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2019 - THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS by The Oracle 

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THE YEAR THE SKY FELL

After a number of years of linear movement up the ladder, the Melbourne Football Club unexpectedly went into serious decline in 2019, slumping from fourth to 17th in a season that coach Simon Goodwin described “a complete wipe-out”. Those around the club who tried to analyse the apocalyptic events that unfolded during the year were hard pressed to find a single reason for the debacle but the most plausible explanation was that the club’s troubles stemmed from a lack of fitness and injuries that derailed the season before it began.

There was a significant amount of optimism surrounding the Demons over the summer months. Some of the pundits in the media were even suggesting that they were flag favourites based on their forward momentum over a number of years, their midfield strength  as shown statistically by their control of stoppages and their high scoring in 2018 suggesting a coherent system of play and a powerful forward line. The team was maturing and it was thought that the sky was the limit but, as it turned out, the sky fell.

Melbourne’s newly appointed head of high performance Darren Burgess recently said that he believed there wasn’t much the club could have done about the situation the club found itself in both before and during the season.

“Having done a lot of research on what happened last year there was a lot of comment about their fitness or lack of, the surgery just kills you,” he said.

“When you’ve got 17 or 18 players in surgery and 16 were in their best 22, it just kills you.”

And so the club went into the pre season without many of its key players, particularly in the midfield. The signs in the two JLT Community Series matches against Richmond and Brisbane were not good although when considered with the hindsight of knowing they were against two of the top three place getters after the home and away season including the eventual premier, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. 

The team ran out of steam in its first game - at home against Port Adelaide and then failed miserably at Kardinia Park when despite winning the hit outs and clearances and making 73 inside 50 entries to 48, it was thrashed by 80 points. These figures are bizarre enough but the trend was already set for the season. The team could win the ball well enough out of the centre but conversion into goals was a problem while opposing teams had no problem with their own accuracy on the rebound.

They managed to kick straight (a rare occurrence for the year) against Essendon in their third game but the Bombers were more accurate making it 0-3 for the Demons and a difficult start from which to recover as the injuries began to mount. The win against the Swans in Sydney was welcome but two more disappointing losses put the club in the danger zone. A couple of unconvincing victories against Hawthorn and Gold Coast provided some respite and a trip west looked promising for three quarters against the Eagles before another fade out put paid to the club’s hopes for the season.

All the while, the injuries mounted - they were compounded not only in the number of players out but by the length of time out with their injuries. For most of the first half of the season, the Demons struggled with losses in their defensive half but after the mid season break for the bye, the club successively lost all of its key forwards and won only two more matches - against Fremantle and Carlton to limp home to a five win season and 17th place on the ladder. 

In the latter half of the year, the club tried a reshuffling of the assistant coaching panel but nothing could help as the team lost seven on end, albeit a number of the defeats could be regarded as honourable given the material Goodwin had to work with as the season rolled dismally to a close.

Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver created history with a tie for the Keith “Bluey” Truscott Memorial Trophy. Co-skipper Jack Viney finished third and he was followed by James Harmes, Christian Petracca and Bayley Fritsch. With highly touted recruit Steven May hobbled by injury, it was left to a VFL player, Marty Hore to take the honours of best newcomer.

Given the injury woes at the club, it’s not unsurprising that the Casey Demons also struggled although their ninth place finish was commendable in the circumstances where coach Jade Rawlings and later Sam Radford had so few players with AFL experience available to them.

The AFLW team missed captain and star player Daisy Pearce on maternity grounds and also missed out on the finals under the weight of a massively skewed conference system. A surprise loss in the first game against the Dockers didn’t help. In the end, a big win against Adelaide was required to make the finals - a win that simply didn’t even look like eventuating. Karen Paxman, Elise O’Dea and Lauren Pearce were the pick of the squad. 

And so, as we enter a new decade, the club can look forward to a few acquisitions in the playing side, notably wingers Ed Langdon, Adam Tomlinson and forward Mitch Brown, the possibility of a rejuvenated Harley Bennell and a trio of youngsters from interstate. On the off field side, the experienced Alan Richardson comes onto the coaching panel and possibly the most important change in light of the fitness and injury woes of 2019 is the signing of fitness guru Burgess who is tasked with raising the sky back to the heights of 2018 ... and further.

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I read from that....

"Interrupted preseason"

 

 

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1 hour ago, Demonland said:

The AFLW team missed captain and star player Linda Pearce on maternity grounds...

Daisy

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Written on 2nd July and was ahead of the curve.  Subsequent information provided by the club confirmed it.

It's the greatest reason to have the greatest optimism going into 2020.

Bring it on!

 

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1 hour ago, Baghdad Bob said:

Written on 2nd July and was ahead of the curve.  Subsequent information provided by the club confirmed it.

It's the greatest reason to have the greatest optimism going into 2020.

Bring it on!

 

I think 2019 was the season we had to have.

i actually think we were not as good in 2018 as a lot of people think. Towards the end of July we had not beaten anyone above us in the eight at that stage. We then had a purple patch over the last six weeks.

Come the results of 2019 we were forced to look at our list and FD because they were not as good as we thought at the end of 2018. A lot of changes were made and it would appear we added 3- 5 good players to the list.

As you say Bob we will do a lot better this year. I expect a 7-8th finish.

 

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Agree Chook, although more like a horror show than the year that wasn't.....

Pressure sits firmly with the coach in 2020 rather than the players......although May apparently on $800k a year needs to get on the park & perform.

Goodwins lack of accountability & lack of action, especially in the back half of the season was laughable. 

Performance early in the season will clearly dictate our path.

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11 minutes ago, Laughing Goat said:

 

Agree Chook, although more like a horror show than the year that wasn't.....

Pressure sits firmly with the coach in 2020 rather than the players......although May apparently on $800k a year needs to get on the park & perform.

Goodwins lack of accountability & lack of action, especially in the back half of the season was laughable. 

Performance early in the season will clearly dictate our path.

You seem to have totally missed the point, not straying one centimeter from your negative narrative despite just about everyone - including the new Fitness Guru - now finally acknowledging that it's hard to win a lot of games with either injured or recovering from surgery players. I just shake my head some times...

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1 hour ago, In Harmes Way said:

I wonder if the whole 2019 season was viewed the same way as the 2018 Prelim. 

No need to review that one.

I'm a bit sick of this stance.  Do you think Goodwin hasn't rewatched the game?  Do you think the assistant coaches haven't rewatched the game?  Do you think they didn't take that game into account when making decisions about player's future?  Do you think they didn't watch to see where our system fell down and how WCE dismantled us?  Do you think they didn't watch that game as part of each individual player's preseason preparation?

Of course Goodwin has watched the game and so have the assistant coaches.  What they haven't done is sit down with the players and go over it the way they go over most games.  They know the players know what happened.  There is no point sending the players off with a review of that game in their minds at the end of the season.  They would have wanted to send them away with a much more positive message.

And before you say "well that didn't work" just review the presentation by Mahoney at the Members Information Night to realize why we had a shocking 2019.  It had nothing to do with "not reviewing the game".

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6 hours ago, Baghdad Bob said:

Written on 2nd July and was ahead of the curve.  Subsequent information provided by the club confirmed it.

It's the greatest reason to have the greatest optimism going into 2020.

Bring it on!

 

As I was reading through that excellent, detailed, insightful post, with no recollection of it, I thought, “the first reply is going to be a one-liner from a long term member with a very high post count about how all that is just an excuse and other clubs have injuries too”. 

I think I’ve been here so long I actually know how threads will play out without even needing to read them.

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4 hours ago, dieter said:

You seem to have totally missed the point, not straying one centimeter from your negative narrative despite just about everyone - including the new Fitness Guru - now finally acknowledging that it's hard to win a lot of games with either injured or recovering from surgery players. I just shake my head some times...

The title to this thread is 'The Year The Sky Fell' & I was just stating, that in my opinion, the coach & coaching staff were the main instigators in our horrible season that's all. Its a common belief that Goodwin was clearly out of his depth last season especially when the pressure was on to win games. He continually played his favorites when blooding younger talent may have been a better option &  he struggled with the scrutiny of his game plan & rule changes. 

Aren't we allowed to pass comment? 

I feel for the players because I know they give absolutely everything & I hope your right.......with a full injury free list, I would expect a better finish this year.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Laughing Goat said:

Its a common belief that Goodwin was clearly out of his depth last season especially when the pressure was on to win games. He continually played his favorites when blooding younger talent may have been a better option &  he struggled with the scrutiny of his game plan & rule changes. 

Pass all the comment you like. Goodwin was clearly not out of his depth the year before when he had a decent list to play with. Continually playing favourites? Even Casey struggled to fill a team with Melbourne players for most of the season. I rest my case....Go Demons.

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4 hours ago, Nasher said:

As I was reading through that excellent, detailed, insightful post, with no recollection of it, I thought, “the first reply is going to be a one-liner from a long term member with a very high post count about how all that is just an excuse and other clubs have injuries too”. 

I think I’ve been here so long I actually know how threads will play out without even needing to read them.

Read post #8 if you can be bothered

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On 1/1/2020 at 2:57 PM, Meggs said:

Daisy

Thanks. I was going to apologise to Linda for any responsibility in her being pregnant but it didn’t read well. 

Fixed anyway ... and apologies to both ladies. 😀

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15 hours ago, Nasher said:

 

I think I’ve been here so long I actually know how threads will play out without even needing to read them.

Well here is a post you wouldn't have anticipated.

I believe the Oracle has a spiritual connection to the heavenly one and if he would be so good as to scribble a little note to the almighty one, asking for a Dees flag and then leaving it at the spiritual place, it might help us on our way to that long awaited Premiership.

Can't hurt.

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On 1/3/2020 at 9:43 AM, Redleg said:

Well here is a post you wouldn't have anticipated.

I believe the Oracle has a spiritual connection to the heavenly one and if he would be so good as to scribble a little note to the almighty one, asking for a Dees flag and then leaving it at the spiritual place, it might help us on our way to that long awaited Premiership.

Can't hurt.

Not sure about that Mr. Leg I have prayed a fair bit about Dees results over the last half century and we know  how successful that has been.

 

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On 1/2/2020 at 9:27 PM, dieter said:

Pass all the comment you like. Goodwin was clearly not out of his depth the year before when he had a decent list to play with. Continually playing favourites? Even Casey struggled to fill a team with Melbourne players for most of the season. I rest my case....Go Demons.

I feel that the true measurement & ability of a coach is not when he has a full talented list to choose from, but when his back is against the wall. I am guessing you would know as well as I do that a number of players, call them favorites, were gifted games when clearly those players were either injured, out of form & rushed back too quickly.

I know of a couple of coaches that have struggled over the last couple of years with early injuries, form etc & have still managed to play finals.

Clearly SG wasn't out of his depth in 2018, but lets face it, anyone with the calibre of player available that season would have done ok.

This season will be the test of the man& I hope they flourish......Go dees.

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