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RESILIENCE by Whispering Jack


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If the Demons are to win their Round 3 encounter with the Sydney Swans this week, then the frustration of last Friday night’s uncharacteristic performance against the Brisbane Lions cannot be allowed to live in the collective heads of the players.


What made the mediocrity of the first three and a half quarters of the encounter with the Lions so uncharacteristic was that it defied every aspect of the impressive months of preparation for the season the players underwent along with the match simulation, the practice match form and the opening round performance against the Bulldogs. All of those things were impeccable but right now, it will all amount to nothing unless the team regains the resilience and composure of which those months showed it is clearly capable.


The positive aspect of this week’s game is that the conditions that conspired to bring about the Demons’ downfall up north are unlikely to be replicated.


Firstly, there was Max Gawn’s knee injury in the first ten minutes of the game. Simon Goodwin referred to it as the "emotional toll to your team when you lose your skipper that early in the game," but it went far beyond that given that his removal from the game also had a dramatic impact on the structure of the side with the need to rely on Brodie Grundy to do most of the ruckwork and the loss of an important tall to work around the ground, both forward and back. Combined with the last minute withdrawal of defender Steven May, the effect on the team’s ability to contain the surging Lions in the last half of the opening term and the vital first ten minutes of the third quarter was devastating.


Secondly, the conditions at the Gabba definitely caught  Melbourne off guard, particularly in those "emotional moments" of the game when the skipper’s plight was front and centre in the players’ minds. The tiniest lapse in concentration can and does lead to a drop in confidence and the fumbling begins, especially where the opposition is desperate itself to increase its work rate and intensity after its own troubling form of the previous week.


This is not a case of making excuses but rather, a way of stating that the team is now much better placed to confront its next challenge. This is especially so now that Gawn’s prognosis for the future is known to be better than the gloomy outlook of Friday night when the players were stunned by their skipper’s sudden departure from the field.


This week against the Swans at the MCG, the Demons should feel right at home and be motivated by the need to get their season back on track.


It’s no coincidence that the Swans are on top of the ladder given who they were pitted against in the opening two rounds. The upshot is two very comfortable wins and a great percentage but the downside is that they have barely been put under much pressure either at the stoppages or in defence over 200 minutes of football.


The Swans have even had the luxury of playing without Tom Hickey, their number one ruckman, leaving them with Peter Ladhams and a primary key position forward in Hayden McLean to take care the ruck work. This week they are almost certain to come up with a like for like ruck combination and a far more formidable midfield outfit stung by last week’s events.


I wouldn’t put too much store on what took place in the five-goal post power surge minutes of the final term but at least they did show some fight and an ability to bring up a change of momentum.


If they can introduce that sort of intensity for four quarters then they will be on their way to a win and an acceptable 2 - 1 record after meeting three of the early season’s contenders. With May back, a game under the belts of Bayley Fritsch and Jack Viney, the composure and resilience of the midfield is expected to restore the normal balance against a very difficult opponent.


If they can stay on target, the Demons by 5 points.




Melbourne vs Sydney Swans at The MCG Sunday 2 April, 2023 at 3.20pm




Overall Melbourne 94 wins Sydney Swans 117 wins 2 drawn

At The MCG Melbourne 50 wins Sydney Swans 47 wins 2 drawn

Last 5 meetings Melbourne 1 win Sydney Swans 4 wins

The Coaches Goodwin 2 wins Longmire 7 wins




Sydney Swans 14.7.91 defeated Melbourne 10.9.69 in the Second Qualifying Final, 2022 at The MCG


Melbourne established a good early lead but Sydney gathered the momentum to lead by a goal at the main break. The Demons turned things around early in the second half but a change came over the game when a lucky free and a 50 metre penalty were paid to Lance Franklin who was being dominated by Steven May. The ailing Demons couldn’t take a trick while the Swans were kicking them from everywhere to overwhelm their hosts by 22 points.





B T. Rivers S. May J. Lever 
HB K. Chandler H. Petty L. Hunter
C J. Jordon C.Oliver E. Langdon
HF  T. Sparrow B. Fritsch A. Brayshaw
F A. Neal-Bullen B. Brown C. Spargo
FOLL B. Grundy C. Petracca J. Viney
I/C J. Bowey M. Hibberd J. McVee J. van Rooyen SUB J. Melksham 
EMG L. Dunstan B. Laurie T. McDonald 

IN M. Hibberd J. Jordon S. May J. van Rooyen 

OUT M. Gawn (knee) J. Harmes (personal reasons) T. McDonald (omitted) A. Tomlinson (omitted)

NEW J. van Rooyen (East Fremantle WAFL)


B T. McCartin D. Rampe P. McCartin 
HB O. Florent J. Lloyd N. Blakey
C E. Gulden L. Parker D. Stephens
HF I. Heeney W. Hayward J. Amartey
F T. Papley L. Franklin L. McDonald
FOLL P. Ladhams J. Rowbottom C. Mills
I/C B. Campbell  H. Cunningham J. McInerney C. Warner SUB M. Roberts EMG H. Hall-Kahan H. McLean A. Sheldrick

IN L. Franklin 

OUT H. McLean (omitted)

Injury and Suspension List: Round 3


Steven May - Calf | Test

Daniel Turner - Foot | Test

Kysaiah Pickett - Suspended | 1 Week

Josh Schache - Concussion | 1 - 2 Weeks

Max Gawn - Knee  | 4 - 6 Weeks 

Taj Woewodin - Finger  | 5 Weeks 

Christian Salem - Knee | 6 - 8 weeks

Will Verrall - Pelvis  | 8 - 10 Weeks






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