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The Run Home



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If things go south and we miss the top 4, then I hope we can somehow cling to 5th.

Dogs would be the most likely to replace us as the 4th place side as their draw isn't particularly difficult.

If we win our first final and the Dogs presumably lose their first final to Collingwood or Port on the road, then we'd play the Dogs in week 2 at the MCG feeling good about our prospects. That final would not be at Marvel despite the Dogs being the higher ranked team.

Finishing 6th - 7th would probably see us playing Brisbane at the GABBA in week 2 (if we progress) assuming the Lions can't get the job done on the road in week 1 finals. No thanks.

 

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44 minutes ago, Jaded No More said:

If we don't finish top 4 that is a massive failure and deserves a serious review of the football department. 

Especially considering we've had an ok run with injuries so far. 

We have four clubs equal or within a game of us. At present we have a percentage gap on these clubs but one 30 plus point defeat seriously erodes that percentage.

I think we will make it but what should have been a pleasurable run home for supporters will be the usual stress ball that seems to go hand in hand with being an MFC supporter

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52 minutes ago, Jaded No More said:

If we don't finish top 4 that is a massive failure and deserves a serious review of the football department. 

Especially considering we've had an ok run with injuries so far. 

Have we really had an OK run with injuries?

Gawn missed 5 games, Oliver's missed 5 games, Petty missed 5 games, Salem missed 9 games, Brown got injured after kicking 8 goals in two weeks, TMac can't get fit, Hibberd's been good when fit but ruptured his kidney, Dunstan got injured right when he was in form.

Collingwood and Geelong are considered to have had bad runs with injuries this year - they've used 34 players compared to our 33, so we're not exactly shooting the lights out by comparison.

Obviously we're not at West Coast levels, and it could definitely be worse, but I'd argue we've struggled to get continuity due to injuries at inopportune times, and particularly to key players.

PS: I still think we have had enough quality and continuity to make top 4 so I don't disagree with the overall argument that top 4 is where we should be finishing.

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Confidence is an amazing thing. We have none at all at the moment, in 2021 we had it in spades. How we get it back, who knows, but I think gameplan contributes to it. 

Look at how we play now, defence/contested ball is everything and seemingly the sole focus. It is hard to gain confidence when our plan is to just grind out every game. Overwhelm the opposition with our contested ball and just try to beat a team into submission. This is not a 'fun' way to play. Any flair has been coached out of us as we are trying to exert full control over a game that cannot be controlled. We almost play the game with a rugby mentality, get it to position, get the scrum and go again. We do this to a point but as we have such a defensive mindset, when we go surge the ball into the forward line, we then sit back and get completely outnumbered and the ball comes straight back out unless there is some piece of brilliance to get us a goal. We kick to pockets so that if we are spoiled, it goes out of bounds to try and start the scrum again. 

The league is trying everything in their power to make the game offensive and high scoring. Clubs that embrace this attacking attitude are having fun, playing with confidence and winning. Look at pies and port as prime examples of this. When we won in 21, we didn't actually grind teams down in the finals and lock it down, we backed our defensive back 6 to stand up when mattered and attacked when we could and then blew the teams away in the last 2 finals. We also played Gawn a lot behind the ball so that when we did lose the ball, teams had to then go around him and we could set up for it. 

How do we fix it? We have a great back 6, stick Gawn in front of them and back that line's ability to stand up again. Move the ball quickly into the forward line, accept that we are not actually 'kicking to touch' and by moving it in quick, it gives space to the forwards to do their thing. Even if we turn it over at half forward, back our defenders to win it back. Our forward line doesn't need to be amazing, we are giving them ample opportunities to score and it will be easier chances to score if they have space. For what it is worth, I would have Smith and JVR as our taller forwards, both are mobile and can try to jump on players heads if it is bombed in (won't have to jump over 8 guys if moving it in their quicker). Have Kossi, Chandler, Spargo crumbing and ANB as a defensive forward if we need one. Let the players attack and play with a bit of flair, kick a few ar**y goals and watch them start having fun with it. 

I have jumped around a bit here as I am supposed to be working as I write this but those are just some of my thoughts. I haven't asked for Goodwin to be sacked either (even though I would like it!)

 

 

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On 7/4/2023 at 1:10 PM, Age said:

Confidence is an amazing thing. We have none at all at the moment, in 2021 we had it in spades. How we get it back, who knows, but I think gameplan contributes to it. 

Look at how we play now, defence/contested ball is everything and seemingly the sole focus. It is hard to gain confidence when our plan is to just grind out every game. Overwhelm the opposition with our contested ball and just try to beat a team into submission. This is not a 'fun' way to play. Any flair has been coached out of us as we are trying to exert full control over a game that cannot be controlled. We almost play the game with a rugby mentality, get it to position, get the scrum and go again. We do this to a point but as we have such a defensive mindset, when we go surge the ball into the forward line, we then sit back and get completely outnumbered and the ball comes straight back out unless there is some piece of brilliance to get us a goal. We kick to pockets so that if we are spoiled, it goes out of bounds to try and start the scrum again. 

The league is trying everything in their power to make the game offensive and high scoring. Clubs that embrace this attacking attitude are having fun, playing with confidence and winning. Look at pies and port as prime examples of this. When we won in 21, we didn't actually grind teams down in the finals and lock it down, we backed our defensive back 6 to stand up when mattered and attacked when we could and then blew the teams away in the last 2 finals. We also played Gawn a lot behind the ball so that when we did lose the ball, teams had to then go around him and we could set up for it. 

How do we fix it? We have a great back 6, stick Gawn in front of them and back that line's ability to stand up again. Move the ball quickly into the forward line, accept that we are not actually 'kicking to touch' and by moving it in quick, it gives space to the forwards to do their thing. Even if we turn it over at half forward, back our defenders to win it back. Our forward line doesn't need to be amazing, we are giving them ample opportunities to score and it will be easier chances to score if they have space. For what it is worth, I would have Smith and JVR as our taller forwards, both are mobile and can try to jump on players heads if it is bombed in (won't have to jump over 8 guys if moving it in their quicker). Have Kossi, Chandler, Spargo crumbing and ANB as a defensive forward if we need one. Let the players attack and play with a bit of flair, kick a few ar**y goals and watch them start having fun with it. 

I have jumped around a bit here as I am supposed to be working as I write this but those are just some of my thoughts. I haven't asked for Goodwin to be sacked either (even though I would like it!)

 

 

This is a great post, thanks. Totally agree re the result of this change in approach being the boys ‘having fun’ and lifting their confidence.

you can see the Pies and Port players having loads of fun out there. We’re not down in the doldrums or anything, but certainly not playing with a lightness of being.

I am a subscriber to the loading theory, but actually put sports psychology well ahead of it for impact. Anyone who has played sport to a reasonably high level knows how important the mental side is, and it can make a huge difference even if 1 or 2% off.

(dismissing most of the mental side by discounting the oft-raised point that ‘players are mentally weak/soft’ is lazy thinking in my view - and, to add a pun, wrong-headed. Of course it matters. It matters a great deal.)

 

 

 

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Our three major threats for top 4 are Essendon, Bulldogs and Geelong.

I have Essendon going 13-10 with losses to Geelong, Dogs and Collingwood. Therefore we need to go 3-4 to finish above them. Very achievable.

I have Geelong going 14-8-1 and only losing to Brisbane, while beating Port at home and even beating Collingwood in a revenge game from round 1. Therefore we need to go 5-2 to finish above them. Tough proposition. (maybe I rate Geelong higher than others but they are the reigning premiers and should be respected as such)

I have Bulldogs going 14-9 with losses only to Geelong in Geelong and a loss to one of Sydney away or Richmond at Marvel. They have a pretty soft draw. Therefore we need to go 4-3 to finish above them. Achievable.

At the end of the day, we need to improve significantly in our front half if we end up finishing top 4 and are to beat Port or Collingwood in week 1. Therefore I don't see a massive difference at the moment in finishing 4th or 5th. Either scenario will most likely land us into a semi final IMO.

 

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On 7/4/2023 at 10:01 AM, Bring-Back-Powell said:

If things go south and we miss the top 4, then I hope we can somehow cling to 5th.

Dogs would be the most likely to replace us as the 4th place side as their draw isn't particularly difficult.

If we win our first final and the Dogs presumably lose their first final to Collingwood or Port on the road, then we'd play the Dogs in week 2 at the MCG feeling good about our prospects. That final would not be at Marvel despite the Dogs being the higher ranked team.

Finishing 6th - 7th would probably see us playing Brisbane at the GABBA in week 2 (if we progress) assuming the Lions can't get the job done on the road in week 1 finals. No thanks.

 

OK, I admit it's easy to post this after pretty much all the results went our way on the weekend but I'm confident we will finish Top 4. I have us losing one game for the rest of the H&A and doing the AFL ladder predictor finishing 2 games and percentage clear of the Bulldogs in 5th place. So even if we lose 2 or 3 games more we should finish 4th (importantly none of the games Melbourne play for the rest of the season are 8 point games in the sense of competing for Top 4). We do play Brisbane next week & Adelaide in Round 19 but B are already in the Top 4 and highly likely yo stay there and Ae are too far back. We don't play Western Bulldogs, Essendon, Geelong or St Kilda again.

On 7/4/2023 at 12:42 PM, titan_uranus said:

Have we really had an OK run with injuries?

Gawn missed 5 games, Oliver's missed 5 games, Petty missed 5 games, Salem missed 9 games, Brown got injured after kicking 8 goals in two weeks, TMac can't get fit, Hibberd's been good when fit but ruptured his kidney, Dunstan got injured right when he was in form.

Collingwood and Geelong are considered to have had bad runs with injuries this year - they've used 34 players compared to our 33, so we're not exactly shooting the lights out by comparison.

Obviously we're not at West Coast levels, and it could definitely be worse, but I'd argue we've struggled to get continuity due to injuries at inopportune times, and particularly to key players.

PS: I still think we have had enough quality and continuity to make top 4 so I don't disagree with the overall argument that top 4 is where we should be finishing.

And not forgetting Fritsch. Importantly nearly all these injuries have happened at key points of games and have contributed to those individuial game losses.

20 minutes ago, Demonland said:

 

Does anyone care what SEN 'experts' think? 

On 7/4/2023 at 7:54 PM, Nicko said:

I think we win 7 of the next 8……am I delirious??? 

No. We will rightly start favourites in all our remaining games at this stage. I calculate if we win only 4 of 7 we'll still finish 4th because all our competition will finish with no more than 14 wins. All have much inferior percentages.

@WheeloRatings still has us a a 69.4% chance of Top 4 despite the GWS loss, with a predicted 14.8 wins with the Bulldogs next with 13.1 wins.

https://www.wheeloratings.com/afl_simulations.html
 

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I think we will end the season hopefully with 15 wins. Although if we roll the lions at the G we could get 16.

But lons have a good run home  . We won't go near third.

It's a question of holding off the Don's but they have three hard games and four easy.

Dogs have a better chance than the Saints and maybe equal to the Don's re fixture.

Ironically our early % may come into play.

Our destiny is on our hands and some luck re injuries.

Will BBB play into form?

Will Oliver return in time to let Track rebuild our forward line?

It's not ideal.

Edited by leave it to deever
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On 7/4/2023 at 11:24 AM, Clint Bizkit said:

When does our loading end?

I know you're taking the [censored]. Such a funny running gag - comedy gold. 

But if this were a serious question and not a wind up, my best guess is it is almost finished.

Actually to be accurate, i think the extra work has finished but we have another week where that additional work (ie extra work on top of the standard in season training loads) will impact our ability to cover the ground. 

This aligns with Selwyn Griffiths comments about what the training program will look like over the course of the season in the DL interview way back in March.  

Our pressure fell away to 158 in the last quarter against the Saints, a good indicator of fatigue - having not broken 180 for the match (180 is AFL average and 200 is considered elite).

Team pressure

Quarter For Against
1 176 173
2 174 169
3 178 186
4 158 172
Match 172 175

No doubt how physically taxing the Alice game was, combined with the six day break, is a big factor, but my assumption is loading is also a factor (and by the by, also a big factor in the selection decisions over the last month or so).  

But we were looking to spread against the Saints more than we have since the Hawks win, which suggests to me we are getting close.  

We have another six day break into the Lions game (as do they fortunately), but I think we will be closer to optimal running power on Friday night. 

Unlike say the Pies or the Crows (who we play the following week), the Lions, with their chronic lack of leg speed (which i think is the key reason they struggle at the G) are not well placed to exploit any lack of run in our legs.

But as noted, i think we are closer to our best shape and will look to spread and switch more than say against the Pies or Blues. And we will match them in the contest no problem. 

We then have nine days into the Crows game, with no travel this week or next week (unlike our two opponents).

My prediction is we will be cherry ripe against the Burgess Crows (who are very well placed to exploit any lack of run) and will start playing our very best football, with the sort of overlap running, fast transition, switching lanes, using the corridor, more risk, high scoring footy we saw rounds 1-6.  

Giddy up. 

Edited by binman
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3 minutes ago, binman said:

 

My prediction is we will be cherry ripe against the Burgess Crows (who are very well placed to exploit any lack of run) and will start playing our very best football, with the sort of overlap running, fast transition, switching lanes, using the corridor, more risk, high scoring footy we saw rounds 1-6.  

Giddy up. 

All we need now is to find some solid avenues to goal. 
Fritta is an enormous loss for a side so lacking in powerful forwards. 
 

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On 7/4/2023 at 11:45 AM, Jaded No More said:

 

Especially considering we've had an ok run with injuries so far. 

Excuse me:

Clarry 6 games and likely 10.

Fritta not right most of the season and then missing about 10 games.

Tom Mac surgery and half a season missing.

Salem nearly half a season.

Gawn 5 games.

Petty a few games.

BBB multiple games.

Hibbo half a season at least.

That is 30% of the Premiership side missing large chunks of the season, affecting team performance and continuity.

Also several injuries contributed to the loss of the game in which the injury occurred.

Edited by Redleg
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On 7/4/2023 at 12:33 PM, Diamond_Jim said:

We have four clubs equal or within a game of us. At present we have a percentage gap on these clubs but one 30 plus point defeat seriously erodes that percentage.

I think we will make it but what should have been a pleasurable run home for supporters will be the usual stress ball that seems to go hand in hand with being an MFC supporter

Projecting out our current average game score of 89 points produces a total of 2,047 points across 23 games. A 30 point loss would equate to a 1.5% loss of percentage! Let's forget Geelong as their draw against Sydney means percentage is irrelevent, but St Kilda, Essendon, Western Bulldogs are currently 20% below us. Looking at it another way, those sides are currently 200-250 points differential below Melbourne. All these teams get 2 games against WCE, Hathorn or North but so do Melbourne. Adelaide are closest to Melbourne in percentage but only get 1 game against the bottom 3 sides coming home. 

58 minutes ago, Docs Demons said:

We win them all. 5 at the G with North in Tassie and Sydney up there. Confident.

I'n not quite so confident that we'll end 17-6 but even allowing 2 losses 15-8 will definitely be Top 4 with our likely season-end percentage of 120%+.

15 minutes ago, Bring-Back-Powell said:

Our three major threats for top 4 are Essendon, Bulldogs and Geelong.

I have Essendon going 13-10 with losses to Geelong, Dogs and Collingwood. Therefore we need to go 3-4 to finish above them. Very achievable.

I have Geelong going 14-8-1 and only losing to Brisbane, while beating Port at home and even beating Collingwood in a revenge game from round 1. Therefore we need to go 5-2 to finish above them. Tough proposition. (maybe I rate Geelong higher than others but they are the reigning premiers and should be respected as such)

I have Bulldogs going 14-9 with losses only to Geelong in Geelong and a loss to one of Sydney away or Richmond at Marvel. They have a pretty soft draw. Therefore we need to go 4-3 to finish above them. Achievable.

At the end of the day, we need to improve significantly in our front half if we end up finishing top 4 and are to beat Port or Collingwood in week 1. Therefore I don't see a massive difference at the moment in finishing 4th or 5th. Either scenario will most likely land us into a semi final IMO.

I agree with your assessment of WB, but am predicting Essendon finishing 12-11 and missing the 8 on percentage. Can't see WB or Essendon finishing with more than 14 wins and if Melbourne only manage 4 of 7 we will finish above them on percentage. I have Geelong finishing 13-9-1. I really can't see them winning 6 of 7. They have a very tough run home. It's a pity Sydney didn't beat them when they should have becuse from 8-8 Geelong definitely couldn't have finished with more than 14 wins.

Disagree entirely about the difference between finishing 4th or 5th. We beat Collingwood pre-bye and we finish 4th and there's every chance we play them in a qualifying at the MCG. Even if we lose that we get a Home Semi likely against the 5th best team. Finish 5th and firstly we need to win against the 8th team which every chance is a Victorian team, then we get an away semi which could be in Adelaide or Brisbane.  

4 minutes ago, leave it to deever said:

I think we will end the season hopefully with 15 wins. 

I agree. Shouldn't be worse than that.

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27 minutes ago, Redleg said:

Excuse me:

Clarry 6 games and likely 10.

Fritta not right most of the season and then missing about 10 games.

Tom Mac surgery and half a season missing.

Salem nearly half a season.

Gawn 5 games.

BBB multiple games.

Hibbo half a season at least.

That is 30% of the Premiership side missing large chunks of the season, affecting team performance and continuity.

Also several injuries contributed to the loss of the game in which the injury occurred.

We are no different to many other sides in contention. 
We haven’t suffered catastrophic losses in one specific area of the ground. It’s been more spread out across multiple areas, so easier to cover. 

Until Oliver and Fritta went down (I posted the above before the Fritta injury and before I knew Oliver was going to miss 3 months with a hamstring), it could be argued that we didn’t miss any key players for longer than a few weeks (I will give you Salem tho). 

Hibbo and BB were also not injured for the entire time, but rather managed. Both could have played more games if the need for them was dire. We chose to manage them in order to have them firing for September. Besides, at 30+ years of age, it’s very much expected that players will miss a few games throughout the season. 
 

The point I was making is that our injuries have not been significant enough to excuse us missing a top 4 spot. Especially when you considering the injuries Pies have dealt with and where they are on the ladder. 

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In July 2021 we lost to GWS at the MCG, beat Port in Adelaide, drew with Hawthorn at the MCG and then lost to the Dogs at the MCG.

That was apparently in "the perfect season".

Just sayin' ...

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57 minutes ago, Bitter but optimistic said:

This Friday night versus Brisvegas is getting bigger and bigger !

Quite....if we cant knock off the Leos on our own deck......much of what comes after is moot imho.  We'll be making up the numbers...

 This isnt an 8 point game coming up...  its more than that....it's about relevance. 

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2 minutes ago, beelzebub said:

Quite....if we cant knock off the Leos on our own deck......much of what comes after is moot imho.  We'll be making up the numbers...

 This isnt an 8 point game coming up...  its more than that....it's about relevance. 

I couldn’t disagree more with this post. 

Edited by Roost it far
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    GAMEDAY: Rd 07 vs Richmond

    It's Game Day on ANZAC Eve & the Demons take on the Tigers, coached by former Dees champion & Premiership assistant Adem Yze. The Dees will have to be switched on tonight & a win will keep them in the hunt for the Top 4 whilst a loss could see them fall out of the 8 for the first time since 2020 ... READ MORE

    Demonland | April 24

  • Match Preview      

    OOZEE by The Oracle

    There’s a touch of irony in the fact that Adem Yze played his first game for Melbourne in Round 13, 1995 against the club he now coaches. For that game, he wore the number 44 guernsey and got six touches in a game the team won by 11 points ... READ MORE

    Demonland | April 23

  • Training  

    Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

    Demonland Trackwatcher Kev Martin ventured down to Gosch's Paddock to bring you his observations from this morning's Captain's Run including some hints at the changes for our ANZAC Eve clash against the Tigers ... READ MORE

    Demonland | April 23

  • Training  

    Friday, 19th April 2024

    Veteran Demonland Trackwatcher Kev Martin headed down to Gosch's Paddock today to bring you his observations from training ... READ MORE

    Demonland | April 19

  • Latest Podcast      

    PODCAST: Rd 05 vs Brisbane

    The boys dissected the disappointing loss to Brisbane rueing our poor work at the stoppages, debated the role that fatigue played and lamenting the loss of Christian Salem ... LISTEN

    Demonland | April 16

  • Casey Report      

    ICE BREAKER by KC from Casey

    The Casey Demons have broken the ice for season 2024 with a pulsating come-from-behind victory over Port Melbourne in which it took the lead for the first time at the halfway mark of the final quarter ... READ MORE

    Demonland | April 14

  • Match Report      

    MAULED by Whispering Jack

    The writing was on the wall from the very first bounce of the football. The big men went up, Max Gawn more often than not, decisively won the ruck hit out and invariably a Brisbane Lions onballer either won the battle on the ground or halved the contest and they went at it repeatedly until they finally won out ... READ MORE

    Demonland | April 12

  • Training  

    Wednesday, 10th April 2024

    Demonland Trackwatchers Kev Martin and Demon Dynasty were once again on hand at this morning's Captain's Run at Gosch's Paddock to bring you their observations from training ... READ MORE

    Demonland | April 10

  • Training  

    Sunday, 7th April 2024

    Demonland Trackwatcher Kev Martin ventured down in the rain to Gosch's Paddock for the Demon Family Series April School Holiday Open Training session ... READ MORE

    Demonland | April 07

  • Latest Podcast  

    PODCAST: Koltyn Tholstrup Interview

    I interview the Melbourne Football Club’s newest recruit Koltyn Tholstrup to have a chat about his journey from the farm to the Demons, his first few weeks of preseason training, which Dees have impressed him on the track and his aspirations of playing Round 1 ... LISTEN

    Demonland | December 14

  • Latest Podcast  

    PODCAST: Jason Taylor Interview

    I interview the Melbourne Football Club's National Recruitment Manager Jason Taylor to have a chat about our Trade and Draft period, our newest recruits, our recent recruits who have yet to debut as well as those father son prospects on the horizon ... LISTEN

    Demonland | November 27

  • Next Match 

    .

    Round 08

       vs   

    Saturday 4th May 2024
    @ 07:30pm (MCG)

  • MFC Forum  

  • Match Previews & Reports  

  • Training Forum  

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  • 2024 Player Sponsorship

  • Topics

  • Injury List  


      PLAYER INJURY LENGTH
    Jake Bowey Shoulder 3-4 Weeks
    Charlie Spargo Achilles 3-4 Weeks
    Christian Salem Hamstring 3-5 Weeks
    Jake Melksham ACL 7-9 Weeks
    Joel Smith Suspension TBA

  • Player of the Year  


        PLAYER VOTES
    1 Max Gawn 67
    2 Christian Petracca 55
    3 Steven May 35
    4 Jack Viney 28
    5 Alex Neal-Bullen 27
    6 Clayton Oliver 22
    7 Bayley Fritsch 19
    8 Trent Rivers 16
    9 Judd McVee 15
    10 Kade Chandler 14

        FULL TABLE
  • Demonland Interviews 



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