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I think you and Jake Niall are over-playing this card. There's no evidence that Strauss cannot win contested footy (and kick it well) he hasn't had a chance to show his wares yet. Good players are good players, Blease has run and spread attributes that will be vital if we progress beyond the basics of Neeld's defensive style - yes he'll have to learn defensive structures and win his fair share of his own ball too - Adam Cooney was pretty effective last night, hopefully that's the direction he can develop.

Bennell might be a bust because he's too small and can't win enough contested football but my understanding is that the Eagles were going to take him with the next selection, they play a contested style and recruit suitable players - sometimes it doesn't work out and he was pick 35 after all.

Maybe you can explain why the Eagles picked Tom Swift in this context? It went Blease, Shuey, Strauss, Swift but apparently we stuffed up and according to many they're geniuses?

Scully, Trengove, Gysberts, Tapscott were the other early picks and all have contested ball winning skills. I think our list is being written off prematurely - hell the Scully picks aren't even on the list yet.

As I said in that post "I suppose we'll now debate the example rather than the issue".

Ben H and Old, the point I'm trying to explore is managements change of philosophy, not a debate on which game plan is right, which players are right or which coach is right.

I can only explain their change by accepting they judged the Collingwood style to be better than the Geelong style and I don't know how you could bet 4 years development on that.

And Old, the Geelong game last year was not representative of our season. We were 7.5 wins last year when Bailey was sacked with three wins in prospect despite the obvious flaws in our game. I doubt we'll get that this year with a team that includes Clark and a significant increase in FD personnel.

Like McLardy, I can't explain that.

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Guest Dr Who

Don't waste my time with your tripe.

Look in a mirror. Then you will see where "tripe." originates circa 2012.

Edited by Dr Who

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Why didn't you suggest this 4 years ago. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Just be happy that it has now occured and the club is now debt free, has spent up big on the footy dept,has new sponsers, and off the field is in a much better place.

If i or other members knew how bad things were i would have surely said something BD, this is not hindsight..it is just being smart.....I am very happy that changes have ocurred, i am disappointed though that

A. We the Members were kept in the dark about this....

B. It was not enacted on at least 2 years before....

A lot of supporters put good money towards the club and put up with "playing for draft picks" which we all know has been very hard to take..

I would have liked to know the truth about the state of the teachers and facilities...if only to lessen the crash of this year.

There were some signs of light from yesterday evening....so i am not about to microwave the scarf yet..

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It's a complete rebuild because Bailey's game-plan was virtually devoid of any accountability. Neeld wants run and spread too, but because the players are trying so hard to maintain structures, as well as being scared of making a mistake, the game-plan looks more doer than it is. It's a game-plan that requires a total buy in and if a player loses his structure within the jigsaw puzzle we're exposed to turnovers. In time, there'll be less and less mistakes as it becomes ingrained.

As for the list ? I like some of our youth and think that there's definite potential, but due to a dearth of quality senior players and younger players that are yet to prove themselves this is arguably the worst team I've seen Melbourne field. The sides that compete with it include 1974 and 1981. But at least those sides had some genuinely good players such as Wells, Hardeman, Flower, Healy, Alves. I agree that on potential there are some really good youngsters, but on present make-up and output this team is the pits.

Melbourne supporters have become arguably the greatest in the AFL for making excuses for their club, coaches, and players, so thankfully most will see the bright side of things.

As arrogant and dismissive as that last line is I hope you found the irony in it after your first paragraph provided excuses for the current coach.

Well, you are a Melbourne supporter after all...

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As arrogant and dismissive as that last line is I hope you found the irony in it after your first paragraph provided excuses for the current coach.

Well, you are a Melbourne supporter after all...

You'll have to learn to distinguish between reality and excuses.

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You'll have to learn to distinguish between reality and excuses.

Yes, I believe you know the former and the rest of us give the latter?

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Yes, I believe you know the former and the rest of us give the latter?

Given I stated that the side is competing with the teams of 1974 and 1981 as the worst I've seen I suspect you're right.

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Given I stated that the side is competing with the teams of 1974 and 1981 as the worst I've seen I suspect you're right.

Yes, we haven't improved from 2011 in key areas (hopefully the WB is the start of the turnaround), but that doesn't mean Neeld cannot be criticised for some of the decisions he has already made.

I agree with the change of focus to a defensive style, and his significantly altered LG, but those decisions can be criticised.

Which makes that last line in your previous post all the more galling - the dumb masses that make excuses to maintain their sunny disposition are seeing the same 'reality' as you.

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Have they?

Where are the similarities?

Forget the style of play -- the Geelong list is full of big-bodied contested ball winners.

Even kids like Menzel and Duncan have put on some decent size already.

Yup we recruited to replicate Geelong's list. Watts - (actually picked to be more of a Nick Riewoldt but at pick 1 you take that) - Blease - Wojcinski, Strauss - Hunt, Tapscott-Chapman, Scully-Ablett, Trengove - Bartel, Jurrah - Stevie J. The theme also went onto existing players Frawley - Scarlett, Rivers - Harley.

Anyway our best footy over the past few years was played with an attacking corridor centric brand of football. You know the days that every commentator mentioned how exciting we are, the days we thought that our best could match it with anyone. The days we actually did match it with the best (Collingwood 2010 x2). Breaking our game apart and starting from scratch seems very unnecessary to me.

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You'll have to learn to distinguish between reality and excuses.

Rpfc's point stands regarding the irony of your post.

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Todd Viney was quoted (when working with Bailey) as saying "we're not worried about game plan we are just trying to build up their bodies and get games into them" or very similar words. I screamed blue murder at that and it was a classic part of the mollycoddling of our 'younger' players.

Teach em the work ethic from day 1. Young kids can do great things on the footy field but when you put no expectations about effort don't be surprised that they don't give any. FFS even our senior leaders give questionable effort most of the time.

Absolutely in a perfect World...

Ours is No Perfect World.

We are paying for the sins of 15 years (List) & of 47ish Years Culture...

We have had to wipe our entire list of 2006, & we're still going.

If we had of done it in the Normal way we'd still be only half way... And were paying the price for not respecting absolute courage & desire... We got rid of the wrong one, sacking Jnr, the real McCoy, up to his armpits in it. a Leader.

I think we've gone the right way,,, we had to fast recruit/build the list. Now we have to address the downside of a fast rebuild...

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As I said in that post "I suppose we'll now debate the example rather than the issue".

Ben H and Old, the point I'm trying to explore is managements change of philosophy, not a debate on which game plan is right, which players are right or which coach is right.

I can only explain their change by accepting they judged the Collingwood style to be better than the Geelong style and I don't know how you could bet 4 years development on that.

And Old, the Geelong game last year was not representative of our season. We were 7.5 wins last year when Bailey was sacked with three wins in prospect despite the obvious flaws in our game. I doubt we'll get that this year with a team that includes Clark and a significant increase in FD personnel.

Like McLardy, I can't explain that.

I've acknowledged that you have a good theory and even provided Essendon as an example that supports your theory. The key is could a new coach have built a bridge from Bailey's plan to Geelong - or did we need to go back to the drawing board. The coach selection panel has indicated the latter by choosing Neeld. I accept that is a change of direction and there's a question about whether they really knew enough to make that sort of decision. But the bridge plan is no sure thing either.

Yes there's much rework involved but I raised the recruiting component because I think that's a step too far and I illustrated why using example and comparison - how else do you want me to assess and discuss the validity of your claim that we recruited the wrong types based on a discarded game plan except by looking at the data? You and Ron Burgundy make a good pair on this - maybe I'm missing something in my reasoning armoury?

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Yes, we haven't improved from 2011 in key areas (hopefully the WB is the start of the turnaround), but that doesn't mean Neeld cannot be criticised for some of the decisions he has already made.

I agree with the change of focus to a defensive style, and his significantly altered LG, but those decisions can be criticised.

When have I said that Neeld, or anybody else at the club is beyond criticism ? My premise to Cuddles was that the game-plan isn't the main issue at the club, even though it's not being implemented properly, it's the calibre of senior players as well as the dearth of their numbers, which I highlighted in another thread a week or two ago. Hawthorn have 19 players aged 25 or over and we have 8.

Just some more reasoning for you.

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I think the pain we're suffering from the transition to Neeld's game plan/style has been exacerbated by lack of experienced leaders, unfit/immature bodies in our younger players and lack of confidence stemming from 2011 and the challenges of learning a new game plan, etc...

These challenges are short term and the worm will turn this season on the above issues.

The more critical question is, was this dramatic re-focusing on contested ball, defensive structures and roles required now and will it deliver a flag faster than the approach Bailey was taking?

My sense is that it will, simply because contested ball and the ability to soak up an oppositions surge is the heart of finals footy.

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If i or other members knew how bad things were i would have surely said something BD, this is not hindsight..it is just being smart.....I am very happy that changes have ocurred, i am disappointed though that

A. We the Members were kept in the dark about this....

B. It was not enacted on at least 2 years before....

A lot of supporters put good money towards the club and put up with "playing for draft picks" which we all know has been very hard to take..

I would have liked to know the truth about the state of the teachers and facilities...if only to lessen the crash of this year.

There were some signs of light from yesterday evening....so i am not about to microwave the scarf yet..

Mate not having a go at you, but we can only learn from mistakes of the past. We don't have to relive them and keep bringing up "Why didn't the board do this,Why didn't they do that" It's been done, learn from it and keep going forward. Don't like microwaved scarf prefer tradional oven baked. Lasts longer.

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Ben H and Old, the point I'm trying to explore is managements change of philosophy, not a debate on which game plan is right, which players are right or which coach is right.

I can only explain their change by accepting they judged the Collingwood style to be better than the Geelong style and I don't know how you could bet 4 years development on that.

Most game-plans are reasonably similar. We're obviously using the boundary instead of the corridor, because in the case of a turnover, or errant kick it's easier to defend, but in the main you'll find that finals sides respect contested ball winning ability, strong defensive structures, and the ability to run and spread when you have possession, whilst maintaining those zone structures. In essence, what I'm saying is that Neeld's game-plan isn't that different, or radical that management of the MFC have "bet 4 years of development", as you're asserting.

No doubt they liked Neeld's resume and were impressed by how he handled himself and the type of coaching department he'd install - which is impressive despite the on-field results. Having had terrible defensive structures under Bailey, Neeld's defensive ethos would have (rightly) been music to their ears.

It's about developing a list to win a flag in 5-7 years, not just picking a coach that was closest to how the last coach had the team playing. And, as I've just mentioned, once the players understand the structures I doubt you'll see the massive chasm in game-plans, or style that you're seeing and interpreting now.

Edited by Ben-Hur
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When have I said that Neeld, or anybody else at the club is beyond criticism ?

In the explanation of the 'reality' of Neeld's difficulties with his new gameplan, the criticism is waived away.

My premise to Cuddles was that the game-plan isn't the main issue at the club, even though it's not being implemented properly, it's the calibre of senior players as well as the dearth of their numbers, which I highlighted in another thread a week or two ago. Hawthorn have 19 players aged 25 or over and we have 8.

I think we are in fierce agreement about what ails the Demons, but like the fact that Bailey was not able to teach the press to the players in 2011, Neeld should be rightly admonished for the tripe served up in Rounds 1,2, and 3. They rarely even set up at stoppages on the defensive side get the footy out, which is Footy 101.

I know the reality and I have patience but Neeld's start to the season has been less than impressive even with the shizen senior players he has at his disposal.

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I find it strange to say that we were heading towards the Geelong style of play and recruited accordingly by picking more outside skinnier players.

In big games (including finals) Geelong don't play a game style suited to skinny outside players. They play a contested brand of footy with big bodies and aggression.

The conception of Geelong as a fast outside team was probably born in 2007, when they went against the Sydney and West Coast style of one-on-one accountable footy (which produced low scores) which was the pre-eminent game plan of the mid 2000s, and produced a high possession, play on at all costs style to break up the one-on-one nature of the contest.

But this does not mean they were a fast outside team. They were as good in the contested ball and when it came to finals footy and big games against top opposition it was their ability to win the contests and use the ball well that made them so great. Their midfield was not fast and their backline was not fast, other than Wojcinski.

Cam Mooney said the other night that Geelong's number one focus over their successful period has always been contested footy.

So if we wanted to adopt the Geelong game plan, we would need to recruit players that could win their own footy and could make quick decisions and use the ball well.

Yet the argument here is that we were going down the Geelong path and that's why we've recruited blokes who are now struggling under Neeld as they can't win contested ball?

As Old said, a good player is a good player. Elite midfielders can win the ball inside and outside and use it well. They can adapt to a contested or uncontested game plan.

If some of our players aren't able to get a game in the best 22 of Neeld's team, it will be because they are not good enough, not just because they were recruited for a different game plan.

And I would also argue that to continually recruit a type of player based on a certain game plan isn't a great strategy, as game plans can and do evolve rapidly. Any game plan and team requires a balance of players with a combination of skill sets.

Edited by Scoop Junior
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You know the days that every commentator mentioned how exciting we are, the days we thought that our best could match it with anyone. The days we actually did match it with the best (Collingwood 2010 x2). Breaking our game apart and starting from scratch seems very unnecessary to me.

During the 4 years of Bailey, except for one or two games, we NEVER matched it with the best, in fact, we were regularly taken apart. No point mentioning Collingwood 2010, we lost both those games, and they walked through us in 2011. When was the last time we even matched it with Hawthorn, Carlton, Geelong - or pretty well any team interstate? This idea that we've gone backwards this season is incorrect ... we lost to both Brisbane and Richmond last year for example.

I also have trouble with the idea of "Neeld's game plan" being an issue. The issue is that we're NOT doing what Neeld and co. want us to, not the reverse. Some of those shots of Neeld holding his head in his hands in the coaches box tell the story.

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In 2007, the then Gardner Board undertook a search for a new coach. They chose Bailey. Presumably during the interview process they established Bailey's football philosophy, game plan, strategies and measured those against the then "best practice". Bailey would have outlined the type of players that were needed to implement the strategy and then undertook the rebuild of a terrible list in conjunction with Cameron (2007) and Prendergast (2008 - 2011).

In February 2010 the Stynes Board extended Bailey's contract by 12 months until the end of 2011. They had had the benefit of seeing Bailey in action for two years, had a chance to determine if his philosophies were sound and had seen how he managed the players and the other members of the club. Clearly they thought he was doing a good job and hence was extended on the back of 2 years "exposed form".

in July of 2011, some 18 months after reviewing his performance and endorsing his direction they sacked him and undertook a search for a new coach. Among others Sanderson and Neeld applied at a time where Collingwood were seen as clearly the best side in the AFL.

Sanderson would have come to interview and said "I've been at Geelong since 2007 and experience 2 GF victories and one defeat. Melbourne play a "Geelong" style of footy and I can take your group and build on what has been done since Bailey's appointment. It needs development but it's the same genre."

Neeld would have come to interview and said "I've been at Collingwood since 2008 and I was involved in the 2010 GF. Collingwood are now the benchmark of the competition and it's game plan has superseded all others. It's designed on defence, stoppages and strength. Unfortunately your recruiting and coaching for the last 4 years is contrary to this game plan and I'll have to go back to square 1, rebuild your list and completely deconstruct the game plan. It will most likely take 3 to 5 years to build a list capable of competing at the top level. The last 4 years have been a waste."

History now shows us that Geelong beat Collingwood in the 2011 GF and there game plan is being copied by most teams with the centre corridor being used much more frequently.

Why did the current administration abandon 4 years of work and pain and opt for a complete rebuild last year when there was an equally well credentialed coach who could have taken that previous work and developed it? The only reason I can think of is they didn't believe the Geelong game plan could stand up. To make that decision a sophisticated understanding of game plans and the future direction of the game would be critical. And guess what, there wasn't a coach on our selection panel just a couple of Board members, a footy commentator who hasn't coached and an administrator.

IMO Sanderson was clearly the correct choice because he would have develop and used philosophies based on Geelong and endorsed by the very people who extended Bailey contract and run our club now. Neeld was a knee jerk reaction to copy the team of the moment but which ended up failing in September and are struggling now.

Our management panicked and abandoned their 4 year strategy and we are now back to square one where we don't even measure our performance by wins (Neeld presser after Bulldogs) and a President who by his own admission has got no idea why things have gone so wrong.

Encouraging isn't it!

Clarification: This is in no way a criticism of Neeld, it is a critique of the management flip flop that has given us the laughing stock of the competition and consigned us to yet another rebuild.

I wish I could have said all that! Spot on and well put. Only hope now is if Neeld can grow with the job and take us forward once again.

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Mate not having a go at you, but we can only learn from mistakes of the past. We don't have to relive them and keep bringing up "Why didn't the board do this,Why didn't they do that" It's been done, learn from it and keep going forward. Don't like microwaved scarf prefer tradional oven baked. Lasts longer.

I agree with you BD. The trouble is for many years the MFC have put Bandaids over their problems and not learnt from them.

At the commencement of debt demolition it is a shame the club did not reveal more.

The supporters were on board. I am a forward thinking person don't worry, but the 2008-11 FD situation is inexcusable to all of us.

Mark Neeld is a great choice. Once this list is fit enough. The 3rd Q showed that.

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As I said in that post "I suppose we'll now debate the example rather than the issue".

Ben H and Old, the point I'm trying to explore is managements change of philosophy, not a debate on which game plan is right, which players are right or which coach is right.

I can only explain their change by accepting they judged the Collingwood style to be better than the Geelong style and I don't know how you could bet 4 years development on that.

And Old, the Geelong game last year was not representative of our season. We were 7.5 wins last year when Bailey was sacked with three wins in prospect despite the obvious flaws in our game. I doubt we'll get that this year with a team that includes Clark and a significant increase in FD personnel.

Like McLardy, I can't explain that.

Clearly it's a shot directed at McLardy and the board. And I'm tipping his interview with Stevens in the paper last weekend where he says "I'm still coming to grips with where we're at...it worries me", is music to your ears.

Surely a perceived management's change in philosophy would have some influence by the incumbent coaching philosophy and it's intended direction. Yet you say the debate has nothing to do with coach... .

Good post Scoop Junior.

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Guest José Mourinho

Yup we recruited to replicate Geelong's list. Watts - (actually picked to be more of a Nick Riewoldt but at pick 1 you take that) - Blease - Wojcinski, Strauss - Hunt, Tapscott-Chapman, Scully-Ablett, Trengove - Bartel, Jurrah - Stevie J. The theme also went onto existing players Frawley - Scarlett, Rivers - Harley.

Anyway our best footy over the past few years was played with an attacking corridor centric brand of football. You know the days that every commentator mentioned how exciting we are, the days we thought that our best could match it with anyone. The days we actually did match it with the best (Collingwood 2010 x2). Breaking our game apart and starting from scratch seems very unnecessary to me.

Surely you're joking.

We set out to fill positions on the field, and the cats players fill those same positions, so we're trying to recreate them?

Give me a break.

You could make the same comparison with Port Adelaide or the bulldogs.

Sorry, but that is a very shallow analysis.

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So we made a mistake back then & should have changed the Board first back then & then chosen people to find us a Coach for the end of that year.

What are you on about, I was annswering "I Want a Flag" post regarding the candidates and followed it up with my opinion that at the time I would have preferred Hardwick and still do, maybe it's just the way I like my footy but I like honesty and hardness and see that in Hardwick

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Clearly it's a shot directed at McLardy and the board. And I'm tipping his interview with Stevens in the paper last weekend where he says "I'm still coming to grips with where we're at...it worries me", is music to your ears.

Surely a perceived management's change in philosophy would have some influence by the incumbent coaching philosophy and it's intended direction. Yet you say the debate has nothing to do with coach... .

Good post Scoop Junior.

I don't know why you'd think poor management is "music to my ears". In fact I've haven't been this depressed about our current situation since the late 70's. I hate it. and I'm worried hence I've posted.

I don't blame Neeld at all for instituting his game plan. He would have presented it and we had the option of accepting or rejecting his proposition. We accepted it and our best course now is to support Neeld to the hilt.

Whilst I know the Geelong game plan is built on contested ball it's also fair to say it requires run and carry, risk taking, use of the corridor and precision kicking to execute. These are skills based charactistics. The Collingwood game plan is much more indirect, stoppage and congestion based. We recruited skillful footballers who were perceived to have good kicking skills to execute Bailey's plan. Neeld's plan, at least what we've seen of it, is much more long kicking to an area of the ground and create a contest. I think the fact that we've recruited Tynan, Couch, Sellar and Magner highllight Neeld's belief that we need a different sort of player to suit his plan. I understand Taggart is also in this mold but I've not seen him play.

I think Sanderson would have been a better fit for our list and previous game plan given his Geelong background.

That Neeld's line now that we don't measure ourselves by wins and McLardy's that he's not sure what's gone wrong concern me.

I'm glad the overwhelming sentiment is support for Neeld. I also support him but to be honest I've serious reservations about the club and it's ability to make sound decisions. I'm not sure I can ever remember a FD being so divided as ours was last year and I can't recall a situation where the CEO was involved in the type of speculation Schwab was last year. It's those background management issues that make me question the coaching selection process.

That others are happy with it and support it is good. I just don't share that confidence that we got the best fit for our club.

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    SOCIAL DISTANCING by George on the Outer

    It was good to see the MFC players practicing the directives about social distancing at the game against West Coast.  Pity was that they continued to do so after the first bounce of the ball, as they allowed numerous WCE players run around un-hindered, with not a Melbourne player within 1.5 metres of them! They then found themselves looking at nearly a 5 goal deficit at the first break, which was to be essentially the final margin for the game. It is difficult to judge exactly what is going

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    BEST IN SHOW by Whispering Jack

    I am writing this knowing that the AFL has deemed that the opening round of competition will proceed but fully believing that it should not.  The world is going through cataclysmic change as a result of the overwhelming spread of the Covid-19 virus and I agree that a distraction like sport would be good for the public. However, while the physical threat to the population is bad enough, there are other  issues to be addressed including the mental health of the community and the effects on th

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    TASSIE DEVILS by Van Demon

    If you were looking for something new from the Demons that wasn’t there last year, you didn’t have to look further than the perfectly trimmed grass surface of UTAS Stadium last night as the team steamrolled the Hawks to record a comprehensive 32-point victory to complete their Marsh Community Series commitments for 2020. One new thing was the fact that for the second Marsh game in a row, the team finished full of running and they dominated the second half without the presence or the dominan

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    SOUTH OF THE BORDER by Paddy Gosch

    The Demons will go into their final Marsh Series match with a strong lineup against the Hawks in Tasmania. Both Max Gawn and Steven May, who were recovering from injuries in first Marsh Series match, have both been named. It is unclear whether Max will be on restricted minutes and will likely get breaks in the ruck with Sam Weideman and rookie Luke Jackson getting their turns in the middle. Angus Brayshaw will be getting his first taste of competitive football despite playing in last week’s

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

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