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THE PEOPLE SPEAK by The Demonland Crew



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DEMONLAND: Good evening, Demon fans and welcome to the Demonland 2024 Grand Final Podcast … It’s been a beautiful last day of September and how sweet it is to bring you our coverage of all things that matter about the great Demon resurgence which we’ve seen over the past six or seven months. How our team overcame a turbulent off season and a disappointing start to 2024 on a humid night in Sydney, turned our detractors into believers and then ended the year triumphant in the finals with our captain holding aloft the premiership cup on the MCG for the first time in six decades.

Oops … um, I don’t think I’m supposed to reveal that part of the script yet so …

For now, please join me in the DMC DeLorean as we return to the present where it’s your turn to make your feelings known about how the game will pan out.

But before we delve into what our fans are thinking, here we go with what the critics in the media are saying about the Demons these days …

MEDIA (GuyWhoLikesSport from Neds Sport):

“Early in the season, I wrote a snarky column that said Melbourne had to win the premiership.

“After just over a month of football, and with a record of 4-1 that is franked by their last two wins in Adelaide over the Adelaide sides, they must be the favourites.

“Melbourne has been consistently excellent since they won the 2021 premiership, but this year they’re better than they have been in that entire period.”

And now to the Demon fans

DEMON DISCIPLE: I feel Brisbane have had the wood on us since the last home and away round of 2022.

Need to get back to our convincing winning ways against them this week. 

AT THE BREAK OF GAWN: I think this will be a close game and I certainly won’t be underestimating Brisbane. Getting the monkey off the back last week will help them and it’s Neale’s 250th so I imagine they’ll throw the kitchen sink at us.

LEAVE IT TO DEEVER:  I think we have this.

Lions are a quality side just down in form. Plus they don't play well at the G.

We should relish being on our home turf again.

We will miss Kozzie but I'm feeling we still have enough fire power to kick over 100 points while strangling the Lions to around 75 points.

Some big match ups in this game. I'm also hoping our midfield rallies and wins the cc count … and the umps give us a fair shake.

We win this and it's a pretty safe bet to say we will finish top four come September.

To go into the bye at 5 and 1 will be awesome given that half of those games were interstate.

DEMON HEAD: This is Melbourne’s first crack against one of last year’s Grand Finalists. To everyone’s surprise, both Collingwood and Brisbane aren’t in the top eight now and the signs aren’t promising for either of them.

The Lions have struggled to win games at the MCG recently. They also had a great record at home last year but this year, they can’t even win at the Gabba. There’s not much comfort in beating North Melbourne on neutral territory at Norwood Oval in Adelaide on a ground that has dimensions of 165m x 110m compared with the MCG’s 173.6m x 148.4m.

Fagan reckons they got their energy back, but I would argue that it doesn’t take much energy to play against a bunch of kids on a postage stamp sized footy ground. That’s where the Lions will hit a wall on Thursday night.

The Demons are in great form, their team defence is elite, and the midfield is pretty flash too. Brisbane will find it tough adapting to playing on the wide wings at the best stadium in the land against one of the most focused teams in the country. Melbourne will take the game and go into the break with the four points.

THE GREAT PRETENDER: If you look at the teams on an individual basis, they’re evenly matched.

Who will dominate?

Petracca (in game #182) or Neale (in game #250)?

Love Steven May’s courage!

Can the Lions stop Max?

Will Melbourne kick straight for goal?

How will Brisbane cope without the loudspeakers playing their favourite songs when they kick a goal (I anticipate they won’t kick many anyway)?

Demons win because the Lions will simply suffer stage fright on the G.

CHF: Brisbane fluffed their chance in the grand final against the Pies last year and both teams have a bit of a hangover in the initial stages of season ’24. Here we are staring down the barrel of Round 5 and the Lions have just one win on the board against lowly North while we, after dropping the first game in the round that has no number, have won the last four on the trot against some reasonable opposition and having travelled to Adelaide for two games in five days against home sides and come away with two wins.

That sort of form indicates the punters have it right installing the Dees as favourites.

We have an extra day of rest and one less flight than the Lions with them having to fly back home and then down to Melbourne for the game.

However (and there’s always a “forever”), footy’s a funny game as they say, and I hope that the team prepares and realises that this is going to be a tough game. The Lions have a good mix of talent in all areas of the ground, and we will need to have a few ideas up our sleeves to ensure we are ready to react when required.

I do believe that the coaching panel have been good at working out and reacting to what is happening around the ground so far this season.

Defence:

This section of our team is recognised as our great strength and as the best in the league. Steven May, Jake Lever, Tom McDonald, Judd McVee, Trent Rivers, Blake Howes and Christian Salem can mix and match with the best of them and against the Brisbane forward pack they will need to be at their best. The Brisbane forward setup has good individual players but so far this season they have not clicked together. Against North last round their forwards kicked 15 of their 16 goals while against the Pies the week before at the Gabba the forwards only kicked five of the total of 10. Very inconsistent. It will be interesting to see how and who we match up on in the defence.

We have them covered at this end of the ground.

Midfield:

As they say… “This is where the game is won.” I think that will be the case in this match. Max Gawn and Christian Petracca are our leading lights so far this season with good support from Jack Viney and, in the last game, Tom Sparrow. Clayton Oliver with his hand injury is down on his usual standards and statistics but I feel he can only get better and will take a few steps forward in this game.

We will need to respect the Brisbane midfield with Neale, McCluggage and Dunkley looking to be the main drivers out of stoppages with their clearance rate. Against Adelaide Petracca, Oliver and Sparrow dominated the clearances and gave us some good drive.

Gawn against The Big O will be interesting. Not because I think McInerney will dominate or even challenge Max but because it will be interesting to see what tactics they adopt to try and control Max’s influence around the ground. It is a tough job for any team.

Ed Langdon and Caleb Windsor winging their way around the G will also be good to watch. Brisbane named Fletcher and Berry on the wings for the North game and, according to the stats, both had reasonable games. Berry looked to be used more in the middle and managed five clearances along with 24 possessions. Fletcher might run on the wing with Langdon and Windsor to have a few rotating opponents.

Forwards:

This is where it gets interesting. So far this season the Demons have managed to have a good even spread of goal kickers in the games. Bayley Fritsch has been a standout. He is second in the Coleman behind Hogan now. We will present a few problems for the Lions at the pointy end. Ben Brown and Harry Petty will need to be covered because of their potential to cause problems with Jacob van Rooyen and Fritsch also needing to be contained. Melbourne had a lot of flexibility with its talls now and I can imagine a bit of a chess game with moves and counter moves in our forward fifty. Kozzie is such a livewire, but without him, Kade Chandler and Alex Neal-Bullen will be handy rotating as cover in his absence.  There’s also some doubt about Chandler so if he also misses it will open the door for a couple of other contenders to get a run.

The Brisbane defence, as with their forwards do not seem to have clicked yet this season. In their last outing against North Melbourne, they looked to have an easy time of it and will find the going tougher on Thursday evening.

Tough opening quarter but I expect that we will get better as the game goes on and run out winners by a fair bit. Say five goals.

And then on to a week off.

---------------------------------------------

And that’s the Demon Crew’s Round 5 preview.

Thanks to all who contributed and apologies to those who missed out. Time to crank up the DMC DeLorean‘s engine and go back to the future.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Brisbane Lions at The MCG, Thursday 11 April 2024 at 7.30pm

HEAD TO HEAD *

Overall: Melbourne 30 wins Brisbane Lions 24 wins      
At The MCG Melbourne 16 wins Brisbane 4 wins 
Last Five Meetings: Melbourne 3 wins Brisbane Lions 2 wins      
The Coaches: Goodwin 8 wins Fagan 4 wins

* does not include Brisbane Bears or Fitzroy games

LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 16.9.105 defeated Brisbane Lions 16.8.104 at The MCG, Round 18 2023

Melbourne pulled one out of the fire, with a one-point win over the Brisbane Lions in an enthralling, frustrating and nail-biting game. The Lions dominated the middle part of the game after the reeling back the Demons who had burst out of the blocks to take an early 25-point lead. The final quarter was a thriller with Melbourne’s strength and experience through its leaders prevailing in an exciting final quarter that established the team’s place in the top four leading towards the finals.

THE TEAMS (to be included when available)

MELBOURNE 

B T. Rivers, S. May, T. McDonald
HB B. Howes, J. Lever, J. McVee     
C E. Langdon, C. Petracca, A. Neal-Bullen            
HF J. Billings, H. Petty,K. Tholstrop
F J. van Rooyen, B. Fritsch, T. Sparrow      
FOLL M. Gawn J. Viney, C. Oliver.  
I/C B. Brown, K. Chandler, C. Salem, C. Windsor SUB T. Woewodin   
EMG B. Laurie, J. Schache, A. Tomlinson


BRISBANE LIONS      

B B. Starcevich, J. Payne, R. Lester
HB D. Wilmot, H. Andrews, D. Gardiner
C J. Fletcher, Z. Bailey, J. Berry
HF C. Cameron, E. Hipwood, H. McCluggage
F C.  Rayner, J. Daniher, D. Zorko
FOLL O. Mclnerney, J. Dunkley, L. Neale
I/C C. Ah Chee, N. Answerth, K. Lohmann, L. McCarthy SUB J. Tunstill
EMG D. Fort, J. Lyons, L. Morris

NO CHANGE 

Injury and Suspension List: Round 5 

Daniel Turner — hip / available   
Kysaiah Pickett  — suspended / 1 week 
Marty Hore — thumb / 2 - 3 weeks    
Shane McAdam — hamstring / 2 - 3 weeks      
Charlie Spargo — Achilles / 4 weeks    
Jake Bowey — shoulder / 5 - 6 weeks  
Jake Melksham — knee / 10 - 12 weeks  
   

PreviewRd052024.png

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Lol.  Love your work Andy.

Part of me just wants to jump in that DeLorean and dial up till the part on GF day at The MCG, where we are 40 points up and pulling away from our opponent - but then it's all about 'The Journey' 

Do expect Brisbane will be hard to beat as they are essentially playing for their season at this point, but I'm encourged by what I've seen from us so far this season and think some of our players have got more gears to change up too.

Looking for us to keep winning and building in the first half of the season, keeping a fit list well managed and then perfect our game and make our run in earnest in the run home.

Edited by Rodney (Balls) Grinter
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I know that we should take things one week at a time but I looked at the future and noticed that we have a nice run of games at the MCG coming up. Between now and Round 16 (28 June) when we play the Lions at the Gabba, all of our games take place at the MCG with the exception of the Eagles at Optus Stadium which is our second home ground and the Dockers at TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs which is nominally our home ground. All games except one against the bottom side at home or at least neutral territory. Only concern is the game coming off another five day break against Carlton. 

It’s time to claim the G as our own again, starting with tomorrow night against the feuding Lions from Brizvegas. 

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