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Found 11 results

  1. It was two months ago today that they met in Perth and (broken record) had the Dees kicked straight, they might have won. Also note the injured players out of the side that week which included Jake Melksham who was originally listed as a 4-5 week injury. WEST COAST EAGLES B Shannon Hurn Will Schofield Brad Sheppard HB Liam Duggan Jeremy McGovern Lewis Jetta C Jack Redden Luke Shuey Dom Sheed HF Daniel Venables Jack Darling Willie Rioli F Liam Ryan Josh Kennedy Jamie Cripps FOLL Nathan Vardy Elliot Yeo Andrew Gaff I/C Oscar Allen Tom Cole Mark Hutchings Jack Petrucelle EMG Tom Hickey Jackson Nelson Josh Smith Jake Waterman IN Willie Rioli OUT Jake Waterman (omitted) MELBOURNE B Marty Hore Sam Frost Jayden Hunt HB Nathan Jones Oscar McDonald Christian Salem C Angus Brayshaw Jack Viney Billy Stretch HF Jay Lockhart Tom McDonald Alex Neale-Bullen F Jeff Garlett Christian Petracca Tim Smith FOLL Max Gawn James Harmes Clayton Oliver I/C Oskar Baker Bailey Fritsch Harry Petty Josh Wagner EMG Kade Chandler Braydon Preuss Tom Sparrow Corey Wagner IN Oskar Baker Alex Neale-Bullen Harry Petty Tim Smith OUT Michael Hibberd ((broken collarbone) Declan Keilty (omitted) Jordan Lewis (ankle) Jake Melksham (foot)
  2. JURRASIC WORLD by JVM It seems to me that one of Melbourne's selectors must have taken the kids to the movies during the week, stumbled into a screening of Jurassic World and assumed that the Top End of Australia was not dissimilar to the fictional island of Isla Nublar, where the film is set. Said selector must have been so impressed by the havoc those pre-historic creatures played with the punters who turned up at that dinosaur theme park that he convinced the others that the same sort of caper could succeed on Saturday night in Darwin. Fat chance. I don't know what it is about these sojourns to the Northern Territory but the Demons are getting things terribly wrong every time they play there. At their last meeting against Port Adelaide in Alice Springs back in May, the problem was that they stopped running after 1½ quarters which turned a possible victory into a disastrous loss. This time round in the warmish but not oppressive conditions of Darwin, they simply didn't run at all and I put this down to the fact that the team simply had insufficient runners and too much of the lumbering big men to match it against a team that moves the ball very well out of defence and mostly with plenty of hard, gut running. At times, it was scary; just looking at Melbourne's forward line with all of those dinosaurs standing there knowing that the West Coast defenders had the mobility and run to take the ball away on the majority of occasions when the ball was delivered (often sloppily) into the Melbourne attacking zones. Compare and contrast with the set up when the ball came down to the opposite end of the ground. Melbourne's troubles started early. They had already lost one creative mover before the game in Heritier Lumumba so it didn't help when last week's hero Angus Brayshaw crashed head-first into an opponent's hip and had to be subbed off. When someone at Melbourne is omitted with "leg" next to their name having not been previously noted on the injury list, it could mean anything between one week or a lifetime out of the team. Losing Brayshaw so early as well as Lumumba was a crushing blow because it had one less set of fresh legs available when the heat of the night started to take its toll late in the third term. It was no coincidence then that the Eagles soared at that very time and went on to outscore Melbourne by 40 points to six in the last quarter. Earlier, at the same time as we saw Brayshaw depart, Melbourne was being beaten in the ruck and at the stoppages and was missing some easy chances to score goals. Jesse Hogan hit the post with his first shot for goal and shanked his second. After that the forward opportunities dried up for him until late in the game and he did his best work further afield. The upshot was that a "coodabeen" lead at quarter time was in fact a deficit of three goals at the first break and whilst Melbourne fought valiantly until late in the third quarter (at one stage in midterm there were only two goals between the teams), the lack of run and the turnovers would take their toll - and they did. Not even a half time swim could save the team from going into melt down. Credit as always goes to the skipper Nathan Jones who worked tirelessly to set the example, capably assisted by Bernie Vince and Jack Viney and the efforts of Jeff Garlett, Neville Jetta and Brayshaw's replacement in Alex Neal-Bullen but in the end, the opposition was simply too hot and two fast for a team that moved like the now extinct reptiles of the early days of the planet. Melbourne 2.4.16 5.5.35 8.6.54 9.6.60 West Coast 5.4.34 7.8.50 10.14.74 16.18.114 Goals Melbourne Dawes Neal-Bullen 2 Garlett Hogan Spencer Tyson Viney West Coast Darling 5 Cripps Kennedy Shuey 2 Hill LeCras McGovern Sheed Sinclair Best Melbourne Vince N Jones Garlett Viney Tyson Watts West Coast Darling Gaff Sheed Masten Naitanui Wellingham Kennedy Changes Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil Injuries Melbourne Angus Brayshaw (head/neck). West Coast Nil Substitutions Melbourne Angus Brayshaw (head/neck) replaced by Alex Neal-Bullen in the first quarter West Coast Liam Duggan by Scott Selwood in the third quarter Reports Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil Umpires Schmitt Hosking Deboy Official Crowd 11,873 at TIO Stadium
  3. It seems to me that one of Melbourne's selectors must have taken the kids to the movies during the week, stumbled into a screening of Jurassic World and assumed that the Top End of Australia was not dissimilar to the fictional island of Isla Nublar, where the film is set. Said selector must have been so impressed by the havoc those pre-historic creatures played with the punters who turned up at that dinosaur theme park that he convinced the others that the same sort of caper could succeed on Saturday night in Darwin. Fat chance. I don't know what it is about these sojourns to the Northern Territory but the Demons are getting things terribly wrong every time they play there. At their last meeting against Port Adelaide in Alice Springs back in May, the problem was that they stopped running after 1½ quarters which turned a possible victory into a disastrous loss. This time round in the warmish but not oppressive conditions of Darwin, they simply didn't run at all and I put this down to the fact that the team simply had insufficient runners and too much of the lumbering big men to match it against a team that moves the ball very well out of defence and mostly with plenty of hard, gut running. At times, it was scary; just looking at Melbourne's forward line with all of those dinosaurs standing there knowing that the West Coast defenders had the mobility and run to take the ball away on the majority of occasions when the ball was delivered (often sloppily) into the Melbourne attacking zones. Compare and contrast with the set up when the ball came down to the opposite end of the ground. Melbourne's troubles started early. They had already lost one creative mover before the game in Heritier Lumumba so it didn't help when last week's hero Angus Brayshaw crashed head-first into an opponent's hip and had to be subbed off. When someone at Melbourne is omitted with "leg" next to their name having not been previously noted on the injury list, it could mean anything between one week or a lifetime out of the team. Losing Brayshaw so early as well as Lumumba was a crushing blow because it had one less set of fresh legs available when the heat of the night started to take its toll late in the third term. It was no coincidence then that the Eagles soared at that very time and went on to outscore Melbourne by 40 points to six in the last quarter. Earlier, at the same time as we saw Brayshaw depart, Melbourne was being beaten in the ruck and at the stoppages and was missing some easy chances to score goals. Jesse Hogan hit the post with his first shot for goal and shanked his second. After that the forward opportunities dried up for him until late in the game and he did his best work further afield. The upshot was that a "coodabeen" lead at quarter time was in fact a deficit of three goals at the first break and whilst Melbourne fought valiantly until late in the third quarter (at one stage in midterm there were only two goals between the teams), the lack of run and the turnovers would take their toll - and they did. Not even a half time swim could save the team from going into melt down. Credit as always goes to the skipper Nathan Jones who worked tirelessly to set the example, capably assisted by Bernie Vince and Jack Viney and the efforts of Jeff Garlett, Neville Jetta and Brayshaw's replacement in Alex Neal-Bullen but in the end, the opposition was simply too hot and two fast for a team that moved like the now extinct reptiles of the early days of the planet. Melbourne 2.4.16 5.5.35 8.6.54 9.6.60 West Coast 5.4.34 7.8.50 10.14.74 16.18.114 Goals Melbourne Dawes Neal-Bullen 2 Garlett Hogan Spencer Tyson Viney West Coast Darling 5 Cripps Kennedy Shuey 2 Hill LeCras McGovern Sheed Sinclair Best Melbourne Vince N Jones Garlett Viney Tyson Watts West Coast Darling Gaff Sheed Masten Naitanui Wellingham Kennedy Changes Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil Injuries Melbourne Angus Brayshaw (head/neck). West Coast Nil Substitutions Melbourne Angus Brayshaw (head/neck) replaced by Alex Neal-Bullen in the first quarter West Coast Liam Duggan by Scott Selwood in the third quarter Reports Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil Umpires Schmitt Hosking Deboy Official Crowd 11,873 at TIO Stadium
  4. It'a all a little surreal after the events of the week. Our last game seems so long ago ... so much has happened.
  5. CLEANING HOUSE by The Oracle The result of the game was pretty much expected after the coach spent the week explaining that his team was going to school and it would help if they did away with the scoreboard. The boys lived up to the coach's expectations playing like a year 10 remedial class against a collection of university graduates preparing to collect their PhD's - it was that much of a mismatch and, despite the coach's wishes it was nowhere more evident than on the ... ahem ... scoreboard. Melbourne was destroyed in the ruck duels by what is possibly the best ruck combination in the competition but then what would you expect when you're putting up possibly your fourth and fifth best big men and your upper echelon of talls are languishing in the infirmary? And once you're getting killed by the opposition out of the ruck, the next step is that you're getting slaughtered in the midfield and at the stoppages (not a single centre clearance in the first quarter) and before you can say Jay Kennedy-Harris, you're ten goals down at half time and the game has been well and truly lost. It was not all bad though because somehow, Melbourne finished with more disposals which means that the Demons were inefficient and wasteful and, as has been the case of late, unable to convert possession into score but at least they're getting their hands on the footy. No doubt, having a power forward or two on board would help but when a midfielder gets the ball and looks forward only to see a dwarf calling for the ball opposed to two decent sized defenders then ... well, um, you're going to hesitate and perhaps take the wrong option and turn the ball over and more than likely you'll end up kicking no more than an average of one goal per quarter. Come to think of it, that's exactly what happened. Still, it's no mean feat to finish with a possession count such as this in a 15 goal defeat (has that ever happened before?) whereas twelve months ago the different was -67. The reason is that the club has some better inside players in the midfield but is still are missing outside run and a forward line. Nathan Jones is getting better. Tyson, Vince and Cross have added to the midfield depth but they have no targets up forward, nor will they have them for the foreseeable future so the whole team will continue to be disfunctional until the Paul Roos broom cleans up the house. And that will definitely take time. Melbourne 0.1.1 1.3.9 2.4.16 4.6.30 West Coast 6.5.41 10.7.67 14.10.94 18.15.123 Goals Melbourne Byrnes 2 Kennedy-Harris Toumpas West Coast Kennedy 4 Darling 3 Le Cras Masten Shuey 2 Cripps Mackenzie Naitanui Sinclair Best N Jones Tyson Dunn Cross Toumpas Byrnes West Coast Kennedy Shuey Gaff Masten Priddis Cox Changes Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil Injuries Melbourne Michie (cut eye) West Coast Hurn (knee) Reports Melbourne Nil West Coast Nil UmpiresChris Donlon Sam Hay Shane McInerney Attendance 22,226 at the MCG.
  6. We had a team that looked like it came from the land of the giants but it did us no good ... MELBOURNE Backs Neville Jetta, James Frawley, Dean Terlich Half backs Jack Trengove, Tom McDonald, Colin Garland Centreline Michael Evans, Jack Grimes, Jack Viney Half forwards Matt Jones, Mitch Clark, Jeremy Howe Forwards Aaron Davey James Sellar Shannon Byrnes Followers Mark Jamar Colin Sylvia Nathan Jones Interchange Rohan Bail Cam Pedersen Luke Tapscott Jimmy Toumpas Emergencies David Rodan Jake Spencer Jack Watts In Rohan Bail Michael Evans Neville Jetta Cam Pedersen Luke Tapscott Out Sam Blease Tom Gillies (groin) Daniel Nicholson David Rodan Jack Watts WEST COAST Backs Schofield Glass A Selwood Half backs Hurn Brown Waters Centreline Gaff Priddis Masten Half forwards Embley Kennedy Hams Forwards Darling Hill Le Cras Followers Cox S Selwood Shuey Interchange Butler Cripps Kerr Sinclair Emergencies Brennan Dalziell Wilson In Kerr Le Cras Out Dalziell Sheppard (shoulder)
  7. It doesn't happen often that a team can lose a game by a margin in excess of 15 goals and still describe it as a "percentage booster" but such is the mediocrity of the Melbourne Football Club at the present time that this is precisely what happened when the Demons took on the West Coast Eagles at the MCG for their Round 3, 2013 visit to purgatory. Not only that, but the game afforded coach Mark Neeld the opportunity of claiming "a little win" which was how he described Melbourne's response to a week that began with a train wreck crushing at the hands of a team of suspected druggies, was followed by the public execution of the club's CEO at the bidding of the AFL, a disappearing trick when the lads bonded at the Hotel Sorrento followed by a closed training session at Casey Fields and a rousing final training run at Gosch's Paddock. The result was another tragic, unacceptable soul destroying loss but at least it was by less than 100 points. The team looked reasonably competitive for most of the first half, led by 9 points halfway through the second term when Jeremy Howe goaled, trailed by only 10 (points) at the half and even booted its highest score for the season but it also bled profusely in the third quarter giving away 11 goals to the rampant Eagles. Which brings me to Hotel Sorrento which is also the name of an Aussie movie about a family forced to confront their own demons and in covering that subject the film takes us through an exploration of the word "melancholy" - one that a reviewer claimed "perfectly suits Hotel Sorrento's tone and pace". The word also perfectly suits the place in which the Melbourne Football Club and its supporters are situated at the present time. We are deluded if we think that after two games in a season, the removal of the CEO by a hatchet mob is going to achieve anything. Make him responsible for failings which you can sheet home to him if they exist but the heroics of those who anonymously attacked him behind keyboards and secretive firewalls is not going to achieve a single thing on the field but weaken us off it. What Melbourne needs is more players with the ability to run and spread, with skills, determination and mature bodies to compete for 120 minutes and not 45. It won't happen overnight and perhaps Neeld is right in claiming his tiny victory but there are not enough of the vital ingredients that instil success at the present time to make enough of a difference. The signs were there when the Eagles were able to score freely at the end of each of the first two quarters that the landslide to come was inevitable. In the early stages, Nathan Jones was the instigator wininng 17 disposals up to half time on his way to 28 for the game. Jack Viney again showed his great potential despite an early ankle injury. The inclusion of Rohan Bail and the return after more than a year out of Michael Evans have the team some more run. Neville Jetta, while not outstanding, added the grunt and determination. The team was more balanced this week but it needs more oomph from the likes of James Frawley and Colin Garland in defence. I don't understand the exile to the stands of Jack Watts before moving him forward at least one time to see if he can do something in the place where he once earned # 1 draft selection. But then again, I don't understand much of what is happening at the Melbourne Football Club lately. All I know is that next week we need to see a win and it must not be tiny. Melbourne 4.1.25 9.2.56 10.3.63 13.5.83 West Coast Eagles 5.3.33 10.6.66 21.9.135 27.15.177 Goals Melbourne Clark 3 Sylvia Trengove 2 Byrnes Davey Evans Howe Sellar Tapscott West Coast Darling Kennedy 5 Cox Hams LeCras 3 Sinclair 2 Cripps Embley Gaff Hill Hurn Masten Best Melbourne N Jones Sylvia Viney M Jones Grimes Terlich West Coast Kennedy Cox Darling Priddis Masten Hurn Changes Melbourne Nil West Coast Waters (calf) replaced in selected side by Jacob Brennan Injuries Melbourne Bail (concussion) West Coast Hams (lower leg) Reports Nil Umpires Harris Pannell Fisher Official crowd 18,571 at the MCG
  8. A LITTLE WIN by The Oracle It doesn't happen often that a team can lose a game by a margin in excess of 15 goals and still describe it as a "percentage booster" but such is the mediocrity of the Melbourne Football Club at the present time that this is precisely what happened when the Demons took on the West Coast Eagles at the MCG for their Round 3, 2013 visit to purgatory. Not only that, but the game afforded coach Mark Neeld the opportunity of claiming "a little win" which was how he described Melbourne's response to a week that began with a train wreck crushing at the hands of a team of suspected druggies, was followed by the public execution of the club's CEO at the bidding of the AFL, a disappearing trick when the lads bonded at the Hotel Sorrento followed by a closed training session at Casey Fields and a rousing final training run at Gosch's Paddock. The result was another tragic, unacceptable soul destroying loss but at least it was by less than 100 points. The team looked reasonably competitive for most of the first half, led by 9 points halfway through the second term when Jeremy Howe goaled, trailed by only 10 (points) at the half and even booted its highest score for the season but it also bled profusely in the third quarter giving away 11 goals to the rampant Eagles. Which brings me to Hotel Sorrento which is also the name of an Aussie movie about a family forced to confront their own demons and in covering that subject the film takes us through an exploration of the word "melancholy" - one that a reviewer claimed "perfectly suits Hotel Sorrento's tone and pace". The word also perfectly suits the place in which the Melbourne Football Club and its supporters are situated at the present time. We are deluded if we think that after two games in a season, the removal of the CEO by a hatchet mob is going to achieve anything. Make him responsible for failings which you can sheet home to him if they exist but the heroics of those who anonymously attacked him behind keyboards and secretive firewalls is not going to achieve a single thing on the field but weaken us off it. What Melbourne needs is more players with the ability to run and spread, with skills, determination and mature bodies to compete for 120 minutes and not 45. It won't happen overnight and perhaps Neeld is right in claiming his tiny victory but there are not enough of the vital ingredients that instil success at the present time to make enough of a difference. The signs were there when the Eagles were able to score freely at the end of each of the first two quarters that the landslide to come was inevitable. In the early stages, Nathan Jones was the instigator wininng 17 disposals up to half time on his way to 28 for the game. Jack Viney again showed his great potential despite an early ankle injury. The inclusion of Rohan Bail and the return after more than a year out of Michael Evans have the team some more run. Neville Jetta, while not outstanding, added the grunt and determination. The team was more balanced this week but it needs more oomph from the likes of James Frawley and Colin Garland in defence. I don't understand the exile to the stands of Jack Watts before moving him forward at least one time to see if he can do something in the place where he once earned # 1 draft selection. But then again, I don't understand much of what is happening at the Melbourne Football Club lately. All I know is that next week we need to see a win and it must not be tiny. Melbourne 4.1.25 9.2.56 10.3.63 13.5.83 West Coast Eagles 5.3.33 10.6.66 21.9.135 27.15.177 Goals Melbourne Clark 3 Sylvia Trengove 2 Byrnes Davey Evans Howe Sellar Tapscott West Coast Darling Kennedy 5 Cox Hams LeCras 3 Sinclair 2 Cripps Embley Gaff Hill Hurn Masten Best Melbourne N Jones Sylvia Viney M Jones Grimes Terlich West Coast Kennedy Cox Darling Priddis Masten Hurn Changes Melbourne Nil West Coast Waters (calf) replaced in selected side by Jacob Brennan Injuries Melbourne Bail (concussion) West Coast Hams (lower leg) Reports Nil Umpires Harris Pannell Fisher Official crowd 18,571 at the MCG
  9. WHO ARE WE AGAIN? by Whispering Jack Just over twelve months ago on the eve of the Round 2 West Coast Eagles game in Perth, I wrote that the way in which Melbourne approached that particular fixture would define the playing group, given its poor start to the season under then new coach Mark Neeld. The result was an even more insipid performance by the team than the week before and it was followed by more of the same for the majority of the season. A full year later, the team in a different form with a number of new faces repeated the dose in Round 2 against Essendon. This time, it was another defeat in excess of 100 points but far worse and in front of an angry MCG crowd. What we gathered from that was an undercurrent of disaffection between the playing group and those who control it. That means the board and administration, the coaches and yes, ultimately the supporter group. The disconnect was there to see - a repeat of the disgrace that came to be known as "186", a day when the players appeared to down tools and withdraw their labour. Alternatively, if you want to be charitable it was at the very least, a failure to perform to even the minimum acceptable standard in the sport. The supporters were not only let down - they were treated with contempt. If the board, or the administration or the football department deserved that sort of treatment, the supporters certainly did not. Some of the fans will never come back and though I would never put myself in that category, I can hardly say that I blame them. Those who defend the players might well say they owe the supporters nothing; that there were issues that they needed to deal with (and that might well be the case) but what we saw on the playing field was unprofessional and nothing short of deplorable. The thing that most football fans can't really abide from supposed professionals taking the field in their club colours is not doing the basics like running, chasing, tackling and putting pressure on their own opponents. These things are the non-negotiables of our game. I usually disagree with much of what Patrick Smith writes but not when he drew the analogy between Melbourne's ineptitude last week and Essendon's sparkling performance. If one of the two playing groups out there was entitled to rebel against those in control of their club, it should have been the Bombers whose players were led up the garden path in such a scandalous manner when injected out of club premises with substances whose legality and identity they apparently can't now be completely assured of by their club hierarchy. Some might argue that this provides justification for players to rebel against the club for the contempt with which they were treated. But they acted as professionals with a duty to the club that pays their wages, to their loyal supporters and to themselves. Their refusal to tank defined that playing group. This can't be said of the playing group at Melbourne which has now drawn blood in the form of the departing CEO and caused substantial distress to their young coach. Even if there are issues with his coaching, is this how sane and rational people deal with such a situation. Are they now satisfied having blown the lid off the season and brought themselves and their club into disrepute or am I reading this wrongly and our playing group is just inept and incompetent? There's far more to this than just the playing group and a young coach struggling to impose a new systems and standards at the club. We are fractured and hurt by factions that carry with them a destructive mindset that has persisted for close on five decades since the time we dominated the competition and the code. Whatever way you look at it, having fallen in the estimation of the football world, the Demons need to work their butts off to rise again. Perhaps they might heed the words of American author and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: Now is the time to rise ... THE GAME Melbourne v West Coast Eagles at MCG - Saturday 13 April 2013 at 2:10pm (AEST). HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 15 wins West Coast 28 wins At MCG Melbourne 7 wins West Coast 7 wins Since 2000 Melbourne 7 wins West Coast 12 wins The Coaches Neeld 0 wins Worsfold 1 win MEDIA TV Fox Sports Channel at 2pm (live) RADIO THE BETTING West Coast to win $1.03 Melbourne to win $12.00 LAST TIME THEY MET West Coast 25.16.166 defeated Melbourne 9.4.58 at Patersons Stadium, Round 2, 2012 The Eagles handed out a thrashing, winning by a club record 108 points at Patersons Stadium, dominating the possessions 447-313, not to mention the free kick count which, at one stage read 21-1. Mitch Clark booted five goals and was one of the few shining lights in the gloom of the West. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE Backs Neville Jetta, James Frawley, Dean Terlich Half backs Jack Trengove, Tom McDonald, Colin Garland Centreline Michael Evans, Jack Grimes, Jack Viney Half forwards Matt Jones, Mitch Clark, Jeremy Howe Forwards Aaron Davey James Sellar Shannon Byrnes Followers Mark Jamar Colin Sylvia Nathan Jones Interchange Rohan Bail Cam Pedersen Luke Tapscott Jimmy Toumpas Emergencies David Rodan Jake Spencer Jack Watts In Rohan Bail Michael Evans Neville Jetta Cam Pedersen Luke Tapscott Out Sam Blease Tom Gillies (groin) Daniel Nicholson David Rodan Jack Watts WEST COAST Backs Schofield Glass A Selwood Half backs Hurn Brown Waters Centreline Gaff Priddis Masten Half forwards Embley Kennedy Hams Forwards Darling Hill Le Cras Followers Cox S Selwood Shuey Interchange Butler Cripps Kerr Sinclair Emergencies Brennan Dalziell Wilson In Kerr Le Cras Out Dalziell Sheppard (shoulder) IT'S NOT A PERFECT WORLD by Whispering Jack If we were living in a perfect world, this week would have been the ideal one for Melbourne to confront the West Coast Eagles. The visitors are coming off a six day break from a tough game played in 32 degree heat and have travelled across the continent to play on a ground where they haven't won a game since they surprised Melbourne in the first half of their wooden spoon season of 2010. Since then, the Eagles have lost seven consecutive games on the MCG. Like Melbourne, the Eagles are 0-2 and have not been particularly impressive to date, although admittedly they lost at the hands of some strong opposition. They have some key on field personnel missing and a couple back from injury who might be suspect if put under enough pressure. And there lies the crux of the problem. Pressure. In its two games thus far, the Demons have exerted absolutely zero pressure on their opponents. For a team that has ostensibly trained hard for two pre seasons to develop this aspect of the game, they have given absolutely nothing and on Saturday, they come up against one of the very teams that exposed them so badly in this very area twice in the season before Mark Neeld became coach. Melbourne has selected a marginally better side on paper than the one which has failed abysmally in the past two weeks. The defence is a little less stacked with talls who have no run and exert little defensive pressure. The same can be said of the midfield which has been so static but which remains particularly young and inexperienced. Above all, one must ask whether anything has happened to this group in the past seven days to change its shattered mindset? The removal of the CEO who, on the face of it has ensured that the club's off field finances are "tracking very well" according to the AFL and kept himself apart from the workings of the football department since it was restructured at the end of 2011? Hardly. A day and night of bonding at the Sorrento Hotel followed by a closed training session at Casey Fields? Perhaps. The shame of being booed off the ground by their own supporters, then to be pilloried mercilessly in the media, deservedly so for their sub standard efforts and failure to have a crack or the fear of being the next players demoted? This is the professional era in sport. Many of us were surprised last year when players with plentiful experience at various AFL clubs were delisted but failed to find suitors. It would not surprise if the same thing happened again this year. The Demons need to learn that they are all playing for their football lives if not their team and club and that if they continue to serve up that which they've shown to date, its going to be all over for many of them by year's end. Based on the events of the past week, I can see a little improvement but against a far more desperate Eagles that need the four points and percentage on offer, I don't expect enough improvement to overcome this team's crisis in confidence or for it to show the pride and character of the Bombers who continue to play like professionals despite their own crisis surrounding the club and coach and in which they find themselves right in the middle. Two weeks ago I predicted that Melbourne would be the most unpredictable side in the competition but it's not a perfect world and I was wrong. They now are sadly, the most predictable. West Coast by 72 points.
  10. Just over twelve months ago on the eve of the Round 2 West Coast Eagles game in Perth, I wrote that the way in which Melbourne approached that particular fixture would define the playing group, given its poor start to the season under then new coach Mark Neeld. The result was an even more insipid performance by the team than the week before and it was followed by more of the same for the majority of the season. A full year later, the team in a different form with a number of new faces repeated the dose in Round 2 against Essendon. This time, it was another defeat in excess of 100 points but far worse and in front of an angry MCG crowd. What we gathered from that was an undercurrent of disaffection between the playing group and those who control it. That means the board and administration, the coaches and yes, ultimately the supporter group. The disconnect was there to see - a repeat of the disgrace that came to be known as "186", a day when the players appeared to down tools and withdraw their labour. Alternatively, if you want to be charitable it was at the very least, a failure to perform to even the minimum acceptable standard in the sport. The supporters were not only let down - they were treated with contempt. If the board, or the administration or the football department deserved that sort of treatment, the supporters certainly did not. Some of the fans will never come back and though I would never put myself in that category, I can hardly say that I blame them. Those who defend the players might well say they owe the supporters nothing; that there were issues that they needed to deal with (and that might well be the case) but what we saw on the playing field was unprofessional and nothing short of deplorable. The thing that most football fans can't really abide from supposed professionals taking the field in their club colours is not doing the basics like running, chasing, tackling and putting pressure on their own opponents. These things are the non-negotiables of our game. I usually disagree with much of what Patrick Smith writes but not when he drew the analogy between Melbourne's ineptitude last week and Essendon's sparkling performance. If one of the two playing groups out there was entitled to rebel against those in control of their club, it should have been the Bombers whose players were led up the garden path in such a scandalous manner when injected out of club premises with substances whose legality and identity they apparently can't now be completely assured of by their club hierarchy. Some might argue that this provides justification for players to rebel against the club for the contempt with which they were treated. But they acted as professionals with a duty to the club that pays their wages, to their loyal supporters and to themselves. Their refusal to tank defined that playing group. This can't be said of the playing group at Melbourne which has now drawn blood in the form of the departing CEO and caused substantial distress to their young coach. Even if there are issues with his coaching, is this how sane and rational people deal with such a situation. Are they now satisfied having blown the lid off the season and brought themselves and their club into disrepute or am I reading this wrongly and our playing group is just inept and incompetent? There's far more to this than just the playing group and a young coach struggling to impose a new systems and standards at the club. We are fractured and hurt by factions that carry with them a destructive mindset that has persisted for close on five decades since the time we dominated the competition and the code. Whatever way you look at it, having fallen in the estimation of the football world, the Demons need to work their butts off to rise again. Perhaps they might heed the words of American author and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: Now is the time to rise ... THE GAME Melbourne v West Coast Eagles at MCG - Saturday 13 April 2013 at 2:10pm (AEST). HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 15 wins West Coast 28 wins At MCG Melbourne 7 wins West Coast 7 wins Since 2000 Melbourne 7 wins West Coast 12 wins The Coaches Neeld 0 wins Worsfold 1 win MEDIA TV Fox Sports Channel at 2pm (live) RADIO THE BETTING West Coast to win $1.03 Melbourne to win $12.00 LAST TIME THEY MET West Coast 25.16.166 defeated Melbourne 9.4.58 at Patersons Stadium, Round 2, 2012 The Eagles handed out a thrashing, winning by a club record 108 points at Patersons Stadium, dominating the possessions 447-313, not to mention the free kick count which, at one stage read 21-1. Mitch Clark booted five goals and was one of the few shining lights in the gloom of the West. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE Backs Neville Jetta, James Frawley, Dean Terlich Half backs Jack Trengove, Tom McDonald, Colin Garland Centreline Michael Evans, Jack Grimes, Jack Viney Half forwards Matt Jones, Mitch Clark, Jeremy Howe Forwards Aaron Davey James Sellar Shannon Byrnes Followers Mark Jamar Colin Sylvia Nathan Jones Interchange Rohan Bail Cam Pedersen Luke Tapscott Jimmy Toumpas Emergencies David Rodan Jake Spencer Jack Watts In Rohan Bail Michael Evans Neville Jetta Cam Pedersen Luke Tapscott Out Sam Blease Tom Gillies (groin) Daniel Nicholson David Rodan Jack Watts WEST COAST Backs Schofield Glass A Selwood Half backs Hurn Brown Waters Centreline Gaff Priddis Masten Half forwards Embley Kennedy Hams Forwards Darling Hill Le Cras Followers Cox S Selwood Shuey Interchange Butler Cripps Kerr Sinclair Emergencies Brennan Dalziell Wilson In Kerr Le Cras Out Dalziell Sheppard (shoulder) IT'S NOT A PERFECT WORLD by Whispering Jack If we were living in a perfect world, this week would have been the ideal one for Melbourne to confront the West Coast Eagles. The visitors are coming off a six day break from a tough game played in 32 degree heat and have travelled across the continent to play on a ground where they haven't won a game since they surprised Melbourne in the first half of their wooden spoon season of 2010. Since then, the Eagles have lost seven consecutive games on the MCG. Like Melbourne, the Eagles are 0-2 and have not been particularly impressive to date, although admittedly they lost at the hands of some strong opposition. They have some key on field personnel missing and a couple back from injury who might be suspect if put under enough pressure. And there lies the crux of the problem. Pressure. In its two games thus far, the Demons have exerted absolutely zero pressure on their opponents. For a team that has ostensibly trained hard for two pre seasons to develop this aspect of the game, they have given absolutely nothing and on Saturday, they come up against one of the very teams that exposed them so badly in this very area twice in the season before Mark Neeld became coach. Melbourne has selected a marginally better side on paper than the one which has failed abysmally in the past two weeks. The defence is a little less stacked with talls who have no run and exert little defensive pressure. The same can be said of the midfield which has been so static but which remains particularly young and inexperienced. Above all, one must ask whether anything has happened to this group in the past seven days to change its shattered mindset? The removal of the CEO who, on the face of it has ensured that the club's off field finances are "tracking very well" according to the AFL and kept himself apart from the workings of the football department since it was restructured at the end of 2011? Hardly. A day and night of bonding at the Sorrento Hotel followed by a closed training session at Casey Fields? Perhaps. The shame of being booed off the ground by their own supporters, then to be pilloried mercilessly in the media, deservedly so for their sub standard efforts and failure to have a crack or the fear of being the next players demoted? This is the professional era in sport. Many of us were surprised last year when players with plentiful experience at various AFL clubs were delisted but failed to find suitors. It would not surprise if the same thing happened again this year. The Demons need to learn that they are all playing for their football lives if not their team and club and that if they continue to serve up that which they've shown to date, its going to be all over for many of them by year's end. Based on the events of the past week, I can see a little improvement but against a far more desperate Eagles that need the four points and percentage on offer, I don't expect enough improvement to overcome this team's crisis in confidence or for it to show the pride and character of the Bombers who continue to play like professionals despite their own crisis surrounding the club and coach and in which they find themselves right in the middle. Two weeks ago I predicted that Melbourne would be the most unpredictable side in the competition but it's not a perfect world and I was wrong. They now are sadly, the most predictable. West Coast by 72 points.
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