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RUMOURS by William from West Perth

Rumour has it that over the off season Melbourne footballers trained harder and longer than they had ever done before. They ran long distances, sprinted, worked with weights and did it all to exacting programmes devised by some of the best credentialled sports scientists in the business. At the same time they were supposed to have worked on honing their skillsets and learning a new whiz bang game plan that would turn them from whacky and unpredictable pretenders into the hardest team in the competition to play against.

Two weeks into the football season, we now know them only to be rumours. The blokes spent most of summer sitting on beaches, feasting on ice creams and sipping piña coladas.

That's how it appeared as they went through the motions against a powerful, highly disciplined and motivated West Coast Eagles who thumped them mercilessly from pillar to post at Paterson's Stadium on their way to a record 108 point victory. Melbourne's resistance was pathetic from go to whoa (in the Demons' case, the whoa happened midway through the second term). The skills were deplorable as was the lack of pressure, poor tackling and the oh so predictable manner of delivery of the ball forward. 

Indeed, the biggest surprise was the fact that its full forward Mitch Clark managed to boot five goals (admittedly a couple were in junk time) given that he was often pitted against two opponents when the ball was shoddily delivered somewhere remotely near to his position on the ground. 

There were a few others such as James Magner and Nathan Jones who contributed but for the most part, the rest of the team would have been better of managing the 30 degree heat at Cottesloe Beach. 

The should have been joined by the umpires. It's true that West Coast's pressure caused the Demons to give away a number of free kicks but the Eagles didn't take long to cotton on to the fact that if they ducked their heads into a tackle, there were any number of gratuitous free kicks on offer. They tell me one of the umpires (Leppard) carries the nickname "Def" but fair dinkum, they might as well add "Blind" as well. Not that Melbourne was ever going to win or that there's any rule that states the number of free kicks should be equal but 21-1 at half time is virtually enough to ensure game, set and match to the beneficiaries. It sure doesn't do wonders for the confidence of a team that's been battered black and blue both on and off the field in the past week.

Still, umpires, heat and a game plan that doesn't make sense aside, it was truly a deplorable performance and it certainly doesn't auger well for the rest of the year or decade if you must know.

Melbourne 1.1.7 4.2.26 6.2.38 9.4.58

West Coast Eagles 4.3.27  11.8.74 19.14.128 25.16.166

Goals 

Melbourne Clark 5 Dunn Jones 2

West Coast Eagles Darling Lynch 4 Hams Hill S Selwood 3 Waters 2 Gaff Kennedy Kerr Naitanui A Selwood Shuey

Best

Melbourne  Magner Jones Clark Watts McDonald

West Coast S Selwood Priddis Hurn Gaff Shuey Darling

Changes

Melbourne Martin (hip) replaced by McDonald

West Coast Nil

Injuries

Melbourne Nil

West Coast Embley (shoulder)

Reports

MelbourneNil

West Coast Nil

Umpires Farmer Fila Leppard

Crowd 35,674 at Subiaco

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The rumour I heard was that the players deplore the harder work that they have had to endure. They are P/O'd that it is expected they run harder and for longer during games. They do not like the tough stance the coaches have enforced.

They also are starting to whisper about certain club management/staff and perhaps some so called senior players.

It's a shame they don't seem to have the concentration or nous to just go out and play hard rather than to leave it to "someone else" all the time.

Truth be known, their individual value in an open market is now diminishing pretty quickly.

Many supporters are now embarrassed to admit the Dees are their team...............................over to you - the players, do something!

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Rumours was a really good album but unfortunately Fleetwood Mac started to implode soon after its release .

Neeld is a teacher so I'm sure he knows how to get the most out of gossips and settle the class room back down so people who want to learn can do so .

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