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MATCH PREVIEW AND TEAM SELECTION - Round 8

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THIS IS THE MOMENT by Whispering Jack

"This is the moment!

This is the day,

When I send all my doubts and demons 

On their way!" ~

THIS IS THE MOMENT (from the musical Jekyll and Hyde)

Melbourne has been described as the Jekyll and Hyde of the AFL. As it attempts to clamber up from the basement of the competition where it has spent so many moments of despair, it continues to tantalise supporters with great highs only to disappoint them with unexpected lows. How can you explain its Round 2 performance against a lowly undermanned Essendon wedged in between games against two highly rated teams in GWS Giants and North Melbourne?  The same question can be asked of the game against St Kilda just two weeks ago.

You could put the inconsistency down to the fact that the team is one of the youngest in the competition and that's what you expect from inexperience. There's certainly some truth in that but there comes a time when even young sides must rise to the challenge and this week's game at the MCG against the Western Bulldogs is precisely that time. 

The Demons are in their own way tracking the Bulldogs of twelve months ago. At the start of 2015, they were a young team, unfashionable and not fancied to advance much, if at all, after a 7-15 record in the year before. Under new coach Luke Beveridge, they started well winning their first two games, got thumped by the Hawks and had a revelatory win in Sydney beating the Swans by four points in an unexpected result before losing to lowly St Kilda at Etihad Stadium after leading at one stage by 55 points. They went into a losing streak going down at the same venue against Fremantle and before losing to Melbourne at the MCG by 39 points in the equivalent round to this week's game. Going into their bye round in midseason they had five wins from ten matches before building up a head of steam to finish with fourteen wins – doubling their tally from 2014 and making the finals.

I believe the Bullies had their moment in that game at the SCG when they beat Sydney away from home. I called it a revelation because of the nature of the win – a breakthrough against a leading team, one they were not expected to beat.

Now, it’s Melbourne’s turn for their breakthrough. The time is right, they play a strong team that’s in good form but the Western Bulldogs have played all of their matches to date at Etihad Stadium. They have yet to travel interstate or to play on the big MCG which, despite the stands surrounding it, is still open to the elements. I sense they are vulnerable.

And, this is the moment for Melbourne.

THE GAME 

Melbourne v Western Bulldogs at The MCG Sunday 24 May 2015 at 3.20pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall: Melbourne 85 Western Bulldogs 75 wins 1 draw

At MCG: Melbourne 45 wins Western Bulldogs 27 wins

Last Five Meetings: Melbourne 2 wins Western Bulldogs 3 wins

The Coaches: Roos 1 win Beveridge 1 win

MEDIA

TV - Fox Sports 3, Channel 7 live at 3.00pm

Radio - Triple M, 3AW

THE BETTING

Melbourne $2.75 to win Western Bulldogs $1.45 to win

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Western Bulldogs 24.9.153 defeated Melbourne 8.7.55 at Etihad Stadium, Round 20, 2015

The ruthless Bulldogs opened in blistering form to lead at the first break by 8.3.51 to 0.2.2 while Demons were virtually spectators as their opponents ran rings around them. Their first goal to Jeff Garlett was scored at the halfway mark of the second term, by which time they were more than 10 goals in arrears. Jesse Hogan scored a few goals, Tom McDonald worked hard in defence and Jack Watts player well but for the most part, the game was a train wreck for Melbourne.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE 

B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Tomas Bugg
HB: Josh Wagner, Colin Garland, Jayden Hunt
C: Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson, Clayton Oliver
HF: Jack Watts, Cameron Pedersen, Jeff Garlett
F: James Harmes, Jesse Hogan, Ben Kennedy
FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney
I/C: Viv Michie, Christian Petracca, Christian Salem, Billy Stretch
EMG: Jack Grimes, Oscar McDonald, Alex Neal-Bullen
IN: Christian Salem
 
OUT: Dean Kent (back)
 
WESTERN BULLDOGS
 
B: Matthew Boyd, Fletcher Roberts, Dale Morris
HB: Shane Biggs, Easton Wood, Jed Adcock
C: Lachie Hunter, Thomas Liberatore, Tory Dickson
HF: Liam Picken, Tom Campbell, Jack Stringer
F: Luke Dahlhaus, Jack Redpath, Mitch Wallis
FOLL: Jordan Roughead, Jackson Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli 
I/C: Bailey Dale, Caleb Daniel, Toby McLean, Bailey Williams
EMG: Josh Dunkley, Mitch Honeychurch, Lin Jong,
 
IN: Bailey Williams
 
OUT: Marcus Adams (finger)
 
SAM THE STATS MAN'S ROUND UP - 2016 TO DATE

BRAYSHAW, Angus MFC 3 games, 3 goals, CSFC 2 games 2 goals - the young midfielder who had an exciting debut season has suffered a few knocks which have set back his progress this year.

BUGG, Tomas MFC 7 games, 2 goals - the little "pest" has made a good start at the club with his hardnosed attitude.

DAWES, Chris CSFC 1 game, 2 goals - has been hampered by a calf injury for some time and played his first game in the VFL last Sunday.

DUNN, Lynden MFC 4 games, 1 goal, CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - form in defence has been disappointing and was relegated to the VFL last week.

FROST, Sam MFC 5 games, 4 goals, CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - form as a forward has been up and down.

GARLAND, Colin MFC 3 games, 0 goals, CSFC 4 games, 1 goal - another defender who has not reached his previous high levels of performance.

GARLETT, Jeffrey MFC 5 games, 11 goals - missed a couple of games with an ankle injury but always dangerous up forward.

GAWN, Max MFC 7 games 7 goals - has come on in leaps and bounds and is on his way to becoming an elite ruckman.

GRIMES, Jack CSFC 4 games 5 goals - playing with good form at Casey but seems to be on the outer at the club.

HARMES, James MFC 7 games, 7 goals - utility player who is one of the big improvers at the club and had a breakout game last week against the Suns gaining a NAB Rising Star nomination.

HOGAN, Jesse MFC 7 games, 17 goals - the next big thing in power forwards. Has had a few minor hiccups this year but have us a glimpse of the future with a 7 goal haul in a losing team against the Saints.

HULETT, Liam CSFC 4 games, 8 goals - strong bodied youngster who is developing through the Scorpions.

HUNT, Jayden MFC 4 games, 0 goals, CSFC 1 game, 1 goal - has grasped the opportunity after languishing on the club with a back injury in his first two seasons. Shows great dash.

JETTA, Neville MFC 7 games, 0 goals - great application in the Demons' defence.

JONES, Matthew MFC 4 games, 0 goals - had a good start to the season but suffered a setback with injury after four games.

JONES, Nathan MFC 7 games, 4 goals - after last season's post season surgery, he is slowly returning to his best.

KENNEDY, Ben MFC 7 games, 7 goals - settled in nicely as a goal kicking small forward.

KENNEDY-HARRIS, Jay CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - broke down with a severe hamstring injury in Casey's first game and remains weeks away from a return.

KENT, Dean MFC 7 games, 9 goals - has returned from his hamstring woes of last year to establish his place as a valuable member of the club's forward division.

KING, Max ® CSFC 4 games, 4 goals - working on his development as a tall forward/ruckman at Casey.

KING, Mitch CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - the big man broke down with an ACL injury early in his opening game down at Casey.

LUMUMBA, Heritier MFC 5 games, 0 goals - had injury problems last year that resulted in post season surgery and has been hot and cold on return. 

McDONALD, Oscar MFC 1 game, 0 goals,  CSFC 4 games, 0 goals - showed good pre season form but an ankle injury slowed him down.

McDONALD, Tom MFC 7 games, 0 goals - has again had some strong performances in defence and is an important member of the team's defence.

MELKSHAM, Jake - suspended as a result of the ASADA supplements investigation and CAS decision.

MICHIE, Viv ® MFC 1 game, 0 goals, CSFC 4 games, 3 goals - some strong displays at Casey demanded an uplift from the rookie list but he has opposition for a midfield spot.

NEAL-BULLEN, Alex CSFC 4 games, 3 goals - form at Casey has been good and he is knocking on the door to senior selection.

NEWTON, Ben CSFC 4 games, 5 goals - coming back from a long injury lay off and is another midfielder pushing for promotion to the AFL.

OLIVER, Clayton MFC 5 games, 3 goals, CSFC 1 game, 0 goals - has had an enormous impact as a tough midfield clearance player. Won a NAB Rising Star nomination in his debut game.

PEDERSEN, Cameron MFC 6 games, 5 goals, CSFC 1 game, 2 goals - relishing the role as forward/ruckman.

PETRACCA, Christian MFC 2 games, 2 goals, CSFC 3 games, 3 goals - finally earned a game after recovering from last year's ACL and a broken toe in the middle of the preseason and is starting to live up to the hype.

SALEM, Christian MFC 6 games, 1 goal - shows plenty of skill and class and will only get better.

SMITH, Joel ® CSFC 3 games,1 goal - the young rookie has switched sports from basketball and is showing promising signs with the Casey Scorpions.

SPENCER, Jake CSFC 2 games, 2 goals - returned to the VFL after a long layoff with a plantar fascia injury.

STRETCH, Billy MFC 2 games, 1 goal, CSFC 2 games, 0 goals - improving youngster with pace and silky skills.

TERLICH, Dean CSFC 5 games, 2 goals - has shown some good form at Casey but is well back in the queue for selection in his position.

TRENGOVE, Jack - CSFC 5 games, 4 goals - putting his hand up for selection.

TYSON, Dom MFC 7 games, 7 goals - showing glimpses of returning to the stellar form of his first season at the club.

VANDENBERG, Aaron MFC 3 games, 3 goals - the big-bodied midfielder's progress has been stalled by a serious ankle injury.

VINCE, Bernie MFC 6 games 5 goals - an important player in the Demon line up who recently re-signed in a great show of faith.

VINEY, Jack MFC 7 games, 4 goals - tough, hard and rising towards elite.

WAGNER, Josh ® 5 games, 0 goals - this year's revelation was uplifted from the rookie list and has displayed lots of composure in defence.

WATTS, Jack MFC 7 games, 14 goals, CSFC - having his best season in the Demons' forward line.

WEIDEMAN, Sam CSFC 4 games, 13 goals, has shown great potential and will be given time to develop in the VFL. A key forward with a big future.  

WHITE, Mitch ® CSFC 5 games, 2 goals - the young left footer is in the waiting room at Casey biding his time for his opportunity.

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I am still scared from that game in round 20. First 12 goals kicked by the dogs. 12!

the footy world is watching with lots of good press for the Dees thus week. 

Carn the farkin demons!!

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2 minutes ago, Baghdad Bob said:

 Kennedy 2 goals?

I jad the same question 

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4 minutes ago, Gorgoroth said:

Twitter from the club saying Lumamba to miss, Brayshaw and Salem ready to go.

Wouldn't mind Brayshaw regaining some form and fitness in the VFL before he rejoins the seniors. If Salem is good to go then he's 100% in the team. Most likely over Michie at this stage.

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I doubt Angus will be selected for the seniors tbh. It was more saying he is available to play this week. 

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I think this is our biggest test so far this year aside from the GWS game.

The game against North was after our loss to Essendon and I always consider those type of games 'response' games.

We've come off a really solid win to an injury riddled Gold Coast and we play an inform Bulldogs side at OUR home ground.

A loss of about 20 points is what I expect given how unpredictable we are.

But if all things go to plan for us, I think we're a sneaky chance.

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6 minutes ago, stevethemanjordan said:

I think this is our biggest test so far this year aside from the GWS game.

The game against North was after our loss to Essendon and I always consider those type of games 'response' games.

We've come off a really solid win to an injury riddled Gold Coast and we play an inform Bulldogs side at OUR home ground.

A loss of about 20 points is what I expect given how unpredictable we are.

But if all things go to plan for us, I think we're a sneaky chance.

This game will be won above the shoulders. I note Roos said on 360 that he is responsible for working on the players mindset more than anything this year. The other assistants have their responsibilities on game plan implementation, training planning etc. If that is the case he failed miserably before Round 2. 

I agree this is our biggest test to date. Bulldogs planning, work ethic, midfield and structure down back is first class. King rated them very high v Adelaide. And well organised. 

If our midfield can function to our best I give ourselves a winning chance. Their defence while depleted is very well organised by veterans Boyd and Morris who is in AA form.

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Part of me is willing to accept that last game against the dogs was an aberration, something was clearly off with the boys and that was the first time I really noticed Nate Jones was hampered. He was bumped off the ball by Lin Jong, I kinda hope someone brings that up to him through the week!

This is the game where it all needs to click, it clicked for the second half last week and we showed (again) we can score quickly when we get a run on but the Dogs are a totally different kettle of fish the GC. 

Really looking forward to this game, both teams have points to prove and both don't shy away from the contest. It'll be interesting to see who we play on Stringer. 

Edited by Pates

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36 minutes ago, H_T said:

This game will be won above the shoulders.

We are at a stage now where nearly every game we play will be won or lost above the shoulders.

Two out of our three losses were lost "above the shoulders".

The only game where we were legitimately beaten by a better side ( and still could have won) was North.

( and further to your point - I think the Bulldogs are a team that wins because of "above the shoulders" - I am not convinced that they are more talented than Geelong, Hawthorn or Sydney - but they have A plus mindset)

Edited by nutbean

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10 minutes ago, nutbean said:

We are at a stage now where nearly every game we play will be won or lost above the shoulders.

Two out of our three losses were lost "above the shoulders".

The only game where we were legitimately beaten by a better side ( and still could have won) was North.

( and further to your point - I think the Bulldogs are a team that wins because of "above the shoulders" - I am not convinced that they are more talented than Geelong, Hawthorn or Sydney - but they have A plus mindset)

It goes without saying and you've heard a number of coaches, footballers state it, very nearly every team in the comp can win on their day. That's how even it is. So mindset plays a significant part.

I agree on the Bulldogs mindset. Beveridge has good bloodlines through Clarkson and Northey (and I think maybe Wallace) who have proven in the past to get their teams up emotionally and hit the ground running with the right psyche way more often than not. Coaches that have a great connection and relationship with their players and have the knack of getting the best out of them together as a team. 

It will be a super game, I can't wait to see how our team starts after a big week in the media from quite a few.

PS. I rate St.Kilda despite their 2-5 return.

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imagining winning this

smash the lions next week and port in the NT and be comfortably in the 8 at a win/loss of 7-3

just about build a statue of Paul Roos outside the MCC

 

 

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How long is it since we've played in a legitimately big game? A game that fans of other clubs might be half-interested in watching? Feels great!!!

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14 minutes ago, nutbean said:

We are at a stage now where nearly every game we play will be won or lost above the shoulders.

Two out of our three losses were lost "above the shoulders".

The only game where we were legitimately beaten by a better side ( and still could have won) was North.

( and further to your point - I think the Bulldogs are a team that wins because of "above the shoulders" - I am not convinced that they are more talented than Geelong, Hawthorn or Sydney - but they have A plus mindset)

I disagree, the Saints outplayed us and have the track record to back up that performance. We would've won the Nirth game if it went for another minute longer.

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9 minutes ago, Curry & Beer said:

imagining winning this

smash the lions next week and port in the NT and be comfortably in the 8 at a win/loss of 7-3

just about build a statue of Paul Roos outside the MCC

 

 

OWAAT.

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27 minutes ago, Curry & Beer said:

imagining winning this

smash the lions next week and port in the NT and be comfortably in the 8 at a win/loss of 7-3

just about build a statue of Paul Roos outside the MCC

This week is crucial, of all the "important" games we've had this year I feel like this one will really tell us if we have genuinely improved.

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This is indeed a vital game, an opportunity for the team to regain some trust from the supporters and members, who they have let down time and time again over the past few years.

Just do it, Demons.  Please.

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30 minutes ago, Clint Bizkit said:

This week is crucial, of all the "important" games we've had this year I feel like this one will really tell us if we have genuinely improved.

and in terms of the momentum/belief that it will provide it is more important than all the others too

is also the most important in terms of our image as a club, if you know what I mean, we will very much be noticed by the comp (and our own jaded supporters) if we get up for this one

unfortunately, the other side of the coin is that there is plenty to lose. If we put in a rd2/rd6 performance we will be slaughtered and serious damage will be done

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If we beat the doggies this week, I would consider finals for the first time this season. In saying that, they are a good side and I think they will be too quick, much like St Kilda were a fortnight ago.

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5 minutes ago, pikeout said:

We'll win. I always know.

You're simply not sure which week.

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10 minutes ago, Devil is in the Detail said:

BF reporting ANB will play this week. Can anyone confirm??

That was just someone's suggestion of an in...

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