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  1. It was a hot afternoon at IKON where the ferocious Cats came to play, had read the manual on how to beat us and the Demons were unable to match them for the first three quarters. With physical pressure, they took the game on with relative ease and though our resistance seemed better than the previous two weeks it was still not good enough. Within the opening minute, Kate Hore marks within range, but her shot was a miss-kick, like a fat iron, and it kinda set a flat tone for the afternoon. Young Geelong stars Nina Morrison (clearly best on ground) and Georgie Prespakis were ferocious, while 3-time best and fairest winner Amy McDonald started proceedings with two great goals in the opening quarter. Maddi Gay did give the Demon faithful some hope after the half time siren with a terrific long-range goal from a mark. Only three goals in it at half time. The Cats came out strongly after the main break and put the game beyond reach leading by 30 points at ¾ time. An unassailable lead? That’s what everyone thought. Melbourne in eight seasons had never lost three games in a row. Well in the ¾ time huddle, with Harris hurt, Mick Stinear mixed it up. He threw Tahlia Gillard into the ruck, with dynamo Goldie, Kate Hore and the extractor Westy and within seconds of the commencement of the last quarter we had scored a goal. The season-long weight of expectation of being reigning premiers, the hunted versus the hunter, had somehow lifted from our players’ shoulders. Emerging belief. Nothing to lose. It was a very exciting last quarter comeback to watch at the ground but ultimately it was too little too late. After witnessing almost three weeks of un-Melbourne-like football at least we finally displayed some of our trademark exciting football in the last quarter of 2023. Demons Fans were building with excitement as we kicked five goals in the last to nearly pinch a win, falling sadly short by less than a goal. That Loz Pearce snap was agonisingly close to forcing extra-time. Eden Zanker started holding her marks and kicked three brilliant last quarter goals to finish on 23 goals for the season, an AFLW record. Congratulations Edo. Geelong Coach Dan Lowther was shown on the big screen several times looking highly nervous. The big Geelong contingent who came up on the buses sensed the danger too and started cheering loudly for their team as the margin kept whittling away. But fortunately for them the siren sounded before our last forward thrust could be completed. In the end the Cats deserved the win. For the Dees Goldie was strong throughout, Hanksy is our talented talisman, Maddi Gay plays so well in finals, Westy made a strong comeback, Liv Purcell is an important cog in the midfield along with Paxy and Loz Pearce while Zanker starred in that last quarter. There were several players who didn’t impact the match and really every time we win, we have an even contribution. Sadly, not this week. Sherriff and Lampy were missed. The Demons will now start all the end of season processes including players reviews and list management. There is obviously some work to be done to improve. Well, that’s the season wrap up from Meggs. It has been a pleasure going to matches, reporting and reviewing and he thanks you for taking the time to read these missives. Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear was gutted but said Geelong deserved to win. For three quarters Geelong got first use of the ball. Our belief kicked in in that last quarter and at least showed what the group is capable of. We were unfortunately out of form at the wrong time of year. Why was that Mick? Geelong coach Dan Lowther thought his side had enough of a buffer at ¾ time to win the match but was nervous towards the end and clearly relieved when that final siren sounded. He highlighted Hanksy’s outstanding last quarter. One concern for the Cats is their fading last quarters. In their 2 finals so far, Geelong has only scored 1.1.7 and their opposition 8.4.52. The Cats have earned a Preliminary Final contest next week against Brisbane at Ipswich starting at 7:45pm Melbourne time. It will be a tough assignment for them, and we wish them well.  MELBOURNE 0.2.2 1.4.10 1.7.19 6.9.45 GEELONG 2.4.16 4.5.29 6.7.43 7.8.50 GOALS MELBOURNE Zanker 3 Gay Hanks A Mackin GEELONG A.McDonald 2 Crockett-Grills Darby Moloney Parry Scott BEST MELBOURNE Gay West Zanker Gillard Purcell Hanks GEELONG Morrison A McDonald Webster M McDonald Parry Prespakis INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil UMPIRES Adams Scott Talbot CROWD 5,057 at IKON Park
  2. Following successive comprehensive defeats by fellow Top Four heavyweights the Demons play down a division this Sunday against the highly promising Cats. Strangely, no games against the Cats for five seasons and now we play them twice in one season. With the blueprint on how to defeat the Dees available on the dark web the real question is, will we crumble again under the finals pressure cooker or will we rediscover our #DemonSpirit and execute a turnaround? Make no mistake this semi-final against Geelong is an enormous challenge. In Round 5 at Mordor, they stayed in the contest for three quarters but ultimately it was our record breaking forward efficiency that won the evening. Our high scoring has vanished these past two weeks, kicking only 9 and 28 points respectively. Against Top Eight teams this year our record is not so strong with a percentage of 98% whereas it’s 323% against the bottom eight teams. The weather forecast looks good for Sunday, 24 degrees and sunny. So, come along to IKON if you can and support our wonderful team. Noting there are a couple of milestones this week to celebrate: Midfield dynamo Liv Purcell’s plays her 50th game (including 19 games with Geelong), and Mick Stinear is coaching his 75th game. Good luck to the milestoners on Sunday. Selection this week Eliza West is back to boost our contested midfield pressure while Georgia Cambell is omitted. Rhi Watt, Charlotte Wilson and Sammie Johnson are named as emergencies. Geelong has lost goalkicking dynamo Chloe Sheer to a collarbone injury. Our opponents, Geelong The Cats have a strong engine room led by league stars in Georgie Prespakis and Nina Morrison. Support comes from 3-time best and fairest winner Amy McDonald, Zali Frizwell, and Mikayla Bowen. Meg McDonald leads the Cats’ defence along with former Dee Chantel Emonson, Claudia Gunjaca a strong intercept mark, Becky Webster, and Georgie Rankin. Ex Dee Jacqui Parry is having her best season up forward with 13 goals and 46 marks. It’s nice to see Shelley Scott back playing against her old team but the loss of Scheer will weaken their forward line. The danger player is tall athletic Irishwoman Aishling Moloney. She was on fire last time we played kicking 3 goals and will no doubt be a handful for Birch and Gillard again. Expect their coach Dan Lowther to have extra pressure planned for our stars Kate Hore and Tyla Hanks. He has two ready-made terrorisers to unleash in Darcy Moloney and Rachel Kearns. Meggs view Supporters’ confidence is understandably low following the recent defeats. There have been external comments about the Dees having illnesses last week so let’s hope we are fully fit and ready to give it red hot go on Sunday. Meggs is confident that we will bounce back and see an even team contribution. In leading goalkickers Hore, Zanker, Bannan, Harris and others we have the firepower to win. Our defence with Tahlia Gillard, Libby Birch and Goldrick is solid, and our engine room led by Liv Purcell, Tyla Hanks and Loz Pearce is a real strength. Reducing the impact of Prespakis and Ash Moloney is a key to winning. All of our players must win or at least halve the one-v-one contests, its finals footy. We are looking for more energy and physical pressure this week, a rediscovery of our trademark run and carry game and hoping our all-conquering forward line stars get their mojo back. Go Dees! Melbourne to win by 7 points THE GAME Melbourne v Geelong at IKON Park, on Sunday 19 November 2023 at 3:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 1 win Geelong 0 wins At IKON Park Melbourne 1 win Geelong 0 wins (Against others - Melbourne 7 wins 1 loss Geelong 2 wins 1 loss The Coaches Stinear 1 win Lowther 0 wins MEDIA TV – 7 mate, Fox Footy, Kayo Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio – ABC, AFL Nation, Tagalog FIL THE LAST TIME THEY MET (Season 8, Round 5) MELBOURNE 2.1.13 5.4.34 7.5.47 11.8.74 GEELONG 1.0.6 2.0.12 4.1.25 4.1.25
 GOALS MELBOURNE Hore 4 Paxman Zanker 2 Gay Hanks Mithen GEELONG A. Moloney 3 Morrison
 BEST MELBOURNE Hore Purcell Paxman West Gillard Hanks GEELONG Morrison A. Moloney A. McDonald Prespakis Webster INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil 
 CROWD 4,312 at GMHBA Stadium The Dees proved once again that they were the team to beat in Season 8 running away with a comfortable 49-point win. It was an intense battle and Geelong challenged us. Nina Morrisson was best with a game-high 30 possessions while Irish sensation Aishling Maloney was dominant everywhere and kicked three goals. Liv Purcell, with her typical ferocious play, contested strongly and was well supported by vice captain Tyla Hanks, Lily Mithen, Paxy, and Westy. Kate Hore had a fantastic game kicking four goals and our efficiency in the forward half was brilliant and the reason why we kicked away to win by so much. Mick Stinear said it was an even battle, the contest felt much tighter than the final result. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick M. Gay S. Heath C B. Mackin T. Hanks A. Mackin HF M. Fitzsimon P. Paxman E. Zanker F K. Hore T. Harris FOLL L. Pearce O. Purcell L. Mithen I/C A. Bannan M. Chaplin E. McNamara J. Ivey E. West EMG S. Johnson R. Watt C. Wilson IN E. West 
OUT G. Campbell (omitted) Milestones Olivia Purcell (50 games), Mick Stinear (75 games coached) GEELONG B C. Emonson C. Guniaca HB R. Webster M. McDonald G. Rankin C M. Bowen G. Prespakis N. Morrison HF R. Garing J. Parry K. Surman F S. Scott A. Moloney FOLL E. Hoare A. McDonald J. Crockett-Grills I/C K. Darby G. Featherston Z. Friswell R. Kearns D. Moloney EMG M. Bragg A. Kennedy B. Plummer IN K. Darby G. Featherston 
OUT M. Bragg (omitted) C. Scheer (collarbone) Injury List: Semi Final Rhi Watt - Concussion | Test Gaby Golvin - Achilles | 1-2 weeks Sarah Lampard - Wrist | 2 Weeks Casey Sherriff - Arm | Season
  3. There was no setting sun to ruin the spectacle this week, just the rising moon over the brand-new empty GMHBA Stadium in Moorabool Street. It was a perfect evening for footy on a pristine surface with an enthusiastic crowd building. Children dressed in Demon colours formed a Guard of Honour as the reigning premiers ran through the raised Demon banner declaring: MELBOURNE & GEELONG, A NEW CHAPTER IN THE OLDEST RIVALRY. The strong travelling group of Demons fans who gathered en masse behind the #DeeArmy had plenty to cheer about as the Dees proved once again, they are the team to beat in Season Eight. At the ground you could see and hear the intensity from both teams. Geelong did their best to challenge with high class mids Nina Morrison (who had a game-high 30 possessions and kicked an excellent goal), Amy McDonald, and Georgie Prespakis strong all night. Irish recruit, Aishling Moloney was a Cats standout, taking four contested marks and kicking three goals, in only her fifth game of AFLW. Kate Hore led her team with 20 disposals, five tackles and four goals making it 14 goals for the year to be leading goalkicker. There is a wonderful support cast at the Dees. Liv Purcell was her usual ferocious self, contesting strongly and Tyla Hanks, Lily Mithen, Paxy, and Westy helped maintained that pressure for four full quarters. Our defence must be doing something right. Melbourne has not conceded a Q4 goal for 14 games. In the last quarters of this season’s matches we have scored 20.14 (134) to 0.4 (4). Incredible! Our players commented how they felt the match was much closer and were surprised by the 49-point margin. No injuries were reported but there would be a few bruises for sure. In terms of the game: Q1 We heard that Geelong were fast starters and yet to concede a first quarter goal this season. Well, that record was never going to last long against the Dees. With 4:20 left on the clock Paxy wins a free kick in front of goal and duly converts. From the next centre clearance Liv Purcell kicks long to Loz Pearce who marks and hands off to Kate Hore for her first goal. The Cats’ first goal comes from an Aishling Moloney mark inside 50. ¼ time: Cats 1.0.6 Dees 2.1.13 Q2 Kate gets her second goal following a trademark run and carry from the wing. This team is so great to watch. Geelong’s Meg McDonald kicks across half back allowing Alyssa Bannan the opportunity to beat two Geelong defenders, whipping up some magic and kicking to the goal square for Zanker to run onto. Edo has her first. An inspiring solo goal from Nina Morrison for the Cats before Aimee Mackin impresses the Dees fans with a little cameo run directly in front of us. Wow. Kate Hore marks inside 50 and kicks her third goal. ½ time: Cats 2.0.12 Dees 5.4.34 Q3 Another tight contested quarter where the teams score two goals each. Melbourne fails to clear the ball and Moloney marks and kicks her second goal. Morrison gets caught holding the ball in front of goal and Hanksy converts straight over the umpire’s head. Big Max pops up on the screen. Lots of cheers. One club! Moloney, making our defenders nervous, marks and goals again for a 16-point game. Demons seem to be getting on top with a few Cat fumbles creeping in now. Paxy’s long bomb deep inside 50 is converted by Edo for her second goal. ¾ time: Dees Cats 4.1.25 Dees 7.5.47 Q4 The banner celebrated Maddi Gay’s 50th game but it was also her birthday. So, Kate Hore honoured Maddi’s lead so she could mark and kick a goal to celebrate. The genesis of the next goal was by Casey Sherriff who intercepted a handball basketball style and commenced a chain of passes which ended up being Kate Hore’s fourth goal. Exquisite footy. This team is a joy to watch. Demons are well on top now. The big screen spots Daisy in the crowd. The commentator asks which team is she supporting? Paxy marks and kicks a great goal from difficult angle and Lily Mithen kicks the final goal following a 50-metre penalty. The Cats have been ill-disciplined at times, they’re probably not enjoying the footy lesson. The siren sounds and Melbourne breaks the record for the highest score by any team against Geelong. Cats 4.1.25 Dees 11.8.74. Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear commented that the Cats have really strong mids and it was an even battle, but our midfield depth helped us. He highlighted Eden Zanker’s performance in the absence of Tayla Harris. Cats coach Dan Lowther was a little disappointed that they were not able to put on scoreboard pressure after winning the clearances. He felt the second half effort was an improvement on the Kangaroos game. Next week is a top-of-the-table clash against the Adelaide at Casey Fields on Saturday October 7 at 3:05pm. What a massive clash to look forward to!!!! MELBOURNE 2.1.13 5.4.34 7.5.47 11.8.74 GEELONG 1.0.6 2.0.12 4.1.25 4.1.25 GOALS MELBOURNE Hore 4 Paxman Zanker 2 Gay Hanks Mithen GEELONG Moloney 3 Morrison BEST MELBOURNE Hore Purcell Paxman West Gillard Hanks GEELONG Morrison A Moloney Amy McDonaldPrespakis Webster INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil CROWD 4,312 at GMHBA Stadium 
  4. Shadows form over Middle-Earth as the two oldest football clubs in the land Melbourne and Geelong take battle for the very first time for 4-points, down at Kardinia Park (aka Mordor). If you dare, come venture down the highway and support our talented team. Melbourne’s Season Eight form line is 4 zip and we’ve been playing some scintillating footy. The fanbase is growing. It needs to be said that our opponents so far have hardly been top shelf: Collingwood sits 12th on the ladder with one win and a percentage of 74.7%, Hawthorn (15th, 1 win, 56.5%), Western Bulldogs (16th, 0 wins, 58.3%) and GWS Giants (17th, 0 wins, 45.0%). Geelong on the other hand have beaten Western Bulldogs, the Swans and Power (both good wins away), and only lost to North at Mordor after leading well at half time. Lord Dan Lowther has his charges coming out breathing fire, they are fast starters. No team has scored a goal against the Cats in first quarters this season. Let’s spoil that party on Thursday! In comparison, no team has scored a last quarter goal against the Demons this season (actually not since Round 4 Season Seven, 2022). Meggs was pleased to see that Libby Birch, who has been building slowly this season, was named in the backline for the Round 4 Team of the Week. Other TOTW Melbourne inclusions were our superstar leaders Tyla Hanks and Kate Hore. Nice recognition girls. It’s Maddison Gay’s 50th this week (including 7 games for Carlton). Congratulations and Happy Birthday Maddi! Selection this week Gaby Colvin will play her first game back since her ACL and Maddi Gay was rested lasted week to be primed for this vital clash. Maeve Chaplin and the injured Tayla Harris (hamstring soreness) will make way. Meggs expects Tahlia Gillard (190 cms) to help Loz out in the ruck against the Cats beanpole Erin Hoare who is 194 cms. Tahls played well in the ruck during the 2023 VFLW season. Geelong reported no injuries last week. Our opponents, Geelong The Cats have elite young midfielders in Georgie Prespakis and Nina Morrison who have great support from the bullocking Becky Webster and Amy McDonald. Bowen and Crockett-Grills provide speed and pressure from the wings. The Cats’ defence is led brilliantly by Meg McDonald, with support from former Dee Chantel Emonson who takes the kickouts using her neat skills. Watch out for defenders, Claudia Gunjaca, a strong intercept mark, and Georgie Rankin. Chloe Scheer is equal second on the AFLW goalkicking table with 10 goals, equal with Captain Kate. While Ex Dee Jacqui Parry is equal 4th with 8 goals, alongside our girl Eden Zanker. Meggs view Expectations are high for an entertaining twilight match and a much closer contest than the Demons have seen so far in Season Eight. The Cats' home ground is narrow like last week at Frankston so hopefully that experience helps us. They are strong on every line and have several match winners. However, in their Round 4 top of the table clash against North only nine Cats players managed more than 10 possessions. Stopping Prespakis and Scheer would surely be gameday planning considerations. Heathy and or Hanksy to Georgie P, maybe Goldie runs with Chloe Scheer. Birch a likely option for the one-paced Parry or even the super competitor Gaby Colvin now that she’s back. Mick Stinear has shown us the power of versatility with this playing group. If gameday demands action, then expect Mick to shuffle his team and conjure moves. Our forward line is our ace. We have clever, talented goalkicking players everywhere you look. It will challenge the Cats backline, especially given our mid field support and trademark quick ball movement. It won’t surprise if Geelong lead at some point but our resilience and trust in #demonspirit is strong. Let’s bring the pressure over four full quarters like we have each game this season and, if so, Meggs is confident we can win the Battle of Mordor. Go Dees! Melbourne by 13 points THE GAME Melbourne v Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, Wadawurrung, on Thursday 28 September 2023 at 6:15pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 0 wins Geelong 0 wins At GMHBA, Geelong Melbourne 0 wins Geelong 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 0 wins Lowther 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy, Kayo. Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET This is the first meeting between the two clubs. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick M. Gay S. Heath C B. Mackin T. Hanks E. McNamara HF C. Sherriff O. Purcell A. Bannan F E. Zanker K. Hore FOLL L. Pearce P. Paxman L. Mithen I/C G. Campbell G. Colvin S. Lampard A. Mackin EMG M. Chaplin M. Fitzsimon J. Ivey IN G. Colvin M. Gay OUT M. Chaplin (omitted) T. Harris (hamstring) GEELONG B M. Bragg C. Gunjaca HB C. Emonson M. McDonald G. Rankin C M. Bowen G. Prespakis N. Morrison HF K. Surman J. Parry D. Moloney F C. Scheer A. Moloney FOLL E. Hoare R. Webster A. McDonald I/C J. Crockett-Grills K. Darby Z. Friswell R. Garing Ab. McDonald EMG G. Featherston I. Houtsma B. Plummer IN J. Crockett-Grills Ab. McDonald 
OUT R. Kearns (knee) B. Plummer (omitted) Injury List: Round 5 Sammie Johnson - calf | Test Tayla Harris - hamstring | 1 Week
  5. The players thought that one night in Mordor (Geelong) before the game would be bad enough, but it turned into two dark nights with the Cats giving the Demons a lesson in the final quarter to run out 15-point winners. And while the coach makes much about “learnings”, surely it is time for the side to “learn” how to play wet weather football? Three defeats in wet conditions so far this year. You can add the Brisbane game on a humid, slippery night to make it four. In such conditions, the game style must change. Kick the ball off the ground, just kick the ball. In this game the Demons had 158 handballs - 53 more than Geelong. That is NOT wet weather football. And while conditions in the last quarter were not belting rain, as in the others, the ground remained wet. Three of those six Geelong final quarter goals started from kicks off the ground further upfield. If the Cats weren’t soccering the ball, they were kicking long and deep. In slippery conditions it creates chaos and opportunities, which certainly happened on a further three occasions. Melbourne led by seven points into the last quarter, but following another ANB howler, the momentum changed with Geelong kicking three goals in the next three minutes. Game over as the Mordor darkness descended. But that wasn’t the only obvious failing. After standing Darcy Moore last game and denying him opportunity, Joel Smith simply lost Stewart this week and allowed five intercepts in the final critical quarter. It finally (but by then, far too late) led to Petty being taken from the backline in the dying moments of the game to provide some aerial contest. Other forwards hadn’t learnt the wet weather football mantra of playing in front. So, Henry, Bews and Stewart had an easy job which was made even easier with the lack of crumbing from the Melbourne small forwards. Contested possessions? Despite winning the numbers game for the match, it was -10 in the final quarter. Rucks? Despite winning the hit outs stat, neither Grundy nor Gawn provided any around the ground input to any real effect. Max took his solitary mark for the game with less than a minute to play! Which further compounded the problems in the forward line with only eight for the night while Geelong managed 50% more! Can we just give up on “resting” rucks in front of goal? Max has kicked 7 in 11 games and Brodie 9 in 14 games. It is just embarrassing watching both trying to run to deny the opposition backs head downfield….they are meant to be resting not running. There was little to commend from this game. Just remember Geelong were without Dangerfield and Guthrie in the middle, while they lost Cameron early in the game. That should have given the Demons a huge advantage. So, what are the “learnings” from this game? Mordor is still a horrible place to spend the night. Worse if it is two. Wet weather doesn’t seem to worry Cats. No need to acclimatise for Kitty Litter Park … it is only 21 metres above sea level. We need El Nino to be running hot in September to avoid rain ruining our chances. MELBOURNE 2.1.13 4.8.32 6.11.47 8.15.63 GEELONG 3.4.22 4.7.31 5.10.40 11.12.78 GOALS MELBOURNE Fritsch Pickett J Smith 2 Petracca van Rooyen GEELONG Rohan 3 Bruhn 2 Blicavs Duncan Z Guthrie Hawkins Henry Stengle BEST MELBOURNE Petracca Viney Salem Lever Rivers Hunter GEELONG Stewart Close Bruhn Rohan Duncan Atkins INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Jeremy Cameron (concussion) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil SUBSTITUTIONS MELBOURNE Charlie Spargo (replaced Jordon in the third quarter) GEELONG Jack Bowes (replaced Cameron in the first quarter) UMPIRES Nick Foot Daniel Johanson Brett Rosebury Nathan Williamson CROWD 19,617 at Kitty Litter Park
  6. According to an article on the AFL website, there’s a new reason for supporters to panic at this time of year and that’s the post bye let down. The trend of dropping the first game on return from a bye has gone to a new level this season with teams now a collective 1-5 in 2023 when playing after their mid-season break (and the only win was the Saints’ Round 13 triumph over the Swans, also fresh from a spell). This puts the Demons at risk in their clash with the Cats at the half-completed taxpayer funded you beaut stadium on Corio Bay, the home side having already suffered the let down last weekend. Thankfully, the Demons are the best coached organization in the country and Simon Goodwin and his coaching cohort have everything under control. Firstly, the team is heading down the highway to Geelong to train at GMHBA Stadium rather than on game day, aiming to really "treat it like a game away from home." They are already used to the long-haul travel and if this isn’t enough, they’ve been training on a scaled down track at Casey Fields that matches the exact dimensions of the Cattery. And while they were training out there, I noticed vision of players practicing their set shots for goal - that is sheer genius of Einstein dimensions! Melbourne was exceptional in almost every aspect of the game in their pre bye match against ladder leaders Collingwood but for the fact that they could not hit the side of the proverbial barn door. The club comes up against the normally highly accurate Geelong who were on target but otherwise performed abysmally against Port Adelaide last week. This will test my swings and roundabouts theory about shooting for goal. The Dees are due to kick straight this week and it’s time for the Cats to have the yips. This factor could be decisive in nullifying Geelong’s home ground advantage and swing things in Melbourne’s favour. If that doesn’t do it, then how about Melbourne’s midfield advantage even without the return of Clayton Oliver who jumped out of a hospital bed on Kings Birthday Monday to run laps of the G until the early hours of the following morning. He will miss again but what a fantastic example to set for the rest of the team? Geelong’s equivalent of Oliver is Paddy Dangerfield who suffered a partially collapsed lung and a cracked rib after their last game and is probably still on the Princes Highway driving home from the City of Churches. He won’t be playing, nor will Cam Guthrie (toe-joint injury) or Joel Selwood (retired). That trio were all instrumental in the Cats’ victory the last time these teams met at this venue. They are virtually irreplaceable in the context of this game so we can expect Christian Petracca, Jack Viney, Clarrie, Tom Sparrow and anyone else placed in the game’s boiler room to have a big night out. And that leaves Melbourne with one major obstacle to victory - the need to suppress Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins and prevent them from kicking too many goals. Well let me introduce that pair and Gary Rohan and the rest of the Cat’s attack to Steven May, Jake Lever and their merry backmen who are ready to be mean, miserly and miserable in their treatment of opposing forwards. They will stop at nothing - not even the roadblocks at the entry to Sleepy Hollow - to prevent Geelong from going through the gateway into the eight so say bye, bye to the Cats. Maintaining a grip on the top four after their truncated bye weekend off will be an added bonus that victory will bring for the Dees! Melbourne to win by 17 points. THE GAME Geelong v Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday 22 June 2023 at 7.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Geelong 133 wins Melbourne 88 wins 2 draws At GMHBA Stadium Geelong 41 wins Melbourne 19 wins 1 draw The last five meetings Geelong 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins The Coaches Scott 6 wins Goodwin 4 wins LAST TIME THEY MET Geelong 12.19.91 defeated Melbourne 9.9.63 at GMHBA Stadium in Round 17 2022 Both sides were coming off a five-day break, but the Cats were back-to-back at home after a 112 point win over an insipid North while the Demons were coming back from a game in Adelaide. They were neck and neck at the final break, but it was not unexpected that Melbourne faded badly in the final term to be beaten by 28 points. THE TEAMS GEELONG B Z. Guthrie S. De Koning Z. Tuohy HB J. Henry T. Stewart T. Atkins C I. Smith M. Duncan M. Holmes HF O. Henry J. Cameron T. Stengle F G. Rohan T. Hawkins B. Close FOLL R. Stanley M. Blicavs T. Bruhn I/C J. Bews J. Kolodjashnij G. Miers M. O'Connor SUB J. Bowes EMG O. Dempsey M. Knevitt O. Mullin IN R. Stanley OUT P. Dangerfield MELBOURNE B T. Rivers S. May J. McVee HB A. Brayshaw J. Lever C. Salem C A. Neal-Bullen J. Viney E. Langdon HF K. Pickett B. Fritsch T. Sparrow F J. Smith M. Gawn K. Chandler FOLL B. Grundy C. Petracca L. Hunter I/C M. Hibberd J. Jordon H. Petty J. van Rooyen SUB C. Spargo EMG B. Brown A. Tomlinson T. Woewodin IN H. Petty OUT A. Tomlinson Injury List: Round 15 Jake Bowey - Concussion | Available Will Verrall - Pelvis | Available Clayton Oliver - Hamstring | Test Harry Petty - Foot | Test Kye Turner - Groin | TBC Tom McDonald - Foot | 5 - 7 Weeks
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