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CHANGES 2021 by The Oracle


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Part 1: Moving right along …

For the first time in aeons, the end of the football season hasn’t felt as if it passed so swiftly. We’re still living the dream of 25 September, 2021 and rightfully so — we were patient, long-suffering and we’ve earned the right to party hard (as long as we’re not infecting the rest of the state as some health authorities contend).

But we’ve also come into October which in football terms means that for one segment of the Melbourne Football Club — the recruiting department — there’s work to be done. And while many remain content to continue watching replays of the 2021 Grand Final on rotation, we must also pay our respects to the club’s National Recruiting Manager Jason Taylor, List Manager Tim Lamb and their recruiting staff and congratulate them on gathering together our premiership list. The football world has acclaimed and acknowledged their role in smashing our club’s 57 year drought, so it’s a big thank you to the all important group of people who put together this wonderful list of 2021 Demons:

PRIMARY LIST: —

Oskar Baker Toby Bedford Jake Bowey Angus Brayshaw Ben Brown Bayley Fritsch Max Gawn James Harmes Michael Hibberd Marty Hore * Jayden Hunt Luke Jackson Neville Jetta Nathan Jones Ed Langdon Bailey Laurie Jake Lever Tom McDonald Jay Lockhart Steven May Jake Melksham Alex Neal-Bullen Clayton Oliver Christian Petracca Harrison Petty Kysaiah Kropinyeri Pickett Trent Rivers Fraser Rosman Christian Salem Charlie Spargo Joel Smith Tom Sparrow Adam Tomlinson Aaron vandenBerg Jack Viney Sam Weideman   

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY A 

Mitch Brown Kade Chandler Majak Daw Kye Declase James Jordon Aaron Nietschke * Deakyn Smith Daniel Turner

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY B  

Austin Bradtke 

* inactive players (long term injuries)

And so, we move right along into the coming months when, even the most successful clubs must inevitably experience some change. 

Indeed, the first change was already well documented a fortnight before the grand final when we farewelled a champion player and club stalwart Nathan Jones. The former skipper had been an emergency in the Preliminary Final against Geelong but made the decision to fly back home to be at the birth of his twins with wife Jerri. Sadly, he wasn’t there to share the Grand Final victory at Optus Stadium but he was close enough in spirit and his contribution over the years and to the premiership win will never be forgotten. 

On the Monday after the Grand Final, more list changes were announced at the club. Veteran defender Neville Jetta joined Jones in announcing his retirement after 159 games over 13 seasons with the club. A courageous leader of the Demon backline in its resurgence over the past six or seven seasons, Jetta also played a significant role in improving the club’s culture over this period. He missed selection in the finals but his role during the season and throughout his career will not be forgotten.

Following the exit interviews, the club also announced that Aaron vandenBerg will depart to pursue opportunities elsewhere and that Jay Lockhart and rookies Austin Bradtke and Aaron Nietschke would be delisted. 

List manager Tim Lamb said vandenberg had made a significant contribution over his seven years at the club. “I know our supporters loved the brutal way that Vanders played the game. His performances in some big games for the club, including the 2018 AFL Finals Series will be long remembered,” Lamb said.

Lockhart managed 22 games for the club playing as a small defender and forward, while Nietschke was unlucky in his time with the Demons suffering an ACL in each of his three years at the club. Bradtke was also unable to break into senior ranks and was restricted in his development over the past two years by the Covid19 pandemic.

The club also followed up with more player signings and by the time the AFL Free Agency period opened up on Friday, it was clear that any role that it would play in that exercise would be minor, if at all. When the trade period opens, our expectations of much change should not be all that high either. The uncertainty and the financial restrictions that the pandemic has brought with it appear to have had an effect in limiting the likelihood of unrestrained player mobility from club to club that we saw a few years ago.

As we go into the trade period which kicks off on Monday, 4 October and concludes on Wednesday, 13 October, with the Melbourne Football Club list reading like this:-

PRIMARY LIST: —

Oskar Baker Toby Bedford Jake Bowey Angus Brayshaw Ben Brown Bayley Fritsch Max Gawn James Harmes Michael Hibberd Marty Hore Jayden Hunt Luke Jackson Ed Langdon Bailey Laurie Jake Lever Tom McDonald Steven May Jake Melksham Alex Neal-Bullen Clayton Oliver Christian Petracca Harrison Petty Kysaiah Kropinyeri Pickett Trent Rivers Fraser Rosman Christian Salem Charlie Spargo Joel Smith Tom Sparrow Adam Tomlinson Jack Viney Sam Weideman   

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY A 

Mitch Brown Kade Chandler Majak Daw Kye Declase James Jordon Deakyn Smith Daniel Turner 

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY B  

Nil

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4 hours ago, Demonland said:

Moving right along …

For the first time in aeons, the end of the football season hasn’t felt as if it passed so swiftly. We’re still living the dream of 25 September, 2021 and rightfully so — we were patient, long-suffering and we’ve earned the right to party hard (as long as we’re not infecting the rest of the state as some health authorities contend).

But we’ve also come into October which in football terms means that for one segment of the Melbourne Football Club — the recruiting department — there’s work to be done. And while many remain content to continue watching replays of the 2021 Grand Final on rotation, we must also pay our respects to the club’s National Recruiting Manager Jason Taylor, List Manager Tim Lamb and their recruiting staff and congratulate them on gathering together our premiership list. The football world has acclaimed and acknowledged their role in smashing our club’s 57 year drought, so it’s a big thank you to the all important group of people who put together this wonderful list of 2021 Demons:

PRIMARY LIST: —

Oskar Baker Toby Bedford Jake Bowey Angus Brayshaw Ben Brown Bayley Fritsch Max Gawn James Harmes Michael Hibberd Marty Hore * Jayden Hunt Luke Jackson Neville Jetta Nathan Jones Ed Langdon Bailey Laurie Jake Lever Tom McDonald Jay Lockhart Steven May Jake Melksham Alex Neal-Bullen Clayton Oliver Christian Petracca Harrison Petty Kysaiah Kropinyeri Pickett Trent Rivers Fraser Rosman Christian Salem Charlie Spargo Joel Smith Tom Sparrow Adam Tomlinson Aaron vandenBerg Jack Viney Sam Weideman   

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY A 

Mitch Brown Kade Chandler Majak Daw Kye Declase James Jordon Aaron Nietschke * Deakyn Smith Daniel Turner

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY B  

Austin Bradtke 

* inactive players (long term injuries)

And so, we move right along into the coming months when, even the most successful clubs must inevitably experience some change. 

Indeed, the first change was already well documented a fortnight before the grand final when we farewelled a champion player and club stalwart Nathan Jones. The former skipper had been an emergency in the Preliminary Final against Geelong but made the decision to fly back home to be at the birth of his twins with wife Jerri. Sadly, he wasn’t there to share the Grand Final victory at Optus Stadium but he was close enough in spirit and his contribution over the years and to the premiership win will never be forgotten. 

On the Monday after the Grand Final, more list changes were announced at the club. Veteran defender Neville Jetta joined Jones in announcing his retirement after 159 games over 13 seasons with the club. A courageous leader of the Demon backline in its resurgence over the past six or seven seasons, Jetta also played a significant role in improving the club’s culture over this period. He missed selection in the finals but his role during the season and throughout his career will not be forgotten.

Following the exit interviews, the club also announced that Aaron vandenBerg will depart to pursue opportunities elsewhere and that Jay Lockhart and rookies Austin Bradtke and Aaron Nietschke would be delisted. 

List manager Tim Lamb said vandenberg had made a significant contribution over his seven years at the club. “I know our supporters loved the brutal way that Vanders played the game. His performances in some big games for the club, including the 2018 AFL Finals Series will be long remembered,” Lamb said.

Lockhart managed 22 games for the club playing as a small defender and forward, while Nietschke was unlucky in his time with the Demons suffering an ACL in each of his three years at the club. Bradtke was also unable to break into senior ranks and was restricted in his development over the past two years by the Covid19 pandemic.

The club also followed up with more player signings and by the time the AFL Free Agency period opened up on Friday, it was clear that any role that it would play in that exercise would be minor, if at all. When the trade period opens, our expectations of much change should not be all that high either. The uncertainty and the financial restrictions that the pandemic has brought with it appear to have had an effect in limiting the likelihood of unrestrained player mobility from club to club that we saw a few years ago.

As we go into the trade period which kicks off on Monday, 4 October and concludes on Wednesday, 13 October, with the Melbourne Football Club list reading like this:-

PRIMARY LIST: —

Oskar Baker Toby Bedford Jake Bowey Angus Brayshaw Ben Brown Bayley Fritsch Max Gawn James Harmes Michael Hibberd Marty Hore Jayden Hunt Luke Jackson Ed Langdon Bailey Laurie Jake Lever Tom McDonald Steven May Jake Melksham Alex Neal-Bullen Clayton Oliver Christian Petracca Harrison Petty Kysaiah Kropinyeri Pickett Trent Rivers Fraser Rosman Christian Salem Charlie Spargo Joel Smith Tom Sparrow Adam Tomlinson Jack Viney Sam Weideman   

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY A 

Mitch Brown Kade Chandler Majak Daw Kye Declase James Jordon Deakyn Smith Daniel Turner 

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY B  

Nil

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Jordon will have to be promoted to the senior list as you can only have 6 rookies at the start of the year.

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23 minutes ago, Leopold Bloom said:

The media is virtually speechless about Melbourne’s role over the next month or two.

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Chris Doerre (Knightmare)’s opinion -

Melbourne

List needs:
        
Retaining talent and maintaining the team chemistry

Maintain future salary cap flexibility by minimising list additions

Go to the draft and secure the best available talent

Draft Picks: 33, 42, 54, 91

Who should they target?

Melbourne's list situation is one whereby their focus needs to be on retaining talent instead of adding it. The Demons need to ensure maximum flexibility to their salary cap situation and maintain their competition-best team chemistry and list synergy at all costs.

While Melbourne may be the best situation for a draft prospect to enter, mature age Western Australian midfielder and Sandover Medallist Bailey Rogers is one of the few at the draft who both may be available at Melbourne's first pick, and who can add immediate value. A sound complement to Melbourne's star midfielders, Rogers is a classy, high impact per possession midfielder who can also cause problems for opposition defences when used up forward.

With Michael Hibberd aging, overager Jack Avery would be a capable successor with one of Melbourne's selections. A 190cm defender, Avery intercepts, rebounds and hold his own against taller and stronger forwards.

I disagree with Knightmare on the point he makes about having no need to focus on adding talent. It’s true that our talent level has great scope for natural improvement from within because of the number of young players on the list including those who have yet to make their AFL debut. At least he’s come up with some suggested draft options which is an improvement on the lazy journalism we’re getting from the mainstream media.

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James Jordon elevates to Primary List ASAP. If we can get into the draft, all good but either way we aim for a tall forward and/or a lanky green ruckman who can build slowly over three years. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Part 2: A house in order

The Melbourne Football Club hasn’t just spent the month of October celebrating its 13th premiership flag. It has also been doing other things in terms of list management including getting its house in order by signing previously uncontracted team members while dealing with the difficult decision involved in making two further delistings. Some players were signed on for extended lengths of time at the club but the Demons also bade farewell to unlucky defender Marty Hore after three seasons at the club and to rookie Kye Declase who had a much shorter stay.

Hore joined Melbourne as a mature-age defender from Collingwood VFL in the 2018 National Draft with pick 56 and played all of his 14 games in 2019 after making his debut in the team’s opening round loss to Port Adelaide at the MCG. His only goal for the club leveled the scores late in the game against the Suns at Metricon Stadium Stadium which ended in a win for the Demons when Tom McDonald kicked a point seconds before the siren. Hore’s last two years were blighted by injury - in 2020 it was a broken toe followed by a quad issue and then, early this year he tore his ACL at training.

Utility player Declase joined the club in this year’s Mid-Season Rookie Draft. The 24-year-old was limited to just 4 games with the Casey Demons as a consequence of the early closure due to Covid19 of the VFL competition.

The result of this month’s changes leave the club with the following lists —

PRIMARY LIST: —
 
Oskar Baker Toby Bedford Jake Bowey Angus Brayshaw Ben Brown Luke Dunstan Bayley Fritsch Max Gawn James Harmes Michael Hibberd Jayden Hunt Luke Jackson Ed Langdon Bailey Laurie Jake Lever Tom McDonald Steven May Jake Melksham Alex Neal-Bullen Clayton Oliver Christian Petracca Harrison Petty Kysaiah Kropinyeri Pickett Trent Rivers Fraser Rosman Christian Salem Charlie Spargo Joel Smith Tom Sparrow Adam Tomlinson Jack Viney Sam Weideman 
 
ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY A
 
Mitch Brown Kade Chandler Majak Daw James Jordon Deakyn Smith Daniel Turner
 
ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY B
 
Nil

2021 AFL NATIONAL DRAFT PICKS:

17 37 49 57 94

The month of November sees AFL clubs moving toward the National, Pre Season and Rookie Drafts. The club’s grand final medical sub James Jordon appears a certain upgrade to the Primary List. The club also holds options to secure players through its Next Generation Academy (NGA) and a Father-Son (F-S) selection. They are —

• Mac Andrew 18, 200cm, 80kg Ruckman (Dandenong Stingrays - NGA) 

I wouldn’t be holding my breath about Andrew remaining affiliated with the Demons beyond the National Draft following widespread speculation that at least one club from outside of Victoria is interested in drafting the long term ruck prospect inside the top ten (under new rules, clubs are unable to match any NGA bids coming in the first 20 selections). This is despite the fact that his body of work (albeit limited throughout the Covid19 period) has been unspectacular. He finished 13th in this year’s Stingrays B & F, was unsighted for three quarters playing for the AFL Academy v Geelong VFL and reports of his game for Vic Country vs Metro in a challenge match when only lightly used in the ruck are mixed. Yet an Age reporter claims he’s had a “head-turning” season. Andrew has an exciting highlights package and, as the AFL website’s Cal Twomey notes, this year’s draft will be unique with spending and travel limited during the pandemic limiting recruiters. "They'll be drafting some players who they actually haven't seen live". With no Victorian participation in the national championships or a draft combine, there remain huge risks involved with speculative choices like Andrew who is expected to take years to develop as a ruckman or key position player. 

• Andy Moniz-Wakefield 18, 180cm, 73kg Midfielder (Nightcliff, NT - NGA) 

Probably sits at the other end of the scale to Andrew in that there’s been little interest in him and he’s unlikely to attract a bid at the draft which would allow Melbourne to place him on its Category B Rookie list. Moniz-Wakefield who has played for NT Thunder and the Allies, is said to possess breakaway speed, good agility and ball use.

• Taj Woewodin 18, 182cm, 77kg Midfielder (East Fremantle, WAFL - FS) 

The son of former Demon star and 2000 Brownlow Medallist Shane will realise his AFL dream in November’s National Draft if selected by the club. He was captain of the East Fremantle’s Colts team and also did well for WA in the limited National Under 19 championships. He models his game on Collingwood champion Steele Sidebottom and Geelong star Mitch Duncan and recently put in the fastest time for the 20m sprint (2.89secs) at the WA Draft Combine. He nominated Melbourne as a father-son prospect in the upcoming National Draft yesterday and is expected to be picked up in the 40s.

In terms of recruitment, it should be noted that of the players already on the lists set out above, the following have yet to play an AFL game for Melbourne 

Luke Dunstan, Bailey Laurie, Fraser Rosman, Majak Daw, Deakyn Smith and Daniel Turner while Adam Tomlinson will return after a long lay off after ACL surgery. There’s scope there for plenty of potential new faces introduced to the team even before the draft.

I have always been a big believer in the idea that the draft is for the best player available and this one looks very much an even draft with a number of handy midfield types of which there should be some very good options at the club’s current first selection at number 17 (which will draft out to 19 after Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy are picked as father-son selections). The club could use a developing key position player but they’re thin on the ground and I’m told that there will be some outstanding talls available in next year’s batch including some genuine ruck types. 

In the final wash up, I see Melbourne taking no more than two or three players in the national draft which fits in with the view of a club that has its house well and truly in order and primed to remain a force again in 2022.

1872AD65-F49A-44A7-8DF5-A8DB775589EE.jpeg

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On 10/30/2021 at 7:16 AM, Demonland said:

I have always been a big believer in the idea that the draft is for the best player available

True.

And if you dont like the player who will be available at your pick, then you try and trade the pick up or down the list.

 

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7 hours ago, Jontee said:

True.

And if you dont like the player who will be available at your pick, then you try and trade the pick up or down the list.

 

But it’s not a matter of whether you like the player but whether you’re making your selection decision based on picking the best player available. That’s no longer the case when people talk of selecting on needs alone or on a vision of what a player might be three or four years down the track. 

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  • Whispering_Jack changed the title to CHANGES 2021 Parts One and Two by The Oracle
  • 4 weeks later...

Part 3: A minor dream for the premier team

Coming from a position where Melbourne’s initial first pick in the 2021 AFL National Draft was at #33, the club has managed its first post-premiership trade and draft period quite nicely.

The year ended with the 23 playing representatives in the premiership match and a number of close contenders for places within that group intact and at the club — a number of them came out with extended contracts.

That should be an impressive enough outcome but so is the number of players on its lists who have yet to make AFL debuts for Melbourne: —

They are Primary listers in Luke Dunstan, Blake Howes, Bailey Laurie, Fraser Rosman, Jacob Van Rooyen and Taj Woewodin and Rookies, Majak Daw, Judd McVee, Deakyn Smith and Daniel Turner (Category A) and Andy Moniz-Wakefield (Category B). These players constitute 25% of the list at various stages of their careers who add to the team’s depth and development potential. . 

The club’s list improvement gained early momentum with the addition of free agent Luke Dunstan from the Saints, fresh off an 11 Brownlow vote season. The drafts that followed turned out a minor dream. 

The Demons turned picks 17, 37, 49 and 57 into the selection of versatile key position player Jacob Van Rooyen (#19) who already has 5 games at senior WAFL level with Claremont under his belt, tall running forward Blake Howes (#39) and father-son prospect Taj Woewodin (#65) who finished off the season impressively in the WA Colts, for his State and at the Draft Combine. For good measure, the club added two rookies, WA junior state representative Judd McVee (Category A) who the club has been eyeing since an outstanding national championships two years ago in the pre Covid era and exciting NGA from NT, Andy Moniz-Wakefield (Category B).

The club traded a couple of late draft selections for future picks which could come in very handy next year as some opposition will need them in the drafting process to secure father-son selections.

The reigning premiers will head into 2022 defending their new found prized status as league front runners with the following lists.

PRIMARY LIST: —

Oskar Baker Toby Bedford Jake Bowey Angus Brayshaw Ben Brown Luke Dunstan Bayley Fritsch Max Gawn James Harmes Michael Hibberd Blake Howes Jayden Hunt Luke Jackson James Jordon Ed Langdon Bailey Laurie Jake Lever Tom McDonald Steven May Jake Melksham Alex Neal-Bullen Clayton Oliver Christian Petracca Harrison Petty Kysaiah Kropinyeri Pickett Trent Rivers Fraser Rosman Christian Salem Charlie Spargo Joel Smith Tom Sparrow Adam Tomlinson Jacob Van Rooyen Jack Viney Sam Weideman Taj Woewodin 

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY A 

Mitch Brown Kade Chandler Majak Daw Judd McVee Deakyn Smith Daniel Turner 

ROOKIE LIST: CATEGORY B  

Andy Moniz-Wakefield 

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The list looks in great shape for next year. The primary concern will surely be that our injury luck will have to run out, but I think our system and culture is strong enough that we can adopt the same mentality of the Tigers in recent years where if one soldier goes down, the players know the system well enough that the next guy can come in and fill a role from the get-go. 

Regular season could be a good chance to give some guys like Laurie, Weid, Chandler, JVR, Bedford a run to see where they're at and explore our depth a bit.

Great position to be in.

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