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ENHANCING THE FAN EXPERIENCE by George on the Outer

During the week some of our readers would have received a survey from the MFC and the AFL, seeking their opinion of the Fan Experience, which has resulted in our senses being assailed by bright lights, loud music and boorish ground announcers.

Sadly for the Demon supporters they would be happy for some fan experience of the traditional type going to see their side compete ... perchance winning now and then, and even dreaming of the fan experience of the Hawthorn supporters who have witnessed decades of success both on and off the field.

But the only experience they got was another shellacking from a team that is obviously a premiership contender (again), and a football lesson on how very, very far the Demons are from being both relevant and successful in todays competition.

And that shellacking was delivered without the services of Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis!

The opening two goals by the Demons pointed to something possible, before the Hawks had registered a major but the first two goals to the Hawks came from direct turnovers, as the Melbourne players set about destroying their own confidence. To finish the quarter they then piled on another four for good measure, as the players in Red and Blue in many cases stood idly by.

That was bettered again the 3rd with an 8 goal haul, and another 6 in the final term to round it out nicely.

Were it not for Tom McDonald and Col Garland the rout that was to ensue would have been even uglier. And yes, they made a couple of mistakes themselves, but when the ball keeps coming in so freely and often, they can be more than forgiven.

Similarly Nathan Jones played his guts out again, and seems to have lost all the promised support he had at year start. It certainly doesnt help when your ruckman cant hit the ball remotely near a red and blue shirted player. Or even to hit the ball!

What cant be forgiven is the unwillingness to run and run hard when needed by the Melbourne players. A classic example was when Gibson gathered the ball in the Hawthorn backline and delivered to Rioli on the wing. As Rioli ran forward to eventually score the goal, Gibson ran behind him all the way to the goal line, protecting him from any defenders. A look back to the Melbourne forward line saw Gibson's direct opponent still standing, looking downfield.

For the Hawks it is all about team!

The ruthlessness of Hawthorn has to be admired and their goal-kicking and field delivery is exceptional. Roughead, Gunston, Suckling, and Bruest have the most delightful kicking style and accuracy. The 50 metre arc is only a way-point to goal as they consistently make the distance and usually the accuracy.

Contrast that with the efforts of a number of Melbourne players who couldnt make either the distance or the accuracy from points well inside the 50 metre arc. While the overall result wouldnt have changed, another 5 or 6 very gettable goals start to make the score-line respectable and give some hope for the future.

But even if everything had gone our way up forward, the obvious holes and NQR players proliferate throughout the side. We have imported, traded and drafted some serious talent over the past 2 years, but when the names of M. Jones, Bail, Grimes, Howe and Spencer appear in the team selected, we can be certain that we are scraping the barrel.

The fact that we HAVE to play kids like Billy Stretch, Angus Brayshaw and then supplement them with other first year players like Aaron Vandenberg, shows the true lack of depth that the club faces.

Yet all of these first year players acquitted themselves admirably. That no one in the Casey lineup can or is capable of giving them a rest is a real indictment. By season's end they may well be burnt out, battered and deflated. Even more so when they realise what some players are being paid to run around with the Scorpions!

Contrast those NQR players with the performance, and strong marking efforts of Cam Pedersen, who truly took his slim opportunity to play at senior level and turned it into a sterling performance. He willed himself to contests and created opportunities up forward to not only score three goals off his own boot but give Garlett chances that wouldnt have otherwise happened. Then he pinch hits in the ruck and even gives us a couple of clearances that were non-existent for most of the match.

Hell be back next week, and unfortunately the list will be populated with more of the NQR players again. Losing Christian Salem to a hamstring makes the selection committee's job even harder as they are forced to put forward names that simply shouldnt be on the radar.

Worse still is the fan experience that the supporters will be forced to endure when those same players run out on the ground again, and perform to the same miserable standards that we have witnessed all this season.

Melbourne 2.0.12 3.3.21 4.6.30 7.8.50

HAWTHORN 6.2.38 10.6.66 18.8.116 24.11.155

Goals

Melbourne Garlett Pedersen 3 Bail

Hawthorn Roughead 4 Breust Rioli 3 Hale Langford Puopolo Schoenmakers 2 Ceglar Gunston Hartung, Hill Mitchell Suckling

Best

Melbourne Garlett Pedersen T McDonald N Jones

Hawthorn Mitchell Hartung Hill Roughead Burgoyne Langford Shiels Ceglar

Changes

Melbourne Jesse Hogan (soreness) replaced in the selected side by Cam Pedersen

Hawthorn Isaac Smith (illness) replaced in the selected side by Jonathan Simpkin

Injuries

Melbourne Christian Salem (hamstring)

Hawthorn Nil

Substitutes

Melbourne Billy Stretch replaced Christian Salem in the second quarter

Hawthorn Jonathan Simpkin replaced David Hale in the third quarter

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Hawthorn Nil

Umpires Rosebury Edwards Ryan

Official crowd 41,935 at the MCG

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I'm soo numb from the crap over the last 8 years. I have nothing much to say. I am slowly getting swayed by my Bulldog mates. Now that is a side worth watching. I can honestly say Ive been to more doggies games than Dee's and im a MFC member

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My free time on a weekend is far too precious to waste describing what I feel right now.

I watched the first quarter then turned it off. Checked the scores occasionally.

It's just not worth watching, I haven't watched the last couple of games and am almost ashamed (and disappointed) to say I feel much better for it.

My love of footy has completely diminished.

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Got stuck in traffic and arrived halfway through the first quarter. Watched the Hawks kick 8 in a row and then left halfway through the 2nd quarter. I feel like I made a wise choice.

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Jones was expected to go to another level this year. He went through the motions even in big losses in past years. This year he has gone unsighted three weeks in a row. Well below his best and being found out as a decent footballer in a bad side.

People need to realize this.

We need more than Jones. He's just a soldier. He's the opposite extreme of Watts, but we have nothing in the middle. No balance.

Last year I said he was tradeable alongside a top pick for a powerful midfielder. Everyone laughed at me. He doesn't actually make us better.

I know it's harsh and I love Jones, but we need winners. He's a loser.

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I doubt the MFC will be around in 5 years to be honest

I always just put this type of talk down to ridiculous hyperbole but at the moment I'm seriously struggling to see when we will ever get to the point if competing with the top teams again. What do we offer the comp? Theres at least two too many teams (probably four really) and we're one of them its sad to say.

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I have no idea why I wasted 7 hours from my valuable time on the weekend to watch that rabble.

I doubt it will be happening again. I'm sick of wasting my time and money. Unfortunately this club is dying a slow death and I can't bear to watch it.

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Such a beautiful day for footy.

I left at 3qtr time and the faces of other Melbourne supporters on the train said it all.

Absolute defeat. And I dont mean in the win/loss sense. I mean there was nothing left. One guy have me a nod and a look and it said it all.

I dont care that we played the Hawks and we had guys out. Today was the WORST ive seen live since i started going in the mid 80's - and its pretty darn close to 186 in terms of hurt.

I do not know for the life of me where we go from here. I can not see us ever getting out of the cellar. We will forever be a bottom team.

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Can we all agree that there should be a moratorium on letting AFL players and coaches get away with saying 'it's a very even competition'.

This game proves it's not, and it hasn't been for 5-6 years.

We won't be able to attract free agents. It's simple. Who would choose to come to us? Byrnes, Cross, Vince and H prove that only players without other options will. Meanwhile a player in our top 3 walks to a club like Hawthorn.

The answer is simple. Draft concessions.

It's about access to talent.

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More than anything else, disappointing.

Disappointing in the longer term by way of making the team attractive to free agents etc., disappointing for the young players we need to keep, disappointing in terms of building our membership and sponsorships and the financial limitations that that will create, and disappointing for the players themselves, regardless of how much they've brought it on themselves.

The gulf between where our players are and where Hawthorn are ... impossible to see how it can be bridged in anything under, what, 5+ years. There's not a Hawthorn player out there you wouldn't be happy to have the ball in their hands, have them going for a one-on-one, have them needing to nail a disposal. We have only a handful of those kinds of players.

To Roos' credit, we've seen surprisingly few of these blow-outs, which for those with short memories, used to be almost a weekly occurrence. But to even have one match like this just shows how far behind we still are, and how fragile our gains are.

Disappointed, disappointing.

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    The Demonland Podcast will air LIVE on Monday, 15th April @ 8:30pm. Join George, Binman & I as we analyse the Demons loss at the MCG against the Lions in the Round 05. You questions and comments are a huge part of our podcast so please post anything you want to ask or say below and we'll give you a shout out on the show. If you would like to leave us a voicemail please call 03 9016 3666 and don't worry no body answers so you don't have to talk to a human. Listen & Chat LIV

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