Jump to content

  • Podcast     

  • Podcast     


Recommended Posts

Has Melbourne peaked too early again this year?

Last year, after displaying their best football for years with wins against Hawthorn by 29 points at the MCG in Round 20 and Port Adelaide by 40 points at the Adelaide Oval in Round 21, the Demons' form dropped away dramatically. With ten wins under their belt, they needed to win the remaining two matches of the season to have a chance of making the finals. The first of those games was against lowly Carlton which was on a long losing streak and they lost that and their finals aspirations, doing so without raising a whimper. That effort was followed up with a capitulation to Geelong at Simonds Stadium, the venue of one of the team's other more famous victories merely a season and a half earlier.

The conventional wisdom that came from post-season reviews was that by the time of the game against Port Adelaide, the young side was starting to show signs of exhaustion after a long, hard, challenging season. They had a lead of 39 points at half time in the Adelaide Oval game but those who were close to the team said they could see by the way the opposition surged with little response in the third quarter that the Demons were about to hit the wall. 

Although I am not an insider and indeed have only watched the past two games on the screen, I sense deja vu when looking back at the past month. 

The Demons were sensational in the first half against Port Adelaide building a 44 point lead early in time on of the second quarter before holding on to win by a small margin. We were still congratulatory, confident, looking forward to the finals and eyeing the prospect of a top four placing.

But while we never looked back to what had taken place some twelve months earlier when disaster struck after the team's previous win over Port Adelaide, the danger of a repeat of history was staring us right in the face. 

The young Melbourne team was unchanged from the week before as it traveled to Tasmania to take on North Melbourne which (like Carlton last year) was on a long losing streak and it proceeded to lose by four points after a listless final quarter performance. A week later, it proceeded to leak goals at the rate of knots in the opening quarter at Canberra against the Giants. The final losing margin of 35 points flattered the Demons.

The signs are all there. The team is no longer winning at the stoppages and in the contests and this is happening despite the fact that it has Max Gawn back winning the ruck hit outs. The inside grunt is no longer as constant and opposition pressure is forcing that one handball too many, leading to errors. The outside run and spread that was evident earlier in the season is almost non-existent. The youngsters are tiring and the important players who suffered injuries six to eight weeks ago have returned without the same impact and explosive power that they displayed earlier in the year.

The Demons badly need an injection of outside pace. Jayden Hunt who is one of the young guns whose form has dropped in recent weeks can't do it all by himself even if he regains his mojo. I'm looking for some inspiration from the selectors this week because the trend of the past month has to be reversed if the club's dream of a return to finals action is to be achieved in 2017.

20687890_410544129347276_532662939266580

THE GAME

Melbourne v St Kilda Sunday 13 August 2017 at the MCG at 1.10pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall  Melbourne 119 wins, St Kilda 91 wins, 1 drawn

At MCG Melbourne 58 wins St. Kilda 35 wins

Past five meetings Melbourne 1 win, St Kilda 4 wins

The Coaches Goodwin 1 win, Richardson 0 wins 

MEDIA

TV - Fox Footy Channel, live at 1.00pm

RADIO - SEN

THE BETTING

Melbourne to win - $1.65, St. Kilda to win - $2.25 to win 

THE LAST TIME THEY MET 

Melbourne 18.12.120 defeated St. Kilda 13.12.90 in Round 1, 2017 at Etihad Stadium

The Demons set the season for their season with a slow start before they got going in a second quarter goal spree that blew the Saints away. Clayton Oliver, Nathan Jones and Jordan Lewis all finished with 30+ possession games in a promising start to 2017

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE

B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta
HB:Bernie Vince, Cameron Pedersen, Jayden Hunt
C: Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver, Jordan Lewis
HF: Christian Petracca, Tom McDonald, Jake Melksham
F: Jeff Garlett, Mitch Hannan, Alex Neal-Bullen
FOLL: Max Gawn, Dom Tyson, Jack Viney
I/C:Angus Brayshaw, Mitch Hannan, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman
EMG: Corey Maynard, Billy Stretch, Jack Watts

IN: Angus Brayshaw, Mitch Hannan, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman

OUT: Sam Frost (omitted), Corey Maynard (omitted), Christian Salem (omitted), Jack Watts (omitted)

ST KILDA

B: Jarryn Geary, Nathan J. Brown, Dylan Roberton
HB: Jack Newnes, Jake Carlisle, Jimmy Webster
C: Shane Savage, Luke Dunstan, Jack Billings
HF: Jack Steele, Josh Bruce, Maverick Weller
F: Jade Gresham, Tim Membrey, Jack Sinclair
FOLL: Billy Longer, Sebastian Ross, Jack Steven
I/C (from): Blake Acres, Sam Gilbert, Koby Stevens, Brandon White 
EMG: Tom Hickey, Jack Lonie, Daniel McKenzie

IN: Sam Gilbert

OUT: Nick Riewoldt (concussion)

The L's mount for the Demons as the W's begin to dry up. They were final four contenders in mid season, cocky and arrogant until those injuries took hold and then, against the Swans, the cracks began to appear. It's been a downhill slide ever since and, after four losses in the past six games, Melbourne finds itself on the brink of elimination from the finals race - defeat against the Saints will surely see it slide out of contention. The same applies to its opponent.

Ironically, the last time Melbourne defeated St Kilda on the MCG, the teams were locked in a fight for their season's survival in the 2006 Elimination Final. However, that win heralded the end of an era and the club spiraled downward into the abyss. It's taken more than a decade and 2017 has been a year of hope and promise but the events of the last month or so has seen all that begin to unravel.

The Demons are on their last chance to lift themselves back into the race. They have beaten all of the teams around them on the ladder including the Saints. They have a draw they sees them playing out the home and away series at the MCG against teams that are out of the top eight. The selectors have sent a strong message about what they require from the side by dropping out of form players.

There are no excuses.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Match Previews, Reports & Articles

    WASH, RINSE, SPIN, REPEAT! by George On The Outer

    Although the Demons got over the line in their must win final round game against the hapless Bombers, they ensured it was Groundhog Day for their supporters who well remember what happened three years ago (although, this time they at least enjoyed the success of victory). Melbourne had its customary start dominating play and having plenty of chances in front of goal, only to find itself down on the scoreboard at the first change. Inaccurate kicking, particularly from set shots would have pu

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    THE LUCK OF THE DRAW by Whispering Jack

    The long awaited clash between Melbourne and Essendon is almost upon us. Thirty-seven rounds of AFL football have passed by since the two clubs met on a balmy early April night last year in a game that produced a high scoring shootout at the MCG with the Bombers prevailing by 18 points. It was their only meeting for 2019 and happened at a time when the pandemic was something on the far distant horizon. Several months later when the 2019 season ended, the AFL issued the first of its fixtures

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    THERE’S STILL A HEARTBEAT by George on the Outer

    When bottom side Adelaide scrapped together a win over the Giants last week, a tiny glimmer of hope opened up for the Demons’ finals chances. The patient was in intensive care but not quite finished — there was a faint pulse, a heart beating ever so slightly but was it enough when two more wins and other results were needed to fall their way? The first step was the resuscitation of a team that had lost its last two matches against sides then sitting fifteenth and sixteenth on the ladder. On

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports 1

    THE FINAL HUMILIATION by The Oracle

    On Sunday, the Melbourne Football Club that won three consecutive games by in excess of 50 points last month returns to the Gabba, the scene of the last of those victories which was a 56 point drubbing of Collingwood. The Demons got off to a good start and won every quarter with a ruthless and powerful brand of football. They kicked 16 goals that day, their accuracy in front of goal a tribute to the skills the put on display throughout the afternoon and evening. In the four matches playe

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    GIVEN THE OLD HEAVE HO’ by George on the Outer

    Fremantle gave Melbourne the old heave ho’ from playing finals in 2020, in conditions that the Demons yet again failed to handle.   With the whole season on the line and the need to win to stay in contention for finals, what the fans saw was much the same as they have been witnessing so many times before — a complete debacle and capitulation against a side that sat 15th on the ladder before the game.     Promises made after the loss to the 16th placed Sydney Swans were rendered h

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    GETTING THE HEAVE HO by Bananabender

    The ute barely made it up to Cairns in time for us to check into the motel, fling a cane toad out the bathroom. and head over to Cazaly’s Stadium where we took up our position on the wing. There, we saw a completely different Melbourne to the one we watched on the screen only a few nights earlier from Alice Springs. This lot wore similar colours and Maxy dominated the ruck but the similarities ended there - the Demons were simply dreadful against the Swans. They started sluggishly, were spe

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    A CLANGER IN CAIRNS by George on the Outer

    Having fought back into finals contention, the Demons had it all before them when facing a lowly Sydney in Cairns.  But in typical Melbourne fashion, they threw away the opportunity to cement their spot in the eight with a clanger of a game.  Right from the start, there was little to enthuse from the Melbourne players, who appeared to think that they only had to turn up, enjoy the North Queensland sun, and take away the four points.  Compared with the furious ground wide pressure of the

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    TEN MINUTES LATE by Whispering Jack

    The late Norm Smith, who played in four Melbourne premierships and coached another six, was a strong disciplinarian. Known as the Red Fox for his auburn hair and his cunning, Smith was a man of a different age to the here and now. Born during the Great War, he survived the Spanish Flu Pandemic, grew up in depression times, played mostly through the Second World War and its aftermath and coached in a period of rebuilding and recovery to a time of prosperity. Smith’s success was built on team

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    SAINTS HELL IN DEES HEAVEN by GOTO

    The last of this year’s indigenous games was played in the red heart of the country and could well have determined Melbourne’s finals aspirations but it was St Kilda that had its top four hopes dashed after a nail-biting finish in Alice Springs which saw them unceremoniously marched out of the position in football heaven occupied by them for much of this season. It all came down in the end to a goal-line decision as to whether a freakish shot by Christian Petracca was touched and the goal u

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    DO OR DIE by The Oracle

    Melbourne is, not for the first time, paying for lapses in matches whereby the club leaks multiple goals without answer and which usually cost the club in those all-important eight point games as it did last week against the Western Bulldogs which replaced the Demons in the AFL top eight. And this week, they come up against a team that reputedly plays in the same mode as the Bulldogs but has been able to prevail over better opponents than Melbourne. It’s not that the Demons are out of form

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    GIVE THE DOGS A BONE by George on the Outer

    The winner of the game is in the top eight and the loser out. Had Melbourne won, it would have consigned the Bulldogs season to the scrapheap given their remaining fixture which still includes a bye. The Demons led at half-time but they gave the Dogs a bone which was willingly accepted — they notched 6 goals in the third quarter and dumped the Demons out of the eight. This game simply saw all the bad habits return for Melbourne players.  When they serve up dinky kicks, dinky handballs, litt

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    FRENZY by Whispering Jack

    The Melbourne Football Club should hand out an award to the person who came up with the concept of the 20 day football frenzy the football world experienced from Round 9 to the completion of Round 12 on Monday. When the AFL fixture was moved into a state of perpetual motion, things changed so quickly that it was difficult to fathom exactly what was happening to the competition but the Demons have been one of the beneficiaries to date. The flogging the team received at the hands of Port Adel

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

×
×
  • Create New...