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MUCH ADO ABOUT EVERYTHING by Whispering Jack



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Let's face it. We Melbourne supporters are a demanding lot.

Here we are with our team on top of the ladder with a record of 12 wins and 2 losses, a decent percentage and a fair run home for a team with finals credentials. We have a fit list with lots of in form players, many of who are in contention for All Australian and other high honours, the team’s playing with purpose and cohesion and its VFL affiliate is undefeated and going gangbusters. 

Still, we're all walking around with concerned looks on our faces, carrying feelings of concern and apprehension about what lies ahead. 

What’s the fuss all about - is there a problem or is a case of “much ado about nothing”?

Well, possibly there is a problem … we have a powerful defence and a good few A graders in the midfield but there seems to be an issue with the forward line. It's not that they're failing to kick winning scores because they usually manage to do exactly that. What appears to upset us however, is that they're not kicking big scores and, as a result, they’re not destroying opponents.

While everyone should strive to get better, it’s hard to do that when you already have a 12/2 win, loss record but the last couple of weeks have seen some poor conversion for goal combined with a decline in pressure applied by the club’s forwards. A number of them are just not scoring goals. In recent games, I’ve noticed that this is particularly so at the pointy end of games. Since the win against the Swans, the Dees have conceded at least the last goal of every match to their opponents, often it’s been the last two or three at the precise time when a top side should be asserting its dominance in attack rather than falling away leaving supporters feeling that they’d just witnessed a “nothing game”.

Perhaps it’s not surprising therefore that the club’s website sought out forward coach Greg Stafford to discuss his charges in this week’s episode of “The Talking Point”.

Stafford apparently prefers to describe “small forwards” as “speed forwards” while “tall forwards” are “power forwards”. On that basis, I’m not sure where that leaves the likes of Jake Melksham who is currently on the outer or Bayley Fritsch who is on the inner or why Ben Brown can’t get a look in after his five-goal haul at Casey. In any event, team selection in the coming few weeks will be interesting if the intention is to ramp up scoring power. In the case of Saturday’s game v GWS Giants, it might well have been the weather report pointing to coolish conditions and a high percentage chance of rain on game day.

Then there’s the opposition. Melbourne rolled an injury riddled GWS combination after a slow start in their last encounter and the Giants’ form in recent weeks has been flaky to say the least against lowly ranked opposition. They drew with North, lost to Hawthorn and beat an insipid Carlton by six goals of the back of some  straight kicking for goal. The loss to the Hawks when a top eight spot was in the offing would have been heartbreaking for the few fans who follow them. Chances are that in the uncertainty of the present in a semi hub situation with Covid19 bearing down on them and playing at the unfamiliar MCG in front of thousands of fussy Demon fans who will be demanding a gold standard performance rather than a “nothing” game, things are not going to get better for them.

Melbourne to win by 32 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v GWS Giants at the MCG, Saturday 3 July, 2021 at 1:45pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall – Melbourne 8 wins GWS Giants 6 wins

At The MCG – GWS Giants 0 wins Melbourne 0 wins

Past five meetings – Melbourne 3 wins GWS Giants 2 wins

The Coaches – Goodwin 3 wins Cameron 2 wins

THE MEDIA

TV live and on demand on Kayo and live on Foxtel. Check your local guides.

Radio - check your local guides.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 15.12.102 defeated GWS Giants 11.2.68 at Manuka Oval, Round 3, 2021

Greater Western Sydney had the early lead thanks to its accuracy in front of goal but the superior Demons took the advantage of the Giants’ injury woes and powered ahead to a fine 34 point victory. Max Gawn was dominant in the ruck and around the ground with Christian Petracca and Jack Viney taking the full benefit of their power games.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE 

B: J. Hunt 29 S. May 1 J. Lever 8

HB: M. Hibberd 14 H. Petty 35 C. Salem 3

C: J. Jordon 23 C. Petracca 5 E. Langdon 15

HF: J. Viney 7 T. McDonald 25 C. Spargo 9

F: A. Neal-Bullen L. Jackson 6 B. Fritsch 31

Foll: M. Gawn 11 C. Oliver 13 K. Pickett 36

I/C: A. Brayshaw 10 J. Harmes 4 T. Rivers 24 T. Sparrow 32

Sub: A. vandenBerg 22 Emerg: J. Bowey 17 B. Brown 50 K. Chandler 37

In: A. vandenBerg 

Out: N. Jones (calf)

GWS GIANTS 

B: J. Buckley 44 P.  Davis 1 L. Ash 7

HB: H. Perryman 36 N. Haynes 19 I. Cumming 13

C: J. Kelly 22 C. Ward 8 L. Whitfield 6

HF: B. Daniels 16 H. Himmelberg 27 B. Hill 37

F: T. Greene 4 J. Finlayson 31 D. Lloyd 38 

Foll: S. Mumford 41 T. Taranto 14  J. Hopper 2 

I/C: M. Flynn T. Green 12 30 C. Idun 39 A. Kennedy 40

Sub: S. Reid 50 Emerg: K. Briggs 32 M. de Boer 24 X. O'Halloran 33 

In: T. Green S. Mumford

Out: K. Briggs (omitted) M. de Boer (omitted) 

Round 16: Injury List

Marty Hore (knee) — 8 to 10 Weeks

Aaron Nietschke (knee) — Season

Adam Tomlinson (knee) — Season

 

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