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Those of us who are experts in the field of statistics are only too aware of the fact that there are numerous shades of purple but for this Saturday's Melbourne home game against Fremantle at Etihad Stadium, I'm not expecting to see many different shades of that colour in the crowd. Nor will there be very many versions of the home club's colours either!

The Demons rarely attract large numbers of their supporters for "home" games at Etihad Stadium. In particular, when the fixture is against the highly favoured Dockers and the team is the 16th-placed side ahead only of the new franchises, the numbers simply don't stack up.

At around this time last year, a Melbourne team that still had an outside chance of making the finals attracted a mere 15,740 punters to its game at this same venue against an exciting top four combination in the West Coast Eagles and they were duly smashed. The club has won only two of its past 20 games at Etihad and this includes 12 losses in a row by an average of 44 points since 2008.

All of this points to the fact that, although Freo have never beaten Melbourne at this ground (they’ve met there twice) there will be plenty of empty seats when play starts unless the club comes up with something to attract the fans to the game.

Perhaps, a promise from the Demon camp that the team can come up with a better start than what they have  produced of late. Last week against the Tigers, they could come up with one measly scoring shot to ten in the opening term. Even the GWS Giants got off to a flyer in their clash the week before that.

The last time the Demons got off to a big start to a game was more that twelve months ago in their last home fixture against the Dockers when they kicked the first five goals on their way to an 89 point win. However, that game was at the MCG against an injury depleted side. This time it's Melbourne that has a large injury list with some key players like goal kicking forwards in Mitch Clark and Liam Jurrah missing, so the prospect of a good start seems unlikely.

Therefore, with the Purple Haze still in finals contention, I have no hesitation in coming to this conclusion:-

Fremantle by 50 points.

THE GAME Melbourne v Fremantle at Etihad Stadium, Saturday July 14, 1:45pm


Overall Melbourne 13 wins Fremantle 14 wins

Etihad Stadium Melbourne 2 wins Fremantle 0 wins

Since 2000 Melbourne 9 wins Fremantle 10 wins

The Coaches Neeld 0 wins Lyon 0 wins


TV Fox Footy Channel (live) at 1:30pm Channel 7 (delayed) at 3:00pm


THE BETTING Melbourne $3.00 Fremantle $1.40


Melbourne 22.17.149 defeated Fremantle 8.12.60 Round 13, 2011 at the MCG

The team really fired up in this game with skipper Brad Green leading the way kicking five goals in a game where the Demons were rarely troubled and under very little pressure.



Backs Daniel Nicholson James Frawley Luke Tapscott

Half backs Joel Macdonald Tom McDonald Jack Grimes

Centreline Jack Trengove Jordie McKenzie Jeremy Howe

Half forwards Ricky Petterd Jared Rivers Sam Blease

Forwards Colin Sylvia Colin Garland Brad Green

Followers Mark Jamar Rohan Bail Nathan Jones

Interchange Matthew Bate Jamie Bennell Tom Couch Stef Martin

Emergencies James Magner Jake Spencer James Strauss 

In Tom Couch Brad Green, Mark Jamar Tom McDonald Ricky Petterd

Out Lynden Dunn (suspended) James Magner Brent Moloney Jake Spencer Jack Watts (ankle)

New Tom Couch (Collingwood VFL)


Backs Antoni Grover Luke McPharlin Adam McPhee

Half backs Paul Duffield, Michael Johnson, David Mundy

Centreline Michael Barlow Ryan Crowley Clancee Pearce

Half forwards Tendai Mzungu Christopher Mayne Stephen Hill

Forwards Hayden Ballantyne Matthew Pavlich Kepler Bradley

Followers Jonathon Griffin Matthew de Boer Dylan Roberton

Interchange Greg Broughton Garrick Ibbotson Cameron Sutcliffe Michael Walters

Emergencies Zachary Clarke Lachie Neale Lee Spurr

In Michael Walters

Out Nick Lower (concussion)

THE YEAR SO FAR by Sam the Stats Man

Melbourne's season in hell continues with Injuries and poor form still dogging the club. Here, se look at the players statistically over the first fifteen rounds:-

BAIL, Rohan MFC 10 games, 5 goals, CFC Sen 1 game, 0 goals. The former Queenslander's season was disrupted with a lingering concussion injury but he has now been back in the Demons' team for the past two games.

BARTRAM, Clint MFC 8 games, 1 goal. Was enjoying his best year since his debut season before succumbing to a season-ending knee injury.

BATE, Matthew MFC 10 games, 7 goals, CFC Sen 1 game, 2 goals. Bate has fought hard for a place in the team after a tough campaign in 2011. He's had a number of starts in the green vest which hasn't helped him and he needs to work hard to retain his place on the list.

BENNELL, Jamie MFC 5 games, 2 goals, CFC Sen 6 games, 2 goals. Bennell has been in and out of the Melbourne team without being able to consolidate his spot.

BLEASE, Sam MFC 8 games, 6  goals, CFC Sen 5 games, 5 goals. This enigmatic youngster has great flair and is learning to play the Neeld style. Has shown promise.

CLARK, Mitch MFC 11 games, 29 goals. A true revelation, the Demon recruit of the year from Brisbane had been outstanding until he suffered a foot injury in the GWS match  which ended his season prematurely. His loss cannot be underestimated.

COOK, Lucas CFC Sen 7 games, 12 goals, CFC Res 1 game, 5 goals. The young tall key forward is developing well in VFL ranks and is not too far away.

COUCH, Tom® CFC Sen 11 games, 8 goals. Couch has had an outstanding season at Casey without being able to break into AFL ranks. A four goal haul last week might have changed that!

DAVEY, Aaron MFC 9 games 7 goals, CFC Sen 3 games, 2 goals. The Flash has struggled since injuring his knee last year and has found himself back at Casey on a couple of occasions.

DAVIS, Troy CFC Sen 11 games, 2 goals. Davis has shown great promise in defence at VFL level and was on the cusp of higher selection a few weeks ago. He seems to have perhaps tired  and his form has slipped recently.

DUNN, Lynden MFC 11 games, 8 goals, CFC Sen 2 games, 3 goals. Dunn's form has been a mixed bag as the club has tried him up forward and down back.

EVANS, Michael® The rookie midfielder is due to return in the Casey Development League team after missing the whole season so far with stress fractures in his back.

FITZPATRICK, Jack MFC 1 game, 0 goals, CFC Sen 9 games, 13 goals, CFC Res 1 game, 2 goals. The young Demon has been doing it tough in a career dotted with injury and illness concerns. Things didn't get any better when he was recently diagnosed as a diabetic.


FRAWLEY, James MFC 12 games, 0 goals. Has been steady in defence but not close to his outstanding form of 2010 when he made All Australian.

GARLAND, Colin MFC 14 games 7 goals. The defender-turned-forward has had some success since the move in the team's first win of the season against the Bombers but the jury is still out as to whether it will be a permanent change.

GAWN, Max. Coming back from a second ACL operation, Gawn is said to be training the house down with his running and weights work but won't be seen on the footy field till next year.

GREEN, Brad MFC 6 games, 2 goals, CFC Sen 3 games, 8 goals. Injuries and form lapses have disrupted the former skipper's season. Should return to the Melbourne team after a 6 goal display in the VFL last week.

GRIMES, Jack MFC 13 games, 0 goals, CFC Sen 1 game, 0 goals. The skipper has had a tough initiation in a difficult year and, although not at the top of his form, Grimes has shown a good measure of promise as a leader.

GYSBERTS, Jordan CFC Sen 7 games, 2 goals, CFC Res 1 game, 0 goals. The young midfielder has suffered a number of injuries as he fights his way back to the top level.

HOWE, Jeremy MFC 14 games, 12 goals. One of the big Melbourne stories of the year, the high flyer (fourth in contested marks in the AFL) needs to improve his conversion rate in front of goal to become a more complete player.


JAMAR, Mark MFC 12 games, 2 goals. The Russian has been having a hot and cold season in the ruck and has missed the last two games with a calf injury.

JETTA, Neville CFC Sen 2 games, 1 goal. Has been out most of the year after an interrupted pre season (shoulder) and a long term injury (ankle) incurred in a practice march. Working his way back at Casey.

JONES, Nathan MFC 13 games 12 goals. Jones is the stand out player in the side this year and looks headed for a club champion award at the end of the year.

JURRAH, Liam MFC 1 game, 0 goals, CFC Sen 2 games, 2 goals. The Warlpiri Wizard has had a horror season both on and off the field. Jurrah's well documented legal woes have been  matched by injury concerns in the form of a wrist injury followed by an ankle problem leaving him with less than a full AFL game and no goals under his belt.

LAWRENCE, Kelvin® CFC Sen 7 games, 5 goals, CFC Res 3 games, 4 goals. The young rookie appears to be in a hole at Casey and has not progressed since being drafted at the end of 2010. Currently recovering from a calf injury.

MACDONALD, Joel MFC 8 games, 0 goals, CFC Sen 2 games, 4 goals. Has had some moments after fighting his way back into the Demon line up a few weeks ago.

MAGNER, James® MFC 14 games, 4 goals. Had a great start to the season in the midfield but seems to have tired noticeably of late after playing every game.

MARTIN, Stefan MFC 4 games, 3 goals, CFC Sen 3 games, 7 goals, CFC Res 1 game, 0 goals. Has had a few ailments but his recent return to the Melbourne line up has been impressive.

McDONALD, Tom MFC 12 games, 0 goals, CFC Sen 2 games, 4 goals.

MCKENZIE, Jordie MFC 14 games, 3 goals. Earning a reputation as a highly competent tagger who can also win the football.


MOLONEY, Brent MFC 12 games, 3 goals. After a stellar season in 2011, Beamer has disappointed so far.

MORTON, Cale MFC 8 games, 2 goals, CFC Sen 5 games, 1 goal. The former top four draft pick has had some difficult times of late as he struggles to find the form he showed early in his career.

NICHOLSON, Daniel® MFC 6 games, 0 goals, CFC Sen 3 games, 1 goal, CFC Res 1 game, 0 goals. Has come back from injury and added some run to the team but needs to work hard on improving his disposal skills.

PETTERD, Ricky MFC 2 games, 0 goals, CFC Sen 7 games, 6 goals. Restricted by injury and form to only two AFL games to date which has been disappointing.

RIVERS, Jared MFC 14 games, 6 goals. Has played the whole season and was recently moved forward with some success.

SELLAR, James MFC 9 games, 1 goal, CFC Sen 1 game, 0 goals. Surprised with some good form as a tall defender.

SHEAHAN, Jai®  CFC Sen 10 games, 0 goals, CFC Res 1 game, 1 goal. After a great start at Casey, he started to run out of form and was demoted to the reserves. Now out injured but he has potential.

SPENCER, Jake MFC 2 games, 0 goals, CFC Sen 7 games, 1 goal, CFC Res 1 game, 1 goal.  Has overcome a knee reconstruction and done well to earn a place with the Demons in Jamar's absence.

STRAUSS, James CFC Sen 4 games, 0 goals, CFC Res 2 games, 0 goals. Recovering from a broken leg, Strauss is starting to show some form in the VFL.

SYLVIA, Colin MFC 9 games, 7 goals.  An interrupted pre season, a back injury, poor form and question marks about his attitude have dominated discussion about the club's former top five draft choice. Started showing some good signs in recent weeks.

TAGGERT, Rory CFC Sen 3 games, 2 goals.  Back injuries have marred his debut season but one of his games for Casey was a ripper.

TAPSCOTT, Luke MFC 9 games, 0 goals, CFC Sen 4 games, 3 goals. Hampered by the lack of a pre season, Tapscott hasn't hit his straps or come near to his potential this year.

TRENGOVE, Jack MFC 14 games, 5 goals.  Has laboured under the weight of the captaincy and, at times appeared unfit but among that, has done a few good things here and there. It's part of a major learning curve for the game's youngest ever skipper.

TYNAN, Josh MFC 1 game, 0 goals, CFC Sen 6 games, 2 goals. Tynan has created an impression in his brief time at the club with a hard at it approach that suggests a long AFL career beckons.

VINEY, Jack* CFC Sen 1 game, 0 goals. The prospective father/son selection suffered a broken jaw in his only game so far at Casey but recovered to play well recently in two Under 18 championship games with Vic Metro.

WATTS, Jack MFC 12 games, 4 goals, CFC Sen 3 games, 7 goals. Despite having his critics, Watts has been excellent since he was moved into defence where his disposal and decision-making skills have been outstanding.

WILLIAMS, Leigh® CFC Sen 5 games, 6 goals, CFC Res 3 games, 7 goals. The young rookie tall is still finding his way with the Scorpions after a serious illness.

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