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MATCH PREVIEW AND TEAM SELECTION - Round 16


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TOP END TRAVELS by William from West Perth

Before the current season began, it would have been unimaginable for anyone to believe that Melbourne would have double the number of wins in the bag and a much stronger percentage than Fremantle by this mark, two thirds of the way through the year. 

After all, the Dockers finished last season's home and away fixture at the top of the AFL premiership ladder and demolished the Demons at both meetings in 2015. A week before the regular season ended, the teams met at Subiaco and Freo doubled Melbourne's score. I remember it well - it was an embarrassing afternoon/evening for us expatriate Demon fans. At one stage, the home side had a ten goal lead and the visitors had yet to score a goal until Jeff Garlett scored the team's first at the half way mark of the second quarter.

A lot of murky water has flowed under the bridge since that time with injuries cruelling the Fremantle season. Losing one of the reigning Brownlow Medallist and the competition's biggest and most dominant ruckman along with a number of very good others has done it no good.

Of course, the majority of teams suffer injuries and whilst Melbourne has not been as severely hit in this area, it has also lost a few handy players which makes life hard with young developing sides. 

On top of that, the Dees have, for the second year running, abdicated their home ground advantage in favour of a team that has a shorter distance to travel to a game. Admittedly, the Dockers have a fair way to travel, but the Demons are moving to relatively distant territory and moving into a completely different climate than what might have been experienced at the MCG. On top of that, Fremantle will travel to the Top End feeling fresh and rejuvenated coming off a bye while Melbourne fronts up after a six day break.

What this all means is that this is a danger game for the Demons. Their record at TIO Stadium is poor, their young side has been showing signs of fading late in games and the Dockers form of late has been much improved. Melbourne would be hoping that Max Gawn can continue his stellar form and that players like Jack Viney and Bernie Vince who below their best last week can help Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson in the midfield, that the backline can prevent the leakage of scores and that Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett and Jack Watts can maintain their form from the Adelaide game.

I'm tipping that the Dees will rise to the occasion and win up in Darwin for the first time in half a decade. Melbourne by 17 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Fremantle at TIO Stadium Saturday 9 July 2016 at 7.40pm (AEST)

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall:  Melbourne 13 wins Fremantle 21 wins

At TIO Stadium: Melbourne 0 wins Fremantle 1 win

Last Five meetings: Melbourne 0 wins Fremantle 5 wins

The Coaches: Roos 0 wins Lyon 4 wins 

MEDIA

TV - Fox Sports Channel 3 Live at 7.30pm

Radio - SEN ABC ABC Grandstand 

THE BETTING Melbourne $1.35 to win Fremantle $3.20 to win

LAST TIME THEY MET

Fremantle 17.6.108 defeated Melbourne 8.6.54 at Domain Stadium, Round 22, 2015

The Dockers were quickly out of the blocks and and scored five goals to nil in the opening term and increased their lead in every quarter on their way to an easy nine goal win against a tired looking Melbourne.

MELBOURNE

B: Sam Frost, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta

HB: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Matt Jones

C: Christian Petracca, Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince

HF: Jeff Garlett, Jack Watts, Billy Stretch

F: Aaron vandenBerg, Jesse Hogan, Dean Kent

FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney

I/C: Jack Grimes, James Harmes, Ben Kennedy, Mitch White

EMG: Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen, Jake Spencer

IN: Jack Grimes, Matt White

OUT: Tomas Bugg, Chris Dawes

FREMANTLE

B: Garrick Ibbotson, Zac Dawson, Cameron Sutcliffe

HB: Hayden Crozier, Sam Collins, Lee Spurr

C: Stephen Hill, Lachie Neale, Tommy Sheridan

HF: Chris Mayne, Matt Taberner, Michael Walters

F: Lachie Weller, Matthew Pavlich, Hayden Ballentyne

FOLL: Jonathon Griffin, David Mundy, Danyle Pearce

I/C: Connor Blakely, Ed Langdon, Nick Suban, Darcy Tucker

EMG: Josh Deluca, Jack Hannath, Tendai Mzunga

IN: Jonathon Griffin, Garrick Ibbotson, Ed Langdon

OUT: Michael Barlow (broken finger), Zac Clarke (omitted), Jack Hannath (omitted)

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Roos quotes from mfc twitter feed:

  •  No fear with playing in Darwin. We haven't played well at Etihad and that's 15 mins away.
  •  Wagner is probably another week away...We could play Wagner this week, but we want him to train and play four quarters.
  •  He (Lumumba) has improved, but still assessing him.
  •  He's (Brayshaw) going well. He won't play in the AFL this week.
  •   He (Dawes) was aware his game wasn't what we'd like on the weekend.
  •  Re List Management: Players know where they are at. No surprises.
  •   Mindful of the draw. Six day breaks. But we've freshened up for Darwin.

Not sure how we will 'freshen up' with Wagner, Brayshaw, Lumumba not available and Pedesen needing some Casey games.

Ins:  Oliver, Trengove.

Out: Dawes. Anyone carrying any sort of niggle.

Given it is a bye for Casey I would expect all the extended bench to go to Darwin.  Presumably this would include Grimes, Mitchie, Dawes...

However, this is a very winnable and a must win game.  Not the time to take risks and donate games to debutante players for a taste of AFL or to senior players to prove they can still play AFL.

Edited by Lucifer's Hero
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This game has trouble written all over it.  Six day break, never won a premiership season match in NT (that I can recall anyway!), haven't beaten the Dockers in eons (and in fact, haven't got close in recent times),  they have just had the bye...and if it's humid and greasy like it usually is up there, it will play right into the hands of Freo's pressure and tackling game.   

We are a much improved side of course, and they have gone the other way with plenty of injuries so just hoping that a strong attitude and effort enables our talent to shine through.  But if you were to tip an upset this round, this would be the one! 

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Just now, Lucifer's Hero said:

Roos quotes from mfc twitter feed:

  •  No fear with playing in Darwin. We haven't played well at Etihad and that's 15 mins away.
  •  Wagner is probably another week away...We could play Wagner this week, but we want him to train and play four quarters.
  •  He (Lumumba) has improved, but still assessing him.
  •  He's (Brayshaw) going well. He won't play in the AFL this week.
  •   He (Dawes) was aware his game wasn't what we'd like on the weekend.
  •  Re List Management: Players know where they are at. No surprises.
  •   Mindful of the draw. Six day breaks. But we've freshened up for Darwin.

Not sure how we will 'freshen up' with Wagner, Brayshaw, Lumumba not available and Pedesen needing some Casey games.

Ins:  Oliver, Trengove.

Out: Dawes. Anyone carrying any sort of niggle.

Given it is a bye for Casey I would expect all the extended bench to go to Darwin.  Presumably this would include Grimes, Mitchie, Dawes...

However, this is a very winnable and a must win game.  Not the time to take risks and donate games to debutante players for a taste of AFL or to senior players to prove they can still play AFL.

Just watched the presser, you've covered it well LH.

On Dawes - Roos did say they are unsure at the minute whether they give Dawes another week in the seniors, or do they send him back to Casey (they do have the bye this round).  What I got from that was they are still undecided what to do with him this week.  Without a proper replacement ready to go, do they drop him and we go small in the greasy conditions, or do they play him and hope he comes good?

You would think the changes will be as you mention above, although Grimes and Michie will be around the mark as well going by their games for Casey last weekend.

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Have we won off a six day break yet this year?

And I'm a bit surprised on Roos' comments RE: Dawes. He played pretty much as he has done the whole time under Roos. He's barely taken a mark, his man runs off him repeatedly and he fails to hit the scoreboard reguarly. Is it a case of Roos lifting his standards or is it that there's more competition for spots these days, which is linked to the raising of the bar anyway?

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3 minutes ago, AdamPleb said:

Have we won off a six day break yet this year?

And I'm a bit surprised on Roos' comments RE: Dawes. He played pretty much as he has done the whole time under Roos. He's barely taken a mark, his man runs off him repeatedly and he fails to hit the scoreboard reguarly. Is it a case of Roos lifting his standards or is it that there's more competition for spots these days, which is linked to the raising of the bar anyway?

Or is it the 3rd option which is he had a poor game, below his usual standard and you're being a little like the standard bandwagon bashers here on 'Land. Roos isn't one to muck around with what he says, so do you think he's lying when he says it was below what they'd expect?

 

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4 minutes ago, stuie said:

Or is it the 3rd option which is he had a poor game, below his usual standard and you're being a little like the standard bandwagon bashers here on 'Land. Roos isn't one to muck around with what he says, so do you think he's lying when he says it was below what they'd expect?

Let me ask you this, mate. Has Dawes taken enough marks under Roos? Has Dawes kicked enough goals under Roos? 

If your answer to either of those questions is 'no', then I think we ostensibly agree with each other.

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Just now, AdamPleb said:

Let me ask you this, mate. Has Dawes taken enough marks under Roos? Has Dawes kicked enough goals under Roos? 

If your answer to either of those questions is 'no', then I think we ostensibly agree with each other.

That's not the point. The point is he was clearly worse than usual on Sunday. Hence why Roos said exactly that.

 

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Just now, stuie said:

That's not the point. The point is he was clearly worse than usual on Sunday. Hence why Roos said exactly that.

 

He's been just as worse on a number of occasions at the MFC and Roos has never called him out before. I'm inclined to believe they're lifting the standards and expectations at the club, which I'd hope is the case in Roos' third season.

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Just now, AdamPleb said:

He's been just as worse on a number of occasions at the MFC and Roos has never called him out before. I'm inclined to believe they're lifting the standards and expectations at the club, which I'd hope is the case in Roos' third season.

I'm sure that would have been done when we first walked in the door. He probably has had games as poor as that one, but you'd agree there's been more attention than usual on him this week yeah? Plus, it's not like he came out and hammered him, he answered a question with a pretty straight forward answer. No big deal. The fact that the Dawes comment is already becoming the focus of this thread should tell you how much attention has been on him this week.

 

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3 minutes ago, stuie said:

I'm sure that would have been done when we first walked in the door. He probably has had games as poor as that one, but you'd agree there's been more attention than usual on him this week yeah? Plus, it's not like he came out and hammered him, he answered a question with a pretty straight forward answer. No big deal. The fact that the Dawes comment is already becoming the focus of this thread should tell you how much attention has been on him this week.

 

It's taken time for some to wake up...

If he gets a game, and I hope he doesn't then it's a real make or break for him.

Another stock standard Dawes game and it will be his last.

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Just now, rjay said:

It's taken time for some to wake up...

If he gets a game, and I hope he doesn't then it's a real make or break for him.

Another stock standard Dawes game and it will be his last.

Really? He's 28. Don't think it's that at all, it's just, as Roos himself said, he had a really poor game and it stood out.

He's been regular 22 with "stock standard" Dawes games for 3 years, don't see this particular week being make or break, decisions would have already been made.

Lots of jumping up and down going on over a pretty simple situation.

 

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15 minutes ago, rjay said:

It's taken time for some to wake up...

If he gets a game, and I hope he doesn't then it's a real make or break for him.

Another stock standard Dawes game and it will be his last.

Exactly. I'd agree there's been more focus this week, Stu, but you could hear the groans from the members every time he failed to mark or at the very least impact a contest. The wider supporter base seems to have finally woken up to his performances.

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12 minutes ago, AdamPleb said:

Exactly. I'd agree there's been more focus this week, Stu, but you could hear the groans from the members every time he failed to mark or at the very least impact a contest. The wider supporter base seems to have finally woken up to his performances.

I think the groans have been happening pretty regularly really as supporters have always had the same issues with him, really don't think it's taken 3 years for the "wider supporter base" to catch on. He clearly just had a really poor day and supporters are smart enough to notice and it grinds on them all day. Plus there's the fact he's coming out of contract so performance is even more magnified.

We may differ on this stuff, but honestly the amount of whingeing about him this week has been over the top when you consider the whole situation and why he is playing.

 

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1 hour ago, AdamPleb said:

Have we won off a six day break yet this year?

6 Day breaks this year:

Rd 6  - Loss to St Kilda

Rd 10 - Loss to Port

Rd 13 - Loss to Sydney.

They were our 3 least competitive efforts for the year, whereby the games were effectively over by 3 qtr time.

Last time we won off a 6 day break was the Collingwood rd 18 win last year. We also beat Richmond in round 4 last year off the 6 day break.

Edited by Bring-Back-Powell
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1 minute ago, Bring-Back-Powell said:

It would be a memorable win if we can knock off the Dockers.

1) 6 day break

2) Darwin factor

3) Usually lucky to kick 5 goals a game against Freo.

you know you're struggling when a win against a bottom 4 team is 'memorable'. A 100+ point win would be memorable, a win should be demanded

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33 minutes ago, stuie said:

We may differ on this stuff, but honestly the amount of whingeing about him this week has been over the top when you consider the whole situation and why he is playing.

Is it? He is a senior player that should be held at higher standards. His form has been atrocious since returning, on top of that even his effort looked down as well on the weekend and that has always been good. Hasnt shown anything to say he should play at AFL level again. He should be dropped and made to demand his position before he plays again. Alot has to change if he ever expects to play in a successful Melbourne side. If dropped I expect to see him back pretty soon but I damn well hope the play him into form at Casey first. 

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2 minutes ago, ArtificialWisdom said:

Is it? He is a senior player that should be held at higher standards. His form has been atrocious since returning, on top of that even his effort looked down as well on the weekend and that has always been good. Hasnt shown anything to say he should play at AFL level again. He should be dropped and made to demand his position before he plays again. Alot has to change if he ever expects to play in a successful Melbourne side. If dropped I expect to see him back pretty soon but I damn well hope the play him into form at Casey first. 

Yeah, he had a shocker of a game. Who you going to drop him for? Hulett and Weed not ready, Pedersen has been out with pneumonia and hasn't played, Spencer isn't a forward, Mitch King out for the year, Max King is going nowhere, Dunn would be just as bad and hasn't been playing forward, what do you want Garland to come in and play CHF?

This is why I'm talking about context and perspective. Dawes is filling a spot because at this stage he's the only option. He had a shocker of a game, he knows that, Roos knows that, everyone knows that. He likely won't be around next year. The reaction has been way over the top when you actually look at the facts of the situation.

It's another classic Demonland overreaction (see: lynching).

 

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1 hour ago, ArtificialWisdom said:

Is it? He is a senior player that should be held at higher standards. His form has been atrocious since returning, on top of that even his effort looked down as well on the weekend and that has always been good. Hasnt shown anything to say he should play at AFL level again. He should be dropped and made to demand his position before he plays again. Alot has to change if he ever expects to play in a successful Melbourne side. If dropped I expect to see him back pretty soon but I damn well hope the play him into form at Casey first. 

If he played like he did against Collingwood every week he'd be a handy part of our forward line. He obviously doesn't play like that every week, and I don't really care either way if he stays or goes at the end of the year, but I do agree with Stuie that the reaction to his performance is over the top. It's weird how some people seem to need two or three players to hate: at the moment it's Dawes and both McDonalds. It used to be Watts and Matt Jones. I didn't realise hating two or three of your own players was a thing until I started going on internet forums. It's completely fair enough to say "I think player x isn't good enough". The level of abuse Dawes gets is something completely different and ridiculous.

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1 hour ago, Bring-Back-Powell said:

6 Day breaks this year:

Rd 6  - Loss to St Kilda

Rd 10 - Loss to Port

Rd 13 - Loss to Sydney.

They were our 3 least competitive efforts for the year, whereby the games were effectively over by 3 qtr time.

Last time we won off a 6 day break was the Collingwood rd 18 win last year. We also beat Richmond in round 4 last year off the 6 day break.

We lost all those games because were not good enough it has Nothing to do with the 6 day break.

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