. Melbourne returned home to a game against Hawthorn and, with Liam Jurrah and Tom Scully missing through illness and injury, a tired team was easily overpowered and beaten. Six days on and the team was decimated by Geelong as it suffered the second largest defeat in the game's history. Another day later and the coach was gone. The club's indigenous players have all fared badly over the past twelve months. Austin Wonaeamirri was still mourning the untimely deaths of his father Matthew and his close relative Maurice Rioli and missed the Darwin game. He returned to the club and suffered a bad injury to his ankle on comeback at Casey. It effectively ended his career and he was delisted at the end of the year. Jurrah was injured late in the season, breaking a wrist in a fall after taking a trademark hanger in the team's win over Gold Coast. The surgery to repair the wrist was unsuccessful, it required more work and while in rehabilitation, he travelled home to Yuendumu. The result of that visit has been well documented and will play itself out in the NT court system. Jurrah finally returned from injury but in his comeback game against Sydney, a game lost by in excess of 100 points, he injured an ankle and has not played a game since. Aaron Davey was also recuperating from a knee injury when the team went to Darwin last year. He returned to the side some weeks later but was out of form and frustrated. He was reported for an uncharacteristic infraction against Richmond, missed the final two games and has had a torrid time with injury and form ever since. He was at the centre of the Jason Mifsud racism controversy earlier this year and many felt that the incident had touched his soul badly. Less than a fortnight ago, his season ended with the discovery of stress fractures in a foot. Neville Jetta was on the comeback trail from shoulder surgery a year ago but it was discovered that the operation had failed and the result was more surgery and a major interruption to his pre season. Then, in a practice game at Casey, he twisted an ankle badly and he has only recently started playing again in the VFL. On Saturday night, he returns to the Melbourne side for his first game since late last season. Jetta's mate Jaimie Bennell has just gone through an indifferent season drifting between Melbourne and Casey before he too succumbed to one of the game's toughest injuries last weekend and he underwent knee surgery on an ACL yesterday. Rookie Kelvin Lawrence who has struggled at Casey and last played in the Scorpions' reserves is also out at the moment with a calf injury as he fights for his future on the club's lists. I should point out that it's not only the club's indigenous players who make up Melbourne's large injury list and, of course, there's no scientific basis for believing in curses. This week, veteran broadcaster Tony Charlton joked with compere Mike Sheahan on his programme about another alleged curse which some believe afflicts the club - the Norm Smith curse. Charlton believes that talk of such curses is nothing more than sheer nonsense. There probably is a logical reason for everything bad that's happened to the Melbourne Football Club over the years since it last tasted premiership glory. The same can be said of the events of the past twelve months. The likelihood is that they are related to a number of complex matters such as those which the club and its coaches are impressing on supporters at those briefings that are happening at the moment. So there probably is no Top End curse and all of those bad things are coincidental. But just in case, I'll be scouring the television screen on Saturday night before the game hoping to catch a glimpse of somebody in the crowd making all of the appropriate gestures necessary to lift the cursed spell - because enough is enough! THE GAME Melbourne v Port Adelaide Saturday 21 July, 2012 at the TIO Stadium, Darwin, 7:40pm AEST HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 11 wins Port Adelaide 13 wins At TIO Stadium Melbourne 2 wins Port Adelaide 0 wins Since 2000 Melbourne 8 wins Port Adelaide 11 wins The Coaches Neeld 0 wins Primus 0 wins MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel (Live) at 7:30pm Radio – SEN ABC774 THE BETTING Melbourne to win $2.30 Port Adelaide to win $1.60 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Port Adelaide 17.10.112 defeated Melbourne 15.14.104 at Adelaide Oval, Round 24, 2011. This was the first ever game at the beautiful Adelaide Oval which is being redeveloped for more football and, in the AFL’s endless drive for dollars, it will no doubt soon become a concrete amphitheatre rivalling Metricon and Skoda Stadiums for sheer ugliness. If you wanted proof of the curse then this game was it. Even if it was depleted by injury, Melbourne should have won the game easily but some mysterious umpiring decisions kept Port in the game all day and mysteriously in front by eight points at the end of the game. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE Backs Daniel Nicholson James Frawley Colin Garland Half backs Joel Macdonald Tom McDonald Jack Grimes Centreline Rohan Bail Colin Sylvia Sam Blease Half forwards Ricky Petterd Stefan Martin Jeremy Howe Forwards James Magner Jared Rivers Brad Green Followers Jake Spencer Jack Trengove Nathan Jones Interchange Thomas Couch Lynden Dunn Neville Jetta James Strauss Emergencies Matthew Bate Jordan Gysberts James Sellar In Lynden Dunn Neville Jetta James Magner Jake Spencer Out Matthew Bate (omitted) Jamie Bennell (knee) Jordie McKenzie (groin) Mark Jamar (calf) PORT ADELAIDE Backs Jackson Trengove Alipate Carlile Paul Stewart Half backs Tom Logan Troy Chaplin Domenic Cassisi Centreline Matthew Broadbent Travis Boak Kane Cornes Half forwards Andrew Moore Justin Westhoff Danyle Pearce Forwards John McCarthy Daniel Stewart Brett Ebert Followers Matthew Lobbe Bradley Ebert Matt Thomas Interchange Thomas Jonas Jasper Pittard Chad Wingard Aaron Young Emergencies Darren Pfeiffer Brent Renouf David Rodan In Domenic Cassisi Jasper Pittard Out Darren Pfeiffer Jarrad Redden BEATING THE CURSE I've been reading an article about how Melbourne's performance since its shock win in round 10 against the Bombers has progressively gotten worse in several key areas - Falling down. The writer in question notes that since the Demons beat Greater Western Sydney in round 13, the defence has collapsed, with Melbourne now the third easiest side to score against in the competition (surprisingly, it's also currently third last), while its average disposal differential and uncontested possession differential have both slipped drastically in the same period. To gain an understanding of the reason for the sharp decline in these statistics, Demon legend Garry Lyon was consulted. He was at a loss to come up with an explanation but opined:- ''They are having 30 minutes of footy when they don't appear to be in the contest at all. Why is that? There is no excuse for it. It's certainly something they need to sort out. ''Their skill execution has been something that has been really disappointing. The fundamental footy has been disappointing, but it hasn't been for want of trying. They were pretty competitive against Collingwood, after Collingwood kicked the first eight goals. Against Freo, they were 20 points up with five minutes to go in [the] third quarter. ''They have been competitive for periods of the game, but when they are uncompetitive they are getting monstered.'' Lyon did admit in the end that the fall away against the Dockers could have something to do with the fact that ruckman Mark Jamar hobbled from the field with an injured calf and Jamie Bennell ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament but it all remained a mystery. I suppose injury played its part. With your All Australian ruckman out of the game after five minutes and your ability to rotate in a tight game seriously impaired, it might explain why a team full of young players, a few coming back from long term injury might tire badly. That the writer also failed to examine the rest of the club's injury list and the extensive number of players from its best 22 also out missing was probably an oversight. He also carried out no analysis of the changes in those KPI statistics over a longer period, say the past twelve months. Specifically, since the Demons last made the trip up to the tropics and Darwin. This brings me to Saturday night's Top End clash against Port Adelaide which would, in a round billed as one of closely matched and exciting contests, stand out like a sore thumb if it weren't for the fact that the Dockers await the Giants in Perth for what will most likely be a right royal execution. I'm actually surprised that a journalist wasn't dispatched during the week to check out Port Adelaide's statistics for heroic acts in football of late. After all, it was well in the game against Essendon at half time last week and lost by 50 points. The week before it was crushed by Adelaide in the latest version of the Showdown. No signs of any alarm there? Right, then I might have to tip them to beat Melbourne. If there was any logic in this football caper I think I would be safe in relying on the teams' respective performances against Essendon who Melbourne beat by 5 points - a much better result than Port's capitulation. The Demons might have undergone a sharp decline in recent KPI's but I would prefer to deal in cold, hard facts and I know for a fact that the team that was selected to travel north this week is dedicated to removing the Top End curse placed on it exactly twelve months ago when they last travelled to the Territory. Ending the curse will depend primarily on who controls the midfield and in this respect, I think the Demons will surprise despite the fact that they decided to leave out Brent Moloney who polled maximum Brownlow votes on both occasions when these teams met in 2011. I look at Melbourne's rucks in Jake Spencer and Stef Martin and I am automatically filled with confidence about their capacity to overcome Matthew Lobbe and whoever else the Power are going to use in the ruck in this game (you can tell I don't know much about the opposition). Spencer killed them last week in the VFL while Martin stepped into the breach quite nicely when Jamar had to pull up stumps early against the Dockers. There's been a lot spoken and written about Travis Boak recently but quite frankly, I think he's under pressure and too distracted to perform against Nathan Jones who is one of the most improved midfield performers in the competition this year. He would surely have far more recognition if not for Melbourne's plight this year and the fact that the journos and commentators persist in going on wild goose chases searching for reasons why a young club, with a large injury list isn't travelling so well at the moment. In any event, I'm backing Jones, Colin Sylvia, Jack Trengove, Rohan Bail and first year hard nuts James Magner and Tom Couch to more than match Port Adelaide's on ball division to give their team the winning edge in this game. I'm also delighted that Neville Jetta is finally back and playing after an horrific run with injuries over the past twelve months. Although, one can't expect too much given that he had a truncated pre season and several months on the sidelines, he has shown previously that he loves this ground and can carry the responsibility that goes with being the only one of Melbourne's wonderful indigenous players left standing at the moment. I have this vision of Nev swooping on the ball, running into goal and kicking the matchwinner to put the Top End curse to rest for once and for all. I'm therefore tipping Melbourne to win by a point.
  17. What a miserable game that was? Adelaide Oval. A rabid pro-PA crowd and even more rabid pro-PA umpires who gave them the world and deprived Jeremy Howe of mark of the year. PORT ADELAIDE Backs Troy Chaplin Alipate Carlile Tom Logan Half backs Jacob Surjan Jackson Trengove Cameron O'Shea Centreline Steven Salopek Travis Boak Danyle Pearce Half forwards Brett Ebert John Butcher Robert Gray Forwards Daniel Motlop Jay Schulz Justin Westhoff Followers Matthew Lobbe Domenic Cassisi David Rodan Interchange (from) Mitchell Banner Matthew Broadbent Dean Brogan Kane Cornes Thomas Jonas Matt Thomas Aaron Young In Dean Brogan Kane Cornes Aaron Young Out New Aaron Young (Eastern Ranges) MELBOURNE Backs Tom McDonald James Frawley Sam Blease Half backs Clint Bartram Jared Rivers Colin Garland Centreline Jamie Bennell Jordie McKenzie Nathan Jones Half forwards Jack Trengove Jack Watts Brad Green Forwards Rohan Bail Stefan Martin Neville Jetta Followers Mark Jamar Cale Morton Brent Moloney Interchange Matthew Bate Jack Fitzpatrick Jeremy Howe Luke Tapscott Emergencies Joel Macdonald Tom McNamara Daniel Nicholson In Rohan Bail Matthew Bate Jack Fitzpatrick Out Liam Jurrah (wrist) Tom McNamara Tom McNamara New Jack Fitzpatrick (Western Jets)
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