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  1. In the twilight at Frankston Oval, for the first ever match between Melbourne and Hawthorn, the Demons were clinical winning by 59 points and remain undefeated in Season Eight. The Melbourne team ran out to a wonderful #DeeArmy banner paying tribute to Ron Barassi, ‘a football legend, the greatest Demon’. So true! Meggs was super excited to see Irish recruit Aimee Mackin playing her first game. Aimee quickly showed us that she belongs out there with composure, game sense and footy skills. She even outshone her li’l sister in the disposal count (13/11). Our competition-leading forwards group just got a bit better. Vice-captain Tyla Hanks starred again amassing 26 disposals, 3 clearances, 10 contested possessions and 10 score involvements, surely another 10 coaches’ votes. Eden Zanker (14 disposals, 8 marks) was a shining presence in our post-Daisy forward line and delivered a purple patch in the third quarter kicking a career-high three goals in as many minutes. Superstar Edo! Tayla Harris has been awesome this season with her 1%ers and contested marking. Her strength at the contest must lift her teammates. Other mentions include Pearce and Campbell who won the ruck contest, game-high possession winner Liv Purcell (29) was everywhere, as was Mithen, Westy, McNamara and Paxy. Hore and Heathy continue their fine seasons too. Thirteen players on the ground had less than ten disposals for the match but only two of them were Demons. Such an even team contribution makes us difficult to stop. The setting sun was playing havoc with TV camera people, commentators, coaches, and players. Presumably this timeslot was scheduled to suit the Men’s Preliminary Final. Not ideal. The Hawks had taken some learnings from their earlier practice match against us by winning the tackle count (79/57) and the inside 50s (31/30) but ultimately the Demons were unstoppable. The Hawks midfield group including Bates, Lucas-Rodd, Kashy, and young Fleming got their hands on the ball enough and tried to unsettle the Dees at times with great pressure. Irishwoman Aine McDonagh impressed with her goal and Stratton took a couple of forward 50 marks but one goal for a match won’t win you many games. In terms of the game: Q1 With under 5 minutes left to play, the Demons using their trademark run and carry, take the ball from deep in Hawthorn’s forward 50 all the way to the goal square where resting ruck Lauren Pearce kicks the opener. Meggs’ favourite bit of this play was Georgia Campbell bumping Hawk midfield maestro Bates out of the contest so she loses control of the footy, allowing Maeve Chaplin to intercept and kick downfield. Hanks then artfully directs this play (with three handballs), and Westy, Zanker, B Mackin, Sherriff and Banno are all involved. Scintillating stuff. Then two minutes later, that sibling moment! A Mackin traps the ball, baulks, and left foots it toward goal and B Mackin is waiting near the goalpost. We all think the ball will bounce through for a goal but it’s a Sherrin and has its own ideas. No probs for Blaithin who controls the footy under pressure from two Hawks and finishes off her sister’s good work. ¼ time: Dees 2.4.16 Hawks 0.1.1 Q2 Mithen hits up Hore who goals. How many times has Lil passed to Kate? (And vice versa?) Another end-to-end Demon goal results in a Bannan major. Casey Sherriff is down with what looks like a corkie but Banno’s ankle seems fine. A goalless first half by Hawthorn. Defenders doing well. ½ time: Dees 4.6.30 Hawks 0.3.3 Q3 Tyla Hanks hits up Kate Hore on a nice lead inside 50. Kate then passes to Eliza Mac directly in front. Lize goals and celebrates in her unique dancing style. Number 22 is a joy to watch. Hawthorn’s Aine McDonagh wins a free kick and slots a lovely left foot goal from the boundary line. Next is that hat-trick of goals by Eden Zanker. The last one features a ‘don’t argue’ from Hanksy, a brilliant defensive smother by Loz Pearce who recovers and handballs to Hore who kicks to the top of the square to Edo. We are blitzing them. Interestingly our ¾ time score of 8.7.55 was the same as it was against the Bulldogs last week, but the Bulldogs had scored 5 more goals. ¾ time: Dees 8.7.55 Hawks 1.5.11 Q4 No one scores a goal against Melbourne in last quarters (well not for a long time). This game was to be no different with the Hawks failing to even score a point. Kate kicks one goal and Tayla the other (after some nice work from the busy Liv Purcell). The siren sounds and it’s a convincing 59-point win. Dees 10.10.70 Hawks 1.5.11. Coaches and next week Melbourne Assistant Shae Sloane was the matchday coach. She was pleased with how her team was able to stay calm with ball in hand under heaps of Hawthorn pressure. Hawks coach Bec Goddard was pleased with her team’s pressure and happy the Hawks won the inside 50 count. Next week Melbourne take on Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday September 28 at 6:15pm. The Cats will be a much stiffer opponent, especially at home. MELBOURNE 2.4.16 4.6.30 8.7.55 10.10.70 HAWTHORN 0.2.2 0.3.3 1.5.11 1.5.11 GOALS MELBOURNE Zanker 3 Hore 2 Bannan Harris B. Mackin McNamara Pearce HAWTHORN McDonagh BEST MELBOURNE Hanks Purcell Paxman Zanker Heath Mithen HAWTHORN Bates Lucas-Rodd McDonagh Wales Eardley Fleming INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN Nil UMPIRES Bailes Dore Talbot CROWD 2,917 at Kinetic Stadium, Frankston
  2. Meggs asks is it time to heave ho the melodies and words of yesteryear and update Club theme songs with some Australian composers and singers? What prompted this reflection was the discovery that this week’s combatants’ themes were written by the same early 20th century American composer, George M. Cohan. Cohan’s melodies The Yankee Doodle Boy and You’re a Grand Old Flag have been used by Hawthorn since 1956 and Melbourne since 1912. Even earlier, the club themes of Brisbane (French National Anthem) and Geelong (Bizet’s Carmen) were written during the 19th century by two disparate Frenchmen. Meggs can’t see the connection to Aussie rules. A discussion for another time perhaps. This week Melbourne takes on Hawthorn at Kinetic Stadium in Frankston at 5:05pm. Get excited, it’s a brand new venue for the Dees to exploit and break records. So far in Season Eight Melbourne is undefeated with three convincing wins against Collingwood, GWS and the Western Bulldogs and are premiership favourites. By way of comparison, Hawthorn defeated the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat but has lost to Essendon and Fremantle. Mick Stinear would have to be pleased with his forwards. They have the highest points for (255), nine goals more than any other team, and are second on the ladder by percentage (271.3%). Kate Hore tops the all-time AFLW goalkickers list with 61 goals, while Tayla Harris sits third on 59. Enough stats. Last week’s match demonstrated the depth of Melbourne’s midfield, led by Hanksy, Purcell, Mithen, Paxy and Westy with support from Mackin, Hore and Heathy (trying to slow the Blackburn train). Isn’t McNamara building brilliantly into the season! Selection this week Alyssa Bannan is listed as a test on her sprained ankle. If Banno misses, then expect housemate Megan Fitzsimon (also listed as a test) to be her replacement. Go Fitzy. Hawthorn reported that Stephenson will be unavailable due to concussion. Our opponents, Hawthorn Hawthorn’s experienced coach Bec Goddard knows her footy. The practice match loss to Melbourne by 64 points will have provided plenty of learnings for her team. Meggs expects the Hawks to be prepared and much more competitive in this match. The key question is, can they match Melbourne’s fitness and pressure over four quarters? Watching them play the first three rounds you can see they have recruited a strong group of senior players from around the competition. All Australians Emily Bates and Greta Bodey from Brisbane, Aileen Gilroy and Kaitlyn Ashmore from North and their skipper Tilly Lucas-Rodd have been fantastic additions and are leading the team in 2023. The Hawks have a couple of young rucks, one is Lucy Wales (from Casey Demons), who should test our girls. Irishwomen Aine McDonagh and Bridie Hipwell have both impressed around goals. Meggs view The Demons are heavy favourites this week. The forward line should be too talented for the Hawks’ backline to control, especially with the mid field support and pressure applied over the four quarters. The evenness of talent and skill under pressure will be telling. It is hard to see Bates, Lucas-Rodd, Kashy, Gilroy, young Fleming et al sustaining the rage but they have looked good at times this year and applied lots of pressure in our pre-season game. That said, Meggs thinks we are humming and on song while the opposition will not be a happy team at the end of the night. Go Dees! Melbourne by 33 points THE GAME Melbourne v Hawthorn at Kinetic Stadium, Frankston, on Friday 22 September 2023 at 5:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 0 wins Hawthorn 0 wins At Kinetic Stadium, Frankston Melbourne 0 wins Hawthorn 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 2 wins Goddard 0 wins MEDIA TV - live free on 7mate. Foxtel, Kayo. Mobile – AFL Live Official App and AFLW Official App Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET This is the first official meeting between the clubs but they met last month in a practice match at Casey Fields with Melbourne winning a one-sided affair 8.16.64 to 0.6.6 (19 August 2023). It was a good chance for Mick Stinear to trial new strategies and test his team’s fitness under the new rules of longer quarters and interchange limits. He welcomed back Eliza McNamara and Gaby Colvin from long term injuries. Sherriff looked to be playing forward this year and Kate Hore was setting herself up for a great season. Georgia Campbell has played only one game mainly as a forward but went ok in the ruck and took a strong grab. Eden Zanker kicked four goals, looked confident and set for a big year. Missing players included Gay, Gall, Fowler, Ivey, Aimee Mackin and Watt. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B T. Gillard L. Birch HB S. Goldrick S.Lampard S. Heath C B. Mackin T. Hanks E. McNamara HF A. Mackin L. Mithen T. Harris F K. Hore E. Zanker FOLL L. Pearce P. Paxman O. Purcell I/C A. Bannan G. Campbell M. Chaplin G. C. Sherriff E. West EMG G. Colvin J. Ivey R. Watt IN A. Mackin OUT M. Gay (managed) HAWTHORN B E. Everist M. Eardley HB C. Brown J. Richardson C. Baskaran C K. Stratton T. Lucas-Rodd T. Smith HF A. McDonagh B. Hipwell G. Bodey F T. Luke S. Locke FOLL L. Wales A. Gilroy J. Fleming I/C K. Ashmore E. Bates B. Deed L. Elliott T. Fellows EMG M. Breed C. Dumont A. Kemp IN B. Deed T. Fellows OUT A. Makur Chuot (managed) L. Stephenson (concussion) Injury List: Round 4 Alyssa Bannan (ankle) test Megan Fitzsimon (back) test Sammie Johnson (calf) 1 week
  3. The Demons locked in a top four spot on the AFL 2023 ladder on Sunday with a 27-point victory against the Hawks denying them a third top end scalp in a row. Melbourne is now primed for finals action in September, although at this late stage who and where it will play in the first week is the loaded question as its final ladder position depends upon games yet to be played. This match was a hard tussle with barely a goal or two in it until the Demons broke the shackles in the final term. Indeed, Hawthorn got within six points in that final quarter, only to see Melbourne break away convincingly. Shackles were certainly the way the Hawks wanted to play, with Finn Maguiness locked onto Clayton Oliver like a leech, restricting him to just 14 touches. Was it worth it? Perhaps, but it shows the respect that oppositions show to a player like Oliver in just his second game back from a ten week layoff. It was a strange game to watch, as the Melbourne movers and shakers just seemed to be below their best. Except, of course, for Jack Viney who just kept on barrelling in with 25 touches including 9 contested possessions. Angus Brayshaw with 20 disposals, Christian Petracca with 22, and Tom Sparrow 17 are probably not the numbers we have become accustomed to from the mids. However, when needed it was Oliver and Petracca in those final minutes who conjured the damaging goals. The disposal disease wasn’t restricted to the middle of the ground. Kysaiah Pickett only touched the ball five times with a single effective disposal. Kade Chandler, Jacob van Rooyen and Joel Smith each finished with seven touches to their names. The problems of the forward line were still lurking and it was left to Jake Melksham with 15 disposals and 3 goals to show the way, although both Smith and van Rooyen capitalised on the low possession count with two and three goals respectively. Not to mention 100% & 85% disposal efficiency from those paltry opportunities. Even Chandler didn’t miss a target for the whole night. The backline structures also looked shaky until the final term, when Smith was sent back there and suddenly Steven May and Jake Lever won the ball again and again. Lever with 13 marks including a magnificent one on one victory when the Hawks were within a goal, simply changed the course of the game. Trent Rivers had been busily holding the fort prior to that final surge, and he was easily the best performed MFC player to that point. He finished the game with 27 touches and a very creditable 496 metres gained. Rivers is rapidly becoming the springboard out of defence with his run and long kicking that is so damaging in today’s game. Down the wings, Ed Langdon was his damaging best, as Hawthorn hadn’t learnt the lessons of others who keep the ball away from his side of the ground. He finished with 18 touches producing 435 metres contribution to the territory game for the side. That the side was able to win this tight tussle, with a good number of players well below their best was a credit, particularly when it resulted in that top four outcome. They may not need to win next week, but that is not the Melbourne way in this game. A top two finish still possible at this point in time and the players will know if that is the case before they enter the ground next Sunday. The other inspiration for the players is that of playing not only in finals but also in a potential premiership side. The other contenders at the top end are suddenly looking tired and the inevitable injuries are showing up their weaknesses. With the Demons looking to load up with more silverware, then locking in a spot in the side now means nothing less than 100% commitment and output from each and every individual. MELBOURNE 3.2.20 6.5.41 10.6.66 13.9.87 HAWTHORN 4.2.26 6.3.39 8.5.53 9.6.60 GOALS MELBOURNE Melksham van Rooyen 3 Smith 2 Brayshaw Chandler Oliver Petracca Sparrow HAWTHORN Breust Hustwaite McDonald 2 Day Grainger-Barass Moore BEST MELBOURNE Melksham Lever Viney Rivers Brayshaw Petracca HAWTHORN Worpel Nash Maginness Day Sicily Amon INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN Nil REPORTS

 MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN Nil LATE CHANGES MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN Jai Newcombe (replaced in the selected side by Henry Hustwaite) SUBSTITUTIONS

 MELBOURNE Josh Schache (replaced Adam Tomlinson in the fourth quarter) HAWTHORN Jai Serong (replaced Max Ramsden at three-quarter time) UMPIRES Andrew Stephens Brendan Hosking Alex Whetton Nathan Toner CROWD 50,142 at the MCG PINK LADY DAY Congratulations to the fans who turned up to support their team and the heartening revival of the Breast Cancer initiative at our games.
  4. Ours is a team game but there are always members of a team who stand out from the rest. They are the leaders and in the case of the Melbourne Football Club, its leaders have held them in good stead over the past few years, most notably men like Max Gawn and Jack Viney who never cease fighting for the team. They are the ones (not the only ones) whose fighting spirit never dampens — the fighter in them stays, and so do they. This week Max Gawn will play his 200th AFL game, a magnificent achievement considering how his career started, how he withstood early severe injuries and how he developed his game to reach the pinnacle of his craft as a ruckman. He is The Boxer, a fighter by his trade. We congratulate him on his achievements. There are more to come. Another fighter in Alex Neal-Bullen plays his 150th game. He not only fights but he also runs and, despite coming in for some criticism from those who don’t appreciate the role he plays in the team complemented by his athleticism. There’s more to come from him too. Melbourne is likely to be challenged in this penultimate game of the home and away season. There should be no illusions about that, given the recent form of their opponents in Hawthorn who have beaten two top eight sides at their last starts including top-of-the-ladder Collingwood and a Western Bulldogs team, albeit one that continues to struggle to hold its position in the top echelon of the competition. However, one finds it difficult to comprehend that scenario in light of the situation in Round 20 when the Hawks gave up nine goals to the Saints in the opening term as they succumbed to a 29-point loss despite a spirited third quarter comeback. Melbourne beat Richmond later that afternoon by 32 points and were contending for a top two finish. The Demons haven’t performed poorly in their subsequent two clashes, but their starts have been unimpressive, and they have failed to make the most of their opportunities once they belatedly got themselves going. So, the Demons face a resurgent Hawthorn in a tricky game having just lost one of their goal kicking keys to the Richmond victory. The good news is that one of the other key team players in Clayton Oliver made a spectacular comeback after ten weeks on the sidelines with 27 disposals, 10 clearances and 13 tackles. Most of those stats came in the second half and he was constantly being held off the ball. Mitchell will possibly assign Finn Maginness to shut him down and good luck for that. The red headed Demon has a lot more to give after removing the cobwebs against the Blues. Hawthorn is building with some solid contributors of its own in the midfield. The likes of the emerging Day and Newman are talented and young but they come up against one of the best on ball brigades in the business this week and will be sorely tested. The Demons have too much at stake to let this one go and I expect them to start better this week, hold firm in defence, play with the same intensity and mindset that has them in the top four and fight the good fight. Their experience and leadership will make certain of that! Melbourne by 23 points. THE GAME Melbourne v Hawthorn at the MCG Sunday 20 August 2023 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 81 wins Hawthorn 87 wins 1 draw At the MCG Melbourne 41 wins Hawthorn 46 wins 1 draw Last 5 meetings Melbourne 4 wins Hawthorn 0 wins 1 draw The Coaches Goodwin 1 win Mitchell 0 wins THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 15.13.103 defeated Hawthorn 7.7.49 in Round 9, 2023 at The MCG The Demons shot out of the blocks and were all over the Hawks with solid pressure throughout the entire first half. They released the pressure valve temporarily in the second half but we’re back on the job in quick time to end up recording a comfortable victory. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B J. Bowey S. May T. Rivers HB J. McVee J. Smith J. Lever C C. Salem J. Viney E. Langdon HF T. Sparrow J. Melksham A. Neal-Bullen F K. Pickett J. van Rooyen L. Hunter FOLL M. Gawn C. Oliver C. Petracca I/C A. Brayshaw K. Chandler B. Laurie A. Tomlinson SUB J. Schache EMG B. Grundy J. Jordon C. Spargo IN B. Laurie J. Schache A. Tomlinson OUT B. Grundy (omitted) M. Hibberd (omitted) J. Jordon (omitted) HAWTHORN B B. Hardwick J. Blanck J. Impey HB J. Sicily J. Scrimshaw H. Morrison C K. Amon W. Day J. Weddle HF H. Hustwaite L. Breust J. Ward F D. Moore J. Koschitzke F. Maginness FOLL N. Reeves C. Nash J. Worpel I/C D. Grainger-Barras N. Long C. MacDonald M. Ramsden SUB J. Serong EMG T. Brockman B. Ryan IN H. Hustwaite N. Long M. Ramsden J. Serong OUT M. Lewis (foot) B. MacDonald (omitted) J. Newcombe (hamstring) C. Wingard (Achilles) Injury List: Round 23 Ben Brown - Knee | Test Daniel Turner - Hand | Test Bayley Fritsch - Foot | 1 - 2 Weeks Blake Howes - Hand | Season Harrison Petty - Foot | Season Oliver Sestan - Elbow | Season
  5. The Hawks recognised our emergency workers and volunteers at half time on Saturday night against the Demons and it was just as well because they were in the midst of a major emergency of their own at the time. The MCG scoreboard had Melbourne 8.6.54 to Hawthorn 1.3.9, a lead that should have been far greater than 45 points bar for a different anomaly that occurred in each of the first two quarters. The first anomaly was errant goal kicking. The pressure metre for the Demons was on high early in the game but their usually exemplary kicking for goal by this year’s standards, was way off the mark as they banged on five behinds in the opening ten minutes. Indeed, they had nine inside 50s before Charlie Spargo marked his return to the team with their opening goal for the match. Thereafter, they straightened up and the goals flowed with four more added as the team greeted the first break with just a solitary point against. They added a further goal early in the second term before conceding the only goal of the half at which time the second anomaly started creeping into their game. In the words of 200-gamer Steven May who was leading their rock solid defence, they played “Hollywood football” — a form of the game whereby players try to be far too cute, such as when May himself ran to take a hand pass from Christian Petracca but his kick for goal went out on the full (yes, it was a milestone game but …). So, the Dees came off the ground with a 45-point lead at half time leaving the Hawks in the hands of the good folk in emergency services while one can surmise that coach Simon Goodwin was giving his charges a little bake for their shenanigans. One player who could have been spared that was Harry Petty who was best on ground to that time with six strong marks and two goals. But he had a problem in the form of a bruised foot and was subbed off during the break. Officially, the injury is not considered a problem which means he’s in doubt for Friday night’s blockbuster in Adelaide. Whatever it was that was administered to them by the emergency folk, the Hawks came out in the third term, full of energy. It was their turn to exert the pressure. They won all the clearances, forced errors and kicked three goals in three minutes that restarted proceedings. The Demons had become sloppy with their play and momentarily lost momentum but they took a deep breath and accepted the challenge with goals to Clayton Oliver and Ed Langdon. Hawthorn kept coming but Melbourne had the answers and by the end of the term was still in full control with a 35-point lead which it stretched to percentage boosting 54 points victory at the finish. The Demons are developing a very special attacking division that relies not on any one individual but rather, on spreading the load among many. This week, twelve players shared the goalkicking spoils for their fourth win in a row. Every time, they have had at least ten different goalkickers for the match. As has often been the case in the past, it was their champion midfielders Clayton Oliver (34 disposals), Jack Viney (31) and Christian Petracca (30) who were instrumental in the win. The Demons more than doubled the Hawks’ score, won the inside 50 count by 66 to 41, out marked them 105 to 71, won the hit outs 38 to 23, and the contested possessions 147 to 135. Of some possible concern, considering it was a spanking, was the fact that they finished with only six more disposals and one more clearance than the Hawks. The question is: does this indicate that the Demons failed to make the most of their opportunities, is it the result of the fact that Goodwin is still experimenting with personnel and structure or are we simply asking too much of a team that, after all is said and done, currently sits on top of the table? Whatever the case, as the quality of opposition rises in the coming few weeks heading into the bye, the Demons will have to lift their intensity and work rate even further. When they transform into Narrm and take on Yartapuulti on Friday night for the first game of the two weeks of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, things promise to become really interesting. MELBOURNE 5.5.35 8.6.54 11.10.76 15.13.103 HAWTHORN 0.1.1 1.3.9 6.5.41 7.7.49 GOALS MELBOURNE Fritsch Petty Spargo 2 Gawn Grundy Langdon Oliver Pickett Rivers Sparrow van Rooyen Viney HAWTHORN Breust Butler Lewis Mackenzie Meek Newcombe Weddle BEST MELBOURNE Viney Petracca Rivers Oliver Neal-Bullen Brayshaw HAWTHORN Sicily Day Newcombe Hardwick Nash Mitchell LATE CHANGES MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN N Reeves replaced in selected side by J Koschitzke INJURIES MELBOURNE C Petracca (foot) H Petty (bruised foot) HAWTHORN J Blanck (corked thigh) C Jiath (leg) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN Nil SUBSTITUTIONS MELBOURNE J Jordon (replaced H Petty at half-time) HAWTHORN L Bramble (replaced J Blanck in the second quarter) UMPIRES Hayden Gavine Alex Whetton Eleni Tee Nicholas McGinness CROWD 39,818 at The MCG
  6. The noise surrounding Melbourne’s 2023 performances to date suggests the club is poised to again play a part in the AFL’s September action as one of the “flag favourites”, a situation not all that much different to last year when it started off with a 10-match winning streak but finished losing more than half the remaining games in the run home and into the finals. This time around, it’s six W’s from eight matches with the Round 1 victory over the Bulldogs being the only one over a current top eight side. The club has monstered some of the lowly teams, lost to the Bombers in Adelaide and struggled last week against the admittedly greatly improved Gold Coast Suns on their home turf. But if we’re looking for answers as to where the club is really headed in 2023, this week’s fixture might not be very helpful. The bottom-of-the-ladder Hawks haven’t exactly set the world alight - their only win being a 19-point victory against North Melbourne at UTAS Stadium. In their last outing they were thrashed by Fremantle at Optus Stadium much to the enjoyment of some of their fans who are fixated on the idea of drafting everyone’s favourite No. 1 pick Harley Reid as their salvation. Little wonder that nobody is expecting a classic contest at the ungodly hour of 4.35pm on Saturday evening. Last Saturday night, I was stuck with a group of people watching the coronation of King Charles III and I managed to talk them into a few moments respite from the pageantry to watch the football. We settled on the game between Fremantle and Hawthorn at Optus Stadium which, on reflection was a mistake because the standard of the fare on offer, particularly from the Hawks, was so mediocre that everyone suddenly turned into a monarchist and nobody objected to reverting to watching the cavalcade of military uniforms, choirs and unintelligible praying back at the Abbey. Still, I had seen enough of the Hawks. Like the Kangaroos and the Eagles, they are causing the AFL some embarrassment this season and the powers that be need to do something about a situation whereby three constituent clubs are uncompetitive one third of the way into the season. Every game of football is different. You have to respect your opponent and I do trust that the Demons will respect the Hawks on Saturday evening. They do play well for at least half a game every week and are expecting a couple of handy players back in Luke Breust and Changkuoth Jiath after they were “managed” last week (once upon a time this practice was called “tanking” and massive fines were imposed). However, I don’t think the Hawks have the staying power or the depth of talent to mix it with the Demons even if the AFL is trying to manage their young guns namely key forward Jacob van Rooyen via its Tribunal and in doing so, making the game totally bruise free. So even if they move in the direction to where the game is heading by donning tutus and wearing lipstick and makeup, I’m tipping the Demons to win this one by 49 points. THE GAME Hawthorn v Melbourne at the MCG Saturday 13 May, 2023 at 4.35pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Hawthorn 87 wins Melbourne 80 wins 1 draw At the MCG Hawthorn 46 wins Melbourne 40 wins 1 draw Last 5 meetings Hawthorn 0 wins Melbourne 4 wins 1 draw The Coaches Mitchell 0 wins Goodwin 0 wins THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 13.13.91 defeated Hawthorn 11.15.81 in Round 7, 2022 at The MCG Simon Goodwin and five players were ruled out of the game under Covid19 health & safety protocols but that failed to prevent the Demons from continuing their winning run despite a goalless final term. Max Gawn was outstanding in the ruck. Oliver and Petracca were irrepressible in the midfield. TEAMS HAWTHORN B J. Sicily S. Frost J. Weddle HB F. Maginness S. Mitchell J. Blanck J. Impey C C. Nash J. Newcombe K. Amon HF J. Worpel J. Koschitzke C. Wingard F D. Moore M. Lewis L. Breust FOLL L. Meek W. Day C. Mackenzie I/C S. Butler B. Hardwick C. Jiath H. Morrison SUB L. Bramble EMG F. Greene J. Scrimshaw IN J. Blanck L. Breust S. Butler C. Jiath J. Koschitzke C. Mackenzie OUT T. Brockman (suspended) F. Greene (omitted) C. Macdonald (illness) N. Reeves (ankle) J. Scrimshaw (omitted) J. Ward (foot) MELBOURNE B A. Brayshaw S. May M. Hibberd HB J. McVee J. Lever J. Bowey C E. Langdon C. Oliver A. Neal-Bullen HF B. Fritsch B. Grundy L. Hunter F K. Chandler J. van Rooyen K. Pickett FOLL M. Gawn C. Petracca J. Viney I/C H. Petty T. Rivers C. Spargo T. Sparrow SUB J. Jordon EMG B. Laurie T. McDonald D. Turner IN M. Hibberd C. Spargo OUT J. Harmes (omitted) D. Turner (omitted) Milestone: Steven May 200 games Injury and Suspension List: Round 9 Christian Salem - Knee | Available Tom McDonald - Ankle | Test Jacob van Rooyen - Suspension | Free and Available Luke Dunstan - Knee | 3 - 5 Weeks Kye Turner - Groin | 5 - 6 Weeks Will Verrall - Pelvis | 5 - 6 Weeks
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