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THE DRIVE-BY SHOOTING

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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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I'm glad its over.

I will be glad when this season is over.

Can't wait to begin dreaming about next year.

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We will be hard to play against....Ha!

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Not even in the worst 5 performances of the season.

At the first bounce I looked out across Docklands and genuinely thought 'this is the worst MFC side i've witnessed in 25 years'.

You really can't complain when you go in with that mentality.

Jones tries hard. Howe will be a player as will Tom Mac.

Greeny showed why he's hung around for 250.

There's always next week!

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A big [censored] you to whoever is responsible for making me hate footy right now.

P.S.- I heart you Nathan Jones!

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Sorry Range Rover! Meekest M performance I've seen this year(Believe this is saying something!!!).

Kangaroos did precisely whatever they wanted to and turned it on at the flick of a switch.. Melbourne only scored when Kangas rested. How long is MN contract? Surely we don't have to endure 2 more years of this. Neeld has shown bad judgement from the time he started at Melbourne. Who on earth would want to come to Melbourne under Neeld? Players simply are not playing for him. He's not a motivator. Players are not passionate. Final score did not reflect the vast gap between the two teams. Sad SAD.

Positives? Yes Jones and should be elevated to Captain next year. Sylvia's last quarter. Tom Mc easily our best defender with Grimes also battled hard. Moloney busted his backside first game back. Bail, Frawley, Green, Howe and McTagger and Spencer all at least tried. The rest didn't show heart or passion for the white jumper.

Edited by thaipantsman
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I buy the original argument. This team is probably slightly ahead of the 1997 team as the worst Melbourne team, talent wise, I have seen. There is a clear need for a clean out at the end of the year.

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Olympics are looking good !!

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I never got what the concept of having a tagger is for

Its basically taking one of theres out for one of ours so how is it remotely beneficial when ours is the one doing the chasing the whole game.

Wouldnt it be better to have our one player be the more damaging one and run loose?

By having taggers we are conceeding defeat before the game even begins....

Drop Mckenzie for Gysberts is a good place to start.

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Midway through the third quarter commentary went like this.

Sellers to Rivers to MacDonald to Bail to........Kangas

Could just as easily been

Rivers to MacDonald to Bail to Sellars to.......... Kangas

OR, anyway you know what I mean.

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I watched Hawthorn wipe out Essendumb last night. They were quick, structured and SKILLFULL and missing their gun player. Compare them to us and ask yourself how far in both years and cattle we are from them. Posters above mention starting to dream about next year. I reckon we should be dreaming about next decade. My Bitter half is fully ascendent and I can see no reason to change.

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They beat us up by 9 goals but it is easy to guess who was the most [censored] off coach. Brad Scott for sure because he missed out on valuable percentage. Neeld would be somewhat relieved because they could have easily shellacked us by 80+.

And don't be fooled by Sylvia the junk time specialist. No chasing, no pressure and very poor disposal all game. It seems to be impossible to imagine how much worse we can get but it is very possible. Imagine if Nathan Jones did not play.

Edited by america de cali

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1st time in over 20 years of going to the footy that I left at 3qtr time.

Coaching staff and players alike leave me baffled.

Better things to do with my time.....

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Imagine if Nathan Jones did not play.

I didn't get to see any of today's game, but this argument is fallacious.

I mean, imagine if Clark, Watts, Jurrah and Jamar did (and I'm sure there are others...)

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I didn't get to see any of today's game, but this argument is fallacious.

I mean, imagine if Clark, Watts, Jurrah and Jamar did (and I'm sure there are others...)

It's not fallacious at all. Jones has been our most consistent contributor all year.Good teams can lose good players and still be good teams (see Collingwood and Hawthorn) because they have depth. More importanly they have a structure and set up that means jobs can be done by different players.

We have neither depth nor structure so if a key player like Jones is out - we are in even deeper shite.

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I didn't get to see any of today's game, but this argument is fallacious.

I mean, imagine if Clark, Watts, Jurrah and Jamar did (and I'm sure there are others...)

Watch the replay and I am sure you will withdraw your argument.

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I never got what the concept of having a tagger is for

Its basically taking one of theres out for one of ours so how is it remotely beneficial when ours is the one doing the chasing the whole game.

Wouldnt it be better to have our one player be the more damaging one and run loose?

By having taggers we are conceeding defeat before the game even begins....

Drop Mckenzie for Gysberts is a good place to start.

You just answered your own question. When we have an outside mid more damaging than Wells, you can bet he'll be running lose and trying to damage the opponent as much as possible. Until then, tagging is a fairly good option. Plus, it teaches a defensive mindset that every player ought to have.

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It really is the midfield.

We only have one genuinely good on baller, and that's Jones.

We also only have one real target up forward in Clark. Green and Jurrah good support.

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Guest bluey

What a laughing stock this club is, next year I will donate my money to a worthy cause, a more deserved charity case, RSPCA or boat people, or something,

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It really is the midfield.

We only have one genuinely good on baller, and that's Jones.

We also only have one real target up forward in Clark. Green and Jurrah good support.

No disrespect to Jones, but I would say he is the equivalent to a Leigh Adams on the Kangas.

The difference is Adams has a Swallow, Wells and Harvey to surround himself with, we have....well....poo....

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It's not fallacious at all. Jones has been our most consistent contributor all year.Good teams can lose good players and still be good teams (see Collingwood and Hawthorn) because they have depth. More importanly they have a structure and set up that means jobs can be done by different players.

We have neither depth nor structure so if a key player like Jones is out - we are in even deeper shite.

Watch the replay and I am sure you will withdraw your argument.

I'm not saying we wouldn't be worse without Jones, because we clearly would have been.

What I'm saying is there is no point saying 'what if'. Yes, it could have been worse. But if we had a full team in, it could also have been better.

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1st time in over 20 years of going to the footy that I left at 3qtr time.

Coaching staff and players alike leave me baffled.

Better things to do with my time.....

Yep me too, although I lasted 5 minutes into the last. Could've easily left 5 minutes into the game or not even bothered turning up and wouldn't have felt like I missed anything. No other MFC Supporters (other than about 2000-3000 diehards) bothered showing up so why should I be a sucker for punishment? Not sure at this stage if I'll bother turning up to another game this year watching us in front of about 15000 next week against GC doesn't get my blood pumping at all.

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