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HANG ON TO YOUR HOPES MY FRIEND


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HANG ON TO YOUR HOPES MY FRIEND by Whispering Jack

There's a fair chance that not many people on this side of the continent will remember the last game of 2012 in the years to come.  

Mark Neeld took a team of twenty-two players who looked and played as if they were physically and mentally exhausted, washed up, wounded and hurt, and the result they produced against an opponent on its way to the finals was thoroughly predictable. 

At least the game put paid to the idea that there is such a thing as tanking in Australian football. It's actually called "controlling the outcome", as football icon Leigh Matthews declared this week in the media when he suggested that Ross Lyon should take such steps as are necessary to manufacture a home town Derby final against the Eagles for next week. The idea never had a chance of flying anywhere with the Dockers shooting out of the blocks and never being even remotely troubled on their way to their eighth win from their past nine matches to land seventh position and an away final against Geelong. 

It was hard to believe that less than two months earlier, an injury hit Melbourne team already playing on two cylinders led Fremantle at three quarter time in their "home" game at Etihad Stadium only to be rolled over at the end when the capacity to rotate players was stretched to the limit.

And it's the very thought of how the Demons fought in that game that is perhaps a major redeeming  feature as we begin to reflect on yet another disastrous period in the club's history. The events have been well dicumented and don't bear repeating but by Round 16 their season was as good as over with as many players heading for the infirmary as were those heading for the scrapheap but they bested the finals bound Dockers for most of the game. Since then, there have been a couple of consolation wins (against the franchise teams) but the coach has been confined to a short list of players  fit enough to play at their optimum. A number of others were simply not up to performing to required AFL standards. Nor are some capable of preparing themselves to play the game the way the coach dictates. They are, of course, finished. Done. Kaput.

I can think of a few others who would have been better off "rested" for the last couple of games but that would have only invited scorn among the club's enemies amid allegations that the club was ... ahem ... controlling the outcome to improve its draft position. Now that's a total myth as this game proved beyond all reasonable doubt. The Demons were bad enough on their own to make the result an absolute certainty from the outset.

 I will exclude from the "bad" characterisation, the club's two young skippers in Jack Grimes and Jack Trengove who were thrust by circumstance into their difficult roles and who (I have no doubt whatsoever on this) will shame their critics in future years. They were there to learn their roles this year and have shown that they are responding extremely well to the challenge.

Colin Sylvia has also responded well, albeit late in the season, and defied his critics with another solid performance. Nearing the veteran stage, he's no longer "the kid" and it's to be hoped that he can finally put together a solid season of football. Nathan Jones had the solid Crowley tag and, despite having his output reduced to less than twenty disposals, he demonstrated to the rest of this young side the rewards that can be achieved by a solid hard pre season. 

A couple of young blokes in Tom McDonald and Jack Fitzpatrick showed that they have talent and it will be interesting to see how they and many of the other youngsters in this group develop over the next year or two. Let's face it, player development is an area where the club has lagged behind the rest of the field over the past decade or so. It remains one of the club's major challenges as we enter the coming era.

Development, fitness and hard work over the off season is a necessity for all clubs in this highly competitive industry. It's going to be even more important for what is left of the 2012 list and for those who join it in the coming months. It is on that which we will have to hang our hopes over the coming long, hot summer.

 

Melbourne 1.3.9 2.5.17 4.8.32 5.10.40

Fremantle 3.5.23 7.7.49 11.14.80 14.17.101

Goals

Melbourne Fitzpatrick 2 Blease Jones Sellar

Fremantle Ballantyne 3 Griffin Mzungu Pavlich Sandilands 2 Mayne Mundy Walters

Best

Melbourne Sylvia Grimes Jones Trengove Fitzpatrick Garland

Fremantle Mundy Fyfe Barlow Pearce Hill Sandilands

Injuries

Melbourne Nil

Fremantle McPharlin (hamstring)

Changes

Melbourne Nil

Fremantle Nil

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Fremantle Nil

Umpires Farmer Dalgleish Leppard

Official Crowd 32,687 at Patersons Stadium.

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our game plan is dog [censored]! i dont care what anyone says mark neeld needs to get this side back on track next year otherwise he will be next in line to be shown the door

If you don't care what anyone says there's not much point being on a forum, maybe start a blog. Imagine there's a number of posters in the same boat though.

All I can say is that Jack Grimes is my hero.

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Positives:

  • Really good attack on the ball shown by all players, second third and fourth efforts a real highlight. No player was ever caught flat-footed with or without the ball.
  • Good skills and decision making, especially from Dunn and McDonald.
  • Trengove was just too quick and sharp for his direct opponent all night, his progress has been amazing.
  • Jack Watts laying his body on the line yet again (how is still able to walk is incredible), good to know West Coast are still upset he didn't slip down to number two in the draft.
  • The team played as a tight unit all night, the structure held up well, there was good support offensively through their spread and defensively through blocks and shepherding.
  • Well coached, especially around the stoppages and kick-outs. Melbourne looked to have an answer for every situation.
  • The umpiring was as good as you are likely to see in a game of football. If anything Melbourne got the rub of the green, but you just have to take those opportunities when they come around.
  • McKenzie's quick handpasses left Fremantle guessing as to where the ball would go next all night.

Negatives

  • Cale Morton was unavailable to play tonight.
  • Heartbreaking to know that some players on the list have played their last ever game for the club.
  • We don't get to see this team for another six months.

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Umpire 7 is Jeff Dalgleish, he also had us in Darwin v Port ... He raped us tonight! Where is he from? Umpire 11 is Matthew Leppard, from memory he seemed to be trigger happy on the 50 metre penalties against us. Did you notice how the 50 metre penalty we got turned out to be 40 metres.

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Why did we play Mark 'donuts 4 disposals' jamar??! seriously this bloke needs to do alot more around the ground! that was [censored] weak effort. atleast spence was getting bit of the ball and having a serious dip. i know that spencer would have got mauled today but it would have given him great learning curve on how hard you have to work a prime big man ruckman.

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1) Not that it made any difference to the score, but that was one of the worst cases of umpiring to the crowd I've clapped eyes on.

2) Play in front = get footy x 100

3) Jack Fitzpatrick is quicker than 3/4 of the team and kicks like them too

4) Neeld is clearly all about effort and attitude. I'd like skills and ability to be on the radar too

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