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  1. “Fee-fi-fo-fum, without a Full Forward the Premiership can’t be won!” So said the GWS Giants, as they exposed Melbourne’s fatal deficiency with a nine point win at the MCG. In past weeks Melbourne has been barely able to gloss over the lack of a serious target in front of goal, while others were able to contribute. But in a near repeat of the game from the previous week, players running up the ground simply had no-one to kick the ball to, when all that was needed was that one tall target. It didn’t help that Melbourne could not kick straight, by making 35% of their shots at goal, and a good number of them ordinarily easily converted. Kick just two of the easy misses and the game result would have been very different. However, not a single tall playing in the forward line, Tom McDonald, Luke Jackson or Max Gawn was able to trouble the goal umpire for the match. This simply cannot continue and the concept of resting rucks in the goal-square has been an abject failure. They are ruckmen and do not know or indeed have been trained to play as the leading full-forward. In the middle of the ground the story was similarly an abject failure. The Giants simply overwhelmed the Melbourne mids with centre clearances 11 to 6. Normally, this is not a problem, but the quality of clearances was telling. James Harmes was given the job in the centre, yet failed to tag Hopper, Kelly, Ward or Taranto. He certainly didn’t add anything in terms of attack, as his turnovers and fumbles at critical times cost the side dearly. Likewise, for his limited game time of 62%, Jack Viney was barely sighted. He is either carrying injury or is significantly unfit, because this wasn’t the Jack Viney that we have come to know. Thank goodness for the backline, who held strong throughout the game. After all, the opposition only scored nine goals. Jake Lever, Steven May and Harry Petty did their jobs, and Christian Salem and Trent Rivers were there when needed. Salem back to his best with 31 touches, and Lever and May combining for 24 intercepts and Rivers 7. Still we were pantsed by Toby Greene early on who had 3 goals out of their side’s first 5. Fortunately, Michael Hibberd shut him down after that, but the damage had been done, given the final margin. It wasn’t until the last quarter that the Demons showed any fire and desire, but needing three goals to drag the margin back was a big ask when they had only kicked five leading into the final break. Jayden Hunt failed three times as he tried to run the ball down the field, but while fans bemoaned his lack of vision, without a target he simply had to keep running. Bayley Fritsch gave the side a sniff and contributed well with his three goals, often at critical times in the game, but he can’t do it all on his own. He needs help. Same as McDonald. He can’t do all the leading up the ground, gaining 10 marks, 3 of which were contested, and then be expected to be the FF as well. Kossy Pickett was unsighted with only 4 touches for the game, despite a couple of stints in the middle. He looked tired, and perhaps some time away for a refresh is needed. He was taken from the ground for the whole of the final quarter, but is his form just another sign of not having a suitable 2nd tall to be able to feed off. Charlie Spargo fared better with 11 touches, but again with no crumbing opportunities his output was well below his best. Melbourne have now lost three of their past 6 games. With upcoming games against Port, Bulldogs, Eagles and Geelong, there is a real chance not only of losing that valuable top 2 spot, but dropping out of top four. The change needs to be made now. The team is desperate for a structure up forward which matches the reliability of that which it has down back. If Ben Brown is not fit, then that should no longer be a consideration. He is a 200cm target which we currently don’t have. And with finals closing in, now is the time to stop experiments and put in place the structure which will see the side through to the end. If not it will be “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of the Demon!” MELBOURNE 1.3.9 3.6.24 5.9.39 7.13.55 GWS GIANTS 2.2.14 6.6.42 8.8.56 9.10.64 GOALS Melbourne Fritsch 3 Neal-Bullen Pickett Salem Sparrow GWS Giants Greene 3 Himmelberg Kelly Reid Taranto Ward Whitfield BEST Melbourne Salem Petracca Fritsch Langdon Rivers Gawn GWS Giants Kelly Ward Taranto Greene Perryman Hopper Whitfield INJURIES Melbourne Nil GWS Giants Buckley (knee) REPORTS Melbourne Nil GWS Giants Nil SUBSTITUTES Melbourne: vandenBerg (unused) GWS Giants: Reid (replaced Buckley) UMPIRES Dean Margetts Curtis Deboy Andrew Heffernan Official Crowd 16,963 at the MCG
  2. Let's face it. We Melbourne supporters are a demanding lot. Here we are with our team on top of the ladder with a record of 12 wins and 2 losses, a decent percentage and a fair run home for a team with finals credentials. We have a fit list with lots of in form players, many of who are in contention for All Australian and other high honours, the team’s playing with purpose and cohesion and its VFL affiliate is undefeated and going gangbusters. Still, we're all walking around with concerned looks on our faces, carrying feelings of concern and apprehension about what lies ahead. What’s the fuss all about - is there a problem or is a case of “much ado about nothing”? Well, possibly there is a problem … we have a powerful defence and a good few A graders in the midfield but there seems to be an issue with the forward line. It's not that they're failing to kick winning scores because they usually manage to do exactly that. What appears to upset us however, is that they're not kicking big scores and, as a result, they’re not destroying opponents. While everyone should strive to get better, it’s hard to do that when you already have a 12/2 win, loss record but the last couple of weeks have seen some poor conversion for goal combined with a decline in pressure applied by the club’s forwards. A number of them are just not scoring goals. In recent games, I’ve noticed that this is particularly so at the pointy end of games. Since the win against the Swans, the Dees have conceded at least the last goal of every match to their opponents, often it’s been the last two or three at the precise time when a top side should be asserting its dominance in attack rather than falling away leaving supporters feeling that they’d just witnessed a “nothing game”. Perhaps it’s not surprising therefore that the club’s website sought out forward coach Greg Stafford to discuss his charges in this week’s episode of “The Talking Point”. Stafford apparently prefers to describe “small forwards” as “speed forwards” while “tall forwards” are “power forwards”. On that basis, I’m not sure where that leaves the likes of Jake Melksham who is currently on the outer or Bayley Fritsch who is on the inner or why Ben Brown can’t get a look in after his five-goal haul at Casey. In any event, team selection in the coming few weeks will be interesting if the intention is to ramp up scoring power. In the case of Saturday’s game v GWS Giants, it might well have been the weather report pointing to coolish conditions and a high percentage chance of rain on game day. Then there’s the opposition. Melbourne rolled an injury riddled GWS combination after a slow start in their last encounter and the Giants’ form in recent weeks has been flaky to say the least against lowly ranked opposition. They drew with North, lost to Hawthorn and beat an insipid Carlton by six goals of the back of some straight kicking for goal. The loss to the Hawks when a top eight spot was in the offing would have been heartbreaking for the few fans who follow them. Chances are that in the uncertainty of the present in a semi hub situation with Covid19 bearing down on them and playing at the unfamiliar MCG in front of thousands of fussy Demon fans who will be demanding a gold standard performance rather than a “nothing” game, things are not going to get better for them. Melbourne to win by 32 points. THE GAME Melbourne v GWS Giants at the MCG, Saturday 3 July, 2021 at 1:45pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall – Melbourne 8 wins GWS Giants 6 wins At The MCG – GWS Giants 0 wins Melbourne 0 wins Past five meetings – Melbourne 3 wins GWS Giants 2 wins The Coaches – Goodwin 3 wins Cameron 2 wins THE MEDIA TV live and on demand on Kayo and live on Foxtel. Check your local guides. Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 15.12.102 defeated GWS Giants 11.2.68 at Manuka Oval, Round 3, 2021 Greater Western Sydney had the early lead thanks to its accuracy in front of goal but the superior Demons took the advantage of the Giants’ injury woes and powered ahead to a fine 34 point victory. Max Gawn was dominant in the ruck and around the ground with Christian Petracca and Jack Viney taking the full benefit of their power games. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: J. Hunt 29 S. May 1 J. Lever 8 HB: M. Hibberd 14 H. Petty 35 C. Salem 3 C: J. Jordon 23 C. Petracca 5 E. Langdon 15 HF: J. Viney 7 T. McDonald 25 C. Spargo 9 F: A. Neal-Bullen L. Jackson 6 B. Fritsch 31 Foll: M. Gawn 11 C. Oliver 13 K. Pickett 36 I/C: A. Brayshaw 10 J. Harmes 4 T. Rivers 24 T. Sparrow 32 Sub: A. vandenBerg 22 Emerg: J. Bowey 17 B. Brown 50 K. Chandler 37 In: A. vandenBerg Out: N. Jones (calf) GWS GIANTS B: J. Buckley 44 P. Davis 1 L. Ash 7 HB: H. Perryman 36 N. Haynes 19 I. Cumming 13 C: J. Kelly 22 C. Ward 8 L. Whitfield 6 HF: B. Daniels 16 H. Himmelberg 27 B. Hill 37 F: T. Greene 4 J. Finlayson 31 D. Lloyd 38 Foll: S. Mumford 41 T. Taranto 14 J. Hopper 2 I/C: M. Flynn T. Green 12 30 C. Idun 39 A. Kennedy 40 Sub: S. Reid 50 Emerg: K. Briggs 32 M. de Boer 24 X. O'Halloran 33 In: T. Green S. Mumford Out: K. Briggs (omitted) M. de Boer (omitted) Round 16: Injury List Marty Hore (knee) — 8 to 10 Weeks Aaron Nietschke (knee) — Season Adam Tomlinson (knee) — Season
  3. It seems so long ago that Melbourne took an unchanged line up into a game on the MCG against the Greater Western Sydney Giants and cleaned them up to the tune of 45 points. In truth, the event occurred literally half a season ago in the final home and away round of the 2018 season and marked the Demons’ return to the finals with more triumphs to come in the weeks ahead. Of course, back then, it was the Giants who were wracked with injuries as they stumbled into the finals series facing their hoodoo on a ground where they rarely play well. This time, it’s GWS that’s flying while Melbourne is not only licking its injury wounds but seems to be struggling for form at both ends of the ground. That super attack of last year is simply not performing and, despite having far more opportunities than its opponents virtually on a weekly basis, the team is beating itself by its failure to convert. At the other end of the ground, the defence is leaking to many goals - the opposition is finding the goals to easily, especially at the business end of things. The last three weeks have seen a total Melbourne score for of 6.10 in the final quarters of its matches against 14.1! It seems that it’s always left to Max Gawn to dominate the rucks and afford his midfielders like Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones and James Harmes to get the first use of the ball to even stay close in the tussle - this will naturally be of paramount importance against the Giants on Sunday. Last week, Melbourne came close to bringing its season back on track but it faltered when the game was on the line. While the Demons showed signs against West Coast they were returning to their exciting 2018 form they couldn’t do it for the full four quarters and their wastefulness in front of goal prevented them from having a big enough lead at the final half to enable them to control matters in the final term. The dilemma has given Simon Goodwin a giant headache and he has obviously been worrying himself sick trying to work out that something different to give his team the winning edge back. He’s also waiting for that long injury list to go down to manageable levels but relief still appears a few weeks away. In the meantime, I’m tipping a 9 point win to the Giants. THE GAME Melbourne v GWS Giants at the MCG, Sunday 26 May, 2019 at 1.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall – GWS Giants 5 wins Melbourne 6 wins At The MCG – Melbourne 4 wins GWS Giants 1 win Past five meetings – Melbourne 3 wins GWS Giants 2 wins The Coaches – Goodwin 1 win Cameron 1 win THE MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel, Live at 1.00pm RADIO - SEN ABC THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 15.12.102 defeated GWS Giants 8.9.57 at the MCG, Round 23, 2018 Melbourne had to win to secure its place in the finals in 12 years thanks to Max Gawn’s ruck dominance and the strong work of the midfield headed by Angus Brayshaw and James Harmes, the Demons broke away with a five goal to zip third term to romp home by 45 points. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B Jay Lockhart Sam Frost Josh Wagner HB Matt Hore Oscar McDonald Jayden Hunt C Angus Brayshaw Jack Viney Oskar Baker HF Nathan Jones Tom McDonald Harry Petty F Jeff Garlett Tim Smith Christian Petracca FOLL Max Gawn Christian Salem Clayton Oliver I/C Bayley Fritsch James Harmes Billy Stretch Corey Wagner EMG Jordan Lewis Braydon Preuss Charlie Spargo Sam Weideman IN Corey Wagner OUT Alex Neal-Bullen (concussion) GWS GIANTS B Adam Kennedy Phil Davis Nick Haynes HB Heath Shaw Sam Taylor Brett Delidio C Brent Daniels Harry Perryman Lachie Whitfield HF Matt de Boer Harry Himmelberg Toby Greene F Jeremy Finlayson Jeremy Cameron Sam J Reid FOLL Shane Mumford Tim Taranto Josh Kelly I/C Stephen Coniglio Isaac Cumming Jacob Hopper Adam Tomlinson EMG Jackson Hately Lachlan Keeffe Daniel Lloyd Dawson Simpson IN Stephen Coniglio Isaac Cumming OUT Daniel Lloyd (omitted) Zac Williams (hamstring) Injury List - Round 10 Mitch Hannan (knee) – available Jay Kennedy Harris (knee) – available Alex Neal-Bullen (concussion) – test Christian Salem (concussion) – test Tim Smith (concussion) – test Charlie Spargo (foot) – test Sam Weideman (hips) – test Michael Hibberd (collarbone) – 1-2 weeks Steven May (groin) – 1-2 weeks Kade Kolodjashnij (concussion) – 1-2 weeks Jake Melksham (foot) – 3-4 weeks Joel Smith (groin) – 4-6 weeks Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – 4-6 weeks Neville Jetta (knee) – 7-9 weeks Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season
  4. Remember the days when we were blessed with the luxury of “no change” at team selection? THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Oscar McDonald, Jordan Lewis HB: Christian Salem, Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd ? Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, James Harmes HF: Jake Melksham, Tom McDonald, Aaron vandenBerg F: Bayley Fritsch, Sam Weideman, Alex Neal-Bullen Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Christian Petracca I/C: Mitch Hannan, Dean Kent, Charlie Spargo, Dom Tyson Emg: Tomas Bugg, Jay Kennedy Harris, Cameron Pedersen, Josh Wagner No change GWS GIANTS B: Jeremy Finlayson, Phil Davis, Adam Tomlinson B: Adam Kennedy, Nick Haynes, Harry Perryman ? Lachie Whitfield, Callan Ward, Jacob Hopper F: Sam Reid, Jeremy Cameron, Aiden Bonar F: Zac Langdon, Harry Himmelberg, Josh Kelly Foll: Rory Lobb, Stephen Coniglio, Dylan Shiel I/C: Matt Buntine, Lachlan Keeffe, Daniel Lloyd, Tim Taranto Emg: Dylan Buckley, Isaac Cumming, Brent Daniels, Zac Williams In: Josh Kelly, Sam Reid Out: Brent Daniels (omitted), Ryan Griffen (hamstring)
  5. BULLDOZERS by George on the Outer It was a little over a week ago when the Fugazi about Melbourne was that it had yet to beat a team in the top eighth, that the word was that it may limp into the finals by dint of the results of games in other matches and it’s decent percentage. The “Bradbury Plan”, if you like. However, the last two games have shown that Melbourne is not just there for show or to make up the numbers by merely limping into September. The stirring finish against the Eagles and the emphatic victory over the Giants is sending a fearsome message to the other finalists - the Demons have simply bulldozed their way to fifth spot on the ladder, past two teams with expectation of solid finishes to the season. And the bulldozing has been emblematic of the type of gamestyle the coach has instilled into the players and with a group of extraordinarily young talent, they truly are setting themselves up for something exciting to come. Jordan Lewis has been attributed as reminding the players, that they not there just to make up the finals numbers. Rather, they are there to win them and, coming up against the Cats in the first Elimination Final, gives them the added incentive of atoning for the two defeats suffered at their hands by less than a kick during the season. The game against the Giants was not unexpectedly a see-sawing contest for the first half. The sides were evenly matched on the ladder with GWS seemingly running into good form with the return of some of their better players in recent weeks. The real concern for them is that they are still a club without a beating heart and while laden with talent, they don’t play together as a team. There is no “fight to the death, with your mates by your side” attitude, and so when challenged, like this week and last, they drop away badly. There was not much more than two kicks in the game at half time and with the Demons already two men down with Kent and Tyson out of the game, it was all there for the Giants to take. However, they were bulldozed aside by the Demons. Max Gawn took Lobb apart from an early stage, and by half time he was struggling to keep up with him around the ground. He finally left the game at ¾ time injured, which only served to let Max rest out the final quarter in the forward line. The mid-fielders took full advantage of Max’s superiority. The GWS opponents are no slouches with Coniglio, Kelly, Ward and Shiel matched up against Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, James Harmed and Nathan Jones but they were forced to lower their colours in this contest. Harmes truly lived up to his name causing untold harm to the GWS mids - in particular Kelly who had only 19 touches with only six contested. On the other hand, Harmes had 29 disposals and 15 contested possessions. Brayshaw and Oliver both with 30+ touches just added to the GWS pain as they bulldozed their opponents aside, while an old stager in Nathan Jones chipped in with another 27 touches. The result of all this work was to be seen in the premiership quarter. Melbourne piled on five third quarter goals, while they held the Giants goalless. And the reason they failed to score a major was the rock solid defence with Salem running riot in the backline delivering laser type passes up field, Lewis with similar accuracy, while Frost ran and sliced through the hapless GWS forwards. Oscar McDonald took Cameron to the cleaners, once again putting a notch on his tally of full forwards who have failed against him. With the game all over by the final change, all that was left was to see out the final term, and even though GWS had a major on the board within a minute, the Demons swiftly replied to put paid to any suggestion of a last minute revival. At the end - a seven goal win, and 37,000 Demon supporters rocked the house with the Grand Old Flag rendition, not heard sung that way for over a decade. The finals are upon us and the next task is to finish Geelong’s season. Some could suggest they are only there courtesy of thrashing two of the sides in the completion in the past 2 weeks but they still have beaten Melbourne twice this year. While most teams have a long list of injured players at this time of year, our situation is rather dire. The game produced two more serious injuries today, and there are not really any players worthy of elevation from the depleted ranks over at Casey. There is a handy certain starter in the wings in Jack Viney and hopefully Mitch Hannan will overcome his knee soreness but we are really on bare bones. There are others who have done it like the Bulldogs who were decimated at this time two years ago and famously came out of the pre finals to carve out some history for themselves. Can the Demons repeat history and similarly bulldoze their way further through September? Melbourne 4.2.26 7.6.48 12.9.81 15.12.102 GWS Giants 4.1.25 5.5.35 5.8.38 8.9.57 Goals Melbourne T McDonald Petracca 3 Neal-Bullen 2 Brayshaw Gawn Harmes Jones Melksham vandenBerg Weideman, GWS Giants Coniglio 2 Cameron Finlayson Himmelberg Langdon Lobb Tomlinson Best Melbourne Gawn Harmes Brayshaw Oliver Petracca Jones Frost GWS Giants Coniglio Ward Shiel Haynes Kennedy Injuries Melbourne Kent (AC joint) Melksham (head) Tyson (broken arm) Greater Western Sydney Lobb (beaten to a pulp) Reports Melbourne Nil Greater Western Sydney Nil Umpires Dalgleish, Rosebury, Stevic Official crowd 37,285 at the MCG POSTSCRIPT: Wasn’t it nice that Adelaide’s pick received for Jake Lever just dropped three spots as a result of them beating the Blues to who they want to trade the pick for one of their young local draft prospects
  6. It was a little over a week ago when the Fugazi about Melbourne was that it had yet to beat a team in the top eighth, that the word was that it may limp into the finals by dint of the results of games in other matches and it’s decent percentage. The “Bradbury Plan”, if you like. However, the last two games have shown that Melbourne is not just there for show or to make up the numbers by merely limping into September. The stirring finish against the Eagles and the emphatic victory over the Giants is sending a fearsome message to the other finalists - the Demons have simply bulldozed their way to fifth spot on the ladder, past two teams with expectation of solid finishes to the season. And the bulldozing has been emblematic of the type of gamestyle the coach has instilled into the players and with a group of extraordinarily young talent, they truly are setting themselves up for something exciting to come. Jordan Lewis has been attributed as reminding the players, that they not there just to make up the finals numbers. Rather, they are there to win them and, coming up against the Cats in the first Elimination Final, gives them the added incentive of atoning for the two defeats suffered at their hands by less than a kick during the season. The game against the Giants was not unexpectedly a see-sawing contest for the first half. The sides were evenly matched on the ladder with GWS seemingly running into good form with the return of some of their better players in recent weeks. The real concern for them is that they are still a club without a beating heart and while laden with talent, they don’t play together as a team. There is no “fight to the death, with your mates by your side” attitude, and so when challenged, like this week and last, they drop away badly. There was not much more than two kicks in the game at half time and with the Demons already two men down with Kent and Tyson out of the game, it was all there for the Giants to take. However, they were bulldozed aside by the Demons. Max Gawn took Lobb apart from an early stage, and by half time he was struggling to keep up with him around the ground. He finally left the game at ¾ time injured, which only served to let Max rest out the final quarter in the forward line. The mid-fielders took full advantage of Max’s superiority. The GWS opponents are no slouches with Coniglio, Kelly, Ward and Shiel matched up against Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, James Harmed and Nathan Jones but they were forced to lower their colours in this contest. Harmes truly lived up to his name causing untold harm to the GWS mids - in particular Kelly who had only 19 touches with only six contested. On the other hand, Harmes had 29 disposals and 15 contested possessions. Brayshaw and Oliver both with 30+ touches just added to the GWS pain as they bulldozed their opponents aside, while an old stager in Nathan Jones chipped in with another 27 touches. The result of all this work was to be seen in the premiership quarter. Melbourne piled on five third quarter goals, while they held the Giants goalless. And the reason they failed to score a major was the rock solid defence with Salem running riot in the backline delivering laser type passes up field, Lewis with similar accuracy, while Frost ran and sliced through the hapless GWS forwards. Oscar McDonald took Cameron to the cleaners, once again putting a notch on his tally of full forwards who have failed against him. With the game all over by the final change, all that was left was to see out the final term, and even though GWS had a major on the board within a minute, the Demons swiftly replied to put paid to any suggestion of a last minute revival. At the end - a seven goal win, and 37,000 Demon supporters rocked the house with the Grand Old Flag rendition, not heard sung that way for over a decade. The finals are upon us and the next task is to finish Geelong’s season. Some could suggest they are only there courtesy of thrashing two of the sides in the completion in the past 2 weeks but they still have beaten Melbourne twice this year. While most teams have a long list of injured players at this time of year, our situation is rather dire. The game produced two more serious injuries today, and there are not really any players worthy of elevation from the depleted ranks over at Casey. There is a handy certain starter in the wings in Jack Viney and hopefully Mitch Hannan will overcome his knee soreness but we are really on bare bones. There are others who have done it like the Bulldogs who were decimated at this time two years ago and famously came out of the pre finals to carve out some history for themselves. Can the Demons repeat history and similarly bulldoze their way further through September? Melbourne 4.2.26 7.6.48 12.9.81 15.12.102 GWS Giants 4.1.25 5.5.35 5.8.38 8.9.57 Goals Melbourne T McDonald Petracca 3 Neal-Bullen 2 Brayshaw Gawn Harmes Jones Melksham vandenBerg Weideman, GWS Giants Coniglio 2 Cameron Finlayson Himmelberg Langdon Lobb Tomlinson Best Melbourne Gawn Harmes Brayshaw Oliver Petracca Jones Frost GWS Giants Coniglio Ward Shiel Haynes Kennedy Injuries Melbourne Kent (AC joint) Melksham (head) Tyson (broken arm) Greater Western Sydney Lobb (beaten to a pulp) Reports Melbourne Nil Greater Western Sydney Nil Umpires Dalgleish, Rosebury, Stevic Official crowd 37,285 at the MCG POSTSCRIPT: Wasn’t it nice that Adelaide’s pick received for Jake Lever just dropped three spots as a result of them beating the Blues to who they want to trade the pick for one of their young local draft prospects
  7. The graphic shown this week during a segment of “On the Couch” laid out some extraordinary statistics about the Melbourne Football Club’s season to date. The numbers read as follows:- • Contested possessions differential – #2 • Pressure – #2 • Points for – #1 • Points against – #9 • Points from turnovers differential – #2 • Points from clearances differential – #2 • Inside 50 differential – #1 • Time in forward half – #1 • Forward half intercepts – #1 • Points from forward half chains – #1 This was a selection of the numbers available and is by no means all inclusive about the story of the team’s style this year. They tell the story of a team that’s willing to take games on and that plays an exciting, attacking brand of football but, while the both the style of game and the actual figures are impressive, until last Sunday, they raised a question mark about why this team was desperately fighting for its life as a 2018 finalist, rather than sitting comfortably in the upper echelons of the competition preparing for qualifying finals in the coming weeks. The question was answered partially by Age writer Michael Gleeson before that game in The questions the Demons need to answer where he wrote about the alternate AFL ladder:– “It is the ladder that says what would happen if the team that lost the close games won them instead. So what would happen this year if the teams that lost games by 10 points or less won them? “The answer? Melbourne would be two games clear on top of the ladder.” Gleeson also alluded to the positive statistics such as the Demons’ #1 ranking in the competition for contested possessions but raised the spectre of its then inability to beat a top eight side and pointed to a wide gulf between its performances against top and bottom half teams. The answer according to Gleeson was that the team’s inability to stop the ball going the way of the opposition when it attacks. “Actually, the point is that Melbourne don’t defend.” That was part of the answer but it needed empirical proof and that came by means of the way that Melbourne finished off the game against the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium on Sunday. In those final ten minutes, after their game-long lead had evaporated before their eyes and their season was on the line, they defended stoutly and showed they had learned the lesson of their soul-destroying loss on enemy territory a month earlier against Geelong. And they did it with the style that should hold them in good stead in the weeks to come. THE GAME Melbourne v GWS Giants at the MCG, Sunday 26 August, 2018 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall – GWS Giants 5 wins, Melbourne 5 wins At The MCG – Melbourne 3 wins, GWS Giants 1 win Past five meetings – Melbourne 2 wins, GWS Giants 3 wins The Coaches – Cameron 1 win Goodwin 0 wins THE MEDIA TV - Channel 7, Fox Sports 3, Live at 3.00pm RADIO - Triple M 3AW ABC ABC Grandstand THE LAST TIME THEY MET GWS Giants 14.13.97 defeated Melbourne 10.2.62 at UNSW Canberra Oval, Round #, 2017 The Demons suffered their second consecutive loss and dropped out of the top eight after they were thumped by the Giants in Canberra. Things started well enough with the opening three goals against the wind but GWS rolled into gear with the next eight goals and by the first break it was all but over. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Oscar McDonald, Jordan Lewis HB: Christian Salem, Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd ? Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, James Harmes HF: Jake Melksham, Tom McDonald, Aaron vandenBerg F: Bayley Fritsch, Sam Weideman, Alex Neal-Bullen Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Christian Petracca I/C: Mitch Hannan, Dean Kent, Charlie Spargo, Dom Tyson Emg: Tomas Bugg, Jay Kennedy Harris, Cameron Pedersen, Josh Wagner No change GWS GIANTS B: Jeremy Finlayson, Phil Davis, Adam Tomlinson B: Adam Kennedy, Nick Haynes, Harry Perryman ? Lachie Whitfield, Callan Ward, Jacob Hopper F: Sam Reid, Jeremy Cameron, Aiden Bonar F: Zac Langdon, Harry Himmelberg, Josh Kelly Foll: Rory Lobb, Stephen Coniglio, Dylan Shiel I/C: Matt Buntine, Lachlan Keeffe, Daniel Lloyd, Tim Taranto Emg: Dylan Buckley, Isaac Cumming, Brent Daniels, Zac Williams In: Josh Kelly, Sam Reid Out: Brent Daniels (omitted), Ryan Griffen (hamstring) It was the Jake Lever injury that sent Melbourne’s 2018 season into a month-long tailspin and three consecutive defeats in mid-season and which ultimately set the scene for the team’s revival that led to the securing of a berth in the finals. The Lever departure required some tinkering with the defensive line up with which the selectors grappled, struggled and finally got right. There were other elements that required attention, small kinks here and there but despite the pain of the last gasp defeat by Geelong and the confused mess of the Swans game, the 17-point victory over West Coast last weekend, proved they were worthy of participating in the finals after an absence of twelve long years. The irony is that Melbourne’s tough run leading into the finals with three matches on end against three fellow finalists is going to hold it in good stead in September. As far as I’m concerned, coming up against Sydney, West Coast and the GWS Giants represents a perfect preparation, immeasurably better than say, the Cats, who were given the task of playing against witches’ hats on their own home turf in the finals lead up. For the Demons, the game against GWS presents a perfect opportunity to tune up against quality opposition without in any way releasing the pressure valve. Aside from the remote chance of making it back into the top four should the Pies stagger against the Dockers, there’s a home final at stake (although Melbourne seems to play just as well away from home these days). Thankfully, the failure of Port Adelaide and North Melbourne to stitch up opposition teams in recent games, has allowed the Demon faithful some temporary respite for their fraying nerves knowing their team will definitely be featuring in next month’s action. They will no doubt recall the humiliation of their team’s encounter with the Giants in the national capital last year when, after kicking the first three goals against the wind, it conceded an unanswered 8 goals 6 behinds before quarter time to be well and truly blown off the park. The carnage in Canberra this week pales into insignificance against that dark day. The star for GWS was Josh Kelly who returns for them this week to make for a fascinating battle of the midfields. We know how strong the Demons are in this area with their young guns and iron man Nathan Jones. They will have the support of All Australian big man Max Gawn who should match up very favourably against Rory Lobb in the ruck contests but the Giants are the highest-ranked clearance team in the AFL. Ultimately, I believe the Demons will triumph because of their forward line strength (they are the highest-ranked team for scoring, inside 50s and marks inside 50), the defence has at long last settled with Oscar McDonald and Sam Frost solid, and the visitors have the deeper injury list. That’s enough for me to tip Melbourne to win an epic encounter at the MCG by 5 points.
  8. This was a crunch game that Melbourne lost after a strong start when it kicked 3 early goals against the wind at UNSW Canberra Oval but it then conceded the next eight goals in the blink of an eye and the game was all over at quarter time. THE TEAMS GWS GIANTS B: Zac Williams, Adam Tomlinson, Nathan Wilson HB: Nick Haynes, Phil Davis, Heath Shaw ? Tom Scully, Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield HF: Devon Smith, Rory Lobb, Harrison Himmelberg F: Dylan Shiel, Steve Johnson, Matt de Boer FOLL: Shane Mumford, Jacob Hopper, Matthew Kennedy I/C: Stephen Coniglio, Aidan Corr, Brett Deledio, Josh Kelly EMG: Daniel Lloyd, Harry Perryman, Dawson Simpson IN: Brett Deledio, Harrison Himmelberg, Jacob Hopper, Steve Johnson, Shane Mumford OUT: Jeremy Cameron (hamstring), Jonathon Patton (hamstring tightness), Harry Perryman (omitted), Will Setterfield (concussion), Dawson Simpson (omitted) NEW: Brett Deledio (Richmond) MELBOURNE B: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jordan Lewis, Sam Frost, Michael Hibberd ? Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince, Christian Salem HF: Clayton Oliver, Cameron Pedersen, Alex Neal-Bullen F: Jeff Garlett, Tom McDonald, James Harmes FOLL: Max Gawn, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones I/C: Corey Maynard, Jake Melksham, Christian Petracca, Jack Watts EMG: Billy Stretch, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman IN: Nathan Jones, Corey Maynard, Cameron Pedersen, Bernie Vince OUT: Mitch Hannan (rested), Jesse Hogan (shoulder), Jay Kennedy-Harris (omitted), Jack Trengove (omitted) NEW: Corey Maynard
  9. Melbourne overcame a sloppy start to its AFLW season with six straight last half goals including a late snap from Richelle (“Rocky”) Cranston which knocked Greater Western Sydney out of the contest and gave her team the win by six points. The Demons, with midfielder Karen Paxman in great early form with nine possessions, dominated proceedings in the first quarter but their poor disposal and the Giants’ ability to score goals on rare forays up forward, saw them trailing by four points at quarter time. By then, Paxman was off with a back injury (later diagnosed as “back spasms”) and things were not looking good for the Dees when their opponents scored their third goal early in the second term. At the main break they were down by 9 points. However, with skipper Daisy Pearce, the strong and reliable Elise O'Dea and the new look Richelle Cranston all lifting, the Demons willed themselves back into the game after half time. It took just three minutes for them to snatch the lead for the first time and by the 10 minute mark, they were in front themselves by 9 points. But GWS were not to be denied. They fought back against the run of the game with two goals to go into the last break with a 5-point lead. It was still anybody’s game. As it was, the lead changed hands early in the final term with goals from Cranston and Shelley Scott but the Giants were undeterred and fought back to level the scores. Then followed a tense five minutes until Rocky’s snap gave the home side the lead and the win. After the game, Cranston said, “I had no idea how that goal went in – I just heard Daisy say ‘get it on the boot’ and lucky it went through.” Other players who stood out were Meg Downie across half-back, Lily Mithen up forward and newcomers Bianca Jakobsson from Carlton and 194 cm recruit Erin Hoare who had 20 hit-outs in the ruck. The Demons are at home again next week with a clash against reigning premiers Adelaide, smarting from their first up loss last night to Brisbane. Melbourne 1.2.8 1.3.9 4.3.27 7.3.45 GWS Giants 2.0.12 3.0.18 5.2.32 6.3.39 Goals Melbourne Cranston 3 Scott 2 Hore Cunningham GWS Giants McWilliams 3 Barclay 2 Staunton Best Melbourne D Pearce O'Dea Downie Cranston Scott Mithen GWS Giants McWilliams Farrugia Barclay Staunton Injuries Melbourne Paxman (back) GWS Giants Nil Reports Nil Umpires Gibson Johansen Curtis Official crowd 5,100 at Casey Fields
  10. THE VIBE by the Oracle It begins again ... and I have received inspiration from above. Call it the Vibe if you want but I'm going into this Saturday's opening round clash against the GWS Giants at the MCG with somewhat more confidence than I have in the recent past. And it's not based simply on the result of Melbourne's three NAB Challenge games or the fact that the team emerged victorious from all of them, because I am fully aware that pre season matches mean very little when the hurly burly begins of full pressure AFL matches for premiership points. It is however, about the way the team played out these games, that gives rise to that vibe of optimism. I am also buoyed by the fact that the Demons' most recent home and away victory took place at their nemesis ground, Etihad Stadium, and also ended a four game losing streak against this week's opponent. And as if that was not enough, two of the Giants' best players from recent seasons won't be saddling up thanks to Jeremy Cameron's four-game suspension and Adam Treloar's defection to Collingwood. With Cam McCarthy out on indefinite leave and Jonathon Patton still on the comeback trail after an ACL operation, the pressure will be on the Giants away from home. The Giants do have a highly rated midfield led by ruckman Shane Mumford in the ruck and the likes of Callan Ward, Ryan Griffen, Devon Smith, Rhys Palmer, Dylan Shiel, Toby Greene, Lachie Whitfield, Josh Kelly and even that overpaid bloke who used to play for the Demons. However, it was Melbourne whose midfield won the day the last time they met. Way back then it was Max Gawn who dominated in Mumford's absence with 55 hit-outs, while Bernie Vince and Nathan Jones blitzed the game. Gawn has announced himself not by his words but by his deeds in the NAB Challenge and he has the likes of a reinvigorated Dom Tyson, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBerg and newcomer Clayton Oliver to provide plenty of opposition to push the engine room of the much vaunted men in orange and let's face it - the new look Demons are on a roll with their new attacking style of game inculcated by Simon Goodwin to the point where half the media are demanding that the club puts the incumbent coach Paul Roos in front of a firing squad to ensure that he can't resume his coaching duties. To my mind, it doesn't really matter who calls himself the coach. Melbourne will win and win well because the new attacking regimen will favour its forward line which no longer lacks numbers in terms of personnel capable of hitting the scoreboard and hurting the opposition. Last year's major goal scorers Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett are champing at the bit and have plenty of back up with the capability of scoring - Dean Kent, James Harmes, Cam Pedersen and if he rests up there, who is going to stop big Max with those long tentacle arms? Nobody. Melbourne by 28 points. THE GAME Melbourne v GWS Giants at the MCG Saturday 26 March, 2016 at 1.40pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 4 wins GWS Giants 4 wins At the MCG Melbourne 2 wins GWS Giants 1 win Past five meetings Melbourne 1 win GWS Giants 4 wins The Coaches Roos 1 win Cameron 3 wins MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel Live at 1.30pm RADIO - TBA THE BETTING Melbourne to win - $2.30 GWS Giants to win - $1.62 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 15.13.103 d GWS Giants 11.11.77 at Etihad Stadium, Round 23, 2015 Both teams were depleted after a long hard season that had failed to deliver much success but it was Melbourne which seized the initiative after half time and never really allowed the Giants back into the game. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Colin GarlandHB: Matt Jones, Oscar McDonald, Christian SalemC: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBergHF: Jack Watts, Sam Frost, James HarmesF: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jeff GarlettFOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Tomas Bugg, Ben Kennedy, Clayton Oliver, Cameron PedersenEMG: Lynden Dunn, Jack Grimes, Billy Stretch NEW: Tomas Bugg (GWS Giants), Ben Kennedy (Collingwood), Clayton Oliver (Murray Bushrangers) GWS GIANTS B: Heath Shaw, Aidan Corr, Matt BuntineHB: Nathan Wilson, Phil Davis, Adam KennedyC: Lachie Whitfield, Callan Ward, James StewartHF: Rhys Palmer, Rory Lobb, Tom ScullyF: Toby Greene, Adam Tomlinson, Devon SmithFOLL: Shane Mumford, Ryan Griffen, Dylan Shiel I/C: Steve Johnson, Josh Kelly, Caleb Marchbank, Jack SteeleEMG: Stephen Coniglio, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Zac Williams NEW: Steve Johnson (Geelong)
  11. The dawn breaks and we're first up today at the MCG. Our opponent has an extraordinary number of top 20 draft choices on its list but, as we well know, that doesn't necessarily mean anything. This game is at our home and, as much as we broke a hoodoo when we beat them in our last game at Etihad, it's time to reclaim the MCG as our home against these northern invaders.
  12. It begins again ... and I have received inspiration from above. Call it the Vibe if you want but I'm going into this Saturday's opening round clash against the GWS Giants at the MCG with somewhat more confidence than I have in the recent past. And it's not based simply on the result of Melbourne's three NAB Challenge games or the fact that the team emerged victorious from all of them, because I am fully aware that pre season matches mean very little when the hurly burly begins of full pressure AFL matches for premiership points. It is however, about the way the team played out these games, that gives rise to that vibe of optimism. I am also buoyed by the fact that the Demons' most recent home and away victory took place at their nemesis ground, Etihad Stadium, and also ended a four game losing streak against this week's opponent. And as if that was not enough, two of the Giants' best players from recent seasons won't be saddling up thanks to Jeremy Cameron's four-game suspension and Adam Treloar's defection to Collingwood. With Cam McCarthy out on indefinite leave and Jonathon Patton still on the comeback trail after an ACL operation, the pressure will be on the Giants away from home. The Giants do have a highly rated midfield led by ruckman Shane Mumford in the ruck and the likes of Callan Ward, Ryan Griffen, Devon Smith, Rhys Palmer, Dylan Shiel, Toby Greene, Lachie Whitfield, Josh Kelly and even that overpaid bloke who used to play for the Demons. However, it was Melbourne whose midfield won the day the last time they met. Way back then it was Max Gawn who dominated in Mumford's absence with 55 hit-outs, while Bernie Vince and Nathan Jones blitzed the game. Gawn has announced himself not by his words but by his deeds in the NAB Challenge and he has the likes of a reinvigorated Dom Tyson, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBerg and newcomer Clayton Oliver to provide plenty of opposition to push the engine room of the much vaunted men in orange and let's face it - the new look Demons are on a roll with their new attacking style of game inculcated by Simon Goodwin to the point where half the media are demanding that the club puts the incumbent coach Paul Roos in front of a firing squad to ensure that he can't resume his coaching duties. To my mind, it doesn't really matter who calls himself the coach. Melbourne will win and win well because the new attacking regimen will favour its forward line which no longer lacks numbers in terms of personnel capable of hitting the scoreboard and hurting the opposition. Last year's major goal scorers Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett are champing at the bit and have plenty of back up with the capability of scoring - Dean Kent, James Harmes, Cam Pedersen and if he rests up there, who is going to stop big Max with those long tentacle arms? Nobody. Melbourne by 28 points. THE GAME Melbourne v GWS Giants at the MCG Saturday 26 March, 2016 at 1.40pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 4 wins GWS Giants 4 wins At the MCG Melbourne 2 wins GWS Giants 1 win Past five meetings Melbourne 1 win GWS Giants 4 wins The Coaches Roos 1 win Cameron 3 wins MEDIA TV – Fox Footy Channel Live at 1.30pm RADIO - TBA THE BETTING Melbourne to win - $2.30 GWS Giants to win - $1.62 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 15.13.103 d GWS Giants 11.11.77 at Etihad Stadium, Round 23, 2015 Both teams were depleted after a long hard season that had failed to deliver much success but it was Melbourne which seized the initiative after half time and never really allowed the Giants back into the game. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Colin GarlandHB: Matt Jones, Oscar McDonald, Christian SalemC: Bernie Vince, Jack Viney, Aaron vandenBergHF: Jack Watts, Sam Frost, James HarmesF: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jeff GarlettFOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson I/C: Tomas Bugg, Ben Kennedy, Clayton Oliver, Cameron PedersenEMG: Lynden Dunn, Jack Grimes, Billy Stretch NEW: Tomas Bugg (GWS Giants), Ben Kennedy (Collingwood), Clayton Oliver (Murray Bushrangers) GWS GIANTS B: Heath Shaw, Aidan Corr, Matt BuntineHB: Nathan Wilson, Phil Davis, Adam KennedyC: Lachie Whitfield, Callan Ward, James StewartHF: Rhys Palmer, Rory Lobb, Tom ScullyF: Toby Greene, Adam Tomlinson, Devon SmithFOLL: Shane Mumford, Ryan Griffen, Dylan Shiel I/C: Steve Johnson, Josh Kelly, Caleb Marchbank, Jack SteeleEMG: Stephen Coniglio, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Zac Williams NEW: Steve Johnson (Geelong)
  13. Strangely enough, the last time these teams met was the last time they played in a full AFL game. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Jeremy Howe HB: Daniel Cross, Tom McDonald, Christian Salem C: Jack Grimes, Bernie Vince, Mitch White HF: James Harmes, Oscar McDonald, Angus Brayshaw F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jay Kennedy-Harris Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen, Ben Newton, Billy Stretch EMG: Mark Jamar, Matt Jones, Jack Watts IN: Angus Brayshaw, James Harmes, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Mitch White OUT: Neville Jetta (calf), Matt Jones (omitted), Jake Spencer (concussion), Jack Watts (omitted) NEW: Mitch White (19, Dandenong Stingrays) GWS GIANTS B: Adam Kennedy, Caleb Marchbank, Zac Williams HB: Lachie Plowman, Aidan Corr, James Stewart C: Lachie Whitfield, Adam Treloar, Heath Shaw HF: Devon Smith, Cam McCarthy, Rhys Palmer F: Josh Kelly, Jeremy Cameron, Adam Tomlinson FOLL: Tom Downie, Callan Ward, Tommy Bugg I/C : Jake Barrett, Toby Greene, Jacob Townsend, Nathan Wilson EMG: Paul Ahern, Rory Lobb, Jack Steele IN: Jake Barrett, Jacob Townsend OUT: Stephen Coniglio (hamstring), Ryan Griffen (knee), NEW: Jake Barrett (19, NSW/ACT Rams)
  14. The old Mike Brady song had lyrics which spoke of the finals and the atmosphere in September. Were the Demons playing in September? Well, yes they were, but ... not in finals. Rather, it was some meaningless game at the end of the home and away season in a dump of a place called Etihad Stadium in front of a meagre 8,974 people - in itself setting a new record for lowest crowd attendance at the venue. At least in Melbourne's case, it finally put to bed yet another hoodoo in what has been a lacklustre year. After 22 consecutive losses the Demons finally beat someone at Etihad. And in bringing up their 7th win for the 2015 season, they gave their long-suffering supporters some glimmer of hope for next year. Yes, it was against a team only two spots above it on the ladder, but one which had recorded eleven wins for the season. It was a very different GWS side that fronted for the final game compared with the one that played in Canberra just a few months ago with the telling difference being the absence of Shane Mumford who simply brutalised Melbourne at Manuka Oval, and fed the small running Giants' players all day. Without him this time, Max Gawn had complete ascendency in the ruck with 55 hit outs! It was he who was able to provide the opportunity to the likes of Nathan Jones, Bernie Vince and Jack Viney both in the middle and around the ground. While we should never underestimate the value of the big man in this role, it also showed how fragile Melbourne is in this area. Without a suitable back-up, Lynden Dunn was asked to ruck to give Max a break. It was fortunate that GWS also had no backup for Tom Downie, but the team desperately needs someone else for 2016 to step up to assist in this area. With Vince, Jones and Viney all back to their best and Jesse Hogan monstering the young GWS backline the result should have been more of a landslide. Angus Brayshaw and James Harmes also showed the aggression and attack at man and ball necessary at AFL level plus the benefits of a weeks rest on their young bodies. However, there were still too many appalling episodes of play, which the supporters would have been all too familiar with that let the opposition in for easy goals or free kicks that resulted in goals. This writer has been banging on about them all season, and it is all too obvious to those who regularly attend the games, but there were players not playing today who were NOT missed in any way shape or form. Likewise, there were players on the field still, who do not play at the intensity and desperation and skill levels required at AFL level. Once again the off-season should see anywhere between eight and twelve players leave the club either by delisting or trade-out. These players have had their opportunities and simply cant make it. We do not need Hogan, Brayshaw and Viney types giving up, while these others coast along unscathed. Down back, Tom McDonald did a sterling job on Jeremy Cameron holding him to only 2 majors, while Col Garland seemed to find some of his earlier form and confidence as his wing-man. Oscar M is finding his way and it gave us the opportunity to move Dunn up forward and into the ruck pinch-hitting. Christian Salem was simply divine with his foot-skills and ability to read the play and the ball when in the air. How much better would we be as a team with just six others able to execute as well as he does? The other good thing is, while it was only one win in a fairly miserable last month of football, we have seen Roos get games into the youngsters at no real cost. Harmes, O. Mac, Stretch, White, JKH, and ANB all were given games when perhaps they might not have otherwise been entitled to them. But Roos was prepared to risk playing the youth instead of those sitting in the crowd or playing down the road for Casey. At least this group have shown more upside for the future and this has probably has sealed the fate of a few others. Finally, after attending football for a seriously long time I am completely confounded as to what this group of GWS supporters could possibly have been thinking? They cant possibly be married. What woman would let her man out in public dressed like that? In fact, what woman would let them dress like that ever? Melbourne 4.1.25 7.6.48 13.10.82 15.13.103 Greater Western Sydney 4.1.25 7.4.46 9.7.61 11.11.77 Goals Melbourne Hogan Newton 3 Garlett Harmes 2 Dunn Grimes Howe N Jones Kennedy-Harris Greater Western Sydney Cameron Williams 2 Greene Palmer Smith Stewart Townsend Ward Whitfield Best Melbourne N Jones Vince Viney Hogan Cross Garland McDonald Gawn Salem Greater Western Sydney Ward Greene Smith Shaw Townsend Changes Melbourne Nil Greater Western Sydney Nil Injuries Melbourne Cross (concussion) Greater Western Sydney Nil Substitutions Melbourne Alex Neal-Bullen replaced Mitch White in the final term Greater Western Sydney Jake Barrett replaced Caleb Marchbank at half-time Reports Melbourne Nil Greater Western Sydney Nil Umpires Foot Fisher Hay Wallace Official crowd 8,974 at Etihad Stadium
  15. The final round of the season was once the day upon which the fate of many players was finally decided. However, I suspect that these days such decisions are already made well in advance and the club's (and in some cases, the players) mind has already been made up. The fate of many has been signed, sealed and delivered. The past month has seen a different mood among the players from the very top down and pronouncements from the coach about the players and their history and of the need for the club to go to "another level and acquiring talent from rival clubs" suggests that we are about to see another exodus of the not quite rights and I suspect that many are aware that today marks the end of their careers at the club, and most likely in the AFL. Sadly, if the last month is anything to go by, we can't even expect them to give it their best shot which is, of course, the ultimate vindication of any decision to let a player go.
  16. THE CURTAIN FALLS by JVM My head is literally spinning at the prospect of Melbourne taking on the GWS Giants in our home city and while the pretenders from Western Sydney are without such key players as Shane Mumford, Phil Davis, Ryan Griffen, Dylan Shiel, Will Hoskin-Elliott and dare I say it, Tom Scully. No, I'm not saying this because I want to emulate the positivity about the club and this game that the powers that be would like displayed by supporters (as if that would have much bearing on team performance anyway) but rather as an indication that the Giants have not used the absence of some of their better players as an excuse for a lapse in effort leading to weak efforts and bad defeats. They are a young side, they have lost key playmakers including some of their most valuable and experienced team members - Mumford alone would make a substantial difference for then - and yet they were able to beat Carlton by 81 points last week. That's the same Carlton that Melbourne embarrassed itself only a week earlier when, at one stage just before half time, it trailed by one goal to ten. This is Melbourne which, a week earlier produced a goalless first quarter against the Bulldogs and were twelve goals down at the main break. The Melbourne which, after the club's negative culture as seen among its long-suffering supporters was emphasised ad nauseum in the media as being the problem. The fact is that the negative vibes at the club are merely a symptom of the fact that there are not enough players at the club who have sufficient ability to perform at the highest level, who can get their 25 to 30 possessions per game at the lower level but when it comes to the crunch, you look at their stats in the Fremantle game and the numbers beside their names are abysmally low and that's just numbers without representing the quality of their product. As a consequence, at this time of year, it's all left to the too few and to the inexperienced young kids and when the form of the team leaders in the categories of disposal count such as Nathan Jones and Bernie fall away from high 20s/30s per game to half that amount, it spells trouble with a capital T. So the curtain falls on a season of unfulfilled promise. There might have been improvement under Paul Roos but it really has been barely enough to register on the Richter Scale when you consider the fact that the club has recruited well and the list of players available is on paper far superior to that which he inherited. There is still much deadwood to be culled before we can stop making excuses. Against that backdrop, it is ironic that the first official end of year departure from the club is Daniel Cross who has been a fantastic heart and soul player in his two seasons with the Demons and whose example and effort will be sorely missed. Not a single one of those who follow him out of the door - and there will be many - will be able to put hand on heart and say he contributed more to the Melbourne Football Club in the last two years. THE GAME Melbourne v GWS Giants at Etihad Stadium, Sunday 6 September, 2015 at 1.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 3 wins GWS Giants 4 wins At Etihad Stadium Melbourne 0 wins GWS Giants 0 wins Past five meetings Melbourne 1 win GWS Giants 4 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Cameron 3 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel at 1.00pm (live) RADIO - SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Melbourne to win - $2.95 GWS Giants to win - $1.41 THE LAST TIME THEY MET GWS Giants 15.11.101 defeated Melbourne 8.8.56 at Startrack Stadium Round 2, 2015 The opposite Melbourne to the one we've seen in the past month played that day. The Demons were on fire early kicking four goals to nil in the opening stanza and late in the first half were leading by seven goals to one. They then put up the shutters and scored only one more goal to travel home totally humiliated, at one stage conceding fourteen unanswered goals. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Jeremy Howe HB: Daniel Cross, Tom McDonald, Christian Salem C: Jack Grimes, Bernie Vince, Mitch White HF: James Harmes, Oscar McDonald, Angus Brayshaw F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jay Kennedy-Harris Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen, Ben Newton, Billy Stretch EMG: Mark Jamar, Matt Jones, Jack Watts IN: Angus Brayshaw, James Harmes, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Mitch White OUT: Neville Jetta (calf), Matt Jones (omitted), Jake Spencer (concussion), Jack Watts (omitted) NEW: Mitch White (19, Dandenong Stingrays) GWS GIANTS B: Adam Kennedy, Caleb Marchbank, Zac Williams HB: Lachie Plowman, Aidan Corr, James Stewart C: Lachie Whitfield, Adam Treloar, Heath Shaw HF: Devon Smith, Cam McCarthy, Rhys Palmer F: Josh Kelly, Jeremy Cameron, Adam Tomlinson FOLL: Tom Downie, Callan Ward, Tommy Bugg I/C : Jake Barrett, Toby Greene, Jacob Townsend, Nathan Wilson EMG: Paul Ahern, Rory Lobb, Jack Steele IN: Jake Barrett, Jacob Townsend OUT: Stephen Coniglio (hamstring), Ryan Griffen (knee), NEW: Jake Barrett (19, NSW/ACT Rams) GWS already boasts its best record against the Dees with four wins to three in its brief history and it has a good chance of improving that on the hard and fast Etihad Stadium surface which is conducive to strong running teams such as the Giants on ballers. But are they really that good? The Giants are certainly not all that great at clearing the ball from the centre since they average only 10.5 centre clearances per game which puts them in 17th place in the competition. The problem however, is that the Demons are 18th in this category with an average of 10.4. I believe therefore that the best way for Melbourne to beat the odds and finish the season with a win - important in my book - is to assert ruck dominance through 208cm Max Gawn who will be relied upon to get the ball down to his on ball division and create enough take aways to make a difference. Gawn's opponent is little known third string ruckman Tom Downie who has been at the club for years but has played only seven games. He stands at 203cm and is in the team only by virtue of injuries to Shane Mumford and Andrew Phillips. The big danger for the Demons is their propensity to turn unknowns into champions overnight with outstanding match-winning performances against them (following which they disappear never to be seen again). However, I have faith in Max getting the pill down to his players and on to Jesse Hogan in quick enough time to make a difference this week. Melbourne desperately needs a quality midfielder so this game affords it the opportunity to impress Adam Treloar and prove to him that the club is a worthy destination. It probably won't happen but who knows? It really is time for the club to beat its Etihad Stadium hoodoo and to that end, it would be really exciting if the Dees could kick a goal in the first fifty minutes of elapsed play time even if there's nobody around to witness the achievement. My tip: a draw.
  17. My head is literally spinning at the prospect of Melbourne taking on the GWS Giants in our home city and while the pretenders from Western Sydney are without such key players as Shane Mumford, Phil Davis, Ryan Griffen, Dylan Shiel, Will Hoskin-Elliott and dare I say it, Tom Scully. No, I'm not saying this because I want to emulate the positivity about the club and this game that the powers that be would like displayed by supporters (as if that would have much bearing on team performance anyway) but rather as an indication that the Giants have not used the absence of some of their better players as an excuse for a lapse in effort leading to weak efforts and bad defeats. They are a young side, they have lost key playmakers including some of their most valuable and experienced team members - Mumford alone would make a substantial difference for then - and yet they were able to beat Carlton by 81 points last week. That's the same Carlton that Melbourne embarrassed itself only a week earlier when, at one stage just before half time, it trailed by one goal to ten. This is Melbourne which, a week earlier produced a goalless first quarter against the Bulldogs and were twelve goals down at the main break. The Melbourne which, after the club's negative culture as seen among its long-suffering supporters was emphasised ad nauseum in the media as being the problem. The fact is that the negative vibes at the club are merely a symptom of the fact that there are not enough players at the club who have sufficient ability to perform at the highest level, who can get their 25 to 30 possessions per game at the lower level but when it comes to the crunch, you look at their stats in the Fremantle game and the numbers beside their names are abysmally low and that's just numbers without representing the quality of their product. As a consequence, at this time of year, it's all left to the too few and to the inexperienced young kids and when the form of the team leaders in the categories of disposal count such as Nathan Jones and Bernie fall away from high 20s/30s per game to half that amount, it spells trouble with a capital T. So the curtain falls on a season of unfulfilled promise. There might have been improvement under Paul Roos but it really has been barely enough to register on the Richter Scale when you consider the fact that the club has recruited well and the list of players available is on paper far superior to that which he inherited. There is still much deadwood to be culled before we can stop making excuses. Against that backdrop, it is ironic that the first official end of year departure from the club is Daniel Cross who has been a fantastic heart and soul player in his two seasons with the Demons and whose example and effort will be sorely missed. Not a single one of those who follow him out of the door - and there will be many - will be able to put hand on heart and say he contributed more to the Melbourne Football Club in the last two years. THE GAME Melbourne v GWS Giants at Etihad Stadium, Sunday 6 September, 2015 at 1.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 3 wins GWS Giants 4 wins At Etihad Stadium Melbourne 0 wins GWS Giants 0 wins Past five meetings Melbourne 1 win GWS Giants 4 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Cameron 3 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel at 1.00pm (live) RADIO - SEN ABC ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Melbourne to win - $2.95 GWS Giants to win - $1.41 THE LAST TIME THEY MET GWS Giants 15.11.101 defeated Melbourne 8.8.56 at Startrack Stadium Round 2, 2015 The opposite Melbourne to the one we've seen in the past month played that day. The Demons were on fire early kicking four goals to nil in the opening stanza and late in the first half were leading by seven goals to one. They then put up the shutters and scored only one more goal to travel home totally humiliated, at one stage conceding fourteen unanswered goals. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Jeremy Howe HB: Daniel Cross, Tom McDonald, Christian Salem C: Jack Grimes, Bernie Vince, Mitch White HF: James Harmes, Oscar McDonald, Angus Brayshaw F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jay Kennedy-Harris Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Viv Michie, Alex Neal-Bullen, Ben Newton, Billy Stretch EMG: Mark Jamar, Matt Jones, Jack Watts IN: Angus Brayshaw, James Harmes, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Mitch White OUT: Neville Jetta (calf), Matt Jones (omitted), Jake Spencer (concussion), Jack Watts (omitted) NEW: Mitch White (19, Dandenong Stingrays) GWS GIANTS B: Adam Kennedy, Caleb Marchbank, Zac Williams HB: Lachie Plowman, Aidan Corr, James Stewart C: Lachie Whitfield, Adam Treloar, Heath Shaw HF: Devon Smith, Cam McCarthy, Rhys Palmer F: Josh Kelly, Jeremy Cameron, Adam Tomlinson FOLL: Tom Downie, Callan Ward, Tommy Bugg I/C : Jake Barrett, Toby Greene, Jacob Townsend, Nathan Wilson EMG: Paul Ahern, Rory Lobb, Jack Steele IN: Jake Barrett, Jacob Townsend OUT: Stephen Coniglio (hamstring), Ryan Griffen (knee), NEW: Jake Barrett (19, NSW/ACT Rams) GWS already boasts its best record against the Dees with four wins to three in its brief history and it has a good chance of improving that on the hard and fast Etihad Stadium surface which is conducive to strong running teams such as the Giants on ballers. But are they really that good? The Giants are certainly not all that great at clearing the ball from the centre since they average only 10.5 centre clearances per game which puts them in 17th place in the competition. The problem however, is that the Demons are 18th in this category with an average of 10.4. I believe therefore that the best way for Melbourne to beat the odds and finish the season with a win - important in my book - is to assert ruck dominance through 208cm Max Gawn who will be relied upon to get the ball down to his on ball division and create enough take aways to make a difference. Gawn's opponent is little known third string ruckman Tom Downie who has been at the club for years but has played only seven games. He stands at 203cm and is in the team only by virtue of injuries to Shane Mumford and Andrew Phillips. The big danger for the Demons is their propensity to turn unknowns into champions overnight with outstanding match-winning performances against them (following which they disappear never to be seen again). However, I have faith in Max getting the pill down to his players and on to Jesse Hogan in quick enough time to make a difference this week. Melbourne desperately needs a quality midfielder so this game affords it the opportunity to impress Adam Treloar and prove to him that the club is a worthy destination. It probably won't happen but who knows? It really is time for the club to beat its Etihad Stadium hoodoo and to that end, it would be really exciting if the Dees could kick a goal in the first fifty minutes of elapsed play time even if there's nobody around to witness the achievement. My tip: a draw.
  18. It was late in the second quarter of this game in Round 2 at Startrack Oval that our season began to unravel. My question this week is if we couldn't beat this mob last time with a 6 goal start, how are we going to go with the current mindset which involves not showing the slightest indication of scoring any goals until late in the first half? GWS GIANTS B: Heath Shaw, Phil Davis, Joel Patfull HB: Nick Haynes, Aidan Corr, Rhys Palmer C: Tommy Bugg, Callan Ward, Tom Scully HF: Lachie Whitfield, Jeremy Cameron, Cam McCarthy F: Adam Treloar, Adam Tomlinson, Josh Kelly FOLL: Shane Mumford, Stephen Coniglio, Dylan Shiel I/C: Toby Greene, Ryan Griffen, Devon Smith, Nathan Wilson EMG: Matt Buntine, Andrew Phillips, Zac Williams IN: Nathan Wilson OUT: Curtly Hampton (omitted) MELBOURNE B: Colin Garland, Lynden Dunn, Jeremy Howe HB: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Christian Salem C: Daniel Cross, Heritier Lumumba, Ben Newton HF: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jack Viney F: Jeff Garlett, Chris Dawes, Jack Watts FOLL: Mark Jamar, Dom Tyson, Nathan Jones I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince, Aaron vandenBerg EMG: Jay Kennedy-Harris, Viv Michie, Jake Spencer IN: Chris Dawes, Bernie Vince OUT: Jay Kennedy-Harris, Jimmy Toumpas (both omitted)
  19. This was supposed to be member appreciation round, where the Club showed its appreciation for the loyal supporters who have endured much during the year. The MFC players showed exactly how much they appreciate the support given in 2014 with a totally insipid and downright disgraceful display against a bottom of the ladder side. The fans were rewarded with a 10 goal loss against the Giants, who already had sent 6 of their players off for end of season surgery, and then lost Ward, Patton and Davis all before ½ time! At least the Saints could point to having to play a potential Grand Final contender away, on their home ground despite their 12 goal loss. But there was simply no excuse for what the Melbourne players did at their own home in front nearly 18,000 of their own fans. Half the membership turned out after yet another shocker of a year, and that is how they were rewarded.2 goals to ¾ time, and nearly half a game scoring only a lousy 5 points! Save for Nathan Jones and an occasional cameo from Max Gawn, Bernie Vince and Neville Jetta, the rest of the side shouldnt have turned up and they didnt! We now know Chip Frawley is on his bike, because he is simply disinterested in the game going on around him. Jack Watts has also become a spectator of the game, and stays further away from his opponent than an Ebola quarantine officer does with his patient. Surely Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson, Michie and Aiden Riley must wonder what they are doing, having left genuine football clubs with players who want to play football. Perhaps they too will fall into the Melbourne mould and adopt the bruise free approach to how to play the game. Perhaps they will adopt the scared little men approach and constantly look for someone else to do the work, or back away from moving forward and putting pressure on the opposition. Yes there is a bit more work required with these players, and we need to get it out of Jack Viney and Nathan Jones while we are at it. So thank you Melbourne players!! We really appreciate the support you have shown us. It would have been good if you had to talk to the long faced Melbourne supporter on the way home on the Belgrave line. He had been a member since 1982 and bought seven memberships for his family this year. But the kids dont want to go to the game any more, and it was probably good they didnt go along today. So he can see no point buying those seven memberships next year that is what happens when you THE PLAYERS serve up what you did today. It is what happens to people who have supported the club for 40 years and have that support rewarded with a spit in the face!! Yes, we the Melbourne supporters are MAD! Angry MAD that we have been treated so badly, and simply MAD to even contemplate turning up to watch the team play when next in Melbourne. We dont appreciate the way you have treated us! Melbourne 2.4.16 2.9.21 2.11.23 3.16.34 Greater Western Sydney 2.1.13 6.4.40 10.7.67 15.8.98 Goals Melbourne Garland Kent Watts Greater Western Sydney Palmer 4 Hoskin-Elliott 3 Kelly Smith 2 Boyd Mumford Shiel Treloar Best Melbourne Kent, N Jones, Tyson, Michie Greater Western Sydney Mumford, Palmer, Hoskin-Elliott, Smith, Shiel, Greene, Kelly, Tomlinson Changes Melbourne Nil Greater Western Sydney Nil Injuries Melbourne Grimes (hamstring) Greater Western Sydney Davis (concussion), Patton (knee), Ward (calf) Reports Melbourne Nil Greater Western Sydney Nil Umpires Craig Fleer Simon Meredith Stuart Wenn Crowd 17,218 at the MCG
  20. There is no more appropriate time in the course of Demon events than today for our football team to take a stand for truth, justice and the Australian way. Over the past eight years we've been ravaged, beaten and humiliated by the least worthy of participants in the AFL competition. Twelve months ago, we had our faces rubbed into it by this noxious vermin at some god foresaken wilderness to our north. We went back there again earlier this year and they flogged us within an inch of our lives. Enough with the humiliation! Now that the game's back on the MCG let's teach these suckers the meaning of humility. It's time to draw a line in the sand and not be satisfied to win by 7 goals to 5 which is where we were heading a fortnight ago content to drift home against Brisbane before our wheels fell off. No. In the words of Winston Churchill, today we're going to fight:-
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