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TEN YEARS AFTER by Whispering Jack

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Things have changed in the more than ten years since the West Coast Eagles decimated Melbourne by 93 points on the MCG early in the 2014 season. The two sides had not met at the home of football in the interim until yesterday when Melbourne won by a comfortable 54 points to remain in contention for this year’s finals series.

Back in those days, the Demons were in the midst of their Great Depression but they have since tasted premiership glory and experienced a long enough period among the top echelons of the AFL that their fans became spoiled. 

A few weeks ago however, all that changed and for the first time since the early days of the Covid epidemic, we were all challenged by the prospect of the team being pushed off the top shelf and relegated to a place among the also rans.

A win against a team that is well down the ladder, out of form and traveling across the continent is no big deal. The Eagles are young but the Demons are younger. The visiting team looked jaded at times and played as if they might have checked out on the season already. However, the way in which the win was achieved provides scope for optimism for Demon fans because this was a Melbourne team so different to the one that has spoiled its fans in recent years. 

The overriding theme is youth and the scene was set early in the opening five minutes when fourth gamer Koltyn Tholstrup scored his AFL goal before repeating the dose a minute later. His enthusiasm over the rest of the game was infectious and while it’s early in his career, he’s living in the moment. It might be a long way from here to the Christian Petracca stratosphere but it’s a space worth watching.

Enter the multitasker Jacob van Rooyen who played two separate roles to perfection. He was particularly dangerous in front of the big sticks in the first half with his strong marking and four goals. He missed a couple of easy ones in the second half but he could be excused because he was also engaged in playing second ruck to Max Gawn, a role that was expanded in the final quarter when the skipper was subbed off with what was explained as a right ankle niggle. 

Daniel “Disco” Turner added to the pressure up forward and kicked a nice goal as well as playing a role in the transition of the ball forward.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Trent Rivers who is approaching his 100th AFL game was relishing his long awaited elevation from defence into the midfield. In a best on ground performance, the long-kicking Rivers managed to accumulate a career high (and game high) 29 disposals along with seven clearances and nine score involvements. Rivers told the media after the game: 

“Goody (Simon Goodwin) threw me in there for a little bit last year, but to be (in there) full-time, I’m loving it.”

“I was nagging at him a little bit, but I’m grateful that he’s given (me) the opportunity, and hopefully (I can) repay him for the favour.”

With Petracca out for the year, Jack Viney playing well and applying the pressure whilst not prolific in gathering the football and Clayton Oliver being heavily tagged, Rivers was a standout but he had a couple of rivals around the middle stratas of the MCG in Ed Langdon and another first year wonder in Caleb Windsor. The former returned to his best form for a while but the latter had some stellar patches with his 25 touches and a lovely goal. 

Then there was Kozzie Pickett who finally took that hanger but failed to convert with the ensuing kick but, along with Alex Neal-Bullen, they certainly kept the Eagle defence on its toes. And speaking of defence and youngsters, Judd McVee and Andy Moniz-Wakefield each applied themselves to the task. The infusion of youth has seen a team with more run and more confidence to take the game on – something that was lacking during the recent midseason slump.

Of course, it wasn’t all youth that did the damage. Max Gawn was strong in the ruck and around the ground until injured and Christian Salem’s return was most welcome. The Melbourne defence works much better now that Jake Lever has been reunited with Steven May and Tom McDonald, the only survivor from the 2014 debacle playing in the same position at centre half back ten years after, was relishing the fact that he’s fit, injury free and playing like a youngster once again. 

It was also good to see Bayley Fritsch getting among the goals again and on an emotional level, Jake Melksham’s two goals on return from his ACL injury was a real fillip for the team.

The real test for the new young Demons is coming over the next month and a half. Every game from hereon is against a contender and the greater bulk of them must be won, starting with Essendon on Saturday night at the MCG.

MELBOURNE 7.3.45 11.5.71 14.9.93 17.10.112

1.2.8 3.4.22 6.8.44 8.10.58


van Rooyen 4 Fritsch 3 Melksham Pickett Tholstrup Gawn Langdon Turner Windsor

WEST COAST EAGLES Allen 4 Waterman 2 Darling Ryan


 Rivers Windsor van Rooyen Langdon Pickett Viney

WEST COAST EAGLES Yeo Kelly Allen Hutchinson B Williams


MELBOURNE Gawn (ankle) Pickett (finger)






Taj Woewodin (replaced Max Gawn in the fourth quarter)

WEST COAST EAGLES Jack Williams (replaced Tyler Brockman at three-quarter time)

UMPIRES Robert O'Gorman Simon Meredith Andrew Adair Nick Jankovskis 

CROWD 32,000 at The MCG


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4 minutes ago, whatwhat say what said:

crowd was 32k on the money according to the mcg scoreboard

sen of course pooh-pooh'd it

i would be curious to know what other clubs have pulled against meth coke at the g / docklands this year

Quick look shows 

Dogs v Eagles at Docklands 22,991

Pies V Eagles at Docklands 37,433

Dons V Eagles at Docklands 40,840

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