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Please permit me to begin this rather tragic pathetic preview of Melbourne’s forthcoming game against Fremantle with some personal reflections.  

Two years ago, we had visitors staying with us who are all sports fans so we arranged tickets for the entire family for the Melbourne vs Fremantle game at the MCG. The Dockers were struggling at the time while the Demons were on the up and up so I was fairly confident about the outcome. Naturally, we all left the ground bitterly disappointed.   

The Dees picked up their game and came perilously close to making the finals that year and would have done so had they scored about 10 points more over the 22 rounds or one goal more in that particular match against Freo. Naturally, we were bitterly disappointed.

Things were better last year. Our American friends from Philadelphia celebrated a Super Bowl victory and the Demons made the finals at last. Naturally, we were bitterly disappointed when they lost the penultimate game of the season - the Preliminary Final.   

Still, we thought things would get better in 2019. After all, we had the best ruckman in the competition (now supported by another monster sized tall) and a powerful midfield that was capable of bullocking its way through opposition defences and causing havoc in the competition. We had picked up a strong key defender with experience and leadership qualities who would be joined by an elegant key defender due to return early from a season ending injury incurred in the middle of last year? 

Whatever could go wrong?  

Melbourne certainly hasn’t lost the ability to move the ball into attack. The Demons have won the inside 50 count in nine of its 12 games to date which really says something. Indeed, if a team’s percentage was determined by its ability to get inside 50 metres from goal, they would be well ensconced in the top four with a healthy percentage of around 130. Naturally, we are bitterly disappointed that the team’s efforts have been translated into only 3 wins with a measly percentage of 76.  

In the immortal words of the late Professor Julius Sumner-Miller, I am moved to ask the question, “Why is it so?”  

For starters, they have scored a goal from just 16.98% of inside 50 entries so far this year which is the lowest figure ever recorded by a team in an AFL season since collection of such data began in 1998. And while they haven’t fared well with their kicking for goal in scoring 118 goals 130 behinds, their opponents have been making hay by scoring 166 goals 106 against the hapless Dees.   

That statistic has been even more pronounced in the latter stages of games. In the last six games the opposition have kicked an amazing 27.4 in final quarters to 16.26 (and that includes Melbourne’s aberration of 7.2 in the last against GWS).  

With these things in mind, I took my grandkids to the Queens Birthday game at the G against Collingwood and at half time commented to my oldest grandson that there were some signs of improvement in the first half but a turnaround in fortunes in front of each team’s goals was needed to provide a confidence restoring win. As it turned out, the Demons did perform better everywhere but in that particular area of the game. They won the inside 50 contest but Collingwood scored nine straight second half goals to Melbourne’s four goals eight behinds. Naturally, we all left the ground bitterly disappointed.

I was relieved when last weekend’s fixture gave us all a break from the AFL and the Demon yips so I set off to the grandson’s Under 15 game where his team played against an opposition which apparently gave the coaching reins for the day to Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson (his son is a member of the side) because their regular coach Trent Dennis-Lane was unavailable. Grandson’s team led from the start but faltered in the final quarter and lost when a goal was kicked in the game’s dying seconds. The winners scored four straight second half goals to two goals five behinds. I just can’t get away from this. Naturally, we all left the ground bitterly disappointed.

So on Saturday, Melbourne faces a Fremantle side on the rise chasing its fourth win in a row. The Dockers have beaten the Dees in eight of its past 10 games. Fyfe and Walters are on fire and Jesse Hogan is starting to hit form. Despite all that, I’m impressed that the Demons have finally done something to alter the pattern of the season to date. They’ve changed their coaching structure and we all know what that means in football.

Prediction: Melbourne by 2 points failing which we will all leave the ground bitterly disappointed and most likely in the hands of the game’s Orwellian Behavioural Awareness Officers. 

THE GAME   

Melbourne v Fremantle at the MCG Saturday 22 June 2019 at 1.45pm   

HEAD TO HEAD   

Overall: Melbourne 15 wins Fremantle 22 wins   

At MCG: Melbourne 7 wins Fremantle 7 wins   

Last five meetings: Melbourne 2 wins Fremantle 3 wins   

The Coaches: Goodwin 1 win Lyon 1 win   

MEDIA   

TV -  Fox Footy Channel live at 1.30pm

Radio - Triple M SEN 3AW ABC

LAST TIME THEY MET   

Melbourne 13.24.102 defeated Fremantle 7.6.48 at TIO Stadium, Darwin, Round 16, 2018    

The Dockers were struck by injury and only avoided a complete slaughter because the Demons, well ... they kept missing shots in front of goal.

THE TEAMS     

Screenshot_2019-06-20 Melbourne Vs Fremantle - Match Centre - AFL com au.png

MELBOURNE

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

IN Jay Lockhart Alex Neal-Bullen Harry Petty Tim Smith

OUT Jeffrey Garlett (shoulder) Michael Hibberd (collarbone) Jake Lever (knee) Charlie Spargo (omitted)

FREMANTLE 

B Joel Hamling Nathan Wilson Luke Ryan
HB Stephen Hill Griffin Logue Brett Bewley
C Bradley Hill Nat Fyfe Ed Langdon
HF Andrew Brayshaw Brennan Cox Michael Walters
F Sam Switkowski Jesse Hogan Brandon Matera
FOLL Sean Darcy Reece Conca David Mundy
I/C Connor Blakely Taylin Duman Ethan Hughes Darcy Tucker
EMG Adam Cerra Travis Colyer Cam McCarthy Lloyd Meek

NO CHANGE 

Injury List: Round 14

Jeff Garlett (shoulder) – TBC
Jake Lever (knee) – TBC
Michael Hibberd (collarbone) – 1-2  weeks
Neville Jetta (knee) – 4 weeks
Jake Melksham (foot) – 4-6 weeks
Tom Sparrow (knee) – 6-8 weeks
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – TBC
Joel Smith (groin) – TBC
Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

 

PreviewRd142019.png

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