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THE HUNTER by The Oracle



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Something struck me as I sat on the couch watching the tragedy of North Melbourne’s attempt to beat Collingwood unfold on Sunday afternoon at the MCG. 

 

It was three quarter time, the scoreboard had the Pies on 12.7.79, a respectable 63.16% in terms of goal kicking ratio. Meanwhile, the Roos’ 18.2.110 was off the charts at 90.00% shooting accuracy. I was thinking at the same time of Melbourne’s final score only six days before, a woeful 6.15.51 or 28.57% against Collingwood’s 14.5.89 (73.68%). 

 

At that very moment I realised that there’s a law at play that will play a very significant role in the outcome of the Melbourne vs North Melbourne game this coming night — the law of averages. 

 

North Melbourne had been the hunter for a long time and against an injury-weakened Collingwood it was primed for a kill thanks to its amazing accuracy in kick for goal. This is what gave it an opportunity to record a famous victory against a premiership contender. But as it transpired, this wasn’t enough and when push came to shove, it lacked the resilience (and the luck) to withstand the final lunge to victory of the reigning premier.

 

The problem for the Roos is that the law of averages says that it’s not likely that they will reproduce the high level of accuracy two weeks in a row, nor will the Demons repeat five posters and a shooting accuracy of under 30% in two games running. On that basis, my theory and I’m sticking to it, is that the Kangaroos will suffer a letdown this week.

 

Melbourne has had a bad month or so since it overcame Geelong and went to a 6 - 2 win, loss ratio. Two of the defeats in the intervening period have seen key players go down with long lasting injuries that most teams can’t afford. Missing Jake Lever from defence and Christian Petracca from the midfield (on top of losing Angus Brayshaw before the season started) has imposed a heavy burden on the Demons. Absent the drive that these divisions generate, it’s not surprising that the forwards have suffered in recent times. 

 

The coaching panel faces its most difficult task in the era of success that generated a premiership only three years ago and, even against the bottom side, they can’t rely on the law of averages alone to get the job done to rise above the below average form of the last five rounds. 

 

I’m less worried about the defence than I am about the midfield in this week’s contest. Even before the Petracca rib/spleen injury fiasco there has been a major drop off in effectiveness of the Melbourne engine room in terms of clearance figures from stoppages and more importantly, in taking control with that vital first possession after the clearance. 

 

The bread and butter of the champion midfield had gone missing. The critics have been pointing to the lower output of the likes of the team’s hard workers like Jack Viney and Clayton Oliver and while that might be the case statistically, it’s now up to them and the new midfield structure to stand up.

 

North has an emerging young midfield brigade that is on an upward tangent at the same time as Melbourne’s seemingly heads downhill. They meet at a critical time for the Demons and it will be on this hill that the game will be decided. The selection of who goes into the midfield mix of Pickett, Neal-Bullen, Rivers, Salem, Langdon, McVee or one of the youngsters like Tholstrup who according to the club’s website “comes into the club with an AFL-ready body”. 

 

Melbourne certainly needs AFL readiness to prove that it rise above recent disappointments and prove that it’s still a contender. A number of commentators have pointed to where Carlton, GWS and Sydney were at this time last year and where they finished. In each instance, those clubs adopted the mindset of the hunter and turned their seasons around in midstream. 

 

The Demons have been the hunted for three years when they occupied a place at the top of the table. Perhaps they’ve become too content with that role and it’s now time to start hunting. The week’s break has come at the right time to rest, take a deep breath and take on the challenge of the hunter.

 

I’m tipping Melbourne to win by 20 points.

 

THE GAME

 

Melbourne v North Melbourne on Saturday 22 June 2024 at the MCG at 7.30pm
 
HEAD TO HEAD


Overall Melbourne 89 wins North Melbourne 82 wins 1 draw
At the MCG Melbourne 56 wins North Melbourne 37 wins  
Last five times Melbourne 5 wins North Melbourne 0 wins 
The coaches Clarkson 0 wins Goodwin 2 wins 

 

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

 

Melbourne 15.13.103 defeated North Melbourne 10.11.71 at Blundstone Arena, Round 21, 2023

 

The Kangaroos responded to the shellacking handed out by the Demons who blitzed them earlier in the season. Early in the second term at Blundstone Arena North held a 33 point lead before Melbourne reined them in to turn the deficit around. It was the brilliance of their small men, notably Kozzie Pickett and Kade Chandler that inspired the comeback.
 

THE TEAMS 

 

MELBOURNE

 

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

 

IN K. Brown, K. Tholstrup, A. Tomlinson 

 

OUT J. Billings (omitted), B. Laurie (omitted), C. Petracca (ribs/spleen)


NORTH MELBOURNE

 

B A. Corr, C. Comben, T. Pink
HB J. Archer, H. Sheezel, L. McDonald
C Z. Fisher, L. Davies-Uniacke, B. Scott
HF T. Powell, B. Teakle, E. Ford
F P. Curtis, N. Larkey, C. Zurhaar
FOLL T. Xerri, G. Wardlaw, J. Simpkin
I/C W. Fisher, L. Shiels, C. Taylor, D. Tucker SUB D. Stephens 
EMG Z. Duursma, R. Hardeman, C. Harvey

 

IN J. Simpkin, D. Stephens 

 

OUT K. Dawson (suspension), J. Stephenson (omitted)

 

INJURY LIST: ROUND 15

 

Josh Schache — calf / available 

Marty Hore  — calf / 1 - 2 weeks

Jake Lever — knee / 1 - 2 weeks 

Jake Melksham  — knee / 2 - 3 weeks 

Charlie Spargo — Achilles / TBC

Christian Petracca — spleen / indefinite

 

PreviewRd152024.png

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North were one dubious [censored] up from winning.

North have been getting better. Their scoring but one indicator. We've been getting worse.

We may get up by 20 but I wouldn't be relying on any laws of averages with us...  Murphy's ??   Definitely

Go Dees

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1 hour ago, beelzebub said:

North were one dubious [censored] up from winning.

North have been getting better. Their scoring but one indicator. We've been getting worse.

We may get up by 20 but I wouldn't be relying on any laws of averages with us...  Murphy's ??   Definitely

Go Dees

You are such a negative poster...

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1 hour ago, Ollie fan said:

You are such a negative poster...

Reality irks you does it..  lol

Open your eyes. 

Or drink up...the koolaid is free.

If you don't think something is serious amiss well I can't but admire the cozy place you exist within.

Of course i wan't Melb to win, to be successful; but we are struggling. We were struggling before Trac's unfortunate injury...    and now we're between a rock and a hard place.  That just is. I see no reason nor logic in sugar coating the predicament we're in. 

Edited by beelzebub
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'...nor will the Demons repeat five posters and a shooting accuracy of under 30% in two games running...'

June 2023 says hullo: 8.13, 8.18, 8.15, 5.15. September 2023 also gives a shout-out.

😉

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2 hours ago, beelzebub said:

Reality irks you does it..  lol

Open your eyes. 

Or drink up...the koolaid is free.

If you don't think something is serious amiss well I can't but admire the cozy place you exist within.

Of course i wan't Melb to win, to be successful; but we are struggling. We were struggling before Trac's unfortunate injury...    and now we're between a rock and a hard place.  That just is. I see no reason nor logic in sugar coating the predicament we're in. 

Reality bites so we tend to ignore it; just as the Club tends to ignore it across time and losses and poor development. There are other contributing masses and factors (already stated by many) but beelzebub, you are entirely correct. We are in a predicament predicated on a lack of correct action in development. At present, we are in more of a hard place than we care to admit; the Rock of Gibraltar is before us from now to the end of the season (and perhaps more) where we, like little marine ants, look up into the granite ahead waiting for a high tide. 

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3 hours ago, beelzebub said:

Reality irks you does it..  lol

Open your eyes. 

Or drink up...the koolaid is free.

If you don't think something is serious amiss well I can't but admire the cozy place you exist within.

Of course i wan't Melb to win, to be successful; but we are struggling. We were struggling before Trac's unfortunate injury...    and now we're between a rock and a hard place.  That just is. I see no reason nor logic in sugar coating the predicament we're in. 

Tell me more about this free Koolaid...

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54 minutes ago, Demonstone said:

The drink of choice round here of late seems to be Melbourne Bitter.

A draft* or two'll get us out of it...

 

 

*Yes, I know!

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