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MATCH PREVIEW & TEAM SELECTION - ROUND 2, 2016

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ON TRACK by Whispering Jack

Nathan Jones is saying that the Demons are finally back on track. There is no doubt that the signs are good and they always are when you can number those who could potentially force their way into the best 22 from outside Saturday's winning team against the GWS Giants on the fingers of both hands.

Yes, both hands.

At Good Friday’s training session which was followed by an extended training session for players not selected which included game simulation and match practice with members of the Casey Scorpions squad, I counted a few there who were overlooked but who would normally have been pegged in as obvious selections. You can add a couple of the emergencies for Saturday who had to be rested and a couple of early draft selections on show for the first time coming back from long term injury. There are a couple of mates from Glenelg who have had a brief taste and are not far away, along with a couple of rookies fighting for an upgrade who had played well in Melbourne's last win of 2015 at Etihad Stadium - also against the Giants.

This week's opponent is Essendon and by way of contrast to the above, you need only flash back three years in time when the teams also met in Round 2 under much different circumstances. Back then, it was Melbourne that was reeling in an out of control downward spiral and its list was so problematic that it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that half of the players who ran out that day might have struggled for games elsewhere.

Such has been the rejuvenation of the Melbourne list in the interim under Paul Roos.

However, it has not only been the change in personnel but also, there's been a sea change in culture, style of game and attitude and particularly so this year as the more attacking influence of coach-in-waiting Simon Goodwin begins to kick in. The greater depth in the playing group is an outcome of the work of Roos and co in the transformation of the club from a basket case to a contender.

There still remain some ghosts of the past that must be laid to rest. The Bombers were at a low ebb when these teams met in Round 15 last year. They were sinking under the cloud of the long running drugs saga, their form was abysmal coming off a 110-point loss to St Kilda the week before, key players were missing with injury and James Hird's coaching tenure was under attack. It should have been an easy win for the Demons but they made a mess of it.

Essendon is again at a low ebb now as it faces a season in the wilderness minus a dozen suspended players. The Bombers are in disarray. That would normally be a worry for a Melbourne team that seems to underperform when expected to do well but not this time.

I expect Melbourne with its new found hardness, its purpose and more attacking mindset to lay to rest another ghost of the past. These things must be done to ensure the club remains on track.

Melbourne by 40 points.

THE GAME Essendon v Melbourne at the MCG Saturday, 2 April, 2016 at 2.10pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Essendon 128 wins Melbourne 81 wins 2 draws

At the MCG Essendon 65 wins Melbourne 45 wins 1 draw

The last five meetings Essendon 2 wins Melbourne 3 wins

The Coaches Worsfold 0 wins Roos 0 wins

MEDIA

TV – Fox Footy Channel – live at 1.30 pm 

RADIO - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC

THE BETTING

Essendon $6.00 to win Melbourne $1.12 to win

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Essendon 10.9.69 defeated Melbourne 7.18.60 at the MCG, Round 15, 2015

Melbourne dominated the play in the first half but couldn't put the Bombers away and was made to pay when they were outscored by one goal to six in the third quarter. Inaccuracy in front of goal didn't help.

THE TEAMS

ESSENDON

B: Matt Dea, Mitch Brown, Mark Baguley
HB: James Gwilt, Michael Hartley, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
C: Brendon Goddard, David Zaharakis, Jackson Merrett
HF: Zach Merrett, Patrick Ambrose, Kyle Langford
F: Mathew Stokes, Joe Daniher, Nick Kommer
R: Matthew Leuenberger, Ryan Crowley, Darcy Parish
I: Martin Gleeson, Orazio Fantasia, Adam Cooney, James Kelly

IN: Nick Kommer, Michael Hartley (debut), Orazio Fantasia

OUT: Craig Bird, Jonathan Simpkin, Shaun McKernan

MELBOURNE

B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Heritier Lumumba
HB: Matt Jones, Colin Garland, Christian Salem
C: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBerg
HF: Jack Watts, Cam Pedersen, James Harmes
F: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett
Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson
I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Tom Bugg, Ben Kennedy
Emg: Lynden Dunn, Billy Stretch, Sam Frost

IN: Angus Brayshaw, Heritier Lumumba 

OUT: Sam Frost, Oscar McDonald 

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This game will be played between the ears for our boys. 

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I'm not gonna lie, there is a nagging voice in the back of my head warning me not to get ahead of myself on this and to be prepared for us to somehow choke on this game. But there is a more important image that pops into my head, the image of Viney, Hogan, Oliver, Watts, Gawn etc and the look on their face after the GWS win. They desperately want that feeling again, and I think the competitive beasts we have at our club will accept nothing more than our best on the weekend, and if that happens we'll win big.

This game is a golden opportunity for Hogan, who until the 4th quarter has been a bit off kilter, to regain his form and confidence. I hope the club builds on Clarry's minutes and unleashes him against the depleted Dons mindfield, and I wanna see Jack Viney smash everyone one of them into the turf (he can go a little easier of Jamar if he likes). 

As Jako said, this game will be won/lost/won big between the ears of the Dees squad.

Edited by Pates
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I'm pretty confident about this one.  I'd love to see us burst out of the blocks and slam on 5-6 goals before the Bombers land one, but it's been so long since we've done that.  We should put them to the sword though, and if our midfield gets on top then I have no worries that our forwards can kick a winning score.

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Good opportunity to demonstrate the loss of the soft underbelly and aim for a demolition job by playing 4 quarters for a change. Won't be happy with anything less. 

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we don't have a brilliant record in games we should win, so it's always a bit of a worry but really confident we've turned a corner and the boys will be keen to serve back some of the punishment we've copped the last 10 years and give them a hiding, hope Jack Viney picks up where he left off, he's really showing some great signs at the minute

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Game time is 2:10pm - or does Fox coverage start 40 minutes before?

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Just now, hardtack said:

Game time is 2:10pm - or does Fox coverage start 40 minutes before?

The coverage on Foxtel will likely begin at around 2pm.  There is a game on earlier at 1:45pm which will get the early coverage.

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3 minutes ago, Wiseblood said:

The coverage on Foxtel will likely begin at around 2pm.  There is a game on earlier at 1:45pm which will get the early coverage.

Ok, in which case the original post needs correcting ;-)

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There are too many contenders pushing for spots in our best 22 for anyone to be complacent against Essendon  ......... and they all want to be on the plane to Hobart the following weekend.  We will win by a big margin in spite of our recent record in 'should win' matches.

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11 minutes ago, Deeoldfart said:

There are too many contenders pushing for spots in our best 22 for anyone to be complacent against Essendon  ......... and they all want to be on the plane to Hobart the following weekend.  We will win by a big margin in spite of our recent record in 'should win' matches.

I want to believe this Oldfart and I think you are right but my supporter syndrome is strong

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10 minutes ago, fndee said:

I want to believe this Oldfart and I think you are right but my supporter syndrome is strong

I know exactly what you mean fndee.  Fortunately I'm currently in remission, but it is known to relapse without notice.

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29 minutes ago, fndee said:

I want to believe this Oldfart and I think you are right but my supporter syndrome is strong

it's like the force and the dark side

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What I've been liking over the 3 NAB games and Round 1 is the style we've been playing (when we haven't been lapsing a la the middle of last week) - vigour, run, flair, instinct, persistence, etc - and I'm looking forward to more of that, and a win will certainly result if (when!) it happens.

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The difference for me in the round 1 game was that even when we didn't score in Q2, Q3; we still had substantial use of the ball through the guts and good movement into the forward line. Not sure what the inside 50's were for these two quarters, but I believe they wouldn't be shabby - we certainly didn't go missing as a team; we just couldn't convert (a decent amount of) opportunities. I feel this is significantly different to last year, and leaves me much more optimistic this year that over the next few games we'll refine our best 22 and tune the forward line structure to improve our results.

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Joe Daniher can be a problem,I live in fear of him kicking a bag.Need a quick big bloke on him.

Frost comes to mind but no backline experience this year.Who do you recon will get him?

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Everyone is expecting the dees to roll them. Can't remember shorter odds for the dees to win in recent memory.

 

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It is an insightful observation in the OP of how in 2013 we were a basket case defeated by a rampaging Essendon by almost 25 goals. Jobe Watson won 38 possessions plus 3 Brownlow votes and Crameri kicked six goals. They were big, strong and competitive, everything we weren't.

Fast forward three years and we now know that there were other factors contributing to that blowout aside from our own hopelessness. 

We are now the team chock full of competitors and they have weaved their own basket of drug induced ineptitude. This weekend we need to rid that history of 3 seasons past and march towards making some new premiership history of our own.  They can languish at the bottom of the ladder where they so deserve to be.

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2 hours ago, Peter Griffen said:

we don't have a brilliant record in games we should win, so it's always a bit of a worry but really confident we've turned a corner and the boys will be keen to serve back some of the punishment we've copped the last 10 years and give them a hiding, hope Jack Viney picks up where he left off, he's really showing some great signs at the minute

We don't have a brilliant record full stop. 

Its time to continue to change that this week. 

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45 minutes ago, doc roet said:

Joe Daniher can be a problem,I live in fear of him kicking a bag.Need a quick big bloke on him.

Frost comes to mind but no backline experience this year.Who do you recon will get him?

TMAC for sure

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2 hours ago, hardtack said:

Game time is 2:10pm - or does Fox coverage start 40 minutes before?

It's actually on at 11.10am hardtack. :ph34r:

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Can't help but have that nagging voice in the back of my head saying 'we will try our absolute best to lose this game'. Despite our appalling record of losing games we should win (Carlton & Essendon last year....shudder) I think we're now finally witnessing the dawn of a new Melbourne. If we bring the same toughness showed against GWS, then we will not only win, but we will win well. 

 

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