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  1. Before the match it was claimed that Collingwood were a “one trick pony” side. Well that one trick worked very well against Melbourne, as they extended their winning streak to 11 for the season. Meanwhile, the Demons continued to horse around with structures which simply haven’t been working. The one tall forward option with resting rucks failed yet again, in an almost identical manner to the game against the Bulldogs recently. 93 more possessions, 65 inside 50 entries 24 more than the opposition, and the side loses the game? Surely we were just horsing around? Unless the team kicks goals, and unless the forwards contain the ball in the forward half, it simply rebounds down the other end where the opposition easily score. Don’t blame the defence, they are being overrun. It is the forwards who are simply not doing the work or executing their role. Even the coach recognized this in his post match conference where he used the terms “ failed to execute in bigger moments….when it really mattered”. “ we have to convert” … Translation: kicking the easy goals. “Collingwood able to transition from the back half …” Translation: the Forwards were slack. And the fans have seen this all too often during the season. Yes, we have been hampered with injury and unavailability of forward targets, but now is the seventh time this season we have given up 3-4 goal leads. Is the team running out of steam? Or is it we are just not burying teams when we should? The failure to select a second tall forward just repeated the old experiment, and we got the same result. Ben Brown works hard presenting , particularly upfield, and who does that leave down forward? To top it off he only plays 76% game time? In this game we saw Bayley Fritsch and Jake Melksham as the only targets left in front of goal, covered by Moore and Howe. Easy pickings for Collingwood. And they were off to the races … How many tackles from our forwards in the 50m area? Neal-Bullen, Spargo and Pickett zero! Aren’t these players so called “defensive forwards”? Combine that with Brown at zero for the game, and Fritsch and Melksham only two, and you get an idea of why the ball rebounds out of there so easily which is precisely what Collingwood wanted. Back to Goodwin’s “failure to execute” statement. That not only means kicking goals when we should (and sadly Max has returned to his worst kicking action in front of goal), but it also means the same in general play. Neal-Bullen is rapidly losing his value to the side when he cannot execute simple football skills, thus destroying hard fought forward thrusts, putting up a solitary possession for the final quarter. Melksham returned to his pursuit of cheap out the back kicks instead of getting in front which he did last week and had zero touches in total for the final quarter. The resting rucks again produced zero majors for yet another week. Small wonder they are exhausted in the final stages of the match, when they spend so much time on the ground, even to no effect up front. So you finish up with a forward line which won’t tackle, can’t execute basic kicking and marking skills, and are unable to provide a suitable tall target despite 65 entries into their area. In some sort of positive, the mids completed dominated. Those 65 entries came courtesy of the hard work of Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Angus Brayshaw and Jack Viney upfield. Even Max, despite concrete kicking boots managed 31 touches and 490m gained, a high for the side. Down back Christian Salem seems to have regained his kicking strength and ability to find targets when no-one else can. Ed Langdon was threatened by Collingwood players and fans for his mid-week comments, but produced the appropriate on-field response with 22 touches on the wing and a timely goal as well. But it was all for nothing because the Collingwood one-trick pony was off to the races, and outlasted the Demons favourite who could only manage three goals in the second half of football. What is now needed is for a scratching of a few of those Dee frontrunners who look more like draught horses, with some younger yearlings who could provide no worse output than is currently being provided. And perhaps they might just enable the side to get their noses in front when it matters rather than stumbling at the finish line. MELBOURNE 6.2.38 10.7.67 11.11.77 13.11.89 COLLINGWOOD 5.0.30 8.2.50 11.4.70 15.6.96 GOALS MELBOURNE Brown Fritsch 2 Langdon Melksham Neal-Bullen Petracca Pickett Salem Spargo Sparrow Viney COLLINGWOOD Elliott Johnson 4 Mihocek 2 Cox J.Daicos De Goey Lipinsky McCreery BEST MELBOURNE Petracca Oliver Brayshaw Gawn Jordon Viney COLLINGWOOD Elliott Johnson N Daicos De Goey Crisp Maynard INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil COLLINGWOOD Hoskin-Elliott (hip) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil COLLINGWOOD Nil SUBSTITUTES MELBOURNE James Harmes (unused) COLLINGWOOD Trent Bianco (replaced Will Hoskin-Elliott in the third quarter) UMPIRES Andrew Stephens Robert Findlay Simon Meredith CROWD 70,956 at the MCG
  2. "I feel like we've got more than enough experience in close games. It'd be nice to win one by five or six goals and have that pulse lower a little bit late in games, but that's not our story." — Scott Pendlebury on the eve of his team’s forthcoming Round 21 game against Melbourne. When you read words such as these, you know it’s time for Melbourne fans to be humble. The old enemy is up and about while our mantle of invincibility has vanished into thin air. A Magpie win against the Demons would not only see them better our 10 game winning run from earlier in the season, it will also allow them to replace us in the top two on the AFL ladder. Our bubble was always going to burst at some stage but when it did, we came down with a thud. Melbourne’s 17 game winning streak that began in Round 20, 2021, saw the club through to a premiership and ran well into this season before ending in Round 11 with the Freo debacle. That was the start of a horror month as the Demons limped through three defeats ending with that humiliating loss at the hands of the Magpies on Queens Birthday. It took several weeks, but the first of that trio of losses was wiped out by Melbourne’s win last Friday night against the Dockers with its 14 goal turnaround from the last time they met. A week later, the opportunity is there to do likewise against the Pies who have been bullying teams from mostly the bottom half of the ladder for weeks on end. Even though they face a challenging run home with clashes against the Demons, Swans and Blues, they have developed their strength and focus with each victory. Their record this season against other top-eight teams is 4-2 so this will not be easy, even for the resurgent Demons. And speaking of streaks, Collingwood has its own mini streak against Melbourne in the form of two wins on the trot which is quite an achievement against a reigning premier. The circumstances in which those wins were achieved however, were different to what promises to be the case in this encounter. Despite the fact that the Entrecôte hi jinks and Steven May suspension were front and centre in their minds, the Demons were in control early but things went off the rails late in the second term with key defenders in Petty and Turner off the field and Max Gawn and James Harmes in discomfort, causing havoc in terms of limited interchange rotations. The Pies took full advantage of the situation and swept away to kick six goals straight in the final term and record a 26-point victory. Full credit to them … but how likely is a recurrence of that scenario? With the memory of that defeat still fresh in the minds of the battle hardened Demons, I expect them to relish the role of the hunter rather than the hunted. It’s the Magpies who are going into this game with players under injury clouds — the loss of vice-captain Taylor Adams with an adductor injury is a huge blow. On the other hand, Melbourne’s defence will be much better able to contain Collingwood with May, Lever and Petty ready for duty and with Gawn and Jackson coming back to full fitness, the rucks will be a more formidable proposition for Cameron and Cox than they were last time when Jackson was visibly gasping for air after not being able to find time and space in rotation. During the week, coach Simon Goodwin emphasised that “… internally, we know we’re tracking in the right direction.” Since the bye, the coaches have been able to make subtle adjustments to enable the Demons’ game stand up in the end. The most noticeable aspect of last week’s win was the return of the high pressure game all over the ground that allows them to strangle the opposition into submission. That is precisely what will happen on Friday night when they finally burst the Collingwood bubble. Melbourne by 33 points. THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at the MCG Friday 6 August, 2022 at 7.50pm BE LIKE JIM - DONATE TO THE REACH FOUNDATION REACH.ORG.AU/JIM HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 84 wins Collingwood 152 wins 5 drawn At the Melbourne 63 wins MCG Collingwood 84 wins 3 drawn Last five meetings Melbourne 1 win Collingwood 4 wins The Coaches Goodwin 0 wins McCrae 1 win MEDIA TV live and on demand on Kayo and live on Foxtel. Check your local guides. Radio - check your local guides. LAST TIME THEY MET Collingwood 12.10.82 defeated Melbourne 8.8.56 at the MCG in Round 13 2022 The Demons built a solid 22 point lead at the 20 minute mark of the second term. It could have been more but the usually reliable Christian Petracca fluffed an easy chance to take the ball in front of goal. Then the injuries came in quick succession. Harrison Petty went off for 20 minutes undergoing a concussion protocol, first gamer Daniel Turner who was holding Brody Mihocek went off concussion (substituted by a small mid), Max Gawn went off for a long period with leg and back injuries and the Pies took over. Mihocek kicked two goals before the break to bring them within range (he finished with four), Mason Cox was able to utilize his height in the absence of any marking talls and Darcy Cameron took over in the ruck. The Demons still led at three quarter time but were unable to stem the tide. Kudos to Clayton Oliver with his brilliant 43 possible game in a losing side. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: T. Rivers 24 H.Petty 35 S.May 1 HB: J. Jordon 23 J.Lever 8 M.Hibberd 14 C: A.Brayshaw 10 C.Oliver 13 J.Hunt 29 HF: K.Pickett 36 B.Fritsch 31 E.Langdon 15 F: A.Neal-Bullen 30 B.Brown 50 C.Spargo 9 Foll: M.Gawn 11 J.Viney 7 C.Petracca 5 I/C: L.Jackson 6 J. Melksham 18 C.Salem 3 T.Sparrow 32 Sub: J.Harmes 4 Emerg: K.Chandler 37 A. Tomlinson 20 J.Van Rooyen 21 In: B.Brown Out: S.Weideman (omitted) COLLINGWOOD B: N.Murphy 28 D.Moore 30 J.Howe 38 HB: S.Pendlebury 10 B.Maynard 37 I.Quaynor 3 C: J.Daicos 7 J.Crisp 25 J.Noble 9 HF: J.Elliott 5 D.Cameron 14 S.Sidebottom 22 F: Beau McCreery 31 B.Mihocek 41 J.De Goey 2 Foll: M.Cox 46 N.Daicos 35 P.Lipinski 1 I/C: J.Carmichael 45 J.Ginnivan 33 W.Hoskin-Elliott 32 A.Johnson 40 Sub: Trent Bianco 8 Emerg: C.Brown 17 O.Henry 16 W.Kelly 20 In: J.Mihocek Out: T.Adams (groin) Injury List: Round 21 Deakyn Smith - Jaw | Available James Harmes - Concussion | Test Ben Brown - Knee | Test Fraser Rosman - Hamstring | 3-4 Weeks Tom McDonald - Foot | 4-6 Weeks
  3. Tonight’s win over Fremantle marked the first “revenge match” for the club this year, overturning the result of the game that ended Melbourne’s 17 game winning stretch. Next Friday night, the Demons have another opportunity for revenge - this time against Collingwood. The teams when they met last time in Round 13: COLLINGWOOD B: B.Maynard 37 D.Moore 30 N.Murphy 28 HB: S.Pendlebury 10 J.Howe 38 I.Quaynor 3 C: W.Hoskin-Elliott 32 P.Lipinski 1 John Noble 9 HF: J.Crisp 25 B.Mihocek 41 J.De Goey 2 F: J.Ginnivan 33 J.Elliott 5 S.Sidebottom 22 Foll: D.Cameron 14 T.Adams 13 J.Daicos 7 I/C: M.Cox 46 N.Daicos 35 O.Henry B. McCreery 31 Sub: T.Brown 6 Emerg: I.Chugg F.Macrae 18 T.Ruscoe 21 In: J.Elliott Out: R.McInnes (shoulder) MELBOURNE B: C.Salem 3 H.Petty 35 J.Bowey 17 HB: J.Jordon 23 J.Lever 8 A.Brayshaw 10 C: T.Sparrow 32 A.Neal-Bullen 30 E.Langdon 15 HF: M.Brown 38 B.Fritsch 31 C.Petracca 5 F: C.Spargo 9 B.Brown 50 K.Pickett 36 Foll: M.Gawn11 C.Oliver 13 J.Viney 7 IC: J.Harmes 4 M.Hibberd 14 L.Jackson 6 D.Turner 42 Sub: K.Chandler 37 Emerg: O.Baker 33 A.Tomlinson 20 S.Weideman 26 In: K.Chandler M.Hibberd D.Turner Out: T.Bedford (omitted) J.Hunt (omitted) A.Tomlinson (omitted)
  4. In the Annual Big Freeze game in support of Neale Daniher's fight against MND, it was Collingwood who froze the ambitions of the Demons, and it now challenges them to thaw out their prospects in the second half of the season. Even though Melbourne opened the scoring account, it was quickly countered by Collingwood, as the Demons appeared flat. And even though they held a minor lead at the first break, it was only through a couple of fortunate efforts, but nothing more. All around the ground players failed to bring the required pressure to the contest, and simple opportunities, particularly in front of goal were squandered. Collingwood were using the old “rope a dope” tactic, which kept them in possession of the ball, and without the requisite pressure to counter, they just kept on maintaining that. In the end when you concede 124 marks to the opposition, they just get more chance to score, and they did. For the first time this season, the backline failed. Most of the Collinwood goals came from easy uncontested marks inside 50, with a total of 18 ensuring that shots on goal were coming. Where was the failure? Hard to tell, but there was a lack of HB’s and mids falling into that hole 35m out from goal, something that hasn’t happened all this season. In the middle Max Gawn was beaten comprehensively in the ruck, and around the ground failed to contribute a single mark until mid-way through the 3rd quarter. He improved from there with 8 for the game, but still lost the hit-out contest with only 1 effective hitout to ½ time. Without the drive, and with DeGoey allowed to run free in the first half, the Demons were struggling big time, but managed to actually hit the front in the 3rd quarter for a brief time. However, the final quarter simply became a replay of the first half and Collingwood kicked a further 3 goals to put the game beyond doubt. No pressure. It was evident throughout the ground, and the low numbers that we have seen in the forward half up to date, came back to punish the Demons badly in this game. 16 tackles to 6 is what is required from forwards, but it was the Pies who showed how and how often it is needed to be a successful attacking unit. The forwards had little to show for turning up in this game, with Bayley Fritsch the only permanent to bother the goal umpire. Sam Weideman didn’t bother the statistician either with zero kicks and marks for the whole game, and only 4 handballs, all of which came in the second half. Hopefully this dismal experiment is now finished and a Brown will be the main target up forward in the next game. TMac, while he didn’t hit the scoreboard, at least was providing a target but failed to kick as straight as we have become accustomed to. At least he got a kick! Luke Jackson was one of the best on the ground for the Demons, with his 21 disposals and 7 marks. Conjecture about him needing a rest was ill-founded, but sadly he had too many team-mates having their rest before the bye in this game. The way this game was played and the way Melbourne played in their other losing game against Adelaide, surely will ring the alarm bells for the Melbourne heirachy. In finals series we cannot afford players who simply make no contribution. But also those players who perform well in first quarters like ANB and Fritsch, but then are unsighted for large periods of the remainder of the game. Finals are about consistent, hard-work. Finals are about putting in 100% of the time, and then some more. If the Demons are to be serious contenders at the sharp end of the season they must learn to ice the game when they have the chance. They must learn to bring the heat to contest after contest or like in this game, they will be frozen out of their best chance of ultimate success for the past 60 years. MELBOURNE 2.2.14 4.4.28 8.6.54 9.9.63 COLLINGWOOD 1.4.10 6.8.44 8.11.59 11.14.80 GOALS Melbourne Jackson 2 Fritsch Gawn Harmes Langdon Neal-Bullen Oliver Petracca Collingwood Cameron 4 Mihoceck 3 Hoskin-Elliot McCreery Pendlebury Sidebottom BEST Melbourne Salem Jackson Petracca Harmes Oliver Jordon Collingwood De Goey Maynard Pendlebury Crisp Cameron INJURIES Melbourne Nil Collingwood Murphy (corked leg) REPORTS Melbourne Nil Collingwood Nil SUBSTITUTES Melbourne Kade Chandler (unused) Collingwood Jay Rantall (replaced Murphy) UMPIRES Robert O'Gorman Simon Meredith Nathan Williamson OFFICIAL CROWD TBC at The SCG
  5. Melbourne supporters are an unusual lot. Their lived experiences over years of witnessing their team’s humiliation at the hands of the competition’s bullies have left them suspended in a Bizarro World beset by a cognitive distortion know as 'mental filtering'. This is a phenomenon that occurs when people focus exclusively and blindly on long held belief systems. They refuse to accept that conditions have changed so when the evidence is present before their very own eyes, their minds are frozen. At a time when their team sits at the pinnacle of the AFL, when they have beaten almost all before them and when the football world is beginning to believe the Demons are the real deal, they still cling to old mythologies and fears. Meanwhile, at the other end of the football supporter scale, there’s Collingwood … This is the train wreck that was waiting to happen for years. The seemingly indestructible silver bullet express that was tantalisingly close to a premiership in the dying moments of the 2018 grand final, somehow managed to lurch off the tracks in the moment when Dom Sheed’s kick sailed between the big sticks. The derailment that followed could be viewed close up and in slow motion; a vision combined with elements of hubris, arrogance, blind greed and sheer incompetence. The catalyst was the godfather offer to lure Danye Beams back from Brisbane in the last half hour of the trade period that followed. Then there was the 2019 preliminary final disaster in the wet, the Grundy contract extension, shenanigans in the hub, list mismanagement and the embarrassingly mishandled trade period when they lost valuable players for little return, the desperate bid to make good in the draft and the disastrous failure to come to terms with the report that found there was systemic racism at the club. “This is a historic and proud day for the Collingwood Football Club,” was Eddie McGuire’s spin that ultimately spelled the end of his 22-year reign as president. The final crash came this week at the very point when the Magpie kids were showing signs that they were starting to flourish under Nathan Buckley’s new road map. The club is now trapped in time. Frozen. We arrive at a particular moment when one of the AFL’s major blockbuster games, which also celebrates the Big Freeze and a wonderful charity initiative honouring Neale Daniher’s fight for research into healing MND, is taking place in Bizarro World at a distance by road of 878 kilometres from the true home of football. The pessimists at Melbourne were already quaking in their boots. After all, the team has no problems with disposing of teams in the top 8 but can lose to Adelaide (on the same oval where the Pies beat the Crows) after struggling for a long periods in games against the two bottom teams. How were they going to cope against a resurgent Collingwood with their 6 goal wonder boy back in the side? And now, an emotion-laden game to farewell a club hero? The answer is that the game is being played in real time and not in a mythical Bizarro World frozen in time. Even the slipping and sliding of the Big Freeze is happening miles away from the football action. In the reality of the here and now, Melbourne is not only the far better team but it’s playing with unity and purpose and brings pressure and selflessness with it onto the field. There’s a healthy competition among the playing group for places in a team that will play off and go deep into the finals. The opposition won’t be taken lightly now, especially after taking all of the limelight in the lead up to this game. But they’re young and inexperienced and their club is divided off the field by warring factions and staring into a bleak and uncertain future. Melbourne to win by 61 points. THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at the SCG Monday 14 June, 2021 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 84 wins, Collingwood 150 wins, 5 drawn At at the SCG Melbourne 0 wins, Collingwood 0 wins Last five meetings Melbourne 1 win, Collingwood 4 wins The Coaches Goodwin 2 wins, Buckley 4 wins MEDIA TV live and on demand on Kayo and live on Foxtel. Check your local guides. Radio - check your local guides. LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 16.4.100 defeated Collingwood 6.8.44 at the Gabba in Round 11, 2020 The Pies, depleted by injury and coming off a 4 day break were effectively road kill for the in form Demons. The midfield dominated with Brayshaw, Petracca, Oliver and Viney all on top of their game. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: M Hibberd 14 S. May 1 J. Lever 8 HB: J. Hunt 29 H. Petty 35 C. Salem 3 C: A. Brayshaw 10 C. Petracca 5 J. Jordon 23 HF: J. Harmes 4 T. McDonald 25 A. Neal-Bullen 30 F: C. Spargo 9 S. Weideman 26 B. Fritsch 31 Foll: M. Gawn 11 C. Oliver 13 K. Pickett 36 I/C: L Jackson 6 E Langdon 15 T Rivers 24 T Sparrow 32 Sub: K Chandler 37 Emerg: I/C: O. Baker 33 M. Brown 38 J Melksham 18 IN: K. Chandler E. Langdon OUT: O. Baker (omitted) J. Melksham (omitted) COLLINGWOOD B: J. Noble 9 J. Roughead 23 B. Maynard 37 HB: I. Quaynor 3 D. Moore 30 C. Mayne 16 C: W. Hoskin-Elliott 32 S. Sidebottom 22 C. Poulter 27 HF: N. Murphy 28 D. Cameron 14 T. Bianco 8 F: J. De Goey 2 B. Mihocek 41 J. Elliott 5 Foll: M. Lynch 15 S. Pendlebury 10 J. Crisp 25 IC: J. Daicos 7 J. Madgen 44 B. McCreery 31 J. Thomas 24 Sub: J. Rantall 1 Emerg: C. Brown 17 M. Cox 46 T. Wilson 12 IN: B. McCreery C. Mayne OUT: C. Brown (omitted) B. Sier (jaw) Injury List: Round 13 Ed Langdon (concussion) — Available Jack Viney (toe) — 1 to 2 Weeks Bailey Laurie (eye socket) — 2 Weeks Deakyn Smith (ankle) — 2 Weeks Joel Smith (knee) — 2 Weeks Marty Hore (knee) — 9 to 11 Weeks Aaron Nietschke (knee) — Season Adam Tomlinson (knee) — Season
  6. And so, for the second year in a row, the big blockbuster game between the Dees and the Pies will not be played in front of a big crowd on the MCG. Last time around, it was a 10 goal win for Melbourne at the Gabba. This time we move a little closer to the SCG. Last year’s teams - MELBOURNE FB Michael Hibberd Steven May Jay Lockhart HB Christian Salem Jake Lever Nathan Jones C Ed Langdon Clayton Oliver Adam Tomlinson HF Jake Melksham Tom McDonald Bayley Fritsch FF Christian Petracca Sam Weideman Kysaiah Pickett FOL Braydon Preuss Angus Brayshaw Jack Viney I/C James Harmes Charlie Spargo Tom Sparrow Aaron vandenBerg EMG Mitch Brown Mitch Hannan Jayden Hunt Joel Smith IN Jay Lockhart Braydon Preuss Jack Viney OUT Mitch Hannan (omitted) Luke Jackson (hamstring) Trent Rivers (omitted) COLLINGWOOD FB Jack Crisp Darcy Moore Jack Madgen HB Brayden Maynard Lynden Dunn John Noble C Tom Phillips Steele Sidebottom Josh Daicos HF Brody Mihocek Ben Reid Will Hoskin-Elliott FF Callum L Brown Darcy Cameron Jamie Elliott FOL Brodie Grundy Taylor Adams Scott Pendlebury IC Trey Ruscoe Josh Thomas Travis Varcoe Rupert Wills EMG Tim Broomhead Mark Keane Chris Mayne Matthew Scharenberg IN Jamie Elliott Will Hoskin-Elliott Darcy Moore Scott Pendlebury Ben Reid OUT Tim Broomhead (omitted) Chris Mayne (omitted) Jordan Roughead (concussion) Brayden Sier (quad) Jaidyn Stephenson (omitted)
  7. Your votes for this evening’s game please - 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Not wishing to preempt anything but I suspect that missing games at this time of year might not be good for a particular contender.
  8. Not for the first time in recent seasons have the Demons gone into a game against the Magpies with their hopes for the season on the line. It happened late in 2017 and Melbourne was left lamenting. If the club want to prove it stands for something then it must win games like today with fierce attack on the ball and pressure at the contest from the start.
  9. A little known fact for Victorians is that Queenslanders don’t celebrate the Queen's Birthday in June but rather in October. The scheduled date on this year’s calendar is 5 October, 2020. However, I have a suggestion for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and that is to move the date forward a month and a half to this Saturday so that the coming clash of traditional rivals, Melbourne and Collingwood, continues a longstanding tradition of our game — the Queen’s Birthday Blockbuster. Her Majesty was actually born on April 21, 1926 which is nowhere near October so moving the official date a bit closer to her real birthday in a year that’s an aberration in historical terms would be a perfect way to demonstrate flexible leadership in hard times. Annastacia is a canny politician who’s been around long enough to know that if she does Victoria a favour there’s an obvious quid pro quo in it for her. The prize is the 2020 grand final, a concession that’s available because time has Victoria beaten in terms of staging the grand final. Even if your premier Dan Andrews was able to deliver a knock out blow to Covid19 you don’t have enough security guards in Melbourne to run hotel quarantine for the interstate visitors who normally come there for the grand final. Any event that keeps the Magpies in the limelight will get Eddie McGuire’s approval and the AFL is too busy dealing with gropers and WAGs to get involved so, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a done deal. And who do I think is going to win the big Queen’s Birthday Blockbuster in the Sunshine State? Why, the Demons of course! The team has rallied tremendously in the short space of time since it copped a whacking at the hands of Port Adelaide, Chairperson Glen Bartlett, Coach Simon Goodwin and most of football’s commentariat. The players are standing tall, happy with their hub life and playing with confidence. Sure, they’ve played two of the bottom three teams and they’re up against a top eight side in Collingwood which usually means they’re heading for a fall, but not this time. In direct comparison to the last time they met, Melbourne is the in-form team with a healthy list (bar for their latest ruck woes) and Collingwood, with a long injury list, has to back up after a four day break and a long trip from Adelaide to Brisbane. The Demons’ only problems appear to be how to fit injured or rested players from their last game into the side and how to straighten up their kicking for goal which has been problematic in games against the Magpies over the last two or three years. The Melbourne midfield was captivating against North Melbourne and though I’m not suggesting that Collingwood’s on ball division will be as easy to take apart than were the Kangaroos, the addition of Max Gawn and Jack Viney can only help the cause. Queen’s Birthday or not, the Demons should win this Blockbuster. Melbourne by 12 points. THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at the Gabba Saturday 15 August, 2020 at 5.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins, Collingwood 150 wins, 5 drawn At the Gabba Melbourne 0 wins, Collingwood 0 wins Last Five Meetings Melbourne 1 win, Collingwood 4 wins The Coaches Goodwin 1 win, Buckley 4 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Live at 5.00pm LAST TIME THEY MET Collingwood 10.10.70 defeated Melbourne 7.11.53 at the MCG in Round 21, 2019 An injury depleted Melbourne parlayed a 5 point quarter time lead into a 6 goal deficit at the final break before drawing the Magpies’ lead back to 17 points at the final siren. Brodie Grundy overshadowed Max Gawn in the ruck battle but the battle in the midfield was close all day. For the second time this season, the Demons paid for their inaccuracy in front of goal. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE FB Michael Hibberd Steven May Jay Lockhart HB Christian Salem Jake Lever Nathan Jones C Ed Langdon Clayton Oliver Adam Tomlinson HF Jake Melksham Tom McDonald Bayley Fritsch FF Christian Petracca Sam Weideman Kysaiah Pickett FOL Braydon Preuss Angus Brayshaw Jack Viney I/C James Harmes Charlie Spargo Tom Sparrow Aaron vandenBerg EMG Mitch Brown Mitch Hannan Jayden Hunt Joel Smith IN Jay Lockhart Braydon Preuss Jack Viney OUT Mitch Hannan (omitted) Luke Jackson (hamstring) Trent Rivers (omitted) COLLINGWOOD FB Jack Crisp Darcy Moore Jack Madgen HB Brayden Maynard Lynden Dunn John Noble C Tom Phillips Steele Sidebottom Josh Daicos HF Brody Mihocek Ben Reid Will Hoskin-Elliott FF Callum L Brown Darcy Cameron Jamie Elliott FOL Brodie Grundy Taylor Adams Scott Pendlebury IC Trey Ruscoe Josh Thomas Travis Varcoe Rupert Wills EMG Tim Broomhead Mark Keane Chris Mayne Matthew Scharenberg IN Jamie Elliott Will Hoskin-Elliott Darcy Moore Scott Pendlebury Ben Reid OUT Tim Broomhead (omitted) Chris Mayne (omitted) Jordan Roughead (concussion) Brayden Sier (quad) Jaidyn Stephenson (omitted) Injury/Suspension List: Round 12 Corey Wagner (wrist) – available Max Gawn (knee) – test Alex Neal-Bullen (suspension) – 3 matches Luke Jackson (hamstring) – 4-6 weeks Marty Hore (toe and quad) – indefinite Harry Petty (groin) – indefinite Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – indefinite Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season
  10. Late in the season, we were ravaged by injuries and we kicked poorly. The end result - a 17 point defeat. Can we improve on that this week? MELBOURNE B Christian Salem Steven May Jake Lever HB Angus Brayshaw Sam Frost James Harmes C Nathan Jones Michael Hibberd Jordan Lewis HF Jayden Hunt Bayley Fritsch Kyle Dunkley F Harrison Petty Jake Melksham Christian Petracca FOLL Max Gawn Jack Viney Clayton Oliver I/C Oskar Baker Jay Kennedy Harris Oscar McDonald Corey Wagner EMG Marty Hore Alex Neal-Bullen Braydon Preuss Billy Stretch IN Steven May OUT Braydon Preuss (omitted) COLLINGWOOD B Brayden Maynard Jordan Roughead Jeremy Howe HB Jack Crisp Matthew Scharenberg Chris Mayne C Tom Phillips Scott Pendlebury Josh Daicos HF Callum Brown Brody Mihocek Travis Varcoe F Jamie Elliott Will Hoskin-Elliott Steele Sidebottom FOLL Brodie Grundy Adam Treloar Taylor Adams I/C Levi Greenwood Jack Madgen Josh Thomas Rupert Wills EMG Tim Broomhead Tyler Brown Ben Crocker John Noble IN Jack Madgen OUT Mason Cox (detached retina)
  11. Can a game against our long time traditional rivals breathe some life into this team?
  12. Thanks to Demonlanders for their input into this week’s preview. Ralphius Maximus is short and bittersweet: We'll crack in at the bounce to create a contest, win our share of the ball, butcher the forward movement and get scored on easily from the intercepts. Not that hard to predict. Big Demon says: Unfortunately Collingwood will win because they have a lot more to play for. We will be good in parts but really the season is well over so we will have to put up with those belligerent black and white mongrels all day yet again. Soidee’s view: Sadly it will be another loss for the MFC. I have watched them closely and a losing culture has set in. Goodwin refuses to change and he will be better served to just let the team free up and play with freedom over next 3 weeks. Collingwood have all to play for, our players are drowning in process and no confidence. There will be players offloaded in the off season and those who remain will have the hardest pre season in recent history. Mahoney and Goodwin on their last chance to get it right. Don’t stuff around, if we have injury prone players then move them on. We need fit players on our list and need to bring in a power forward and speed in the middle. Mental Demons: Collingwood will win. Goodwin's comments about testing players for versatility and to see what they have for the future is an admission that we don't wan't or care to win. We will be better of with the high draft pick. It also hides our future potential for when we can put out a better team next year. The Demons have a bit of a record of not being good two years in a row. It has given a chance to have a look at some players who would not have got a look in but for injuries. It has separated a few of the men from the boys. Hore, Petty, Dunkley and Lockhart look to have something to offer. It has also weeded out some of our problems. If we were out to win we would be playing guys who are playing for their careers because their contracts are up. Of this Spargo and O Mac have very misty futures. It has also highlighted our poor drafting and player management. May is an overpriced crock but is the most secure player on our list, more secure than Max, Oliver, Salem, Harmes, Melksham, in fact everybody. May needs to show some value because his return this year has been terrible. May turns up unfit and struggles to stay on the field. Lever is not as much of a problem as he reads play well and has rebounding skills, he just needs a good run at it and his potential will be shown. Our other management problem players are Weideman (is only really a third tall); Vandenberg (has he played a game since we signed him for 3 years so the Swans would not get him?); Kolodjashnij (has not show any value at Casey); Pruess (immobile and overpriced). Pruess was a liability last week and so has not shown we can play him and Max in the same team.To be competitive against the Pies, we need our quickest team out there. If May is out again we probably need Oscar Mac in, no other tall options. JHK did not do enough last week to be kept on the list next year so another small can have a go in the big league. If Leaver is out, bring in Hore. If Tim Smith is fit we should bring him in. Would be good to have a look at Jordon, and/or Bedford. What have we got to lose except pick 2? robbiefrom13 opines: Collingwood appear to be physically far stronger than Melbourne, and faster, and unlike us they are playing with confidence - so it's hard to see us getting anywhere near them. On the other hand, if Goodwin hasn't lost the players, they - all of them, coaching staff and players - must be highly motivated to prove it and silence the growing rumblings about coach/players "connection". And Collingwood are presumably at real risk of going into this game overly confident. Like a team running out for the first time under a new coach, we could surprise the world. Terribly undermanned, we surprised West Coast a few years ago. Upsets happen - it's not impossible. But unless the stories about a breakdown between players and their coaches are wrong, it's not going to happen this week. So there's the interest - to see if the game departs from the obvious script, even a little bit. The game itself hardly matters for us, as far as this season is concerned - but the bigger narrative of the state of our club - that does. We must be getting closer to knowing for sure - so Melbourne supporters may go to the footy focused on a completely different drama to the one Collingwood fans will be there drooling for The Third Eye concludes: The Demons are struggling. Of this there is no doubt because our expectations were so high as we went into the preseason before things fell away so badly. But I wonder if we’re really that bad. We know the club is running at about ⅔ rat power due to our disastrous injury and fitness injuries but I was bemused by an article in the Herald Sun which waxed eloquent about Carlton’s future after its 24 point loss against the West Coast Eagles who took their feet off the accelerator from at least as early as the start of the final quarter on Sunday. The critics were nowhere near as friendly to Melbourne which lost by 13 points two weeks earlier in a game that could have gone either way. “Off with Goodwin’s head!” they wail. As for the Magpies, they’ve been up and down in the past month or so while suffering from an injury list that compares with that of the Demons if you believe their supporters. But according to a stat that came up on my Twitter feed that said, “Collingwood averaging 3.7 first 22 players missing per game, Dees 6.9.” Never let it be said that Collingwood folk understand the word “perspective”. Their team looked pathetic a fortnight ago against the Tigers and they were gorn by half time before their opponents virtually hung up their boots midway through the final term and allowed them to get to within 32 points of their tormentors. Melbourne, on the other hand, stayed up with Richmond for a half and fell away with the coming of the rain in third quarter to lose by 33 points. On that basis, the teams are pretty evenly matched and if the Demons can kick straight for goal, they win. I think they will do it this week - they have absolutely nothing to lose. * and that’s the retro round preview. Apologies to those who missed out. THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at the MCG Saturday 10 August, 2019 at 1.45pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins, Collingwood 149 wins, 5 drawn At the MCG Melbourne 63 wins, Collingwood 82 wins, 3 drawn Last Five Meetings Melbourne 2 wins, Collingwood 3 wins The Coaches Goodwin 1 win, Buckley 3 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Live at 1.30pm Radio - Triple M 3AW ABC LAST TIME THEY MET Collingwood 15.8.98 defeated Melbourne 7.15.57 at the MCG in Round 13, 2019 It was a comprehensive victory to the Magpies who simplify could not miss their shots from any angle or distance after half time while the Demons’ disposal was horrible. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B Christian Salem Steven May Jake Lever HB Angus Brayshaw Sam Frost James Harmes C Nathan Jones Michael Hibberd Jordan Lewis HF Jayden Hunt Bayley Fritsch Kyle Dunkley F Harrison Petty Jake Melksham Christian Petracca FOLL Max Gawn Jack Viney Clayton Oliver I/C Oskar Baker Jay Kennedy Harris Oscar McDonald Corey Wagner EMG Marty Hore Alex Neal-Bullen Braydon Preuss Billy Stretch IN Steven May OUT Braydon Preuss (omitted) COLLINGWOOD B Brayden Maynard Jordan Roughead Jeremy Howe HB Jack Crisp Matthew Scharenberg Chris Mayne C Tom Phillips Scott Pendlebury Josh Daicos HF Callum Brown Brody Mihocek Travis Varcoe F Jamie Elliott Will Hoskin-Elliott Steele Sidebottom FOLL Brodie Grundy Adam Treloar Taylor Adams I/C Levi Greenwood Jack Madgen Josh Thomas Rupert Wills EMG Tim Broomhead Tyler Brown Ben Crocker John Noble IN Jack Madgen OUT Mason Cox (detached retina) Injury List: Round 21 Steven May (hamstring) – test Jake Lever (ankle) – test Charlie Spargo (calf) – test Mitch Hannan (groin) – 1-2 weeks Tom Sparrow (knee) – 2-3 weeks Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – season Neville Jetta (knee) - season Jeff Garlett (shoulder) – season Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – season Tom McDonald (knee) – season Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season Joel Smith (groin) – season Sam Weideman (jaw) – season Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite
  13. This week, it’s your chance to be part of our match preview for the game v Collingwood. Tell us in your own words, who will win and why? It can be short or long and the best entries make it into our match preview * Give it a try - you might even influence the result? * subject to editing if necessary
  14. QB They kicked 9 goals straight to 4.8 in the second half and won comfortably. COLLINGWOOD B Brayden Maynard Jordan Roughead Levi Greenwood HB Jack Crisp Darcy Moore Jeremy Howe C Tom Phillips Scott Pendlebury Chris Mayne HF Josh Thomas Brody Mihocek Will Hoskin-Elliott F Jaidyn Stephenson Jordan De Goey Callum L. Brown FOLL Brodie Grundy Steele Sidebottom Adam Treloar I/C James Aish Mason Cox Brayden Sier Travis Varcoe EMG Ben Crocker Josh Daicos Isaac Quaynor Ben Reid IN Mason Cox Brayden Sier OUT Dayne Beams (hip) Ben Reid (omitted) MELBOURNE B Michael Hibberd Steven May Jake Lever HB James Harmes Sam Frost Christian Salem C Bayley Fritsch Jack Viney Oskar Baker HF Nathan Jones Tom McDonald Jayden Hunt F Jeff Garlett Sam Weideman Christian Petracca FOLL Max Gawn Angus Brayshaw Clayton Oliver I/C Mitch Hannan Marty Hore Tim Smith Charlie Spargo EMG Alex Neal-Bullen Braydon Preuss Billy Stretch Josh Wagner IN Marty Hore Jake Lever Steven May Christian Salem OUT Jay Kennedy Harris (omitted) Oscar McDonald (omitted) Billy Stretch (omitted) Josh Wagner (omitted)
  15. There are many who would argue that Melbourne’s current woes go back a full decade to their Queens Birthday engagement of 2009 when the Demons selected a young VCE student Jack Watts to make his debut on the MCG in front of what was expected to be the club’s biggest crowd for a game described as the club’s “grand final in June”. That was the way of the world for the Dean Bailey coached Demons. The critics were skeptical of Melbourne’s decision to put a wet behind the ears schoolboy (albeit that he was a number 1 draft pick) under such immense pressure in his first AFL game against a team that had a big edge in talent and experience. When Watts was tested out physically by a school of Magpies who corralled him in a corner, the critics screamed in condemnatory terms accusing the club of sacrificing its valuable young colt on the altar for some sort of public relations stunt. The cloud of that introduction hung darkly over the player, his coaches and club officialdom for years to come and it hovered there until Jack Watts and Melbourne parted company at the end of 2017. The Demons were traveling along nicely playing an uncompromising brand of football at the half way mark of the following season but, when they came to their first Queens Birthday clash without Watts who by now, was happily ensconced outside of Victoria with Port Adelaide Power, they hit a massive snag. Max Gawn was beaten in the ruck by Brodie Grundy, Mason Cox returned to form and kicked five goals and the Pies’ midfield set up the prototype game to overcome Melbourne’s power charged on ball division. Collingwood’s last half yielded them 11 goals from 15 shots at goal. Sound familiar? Twelve months down the track and the injury riddled, wayward Demons are placed 16th on the ladder and with hope of making the finals all but lost. Max Gawn remains a ruck force but his opponent Grundy has taken over the mantle of the AFL's premier ruckman. Melbourne has a few things going for it as it approaches the weekend’s Big Freeze game against the third-placed Pies. Their injury woes are moderating and a number of players are in the mix to return to the team and particularly to shore up the defence which has been leaking easy goals with regularity. There will be a lot more pressure applied to the opposition attack this week so that we might actually see a regular football score than the 14.6, 13.7, 9.6, 15.5 or 20.6 such as we’ve seen to date. The fact that Collingwood will have a few outs from injury might also help balance the ledger and the Magpies are also under the pump to avoid a second successive upset loss at the MCG which would send them back into the pack. Last year, the Dees were the hunted but this time they are the hunters. They won’t make the mistake of throwing a young rookie into the fray as they did ten years ago but they probably won’t be able to make up the gulf in talent of the personnel available to each of the clubs either. Collingwood by 27 points. THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at the MCG Monday 10 June, 2019 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins, Collingwood 148 wins, 5 drawn At the MCG Melbourne 63 wins, Collingwood 81 wins, 3 drawn Last Five Meetings Melbourne 3 wins, Collingwood 2 wins The Coaches Goodwin 1 win, Buckley 2 wins MEDIA TV - Channel 7, Fox Footy Channel live at 3.00pm Radio - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC LAST TIME THEY MET Collingwood 20.13.133 defeated Melbourne 14.7.91 at the MCG in Round 12, 2018 The Demons came into the game as favourites but it was clear that the Magpies meant business. Brodie Grundy beat Max Gawn and this went a long way to nullifying the Melbourne midfield’s grunt. They managed to get the ball to the outside where they overran the Demons and Mason Cox finished them off with his height advantage up forward. THE TEAMS THE TEAMS COLLINGWOOD VFL B Brayden Maynard Jordan Roughead Levi Greenwood HB Jack Crisp Darcy Moore Jeremy Howe C Tom Phillips Scott Pendlebury Chris Mayne HF Josh Thomas Brody Mihocek Will Hoskin-Elliott F Jaidyn Stephenson Jordan De Goey Callum L. Brown FOLL Brodie Grundy Steele Sidebottom Adam Treloar I/C James Aish Mason Cox Brayden Sier Travis Varcoe EMG Ben Crocker Josh Daicos Isaac Quaynor Ben Reid IN Mason Cox Brayden Sier OUT Dayne Beams (hip) Ben Reid (omitted) MELBOURNE B Michael Hibberd Steven May Jake Lever HB James Harmes Sam Frost Christian Salem C Bayley Fritsch Jack Viney Oskar Baker HF Nathan Jones Tom McDonald Jayden Hunt F Jeff Garlett Sam Weideman Christian Petracca FOLL Max Gawn Angus Brayshaw Clayton Oliver I/C Mitch Hannan Marty Hore Tim Smith Charlie Spargo EMG Alex Neal-Bullen Braydon Preuss Billy Stretch Josh Wagner IN Marty Hore Jake Lever Steven May Christian Salem OUT Jay Kennedy Harris (omitted) Oscar McDonald (omitted) Billy Stretch (omitted) Josh Wagner (omitted) Injury list: Round 12 Marty Hore (calf) – test Jake Lever (ankle) – test Harry Petty (knee) – test Corey Maynard (concussion) – 1 week Jake Melksham (foot) – 4-6 weeks Joel Smith (groin) – 4-6 weeks Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – 6-8 weeks Neville Jetta (knee) – 6-8 weeks Tom Sparrow (knee) – 8-10 weeks Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season Pictured below is Jack Watts with fellow Brighton Grammar students including Josh Kelly, Christian Salem and Jayden Hunt.
  16. We were riding high at the time (apart from Jake Lever's injury) ... THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Christian Salem, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Angus Brayshaw, Michael Hibberd, Jordan Lewis ? Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones HF: Bayley Fritsch, Tom McDonald, Clayton Oliver F: Charlie Spargo, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham Foll: Max Gawn, James Harmes, Christian Petracca I/C: Mitch Hannan, Alex Neal-Bullen, Cameron Pedersen, Joel Smith Emg: Jeff Garlett, Mitch Hannan, Jayden Hunt, Harrison Petty In: Cameron Pedersen, Joel Smith Out: Jake Lever (knee), Tim Smith (omitted) COLLINGWOOD B: Brayden Maynard, Lynden Dunn, Jack Crisp HB: Levi Greenwood, Matthew Scharenberg, Tom Langdon C : Steele Sidebottom, Scott Pendlebury, Tom Phillips HF: Jordan De Goey, Brody Mihocek, Will Hoskin-Elliott F: Josh Thomas, Mason Cox, Jaidyn Stephenson Foll: Brodie Grundy, Daniel Wells, Adam Treloar I/C (from): Taylor Adams, Josh Daicos, Jeremy Howe, Chris Mayne Emg: Flynn Appleby Ben Crocker, Sam Murray, Rupert Wills In: Jeremy Howe Out: Flynn Appleby (omitted)
  17. I always believe in starting off any report by accentuating the positive and in that regard, as at the time of writing, the Demons have not reported any injuries so that’s my major positive from today’s practice game v the Magpies (albeit that we know the club is somewhat lax in reporting these things so my best wishes go out if any of today’s participants are in intensive care at the Alfred). Another positive was that Razor Ray performed his umpiring duties admirably which is more than I can say about the two other duds who shall remain nameless because I’m trying to stay positive. On that note, Melbourne proved that it can win games against good opposition away from home in front of a 70% hostile crowd (and let me remind you that Collingwood finished 2018 a mere bee’s diaphragm away from the premiership), Angus Brayshaw showed he is already approaching his stellar form of last year unperturbed by the injuries he was carrying late last year and a change in head gear. A fully fit Aaron vandenBerg will also be a major plus over last year. The Max Gawn/Braydon Pruess ruck/forward combo worked a treat and will have opposition defenders struggling as they reach for the footy in stratospheric heights. The 6-6-6 set up will suit the style of the club as we head into a new year and a new day. More positives from the dominance of the midfield despite missing a swag of stars. Promise of some good contributions to come from Christian Petracca, Alex Neal-Bullen, James Harmes and Christian Salem - virtually the secondary midfield and the run of a rejuvenated Jayden Hunt and the enthusiasm of young Tom Sparrow - the Demons’ bird in the hand for the future. Oscar McDonald was great in defence and one asks how good will this line be when Steven May comes in and Jake Lever returns from his knee injury. In the meantime, the club’s mature-age draftee from Collingwood VFL’s Marty Hore looks like a good bet to fill a spot from the get go. Sam Frost was also good. And how about new leadership group member Nev Jetta, who was initially ruled out of the AFLX extravaganza through injury, but recovered dramatically enough to not miss a beat in the game today? The Demons started slowly when they conceded a couple of goals to Jamie Elliot but after that, they moved into positive mode and it soon became game, set and scratch match. POST MATCH DISCUSSION: http://demonland.com/forums/topic/45624-post-practice-match-discussion-melbourne-v-collingwood/ Melbourne 4.1.25 5.4.34 8.6.54 11.6.72 Collingwood 2.1.13 3.5.23 4.5.29 7.6.48 Best Gawn Preuss Harmes Salem Brayshaw O McDonald Goals Preuss 2 Garlett Harmes Kennedy Harris Neal-Bullen T Smith Sparrow Stretch Weideman
  18. The Demons are set to take on the old enemy Collingwood in a good old fashioned Scratch Match on Friday Morning. It is unknown what form the match will take, how many quarters there will be, their length, the amount of rotations or even whether they'll keep score. One thing we do know for sure is that both coaching staffs will be keeping their cards close to their chests to ensure neither will glean too much from their competition. The Dees will likely be without some of their stars as Tom McDonald and Nathan Jones trained in the rehab group on Wednesday, the former pulling out of the AFLX 2.0 as he will be going under the knife for a "very minor procedure" to ensure he plays in the JLT and is "no chance to miss Round 1". Other players in the rehab group at the latest training sessions included Jake Lever (knee) and Mitch Hannan (knee). Steven May (hamstring) was attending the AFL's Indigenous Conference will not play as he aims to be fit for Round 1. Neville Jetta, who was also at the Conference is unlikely to play as he too has been in the rehab group for the past few weeks. Both Jack Viney (foot) and new recruit Kade Kolodashnij (adductor) were not at Wednesday's skills work session and have already been ruled out of any preseason practice matches. Viney is eyeing a Round 1 return whereas Kolodashnij will return early in the season. New recruit Aaron Nietschke tore his ACL during last Friday's match simulation at Casey Field's and will miss the whole of the 2019 season. Bayley Fritsch who replaces Tom McDonald as Melbourne's only representative at the AFLX will also likely miss. Of the rest of the playing group most will be available but I would assume that some of the players who had off-seasons surgeries might have shorter game times. Clayton Oliver and James Harmes both had shoulder surgeries and have only recently returned to the main training group and despite having resumed contact and keeping up their match fitness in rehab might be restricted in their game time if they play at all. Christian Petracca who had a procedure to clean up his knee in the offseason has had a stint in the rehab but has returned the main group as has Angus Brayshaw (back). I would expect Jake Melksham and Oskar Baker to sit this scratch match out as both have only just returned to the main group. It will be interesting to see if the Dees will trial their new two ruckman game plan with the inclusion of Braydon Preuss to the list. Both he and Max Gawn have done full preseasons but with Brodie Grundy unlikely to line up due to only just returning to Collingwood's main training group following a toe complaint the Dees might decide to rest Max and let Preuss go solo. Other Magpies players who will miss the game are Jordan De Goey, who injured his ankle in a match simulation last week, Will Hoskin-Elliot (leg), Jeremy Howe (corked thigh) and Lynden Dunn (knee). The match which will be played at the Olympic Park Oval on Friday 22nd February @ 10:00am. The game will be LIVE streamed by the club on their website and on the club's app. https://www.melbournefc.com.au/news/2019-02-20/practice-match-info Match details Collingwood v Melbourne Date: Friday, February 22 Match start time: 10.00am (AEDT) Live stream begins: 9.45am (AEDT) Venue: Olympic Park Oval Entry: Free Live stream Thanks to Zurich, the match will be streamed live across the Melbourne website and app, with pre-match coverage beginnning at 9.45am AEDT. If you can't watch live, the full match will be available via the website and app post-game. Getting to Olympic Park Oval Olympic Park Oval is located on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Batman Avenue. Public transport Olympic Park Oval is located a short walk from Richmond train station. Jolimont station is also located a 10 minute walk away. Tram route 70 also stops near the ground at AAMI Park (stop 7D). Tram route 48 and 75 are also located in the vicinity near Jolimont Station. Bus 246 (Latrobe Uni - Elsternwick Station) travels down Punt Road, stopping at the corner of Olympic Blvd. From here patrons can walk to Olympic Park. Read more about public transport here. Parking info Non-event car parking is available opposite AAMI Park at the National Tennis Centre. See more info here. Limited parking may also be available across the river on Alexandra Avenue. Around the ground Membership and merchandise tent Melbourne will have a marquee set up for Membership queries and merchandise purchases on Olympic Boulevard. Food and beverage The Glasshouse at the Holden Centre will be open for food and drink purchases.
  19. TAKING A BATH by George on the Outer On a day to promote the cause to find a cure for MND, it wasn’t only the coaches who took a bath; the Demons took one from the Pies as well, when they went down by seven goals in front of a big crowd at the MCG. It was a big day for the Melbourne Football Club - a big occasion, big crowd, big expectations and all that happened was a big, big disappointment. The loss of the game and the loss of percentage dropped the club to fifth spot on the ladder and facing a game against Port Adelaide in 2 weeks time, who will be looking to leap ahead of them. The game started badly with Collingwood having ten scoring shots in the first quarter to a paltry two for the Demons. The forward line set-up was poor, leaving Jeremy Howe free and he repelled attack after attack. When he was properly manned up at quarter time, he didn’t get another intercept mark for the game. But it was the clearance battle that was decisive, with the Pies able to extract the ball from the middle to their outside runners with ease. Unfortunately, no change was made by the coaches to stop their players coming off the back of the square to provide those outlets. And our players simply didn’t go with their opponents. Gawn v Grundy was touted as the competition for AA ruckman, and probably was a tie, given Grundy managed 5 more hit-outs, but Gawn had 4 more possessions including 3 marks to 1. Keeping the ball in close was the Collingwood aim, and it worked all game, with 45 to 28 clearances in the Pies favour. Our much vaunted contested ball players were given a bath. The game really didn’t change much over the final three quarters as Collingwood kept on giving themselves more opportunities in front of goal. A total of 18 chances to 9 at half-time blew out to 33 v 21 at the final bell - the Demons were never going to win a game with that sort of return. In addition it was the Collingwood spread which provided those opportunities, and the lack of run in the legs of the Melbourne players was obvious. The drop off in possessions for the likes of Brayshaw (16), Petracca (15), Spargo (12), Melksham (12) and Hannan (8) showed either some very tired players, or players who need to lift their running game and effort when needed most. The addition of Cam Pedersen was a complete failure as he was to provide a replacement for Tim Smith up forward. By half-time he was relegated to the backline. The only forward to provide any real output was Tom McDonald with six goals from six contested marks. Jesse Hogan was left stranded by the lack of opportunities coming his way, and was used in the middle to try to get his hands on the ball, but that didn’t work either. With low output from the small forwards and a lack of accountability for their opponents, the ball came out of the Collingwood defence all too easily. In sharp contrast the defence without Jake Lever was poor. Jordan Lewis racked up 33 touches, but that in itself is a bad sign as it showed how often the ball was down that way. Also running him as the spare, when he is not the most athletically gifted gave no drive from the backline. It was just a stop and kick movement, which was completely inadequate against a running Collingwood. Joel Smith is a work in progress, to replace Lever for the remainder of the season but he was used badly and was forced to play on Cox initially. An older head should have been assigned the role as Joel still needs to learn how to position his body. He would have been the better option as the spare, with Lewis on Cox. He still managed 16 touches and will be better for the experience. It will take some time for him to get used to the role that he has to play. With a bye next week, the break will relieve the tired younger bodies. With eight wins to date, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure a finals appearance for the team. The Magpies cheer squad reminded us all today of what happened in Round 23 last year ... does the team want to be given a bath again in the second half of the season? Melbourne 2.0.12 7.2.44 11.5.71 14.7.91 Collingwood 5.5..38 9.9.63 15.11.101 20.13.133 Goals T McDonald 6 Hannan 2 Fritsch Gawn Harmes Neal-Bullen Oliver Viney Collingwood Cox 5 Hoskin-Elliott Stephenson 4 Thomas 3 Adams Mihocek Pendlebury Treloar Best Melbourne T McDonald Jetta Oliver Jones Collingwood De Goey Cox Adams Hoskin-Elliott Sidebottom Treloar Injuries Melbourne Jetta (shoulder) O McDonald (concussion) Collingwood Wells (foot) Reports Nil Umpires Donlon, Haussen, Findlay Official crowd 83,518 at the MCG
  20. On a day to promote the cause to find a cure for MND, it wasn’t only the coaches who took a bath; the Demons took one from the Pies as well, when they went down by seven goals in front of a big crowd at the MCG. It was a big day for the Melbourne Football Club - a big occasion, big crowd, big expectations and all that happened was a big, big disappointment. The loss of the game and the loss of percentage dropped the club to fifth spot on the ladder and facing a game against Port Adelaide in 2 weeks time, who will be looking to leap ahead of them. The game started badly with Collingwood having ten scoring shots in the first quarter to a paltry two for the Demons. The forward line set-up was poor, leaving Jeremy Howe free and he repelled attack after attack. When he was properly manned up at quarter time, he didn’t get another intercept mark for the game. But it was the clearance battle that was decisive, with the Pies able to extract the ball from the middle to their outside runners with ease. Unfortunately, no change was made by the coaches to stop their players coming off the back of the square to provide those outlets. And our players simply didn’t go with their opponents. Gawn v Grundy was touted as the competition for AA ruckman, and probably was a tie, given Grundy managed 5 more hit-outs, but Gawn had 4 more possessions including 3 marks to 1. Keeping the ball in close was the Collingwood aim, and it worked all game, with 45 to 28 clearances in the Pies favour. Our much vaunted contested ball players were given a bath. The game really didn’t change much over the final three quarters as Collingwood kept on giving themselves more opportunities in front of goal. A total of 18 chances to 9 at half-time blew out to 33 v 21 at the final bell - the Demons were never going to win a game with that sort of return. In addition it was the Collingwood spread which provided those opportunities, and the lack of run in the legs of the Melbourne players was obvious. The drop off in possessions for the likes of Brayshaw (16), Petracca (15), Spargo (12), Melksham (12) and Hannan (8) showed either some very tired players, or players who need to lift their running game and effort when needed most. The addition of Cam Pedersen was a complete failure as he was to provide a replacement for Tim Smith up forward. By half-time he was relegated to the backline. The only forward to provide any real output was Tom McDonald with six goals from six contested marks. Jesse Hogan was left stranded by the lack of opportunities coming his way, and was used in the middle to try to get his hands on the ball, but that didn’t work either. With low output from the small forwards and a lack of accountability for their opponents, the ball came out of the Collingwood defence all too easily. In sharp contrast the defence without Jake Lever was poor. Jordan Lewis racked up 33 touches, but that in itself is a bad sign as it showed how often the ball was down that way. Also running him as the spare, when he is not the most athletically gifted gave no drive from the backline. It was just a stop and kick movement, which was completely inadequate against a running Collingwood. Joel Smith is a work in progress, to replace Lever for the remainder of the season but he was used badly and was forced to play on Cox initially. An older head should have been assigned the role as Joel still needs to learn how to position his body. He would have been the better option as the spare, with Lewis on Cox. He still managed 16 touches and will be better for the experience. It will take some time for him to get used to the role that he has to play. With a bye next week, the break will relieve the tired younger bodies. With eight wins to date, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure a finals appearance for the team. The Magpies cheer squad reminded us all today of what happened in Round 23 last year ... does the team want to be given a bath again in the second half of the season? Melbourne 2.0.12 7.2.44 11.5.71 14.7.91 Collingwood 5.5..38 9.9.63 15.11.101 20.13.133 Goals T McDonald 6 Hannan 2 Fritsch Gawn Harmes Neal-Bullen Oliver Viney Collingwood Cox 5 Hoskin-Elliott Stephenson 4 Thomas 3 Adams Mihocek Pendlebury Treloar Best Melbourne T McDonald Jetta Oliver Jones Collingwood De Goey Cox Adams Hoskin-Elliott Sidebottom Treloar Injuries Melbourne Jetta (shoulder) O McDonald (concussion) Collingwood Wells (foot) Reports Nil Umpires Donlon, Haussen, Findlay Official crowd 83,518 at the MCG
  21. After the Melbourne Football Club was bundled out of last year’s finals with their Round 23 loss at the hands of Collingwood, Nathan Jones declared that the team would not forget the bitterness of that defeat. Today is the day to atone.
  22. FOCUS by The Oracle There’s been a lot of talk about noise lately. Simon Goodwin spoke about it recently when he emphasized how important it was to ensure that his players did not permit external noise to distract them from their main focus of winning games on the march to the finals and hopefully, beyond. But the noise never stops in the football industry. Collingwood President Eddie McGuire is currently making his own brand of noise by jumping in and claiming a share of the home ground advantage for the Queen’s Birthday blockbuster games which he has hitherto magnanimously granted exclusively to Melbourne (never mind that his own club has a lion's share of other fixturing advantages that other clubs don't have). This is simply another case of Eddie doing what he does best – making some noise to create a distraction in the lead up to the important game that will end the AFL's middle round of the season – Melbourne v Collingwood: two teams each staking a claim for a place among the competition’s top echelon. It wouldn't be Collingwood if there wasn't noise about how well the team has been traveling lately with wins over Brisbane (7 points), St Kilda (28), Western Bulldogs (35) and Fremantle (61) in between a 21 point loss at the hands of Geelong. The message from their fans is loud and clear - the Pies are coming. And the Magpie fans are also quick to jump in and tell us that it was their team that prevented the Demons from grasping the opportunity to join the competition's elite sides in the finals by beating them in the last round of 2017, a memory that sits heavily in the minds of many at Demonland. There has also been noise from the pundits who expect Melbourne's fortunes to slide as a result of the season-ending injury sustained by Jake Lever which is no doubt a major blow but, of itself, is a long way off being fatal to the club's aspirations for the season. Let's not forget that the Bulldogs lost Robert Murphy to a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament early in 2016 which ultimately caused him to miss his club's premiership win later that year. Or that the Demons have a long list of potential replacements lining up to fill the void including a few who have been patiently knocking on the door and for who, the opportunity is about to come. There is so much noise around that it seems to be overshadowing the fact that what we are seeing an emerging Melbourne playing a brand of football that is a point of difference to every other club in the competition - a competitive beast of a group that has overcome their early season doubts with the reintroduction of Jack Viney, Tom McDonald and Angus Brayshaw who were all missing in the opening games adding to dominance of Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver and Jesse Hogan and the eclectic mix of young and old that makes up this team. The simple fact of the matter is that the Demons have been steeled by the events of the recent past and no amount of noise can cause them to lose focus on what lies in front of them. THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at the MCG Monday 11 June, 2018 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 83 wins, Collingwood 147 wins, 5 drawn At the MCG Melbourne 63 wins, Collingwood 80 wins, 3 drawn Last Five Meetings Melbourne 4 wins, Collingwood 1 win The Coaches Goodwin 1 win, Buckley 1 win MEDIA TV - Channel 7, Fox Sports Footy Channel, live at 3.00pm Radio - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand LAST TIME THEY MET Collingwood 14.15.99 defeated Melbourne 12.11.83 at the MCG in Round 23, 2017 The Magpies had very little to gain while the Demons were playing for a finals berth but it looked the other way around as they dominated the opening term to skip away to a 32 point lead at the first break. Melbourne came back and, while they came close to bridging the gap, as it turned out they finished in arrears by two goals more than they would have wanted. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Christian Salem, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Angus Brayshaw, Michael Hibberd, Jordan Lewis ? Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones HF: Bayley Fritsch, Tom McDonald, Clayton Oliver F: Charlie Spargo, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham Foll: Max Gawn, James Harmes, Christian Petracca I/C: Mitch Hannan, Alex Neal-Bullen, Cameron Pedersen, Joel Smith Emg: Jeff Garlett, Mitch Hannan, Jayden Hunt, Harrison Petty In: Cameron Pedersen, Joel Smith Out: Jake Lever (knee), Tim Smith (omitted) COLLINGWOOD B: Brayden Maynard, Lynden Dunn, Jack Crisp HB: Levi Greenwood, Matthew Scharenberg, Tom Langdon C : Steele Sidebottom, Scott Pendlebury, Tom Phillips HF: Jordan De Goey, Brody Mihocek, Will Hoskin-Elliott F: Josh Thomas, Mason Cox, Jaidyn Stephenson Foll: Brodie Grundy, Daniel Wells, Adam Treloar I/C (from): Taylor Adams, Josh Daicos, Jeremy Howe, Chris Mayne Emg: Flynn Appleby Ben Crocker, Sam Murray, Rupert Wills In: Jeremy Howe Out: Flynn Appleby (omitted) A funny thing happened to the Demons on their way to Etihad Stadium last Saturday. They turned up to their game against the struggling Bulldogs holding the distinction of being the competition's highest scorer and ranked number one in the competition in centre clearances for the season but at around 20 minutes into the first quarter, it was they who were under the pump. At that stage they were goalless, trailed by more than three goals and were being dominated at the stoppages, despite being a clear winner in the ruck duels thanks to the ever-reliable Max Gawn. Moreover, they had key defender Jake Lever off the field due to what turned out to be a season ending, knee injury and damaging playmaker Jake Melksham was hobbling around with a turned ankle. It wasn't exactly panic stations and in the event, Melbourne turned things around to record a handsome victory, but it was perhaps an early warning against complacency for a team that was in unfamiliar territory after five wins on the trot. The early scare could not have come at a better time for the Demons coming up against the Magpies who are themselves going through a strong patch of form and demolishing all that come before them and with a dominant ruckman of their own. Indeed, the match up between the in form Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy and their respective midfields promises to be the clash of the ages and of themselves worthy of drawing an expected crowd of 80,000 plus. Imagine the likes of Nathan Jones, Jack Viney, Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw pitted against Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar and Tom Phillips? No wonder that Eddie McGuire is salivating about the idea of stealing the booty from hosting such a fixture. And that my friends is one of the main points of difference between these two rival clubs and of the attitude directed from the very top of the organisation. For the Collingwood boss, this is all about business and why not because that's what the game is first and foremost to the McGuires of this world but for this Melbourne combination nowadays, it's something more that keeps them focused. This team of Demons spent months on end after their final game of 2013 - an unexpected loss at the hands of the Magpies that saw them tumbling out of the finals race at the last hurdle - brooding over what might have been. They have strengthened themselves all around the ground and have such a potent forward line that, as they proved last week at Etihad, even if they don't dominate in the engine room, they are still capable of racking up a winning score. Melbourne to expertly and without making any noise put the big freeze on Collingwood on MND Day and to win by 31 points. .
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