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  • Podcast: Mid-Season Review 2022  

  • Podcast: Mid-Season Review 2022  

In Season - Loading/Periodisation: Put your conjecture here.



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7 minutes ago, —coach— said:

It may not be post bye that we see the benefit as we may actually be building load through the bye and out the other side. Could take several weeks after the bye to see the effect. Only looking at the season in entirety will the result be fully known.

Which is EXACTLY what happened last year.

As I posted earlier in this thread we played the pies on Queen' birthday, were flat as a pancake, could only manage 63 points and conceded 25 scoring shots (80 points) against the most dour offence in the afl in 2021. And lost.

Then we had our bye in round 14.

We scrapped over the line against the bombers, only scoring 68 points, in round 15 and got rolled by the giants in round 16 (only scoring 55 points).

We beat Port in round 17  by 5 odd goals, after which maxy was asked about the turn around and mentioned the impact of a big black of training in the previous weeks.

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1 minute ago, —coach— said:

It’s about prioritizing what’s important, if winning in September is important, you can’t be winning for the 27 or so weeks leading up to that (unless you are 20% better than the next best team and can win running at 80%). As the effects of preseason wear off over time and you need to top up the tank to finish the season strong.

it’s kinda like a pit strategy in racing where you can’t run the full race on one tank of fuel, you need to have a plan for when you are going to pit which needs to be flexible enough that should the unexpected arise (like rain which affects tyre choice, or a minor malfunction, or pace car) you can adapt. In a footy sense, you choose when to pit (increase load) to fill of the tank, but need to adapt your plan for those who have had injury or illness. 

Great analogy!

Burgess left Liverpool FC because he felt  there wasn’t much for him to do as they were playing a game every 3-4 days most weeks keeping them match sharp with minimal training. The recovery was also more gentle than compared to AFL (game length and ground size being shorter, and less physicality). Basically once the season started things took care of themselves more or less.

With AFL, the break between games is tougher to manage the balance between recovery and keeping players fitness at the required level. Hence the impact of loading to get players back to peak fitness at the right time of year.

 

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Posted (edited)

I am genuinely interested in 2 folk who work in the field and state have been doing for some time - why they have vastly different insights. (That being Bing and Coach). 
 

Edited by Engorged Onion
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10 minutes ago, Engorged Onion said:

I am genuinely interested in 2 folk who work in the field and state have been doing for some time - why they have vastly different insights. (That being Bing and Coach). 

I don't work in the field of sports science, not sure where you got that info. I'm involved in research (assessing proposals amongst other things), but it's not in sports science.

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6 minutes ago, bing181 said:

I don't work in the field of sports science, not sure where you got that info. I'm involved in research (assessing proposals amongst other things), but it's not in sports science.

Apologies, I misread some text. 

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3 hours ago, Dwight Schrute said:

This is a terrific post, and i know for a fact we adopted a similar plan and had a drop off in performance at exactly the same stage last season, and it allowed us to absolutely peak when we needed to. 

This is something we've only as recently as the last 2 seasons started doing, we balance our pre season out with a lot more skills and game plan focus and work more carefully with in season training loads to try and absolutely maximize our conditioning advantage. 

This is my exact issue. Articulate armchair experts fuelling group think /speculation that loading makes an excuse for poor footy. Spare me. At least it's only June. 

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The form drop can be explained by tiredness, shorter pre season due to late finish in 2021, injuries, loading and any number of variables that are plucked out to explain why the media over cooked our performances to 10/10.

I would like to believe that it is predominantly the result of loading and injuries leading up to the QB game given that Monday's game will be the only game we play for nearly 3 weeks thereby allowing a extended period for tapering and resting.

Note that this is all pure amateur conjecture but it makes me reassured that it is nothing worse.

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7 minutes ago, DemonWA said:

This is my exact issue. Articulate armchair experts fuelling group think /speculation that loading makes an excuse for poor footy. Spare me. At least it's only June. 

I assume you're an expert within the fitness industry? 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Engorged Onion said:

I'm in the camp that we load throughout the season at different times, and that it directly influences performance. I am not saying it is the ONLY thing influencing.

Anyway, it appears it's a polarising topic.

Here is something I just googled, which confirms my view (and what I have been told from someone who would know0 that the wider AFL system (particularly those in finals contention, ramp up their training). I happily accept that I search for info that confirms my beliefs, and refute anything that disproves it on this particular topic.

Maybe semantics are important - loading (up training), volume vs intensity,  development blocks, etc etc...

Whatever we call it, and however we interpret what we call it, nonetheless, there are still fluctuations in the intensity and volume of training during the season.

 

This is on a Brisbane Lions thread in 2020.

This last 3-4 weeks have been pure magic for our teams development because it is an almost perfectly designed training block. All training improvements come from progressive overload. Start with x load, increase by 10% for a number of sessions then pull back and rest to allow the muscles/aerobic/ to develop. This diagram shows the process. Overload can be by intensity or volume (eg gym = increase weight or reps) and applies across weeks, months, seasons...

During a season it looks different - it's maintenance and recovery, but finals teams include additional development block prior to September. Playing finals with their increased intensity also acts as a overload training block.

Up until the giants game we were cruising in normal season recovery/maintenance mode, then the dramatic increase the volume acts as progressive overload. Other teams have also had the increase in volume but longer breaks, byes and swapping more players means the overload is not as effective for some teams.

It is one of the reason we need a strong seconds competition and why our seconds players are struggling once they get a game - they have been left behind.

This week rest is supercritical, then we will see a big uplift in our performance. As long as injuries don't escalate this season is only going to get better for u
s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2022-06-07 at 08.33.59.png

You can see it in the way a lot of our players are playing over the last 2-3, even 4 weeks. Players like Petracca have lost power, players like Brown look knackered after 2 minutes on the ground. We're not even half way through the season- you don't have guys do a strong pre season that sees us cover the ground like we did in the earlier rounds, and then be knackered after 2 minute stints forward in rounds 11 and 12.

11 hours ago, Engorged Onion said:

Going on what you posted in the other thread about our form slump in 2021 @binman - do you or anyone else have an idea behind the mechanics/philosophy of bringing the 'potential' ramped up training block, in what appears to be around a month earlier than last year.

Is that due to

  • playing our last game (GF) a month and a bit after most other clubs, thus, limited rehab/recovery?
  • what does that late match(es) mean for the preseason block of training and how it informs our training for the rest of the year?
  • our younger players (u23's? (arbitrary age)) still acclimating their bodies to the demands of training and game loads /increase in fatigue comparably to exposed training loads over 5+ seasons.

any other thoughts are welcomed.

If we remember back to the stretch of form between rounds 7-10 in 2021, leading up to the two weeks against the Bulldogs and then Brisbane (ala Freo and then Sydney this year):

- we were sluggish against North (R7)

- only just got over the top of Sydney (R8 & smashed in the stoppages). We lost centre clearances 17-4.

- were ordinary against Carlton (R9).

- and were patchy against Adelaide and had our first loss (R10 - that loss was most reminiscent of the Sydney loss last week).

It's like in 2021, we set ourselves for those Bulldogs and Brisbane games and loaded heavily in the lead up, which impacted on performance prior.

I think in 2022, we set ourselves for Freo and Sydney, but we had sickness go through the camp just prior to the Freo game, we lost May early and then Petty for that important third quarter. We've also had injury ruining continuity this season, right from the JLT series.

I think we probably would have won the Sydney game last year, but I don't think we got the rub of the green with the umpires- the last two free kicks were the goals they won by. Numerous tiggy touchwood holding the balls paid Sydney's way, none our way.

I think it's likely we'll struggle again this week and we'll see a different sort of energy from the team post bye, before another likely patchy period just prior to finals. But at the end of the day, it's all speculation.

Edited by A F
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1 hour ago, Dwight Schrute said:

I assume you're an expert within the fitness industry? 

Not at all. And to be clear I'm  not saying the technique doesn't exist, I'm just saying I think the masses on hear are using it as an excuse to build a conveniant narrative around our run of poor form. I don't think the 2 are related (or the comparison to last year's form), but happy to be proven wrong. 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, DemonWA said:

I'm sure this exists as a training / conditioning strategy, but to attribute every loss to 'loading is fantasy. 

If the losses were due to the the team running out of legs I'd pay it. But we're loosing due to a lack of connection with our front half which I can't see being related to training loads or intensity 

We're struggling for connection because our team defence isn't as strong. Since defence turns into attack for us, it means if we're not turning the ball over close enough to goal, we're having to move the ball too slowly and deliberately to packs in the high forward pocket. Then because our team defence isn't quite on, we're allowing it to come out too easily.

By no means is anyone saying it's entirely down to loading (I think we certainly need to experiment with a different forward mix), but loading IMV is likely a significant factor.

Edited by A F
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38 minutes ago, A F said:

We're struggling for connection because our eam defence isn't as strong. Since defence turns into attack for us, it means if we're not turning the ball over close enough to goal, we're having to move the ball too slowly and deliberately to packs in the high forward pocket. Then because our team defence isn't quite on, we're allowing it to come out too easily.

By no means is anyone saying it's entirely down to loading (I think we certainly need to experiment with a different forward mix), but loading IMV is likely a significant factor.

Will be interesting to see - the teams we've lost against are both contenders in their own right, so are we saying they're not also loading? Or that their game plan is less susceptible to fatigue? I see comparisons to last years flat spot, but given we went deep into finals I can't see that our high performance approach would be the same this year.

At this stage no one really knows and my take is that we're just not playing good footy, regardless of training loads. Other will prefer to pray it's all part of the grand plan and a symptom of training loads. Only time will tell.

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14 hours ago, —coach— said:

I have a degree in Exercise Science and 22 years experience in elite sport and agree roughly with Binman.

Peak performance readiness only lasts so long. Teams in premiership contention try one of two (with variations) approaches:

- Continue preseason for many weeks into regular season sacrificing peak performance in the interim, banking enough wins along the way (60%/40% is a good result depending on who they play) to keep them in and around top 8, then lightning the load and hitting their straps a few weeks later. This can be followed by a shorter block later in the season (around round 18), with final peaking occurring in finals. This all depends on list/age profile of course.

- Train for a double peak which means they prepare to hit the season running and bank early wins (exactly as we seem to have done), before building load prior to and out the other side of the bye rounds (again sacrificing best performance and looking for a 60/40% win loss record) before hitting a second peak in the later half of the year. (Pre finals bye and pre Prelim bye for those top 4 who win first week allow reduction in game fatigue and increased uptake of train stimulus without negative effect (normally in the form of high intensity work like match simulation activities).

Don't forget there's different forms of loading which have different outcomes. Aerobic Endurance, Aerobic power, Anaerobic endurance and anaerobic power are all types of prescription which have different outcomes. You can't do all at the same time, but tend to focus on them at different phases throughout the season. Not all have a negative effect on game day performance but all come together in the end (in theory) at the right time.

Remember also, not every athlete is the same. Petracca (power athlete) will respond to increases in volume (running and gym reps) different to Langdon (endurance athlete). Hence each will be prescribed different stimulus to suit body type and training background and are monitored via gps for all metrics of volume,  intensity and duration. During this time Petracca will likely get slow and heavy (and thus kick poorly), while Langdon is unlikely to suffer the same way and may in fact get better.

If you add to that the influence of injury and illness, it can become quite a balancing act to make sure all athletes are doing what they need for their best performance. Sometime an athlete may need to extend their period of increased loading because they were sick or injured for a period during that time and actually dropped load whilst sick/injured.

Having worked closely with a S+C coach involved in AFL for 8 years , I can assure you that teams do go through periods of increased training load throughout the season depending on where they sit on the table.

Watching our boys in person the past few weeks they sure do look like they have changed training stimulus.

In any event it's all speculation really as the club isn't about to come and hand out their IP to everyone by telling them what they are doing, so time and on field performance will reveal all!

Thank you, very insightful post. 

I think Andy, George and Binman just found their next guest on the podcast. 

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9 hours ago, DemonWA said:

Will be interesting to see - the teams we've lost against are both contenders in their own right, so are we saying they're not also loading? Or that their game plan is less susceptible to fatigue? I see comparisons to last years flat spot, but given we went deep into finals I can't see that our high performance approach would be the same this year.

At this stage no one really knows and my take is that we're just not playing good footy, regardless of training loads. Other will prefer to pray it's all part of the grand plan and a symptom of training loads. Only time will tell.

loading may well be a reflection of performance ie. Brisbane and Freo have 3 losses and probably can't afford to risk losing 3 more by the bye as a result of loading. We got to round 7, saw we were likely to be 9-0 and so upped training knowing that 2-3 losses by the bye puts us in a good position.

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52 minutes ago, praha said:

loading may well be a reflection of performance ie. Brisbane and Freo have 3 losses and probably can't afford to risk losing 3 more by the bye as a result of loading. We got to round 7, saw we were likely to be 9-0 and so upped training knowing that 2-3 losses by the bye puts us in a good position.

Again, this comment is a speculative narrative derrived from the W/L column of the ladder that suits the position that were not just down on form. 

 

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10 hours ago, DemonWA said:

Will be interesting to see - the teams we've lost against are both contenders in their own right, so are we saying they're not also loading? Or that their game plan is less susceptible to fatigue? I see comparisons to last years flat spot, but given we went deep into finals I can't see that our high performance approach would be the same this year.

At this stage no one really knows and my take is that we're just not playing good footy, regardless of training loads. Other will prefer to pray it's all part of the grand plan and a symptom of training loads. Only time will tell.

Not trying to be facetious here, but what will time tell you?

Your mind appears made up on the matter. You seemingly haven't been convinced by the evidence or arguments about loading.

What on field evidence would change that view?

Nor does the fact that noone who poo poos the idea of loading seems to have provided a convincing counter argument for why we, the fittest side in the AFL, suddenly look so obviously lethargic and fatigued at exactly the same point as last year.

If, from round 17 or 18 we suddenly look super great, are running out games better than the opposition, playing great footy and winning, will you take that as evidence we loaded?

I doubt it 

You might argue we fixed the issues that caused the form slump and maybe put the very evident mid season fatigue down to it being a long season and they just lost focus.

And if we never get back to our best you might say, see its not loading, we're just rubbish, or perhaps say something like, well if we were loading it clearly didn’t work.

 

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The polar positions on this topic are fascinating I guess, if a little frustrating, but of course VERY Demonland. And why wouldn’t they be? Boils down to two issues I reckon - does in-season loading happen? Are we currently loading? Of course loading happens, that’s not a debate, it’s been an established strategy to ‘time’ peak performance since full-time professionalism in footy became a thing. Those who question its existence simply don’t know what they’re talking about. As to whether we are currently loading, we can’t know for sure, because it’s one of those things clubs NEVER talk about. That’s a whole other topic, one that, along with injuries and other clear performance-related issues (training facilities, illnesses, fixturing that affects rests between games) that the industry childishly - dare I say born of ridiculous group male pride - won’t mention because it invites criticism over ‘making excuses’. So we’re left with what we know from history, and what we see on the playing field. The notables on here have prosecuted the argument that we are currently loading, and it’s compelling to say the least. But if proof can only be had via an admission from the club, that’s NOT going to happen. They prefer to let the media and supporters speculate with their ever-reliable mania for doomsday hyperbole and click-bait commentary than fess up to their inner strategies. Part of me admires the discipline, the other part asks ‘to what end?’ Not sure which one wins. 

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1 hour ago, binman said:

Not trying to be facetious here, but what will time tell you?

Your mind appears made up on the matter. You seemingly haven't been convinced by the evidence or arguments about loading.

What on field evidence would change that view?

Nor does the fact that noone who poo poos the idea of loading seems to have provided a convincing counter argument for why we, the fittest side in the AFL, suddenly look so obviously lethargic and fatigued at exactly the same point as last year.

If, from round 17 or 18 we suddenly look super great, are running out games better than the opposition, playing great footy and winning, will you take that as evidence we loaded?

I doubt it 

You might argue we fixed the issues that caused the form slump and maybe put the very evident mid season fatigue down to it being a long season and they just lost focus.

And if we never get back to our best you might say, see its not loading, we're just rubbish, or perhaps say something like, well if we were loading it clearly didn’t work.

 

Im interested in time because the loading excuse types will shift their narratives to suit what the W/L column is telling them. We have a hard run home and I don't think there is any margin for error. Ramping and loading training loads is a thing, and so is being out of form and jaded/complacent at this time of the year. My issue with the loading discussion is that it inevitably comes with the 'relax we've got this' attitude, using last year or the glory era Cats as examples. The links are all speculative and made through rose coloured glasses.

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7 minutes ago, DemonWA said:

My issue with the loading discussion is that it inevitably comes with the 'relax we've got this' attitude, using last year or the glory era Cats as examples. 

I simply do not understand how you could argue this is the case. 

There has been any number of posts from people saying loading happens - this year and last year (and exaclth the same pont in the season).

I have not read ANY comments that even remotely supports the idea that loading discussion inevitably comes with a 'relax we've got this' attitude.

Can you provide an example?

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I really love this thread because, to me it typifies Demonland and brings the different approaches we all bring to supporting our club (and probably life) into stark clarity.

In the blue corner we have (in this case) those who believe in training loads. Putting all the science aside and making no statement about whether loading is happening or not, the blue corner are the optimists. Believing that the club has essentially got things under control and if it hasn't us getting angsty about it is not going to help anyway. The blue corner doesn't think that anything we say on a fan forum is going to effect next weeks result one way or the other. Since that is the case and us feeling [censored] about things or good about things really only effects our own mental well being (not the dees performance), why not look for reasons and data that make us feel good.

In the red corner we have (in this case) those who believe we are just making excuses for our club and that training loads are just the latest in a long line of excuses. Again putting all science aside on whether we are loading or not, the red corner are the pessimists. At heart they believe that  winning and success is an anomaly and look for signs that we are regressing back to the mean (the mean for them is the Dees losing and letting us down as we are well used to). At heart the supporter pessimist suspects that when they accept excuses or less than perfect performances it has an effect on the players and the club. They feel that their criticism and lack of acceptance of soft excuses will have an effect on the players and/or those managing them, being soft on the players or the club is actually negatively effecting the club in their minds.

To me this is quintessential Demonland, the blue corner vs the red corner fighting it out along ideological grounds to the death.

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1 minute ago, FlashInThePan said:

I really love this thread because, to me it typifies Demonland and brings the different approaches we all bring to supporting our club (and probably life) into stark clarity.

In the blue corner we have (in this case) those who believe in training loads. Putting all the science aside and making no statement about whether loading is happening or not, the blue corner are the optimists. Believing that the club has essentially got things under control and if it hasn't us getting angsty about it is not going to help anyway. The blue corner doesn't think that anything we say on a fan forum is going to effect next weeks result one way or the other. Since that is the case and us feeling [censored] about things or good about things really only effects our own mental well being (not the dees performance), why not look for reasons and data that make us feel good.

In the red corner we have (in this case) those who believe we are just making excuses for our club and that training loads are just the latest in a long line of excuses. Again putting all science aside on whether we are loading or not, the red corner are the pessimists. At heart they believe that  winning and success is an anomaly and look for signs that we are regressing back to the mean (the mean for them is the Dees losing and letting us down as we are well used to). At heart the supporter pessimist suspects that when they accept excuses or less than perfect performances it has an effect on the players and the club. They feel that their criticism and lack of acceptance of soft excuses will have an effect on the players and/or those managing them, being soft on the players or the club is actually negatively effecting the club in their minds.

To me this is quintessential Demonland, the blue corner vs the red corner fighting it out along ideological grounds to the death.

Modern day Socrates... love it 🥰

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25 minutes ago, binman said:

I simply do not understand how you could argue this is the case. 

There has been any number of posts from people saying loading happens - this year and last year (and exaclth the same pont in the season).

I have not read ANY comments that even remotely supports the idea that loading discussion inevitably comes with a 'relax we've got this' attitude.

Can you provide an example?

Exibit A your honour 

Screenshot_20220608-081513_Chrome.jpg

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12 minutes ago, FlashInThePan said:

I really love this thread because, to me it typifies Demonland and brings the different approaches we all bring to supporting our club (and probably life) into stark clarity.

In the blue corner we have (in this case) those who believe in training loads. Putting all the science aside and making no statement about whether loading is happening or not, the blue corner are the optimists. Believing that the club has essentially got things under control and if it hasn't us getting angsty about it is not going to help anyway. The blue corner doesn't think that anything we say on a fan forum is going to effect next weeks result one way or the other. Since that is the case and us feeling [censored] about things or good about things really only effects our own mental well being (not the dees performance), why not look for reasons and data that make us feel good.

In the red corner we have (in this case) those who believe we are just making excuses for our club and that training loads are just the latest in a long line of excuses. Again putting all science aside on whether we are loading or not, the red corner are the pessimists. At heart they believe that  winning and success is an anomaly and look for signs that we are regressing back to the mean (the mean for them is the Dees losing and letting us down as we are well used to). At heart the supporter pessimist suspects that when they accept excuses or less than perfect performances it has an effect on the players and the club. They feel that their criticism and lack of acceptance of soft excuses will have an effect on the players and/or those managing them, being soft on the players or the club is actually negatively effecting the club in their minds.

To me this is quintessential Demonland, the blue corner vs the red corner fighting it out along ideological grounds to the death.

I would say it’s an argument between those who have the ability to combine logic, analysis and a healthy dose of speculation (blue corner).

 Vs.  

those who don’t believe anything to be true until it’s printed on the front page of the Herald Sun (Red corner) 
 

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5 minutes ago, FlashInThePan said:

At heart the supporter pessimist suspects that when they accept excuses or less than perfect performances it has an effect on the players and the club. They feel that their criticism and lack of acceptance of soft excuses will have an effect on the players and/or those managing them, being soft on the players or the club is actually negatively effecting the club in their minds.

Well put, and in significant part why the club will never venture into ‘reasons’ territory, because the red corner (I know you chose red because it denotes anger, thus hinting you might be in the blue corner 😉) will habitually re-position them as excuses. Essentially the ‘reds’ (see what you’ve made me do?) want 100% diligence converted into 100% performance and outcomes 100% of the time, and find it near impossible to accept that this is an irrational expectation. Hard to imagine why they follow sport, let alone the MFC, as gloriously short of 100% as almost any club in the AFL (nods to lifelong St. Kilda supporters, admittedly the true hero supporters of the AFL). 

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    BANGED UP by George On The Outer

    Melbourne v Sydney. City v City. Two top eight sides fighting for finals spots.  Sydney having beaten the Demons in ten of their last twelve encounters.    In what would turn out to be one of the most hotly contested games for the club in 2022, the physical damage to players was probably the deciding factor in the end.   Once again, Melbourne lost Tom McDonald pre-game to a yet unspecified foot injury.  More importantly was how much his work up the ground and bullocking influ

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    TEN by KC from Casey

    The slippery surface of the MCG was a minor detail for the Casey Demons as they waltzed away from the Sydney Swans to record their tenth win on end in their Saturday afternoon curtain raiser. The Demons conceded the first goal of the game before recording the next three (two to Sam Weideman) to hold a 16 point lead at the first break before the Swans pegged that back to a mere three points at half time. Casey dominated the third term with four goals to nil and thereafter the Swans’ resistan

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    THE COMEBACK by Whispering Jack

    How will Melbourne react to losing a game after such a long time since tasting defeat? That question is on everybody’s lips after the complete collapse of the team in the second half against Fremantle last week. When Bayley Fritsch missed his shot at goal 23 minutes into the second term, the Demons were 30 points ahead but from that point onward they were comprehensively overwhelmed as their structures fell apart all over the park. Unlike what occurred on a number of occasions during their

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    SURVIVAL MODE by KC from Casey

    The Casey Demons managed to survive a day of challenges that in many ways mirrored their AFL counterpart Narrm from the previous day but Casey emerged undefeated from their Round 10 encounter with Frankston at Skybus Stadium. Like the Demon seniors they were undermanned and lost players due to late withdrawals, went through an arm wrestle in the first quarters, took over the game in the second to set up a big lead before a late goal gave hope to their opponent and limped through a last half

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    DEES-MANTLED by George On The Outer

    Well the streak has finally ended, but in the worst possible way, when Fremantle absolutely dismantled Melbourne to record an emphatic 38 point win. This ended the 17 game winning streak of the Demons, but worse to report was that Melbourne led the game by nearly 5 goals in the second quarter, before the Dockers banged through 10 straight goals. In fact they kicked 13 goals to 1 from that point just before half time. So what happened?  Melbourne aren’t accustomed

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    DISMANTLE by The Oracle

    The Flagmantle dynasty has been in train for less than half a season but on Saturday evening at the MCG its hopes are set to be derailed when it meets the team from Narrm. If you’re still living back in the days before the start of the 2022 AFL season then my opening comment probably makes very little sense. This is because very few people had heard of Narrm at the time and most folk could not then have anticipated the AFL’s early season rise of the Fremantle Dockers whose fans went into r

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    THE CALM OF NARRM by George On The Outer

    In a fitting opening to the Doug Nicholls Round, the haunting voice of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu spread calm around a near empty, misty Docklands stadium. Meanwhile, the Narrm players, quietly warming up pre-game, seemed to take on the same calmness for their upcoming task against North Melbourne.   Sure, this was the top of the ladder premiership side playing the lowly cellar dweller, but this Demons side is now one who just quietly go about their job, and slowly ever so slowly and ca

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