Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
Demonland

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE by Whispering Jack

Recommended Posts

"You got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive
E-lim-i-nate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mr. In-Between” ~ Johnny Mercer

The problem with Melbourne for far too long has been the fact that so many of its players are Mr. In-Betweens. They can turn up to games and occasionally they will put in a good one but they can’t be relied upon to consistently produce at the highest level. The fact that G Ablett and J Selwood can always be relied upon to perform at the pinnacle of their ability and that they did that to perfection last Sunday was the difference between the teams in a close fought three point game.

That said, there was plenty to be positive about against a team that last year finished a game off being in a grand final. The game was often played at a frenetic pace and Melbourne held its own in the ruck and the midfield contests. Max Gawn was back to his All Australian best and it was unfortunate that he fluffed that shot for goal with a tired effort late in the game. The likes of Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver were superb and Nathan Jones gradually worked his way into the game. It was a pity that the selectors in their wisdom or otherwise saw fit to leave out Angus Brayshaw and Dom Tyson because neither of them are Mr. In-Betweens. Perhaps they simply were not quite well prepared enough to gain selection because otherwise, I thought they had done enough in the pre season to warrant selection.

And there was simply not enough drive given by the defence (perhaps with the exception of Oscar McDonald) as they leaked like a sieve in the opening half to concede 80 points although they did tighten up to let through just 17 more in the second half. Pity the forwards simply couldn’t emulate their JLT Community Series efforts when they were all in the frame and we saw multiple goal kicking performances. Instead, a dividend of one goal from eight shots at goal in that final quarter simply wasn’t good enough.

Despite all that, there were sufficient positives to accentuate. Despite the big numbers of Ablett and Selwood, the Demon midfield helped the team move the ball inside the 50 metre arc a staggering 64 times to 41 and that sort of dominance will normally win you games by big margins. And we know that the likes of Nev Jetta and Jake Lever will play better than they did against the Cats.

So it’s onward to Saturday night in Brisbane where the Demons have rarely been sighted in the past few years. They have not met at the Gabba since the early days of the current decade but the intervening period is like light years for both clubs. Melbourne has reloaded with a maturing team with loads of talent while the Lions have been languishing in the early stages of a rebuild. However, the game will hardly be a cakewalk in the light of the Lions’ improvement.

They have a young eager side that troubled Melbourne at their last meeting which happened just two or three games ago and late into the 2017 season.

And they are playing at their home ground just as thousands of international visitors begin to descend to gather just down the road for one their region’s biggest sporting event for ages.

Melbourne therefore must bring its best and brightest game to our northern state. That must be reflected in the team selected to run out onto the Gabba - a team without any Mr. In-Betweens.

THE GAME

Brisbane v Melbourne at The Gabba Saturday, 31 March, 2018 at 7.25pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall:  Brisbane 20 wins, Melbourne 24 wins

At The Gabba: Brisbane 13 wins, Melbourne 7 wins

Last Five Meetings:  Brisbane 2 wins, Melbourne 3 wins

The Coaches: Fagan 0 wins, Goodwin 1 win

MEDIA

TV - Fox Sports 3 live at 7.00pm

Radio - SEN ABC ABC Grandstand

LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 16.8.104 defeated Brisbane 14.7.91 at the MCG, Round 22, 2017

It was close for the first three quarters but when James Harmes kicked truly with less than six minutes gone in the last, the Dees were headed for a place in the finals. Surely, against the lowly Lions and on their home turf, they were capable of pushing a 32 point lead out to a 50 point win?

No, not this team. They conceded four goals in a row and at one stage, led by just 7 points to cause a significant rise in the collective blood pressure of the Demon faithful and a week later they were unceremoniously dumped from the finals.

THE TEAMS

BRISBANE LIONS

B: Nick Robertson, Josh Walker, Darcy Gardiner 
HB: Luke Hodge, Harris Andrews, Alex Witherden 
C: Lewis Taylor, Dayne Zorko, Ryan Lester 
HF: Cameron Rayner, Daniel McStay, Hugh McCluggage 
F: Allen Christensen, Eric Hipwood, Charlie Cameron 
Foll: Stefan Martin, Jarrod Berry, Dayne Beams 
I/C: Rohan Bewick, Cedric Cox, Rhys Mathieson, Sam Mayes  
Emg: Zac Bailey, Jake Barrett, Tom Cutler, Archie Smith 

IN: Rohan Bewick, Cedric Cox, Rhys Mathieson

OUT: Tom Bell (omitted), Daniel Rich (ankle), Mitch Robinson (suspended)

MELBOURNE 

B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta
HB: Jordan Lewis, Jake Lever, Bernie Vince
C: Jayden Hunt, Christian Salem, Nathan Jones
HF: Christian Petracca, Cameron Pedersen, James Harmes
F: Bayley Fritsch, Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett
Foll
Max Gawn  Clayton Oliver  Alex Neal-Bullen
I/C
Dom Tyson  Jake Melksham  Tomas Bugg  Josh Wagner
Emg: Sam Frost, Dean Kent, Corey Maynard, Billy Stretch

IN: Tomas Bugg, Dom Tyson

OUT: Mitch Hannan (omitted), Corey Maynard (omitted)

THE FULL FOUR QUARTERS

In the wake of Melbourne’s narrow round one defeat, the media has highlighted the team’s tendency over the past two or three years to lose its way for short periods during games.   

It’s true that the Demons blew multiple opportunities to ice that game but the lapses have occurred too often and they happen at different times so we don’t quite know when they’re coming.   

Last week, it was the leaking of three goals after the 25 minute mark of the second quarter. In the club’s previous AFL rostered game in round 23 against Collingwood, it was in the first quarter and a week before that, it came in the last 20 minutes against the Lions at the MCG. And so on ... despite all of the improvements in personnel, there always remains a doubt as to Melbourne’s ability to play out 100 minutes of football.  

Is this a sign of mental fragility, a lack of fitness or maturity among the team, too many Mr. In-Betweens or is it something that just happens?

We don’t really have the answer just yet but we might find out a little more about the Demons this week when they travel north to face a Brisbane side that also held its own for much of its own round one encounter, only to fade at the end.

The Lions have been fortified by the recruitment of Charlie Cameron, Luke Hodge and young gun Cam Rayner and will be eager to take the points in the first home game for the season.  

Melbourne left things to far too few last week with just four players managing over 20 disposals and we will surely see better from the likes of Christian Salem, Nev Jetta, Alex Neal-Bullen and the forwards who failed to take advantage of 64 entries into the forward 50.

They might be hard at it in the middle but they also need some more run on the outside where they were exposed by the Cats.  

There will also be great interest in the ruck duels where Max Gawn should be highly motivated to erase the memories of last week’s final moments. It won’t be easy because Stef Martin is a seasoned campaigner who will be equally eager to prove a point against his old side.  

In the end, it could actually come down to the team changes. Brisbane has lost players through injury and suspension while Melbourne looks a better side with the inclusion of Dom Tyson (who should never have missed last week). Tom Bugg is not in everyone’s best 22 but he has been sitting on the sidelines for months on end wondering if he will ever get the opportunity to atone for his brain fade against the Swans in July last year. He knows he has to grasp his chances now that he’s back in the side.

And that’s the thing. The Richmond team that started its own journey towards fame and fortune twelve months ago, wasn’t really rated because it couldn’t perform with consistency for the full four quarters. At the time, they didn’t have an explanation but with, hard work and over time, they found the answer.

Demons to bounce back, put in a full four quarter game and win by 28 points.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Social Media

  • Match Previews, Reports & Articles

    HOW FAR SOUTH? by George on the Outer

    It was appropriate that Melbourne was playing its last game of season 2019 in Hobart.  After all, how much further south could the team go? And much as it has done in many of the previous 22 games, the side managed to extract a loss from a winning position by simply giving the ball back to the opposition time and time again. In fact, they gave it back to the opposition to the tune of 53 points from turnovers while, by way of contrast North Melbourne contributed  only 17 points to their oppo

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    COOKED by The Oracle

    I can vividly remember when the Demons ventured onto Blundstone Arena for the first time in early 2016 only to lose to the Kangaroos by 20.11.131 to 21.10.136.    Melbourne was then a team on the up and up: young, enthusiastic and bold. It gave up a huge quarter time deficit after kicking against a strong wind but made that up by half time and fell dramatically short after an exciting high scoring affair.  The team lost no fans that day - they were willing to take the game on and attac

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    HELP by KC rom Casey

    The Casey Demons finished off their home and away season against Frankston at Skybus Stadium on Sunday with a narrow, unconvincing 6-point victory that left the door slightly open for a top eight berth when the VFL finals begin in a fortnight’s time. While sunny skies prevailed over Frankston in the morning, the skies became overcast by noon and heavy waves pounded the bay nearby as the rains came in to greet the players as the game started. And conditions stayed dark and dreary for the rem

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Casey Articles

    THANKS BUT NO THANKS by George on the Outer

    Thanks, but no thanks! In a round where the club was supposed to thank their fans for the support during the year, the Melbourne Football Club chose to do otherwise with a 53 point loss to a team that sat 15th on the ladder.  Don’t give us cheap jumpers that can’t be sold in the Demon shop.  Don’t give us vouchers to shop there, give us something on the field, which is why we come to the football in the first place. It was a disgraceful performance, which started with a disgracefu

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    SLEEP OUT AT THE MCG by The Oracle

    Around about 12 months ago Melbourne and Sydney fought out an epic battle between two top eight teams fighting for the best possible ladder position in the lead up to the finals. The Swans triumphed by 9 points at the MCG after the Demons came back from five goals down at three quarter time. But for its poor kicking for goal, Melbourne might well have won the game and finished in the top four. Who knows what might then have happened for the club in September? As a consequence, the person re

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    A LITTLE RAY OF SUNSHINE by KC from Casey

    Two clubs that have been hard hit by injury recently took part in a dour battle under dark clouds and, with intermittent showers falling, it wasn’t a pretty game at Victoria Park on Sunday. Despite all that, the Casey Demons added a little ray of sunshine to their day to get the job done over a "traditional" rival with a 15 point victory over Collingwood VFL that breathed life back into their season. There were a few highlights at the ground that in past days has seen many titanic batt

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Casey Articles

    THE RETRO ROUND by George on the Outer

    We have seen it all before… Yes, a wonderful idea to showcase what used to be in football.  Big crowds, umpires who knew how to apply the rules and not opinions, high marks, skilful players. But for the Melbourne supporters their retro is what it has been like for the past 10 years. Losing games, end on end, year after year.  Opportunities squandered in front of goal. VFL standard players running around at the MCG. Just more of the same, and the game against Collingwood was no ex

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    THE PEOPLE SPEAK by The Demonland Crew

    Thanks to Demonlanders for their input into this week’s preview. Ralphius Maximus is short and bittersweet: We'll crack in at the bounce to create a contest, win our share of the ball, butcher the forward movement and get scored on easily from the intercepts. Not that hard to predict. Big Demon says: Unfortunately Collingwood will win because they have a lot more to play for. We will be good in parts but really the season is well over so we will have to put up with those bell

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    WHAT, NO BLOOD? by George on the Outer

    The feeling when turning up to the MCG on a Saturday night to play a top four side in Richmond, while the Melbourne sits cemented in close proximity to the bottom of the table is like attending the Colosseum in Ancient Roman times. The expectation is that a bloodbath is about to occur. There are 100,000 Richmond members and 50,000 Melbourne members, and despite the fact that it turned out to be a wet night after half-time, a crowd of only 37K bothered to turn up. That should never have happ

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Reports

    A MAN’S ERRAND by KC from Casey

    A young and undermanned Casey Demons were sent out on Saturday to the Swinburne Centre in the shadows of the MCG on a man’s errand against a very experienced Richmond VFL combination which is the clear ladder leader and fielded no less than 18 AFL listed players. It was expected to be a rout and the Tigers made easy work of it in the early stages when they held a 26 point lead by quarter time. To their credit however, the Demons weathered the storm and kept their opponents within the range

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Casey Articles

    THAT’S FOOTBALL by Whispering Jack

    As the season rolls on towards the finals and the football world witnesses the aftermath of the sacking of the league’s unsuccessful coaches, it’s almost  inevitable that the spotlight will turn firmly upon the complete and utter failure of season 2019 - the Melbourne Football Club.  For a team that finished in fourth place last year and was heavily touted as a premiership contender, the fall from grace has been dramatic. As things stand, the Demons look certain to finish 13 places down on

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Match Previews

    THE MOMENT OF TRUTH IS COMING by KC from Casey

    At half time in Sunday’s game at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, things weren’t looking too flash for the flailing finals prospects of the Casey Demons. Key forward Sam Weideman had suffered a concussion in his first contest and, with a few exceptions, the team was playing like a rabble rather than a finals contender. The Demons were 23 points in arrears to the Zebras and their season was headed towards oblivion. It was the skipper Mitch White who spurred his team on by word and by deed - he fini

    Demonland
    Demonland |
    Casey Articles

×
×
  • Create New...