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Found 28 results

  1. HOW FAR SOUTH? by George on the Outer It was appropriate that Melbourne was playing its last game of season 2019 in Hobart. After all, how much further south could the team go? And much as it has done in many of the previous 22 games, the side managed to extract a loss from a winning position by simply giving the ball back to the opposition time and time again. In fact, they gave it back to the opposition to the tune of 53 points from turnovers while, by way of contrast North Melbourne contributed only 17 points to their opposition in this manner. We can argue about the cattle the Demons has left after the squad was ravaged by injury but the fact remains that when the team includes the likes of Jay Kennedy Harris, Alex Neal-Bulleen, Charlie Spargo, Billy Stretch and Corey Wagner then it’s not really destined to win against any opposition, not even one that managed a total score of 14 points just a fortnight ago. The start of the game was the real form setter for the remainder, with Kennedy Harris giving away consecutive possessions to the opposition. It didn’t hurt at that point of the game, but the pattern continued with Melbourne unable to develop any true momentum as each time it managed to get its nose in front, someone would simply give it back, particularly late in the quarter. Max Gawn showed the way in the ruck, and gave Toss Goldstein a bath both in the ruck and around the ground, even topping the Melbourne score chart with three goals for the match. To amass 41 hitouts against probably the third best ruckman in the competition is a fantastic effort. Around him, there was plenty of help. Clayton Oliver was really boring in at every opportunity with 33 touches and eight tackles. Angus Brayshaw, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney with 8, 7 and 5 tackles respectively all showed their signs of intent, but then it dropped off in spectacular fashion with one each to Jayden Hunt, Jake Melksham, Neal-Bullen and Wagner. When players who are meant to be applying pressure and none is forthcoming, we see the ball ricochet from one end of the ground to the other to little or no positive effect for the team. Fortunately, Jake Lever and Sam Frost were at the other end to repel multiple North attacks, particularly Frost who did a demolition job on Ben Brown, after he kicked 10 last week, and will just miss out on winning the Coleman Medal. Up forward, Bayley Fritsch again showed plenty, with three goals and three contested marks, so providing the Demons with their only real target in front of goal. The final quarter epitomised the Demons year as the kicked 1 goal 7 behinds to 3.1 in a tight encounter. They led by up to nine points, yet simple shots for goal were missed, there were stupid turnovers and some silly decision making that conceded yet another game. People speak about the need for leadership in these situations, but it is not the leaders doing the damage when they don’t have the ball in their hands. This was a game that saw the final chapter in the career of Jordan Lewis. He has provided that desperately needed leadership and more importantly example of how an AFL player should play. Tough, hard and relentless with the ability to deliver under pressure when needed. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see him in his prime at the Demons. After finishing in 17th spot with a miserable five wins, can the Demons head further south? Fortunately, the Suns are in a worse situation even though their list is full of early draft pick talent. We all know about the injuries, which is why the side has more than its share of sub-standard players but if we continue to gift the opposition nearly 10 goals in a game in the coming year, then further south is not only possible, it is virtually assured! If we cannot replace the composure of Jordan Lewis, then we will see opportunities thrown away again and again in the future. The club, coach and players now sit on a knife edge. We have seen 5 coaches sacked in 2019 in this brutal competition, none from the bottom two sides. Any semblance of a southerly direction on-field early next year, will see the same at Melbourne. Melbourne 4.2.26 5.4.34 11.4.70 12.11.83 North Melbourne 3.4.22 5.4.34 10.9.69 13.10.88 Goals Melbourne Fritsch Gawn 3 Melksham 2 Hunt Jones Neal-Bullen C Wagner North Melbourne Brown Garner Higgins Polec Ziebell 2 Larkey, Williams, Wood Best Melbourne Gawn Oliver Harmes Lewis Viney Frost North Melbourne Higgins Polec Ziebell Pittard Williams Dumont Injuries Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Macmillan (head) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Deboy, Gavine, Mollison Official crowd 8,202 at Blundstone Arena
  2. Here we are - playing in the southernmost state capital in the nation. It’s going to be very cold there as hell freezes over. Go Dees!
  3. Early 2018 - almost a lifetime away in the history of this team ... THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Jake Lever, Oscar McDonald, Josh Wagner HB: Bernie Vince, Michael Hibberd, Neville Jetta 😄 Jordan Lewis, Nathan Jones, Christian Salem HF: Jake Melksham, Sam Frost, Alex Neal-Bullen F: Christian Petracca, Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett Foll: Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Dom Tyson I/C: Tom Bugg, Bayley Fritsch, James Harmes, Dean Kent Emg: Mitch Hannan, Jayden Hunt, Corey Maynard, Cam Pedersen In: Sam Frost, Dean Kent Out: Jayden Hunt, Cam Pedersen NORTH MELBOURNE B: Marley Williams, Scott Thompson, Ryan Clarke HB: Jamie Macmillan, Robbie Tarrant, Ed Vickers-Willis 😄 Ben Jacobs, Jy Simpkin, Billy Hartung HF: Shaun Atley, Jarrad Waite, Kayne Turner F: Jack Ziebell, Ben Brown, Luke McDonald, Foll: Todd Goldstein, Shaun Higgins, Ben Cunnington I/C: Jed Anderson, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Trent Dumont, Nathan Hrovat Emg: Majak Daw, Mitchell Hibberd, Mason Wood, Cameron Zurhaar No change
  4. JALAPEÑO, LETTUCE AND TOAST by Tassie Tom After a long drought, the Melbourne Football Club finally emerged triumphant in a full length match against North Melbourne at the Kingston Twins Ovals, Tasmania in the JLT season opener in what must be considered a good omen for the season to come. But then it might not, because as we know JLT games being glorified practice matches made for television audiences, don’t mean much. What we also don’t know is what JLT stands for so I’ve improvised with my title. Even if jalapeño, lettuce and toast is not quite right, we do know that “toast” is what the Demons made of the Roos in this game after a withering third quarter (that’s the premiership quarter folks, but I’m not supposed to be getting ahead of myself, am I?). It was good to beat them after such a long losing streak going back to 2006 and even better in the knowledge that it was the second time in 8 days if you count the AFLX nonsense. The Demons were out of the blocks early and dominated the contest in the opening term with their swift movement of the ball and attacking play. They soon established a two to three goal buffer which could have been greater but for the fact that they were caught on the rebound a couple of times with costly turnovers that led to some over-the-back goals. North actually fought back into the game late in the first half but a timely goal from big improver, James Harmes, restored an 11 point lead at half time. After that it was a procession with the team combining with a dominant midfield and strong defence to give its diverse group of forwards plenty of opportunities to skip away to a big win. The party started in the ruck where Max Gawn gave his on ballers first use of the ball with emerging midfielder Alex Neal-Bullen busy from the get go. Given their rout at the hands of the Tigers in the other JLT game of the day, the Bombers must be ruing the fact that they let Michael Hibberd and Jake Melksham off the hook. The former was already back in All Australian form across half-back while the latter has stepped up this year and set up a number of goals and kicked one himself. The forwards ran riot with a dozen players kicking goals including newcomer and opportunist Bayley Fritsch who must really like playing against North because he has now kicked three goals against them twice. Jesse Hogan matched that number and looked good either up forward or on the ball. The Demons’ other newcomer, former Crow Jake Lever, had a good start in the red and blue and will be an asset for his new club. He combined well with Hibberd and emerging defensive tall Oscar McDonald. Otherwise, the Demons are developing good depth and have the ability to mix players from the midfield to the forward line with good effect. Still, it’s early days ... the main thing was that, apart from what was hopefully some minor tightness in Jordan Lewis’ calf, the team emerged from JLT1 unscathed. The other omen from the game was from the crowd number - 1,957. Melbourne won a flag in 1957 which was in the middle of its golden era of the past and hopefully a similar period of success awaits. On the other hand, the low number cannot be seen as a portent of anything positive for Tasmanian football which has been under the hammer lately. Melbourne’s next JLT game will be against St Kilda under lights at Casey Fields on Thursday March 8. Melbourne 6.3.39 8.3.51 15.8.97 19.10.124 North Melbourne 3.1.19 6.4.40 7.4.46 11.5.71 Goals Melbourne Fritsch Hogan 3 Bugg Harmes Neal-Bullen 2 Gawn Hannan T McDonald Maynard Melksham Petracca Vince North Melbourne Brown Hartung Waite 2 Cunnington Larkey Turner Ziebell Zurhaar Best Melbourne Melksham Neal-Bullen Hibberd Harmes Petracca Salem Fritsch North Melbourne Hartung Cunnington Williams Vickers-Willis Ziebell Injuries Melbourne Lewis (calf) North Melbourne Nil Reports Nil Umpires Donlan, Meredith, Foote, Fisher Official crowd 1,957 at Kingston Twins Ovals, Tasmania
  5. After a long drought, the Melbourne Football Club finally emerged triumphant in a full length match against North Melbourne at the Kingston Twins Ovals, Tasmania in the JLT season opener in what must be considered a good omen for the season to come. But then it might not, because as we know JLT games being glorified practice matches made for television audiences, don’t mean much. What we also don’t know is what JLT stands for so I’ve improvised with my title. Even if jalapeño, lettuce and toast is not quite right, we do know that “toast” is what the Demons made of the Roos in this game after a withering third quarter (that’s the premiership quarter folks, but I’m not supposed to be getting ahead of myself, am I?). It was good to beat them after such a long losing streak going back to 2006 and even better in the knowledge that it was the second time in 8 days if you count the AFLX nonsense. The Demons were out of the blocks early and dominated the contest in the opening term with their swift movement of the ball and attacking play. They soon established a two to three goal buffer which could have been greater but for the fact that they were caught on the rebound a couple of times with costly turnovers that led to some over-the-back goals. North actually fought back into the game late in the first half but a timely goal from big improver, James Harmes, restored an 11 point lead at half time. After that it was a procession with the team combining with a dominant midfield and strong defence to give its diverse group of forwards plenty of opportunities to skip away to a big win. The party started in the ruck where Max Gawn gave his on ballers first use of the ball with emerging midfielder Alex Neal-Bullen busy from the get go. Given their rout at the hands of the Tigers in the other JLT game of the day, the Bombers must be ruing the fact that they let Michael Hibberd and Jake Melksham off the hook. The former was already back in All Australian form across half-back while the latter has stepped up this year and set up a number of goals and kicked one himself. The forwards ran riot with a dozen players kicking goals including newcomer and opportunist Bayley Fritsch who must really like playing against North because he has now kicked three goals against them twice. Jesse Hogan matched that number and looked good either up forward or on the ball. The Demons’ other newcomer, former Crow Jake Lever, had a good start in the red and blue and will be an asset for his new club. He combined well with Hibberd and emerging defensive tall Oscar McDonald. Otherwise, the Demons are developing good depth and have the ability to mix players from the midfield to the forward line with good effect. Still, it’s early days ... the main thing was that, apart from what was hopefully some minor tightness in Jordan Lewis’ calf, the team emerged from JLT1 unscathed. The other omen from the game was from the crowd number - 1,957. Melbourne won a flag in 1957 which was in the middle of its golden era of the past and hopefully a similar period of success awaits. On the other hand, the low number cannot be seen as a portent of anything positive for Tasmanian football which has been under the hammer lately. Melbourne’s next JLT game will be against St Kilda under lights at Casey Fields on Thursday March 8. Melbourne 6.3.39 8.3.51 15.8.97 19.10.124 North Melbourne 3.1.19 6.4.40 7.4.46 11.5.71 Goals Melbourne Fritsch Hogan 3 Bugg Harmes Neal-Bullen 2 Gawn Hannan T McDonald Maynard Melksham Petracca Vince North Melbourne Brown Hartung Waite 2 Cunnington Larkey Turner Ziebell Zurhaar Best Melbourne Melksham Neal-Bullen Hibberd Harmes Petracca Salem Fritsch North Melbourne Hartung Cunnington Williams Vickers-Willis Ziebell Injuries Melbourne Lewis (calf) North Melbourne Nil Reports Nil Umpires Donlan, Meredith, Foote, Fisher Official crowd 1,957 at Kingston Twins Ovals, Tasmania
  6. NORTHERN EXPOSURE by Whispering Jack If the late Jack Dyer were to describe the North Melbourne of 2017 he would no doubt call it "a good ordinary side". The Kangaroos started the season by losing the first five games on the trot before striking a purple patch during which they won four out of five (including a 10 goal thrashing of the Crows at Blundstone Arena and a hard fought 14 point victory over the Demons at the MCG). They then went on a downhill slide with a losing streak that now stands at seven games and sees them sitting equal last on the ladder, ahead only on percentage over the Brisbane Lions. A very ordinary record indeed, although Captain Blood would have seen some good in it because the Roos have lost five of their games by less than a goal. They are now embarking on what can been seen as a rebuilding process, dropping or resting some of their stars and bringing in youth. The cynics among us might call this "tanking". Melbourne, on the other hand, has been better than ordinary even if somewhat inconsistent so far this season. Part of the reason for the inconsistency has been put down to injuries and suspensions which have at times cut huge holes in the makeup of the team but, as we saw last week against Port Adelaide, when the A team is on the park it can compete with any other in the AFL. Which brings us to the Demons' own losing streak of 16 straight games against the Kangaroos that stretches all of the way back to 2006 when a young Nathan Jones was just finding his way in the game. North has been good over most of that time and I would suggest that those wins were not really due to some magical advantage over Melbourne. Hoodoos and losing streaks only reflect this club's woeful standing over the past decade - it lost more often than not because it had inferior teams. As we've seen over the course of this season, that is no longer the case. Melbourne is on course for September action while North Melbourne is heading in the opposite direction. The Kangaroos won their first ten matches last year including an early one where they eventually fell in against Melbourne at Blundstone Arena. They barely hung on to make the finals from which they made a quick exit. In 2017 they have been exposed like the emperor and his non-existent new clothes. Their cupboard is bare and I expect the Demons will also expose the so-called North Melbourne "hoodoo" this week in the same vein as the Hans Christian Anderson fable taught us that sometimes the things people believe in are nothing more than a myth. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Saturday 29 July, 2017 at Blundstone Arena at 1.45pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall North Melbourne 80 wins, Melbourne 83 wins 1 draw At Blundstone Arena North Melbourne 1 win, Melbourne 0 wins Last five times North Melbourne 5 wins, Melbourne 0 wins The Coaches Scott 1 win, Goodwin 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel live at 1.45pm RADIO - TBA THE BETTING North Melbourne to win $2.85, Melbourne to win $1.43 THE LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 15.14.104 defeated Melbourne 13.12.90 at the MCG in Round 9 2017 The Demons started slowly and were 26 points down at the first break before closing to within two points at half time. North controlled the third term but Melbourne's again fought back to narrow the margin to two points midway through the last quarter before North kicked away. Todd Goldstein set up the win dominating the rucks with 61 hit outs. THE TEAMS NORTH MELBOURNE B: Sam Durdin, Robbie Tarrant, Daniel Nielson HB: Aaron Mullett, Scott D. Thompson, Luke McDonald C: Shaun Atley, Sam Gibson, Ryan Clarke HF: Nathan Hrovat, Jarrad Waite, Majak Daw F: Shaun Higgins, Ben Brown, Taylor Garner FOLL: Braydon Preuss, Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington I/C: Trent Dumont, Declan Mountford, Jy Simpkin, Andrew Swallow EMG: Jed Anderson, Josh Williams, Cameron Zurhaar IN: Braydon Preuss, Robbie Tarrant, Jack Ziebell OUT: Nick Larkey (knee), Josh Williams (omitted), Cameron Zurhaar (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Christian Salem, Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd C: Jack Trengove, Jordan Lewis, Clayton Oliver HF: Christian Petracca, Jesse Hogan, Alex Neal-Bullen F: Jeff Garlett, Tom McDonald, Jack Watts FOLL: Max Gawn, Jack Viney, Mitch Hannan I/C: James Harmes, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Jake Melksham, Dom Tyson EMG: Corey Maynard, Cameron Pedersen, Josh Wagner There's a certain amount of irony surrounding inferences of tanking raised about Melbourne's opponent for this week's clash in Hobart. No sooner had the Roos made their decision to drop former All Australian ruckman Todd Goldstein and rest skipper Jack Ziebell for last week's Essendon clash, than some segments of the media started raising eyebrows and when Robbie Tarrant was a late withdrawal, that was sufficient evidence for the commentariat that a conspiracy was on foot with the aim of securing soon to be out of contract GWS midfielder Josh Kelly. That sort of thinking is all too common in AFL circles and while it fills newspaper space and time on radio and television, it doesn't reflect reality. It dismisses the fact that North made a good fist of things and in fact led the Bombers until deep into the third quarter before the young side ran out of steam late in the game and it denies the club the right to blood young players late in a season when all hopes of playing finals have gone. The Kangaroos have dominated the Demons for over a decade and they will be jealously guarding their record, particularly in front of the people of Hobart who they dearly want to bring into their fold. For this game, they have brought back Ziebell and Tarrant along with ruckman Braydon Preuss who many at North consider a better ruckman than Goldstein. Three youngsters go out of the side and the changes automatically give the "home" side a much better look. With the weather likely to be a factor (showers are predicted), anyone who really thinks that North are tanking has another thing coming - this week looms as a real danger game. Melbourne did fade last week after its opening blitz saw it go to a 44 point lead late in the second quarter and with four players returning from injury, this might be understandable The Roos will be coming into the game with the mindset that they can beat the Demons having prevailed earlier in the year on the MCG when despite losing the disposal count, clearances and contested possessions, they managed to prevail. However, back then they had Goldstein winning in the ruck and key forwards Ben Brown and Mason Wood booting eight goals between them. On Saturday, Goldstein and Wood will not be on the field and the cynics might also add that North is unlikely to be the beneficiary of a free kick count like the 22-10 that gave them the advantage of almost an extra player. Earlier this season they had a big victory over Adelaide when the windy conditions played havoc with the game at Blundstone Arena but they have also lost this year at the venue where they once reigned supreme with eight consecutive victories from 2013-16. The end of another winning run is now on the cards against the Demons who have been strong in the clearances and contested-possession rankings all season and, with so much at stake, I expect their long running series of losses to become yet another part of history for the club on Saturday night. Melbourne by 25 points.
  7. BLOWN UP by George on the Outer It wasn’t just the wind that blew up in Hobart, it was also the Demons' chance to snatch a top four position, even if only temporarily, but potentially to put themselves in the challenge for the double chance come season end. Now they fall back into the pack, and are dependent upon the results of others to ensure they play finals football in September. Blowing it was the real story of the game. Playing against a side that had only won four games and without their first choice ruckman there should have been no question of the result. And with a strong wind favouring one end of the ground, the Demons sure were able to keep North to a respectable distance in the quarters when the Kangaroos had the advantage. Only 2 goals behind at quarter time and a solitary kick leading into the final quarter. However, U10’s football teaches players to kick long with the wind, not try anything too fancy and play direct. While a modicum of that was seen in the 2nd term, it simply didn’t happen when it mattered in the final quarter. Too much handball and dinky kicks or trying to hit up a man didn’t work and yet Melbourne continued with this disastrous style of play. Twice in the final quarter long kicks were used and both times they resulted in goals. This was also a game for absolutely and completely appalling performances by some individuals. Dom Tyson opened with five of his first six disposals going directly to the opposition. There's not much point in getting 30 touches if you can only hit the target 60% of the time. He almost topped the clangers list again this week, finishing just behind Jordan Lewis who managed seven of his own. Unfortunately, with Lewis playing in the backline these errors resulted in multiple goals, to the opposition. The difference between winning and losing. They weren’t alone. Max Gawn played like a first year ruckman and kept hitting the ball the wrong direction or directly to North mids. He has never rucked so poorly, and the result was North had an excess of clearances, despite the ruck taps going Melbourne's way. Thank goodness for Clayton Oliver who racked up 26 contested possessions and 12 clearances, to keep the damage to a minimum and provide opportunities for others. Jack Trengove probably put a line through his name for next year as he was exposed horribly for lack of pace on numerous occasions. Jack Watts has reverted to his form of 3 years ago with a mere 6 kicks for the game, while the majority of players could barely get to mid-teens for number of touches for the match. The defenders were, in contrast, fantastic. While Ben Brown finished with for goals, there was little that could be done to stop someone so big and with a prodigious mark. But Sam Frost and Oscar Mac both had 7 spoils each to limit the extent of his influence. They were ably assisted by the ever reliable Neville Jetta with 17 touches, 7 marks, 5 contested possessions and 100% disposal efficiency. Michael Hibberd with 27 touches and 9 marks made for a strong defensive team, but they were let down time and time again as others failed to mark their man or read the play with the wind to let North in with ridiculously easy marking opportunities in the forward 50. In the lead up to this game it was right to wonder how the Demons could fit Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince into the side for next week's vital clash against the Giants. After this effort, there are plenty of players who will be in for consideration to take the exit path. A broken collar bone to Hogan means yet another hole to be filled up forward, as well. Too often we have seen the chance to really stamp some authority on the competition. This was another of those chances blown. We can only hope the whole season doesn’t become a blow-up as it did in the last games of 2016. NORTH MELBOURNE 4.4 6.4 9.8 11.10 (76) MELBOURNE 2.0 8.5 8.8 10.12 (72) Goals Melbourne Garlett 3 T McDonald Melksham 2 Hogan Hunt Oliver North Melbourne Brown 4 Simpkin 2 Higgins McDonald Swallow Thompson Waite Best Melbourne Oliver Jetta, O McDonald T McDonald Garlett North Melbourne Brown Higgins McDonald Swallow Ziebell Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Hogan (collarbone) North Melbourne Waite (calf) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Fisher, Harris, Pannell Attendance 13,939 at Blundstone Arena
  8. It wasn’t just the wind that blew up in Hobart, it was also the Demons' chance to snatch a top four position, even if only temporarily, but potentially to put themselves in the challenge for the double chance come season end. Now they fall back into the pack, and are dependent upon the results of others to ensure they play finals football in September. Blowing it was the real story of the game. Playing against a side that had only won four games and without their first choice ruckman there should have been no question of the result. And with a strong wind favouring one end of the ground, the Demons sure were able to keep North to a respectable distance in the quarters when the Kangaroos had the advantage. Only 2 goals behind at quarter time and a solitary kick leading into the final quarter. However, U10’s football teaches players to kick long with the wind, not try anything too fancy and play direct. While a modicum of that was seen in the 2nd term, it simply didn’t happen when it mattered in the final quarter. Too much handball and dinky kicks or trying to hit up a man didn’t work and yet Melbourne continued with this disastrous style of play. Twice in the final quarter long kicks were used and both times they resulted in goals. This was also a game for absolutely and completely appalling performances by some individuals. Dom Tyson opened with five of his first six disposals going directly to the opposition. There's not much point in getting 30 touches if you can only hit the target 60% of the time. He almost topped the clangers list again this week, finishing just behind Jordan Lewis who managed seven of his own. Unfortunately, with Lewis playing in the backline these errors resulted in multiple goals, to the opposition. The difference between winning and losing. They weren’t alone. Max Gawn played like a first year ruckman and kept hitting the ball the wrong direction or directly to North mids. He has never rucked so poorly, and the result was North had an excess of clearances, despite the ruck taps going Melbourne's way. Thank goodness for Clayton Oliver who racked up 26 contested possessions and 12 clearances, to keep the damage to a minimum and provide opportunities for others. Jack Trengove probably put a line through his name for next year as he was exposed horribly for lack of pace on numerous occasions. Jack Watts has reverted to his form of 3 years ago with a mere 6 kicks for the game, while the majority of players could barely get to mid-teens for number of touches for the match. The defenders were, in contrast, fantastic. While Ben Brown finished with for goals, there was little that could be done to stop someone so big and with a prodigious mark. But Sam Frost and Oscar Mac both had 7 spoils each to limit the extent of his influence. They were ably assisted by the ever reliable Neville Jetta with 17 touches, 7 marks, 5 contested possessions and 100% disposal efficiency. Michael Hibberd with 27 touches and 9 marks made for a strong defensive team, but they were let down time and time again as others failed to mark their man or read the play with the wind to let North in with ridiculously easy marking opportunities in the forward 50. In the lead up to this game it was right to wonder how the Demons could fit Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince into the side for next week's vital clash against the Giants. After this effort, there are plenty of players who will be in for consideration to take the exit path. A broken collar bone to Hogan means yet another hole to be filled up forward, as well. Too often we have seen the chance to really stamp some authority on the competition. This was another of those chances blown. We can only hope the whole season doesn’t become a blow-up as it did in the last games of 2016. Melbourne 2.0.12 8.5.53 8.8.56 10.12.72 North Melbourne 4.4.28 6.4.40 9.8.62 11.10.76 Goals Melbourne Garlett 3 T McDonald Melksham 2 Hogan Hunt Oliver North Melbourne Brown 4 Simpkin 2 Higgins McDonald Swallow Thompson Waite Best Melbourne Oliver Jetta, O McDonald T McDonald Garlett North Melbourne Brown Higgins McDonald Swallow Ziebell Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Hogan (collarbone) North Melbourne Waite (calf) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Fisher, Harris, Pannell Attendance 13,939 at Blundstone Arena
  9. The last time I opened a game day thread with a touch of poetry, it worked a treat and Melbourne upset the Eagles over there in Perth. So when I heard the distant sound of a gate creaking in the distance in the morning's gusty old weather, I knew that it was time for a touch of Henry Lawson:- "I can still feel the spirit that bore us, And often the old stars will shine — I remember the last spree in chorus For the sake of that other Lang Syne, When the tracks lay divided before us, Your path through the future and mine." Surely, the time has come ...
  10. If the late Jack Dyer were to describe the North Melbourne of 2017 he would no doubt call it "a good ordinary side". The Kangaroos started the season by losing the first five games on the trot before striking a purple patch during which they won four out of five (including a 10 goal thrashing of the Crows at Blundstone Arena and a hard fought 14 point victory over the Demons at the MCG). They then went on a downhill slide with a losing streak that now stands at seven games and sees them sitting equal last on the ladder, ahead only on percentage over the Brisbane Lions. A very ordinary record indeed, although Captain Blood would have seen some good in it because the Roos have lost five of their games by less than a goal. They are now embarking on what can been seen as a rebuilding process, dropping or resting some of their stars and bringing in youth. The cynics among us might call this "tanking". Melbourne, on the other hand, has been better than ordinary even if somewhat inconsistent so far this season. Part of the reason for the inconsistency has been put down to injuries and suspensions which have at times cut huge holes in the makeup of the team but, as we saw last week against Port Adelaide, when the A team is on the park it can compete with any other in the AFL. Which brings us to the Demons' own losing streak of 16 straight games against the Kangaroos that stretches all of the way back to 2006 when a young Nathan Jones was just finding his way in the game. North has been good over most of that time and I would suggest that those wins were not really due to some magical advantage over Melbourne. Hoodoos and losing streaks only reflect this club's woeful standing over the past decade - it lost more often than not because it had inferior teams. As we've seen over the course of this season, that is no longer the case. Melbourne is on course for September action while North Melbourne is heading in the opposite direction. The Kangaroos won their first ten matches last year including an early one where they eventually fell in against Melbourne at Blundstone Arena. They barely hung on to make the finals from which they made a quick exit. In 2017 they have been exposed like the emperor and his non-existent new clothes. Their cupboard is bare and I expect the Demons will also expose the so-called North Melbourne "hoodoo" this week in the same vein as the Hans Christian Anderson fable taught us that sometimes the things people believe in are nothing more than a myth. THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne on Saturday 29 July, 2017 at Blundstone Arena at 1.45pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall North Melbourne 80 wins, Melbourne 83 wins 1 draw At Blundstone Arena North Melbourne 1 win, Melbourne 0 wins Last five times North Melbourne 5 wins, Melbourne 0 wins The Coaches Scott 1 win, Goodwin 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel live at 1.45pm RADIO - TBA THE BETTING North Melbourne to win $2.85, Melbourne to win $1.43 THE LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 15.14.104 defeated Melbourne 13.12.90 at the MCG in Round 9 2017 The Demons started slowly and were 26 points down at the first break before closing to within two points at half time. North controlled the third term but Melbourne's again fought back to narrow the margin to two points midway through the last quarter before North kicked away. Todd Goldstein set up the win dominating the rucks with 61 hit outs. THE TEAMS NORTH MELBOURNE B: Sam Durdin, Robbie Tarrant, Daniel Nielson HB: Aaron Mullett, Scott D. Thompson, Luke McDonald C: Shaun Atley, Sam Gibson, Ryan Clarke HF: Nathan Hrovat, Jarrad Waite, Majak Daw F: Shaun Higgins, Ben Brown, Taylor Garner FOLL: Braydon Preuss, Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington I/C: Trent Dumont, Declan Mountford, Jy Simpkin, Andrew Swallow EMG: Jed Anderson, Josh Williams, Cameron Zurhaar IN: Braydon Preuss, Robbie Tarrant, Jack Ziebell OUT: Nick Larkey (knee), Josh Williams (omitted), Cameron Zurhaar (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Christian Salem, Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd C: Jack Trengove, Jordan Lewis, Clayton Oliver HF: Christian Petracca, Jesse Hogan, Alex Neal-Bullen F: Jeff Garlett, Tom McDonald, Jack Watts FOLL: Max Gawn, Jack Viney, Mitch Hannan I/C: James Harmes, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Jake Melksham, Dom Tyson EMG: Corey Maynard, Cameron Pedersen, Josh Wagner There's a certain amount of irony surrounding inferences of tanking raised about Melbourne's opponent for this week's clash in Hobart. No sooner had the Roos made their decision to drop former All Australian ruckman Todd Goldstein and rest skipper Jack Ziebell for last week's Essendon clash, than some segments of the media started raising eyebrows and when Robbie Tarrant was a late withdrawal, that was sufficient evidence for the commentariat that a conspiracy was on foot with the aim of securing soon to be out of contract GWS midfielder Josh Kelly. That sort of thinking is all too common in AFL circles and while it fills newspaper space and time on radio and television, it doesn't reflect reality. It dismisses the fact that North made a good fist of things and in fact led the Bombers until deep into the third quarter before the young side ran out of steam late in the game and it denies the club the right to blood young players late in a season when all hopes of playing finals have gone. The Kangaroos have dominated the Demons for over a decade and they will be jealously guarding their record, particularly in front of the people of Hobart who they dearly want to bring into their fold. For this game, they have brought back Ziebell and Tarrant along with ruckman Braydon Preuss who many at North consider a better ruckman than Goldstein. Three youngsters go out of the side and the changes automatically give the "home" side a much better look. With the weather likely to be a factor (showers are predicted), anyone who really thinks that North are tanking has another thing coming - this week looms as a real danger game. Melbourne did fade last week after its opening blitz saw it go to a 44 point lead late in the second quarter and with four players returning from injury, this might be understandable The Roos will be coming into the game with the mindset that they can beat the Demons having prevailed earlier in the year on the MCG when despite losing the disposal count, clearances and contested possessions, they managed to prevail. However, back then they had Goldstein winning in the ruck and key forwards Ben Brown and Mason Wood booting eight goals between them. On Saturday, Goldstein and Wood will not be on the field and the cynics might also add that North is unlikely to be the beneficiary of a free kick count like the 22-10 that gave them the advantage of almost an extra player. Earlier this season they had a big victory over Adelaide when the windy conditions played havoc with the game at Blundstone Arena but they have also lost this year at the venue where they once reigned supreme with eight consecutive victories from 2013-16. The end of another winning run is now on the cards against the Demons who have been strong in the clearances and contested-possession rankings all season and, with so much at stake, I expect their long running series of losses to become yet another part of history for the club on Saturday night. Melbourne by 25 points.
  11. Earlier in the season, Melbourne was coming off its big victory in Adelaide and confidently chose an unchanged line up to break the long standing hoodoo. It didn't work at the MCG when the team had what Max Gawn (then injured) describes as a "sh--house' start". Really, this is one we simply can't afford to allow to get away. MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince C: Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver, Tomas Bugg HF: Christian Petracca, Jack Watts, Mitch Hannan F: Jeff Garlett, Cameron Pedersen, Dom Tyson FOLL: Tom McDonald, Jordan Lewis, Jack Viney I/C: Dean Kent, Christian Salem, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman EMG: Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen Billy Stretch NO CHANGE NORTH MELBOURNE B: Marley Williams, Robbie Tarrant, Ed Vickers-Willis HB: Aaron Mullett, Scott D Thompson, Jamie Macmillan C: Sam Gibson, Ben Cunnington, Mason Wood HF: Kayne Turner, Jarrad Waite, Luke McDonald F: Nathan Hrovat, Ben Brown, Shaun Higgins FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Jed Anderson, Ryan Clarke I/C: Shaun Atley, Taylor Garner, Lachlan Hansen, Andrew Swallow, EMG: Sam Durdin, Declan Mountford, Braydon Preuss IN: Taylor Garner, Aaron Mullett, Andrew Swallow, Jarrad Waite OUT: Jed Anderson (foot) Trent Dumont (concussion), Sam Durdin (omitted), Jy Simpkin (AC Joint)
  12. Coming off yet another terribly deflating loss last week means yet another chance at redemption. Will this club finally draw a line in the sand? And this week we face our bogey side North who have dominated us for a decade. You could take that from a power club, but when its North owning you for so long its bloody frustrating. Last nights massive win by Casey means pressure for spots in the seniors is heating up with players such as Weideman, Hunt, Petracca, ANB. O Mac and Brayshaw are all knocking at the door of selection. Perform today or lose your spot in the team is the simple scenario for our players. Edit - WJ i know you usually make the game day thread, feel free to make the official one if you want and merge mine over, . Im just a minion
  13. Melbourne ends its week of humiliation on Sunday with a trip across Bass Strait for a game against a team it has not beaten since Methuselah played in the Under 9s. To make things worse, North Melbourne is riding high after two solid wins, carrying few injuries and playing at its home away from home. The Kangaroos are chock full of confidence but on top of that are unlikely to treat an opposition with the same disrespect that the Demons showed Essendon in their encounter last Saturday (and for that matter, when they met last year). Melbourne was caught napping against Essendon when its expected midfield dominance failed to eventuate despite the fact that big Max Gawn dominated the ruck duels. Despite this, the Bombers won the ball out of the clearances and were also given far too much latitude on the outside by an undisciplined unit. I can only suppose that the Demons believed their own publicity after earning kudos from a virtually unblemished pre season and a come from behind win in the season opener against the Giants - achieved through some discipline on the ground including a willingness by all and sundry to go down and get their hands dirty. Coach Paul Roos has a lot of thinking to do with regard to how he can get his charges back into the headspace they occupied up until the Bomber debacle. It won't be easy if you consider the game starts at the first bounce and the opposition midfield will be a much tougher proposition than the one that beat it comprehensively last week. And that is where the challenge begins and it does so on the shoulders of the tallest man in the team. When the teams met last year Todd Goldstein gave big Max Gawn a football lesson amassing 50 hit outs and nearly doubling him in the possession count. The differential was enormous and it reflected in the overall dominance of the Kangaroo midfield. If Gawn has pretensions to becoming a top of the range exponent of the art of ruck work then he needs to take some big scalps and none could be bigger than the man he faces this week. In order for the team to have a chance of winning, the midfield will have to take the ball away more often from the stoppages and when they do, they must hit targets. The task is not beyond them but much will depend on whether the team is shell shocked, whether it has the desire to turn things around and to get its hands dirty. For this assignment, North in Hobart will be a tough proposition and I'm therefore tipping them to win by 25 points. THE GAME: North Melbourne v Melbourne on Sunday 10 August, 2016 at Blundstone Arena at 1.10pm HEAD TO HEAD: Overall North Melbourne 78 wins Melbourne 83 wins 1 draw At Blundstone Arena North Melbourne 0 wins Melbourne 0 wins Last five times North Melbourne 5 wins Melbourne 0 wins The Coaches Scott 3 wins Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy 1pm RADIO - SEN, ABC THE BETTING North Melbourne to win $1.30 Melbourne to win $3.50 THE LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 19.13.127 defeated Melbourne 14.8.92 at the MCG in Round 2015. North led by seven goals to two at the first break in a game that threatened to be a complete blowout but the Demons made a spirited comeback and by close to three quarter time threatened to snatch the lead. The Kangaroos steadied with a late goal to take a 10-point lead into the final break and ran out comfortable winners in the end. THE TEAMS NORTH MELBOURNE B: M.Firrito R.Tarrant S.Wright HB: S.Atley S.Thompson L.McDonald C: N.Dal Santo D.Wells B.Jacobs HF: J.Ziebell J.Waite B.Harvey F: S.Higgins D.Petrie L.Thomas FOLL: T.Goldstein B.Cunnington A.Swallow I/C: B.Brown T.Garner S.Gibson J.Macmillan EMG: T.Dumont L.Hansen A.Mullett IN: S.Thompson OUT: L.Hansen MELBOURNE B: N.Jetta T.McDonald T.Bugg HB: M.Jones H.Lumumba C.Salem C: B.Vince D.Tyson J.Harmes HF: J.Watts A.Vandenberg B.Kennedy F: D.Kent J.Hogan J.Garlett FOLL: M.Gawn N.Jones J.Viney I/C: C.Oliver L.Dunn S.Frost B.Stretch EMG: J.Grimes C.Pedersen J.Wagner IN: L.Dunn S.Frost B.Stretch OUT: A.Brayshaw C.Garland C. Pedersen
  14. The Demons acquitted themselves well but only after a slow start forced them to play catch up football for most of the game and gave the Kangaroos the upper hand. MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Daniel Cross, Tom McDonald, Jeremy Howe C: Jack Grimes, Dom Tyson, Heritier Lumumba HF: Angus Brayshaw, Chris Dawes, Bernie Vince F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C (from): James Harmes, Matt Jones, Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen EMG: Mark Jamar, Ben Newton, Billy Stretch IN: Matt Jones OUT: Aaron vandenBerg (ankle) NORTH MELBOURNE B: Sam Wright, Robbie Tarrant, Lachlan Hansen HB: Nick Dal Santo, Scott Thompson, Ben Jacobs C: Shaun Higgins, Jack Ziebell, Shaun Atley HF: Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie, Taylor Garner F: Ben Brown, Jarrad Waite, Lindsay Thomas FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Ben Cunnington, Andrew Swallow I/C: Sam Gibson, Luke McDonald, Aaron Mullett, Robin Nahas EMG: Majak Daw, Kayne Turner, Max Warren IN: Lachlan Hansen, Aaron Mullett, Robin Nahas OUT: Ryan Bastinac (omitted), Michael Firrito (suspended), Kayne Turner (omitted)
  15. The sign above the crowd (if that is what you call the gathering in attendance at Etihad) proudly advertised dog food. And it certainly was a dog's breakfast for football fans, and one of undesirable records for the Demons. The irony of watching Brad Scott thanking the Kangaroos' supposed 40K members surely would have been lost on the lousy 17K Melbourne and North supporters who bothered to turn up to watch the game (it would also cause you to envisage how many Melbourne supporters would have turned up to watch their team if they were playing in the finals next week). Something tells me that the Roos are heavily into creative accounting ... Anyway, back to the game: In the first quarter North had three goals on the board, before Melbourne even got the ball into its forward half, let alone into the 50m arc. But the Demons mounted some sort of comeback and had leveled the score at the first bell ... Good signs? Well the second quarter was much the same, except that Melbourne shot to a 13 point lead early, only to be overtaken by North later in the term and the scores at half time remained locked at 53 all ... more good signs? Well it all went for a pile of Werribee deposit in the third (yet again) as North piled on 5 goals to the Demons solitary 6 pointer ... Game over. The final quarter for the year saw Nathan Jones and no doubt the coach reminding players that this was it for 2014; just another 25 odd minutes, so give it your all. In what has become familiar to Demon supporters, the players responded by allowing North to kick the first two goals within two minutes ... thanks again fellas! While the Demons kicked five for the quarter, it was all too late. Even Tom McDonald scored a pair which brought his all time tally to ... two goals! Still not bad considering he was playing in the backline. If he could only kick as straight while playing down there ... The next challenge was to get to 100 points, but opportunities were squandered again and again, with a 93 point score still being the best output for the season, but still miserable by any measure. Its entirely possible that we did contribute more than 100 in this game, as a sizable proportion of the North goals came from absolute howlers from the Melbourne players. Until we have players on the field who can kick straight or just kick, then we will see more of the same. But that wasnt the only record to be broken or extended or worse still created on the night: 1. Melbourne went through the 2014 season without winning a single home game; 2. The Demons failed to kick 100 points in any game in 2014; 3. They have never won at this stadium since it was re-named Etihad; 4. It is 8 years since they have beaten North at any venue; 5. Thirteen successive losses to North and an 8-0 score line at Ethihad; and 6. Nine straight losses for the Demons to finish the season ... what is the argument against a priority pick because Im really having difficulty finding one. Once again the stats sheet represented the best of our players. Along with Nathan Jones ( as usual) we find Dom Tyson, Daniel Cross and Bernie Vince holding down the possession numbers. It is a sad indictment to the rest of the side that these three players were not at the club last year. Three imports can have more effect on a game than the rest who have been here for a long time. Paul Roos has been able to up the output and improve the likes of Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta and Cam Pedersen, but others such as James Frawley, Jack Watts and now Jeremy Howe have taken the "disinterested pills" and may find themselves in other colours next year. None will be missed as they have not contributed in any meaningful way this season. And next season already looks like starting badly. Dawes will surely catch the unfavourable attention of the MRP with an elbow to the head of Swallow, and Max Gawn went down early in the game with yet another knee injury. With such a portentious start to 2015, we could be in for more dog's breakfast games ahead, and the potential to set some new records for underperformance. Unless we can start using the bean-counters at North to massage the numbers in the same way as they have done with their membership! Melbourne 4.3.27 8.5.53 9.7.61 14.9.93 North Melbourne 4.3.27 8.5.53 13.9.87 19.9.123 Goals Melbourne Kent 3 Dawes Fitzpatrick McDonald Tyson 2 Dunn Jamar Vince North Melbourne Turner 4 Brown Wood 3 Ziebell 2 Adams Atley Bastinac Currie Dal Santo Mullett Petrie Best Melbourne Tyson, Jones Dawes Cross McDonald Kent North Melbourne Turner, Swallow Petrie Brown Atley Thompson Changes Melbourne Christian Salem (ill) replaced in the selected side by Dom Barry North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Gawn (knee) North Melbourne Grima (quad) Hansen (hip) Adams (concussion) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Justin Schmitt Jordan Bannister Brendan Hosking Crowd 17,174 at Etihad Stadium
  16. THE RECORD BREAKING DOG'S BREAKFAST ... by George on the Outer The sign above the crowd (if that is what you call the gathering in attendance at Etihad) proudly advertised dog food. And it certainly was a dog's breakfast for football fans, and one of undesirable records for the Demons. The irony of watching Brad Scott thanking the Kangaroos' supposed 40K members surely would have been lost on the lousy 17K Melbourne and North supporters who bothered to turn up to watch the game (it would also cause you to envisage how many Melbourne supporters would have turned up to watch their team if they were playing in the finals next week). Something tells me that the Roos are heavily into creative accounting ... Anyway, back to the game: In the first quarter North had three goals on the board, before Melbourne even got the ball into its forward half, let alone into the 50m arc. But the Demons mounted some sort of comeback and had leveled the score at the first bell ... Good signs? Well the second quarter was much the same, except that Melbourne shot to a 13 point lead early, only to be overtaken by North later in the term and the scores at half time remained locked at 53 all ... more good signs? Well it all went for a pile of Werribee deposit in the third (yet again) as North piled on 5 goals to the Demons solitary 6 pointer ... Game over. The final quarter for the year saw Nathan Jones and no doubt the coach reminding players that this was it for 2014; just another 25 odd minutes, so give it your all. In what has become familiar to Demon supporters, the players responded by allowing North to kick the first two goals within two minutes ... thanks again fellas! While the Demons kicked five for the quarter, it was all too late. Even Tom McDonald scored a pair which brought his all time tally to ... two goals! Still not bad considering he was playing in the backline. If he could only kick as straight while playing down there ... The next challenge was to get to 100 points, but opportunities were squandered again and again, with a 93 point score still being the best output for the season, but still miserable by any measure. Its entirely possible that we did contribute more than 100 in this game, as a sizable proportion of the North goals came from absolute howlers from the Melbourne players. Until we have players on the field who can kick straight or just kick, then we will see more of the same. But that wasnt the only record to be broken or extended or worse still created on the night: 1. Melbourne went through the 2014 season without winning a single home game; 2. The Demons failed to kick 100 points in any game in 2014; 3. They have never won at this stadium since it was re-named Etihad; 4. It is 8 years since they have beaten North at any venue; 5. Thirteen successive losses to North and an 8-0 score line at Ethihad; and 6. Nine straight losses for the Demons to finish the season ... what is the argument against a priority pick because Im really having difficulty finding one. Once again the stats sheet represented the best of our players. Along with Nathan Jones ( as usual) we find Dom Tyson, Daniel Cross and Bernie Vince holding down the possession numbers. It is a sad indictment to the rest of the side that these three players were not at the club last year. Three imports can have more effect on a game than the rest who have been here for a long time. Paul Roos has been able to up the output and improve the likes of Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta and Cam Pedersen, but others such as James Frawley, Jack Watts and now Jeremy Howe have taken the "disinterested pills" and may find themselves in other colours next year. None will be missed as they have not contributed in any meaningful way this season. And next season already looks like starting badly. Dawes will surely catch the unfavourable attention of the MRP with an elbow to the head of Swallow, and Max Gawn went down early in the game with yet another knee injury. With such a portentious start to 2015, we could be in for more dog's breakfast games ahead, and the potential to set some new records for underperformance. Unless we can start using the bean-counters at North to massage the numbers in the same way as they have done with their membership! Melbourne 4.3.27 8.5.53 9.7.61 14.9.93 North Melbourne 4.3.27 8.5.53 13.9.87 19.9.123 Goals Melbourne Kent 3 Dawes Fitzpatrick McDonald Tyson 2 Dunn Jamar Vince North Melbourne Turner 4 Brown Wood 3 Ziebell 2 Adams Atley Bastinac Currie Dal Santo Mullett Petrie Best Melbourne Tyson, Jones Dawes Cross McDonald Kent North Melbourne Turner, Swallow Petrie Brown Atley Thompson Changes Melbourne Christian Salem (ill) replaced in the selected side by Dom Barry North Melbourne Nil Injuries Melbourne Gawn (knee) North Melbourne Grima (quad) Hansen (hip) Adams (concussion) Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires Justin Schmitt Jordan Bannister Brendan Hosking Crowd 17,174 at Etihad Stadium
  17. Your votes please ... The winner will be announced on the morning of "Bluey" night.
  18. North Melbourne has indicated its contempt for our team by resting five players for the finals. This is the first time in many years that I won't be going to a final round game in my home state. Won't even be watching it on television. I have something else on but my message to the AFL is that if you don't treat equalisation more seriously and do nothing other than support the stronger clubs then you will end up with fixtures that attract neither crowds nor viewers.
  19. UTOPIA - NOT YET by Whispering Jack The last time Melbourne beat North Melbourne was during Nathan Jones' debut season in a game played on the MCG way back in 2006. Jones played the last eight games of the 2006 AFL season, including Melbourne's two finals but since then neither he nor any other Demon has tasted any success against the Kangaroos. They have played against each other a dozen times and Melbourne has lost at every one of their meetings including all seven at the venue of Saturday night's game. Twelve months ago, rumours of the impending appointment of Paul Roos as coach of Melbourne started to take hold. As the football world moved into finals mode, the story turned from rumour into possibility and then into fact and with every passing day, the Demon faithful grew more and more optimistic about the future of their club. Nobody held utopian dreams of a dramatic improvement to the lofty heights occupied by the team Roos previously coached and he himself warned the supporters to expect things to move forward at a slow pace. And that's how things are turning out. Even with some inspired recruiting of the likes of Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince and Daniel Cross, the team has taken small steps forward and even these seem to have come to a full stop over the last two months of the season. It's well and good that the Demons managed to crack the long standing Adelaide hoodoo and improved their game defensively but they end the season with a game style that has virtually no potency in attack. In this respect, one has to go back nearly a century to find a Melbourne team with a worse capacity for scoring and that combination was the rag tag unit that represented the club in its first season after a war time recess of four years. Hardly a recommendation as the Demons approach their final challenge of 2014 - to overcome their long standing hoodoo against the Kangaroos at their most daunting of all venues, Etihad Stadium, from which they have not returned home victorious in the seven years since they beat the Western Bulldogs on a Saturday night in 2007. THE GAME North Melbourne v Melbourne on Saturday 30th August, 2014 at Etihad Stadium at 7.40 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall North Melbourne 71 wins Melbourne 83 wins 1 drawn At Etihad North Melbourne 7 wins Melbourne 0 wins Last five times North Melbourne 5 wins Melbourne 0 wins The Coaches Scott 1 win Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Sports Channel 3 @7.30pm live RADIO - 3AW SEN THE BETTING North Melbourne to win $1.06 Melbourne to win $9.50 LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 15.17.107 defeated Melbourne 10.6.66 at the MCG in Round 14, 2014 Seven unanswered goals to the Kangaroos in the middle part of the third quarter was the difference between the two teams although North's inaccuracy in front of goal didn't aid it's cause. Bernie Vince picked up 41 possessions. THE TEAMS NORTH MELBOURNE B: Lachlan Hansen, Scott Thompson, Jamie Macmillan HB: Shaun Atley, Nathan Grima,Sam Wright C: Nick Dal Santo, Andrew Swallow, Ben Jacobs HF: Kayne Turner, Ben Brown, Daniel Wells F: Mason Wood, Drew Petrie, Aaron Black FOLL: Daniel Currie, Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell EMG: Trent Dumont, Brad McKenzie, Scott McMahon IN: Daniel Currie, Lachlan Hansen, Jamie Macmillan, Daniel Wells, Mason Wood OUT: Michael Firrito (soreness), Todd Goldstein (soreness), Levi Greenwood (calf), Luke McDonald (back), Lindsay Thomas (knee) NEW: Mason Wood (Geelong Falcons) MELBOURNE B: Lynden Dunn, James Frawley, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Bernie Vince C: Jordie McKenzie, Daniel Cross, Rohan Bail HF: Viv Michie, Max Gawn, Christian Salem F: Jack Fitzpatrick, Chris Dawes, Dean Kent FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Matt Jones, Aidan Riley, Jack Viney, Jack Watts EMG: Dom Barry, Daniel Nicholson, Cameron Pedersen IN: Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley OUT: Colin Garland (knee), Cameron Pedersen (omitted) In all likelihood, North Melbourne will finish the regular season in sixth place irrespective of whether it wins on Saturday and its elimination final opponent on the following weekend will most probably be Essendon (I'm discounting the possibility that an adverse Federal Court decision could change the makeup of the finals at this late stage). Therefore, the fact that this match is one of the final round's few dead rubbers has allowed the Kangaroos the luxury of resting a number of its players. The irony in that is that in recent times North Melbourne, which always seems to have a small injury list when playing Melbourne, will be missing five regulars (Todd Goldstein, Levi Greenwood, Luke McDonald, Lindsay Thomas and Michael Firrito) through relatively minor injuries such as "soreness" and, thanks to Brent Harvey's suspension, one of its constant stars during that long and ongoing winning streak against the Dees. Daniel Wells and Lachlan Hansen are returning but both are in need of a run after spending time out with injury in the latter part of the season. The fact that Melbourne is facing such a weakened opposition would, on the face of it, provide some cheer for a club coming off a disappointing last two months given the opportunity of a victory to round off a difficult season. There's also an outside possibility that the club might "win" the wooden spoon so the incentive to win is well and truly there. The problem for the Demons is that they are playing like the runner who has "hit the wall" in a marathon race. While most teams are still showing an ability to run all day even at the end of a long, hard season, they have been completely pedestrian in their own style of late and, even against a drastically weakened North Melbourne which has nothing to play for, the sea change necessary for this team to achieve a winning score is well beyond its capacity. The problem for Melbourne has been apparent for much of the second half of a year that has brought it one solitary victory thanks to a late goal from Christian Salem against Essendon at the MCG in round 13. A week later, on the same ground and against the opponent it faces again on Saturday night, it hit that wall early in the third term. For a period of 15 minutes, North played some of the best football I have seen this year. It took the game on, its players ran and spread, passed the ball forward with precision and kicked seven unanswered goals in the space of less than fifteen minutes of brilliant attacking football, leaving its opponents to play the role of witches hats in a routine training drill. Ever since, the Demons have moved out of that head space only on rare occasions. It is Paul Roos' challenge for next year and beyond to get the team out of the trough but there is no chance that it will happen this week at Etihad Stadium. Melbourne today, is a long way away from Utopia. North Melbourne by 50 points.
  20. The last time Melbourne beat North Melbourne was during Nathan Jones' debut season in a game played on the MCG way back in 2006. Jones played the last eight games of the 2006 AFL season, including Melbourne's two finals but since then neither he nor any other Demon has tasted any success against the Kangaroos. They have played against each other a dozen times and Melbourne has lost at every one of their meetings including all seven at the venue of Saturday night's game. Twelve months ago, rumours of the impending appointment of Paul Roos as coach of Melbourne started to take hold. As the football world moved into finals mode, the story turned from rumour into possibility and then into fact and with every passing day, the Demon faithful grew more and more optimistic about the future of their club. Nobody held utopian dreams of a dramatic improvement to the lofty heights occupied by the team Roos previously coached and he himself warned the supporters to expect things to move forward at a slow pace. And that's how things are turning out. Even with some inspired recruiting of the likes of Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince and Daniel Cross, the team has taken small steps forward and even these seem to have come to a full stop over the last two months of the season. It's well and good that the Demons managed to crack the long standing Adelaide hoodoo and improved their game defensively but they end the season with a game style that has virtually no potency in attack. In this respect, one has to go back nearly a century to find a Melbourne team with a worse capacity for scoring and that combination was the rag tag unit that represented the club in its first season after a war time recess of four years. Hardly a recommendation as the Demons approach their final challenge of 2014 - to overcome their long standing hoodoo against the Kangaroos at their most daunting of all venues, Etihad Stadium, from which they have not returned home victorious in the seven years since they beat the Western Bulldogs on a Saturday night in 2007. THE GAME North Melbourne v Melbourne on Saturday 30th August, 2014 at Etihad Stadium at 7.40 pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall North Melbourne 71 wins Melbourne 83 wins 1 drawn At Etihad North Melbourne 7 wins Melbourne 0 wins Last five times North Melbourne 5 wins Melbourne 0 wins The Coaches Scott 1 win Roos 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Sports Channel 3 @7.30pm live RADIO - 3AW SEN THE BETTING North Melbourne to win $1.06 Melbourne to win $9.50 LAST TIME THEY MET North Melbourne 15.17.107 defeated Melbourne 10.6.66 at the MCG in Round 14, 2014 Seven unanswered goals to the Kangaroos in the middle part of the third quarter was the difference between the two teams although North's inaccuracy in front of goal didn't aid it's cause. Bernie Vince picked up 41 possessions. THE TEAMS NORTH MELBOURNE B: Lachlan Hansen, Scott Thompson, Jamie Macmillan HB: Shaun Atley, Nathan Grima,Sam Wright C: Nick Dal Santo, Andrew Swallow, Ben Jacobs HF: Kayne Turner, Ben Brown, Daniel Wells F: Mason Wood, Drew Petrie, Aaron Black FOLL: Daniel Currie, Ben Cunnington, Jack Ziebell EMG: Trent Dumont, Brad McKenzie, Scott McMahon IN: Daniel Currie, Lachlan Hansen, Jamie Macmillan, Daniel Wells, Mason Wood OUT: Michael Firrito (soreness), Todd Goldstein (soreness), Levi Greenwood (calf), Luke McDonald (back), Lindsay Thomas (knee) NEW: Mason Wood (Geelong Falcons) MELBOURNE B: Lynden Dunn, James Frawley, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Bernie Vince C: Jordie McKenzie, Daniel Cross, Rohan Bail HF: Viv Michie, Max Gawn, Christian Salem F: Jack Fitzpatrick, Chris Dawes, Dean Kent FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Matt Jones, Aidan Riley, Jack Viney, Jack Watts EMG: Dom Barry, Daniel Nicholson, Cameron Pedersen IN: Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley OUT: Colin Garland (knee), Cameron Pedersen (omitted) In all likelihood, North Melbourne will finish the regular season in sixth place irrespective of whether it wins on Saturday and its elimination final opponent on the following weekend will most probably be Essendon (I'm discounting the possibility that an adverse Federal Court decision could change the makeup of the finals at this late stage). Therefore, the fact that this match is one of the final round's few dead rubbers has allowed the Kangaroos the luxury of resting a number of its players. The irony in that is that in recent times North Melbourne, which always seems to have a small injury list when playing Melbourne, will be missing five regulars (Todd Goldstein, Levi Greenwood, Luke McDonald, Lindsay Thomas and Michael Firrito) through relatively minor injuries such as "soreness" and, thanks to Brent Harvey's suspension, one of its constant stars during that long and ongoing winning streak against the Dees. Daniel Wells and Lachlan Hansen are returning but both are in need of a run after spending time out with injury in the latter part of the season. The fact that Melbourne is facing such a weakened opposition would, on the face of it, provide some cheer for a club coming off a disappointing last two months given the opportunity of a victory to round off a difficult season. There's also an outside possibility that the club might "win" the wooden spoon so the incentive to win is well and truly there. The problem for the Demons is that they are playing like the runner who has "hit the wall" in a marathon race. While most teams are still showing an ability to run all day even at the end of a long, hard season, they have been completely pedestrian in their own style of late and, even against a drastically weakened North Melbourne which has nothing to play for, the sea change necessary for this team to achieve a winning score is well beyond its capacity. The problem for Melbourne has been apparent for much of the second half of a year that has brought it one solitary victory thanks to a late goal from Christian Salem against Essendon at the MCG in round 13. A week later, on the same ground and against the opponent it faces again on Saturday night, it hit that wall early in the third term. For a period of 15 minutes, North played some of the best football I have seen this year. It took the game on, its players ran and spread, passed the ball forward with precision and kicked seven unanswered goals in the space of less than fifteen minutes of brilliant attacking football, leaving its opponents to play the role of witches hats in a routine training drill. Ever since, the Demons have moved out of that head space only on rare occasions. It is Paul Roos' challenge for next year and beyond to get the team out of the trough but there is no chance that it will happen this week at Etihad Stadium. Melbourne today, is a long way away from Utopia. North Melbourne by 50 points.
  21. It was a brief 10 minute or so burst inspired by that little Harvey pest that made the difference. MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Neville Jetta HB: Jeremy Howe, Tom McDonald, Jack Grimes C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Daniel Cross HF: Rohan Bail, James Frawley, Cameron Pedersen F: Dean Kent, Chris Dawes, Jack Watts FOLL: Mark Jamar, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Matt Jones, Jordie McKenzie, Aidan Riley, Christian Salem EMG: Sam Blease Dan Nicholson Dean Terlich NO CHANGE NORTH MELBOURNE B: Luke McDonald, Scott D Thompson, Lachlan Hansen HB: Shaun Atley, Michael Firrito, Aaron Mullett C: Sam Gibson, Andrew Swallow, Levi Greenwood HF: Nick Dal Santo, Robbie Tarrant, Brent Harvey F: Aaron Black, Drew Petrie, Lindsay Thomas FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Ben Cunnington I/C: Leigh Adams, Ryan Bastinac, Brad McKenzie, Robin Nahas EMG: Liam Anthony, Ben Brown, Trent Dumont IN: Brad McKenzie OUT: Liam Anthony
  22. THE DRIVE-BY SHOOTING by Whispering Jack According to the script, Melbourne's season is over. In fact, it was over several months ago when the script was first written. The story of the Demons' game against the Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium is one that could have been written several times over during season 2012. The team, severely depleted of talent and well behind the necessary standards of fitness and skills ran out and was ambushed by a far superior and more strongly focussed opposition. It was over before they even saw it coming. In the absence of Melbourne's All Australian ruckman Mark Jamar, Todd Goldstein dominated from the outset to give his midfielders an armchair ride - as if they needed such an advantage against a far inferior on ball division. Ryan Bastinac had North's first goal on the board just one minute and thirty seconds into the game. By the fifteen minute mark they had four goals and change to nil. Colin Garland had the Demons' first score on the board nearly four minutes later - a point kicked under pressure. Drew Petrie's first and North's fifth came just after the 20 minute mark and Melbourne had yet to score a major. The game was almost over but there was still time for the Demons to scrap their way to respectability, which they did for a while. Sam Blease soon kicked his team's first and midfielders Nathan Jones and Brent Moloney led the fightback by working their butts off. The deficit at half time was 25 points and Melbourne had even won the second quarter (by a solitary point)! The third quarter was a repeat of the first although it took only 14 seconds for Adams to mop up from a spill and nail the first of five Kangaroo goals in a little over the first ten minutes of the second half. By that time, the Demons were done - victims of a drive-by shooting. We did get to see Brad Green kick three goals and to demonstrate some of the brilliance that had him held in such esteem over a stellar career of 13 seasons and 250 games. But junk time came early and North cruised its way to a 54-point win - it's tenth in a row over a Melbourne that simply had insufficient strength and run among its personnel, depleted by a long injury list particularly when compared with the hosts whose only player missing through injury has yet to make his AFL debut and is well outside its best 22. It has been reported that Demon coach Mark Neeld said in the lead-up to this clash he felt the his team was "two years behind several of their rivals". That's a fair assessment and reflects on his team's current list which can be addressed by recruiting at the end of the year, by improvement during the off season and by a regeneration and return to health of many of its injured players. The significance of Neeld's comment is underlined by the debate raging at more than one other club about what is necessary to improve a team's fitness and conditioning. We knew from the beginning, several months ago, that it was not possible to fast track the process whereby the fitness levels of Melbourne's list could reach the levels of the better sides in a short space of time. It's a process that will take at least two or three pre seasons of hard work and in the meantime, ambushes of the sort we have been witnessing this year will come back again and again. Only when the team's fitness levels are at their optimum can we expect all players to display better skills and decision making. Only then will they be able to regularly get to the ball first, break through tackles and do all of the things that come naturally to all good teams. In the meantime, the game is over and the season is over. Melbourne 1.2.8 5.5.35 7.5.47 11.7.73 North Melbourne 5.4.34 9.6.60 15.10.100 19.13.127 Goals Melbourne Green Sylvia 3 Blease Garland Howe Jones Martin North Melbourne Petrie Tarrant 4 Adams Harvey Thomas 2 Anthony Bastinac Harper Macmillan Swallow Best Melbourne Jones Green Moloney Frawley Howe Macdonald North Melbourne Harvey Gibson Wells Cunnington Swallow Goldstein Injuries Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Adams (shoulder) McMahon (groin) Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires McBurney Armstrong Harris Official crowd 20,816 at Etihad Stadium
  23. THE DRIVE-BY SHOOTING by Whispering Jack According to the script, Melbourne's season is over. In fact, it was over several months ago when the script was first written. The story of the Demons' game against the Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium is one that could have been written several times over during season 2012. The team, severely depleted of talent and well behind the necessary standards of fitness and skills ran out and was ambushed by a far superior and more strongly focussed opposition. It was over before they even saw it coming. In the absence of Melbourne's All Australian ruckman Mark Jamar, Todd Goldstein dominated from the outset to give his midfielders an armchair ride - as if they needed such an advantage against a far inferior on ball division. Ryan Bastinac had North's first goal on the board just one minute and thirty seconds into the game. By the fifteen minute mark they had four goals and change to nil. Colin Garland had the Demons' first score on the board nearly four minutes later - a point kicked under pressure. Drew Petrie's first and North's fifth came just after the 20 minute mark and Melbourne had yet to score a major. The game was almost over but there was still time for the Demons to scrap their way to respectability, which they did for a while. Sam Blease soon kicked his team's first and midfielders Nathan Jones and Brent Moloney led the fightback by working their butts off. The deficit at half time was 25 points and Melbourne had even won the second quarter (by a solitary point)! The third quarter was a repeat of the first although it took only 14 seconds for Adams to mop up from a spill and nail the first of five Kangaroo goals in a little over the first ten minutes of the second half. By that time, the Demons were done - victims of a drive-by shooting. We did get to see Brad Green kick three goals and to demonstrate some of the brilliance that had him held in such esteem over a stellar career of 13 seasons and 250 games. But junk time came early and North cruised its way to a 54-point win - it's tenth in a row over a Melbourne that simply had insufficient strength and run among its personnel, depleted by a long injury list particularly when compared with the hosts whose only player missing through injury has yet to make his AFL debut and is well outside its best 22. It has been reported that Demon coach Mark Neeld said in the lead-up to this clash he felt the his team was "two years behind several of their rivals". That's a fair assessment and reflects on his team's current list which can be addressed by recruiting at the end of the year, by improvement during the off season and by a regeneration and return to health of many of its injured players. The significance of Neeld's comment is underlined by the debate raging at more than one other club about what is necessary to improve a team's fitness and conditioning. We knew from the beginning, several months ago, that it was not possible to fast track the process whereby the fitness levels of Melbourne's list could reach the levels of the better sides in a short space of time. It's a process that will take at least two or three pre seasons of hard work and in the meantime, ambushes of the sort we have been witnessing this year will come back again and again. Only when the team's fitness levels are at their optimum can we expect all players to display better skills and decision making. Only then will they be able to regularly get to the ball first, break through tackles and do all of the things that come naturally to all good teams. In the meantime, the game is over and the season is over. Melbourne 1.2.8 5.5.35 7.5.47 11.7.73 North Melbourne 5.4.34 9.6.60 15.10.100 19.13.127 Goals Melbourne Green Sylvia 3 Blease Garland Howe Jones Martin North Melbourne Petrie Tarrant 4 Adams Harvey Thomas 2 Anthony Bastinac Harper Macmillan Swallow Best Melbourne Jones Green Moloney Frawley Howe Macdonald North Melbourne Harvey Gibson Wells Cunnington Swallow Goldstein Injuries Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Adams (shoulder) McMahon (groin) Changes Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Reports Melbourne Nil North Melbourne Nil Umpires McBurney Armstrong Harris Official crowd 20,816 at Etihad Stadium
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