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OOZEE by The Oracle


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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. 

The man whose first name was often misspelled, soon changed to the number 13 and it turned out lucky for him. He became a highly revered Demon with a record of 271 games during which his presence was acknowledged by the fans with the chant of “Oozee” whenever he had his hands on the football. 

Oozee notched up many achievements in his day but fell short of a premiership in the club’s grand final year of 2000. Some years after he retired as a player and with success as Alastair Clarkson’s back up at the Hawks, he came back home as an assistant coach in 2021 and, as such, he was a key architect in the club’s historic premiership win. He coached them to a win in the following season when Simon Goodwin had to sit out the game with Covid19.

We all wished him well when he was appointed coach of the Tigers and look forward to greeting son Noah as a father/son pick at the draft later this year but that’s where the friendship ends. On Wednesday night, it will be all out war on Oozee.

That’s not good news for the man whose first season at Punt Road has been severely impacted by player unavailability with the Tigers dealing with the longest injury list in the AFL. This should be nothing new for the man as the Demons were often plagued by injuries during his tenure as a player and believe me, those injuries hurt badly. 

I think the Tigers would have struggled anyway against the Demons who should be well refreshed from the bye while still smarting from their last up tired and insipid display against Brisbane. The Tigers also had a bye, but they will lose the dangerous Jayden Short and could regain former captain Dylan Grimes and midfielder Jacob Hopper (knee), with the pair needing to pass fitness tests. The issue is that they are both desperately short of match fitness which will be problematic against the Dees.

Melbourne may well have had an excuse of their own after an exacting schedule saw them play with so very little in their tank. At least they are seeing some respite with players coming back from their early season injuries. There will be absolutely no excuses against the Oozee-led Richmond which is so badly hurt that it doesn’t even have a tank. 

Hence, I expect that our battle-hardened soldier will leave his beloved MCG on Anzac Day Eve with the same number of victories as a Richmond coach that he had with Melbourne - just the one.

Demons by 49 points.

THE GAME

Richmond v Melbourne on Wednesday 24 April 2024 at 7.25pm at the MCG 

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Richmond 107 wins Melbourne 79 wins Drawn 2

At the MCG Richmond 72 wins Melbourne 67 wins Drawn 1 

Past five meetings Richmond 1 win Melbourne 4 wins 

The Coaches Yze 0 wins Goodwin 0 wins 

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 20.10.130 defeated Richmond 15.8.98 at the MCG, Round 20, 2023

The Tigers gave it their best shot pushing the Demons throughout the game and remained threatening until a fare more accurate than usual Melbourne prevailed at the end through the agency of Harry Petty (6 goals), Jake Melksham and Jacob van Rooyen (4 each) who didn’t miss a shot for goal all day. Their six-goal final quarter blew Richmond out of the game and dampened their finals hopes.

THE TEAMS

RICHMOND

B T. Young, N. Broad, D. Grimes
HB N. Vlastuin, T. Brown, D. Rioli
C H. Ralphsmith, J. Graham, M. Pickett
HF S. Campbell, R. Mansell, M. Rioli
F M. Lefau, S. Bolton, D. Martin
FOLL T. Nankervis, L. Baker, T. Dow
I/C S. Banks, J. Hopper, B. Miller, S. Naismith SUB K. McIntosh
EMG J. Koschitzke, K. McAuliffe, T. Sonsie

IN D. Grimes, S. Naismith, J. Hopper, S. Banks

OUT J. Koschitzke (omitted), K. McAuliffe (omitted), J. Short (calf), T. Sonsie (omitted)

MELBOURNE

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

IN B. Laurie, K. Pickett, S. Turner

OUT B. Brown (omitted), C. Salem (hamstring) K. Tholstrop (omitted) 

Injury List: Round 7

Marty Hore — thumb / available 
Shane McAdam — hamstring / available  
Clayton Oliver —  finger / available
Jake Bowey — shoulder / 3 - 4 weeks
Charlie Spargo — Achilles / 3 - 4 weeks  
Christian Salem — hamstring / 3 - 5 weeks 
Jake Melksham  — knee / 7 - 9 weeks 

PreviewRd072024.png

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