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TEN YEARS AFTER by Whispering Jack

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There are many who would argue that Melbourne’s current woes go back a full decade to their Queens Birthday engagement of 2009 when the Demons selected a young VCE student Jack Watts to make his debut on the MCG in front of what was expected to be the club’s biggest crowd for a game described as the club’s “grand final in June”.

That was the way of the world for the Dean Bailey coached Demons. The critics were skeptical of Melbourne’s decision to put a wet behind the ears schoolboy (albeit that he was a number 1 draft pick) under such immense pressure in his first AFL game against a team that had a big edge in talent and experience. When Watts was tested out physically by a school of Magpies who corralled him in a corner, the critics screamed in condemnatory terms accusing the club of sacrificing its valuable young colt on the altar for some sort of public relations stunt. The cloud of that introduction hung darkly over the player, his coaches and club officialdom for years to come and it hovered there until Jack Watts and Melbourne parted company at the end of 2017.

The Demons were traveling along nicely playing an uncompromising brand of football at the half way mark of the following season but, when they came to their first Queens Birthday clash without Watts who by now, was happily ensconced outside of Victoria with Port Adelaide Power, they hit a massive snag. Max Gawn was beaten in the ruck by Brodie Grundy, Mason Cox returned to form and kicked five goals and the Pies’ midfield set up the prototype game to overcome Melbourne’s power charged on ball division. Collingwood’s last half yielded them 11 goals from 15 shots at goal. Sound familiar?

Twelve months down the track and the injury riddled, wayward Demons are placed 16th on the ladder and with hope of making the finals all but lost. Max Gawn remains a ruck force but his opponent Grundy has taken over the mantle of the AFL's premier ruckman. 

Melbourne has a few things going for it as it approaches the weekend’s Big Freeze game against the third-placed Pies. Their injury woes are moderating and a number of players are in the mix to return to the team and particularly to shore up the defence which has been leaking easy goals with regularity. There will be a lot more pressure applied to the opposition attack this week so that we might actually see a regular football score than the 14.6, 13.7, 9.6, 15.5 or 20.6 such as we’ve seen to date. The fact that Collingwood will have a few outs from injury might also help balance the ledger and the Magpies are also under the pump to avoid a second successive upset loss at the MCG which would send them back into the pack.

Last year, the Dees were the hunted but this time they are the hunters. They won’t make the mistake of throwing a young rookie into the fray as they did ten years ago but they probably won’t be able to make up the gulf in talent of the personnel available to each of the clubs either.

Collingwood by 27 points. 

THE GAME 
 
Melbourne v Collingwood at the MCG Monday 10 June, 2019 at 3.20pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Melbourne 83 wins, Collingwood 148 wins, 5 drawn

At the MCG Melbourne 63 wins, Collingwood 81 wins, 3 drawn

Last Five Meetings Melbourne 3 wins, Collingwood  2 wins

The Coaches Goodwin 1 win, Buckley 2 wins

MEDIA

TV - Channel 7, Fox Footy Channel live at 3.00pm

Radio -  Triple M 3AW SEN ABC
 
LAST TIME THEY MET

Collingwood 20.13.133 defeated Melbourne 14.7.91 at the MCG in Round 12, 2018

The Demons came into the game as favourites but it was clear that the Magpies meant business. Brodie Grundy beat Max Gawn and this went a long way to nullifying the Melbourne midfield’s grunt. They managed to get the ball to the outside where they overran the Demons and Mason Cox finished them off with his height advantage up forward.

THE TEAMS  
Screenshot_2019-06-06 AFL Team Line Ups - AFL com au.png

THE TEAMS  

COLLINGWOOD VFL

B Brayden Maynard  Jordan Roughead  Levi Greenwood 
HB Jack Crisp  Darcy Moore  Jeremy Howe 
C Tom Phillips  Scott Pendlebury  Chris Mayne 
HF Josh Thomas  Brody Mihocek  Will Hoskin-Elliott 
F Jaidyn Stephenson  Jordan De Goey  Callum L. Brown 
FOLL Brodie Grundy  Steele Sidebottom  Adam Treloar 
I/C James Aish Mason Cox Brayden Sier Travis Varcoe
EMG Ben Crocker Josh Daicos Isaac Quaynor Ben Reid

IN Mason Cox Brayden Sier           

OUT Dayne Beams (hip) Ben Reid (omitted)

MELBOURNE

B Michael Hibberd  Steven May  Jake Lever 
HB James Harmes  Sam Frost  Christian Salem 
C Bayley Fritsch  Jack Viney  Oskar Baker 
HF Nathan Jones  Tom McDonald  Jayden Hunt 
F Jeff Garlett  Sam Weideman  Christian Petracca 
FOLL Max Gawn  Angus Brayshaw  Clayton Oliver 
I/C Mitch Hannan Marty Hore  Tim Smith  Charlie Spargo
EMG Alex Neal-Bullen Braydon Preuss Billy Stretch Josh Wagner

IN Marty Hore Jake Lever Steven May Christian Salem 

OUT Jay Kennedy Harris (omitted) Oscar McDonald (omitted) Billy Stretch (omitted) Josh Wagner (omitted)

Injury list: Round 12

Marty Hore (calf) – test
Jake Lever (ankle) – test
Harry Petty (knee) – test
Corey Maynard (concussion) – 1 week
Jake Melksham (foot) – 4-6 weeks
Joel Smith (groin) – 4-6 weeks
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – 6-8 weeks
Neville Jetta (knee) – 6-8 weeks
Tom Sparrow (knee) – 8-10 weeks
Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

Pictured below is Jack Watts with fellow Brighton Grammar students including Josh Kelly, Christian Salem and Jayden Hunt.

0791DA34-E2F4-448C-979F-3C02D42E6B04.jpeg

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