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The Road to StarTrak - Round 2


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STARTRACK: THE FINAL FRONTIER by Whispering Jack

This week, Melbourne goes on the road to the AFL's final frontier, the national capital Canberra, where it takes on another of the AFL's new franchise clubs in the Greater Western Sydney Giants. Both clubs won their opening rounds but they are considered to be a long way behind the AFL's elite teams and in a different stratosphere completely to the reigning premier, Hawthorn.

A win at StarTrak Oval, Manuka will mean a lot to the victor - it will provide confidence, credibility and an excellent starting point for the long year ahead. To the vanquished it will make the long year ahead feel even a little bit longer.

Needless to say, a win is important for both clubs. Melbourne has been down for a long time and one wonders how long it can keep treading water. And even though they have been gifted so many drafting concessions in their formative years, the Giants are not without problems of their own - Difficult times for Greater Western Sydney

For Melbourne, last week's win, albeit against an undermanned opposition with its main man severely restricted due to not having fully recovered from his shoulder injury, was therapeutic to its players, management and staff and most of all, its supporters to who the adjective "long-suffering" has well and truly outworn its welcome. After all these years there was a light at the end of the tunnel and it was neither a mirage nor an express train rumbling down the tracks on its way to cause wreckage and further untold damage to our collective pride.

It was a supreme team effort. Every one of the twenty-two players including the seven debutants played his part and for the first time in a long while, the talk of the town around Melbourne is how do you fit two players - one returning from injury, the other from suspension - into the team and who would be the unlucky player or players omitted in order to make way for them.

There's something else about this game that also needs to be said. At the last meeting between these teams, Melbourne wasn't just beaten badly, it was smashed and left badly bleeding after a shameful, shambolic display of ineptitude. Up to about two thirds of that team is likely to be playing at Manuka this Saturday and if they have any pride in their ability as footballers they will be out to atone for that performance.

There are some obvious reasons why I am confident that they can reverse that horrific outcome. For one, the team has some marking targets and clever smalls up forward and for another, they are more focussed, aggressive and hitting the scoreboard. Although they were well beaten by the Giants last year, the Demons had only four scoring shots less than the winners. They have straightened up and are playing more direct football and though the home side will be no pushover, there's no reason why they shouldn't avenge their two 2014 losses to the AFL's newest franchise team to give themselves and their fans yet another much needed boost.

THE GAME

GWS Giants at StarTrack Oval, Saturday 11 April, 2015 at 2.10pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall GWS Giants 3 wins Melbourne 3 wins

At StarTrak Oval GWS Giants 0 wins Melbourne 1 win

Past five meetings GWS Giants 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins

The Coaches Cameron 2 wins Roos 0 wins

MEDIA

TV - Fox Sports 3 at 2.00pm (live)

RADIO - SEN

THE BETTING

GWS Giants to win - $1.46

Melbourne to win - $2.70

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

GWS Giants 15.8.98 defeated Melbourne 3.16.34 at the MCG Round 21, 2014

This game saw Melbourne sink to its lowest ebb in a disappointing season. It was bad enough to lose on the MCG to the newest franchise team by 64 points but to score only three goals for the day and only one (against thirteen) in the final three quarters after starting the game as firm favourites was nothing short of humiliating.

And it all happened on Members Appreciation Day.

THE TEAMS

GWS GIANTS


B: Heath Shaw, Phil Davis, Joel Patfull
HB: Nick Haynes, Aidan Corr, Rhys Palmer
C: Tommy Bugg, Callan Ward, Tom Scully
HF: Lachie Whitfield, Jeremy Cameron, Cam McCarthy
F: Adam Treloar, Adam Tomlinson, Josh Kelly
FOLL: Shane Mumford, Stephen Coniglio, Dylan Shiel
I/C: Toby Greene, Ryan Griffen, Devon Smith, Nathan Wilson
EMG: Matt Buntine, Andrew Phillips, Zac Williams

IN: Nathan Wilson

OUT: Curtly Hampton (omitted)

MELBOURNE

B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Jeremy Howe
HB: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Christian Salem
C: Daniel Cross, Heritier Lumumba, Ben Newton
HF: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jack Viney
F: Jeff Garlett, Chris Dawes, Jack Watts
FOLL: Mark Jamar, Dom Tyson, Nathan Jones
I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince, Aaron vandenBerg
EMG: Jay Kennedy-Harris, Viv Michie, Jake Spencer

IN: Chris Dawes, Bernie Vince

OUT: Jay Kennedy-Harris, Jimmy Toumpas (both omitted)

Melbourne impressed last week with an uncharacteristic style of ball movement that we've rarely witnessed in recent seasons. The defence held tight, particularly in the first half when it conceded only three goals to the Suns. The midfield was neat and impressive and shared the ball around so that it was not left to the few to carry the load and there was plenty of run and contested marking power up forward.

The Giants will certainly test them out with their pace and movement in the middle of the ground thanks to the likes of Adam Treloar, Lachie Whitfield, Dylan Shields and Toby Greene while Jeremy Cameron, Cam McCarthy and Adam Tomlinson will test the Melbourne defence. Shane Mumford gave the Demons a workout in the ruck last year and his duel with a rejuvenated Mark Jamar will be crucial to the outcome of this game.

The Giants are playing their first home game at their home away from home, StarTrack Oval, Canberra. Their problem however, is that they don't really play well at this venue having just one win from nine games there. They played at Manuka three times last year without victory. Melbourne won there at their only meeting in round 21, 2012 when they emerged 25-point victors. The Dees have played five times in the ACT for two wins.

Melbourne is in good form and has been further bolstered by the return from suspension of Chris Dawes and of Bernie Vince from a hamstring injury. These players should give the team the edge in experience which, combined with the fact that the Demons are buoyed with confidence, comfortable with this venue and are capable of using their new found aggression and size to advantage, should see them win their second successive game for a perfect start to the 2015 season.

Melbourne by 17 points.

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STARTRACK: THE FINAL FRONTIER by Whispering Jack

This week, Melbourne goes on the road to the AFL's final frontier, the national capital Canberra, where it takes on another of the AFL's new franchise clubs in the Greater Western Sydney Giants. Both clubs won their opening rounds but they are considered to be a long way behind the AFL's elite teams and in a different stratosphere completely to the reigning premier, Hawthorn.

THE GAME

GWS Giants at StarTrack Oval, Saturday 11 April, 2015 at 2.10pm

And it will keep us in the Top 4 for another glorious week!
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We have had some good performances there against swans, Norf and the Giants.

Some we never returned with the bickies, but weren't blown away.

We have a different team now (stating the bleeding obvious) but the ground doesn't hold any fears.

I don't think the team holds any fears for anyone.

Let's chalk up No. 2

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Put a $100 on the Dees and will (along with the squeeze) be on the road to Startrack at about 5.30 Saturday morning to watch my investment blossom.

I had to have a little on them as well, I couldn't believe they were still $2.75.

Drive safely BBO return safely.

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I had to have a little on them as well, I couldn't believe they were still $2.75.

Drive safely BBO return safely.

Thanks Pig. We must be "shortening" - they were $2.85 when I punted. Hard to imagine Melbourne being the punters choice!

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I really don't think GWS are going to be the pushover some seem to think they will be. We have to find a way to counter the likes of Cameron, Ward, Shaw, Mumford etc as well as compete against a crowd that will definitely NOT be urging us on. I sincerely hope that the players don't go into the game with the same attitude as some of our supporters and think that simply turning up assures a certain victory.

(just to be clear...my comments are based on general comments following Saturday's game... not necessarily aimed at just posters in this thread).

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Put a $100 on the Dees and will (along with the squeeze) be on the road to Startrack at about 5.30 Saturday morning to watch my investment blossom.

Can you put an extra 5 on for me BBO.

ps,tell the squeeze her cooking is great.

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I really don't think GWS are going to be the pushover some seem to think they will be

I dont think anyone thinks its an easy game

This mob smashed by 10 goals on the MCG end of last season

Lets return the favour with interest

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Just in case any of the players think this week will "just happen" (to use Rockets words) the coaches should make them watch the drubbing from last year on our own turf.

The betting will be very interesting to see for it, I can see it being 50/50.

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So much more pumped for this game following the impressive win against GC. Will be driving down with a couple mates for this one. If anyone else is heading down, do they know what section (other than behind the goals) our supporters will be congregating?

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/events/GIANTS0215/venues/MAN/performances/EMAN2015707/tickets

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Gee one win has made a difference around here.

If we win another I think I will stay off the B----hit will be too thick!

I don't care if it's thicker than Robbo. I'll spread it on my toast and eat it like Vegimite if it means enjoying two wins to kick off the season.

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Just a thought. I believe my Trident Membership is worth shite there. Should I just front up and buy a ticket. It won't be a sellout surely!

Doesn't take much to be a sellout but you would be unlucky if you got their early and missed out...

But don't hold me to this - I only see Dees games at Manuka - it is such a terrible spot to watch footy; terrible atmosphere, usual cold wind coming across the ground, high UV if the sun is out so you go home (or to the pub) burnt and freezing...

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So much more pumped for this game following the impressive win against GC. Will be driving down with a couple mates for this one. If anyone else is heading down, do they know what section (other than behind the goals) our supporters will be congregating?

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/events/GIANTS0215/venues/MAN/performances/EMAN2015707/tickets

NSW and ACT members get this as their 'home state' game, with reserved seats in the Hill Stand so I assume there'd be a few Demons fans there.

'Premium' seating without any cover...at least the forecast is looking ok.

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Don't want to start a separate thread about this, but what is the story with Stephen Coniglio? I have always rated him, but for some reason he hasn't seemed to cement his spot in the GWS team (happy to be informed as to why this is the case, ie. due to injury). I know he injured his thumb a while back, which would explain some missed games, but going in to his fourth season, he's yet to play a full 22 games. He started as sub last week, so will be interesting to see what they do with him this week.

Out of contract at the end of this season I believe. While he's a WA boy, I consider him a person of interest.

I sit back with great smugness that some of the GWS kids will start to look elsewhere when they ask for a pay rise and it doesn't come. Is this bloke one we should tempt?

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Don't want to start a separate thread about this, but what is the story with Stephen Coniglio? I have always rated him, but for some reason he hasn't seemed to cement his spot in the GWS team (happy to be informed as to why this is the case, ie. due to injury). I know he injured his thumb a while back, which would explain some missed games, but going in to his fourth season, he's yet to play a full 22 games. He started as sub last week, so will be interesting to see what they do with him this week.

Out of contract at the end of this season I believe. While he's a WA boy, I consider him a person of interest.

I sit back with great smugness that some of the GWS kids will start to look elsewhere when they ask for a pay rise and it doesn't come. Is this bloke one we should tempt?

Was wondering the same when I read he was GWS sub.

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Doesn't take much to be a sellout but you would be unlucky if you got their early and missed out...

But don't hold me to this - I only see Dees games at Manuka - it is such a terrible spot to watch footy; terrible atmosphere, usual cold wind coming across the ground, high UV if the sun is out so you go home (or to the pub) burnt and freezing...

Bit harsh. It's quite a picturesque ground and when it fills up the atmosphere isn't bad, although when it goes quiet it goes eerily quiet. I remember attending a GWS game back when Folau was still playing, and when he laid a tackle you could hear the crunch loud and clear.

You are also often at a good distance for providing constructive feedback to opposition players if you so choose.

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