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2024 Preseason Camp in Lorne


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We have made the difficult decision not to allow discussion on various off-field issues involving the club including the health and well being of our players.

These are private matters involving the players, their families and the club.

We do not take this and other issues & this decision lightly.

Of course we believe that these serious matters affecting the club we love & are so passionate about are worthy of discussion & debate & I wish we could provide a place where these matters can be discussed in a civil & respectful manner.

However these discussions unfortunately invariably devolve into areas that may be defamatory, libelous, spread unsubstantiated rumours & most importantly can effect the mental health of those involved.

Even discussion & debate of known facts or media reports can lead to finger pointing, blame & personal attacks and ultimately this is not helpful for the player or the club.

In addition these discussions can open this website, it’s owners & it’s users to legal action & may result in this website being forced to shutdown.

Our moderating team are all volunteers & cannot moderate the forum 24/7 & as a consequence problematic content that contravenes our rules & standards may go unnoticed for some time before it can be removed.

We reserve the right to delete posts that offend against our above policy & indeed, to ban posters who are repeat offenders or who breach our code of conduct.

WE HAVE BUILT A FANTASTIC ONLINE COMMUNITY AT DEMONLAND OVER THE PAST 23 YEARS & WE WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE TO BE ABLE TO DISCUSS THE CLUB WE LOVE & ARE SO PASSIONATE ABOUT.

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Please respect this difficult decision. I understand your frustrations in feeling like you can't discuss these important issues but there are other venues on the internet that you can discuss them.

Thank you for your continued support & understanding. Go Dees.

 

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1 hour ago, Jeremy said:

The club has been in Lorne for three days and all we've gotten is a single training gallery, pretty pathetic 

Yep. The club’s social media is by far the worst in the league. Social media doesn’t move the needle for everyone (understandably) but for the people who do enjoy regular updates, the lack of content and quality of it is rubbish. Minimal photos, next to no training footage, the interviews with players and coaches are just over 1 minute if we are lucky and we are one of the only clubs who doesn’t do press conferences in pre season. 

Billings, Tholsturp, Brown we still haven’t heard from. Would’ve loved to have heard more from McQualter also. 

Wish the club would try to improve in this area however they clearly do not care in the slightest since Ben Gibson left. 

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5 minutes ago, 12345_54321 said:

Yep. The club’s social media is by far the worst in the league. Social media doesn’t move the needle for everyone (understandably) but for the people who do enjoy regular updates, the lack of content and quality of it is rubbish. Minimal photos, next to no training footage, the interviews with players and coaches are just over 1 minute if we are lucky and we are one of the only clubs who doesn’t do press conferences in pre season. 

Billings, Tholsturp, Brown we still haven’t heard from. Would’ve loved to have heard more from McQualter also. 

Wish the club would try to improve in this area however they clearly do not care in the slightest since Ben Gibson left. 

The club allowed me to interview Tholstrup on the Demonland Podcast.

FWIW I would interview all players and provide the footage/interview for free if they let me. They wouldn't even have to promote Demonland or me. I'd do the same for training footage too but I get the need for some secrecy around tactics etc.

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3 minutes ago, Demonland said:

The club allowed me to interview Tholstrup on the Demonland Podcast.

FWIW I would interview all players and provide the footage/interview for free if they let me. They wouldn't even have to promote Demonland or me. I'd do the same for training footage too but I get the need for some secrecy around tactics etc.

I enjoyed and appreciated your interview with Koltyn mate.

Interview wise you guys do it best and wish you had more access so we could actually get some proper insight rather than robotic short and sharp ‘get it over and done withs’. 
 

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On 19/12/2023 at 17:03, WalkingCivilWar said:

I don’t know why Goody wears the visor, but I bought one earlier this year and what I wanna know is why did it cost $40?! It’s effectively half a cap, shouldn’t it be half the price, or at least, cheaper?

Should of gone to Specsavers 😁

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13 hours ago, Demonland said:

 

This picture of jack Billing’s.  I like the look of Brayshaw behind him, looks happy and contented.   Also a lot of long hair and it’s dark.  Wish I had kept my hair longer and darker.  40 years would have been great.

 

come on Gus.     !!     

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Players missing training sessions and leaving camp early; players being rescued from surfing mishaps; members upset at not being notified of events before they happen and others upset about the lack of coverage from the camp.

Sounds like business as usual for the club over the past four months.

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Melbourne Demons Lorne training camp: Clayton Oliver goes home, Max Gawn, Christian Petracca | Herald Sun

All eyes are on the prize, an all-expenses paid dinner at an exclusive wine bar in the city.

There is a surprising urgency in the room given it’s 8.20am and the Melbourne players are preparing themselves for a tgruelling day three of their training camp in Lorne.

They were split up into six groups - red, blue, green, yellow, white and purple - when they arrived on Monday and have been battling each other for points through various activities since.

The group with the most points by the end of Wednesday gets the dinner which is why all eyes are glued to what the projector has pictured on the wall.

Coach Simon Goodwin has set up the trivia challenge which involves listening to audio of famous lines from a movie or TV show. There are a few misses before Peaky Blinders is correctly selected which kicks off wild celebrations.

While there is nothing new about group activities at training camps, there is a pointed edge to what the Demons are doing down in the beautiful seaside town.

They’ve heard all the rumours, know they’re under siege from the outside and that their reputation has been harmed by off-field issues combined with a second consecutive straight-sets dismissal from the finals.

Culture has been the buzz word circling Melbourne and the opening of their doors to the media at the training camp is a step towards trying to send a different message.

There is an elephant in the room immediately with no sign of Clayton Oliver. The troubled superstar did travel down to Lorne on Monday but returned back home later that day.

He had missed the club’s training session on Saturday and it was decided it was best for him to deal with his on-going issues away from the group.

The love for Oliver is obvious among the players and coaches, their support unwavering but they know they have to get on with their own business and hope at some stage ‘Clarry’ comes along for the ride.

Regaining the connection which won them the 2021 premiership is what they’re searching for and there is a sense the senior core led by captain Max Gawn, Jack Viney, Steven May, Christian Petracca and Jake Lever are sick of being talked about for the wrong reasons.

The two-hour training session at Stribling Reserve ends with a keepings-off drill back in their colour groups. It’s eight on five with the aim to have the most number of possessions sharing the ball while avoiding the pressuring defenders.

There is supposed to be no contact but when Viney dumps Kysaiah Pickett, football boss Alan Richardson smiles. He loves watching the competitive beasts and they rise to the top in this exercise.

“I couldn’t help myself,” Viney admits later.

Assistant coach Mark Williams is doing a victory lap, the team he was mentoring gets the victory and his own competitive instincts means he wants everybody to know about it.

Gawn, who attended the birth of his second child just a couple of days earlier, spends most of the session on the bike while there is excitement when favourite son Jake Melksham, who blew out his ACL on the eve of the finals, is out on the track doing some running.

After lunch the groups are back in action, with coloured headbands this time, for two hours of activities including running with sandbags, kayaking and ocean swimming.

The team building part of the camp is obvious throughout these series of gut-busting exercises and a keen participant is new recruit Jack Billings.

He became a forgotten man at St Kilda after two injury-riddled seasons and is hoping to reignite his passion for the game as a Demon.

“I always find it challenging being out on the sidelines, but I’ve always loved the game and I think it’s probably in those tougher moments when it makes you reflect and think about why you do it all,” Billings said.

“It’s the reason you commit your life to being a professional footballer – I’d say love of the game is what keeps you going during those times.

“I’m pretty hungry and motivated for next year and looking forward to being part of the Dees and hopefully contributing.”

Billings, 28, has a more pressing engagement on Friday, celebrating his wedding to partner Sarah at Albert Park.

For his new teammates, the legacy of Lorne won’t be played out immediately but there is a confidence throughout the Demons hierarchy that the seeds of change have been sown.

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1 hour ago, poita said:

Players missing training sessions and leaving camp early; players being rescued from surfing mishaps; members upset at not being notified of events before they happen and others upset about the lack of coverage from the camp.

Sounds like business as usual for the club over the past four months.

Supporters finding any and every reason to complain, dump their own issues on the club, and panic at everything.

You are right, it really is business as usual.

 

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I had lunch today with Pauline Frittata who informed me that the training camp has been a great success. They come home today, having really got the most out of the experience. Of course, we’ll only hear about the ‘negative’ aspects from the media, no surprise there, but in reality the boys thoroughly enjoyed it and have really benefitted from it.

Sorry to disappoint the sadsacks who seem to relish negative reports about our Club 🤷‍♀️ 

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51 minutes ago, Demonstone said:

I hope it's OK to post this article here. 

It dovetails with the training camp and hopefully largely avoids any taboo content.

https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/it-s-all-people-are-talking-about-inside-the-demons-plan-to-regain-respect-20231221-p5eswx.html

Unfortunately it’s behind a paywall, what did they say?

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1 hour ago, DeeZone said:

Unfortunately it’s behind a paywall, what did they say?

Every Melbourne player was highly aware when they returned to pre-season training that deafening “noise” – a term AFL clubs prefer to controversy – had dominated and defined the Demons’ off-season.

A litany of incidents, ranging from Steven May’s post-season claim at the club’s best and fairest that they were “a better team” than premiers Collingwood and they “should have smoked them”, to lawsuits involving the board, to Joel Smith’s positive drug test, to confusion about what the Demons were trying to achieve with star Clayton Oliver during the trade period, had fans and the public asking, “What is happening at Melbourne?”

“We addressed it. We wanted to make sure that we are united as a club,” Melbourne midfielder Tom Sparrow told The Age this week.

“Then it was, how do we focus on ourselves now to make sure that, you know, it doesn’t happen again.”

For Sparrow, 23, a premiership player who has played 67 of the past 73 games to become a key, if understated part of Melbourne’s engine room, “it” encompasses everything on and off the field, the places where reputations are won and lost.

“It’s not just saying it,” Sparrow said. “[It’s] how we act on and off the field as people, how we respect the game, the opposition and the discipline stuff. That’s how we act … that will give us a true measure of how we’re going based on being accountable to what we say we’re going to do.”

Seeing that in action is part of the reason that selected media were invited into Melbourne’s inner sanctum on the final day of their pre-season camp in Lorne, sitting in a team meeting, listening to what was said on the track, and having lunch with the group, minus Oliver, who had returned home, and Smith, who is provisionally suspended, at the Mantra Lorne, where they were staying.

Confident in their culture, they understand their reputation has taken a hit.

With the dust having cleared after the trade period, and a bit of space from the club’s shattering straight-sets exit from the finals, the Demons now concede that amid the complexities that made some issues harder to handle than others, there have been many instances where they did not hit the mark in 2023.

And it wasn’t just their entries inside 50 during those fateful finals losses to Collingwood and Carlton that missed the target.

Clayton Oliver has been forced to leave Melbourne's pre-season camp early due to a fresh health scare 

Sparrow puts his hand up as one of the players who lost discipline during the tense finals when everything was on the line, and they could hardly hear themselves think as successive crowds exceeding 90,000 people roared in the MCG cauldron.

He can still recall the moment he gave away an unnecessary free kick to Carlton’s Sam Walsh with Melbourne holding a three-point lead in the semi-final, with less than five minutes remaining. There were pressure-relieving 50-metre penalties conceded, too, at inopportune times.

“That’s probably not how we want to be as a club in terms of our character. We want to be disciplined and play the right way, so there’s definitely elements in that game where we could have been better,” Sparrow said.

“We’ve already started working on that this pre-season. It’s about controlling the controllables, making sure you stay disciplined under pressure, under fatigue, when you can’t hear anything out of the ground.”

Coach Simon Goodwin also understands how post-match comments he made at times were interpreted as not respecting the opposition. He did not intend that to be the case, with his intent always about protecting his players, but he also accepts perception is reality in his caper.

Sparrow admits the leadership group have become more frustrated than younger players such as himself at the talk surrounding the club’s culture because they feel it reflects on them, but he says they also understand that complaining won’t achieve much.

His faith in the direction that skipper Max Gawn, former captain Jack Viney, Alex Neal-Bullen, Christian Petracca and Jake Lever, among others, drive the emerging group is total. The club’s faith in Sparrow was also evident when he was awarded the James McDonald Trophy at year’s end for best living the club’s values on and off the field.

“Deep down for me, it’s like, I know how we operate,” Sparrow said.

He says the club has been open with the players about the situations Smith and Oliver are managing, and their increased awareness helps guide their responses.

“It means the playing group is across it, and it’s now ‘OK, we know it’s going on, let’s just get around him.’ We love him as a teammate,” Sparrow said.

“Not only are they your teammates, but they are your friends away from the club as well. We have such great support. We wrap our arms around each other.

“Obviously, you have to address things that might not be going the way everyone wants them to go, but it’s about ‘How we do help them? How do we move forward? What’s the best way to go about it?’”

Sparrow trusts the leadership but knows every player plays a part in supporting their teammates regardless of what is happening.

“What else can we do other than say, ‘We are here for you mate, and we will get you through and be better’,” Sparrow said.

Being better is all Sparrow wants to do in 2024. He hopes to have greater impact on games, aware his team-focused approach is beneficial, but that he has more to give.

“[I want to be] a bit of a pain for the opposition as well, right. Instead of just being a good teammate, a bit of both,” Sparrow said.

It’s not dissimilar to the team who believe their defensive foundations are rock solid, but their method of attack needs to shift slightly as they attempt to build a premiership forward line.

The young talent keeps arriving with Blake Howes and Bailey Laurie chasing a place in the seniors after a few years of VFL, talented youngsters Caleb Windsor and Koltyn Tholstrup pushing for first-round selection and veterans Ben Brown – who is running well – and Adam Tomlinson adding depth. Shane McAdam will also provide forward smarts and Harrison Petty did not attract a huge offer from Adelaide without merit.

The question Sparrow posed is, how do we maintain the strong foundations but also add a couple of elements?

And the question the club has asked itself is how do we restore the reputation that has taken a hammering since the siren sounded on their 2023 campaign with a two-point loss to Carlton on September 15?

“It’s got to be addressed. It is all people are talking about,” Sparrow said.

“For us now it’s about 2024, and how do we perform? There is a lot of pressure on us as a club. We know that, and I mean, what an opportunity. I am so excited.

Steven May described the Dees’ list as ‘unbelievable’. But is it?

“We’re doing it right. Let’s just go out there and show them how hard we work.”

The unrelenting clangour surrounding the club this spring, and the desolation experienced when the semi-final siren sounded has not diminished Sparrow’s love for the sport and anticipation for what lies ahead.

“Playing footy, it is the best thing ever. Far out, we have the best job. I feel super lucky to be in this position,” Sparrow said.

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11 minutes ago, pitmaster said:

Every Melbourne player was highly aware when they returned to pre-season training that deafening “noise” – a term AFL clubs prefer to controversy – had dominated and defined the Demons’ off-season.

A litany of incidents, ranging from Steven May’s post-season claim at the club’s best and fairest that they were “a better team” than premiers Collingwood and they “should have smoked them”, to lawsuits involving the board, to Joel Smith’s positive drug test, to confusion about what the Demons were trying to achieve with star Clayton Oliver during the trade period, had fans and the public asking, “What is happening at Melbourne?”

“We addressed it. We wanted to make sure that we are united as a club,” Melbourne midfielder Tom Sparrow told The Age this week.

“Then it was, how do we focus on ourselves now to make sure that, you know, it doesn’t happen again.”

For Sparrow, 23, a premiership player who has played 67 of the past 73 games to become a key, if understated part of Melbourne’s engine room, “it” encompasses everything on and off the field, the places where reputations are won and lost.

“It’s not just saying it,” Sparrow said. “[It’s] how we act on and off the field as people, how we respect the game, the opposition and the discipline stuff. That’s how we act … that will give us a true measure of how we’re going based on being accountable to what we say we’re going to do.”

Seeing that in action is part of the reason that selected media were invited into Melbourne’s inner sanctum on the final day of their pre-season camp in Lorne, sitting in a team meeting, listening to what was said on the track, and having lunch with the group, minus Oliver, who had returned home, and Smith, who is provisionally suspended, at the Mantra Lorne, where they were staying.

Confident in their culture, they understand their reputation has taken a hit.

With the dust having cleared after the trade period, and a bit of space from the club’s shattering straight-sets exit from the finals, the Demons now concede that amid the complexities that made some issues harder to handle than others, there have been many instances where they did not hit the mark in 2023.

And it wasn’t just their entries inside 50 during those fateful finals losses to Collingwood and Carlton that missed the target.

Clayton Oliver has been forced to leave Melbourne's pre-season camp early due to a fresh health scare 

Sparrow puts his hand up as one of the players who lost discipline during the tense finals when everything was on the line, and they could hardly hear themselves think as successive crowds exceeding 90,000 people roared in the MCG cauldron.

He can still recall the moment he gave away an unnecessary free kick to Carlton’s Sam Walsh with Melbourne holding a three-point lead in the semi-final, with less than five minutes remaining. There were pressure-relieving 50-metre penalties conceded, too, at inopportune times.

“That’s probably not how we want to be as a club in terms of our character. We want to be disciplined and play the right way, so there’s definitely elements in that game where we could have been better,” Sparrow said.

“We’ve already started working on that this pre-season. It’s about controlling the controllables, making sure you stay disciplined under pressure, under fatigue, when you can’t hear anything out of the ground.”

Coach Simon Goodwin also understands how post-match comments he made at times were interpreted as not respecting the opposition. He did not intend that to be the case, with his intent always about protecting his players, but he also accepts perception is reality in his caper.

Sparrow admits the leadership group have become more frustrated than younger players such as himself at the talk surrounding the club’s culture because they feel it reflects on them, but he says they also understand that complaining won’t achieve much.

His faith in the direction that skipper Max Gawn, former captain Jack Viney, Alex Neal-Bullen, Christian Petracca and Jake Lever, among others, drive the emerging group is total. The club’s faith in Sparrow was also evident when he was awarded the James McDonald Trophy at year’s end for best living the club’s values on and off the field.

“Deep down for me, it’s like, I know how we operate,” Sparrow said.

He says the club has been open with the players about the situations Smith and Oliver are managing, and their increased awareness helps guide their responses.

“It means the playing group is across it, and it’s now ‘OK, we know it’s going on, let’s just get around him.’ We love him as a teammate,” Sparrow said.

“Not only are they your teammates, but they are your friends away from the club as well. We have such great support. We wrap our arms around each other.

“Obviously, you have to address things that might not be going the way everyone wants them to go, but it’s about ‘How we do help them? How do we move forward? What’s the best way to go about it?’”

Sparrow trusts the leadership but knows every player plays a part in supporting their teammates regardless of what is happening.

“What else can we do other than say, ‘We are here for you mate, and we will get you through and be better’,” Sparrow said.

Being better is all Sparrow wants to do in 2024. He hopes to have greater impact on games, aware his team-focused approach is beneficial, but that he has more to give.

“[I want to be] a bit of a pain for the opposition as well, right. Instead of just being a good teammate, a bit of both,” Sparrow said.

It’s not dissimilar to the team who believe their defensive foundations are rock solid, but their method of attack needs to shift slightly as they attempt to build a premiership forward line.

The young talent keeps arriving with Blake Howes and Bailey Laurie chasing a place in the seniors after a few years of VFL, talented youngsters Caleb Windsor and Koltyn Tholstrup pushing for first-round selection and veterans Ben Brown – who is running well – and Adam Tomlinson adding depth. Shane McAdam will also provide forward smarts and Harrison Petty did not attract a huge offer from Adelaide without merit.

The question Sparrow posed is, how do we maintain the strong foundations but also add a couple of elements?

And the question the club has asked itself is how do we restore the reputation that has taken a hammering since the siren sounded on their 2023 campaign with a two-point loss to Carlton on September 15?

“It’s got to be addressed. It is all people are talking about,” Sparrow said.

“For us now it’s about 2024, and how do we perform? There is a lot of pressure on us as a club. We know that, and I mean, what an opportunity. I am so excited.

Steven May described the Dees’ list as ‘unbelievable’. But is it?

“We’re doing it right. Let’s just go out there and show them how hard we work.”

The unrelenting clangour surrounding the club this spring, and the desolation experienced when the semi-final siren sounded has not diminished Sparrow’s love for the sport and anticipation for what lies ahead.

“Playing footy, it is the best thing ever. Far out, we have the best job. I feel super lucky to be in this position,” Sparrow said.

Great. Now do it.

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2 hours ago, Demonstone said:

I hope it's OK to post this article here. 

It dovetails with the training camp and hopefully largely avoids any taboo content.

https://www.theage.com.au/sport/afl/it-s-all-people-are-talking-about-inside-the-demons-plan-to-regain-respect-20231221-p5eswx.html

Tommy Sparrow, only 23yo but mature beyond his years. I love his honesty.

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Captain Tom Sparrow has a nice ring to it doesn’t it, who knows he’s a very switched on intelligent individual, he understands what we stand for and where we want to get to.

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On 20/12/2023 at 16:06, 12345_54321 said:

Yep. The club’s social media is by far the worst in the league. Social media doesn’t move the needle for everyone (understandably) but for the people who do enjoy regular updates, the lack of content and quality of it is rubbish. Minimal photos, next to no training footage, the interviews with players and coaches are just over 1 minute if we are lucky and we are one of the only clubs who doesn’t do press conferences in pre season. 

Billings, Tholsturp, Brown we still haven’t heard from. Would’ve loved to have heard more from McQualter also. 

Wish the club would try to improve in this area however they clearly do not care in the slightest since Ben Gibson left. 

Clearly,they dont give a fat rats c!@%*^r

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