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spirit of norm smith

Greatest wins (best 50 in the last 50 years)

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No. 42. 2015 Round 12 v Geelong at Kardinia Park

The Dees hadn’t won at Kardinia Park for 10 years. The Cats were arrogant and had considered the Dees easybeats.  But not on this day.  The Dees were ready to go from the start and the Cats had a fight ahead this time. The Dees kicked 5 goals to lead by 11 points at qtr time and then held on to be 5 points ahead at 1/2 time. The third quarter was an arm wrestle as the cats tried to get ahead.  A great goal to Jeremy Howe from a mark and kick from the boundary about 40 metres out was a beauty and setup a 2 goal 3/4 qtr time advantage. The Dees kicked 5 goals in the last to the Cats two goals to seal the upset victory.  
Nathan Jones was outstanding as a leader. Gawn controlled the ruck and was showing his potential.  Brayshaw showed why he was a top draft pick. Recycled group of Vince, Lamumba, Cross and Garlett (4 goals) were fantastic.  A young Neal-Bullen kicked 3 goals in his third game as a half forward.  
A rare win at the Cattery was celebrated with hope for the rest of 2015. 

Melbourne 18.5.117 defeated Geelong 13.11.89

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No.41 Round 22 v Carlton at MCG 

The home and away season in ‘88 had two memorable victories.  We defeated the Hawks to avenge the 87 prelim and we were full of excitement for the elusive premiership glory.  The team recorded a 5 straight winning sequence to start the year and were 12-4 by round 16 and holding the double chance behind the Hawks on top.  Then we lost to the Hawks (smashed) and then the next 4 games.  The 5 straight losses left us 12-9 with the Blues in 2nd place in round 22.  The Bombers were keen to take our spot in the finals.  At least our destiny was in our own hands, “ if we win, we are in ! “

The big game at the MCG suddenly saw the Dees awake with a big first quarter.  We were on fire.  I remember a very anxious crowd suddenly remembering that we were a good team. Northey had a way of lifting his players above themselves.  Whilst we didn’t have a key full forward which was the real gap in the team, Lyon, Spalding, Wight & Williams stood up through the year to kick vital goals supported by Wilson and Jackson as small forwards. An 8 goal first quarter burst had us up by 5 goals. Lyon was the key.  The lead extended to 7 goals by 3/4 time and could and should have been more.  Stynes and O’Dwyer were in charge in the ruck.  
The Blues were being held but then kicked 5 goals to start the final quarter to get within 2 goals. Three goals to the Dees answered the challenge in the last 10 minutes gave us a 30-point victory.  I remember the excitement of young Andy Lovell when he kicked the final goal. We had defeated the Blues (reigning premiers) twice in the year and deserved our spot.

It was excitement and relief as we qualified for the finals to back up 87. We did it tough and Demon supporters needed heart medication once again.   Ultimately the 88 finals were memorable (both good and bad!)

Melbourne 14.12.96 defeated Carlton 10.6.66

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Posted (edited)

No. 40 2017 Round 8 v Crows at Adelaide Oval

I went across to see this game with a degree of hope but could not have expected the result.  We’d just lost to the Hawks by 3 points to go 3-4 and so desperately wanted to make finals. Goodwin was coaching against his former team for the first time. 
Unfortunately a burst from the Crows put them up by about 5 goals about 15 minutes into the 2nd quarter.  We looked benign.  
Suddenly a few goals awoke the contest and we went in 10 points down at the half.  In the third quarter the Dees run exposed the Crows and we went on to win by 41 points. Bernie Vince celebrated his 200th game in another win over his former side.  Jack Viney and Clayton Oliver were sensational.  Mr.SpareParts Cameron Pedersen kicked 3 goals including the sealer in the last.  Jonesy also kicked a beauty and celebrated. Amazing victory and it’s nice to get out of Adelaide alive.  Admittedly most of the Crows fans left about halfway through the last. I picked up some nice bottles of red from Mclarenvale (D’arenberg) and returned to Vic with a smile. 

Melbourne 17.5.117 defeated Adelaide 9.12.66 

Edited by spirit of norm smith
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9 minutes ago, spirit of norm smith said:

Yes Windy Hill 1990 will be on the list. Vic park 1993??

I think he means 1992.

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2 hours ago, dl4e said:

I think he means 1992.

Yes Apologies 

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No.39 2010 round 17 v Swans at MCG

The Demons were still in a coma after two wooden spoons in 2008 and 2009.  There was signs of improvement and a youth based recovery through loading up on top 20 draft picks and the momentum from senior players like James McDonald, Brad Green and Cameron Bruce.  The year had started poorly then a few good wins led to hope including a win over the previously unbeaten Lions. But the highlight of the year was a round 17 clash with the Swans. They were in 4th place and firing but on this day, all the Demons fired. The Dees opened well and were attacking at all costs. An 8 goal opening quarter (to 2 goals) had the Swans panicked and by half time we were 50 points up (12.6 to 4.4) .  As we were smiling and hoping, the third quarter saw another avalanche and we were up by 14 goals at 3/4 quarter time.  We were pressing for the 100 point win but settled for 73 point victory as the heat subsided.  The amazing indigenous skills of Jurrah, Davey, Wonaeamirri and Bennell were on show. Jamar controlled the ruck and showed his All Australian form. Brad Green kicked 5 goals and Sylvia, Bruce and Jones controlled the midfield.  Watts, Morton and Scully showed us the bright future of the youth. Frawley and Rivers showed huge ability. All the signs were good. We celebrated and I remember thinking this side had the makings of finals potential.  
I think the Swans coach Paul Roos also actually saw the positives for the Dees. It was a shame that Neeld tore it apart.  

Melbourne 22.10.142 defeated Sydney 10.9.69
 

 

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No.38 1983 Round 15 v Carlton at Princes Park

I certainly remember this day, even though I was only 16 at the time. At Dees had recruited Moore and Templeton at the start of 1983. We had a promising 1982 (8th place) and we were hoping to climb further up the ladder and further test the top teams.  We couldn’t seem to match them for four quarters.  On this day, we headed to Carlton to play the reigning premiers (in fact Blues had won 3 premierships in 4 years 79,81&82). They were a powerhouse. 
After a tough close win over the bulldogs in round 14, we were without Robbie Flower and Peter Moore both injured.  Our season was 6 wins 8 losses and we needed to beat a top 5 side.  The Blues were in 6th place and we had only just lost to them earlier in the year. 
The first half was even but we were a goal up.  Then we surged and despite some questionable Blues tactics, we shot clear by a few goals at 3/4 time. We continued in the last to win by 39 points.  
I was proud to be a Demons supporter.  We had coped sh&$)t for years and now had a team that had some respect.  The coaching return of Barassi was starting to show some dividends.  
We won after strong games from Alan Johnson (a fantastic recruit) Gerard Healy (an absolute star), Stephen Icke (who could play CHF or CHB) and Brian Wilson (an absolute engine in the centre). A young Glen McLean (a ruckman who was also agile around the ground) was having a great year and huge upside. Rodney Wright and Alan Jarrott has come from North as well and were steady and tough. Giles and Stephen Smith controlled the defence. Gilesy was one of my favourites.  He was like Sean Wight. Always gave 100% to every contest.   Kelvin Templeton at full forward was proving to be a very good addition if he could stay healthy. I do recall when he kicked a goal halfway through the last quarter to give us a 5 goal lead.  I was thinking that’s truly money  well spent. 
I think I might have screamed “Go Demons!!” loudly as well  

Melbourne 15.16.106 defeated Carlton 9.13.67

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No. 37. Round 18 1979 v Essendon at MCG

Perhaps one of the greatest turnaround in form in VFL/AFL history.  In round 17, the Dees were obliterated by Fitzroy.  A record 190 point loss (238-48). I was there at VFL Park and it was dark times.  I remember leaving the ground (as a 12 year old) in stunned silence.  I didn’t dare speak to my dad.  It was ugly.  It started to rain as we got in the car to drive home and I felt sick in the stomach.  My team the mighty Demons had had a record VFL loss and were empty. 1979 had started with Ditterich back and recruited fabulous Phil Carmen.  But Carmen left in controversy mid year and it was falling apart. 

I went the next week to the G but was not expecting much to be honest.  We were playing Essendon who were in the 5 and about the same quality as the Lions.  Ditterich was coach and I remember him saying it would be different with him back in the team. How right he was?  
 

By half time, it was game on.  We were a few goals up and the forward line of young Robert Walters and Steven Smith were on fire. The Dees were unstoppable as Walters kicked 9 goals.  Three more goals than the whole team kicked the prior week. Smith was a typical tall agile CHF and was a beautiful kick. The team had been suddenly reborn as Greg Wells ( definitely one of the best Demon players I’ve seen) , Robbie Flower and Ditterich lifted the rest of the group. Laurie Fowler and Ray Biffin (brought out of retirement) held the backline together. Glenn Elliott, who moved from the Saints together with his brother Robert, starred.  They carried the Dees to a stirring victory.  Some red and blue spirit was restored.  As we did, my late father and I ventured back to the Malvern Vale Hotel post game.  I enjoyed my raspberry-soft-drink and I think Dad enjoyed a more few amber refreshments than usual. 
 

Melbourne 21.8.134 defeated Essendon 16.9.105 by 29 points. 

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No. 36 1994 Round 1 v Geelong at MCG

To understand the importance of this win, it’s important to reflect what it meant. The Dees had made finals in 5 years across 1987 to 1991.  But had fallen short each time of the elusive premiership.  In 1992 and 1993 the team had fallen away and questions had to be answered.  Balme had been brought in in 1993 but failed to achieve, with the team finishing 9th on 10 wins 10 losses. But there was talent. Stynes, Lyon, Viney, Obst, Lovett, Tingay, Lovell, Wight were now the experience. A young 21yo David Schwarz has shown ability as a CHF. A young 19yo key forward/back David Neitz had emerged in 1993. Sean Charles was back and was so fast and skilled.  And of course Alan Jakovich was back after a frenzy of goals to end 1993. Could he stay fit to drive the Demons back to the finals. 

 It was a hot March day for footy as we marched to the G for round 1.  The Cats were a super talented team (eventually runners up in 94). They had Ablett, Bairstow, Couch, Hocking, Barnes, Riccardi.  But What transpired excited all Demon fans.  

The Dees were fast and exciting. We built up a 4 goal lead by half time.  But the Cats were very good so we remained anxious.  But the lead grew and the goals flowed.  A 9 goal last quarter saw us record a 65 point win.  Simply we smashed the Cats through the sheer talent and ability of Jakovich, Schwarz and Lyon. Tingay, Viney and Obst controlled their middle.  Sean Wight negated Gary Ablett.  Stynes managed the ruck. But our forwards were amazing.  Jakovich kicked 8 goals 8 behinds.  He could have kicked 13-14 goals.  21 kicks. Schwarz was giving us a glimpse of his aerial ability and talent. He kicked 4 goals. Mcgrath, Handley, Oreilly, Mensch. The Cats backs had no answer.  Lyon 5 goals from the HFF. Small forwards Andy Lovell 4 goals and new boy Jeff Hilton kicked 3 goals. It was a goal frenzy. The fans were dancing. Suddenly we had the firepower.  We were back. 

Melbourne 26.18.174 defeated Geelong 16.13.109

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No.35 2002 Round 14 v Lions at the Gabba

For financial reasons, the Dees administration had sold off one of our Home games to be played in Brisbane.  It was footy madness but showed our strained financial position.  
After a down 2001, the team had rebounded in 2002 and leading into round 14 were 7 wins 6 losses. We had some good tough wins and reasserted ourselves as a top 8 team. After a narrow loss to the powerful Bombers, and the emotional retirement of David Schwarz, the team headed north for the Away “home “ game.  
 

Watching on TV was cruel. This should have been at the MCG.  The Lions were now a powerful outfit.  As reigning premiers from 2001, they were on top and had won their prior 18 games straight at the Gabba.  Voss. Akermanis.  Black. Lappin. Power. Brown. Bradshaw. Lynch. Leppitsch.  White. Pike. Mal Michael. A huge task to win this one. 
 

In the first quarter, the mountain got steeper.  By the 15 minute mark it was 6 goals to the Lions to nil.  We were being smashed.  A few F bombs may have been uttered.  The team finally got some chances and a goal to Neita started our day.  In the second we lifted to challenge and got back to 2 goals down but late goals gave the Lions a 30 point advantage at half time.  The momentum seemed wasted.  But the 3rd quarter was simply amazing.  Neita kicked 3 goals to cut the margin back as the Dees kicked 7 goals to 3 goals to be only 9 points down at the last break. But we weren’t done.  Despite the warm July conditions, we overran the Lions to run out with a 21 point victory.  It was a 14 goal to 5 goal second half.  

There were many heroes.  Neitz showed his leadership and talent with 7 goals on the toughest defender Mal Michael. Travis Johnstone was outstanding BOG with Stephen Powell, Shane Woewodin, Cam Bruce and Adem Yze in support.  They had beaten the best midfield group in the league if not possibly of all time. Jeff White got on top in the ruck.  Clint Bizzell controlled the defence as the sweeper and launched many defensive rebounds. But it was the lesser lights who shone brightest.  Daniel Ward kicked 4 goals including two memorable fast running goals. Paul Wheatley launches a bomb from 70 metres out to lift the team. Peter Vardy showed why he was recruited with a smart game across half forward. Brown dog and Peter Walsh had held Power and Ashcroft to no goals.  Chris Lamb in his 7th game had beaten Lynch and kept him to 2 goals.  It was a very satisfying victory which proved we had the ability to beat anyone on any day. 

Melbourne 20.11.131 defeated Brisbane 16.14.110

(Footnote - to show how amazing this win was, the Lions won the 2012 premiership- in fact 2011, 2012 & 2013). 

Edited by spirit of norm smith
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8 hours ago, spirit of norm smith said:

No.35 2002 Round 14 v Lions at the Gabba

For financial reasons, the Dees administration had sold off one of our Home games to be played in Brisbane.  It was footy madness but showed our strained financial position.  
After a down 2001, the team had rebounded in 2002 and leading into round 14 were 7 wins 6 losses. We had some good tough wins and reasserted ourselves as a top 8 team. After a narrow loss to the powerful Bombers, and the emotional retirement of David Schwarz, the team headed north for the Away “home “ game.  
 

Watching on TV was cruel. This should have been at the MCG.  The Lions were now a powerful outfit.  As reigning premiers from 2001, they were on top and had won their prior 18 games straight at the Gabba.  Voss. Akermanis.  Black. Lappin. Power. Brown. Bradshaw. Lynch. Leppitsch.  White. Pike. Mal Michael. A huge task to win this one. 
 

In the first quarter, the mountain got steeper.  By the 15 minute mark it was 6 goals to the Lions to nil.  We were being smashed.  A few F bombs may have been uttered.  The team finally got some chances and a goal to Neita started our day.  In the second we lifted to challenge and got back to 2 goals down but late goals gave the Lions a 30 point advantage at half time.  The momentum seemed wasted.  But the 3rd quarter was simply amazing.  Neita kicked 3 goals to cut the margin back as the Dees kicked 7 goals to 3 goals to be only 9 points down at the last break. But we weren’t done.  Despite the warm July conditions, we overran the Lions to run out with a 21 point victory.  It was a 14 goal to 5 goal second half.  

There were many heroes.  Neitz showed his leadership and talent with 7 goals on the toughest defender Mal Michael. Travis Johnstone was outstanding BOG with Stephen Powell, Shane Woewodin, Cam Bruce and Adem Yze in support.  They had beaten the best midfield group in the league if not possibly of all time. Jeff White got on top in the ruck.  Clint Bizzell controlled the defence as the sweeper and launched many defensive rebounds. But it was the lesser lights who shone brightest.  Daniel Ward kicked 4 goals including two memorable fast running goals. Paul Wheatley launches a bomb from 70 metres out to lift the team. Peter Vardy showed why he was recruited with a smart game across half forward. Brown dog and Peter Walsh had held Power and Ashcroft to no goals.  Chris Lamb in his 7th game had beaten Lynch and kept him to 2 goals.  It was a very satisfying victory which proved we had the ability to beat anyone on any day. 

Melbourne 20.11.131 defeated Brisbane 16.14.110

(Footnote - to show how amazing this win was, the Lions won the 2012 premiership- in fact 2011, 2012 & 2013). 

2002,2003 and 2001 in fact.

Was at that game and amazing comeback after horrible start.

Lions had a rare bad day in defending but still kicked 16 goals.

Really 1994 and some other wins during 98 and 2000  Plus 87/91 There was a lot of ability but injuries and I think an ordinary defence at times cost us a chance if a flag.

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Thanks 58er. Apology. Yes that meant to be Lions won the 2001,2002 and 2003 premierships (not 2011,12,13). They were a powerhouse and our upset victory over them was sensational.  

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No.34 1975 Round 18 v Richmond at MCG

As a young 7 year old boy growing up in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, I was mad on the footy and in 1975, I went with my dad to our first games together watching the Demons.  I knew Melbourne was a “bottom team” (courtesy of the school yard) but that we used to be very good. In 1975 we were improving and I remember going to some winning games with my Dad. This one against the Tigers holds memories.  The Tigers were dual reigning premiers in 1973 and 74.  Bourke, Balme, Bartlett, Sheedy etc etc. They had plenty of stars. They were a “top team”. Lots of kids in the school loved the Tigers (and Blues and Magpies). It was rare to find a Demon supporter.  
Yet on this day, my eternal bond to the Melbourne footy club was boosted.  With big Carl Ditterich leading the way, the Dees caused a huge upset.  We won by 7 goals and I remember being so happy that I could “brag” on the Monday morning to my mates who were Tigers supporters. 
Big Carl was probably my first ever Demon that I remember.  I recall Wells and Alves as stars and of course the young Robbie amazing us kids with his skills. But Ditterich was a huge figure for a young boy.  I would sit by the fence in my first year or two and just watch the players mainly.  Ditterich grabbed the game by the throat and threw himself into everything and everyone. Stan Alves was a champion and all class. He kicked 5 goals on this day. Greg Wells was as tough and determined and clever a centreman as there was. He thrashed the Tigers midfield singlehanded, delivering the ball to Flower and Alves.  A young left footer by the name of Terry Wilkins also I remember as a pretty good footballer (I remember him also from the VFL days on a Sunday being a champion with Sandringham). 
Peter Keenan was also amazing.  Big marks and goals. 4 goals.  Some might think Crackers Keenan as the bloke who is mad, attends sportsmen nights and is a Port Melbourne tragic.  He was a very good footballer and a shame he left the Dees after 1975.
Steven Smith was a young star.  He played CHF as a teenager (in the time when smacks to the head of stray elbows were expected). He was as good a key forward as Neitz or Schwarz were at his age and at 19 was destined for a great career.
Aside from the stars like Alves, Hardeman, Flower and Wells, I grew up in this era, learning about Demons players like Ray  Biffin, Henry Coles, Shane Fitzsimmons, Tony Sullivan, Frank Giampaolo, Tony “Spud” Dullard.  They (we) had some tough years, but on this day, we had beaten the mighty Tigers. Go Demons!!! 

Melbourne 19.13.127 defeated Richmond 12.18.90 

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Posted (edited)

No.33 1986 Round 18 v Collingwood at Victoria Park


In 1986, Barassi had gone after the 5-year plan failed to deliver us a return to finals actions.  Replaced by John Northey. Gerard Healy our star player had moved to Sydney for big $$$. Robbie Flower was retuning after missing 1985. Whilst still skilled, his body was now looking fragile.  There were serious season ending knee injuries to Icke & Giles.  Steven Smith retired.  Kelvin Templetons body failed him and he retired/ was sacked.  We needed the youth who had graduated through the successful under 19s teams from 1981-84 to stand up. Veterans like Moore, Zantuck and Jarrott had stayed to help the youngsters develop. 

I had been to see some wins and some horrible losses at Victoria Park so it wasn’t a foreign ground. We’d only just lost in 1985 after a valiant effort.  It was a short train ride, totally surrounded by black and white. My dad and I were seriously outnumbered.  

I recall via the transistor, I heard that Peter Moore had pulled out before the game. Not good.  Despite that, the game started well with Williams and Stretch goals (Stretch went off injured shortly after) and despite the Pies getting back on top,  a goal to Johnson and a Battiston snap fired up the Dees to lead into half time.  Could we?
Brian Taylor had kicked most of Collingwood goals and so bustling Danny Hughes was shifted forward for the 2nd half.  Young 21yo defender Paul Payne moved to Taylor.  Robin White was keeping Daicos under control. White was a tenacious small back who tackled hard.

Battiston, Healy, Connolly were now winning the contested footy and pumping it forward. Alan Johnson was on fire.   Allday was winning the ruck. Suddenly the mixed forwards of Cordner and Hughes goaled and I remember Alan Johnson slamming through a goal from about 50metres.  6 goals for the quarter and we were now up by 3 goals. This undermanned Demons team (4 wins, 11th place) was beating the Pies at their home. They would slip out of the five if we won. The crowd was not happy.
Taylor kicked his 6th goal at the start of the last quarter but a Steve Turner spoil denied him the next.  Steve Turner and Paul Payne were not the classiest or talented players but they gave 100%. It was tight and tough but the Dees team held on in the last and a final Dees goal around the 20 minute mark had us back out to 3 goals up.   When the siren went,  it sent us into wonderland.  This mixed bag team had won it.  Northey was jubilant. 

Melbourne 16.9.105 defeated Collingwood 13.14.92 

Edited by spirit of norm smith
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I'm absolutely loving this thread and I commend you on the work you've put into it.  Fantastic effort!

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No.32 1991 round 4 v Carlton at VFL Park

In 1991, we saw the arrival of a young wild bloke from St.Kilda called Rod Owen.  He was picked up in a trade for Stephen Newport.  ‘Newy’ had played 100 games over 6 years and was a very handy midfielder and tagger.  He’d been part of the young brigade that had seen us rise to finals over the prior 4 years.  So what was Northey doing in this trade. Owen had talent but injuries. Aggressive but skilled and had a few behaviour misdemeanours.  We were to find out? 

As I went out to VFL Park,Waverley, on a windy Saturday afternoon in April. We had built up a rivalry against the Blues.  After that had beaten us up so many times, we had exacted revenge through the late 80s. Still they were talented.  Bradley, Kernahan, Hanna, Dean, Dorovich, Alvin, Ratten, Madden, Silvagni. They were unbeaten with 3 wins.    I got there to see the last quarter of the Reserves and see a bloke called Jakovich kick a few goals.  He looked like he had some talent (more on him in subsequent countdown matches). It was obvious that the large scoreboard or Jackson Rd end was the scoring end. The Blues kicked with the wind to start and had a handy 6 goal lead at quarter time.  Lyon (after kicking the opening goal) had a heavy clash and went off injured, O’Dwyer was knocked out and Stretch had to go off injured with a facial injury. Ouch. There were no easy kicks. I recall Simon Eishold playing across half forward with his hand bandaged.   
We started slowly in the second as the team roles adjusted but got a late run on and got back to a goal down by halftime.  Stynes was getting on top in the ruck.  Our forwards were worrying the Blues defence.  We looked faster.  Beveridge and Jackson and Bennett kicked the last 3 goals of the half.  The team played out the third strongly to restrict the Blues.  Brett Lovett, Cuthbertson, Spalding, Wight and Stynes repelled the Blues attacks.  We were matching them and a great goal to Jackson had us only 2 goals down. The Blues only went in to the last quarter being 14 points up.  

But what makes this a great victory was the last quarter.  Dorovich and Hanna kicked goals to keep the Blues up by 3 goals at about the 10 minute mark.  But then an avalanche. The Dees kicked the last 10 goals of the match. Wow.  We were on our feet.   11 goals for the quarter.  11.7 to 2.2.  With the wind, I remember a goal to Kevin Dyson who was near the centre square. It must have gone 80 metres easily.  This was only his 2nd game!  Owen kicked 3 of the best goals ever.  On the run bomb from 60.  A running burst through the half forward line.  Twisting. Turning.  Breaking tackles.  He was smoking!   We’d found a star (although the star burned out with a knee injury about 6 weeks later).
Stynes and Viney were driving the footy forward, supported by Dyson, the returning Steven Clark and Glenn Lovett.  Glenn Lovett added a beautiful to top it off.   

With 4 injured players and only 16 fit players, we’d won an amazing game.  Courage. Character.  Spirit.

Stynes, Viney and Spalding (who the Blues then poached at the end of 91) were probably our best, but it was Rod Owen’s 5 goals, as well as this new bloke Kevin Dyson, that had us all talking.

The Blues were demoralised.

A 45 point thrashing.  It was bliss. 

Melbourne 23.17.155 defeated Carlton 17.8.110 

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22 hours ago, demonstone said:

I'm absolutely loving this thread and I commend you on the work you've put into it.  Fantastic effort!

Thanks Demonstone.  Some great memories of why we love the Red & Blue.  

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2 hours ago, spirit of norm smith said:

No.32 1991 round 4 v Carlton at VFL Park

In 1991, we saw the arrival of a young wild bloke from St.Kilda called Rod Owen.  He was picked up in a trade for Stephen Newport.  ‘Newy’ had played 100 games over 6 years and was a very handy midfielder and tagger.  He’d been part of the young brigade that had seen us rise to finals over the prior 4 years.  So what was Northey doing in this trade. Owen had talent but injuries. Aggressive but skilled and had a few behaviour misdemeanours.  We were to find out? 

As I went out to VFL Park,Waverley, on a windy Saturday afternoon in April. We had built up a rivalry against the Blues.  After that had beaten us up so many times, we had exacted revenge through the late 80s. Still they were talented.  Bradley, Kernahan, Hanna, Dean, Dorovich, Alvin, Ratten, Madden, Silvagni. They were unbeaten with 3 wins.    I got there to see the last quarter of the Reserves and see a bloke called Jakovich kick a few goals.  He looked like he had some talent (more on him in subsequent countdown matches). It was obvious that the large scoreboard or Jackson Rd end was the scoring end. The Blues kicked with the wind to start and had a handy 6 goal lead at quarter time.  Lyon (after kicking the opening goal) had a heavy clash and went off injured, O’Dwyer was knocked out and Stretch had to go off injured with a facial injury. Ouch. There were no easy kicks. I recall Simon Eishold playing across half forward with his hand bandaged.   
We started slowly in the second as the team roles adjusted but got a late run on and got back to a goal down by halftime.  Stynes was getting on top in the ruck.  Our forwards were worrying the Blues defence.  We looked faster.  Beveridge and Jackson and Bennett kicked the last 3 goals of the half.  The team played out the third strongly to restrict the Blues.  Brett Lovett, Cuthbertson, Spalding, Wight and Stynes repelled the Blues attacks.  We were matching them and a great goal to Jackson had us only 2 goals down. The Blues only went in to the last quarter being 14 points up.  

But what makes this a great victory was the last quarter.  Dorovich and Hanna kicked goals to keep the Blues up by 3 goals at about the 10 minute mark.  But then an avalanche. The Dees kicked the last 10 goals of the match. Wow.  We were on our feet.   11 goals for the quarter.  11.7 to 2.2.  With the wind, I remember a goal to Kevin Dyson who was near the centre square. It must have gone 80 metres easily.  This was only his 2nd game!  Owen kicked 3 of the best goals ever.  On the run bomb from 60.  A running burst through the half forward line.  Twisting. Turning.  Breaking tackles.  He was smoking!   We’d found a star (although the star burned out with a knee injury about 6 weeks later).
Stynes and Viney were driving the footy forward, supported by Dyson, the returning Steven Clark and Glenn Lovett.  Glenn Lovett added a beautiful to top it off.   

With 4 injured players and only 16 fit players, we’d won an amazing game.  Courage. Character.  Spirit.

Stynes, Viney and Spalding (who the Blues then poached at the end of 91) were probably our best, but it was Rod Owen’s 5 goals, as well as this new bloke Kevin Dyson, that had us all talking.

The Blues were demoralised.

A 45 point thrashing.  It was bliss. 

Melbourne 23.17.155 defeated Carlton 17.8.110 

Remember this game well. Owen was a gun for about 8 matches and then ........ The week before if memory serves me we played the saints at the G and just lost. Owen kicked a bag again but bloody Wilson came back to haunt us kicking about 7. 

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No.31 1994 Round 24 v Sydney at SCG

As we sat down to watch this last regular season game on TV.  It was a hot Sunday afternoon in September in Sydney. The Dees had to win to make the finals.  We were playing the bottom placed Swans away.  The Swans were coached by Ron Barassi, brought in to be the saviour of the derailed Swans.  Whilst they were on the bottom, sometimes the Dees had trouble with such games so I remember being a little anxious.  
The Demons started on fire with early goals from Lyon, Hilton and Schwarz but the Swans were also attacking and scoring. Paul Kelly always played well against us and was again today. Cresswell kicked two goals to keep the scores close.  We were up 8 goals to 6 goals at quarter time. The score bonanza continued with Martin Pike kicking 3 in a row to give us a handy 5 goal advantage before late goals to the Swans had us up by only 14 points at half time. Lovell and Kowal were injured and we were down to 19 fit players.  Dees had 14.2 thanks to Pike,Schwarz, Charles and Lyon as multiple goalkickers.
Our accuracy continued right up until 19.2 when Lyon missed one.  Schwarz was showing his ability. Great marks. Kicking goals from the boundary about 55 metres out. Wow. He had just turned 22 yo but a star. The Swans could do nothing to stop him. Tingay and Viney were driving the footy forward to our dangerous forwards.  We were 36 points up by 3/4 time with an amazing 21.4.130.   Sean Charles added his 4th and 5th, and Schwarz his 9th goal as we kicked 27.5.  Schwarz 9, Pike5, Charles 5, Lyon 4.  A dangerous forward combo.  

The day had 3 stories.  Firstly the amazing accuracy.  Secondly, finals here we come ! Relief but excitement.  Thirdly, confirmation of a new star, the equal of any star forward in the league, David Schwarz. Nine goals from CHF. He had 54 goals and over 150 marks for the year from CHF. His leap and agility were unrivalled.  He’d kicked a goal in every game.  

Melbourne 27.5.167 defeated Sydney 18.13.121

 

Edited by spirit of norm smith
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No. 30 1984 Round 9 v Bulldogs at VFL Park 

Melbourne was 2 wins 6 losses and were facing the Dogs who had just beaten the top of the table Bombers at Windy Hill.  All the tipsters picked the Dogs but did note it was played at VFL Park and not the Western Oval.  The Dees were nearly at full strength.  My dad and I ventured out to see the game with some optimism as we’d see the team run then top teams Hawthorn and North Melbourne to within a goal and easily beat Geelong.  
The game started well as early goals to Templeton saw his confidence grow.  In the first half the Dees got out to a 5 goal lead over to see that reduce to 9 points nearing half time.   Late goals to Thorne and Templeton steadied the team.   Templeton’s injuries were restricting his mobility but he was a strong build and good mark. His kicking was a shadow of his former glory but able to kick goals up to 40-45 metres out. 
After half time, the Dees completely took over. Peter Moore dominated in the ruck.  The Healy brothers (Gerard and Greg), together with Flower, Johnson and Connolly formed a wonderful midfield.  Templeton kicked two more to have 6 goals by 3/4 time and Thorne added a late goal to have 5.  
The Dees were up by 52 points.  It had been a long time since we were completely dominating.  Thorne’s ability to play between the middle and the forward line was causing the Bulldogs nightmares. He seemed everywhere.  The last quarter yielded 5 more goals as Templeton ended with 8 goals and Thorne 7 goals.  I remember some Dogs supporters abusing Templeton in the game but had shut up by the final siren.  I think they’d snuck out sometime in the last quarter. We won by 78 points.  Amazing.  We sung Its a Grand Old Flag with pride.  
Steven Smith has beaten Simon Beasley.  Veterans Icke,Jarrott and Zantuck all played great games across half back. Flower had easily beaten Doug Hawkins.  Peter Moore was probably equal BOG with Flower.  Thorne has about 35 possessions and dominated.  7 goals. Whilst clearly limited, Templeton showed he’d still be a danger to any defence. 18 yo John Fidge showed his strength, footy smarts and good marking and skills. 18yo Greg Healy has fitted straight in alongside his brother. Gerard Healy was now a star, amassing 30 possessions with ease.  We were looking forward with optimism. 

Melbourne 23.21.159 defeated Footscray 11.15.81 

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No.29 1994 Round 17 v Hawthorn at Princes Park

1994 what a year.  It was a roller coaster ride. We’d won the first 5 games and were on top.  The team was flying.  Then a slump and by round 17, had 7 wins and 8 losses. We were outside the 8 (finals eligibility had extended from the final 6) and staring down some tough matches.  Geelong has beaten us the prior round and confidence was down.  As it happened, we had to play Hawthorn at their home ground as a Melbourne home game. Ouch!  The Hawks were in 4th place and had started to dismantle teams.  We got the tram up Royal parade and arrived as the “home ground” members. It was bizarre to be seated in the shade at Princes Park. !!! 
Allen Jakovich has returned for the clash and we were desperate. But Sean Charles was a late withdrawal.   The game started well with accurate kicking getting us in front.  It was a willing start and do recall enjoying the game from about row 5 or 6 from the fence.
8 goals to 4 goals gave us a 23 point half time lead. A young Neitz at CHB got reported early but had showed our intention.  Jako had 3 goals to half time whilst Wight was beating Dunstall and getting the applause from the MFC members.  This was a handy start. 

The Hawks had a very good midfield in Ratten, Pritchard, Allan and Shane Crawford. But on this day, Todd Viney, Kevin Dyson, Tingay and Glenn Lovett got on top and fed the forwards.  The 3rd quarter starting with Jakovich adding 3 goals and we’d marched out to a 8 goal lead.  But the umpiring was disgraceful and finally Jakovich let them know. The crowd roared in approval as the fired up Demon gave the ump his opinion. Schwarz was proving a handful for the Hawks as they shifted defenders between him and Jako.  Maginness, Graham and Taylor all tried and failed.  Finally Jakovich added goal 7 and then goal 8 (8.1) as the sealer and saluted to the crowd and gave his opinions to the Hawks defenders.  Game over.  We had taken a fabulous “away - home” victory and kept our season alive.  
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the last time we would see Jakovich for the Demons as a back injury ended his year and ultimately his career (his rehabilitation didn’t go well).  Jakovich was a sensation and brought many a smile and excitement to all Demons fans.  My late father always jumped and cheered when Jakovich excited the crowd. We certainly did on this day.   Good times and memories. We especially always enjoyed beating the Hawks after the pain they’d inflicted in 87 and 88.  And in 1994 this game propelled us back into the finals race and kept our slim premiership dreams alive. 
 

Melbourne 17. 10.112 defeated Hawthorn 11.8.74. 

Edited by spirit of norm smith
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Nice one as usual, s.o.n.s.  Do you just have a fantastic memory or is there a resource you consult to assist you?

"Ratten" I believe would be Johnny "The Rat" Platten.

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