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  1. 1st v 17th ... it would seem a sure one way contest between the Hawks and the Demons but it was not to be with the game finishing in a draw, the only positive being the Demons still retain their top spot on the ladder. Melbourne was taught a football lesson by Al Clarkson, who with limited resources, just instructed his players to scrap, fight and surge the ball forward. It stifled the Melbourne free flowing style of play and denied them the opportunities they could normally expect. It wasn’t helped that the Demons reverted to the old “kick it long” into the 50m arc, and if it wasn’t for Bayley Fritsch leading correctly, and finishing with 3 goals, the result would have been very different. Unfortunately for the Melbourne fans, it was obvious from the start the side was not switched on. And to add to the ever present MFCSS, the side has now lost 2 games and drawn 1 against 3 of the bottom 4 sides. What is the problem? What is the problem with the inaccurate kicking in front of goal? 4 goals 4 behinds in the first quarter should have been more like 6.2 or 7.1. And it continued right into the final quarter when Fritsch and Brayshaw managed only a solitary point between them from two kicks inside 50. Hawthorn just pressured with extra numbers around the ball from the second quarter, and we didn’t respond. It didn’t help with our use of individual players. Petracca spent a long time off the ground in the 3rd quarter when the game was in the balance. Gawn was down to 83% game time, well below his usual, leaving Jackson for too long in the ruck at critical times in the game. Spargo was only given 64% game time despite his 7 score involvements! The Hawks hit the front in the final term, and Melbourne managed to wrestle the lead back courtesy of a Pickett goal, but yet again, we conceded another out the back goal down the other end. The backs did their usual fine job, but 5 of Hawthorns goals came from their mids. Ours only provided one being the winger, Brayshaw. Lever excelled with 15 intercepts, and Harry Petty despite an early injury concern took a number of telling contested marks and spoils. You can’t fault the work of Salem and Hunt with 10 intercepts and 6 respectively, but the mids let the team down badly with their lack of coverage of their opponents. The possessions of the mids was evenly matched for both sides, but it was the lack of forward output and defensive cover that made the difference in the end. The poor forwards could be excused thinking they had been pushed back in time to 2019 with the way the ball was coming in. The kick it long and high was obviously not working from early in the game, but we just kept doing it. Getting the ball to ground was the Hawthorn plan and we assisted them. While Pickett provided chances around the packs, ANB did nothing again, while Spargo needed to be on the ground instead of the bench. Another deflating result for the Demons, yet they still hold top spot. Truly amazing, but it shows the value of the good start to the season that we have had. The big question now is with only 5 rounds to go before finals, can this slump be arrested. Can we show some grit and polish against a 14th placed Suns next round? Without that the Demon fans can expect to have their season expectations deflated in a big way. MELBOURNE 4.4.28 6.7.43 9.10.64 11.13.79 HAWTHORN 1.2.8 5.2.32 10.3.63 12.7.79 GOALS Melbourne Fritsch 3 Pickett 2 Brayshaw Brown Hunt McDonald Neal-Bullen Spargo Hawthorn Breust 3 Lewis 2 Howe Koschitzke McEvoy Mitchell Moore Philips Worpel BEST Melbourne Oliver Petracca Fritsch Jordon Gawn Viney Hawthorn Mitchell Breust O'Meara Worpel McEvoy INJURIES Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Conor Nash (isolation) replaced in selected side by James Cousins, REPORTS Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil SUBSTITUTES Melbourne Sparrow (unused) Hawthorn Newcombe (unused) UMPIRES: Justin Power, Matt Stevic, Andrew Stephens Official Crowd 0 at The MCG
  2. There is no certainty about life under a pandemic. You wake up one morning without a care in the world; the sun’s shining and it’s a beautiful day. An hour later, everything’s up in the air, the entire state is on high alert and the apartment complex next door’s in lockdown. The simple decision you had to make about buying a ticket to the footy at the weekend suddenly might get put on the back burner. There are other things in life to prioritise and on top of that, they’re predicting rain for the rest of the week. The Melbourne Football Club’s annual Pink Lady Match designed to shine a light on breast cancer is scheduled to occur as part of this week’s game against Hawthorn has again been affected by Covid19. It’s disappointing that the event will be limited to a virtual Pink Lady and that the AFL’s rostering might have deprived the game of free-to-air status but supporters can get behind the club’s special partnership with Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and do their bit to help those affected by this devastating disease that continues to impact people in these times of the pandemic at www.pinkladymatch.com.au Stand with me in the virtual Pink Lady on the ‘G I’ve bought my place to help BCNA fill the Pink Lady. Join me and show support for all Australians affected by breast cancer. #PinkLadyMatch #StandWithMeAtTheG #BCNAPinkLady www.pinkladymatch.com.au And so the game will (hopefully) go on, and most likely under dark and cloudy skies and with the possible rain that’s been predicted. One point of difference this year however, is that the Melbourne Football Club goes into the game on top of the ladder and with a measure of optimism that we can all hope will run off in a positive manner to those who suffer from breast cancer and all of their families and friends. Scroll down for the match preview and predicted result. THE GAME Melbourne v Hawthorn at the MCG Saturday 18 July 2021 at 7.25pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 79 wins Hawthorn 87 wins At the MCG Melbourne 39 wins Hawthorn 46 wins Last 5 meetings Melbourne 4 wins Hawthorn 1 win The Coaches Goodwin 4 wins Clarkson 2 wins 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 15.14.104 defeated Hawthorn 8.6.54 in Round 5, 2021 at The MCG The Hawks were up for the contest for a little over three quarters and even threatened a major upset before the Demons finally put them to the sword piling on eight goals in the final term for what remains their season high winning margin. 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: K. Pickett 36 T. McDonald 25 A. Brayshaw 10 F: A. Neal-Bullen 30 B. Brown 50 B. Fritsch 31 Foll: M. Gawn 11 C. Oliver 13 J. Viney 7 I/C: L. Jackson 6 T. Rivers 24 C. Spargo 9 A. vandenBerg 22 Sub: T. Sparrow 32 Emerg: J. Melksham 18 J. Smith 44 S. Weideman 26 In: A. vandenBerg Out: J. Harmes (infected ear) HAWTHORN B: D. Grainger-Barras 38 K. Hartigan 28 D. Howe 17 HB: S. Burgoyne 9 S. Frost 8 L. Bramble 16 C: D. Moore 36 J. Worpel 5 T. Phillips 21 HF: E. Jeka 39 L. Breust 22 J. O'Meara 10 F: J. Koschitzke 34 T. O'Brien 23 M. Lewis 2 Foll: B. McEvoy 7 T. Mitchell 3 L. Shiels 26 I/C: T. Brockman 42 J. Cousins 24 D. Greaves 30 N. Reeves 37 Emerg: O. Hanrahan 13 M. Hartley 27 J. Newcombe 44 In: J. Cousins T.O'Brien M.Lewis N.Reeves Out: J.Ceglar (hip) C. Jiath (knee) C. Nash (covid exposure) J.Scrimshaw (concussion) Injury List: Round 18 Nathan Jones (calf) — 1 to 2 Weeks Mitch Brown (heel) — 2 to 3 Weeks Bailey Laurie (shoulder) — 3 to 4 Weeks Marty Hore (knee) — 6 to 7 Weeks Aaron Nietschke (knee) — Season Adam Tomlinson (knee) — Season HARD RAIN by Whispering Jack On its face, this game should produce a very cut and dried result in favour of Melbourne. The Hawks were horrible last week on their Tasmanian home patch against the Dockers while the Demons were superb in dismantling the Power in Adelaide. However, these are days when one should not jump to conclusions when it comes to predicting outcomes in the AFL. The correct sign of the times might well be seen from the perspective of the other results from last weekend with several upsets in a round that proved to be a tipster’s nightmare. And it’s not as if consistency has been a hallmark of the clubs competing in this game. Melbourne has shown itself to be quite capable of beating all comers in the top eight — they’ve beaten the six teams immediately below them on the ladder and have yet to play the Eagles. They also smashed the reigning premier Richmond long before the Tiger’s descended into the four match losing slump that has them currently sitting in 12th place. Where the Demons have struggled to win has been against the other half, the down and almost outs like the Crows and Magpies and of course, the Hawks who not long ago smashed one of the AFL’s in-form teams, the Swans. Hawthorn seems to be a club without a purpose now that a decision has been made with regard to the succession between the successful coaching reign of Al Clarkson and the new broom of Sam Mitchell. The initial reaction of the players in the way in which they went about things against the Dockers was more than somewhat negative and it’s hard to see much of a change in attitude over the remainder of the season for the wounded Hawks. Leaving aside, the ups and downs in form, how can I go against the team with the strongest defence in the competition, a very competent and versatile midfield and a forward line that’s slowly getting its act together again? A team with great leadership and one that’s due to click sooner or later in its accuracy when kicking for goal. The opportunity is there to continue to work on producing the kind of pressure necessary to win every game they play irrespective of the opposition. So despite the doom and gloom of the time and irrespective of whether the predicted 80% chance of rain eventuated or whether we’re allowed to even witness the Pink Lady Match, I’m going for Melbourne to win by 46 points.
  3. This one shouldn’t trouble the memory too much as it wasn’t all that long ago. THE TEAMS HAWTHORN B: C. Jiath 29 K. Hartigan 28 B. Hardwick 15 HB: D. Howe 17 Sam Frost 8 J. Impey 4 C: J. Scrimshaw 3 T. Mitchell 3 L. Shiels 26 HF: D Moore 36 T. O'Brien 23 S. Burgoyne 9 F: L. Breust 22 J. Koschitzke 34 C. Wingard 20 Foll: B. McEvoy 7 J. Worpel 5 J. O’Meara 10 I/C: C. Nash O. Hanrahan H. Morrison T. Phillips Sub: J. Cousins Emerg: T. Brockman J. Ceglar M. Hartley In: O. Hanrahan J. Koschitzke C. Nash Out: T. Brockman (managed) J. Ceglar (omitted) M. Hartley (omitted) M. Lewis (suspended) MELBOURNE B: T. Rivers 24 H. Petty 35 A. Tomlinson 20 HB: C. Salem 3 J. Lever 8 J. Hunt 29 C: A. Brayshaw 10 C. Oliver 13 E. Langdon 15 HF: K. Pickett 36 T. McDonald 25 N. Jones 2 F: A. Neal-Bullen 30 L. Jackson 6 J. Melksham 18 Foll: M. Gawn 11 C. Petracca 5 J. Viney 7 I/C: M. Brown 38 M. Hibberd 14 Jordon 23 C. Spargo 9 Sub: T. Sparrow 32 Emerg: O. Baker 33 M. Daw 28 N. Jetta 39 In: M. Brown M. Hibberd H. Petty Out: B. Fritsch (hand fracture) N. Jetta (omitted) S. May (facial fracture) T. Sparrow (omitted)
  4. This is Melbourne’s line in the sand day. A win would keep the season alive and become a building block for the next phase in this crazy season. Defeat puts us in stage 4 lockdown.
  5. It was back in early May last year:- THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B Jordan Lewis Sam Frost Oscar McDonald HB Nathan Jones Tom McDonald Jayden Hunt C James Harmes Christian Salem Billy Stretch HF Bayley Fritsch Christian Petracca Jeff Garlett F Alex Neal-Bullen Declan Keilty Jake Melksham FOLL Max Gawn Clayton Oliver Angus Brayshaw I/C Michael Hibberd Marty Hore Jay Lockhart Josh Wagner EMG Harry Petty Tom Sparrow Corey Wagner Sam Weideman IN Oscar McDonald Josh Wagner OUT Jack Viney (shoulder) Tim Smith (back) Sam Weideman (omitted) HAWTHORN B Blake Hardwick Kaiden Brand Jarman Impey HB Tom Scully Ben Stratton Jack Gunston C Isaac Smith Jaeger O'Meara Daniel Howe HF Paul Puopolo Tim O'Brien James Sicily F Luke Breust Chad Wingard Jarryd Roughead FOLL Ben McEvoy James Worpel Ricky Henderson I/C Shaun Burgoyne Mitchell Lewis Dylan Moore Liam Shiels EMG Jonathon Ceglar Harry Morrison Conor Nash Jack Scrimshaw IN Shaun Burgoyne Dylan Moore OUT James Cousins (suspended) Jack Scrimshaw (managed)
  6. There is no way of getting around the fact that Melbourne is the disappointment team of the AFL competition and, because it came into the season as a big top four fancy and now sits stone motherless last with a 1-5 win-loss record, it is fast becoming a laughing stock. The only way in which the Demons can restore any sense of pride, let alone its rapidly diminishing hopes of making the finals is for it to overcome Hawthorn on Saturday in the replay of last year’s preliminary final. There can be no further excuses for the Demons; no claims of a lost pre season, complaints of a long and deep injury list or talk of players in the doldrums having lost the form that got the team ever so close to top billing in 2018. The club needs to put all those things behind it and start winning games and, in that respect, the fact that they face the Hawks should not present itself as a daunting task any more than facing up to the scars and the mental demons of the past month or so. Hawthorn’s form, after all, hasn’t been all that flash either given it has had a draw that has so far included one outing against a top eight team from 2018. The Hawks have lost to St Kilda and Hawthorn and struggled in their wins against Adelaide, North Melbourne and Carlton against who they were very lucky winners. For all of Al Clarkson’s genius, he is barely papering over the cracks in his team’s makeup which means they are vulnerable this week if his counterpart, Simon Goodwin, can get his team up and running and in the right frame of mind. That’s easier said than done as we’ve seen on a few occasions already this season but, with the with readjustment that we are starting to witness in terms of the way the team was able to tighten up their defensive efforts against Richmond, it might not be all that far away. It’s hard to fathom that a team that was able to dominate centre clearances and inside 50 entries and turn them into such a potent attack in one season, can continue to lag so badly in the next. The Demons look like bolstering their attacking forces this week and I’m tipping them to turn things around against a very shaky Hawks. Melbourne by 28 points. THE GAME Hawthorn v Melbourne at the MCG Saturday 4 May 2019 at 1.45pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 76 wins Hawthorn 87 wins At MCG Melbourne 37 wins Hawthorn 46 wins Last 5 meetings Melbourne 2 wins Hawthorn 3 wins The Coaches Goodwin 1 win Clarkson 2 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 1.30pm RADIO - Triple M ABC 3AW THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 16.8.104 defeated Hawthorn 10.11.71 in Semi Final, 2018 at the MCG The Demons earned a berth in the Preliminary Final against the Eagles with a resounding 33-point victory on the MCG against Hawthorn in front of 90,152 fans. Jack Viney was in sparkling form on the ball picking up 27 touches and Tom McDonald booted four goals. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B Jordan Lewis Sam Frost Oscar McDonald HB Nathan Jones Tom McDonald Jayden Hunt C James Harmes Christian Salem Billy Stretch HF Bayley Fritsch Christian Petracca Jeff Garlett F Alex Neal-Bullen Declan Keilty Jake Melksham FOLL Max Gawn Clayton Oliver Angus Brayshaw I/C Michael Hibberd Marty Hore Jay Lockhart Josh Wagner EMG Harry Petty Tom Sparrow Corey Wagner Sam Weideman IN Oscar McDonald Josh Wagner OUT Jack Viney (shoulder) Tim Smith (back) Sam Weideman (omitted) HAWTHORN B Blake Hardwick Kaiden Brand Jarman Impey HB Tom Scully Ben Stratton Jack Gunston C Isaac Smith Jaeger O'Meara Daniel Howe HF Paul Puopolo Tim O'Brien James Sicily F Luke Breust Chad Wingard Jarryd Roughead FOLL Ben McEvoy James Worpel Ricky Henderson I/C Shaun Burgoyne Mitchell Lewis Dylan Moore Liam Shiels EMG Jonathon Ceglar Harry Morrison Conor Nash Jack Scrimshaw IN Shaun Burgoyne Dylan Moore OUT James Cousins (suspended) Jack Scrimshaw (managed) Round 7: Injury List Alex Neal-Bullen (hamstring) – available Braydon Preuss (shoulder) – 1 week Tim Smith (back) - 1 week Jack Viney (shoulder) – 2 weeks Mitch Hannan (knee) – 3-4 weeks Jake Lever (knee) – 3-4 weeks Steven May (groin) – 3-4 weeks Corey Maynard (hip) – 3-4 weeks Jay Kennedy Harris (knee) – 3-5 weeks Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – TBA Joel Smith (groin) – 6-8 weeks Neville Jetta (knee) – 10-12 weeks Kade Kolodjashnij (concussion) – TBA Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season
  7. STATEMENT by The Oracle The Melbourne Football Club is at a point in its history when the time has come for the team to make a definitive statement. For too long, the Demons have struggled to produce consistency in their performance from week to week. Supporters have scratched their heads in puzzlement at how their form could ebb and flow and, just when the time was ripe for an upward step, they would put in a shocker. Now is the time for a statement about standing up and winning games they are expected to win. I believe that Melbourne is now in a position to turn the tide of inconsistency and the reason is due in part to the arrival of a trio of players who have come into the fold and who possess the presence and the experience necessary to steady a ship when things go wrong. Former Hawk Jordan Lewis is poised to show his old club the folly of allowing a player of his ilk to slip through their fingers. Last week he added steadiness and invaluable leadership to the Demon midfield with his 30 touches and this was matched by the club's co-captains who were instrumental in helping the team overrun the Bombers in the second half. Two defenders from Essendon in Michael Hibberd and Jake Melksham have added solidity to the Melbourne defence. The former has been a revelation in his two matches while the latter is gradually adding to the club's depth in this area*. At a time when injuries have been a negative factor, the presence of the newcomers is helping to change the shape of the club. Of course, it's not just the three on their own - there are young players at the club coming into their own and producing consistent performances. Names like Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Jayden Hunt and Christian Salem are carving a niche in the game for themselves. Last week the Demons missed their All Australian ruckman in Max Gawn (and he will still be missing for several weeks to come) but they are likely to get Jesse Hogan back after the passing of his father. His return will be welcome as it will provide an extra dimension to the team's fire power. After a lacklustre start to the season, he is another important presence on the ground. With Jack Watts, Jeff Garlett, Petracca and Mitch Hannan all capable of kicking goals, the forward line is starting to take on a formidable shape. There's always a danger in underestimating your opponent on any given day and Demon fans are well aware of the perils of taking the demoralized Hawks lightly. The West Coast Eagles discovered that just two weeks ago. But the opportunity is there to make a big statement about the dependability of the playing group even after the injuries, the suspensions and the personal setbacks of the first month and a half of the season. Melbourne will win this game and in doing so will continue the upward trend in its fortunes that began when Paul Roos was appointed to coach the club almost four years ago. * You give a bloke some praise and the selectors drop him. Sheesh! THE GAME Melbourne v Hawthorn at the MCG Sunday 7 May 2017 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 75 wins Hawthorn 85 wins At MCG Melbourne 36 wins Hawthorn 44 wins Last 5 meetings Melbourne 1 win Hawthorn 4 wins The Coaches Goodwin 0 wins Clarkson 0 wins MEDIA TV - Channel 7, Fox Sports 503 live at 3.00pm RADIO - Triple M, 3AW, ABC, ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Melbourne $1.44 to win Hawthorn $2.80 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 17.8.110 defeated Hawthorn 11.15.81 in Round 20, 2016 at the MCG Max Gawn had 41 hit outs, 16 possessions and 11 marks to drive a famous victory for the Demons who prevailed over the Hawks for the first time in a decade. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Sam Frost, Jordan Lewis C: Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver, Tom Bugg HF: Christian Petracca, Jack Watts, Mitch Hannan F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jay Kennedy-Harris FOLL: Cam Pedersen, Bernie Vince, Jack Viney I/C: Oscar McDonald, Christian Salem, Dom Tyson, Josh Wagner EMG: Dean Kent, Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch IN: Jesse Hogan, Josh Wagner OUT: Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen HAWTHORN B: Grant Burchall, James Frawley, Ben Stratton, HB: Ryan Burton, Josh Gibson, Shaun Burgoyne C: Isaac Smith, Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O'Meara HF: Luke Breust, Tim O'Brien, Jack Gunston F: Paul Puopolo, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli FOLL: Ben McEvoy Liam Shiels Luke Hodge I/C: Blake Hardwick, Billy Hartung, Daniel Howe, James Sicily, Brendan Whitecross EMG: Kaiden Brand, Will Langford, James Sicily IN: Grant Birchall, Cyril Rioli OUT: Kaiden Brand, Will Langford There is no question that Hawthorn is on a downward spiral. The Hawks have suffered three massive losses in excess of 12 goals so far this year including one by 86 points against Gold Coast in Round 3. However, history tells us that when great teams are in their death throes they retain the capacity to dig deep and rise to the occasion. They did this in Round 5 against the Eagles and with two stars back in their side this week and the recriminations of another failure ringing in their ears, they will certainly be trying to defy their detractors. In a round that is already looming as a round of major upsets, Hawthorn also has the added incentive of atoning for their last encounter with Melbourne which was the Round 20 loss that sent the team spiraling downward from the top ladder position which they then firmly held to a situation where they failed to even make a preliminary final in September and further to the lowly place they now occupy on the competition table. Melbourne also has something to prove as circumstance has robbed it of the opportunity to hold a firm grip on a finals place - even at this early stage. With the club welcoming back Jesse Hogan after Jordan Lewis' return last week and the club debut of Michael Hibberd the week before that, the Demons are back to almost full strength with the exception of the big hole in ruck left by the injury to Max Gawn. The game is all about coping with the loss of players through injury and sometimes this has to be done by improvisation. Simon Goodwin has demonstrated in his short time at the helm that he is capable of pulling rabbits out a hat and last week, his unorthodox ruck set up headed by Cam Pedersen, showed that he is very good at making hard things work. Melbourne by 29 points.
  8. FOUR QUARTERS by George on the Outer A loss to Fremantle by two points. Thirteen points to Richmond after it was all tied up as time on began in the last, 29 points to the Cats after leading at the final break and now three points to Hawthorn. In each and every match that Melbourne has lost this year, it has led or been level with the opposition late in the game, and each time it has been unable to put a win on the board. Yes, the Demons are missing an all-Australian ruckman in Max Gawn and more lately his next in line, but they have still outplayed the opposition in his absence, and in this match despite losing the tap-out stats, they still won the clearances. The critical factor missing is the lack of intensity among the players for four quarters. The competition is that even in 2017, that to drop one's guard for even a short period of time can guarantee a loss. In this match it was all to be seen in the first quarter, with the half-hearted efforts from numerous players who thought they just had to go through the motions. Suddenly, the team was four goals down and effectively, given the end result, all but over. Running hard, tackling, and being aggressive at the ball and man wasn’t seen in that first half. It was only after the main break that the Demons produced the football we now know they are capable of, and dragged back the four goal deficit to be within a point at ¾ time. How a team can kick four goals in a half of football and then seven in the next 30 minutes is enough to give the coaching team nightmares. And Simon Goodwin and the coaches can take some credit for that turnaround with their positional moves that produced instant results. Jayden Hunt forward produced two goals in the opening minutes of the second half. Tom McDonals to the backline to bolster and provide a cool head. This not only released Sam Frost to produce some stellar runs and moves, but forced Oscar McDonald to be third man in defence instead of first - a task that was beyond him in the first half of the game. Yet, he became a solid last line and took telling marks and possessions when needed. Despite assistant coach, Troy Chaplin, alluding to it at the ¼ time break, they had to stop overusing the handball, it still took them another quarter until they stopped the frivolous handpass to teammates standing one metre away. Contrast that with the old Hawks, who in a tight situation often put the ball on the boot with accuracy to gain metreage (hope you were watching Clarrie)! And by the way, can one of the defenders stay down in marking contests? It’s becoming a systemic flaw each week now! When those changes were implemented, the Demons returned to dominance and had the Hawks on the ropes. But sadly, some stupid errors and simple mis-positioning in the middle gave them first use of the ball at the critical juncture. With a dominant ruckman in McEvoy, Demon mids left Burgoyne and Mitchell side by side and guess where the ball went and was then delivered to the leading forward? Game over, although Melbourne had one last thrust which again was un-done with stupid handball. It’s a good thing Simon Goodwin has a crew-cut for his hairstyle, because he would be tearing it out when he has to witness that from senior players. All credit must go to the younger players again. Jack Viney led the way for the whole game and despite carrying an injury to his leg ( tape on knee area) 32 touches of which 16 were contested was a true captain's game. Jayden Hunt turned the game on (again) with his speed and toughness. Jesse Hogan deserved more following his return to the game, and if treated as equally by the umpires as Jordan Roughead was in front of goal, his return would have been more than the three goals. Unfortunately JKH, Mitch Hannan and Tom Bugg are probably looking at missing the trip to Adelaide next week, JKH in particular, who managed not to not tackle a single player in 100 minutes of football. Hannan continued to run around without purpose on the forward line and didn’t provide sufficient defensive pressure to stop the ball rebounding for the whole game. Buggy just can’t hit a target when needed and makes silly decisions. For all of them there are easy replacements. So Adelaide it is next week in front of a hostile crowd. There is only one way to silence them, and that is to get off to an early start and take away their momentum. North Melbourne did it to them this week (with the help of a howling wind in the first quarter), but when they failed to score in that quarter, they couldn’t come back. The Demons should learn the lesson from that match and our own. Either bring your best to the contest from the start and play that way for the whole four quarters, or another loss will eventuate. Melbourne 1.1.7 4.2.26 11.6.72 14.7.91 Hawthorn 5.4.34 8.7.51 11.7.73 14.10.94 Goals Melbourne Garlett Hogan 3 Hunt Lewis 2 Jones Pedersen Viney Watts Hawthorn Roughead 4 Gunston McEvoy O'Brien 2 Breust Burgoyne Langford Smith Best Melbourne Viney, Lewis Frost Oliver, Jones Hibberd Hogan Hawthorn McEvoy Burgoyne Roughead Mitchell Langford O'Brien, Hardwick Changes Melbourne Nil Hawthorn O'Meara (knee soreness) replaced in selected side by Langford Injuries Melbourne Hunt (left shoulder) Hawthorn Birchall (right knee) Reports Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Umpires Kamolins Ryan Jeffery Official crowd 38,693 at the MCG
  9. A loss to Fremantle by two points. Thirteen points to Richmond after it was all tied up as time on began in the last, 29 points to the Cats after leading at the final break and now three points to Hawthorn. In each and every match that Melbourne has lost this year, it has led or been level with the opposition late in the game, and each time it has been unable to put a win on the board. Yes, the Demons are missing an all-Australian ruckman in Max Gawn and more lately his next in line, but they have still outplayed the opposition in his absence, and in this match despite losing the tap-out stats, they still won the clearances. The critical factor missing is the lack of intensity among the players for four quarters. The competition is that even in 2017, that to drop one's guard for even a short period of time can guarantee a loss. In this match it was all to be seen in the first quarter, with the half-hearted efforts from numerous players who thought they just had to go through the motions. Suddenly, the team was four goals down and effectively, given the end result, all but over. Running hard, tackling, and being aggressive at the ball and man wasn’t seen in that first half. It was only after the main break that the Demons produced the football we now know they are capable of, and dragged back the four goal deficit to be within a point at ¾ time. How a team can kick four goals in a half of football and then seven in the next 30 minutes is enough to give the coaching team nightmares. And Simon Goodwin and the coaches can take some credit for that turnaround with their positional moves that produced instant results. Jayden Hunt forward produced two goals in the opening minutes of the second half. Tom McDonals to the backline to bolster and provide a cool head. This not only released Sam Frost to produce some stellar runs and moves, but forced Oscar McDonald to be third man in defence instead of first - a task that was beyond him in the first half of the game. Yet, he became a solid last line and took telling marks and possessions when needed. Despite assistant coach, Troy Chaplin, alluding to it at the ¼ time break, they had to stop overusing the handball, it still took them another quarter until they stopped the frivolous handpass to teammates standing one metre away. Contrast that with the old Hawks, who in a tight situation often put the ball on the boot with accuracy to gain metreage (hope you were watching Clarrie)! And by the way, can one of the defenders stay down in marking contests? It’s becoming a systemic flaw each week now! When those changes were implemented, the Demons returned to dominance and had the Hawks on the ropes. But sadly, some stupid errors and simple mis-positioning in the middle gave them first use of the ball at the critical juncture. With a dominant ruckman in McEvoy, Demon mids left Burgoyne and Mitchell side by side and guess where the ball went and was then delivered to the leading forward? Game over, although Melbourne had one last thrust which again was un-done with stupid handball. It’s a good thing Simon Goodwin has a crew-cut for his hairstyle, because he would be tearing it out when he has to witness that from senior players. All credit must go to the younger players again. Jack Viney led the way for the whole game and despite carrying an injury to his leg ( tape on knee area) 32 touches of which 16 were contested was a true captain's game. Jayden Hunt turned the game on (again) with his speed and toughness. Jesse Hogan deserved more following his return to the game, and if treated as equally by the umpires as Jordan Roughead was in front of goal, his return would have been more than the three goals. Unfortunately JKH, Mitch Hannan and Tom Bugg are probably looking at missing the trip to Adelaide next week, JKH in particular, who managed not to not tackle a single player in 100 minutes of football. Hannan continued to run around without purpose on the forward line and didn’t provide sufficient defensive pressure to stop the ball rebounding for the whole game. Buggy just can’t hit a target when needed and makes silly decisions. For all of them there are easy replacements. So Adelaide it is next week in front of a hostile crowd. There is only one way to silence them, and that is to get off to an early start and take away their momentum. North Melbourne did it to them this week (with the help of a howling wind in the first quarter), but when they failed to score in that quarter, they couldn’t come back. The Demons should learn the lesson from that match and our own. Either bring your best to the contest from the start and play that way for the whole four quarters, or another loss will eventuate. Melbourne 1.1.7 4.2.26 11.6.72 14.7.91 Hawthorn 5.4.34 8.7.51 11.7.73 14.10.94 Goals Melbourne Garlett Hogan 3 Hunt Lewis 2 Jones Pedersen Viney Watts Hawthorn Roughead 4 Gunston McEvoy O'Brien 2 Breust Burgoyne Langford Smith Best Melbourne Viney, Lewis Frost Oliver, Jones Hibberd Hogan Hawthorn McEvoy Burgoyne Roughead Mitchell Langford O'Brien, Hardwick Changes Melbourne Nil Hawthorn O'Meara (knee soreness) replaced in selected side by Langford Injuries Melbourne Hunt (left shoulder) Hawthorn Birchall (right knee) Reports Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Umpires Kamolins Ryan Jeffery Official crowd 38,693 at the MCG
  10. Big day for the club ... Pink Lady Day for Breast Cancer Awareness and 40,000 members for the first time. Playing at home with the prize for a win being a place in the 8.
  11. The Melbourne Football Club is at a point in its history when the time has come for the team to make a definitive statement. For too long, the Demons have struggled to produce consistency in their performance from week to week. Supporters have scratched their heads in puzzlement at how their form could ebb and flow and, just when the time was ripe for an upward step, they would put in a shocker. Now is the time for a statement about standing up and winning games they are expected to win. I believe that Melbourne is now in a position to turn the tide of inconsistency and the reason is due in part to the arrival of a trio of players who have come into the fold and who possess the presence and the experience necessary to steady a ship when things go wrong. Former Hawk Jordan Lewis is poised to show his old club the folly of allowing a player of his ilk to slip through their fingers. Last week he added steadiness and invaluable leadership to the Demon midfield with his 30 touches and this was matched by the club's co-captains who were instrumental in helping the team overrun the Bombers in the second half. Two defenders from Essendon in Michael Hibberd and Jake Melksham have added solidity to the Melbourne defence. The former has been a revelation in his two matches while the latter is gradually adding to the club's depth in this area*. At a time when injuries have been a negative factor, the presence of the newcomers is helping to change the shape of the club. Of course, it's not just the three on their own - there are young players at the club coming into their own and producing consistent performances. Names like Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Jayden Hunt and Christian Salem are carving a niche in the game for themselves. Last week the Demons missed their All Australian ruckman in Max Gawn (and he will still be missing for several weeks to come) but they are likely to get Jesse Hogan back after the passing of his father. His return will be welcome as it will provide an extra dimension to the team's fire power. After a lacklustre start to the season, he is another important presence on the ground. With Jack Watts, Jeff Garlett, Petracca and Mitch Hannan all capable of kicking goals, the forward line is starting to take on a formidable shape. There's always a danger in underestimating your opponent on any given day and Demon fans are well aware of the perils of taking the demoralized Hawks lightly. The West Coast Eagles discovered that just two weeks ago. But the opportunity is there to make a big statement about the dependability of the playing group even after the injuries, the suspensions and the personal setbacks of the first month and a half of the season. Melbourne will win this game and in doing so will continue the upward trend in its fortunes that began when Paul Roos was appointed to coach the club almost four years ago. * You give a bloke some praise and the selectors drop him. Sheesh! THE GAME Melbourne v Hawthorn at the MCG Sunday 7 May 2017 at 3.20pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 75 wins Hawthorn 85 wins At MCG Melbourne 36 wins Hawthorn 44 wins Last 5 meetings Melbourne 1 win Hawthorn 4 wins The Coaches Goodwin 0 wins Clarkson 0 wins MEDIA TV - Channel 7, Fox Sports 503 live at 3.00pm RADIO - Triple M, 3AW, ABC, ABC Grandstand THE BETTING Melbourne $1.44 to win Hawthorn $2.80 THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 17.8.110 defeated Hawthorn 11.15.81 in Round 20, 2016 at the MCG Max Gawn had 41 hit outs, 16 possessions and 11 marks to drive a famous victory for the Demons who prevailed over the Hawks for the first time in a decade. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Michael Hibberd, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Sam Frost, Jordan Lewis C: Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver, Tom Bugg HF: Christian Petracca, Jack Watts, Mitch Hannan F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jay Kennedy-Harris FOLL: Cam Pedersen, Bernie Vince, Jack Viney I/C: Oscar McDonald, Christian Salem, Dom Tyson, Josh Wagner EMG: Dean Kent, Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch IN: Jesse Hogan, Josh Wagner OUT: Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen HAWTHORN B: Grant Burchall, James Frawley, Ben Stratton, HB: Ryan Burton, Josh Gibson, Shaun Burgoyne C: Isaac Smith, Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O'Meara HF: Luke Breust, Tim O'Brien, Jack Gunston F: Paul Puopolo, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli FOLL: Ben McEvoy Liam Shiels Luke Hodge I/C: Blake Hardwick, Billy Hartung, Daniel Howe, James Sicily, Brendan Whitecross EMG: Kaiden Brand, Will Langford, James Sicily IN: Grant Birchall, Cyril Rioli OUT: Kaiden Brand, Will Langford There is no question that Hawthorn is on a downward spiral. The Hawks have suffered three massive losses in excess of 12 goals so far this year including one by 86 points against Gold Coast in Round 3. However, history tells us that when great teams are in their death throes they retain the capacity to dig deep and rise to the occasion. They did this in Round 5 against the Eagles and with two stars back in their side this week and the recriminations of another failure ringing in their ears, they will certainly be trying to defy their detractors. In a round that is already looming as a round of major upsets, Hawthorn also has the added incentive of atoning for their last encounter with Melbourne which was the Round 20 loss that sent the team spiraling downward from the top ladder position which they then firmly held to a situation where they failed to even make a preliminary final in September and further to the lowly place they now occupy on the competition table. Melbourne also has something to prove as circumstance has robbed it of the opportunity to hold a firm grip on a finals place - even at this early stage. With the club welcoming back Jesse Hogan after Jordan Lewis' return last week and the club debut of Michael Hibberd the week before that, the Demons are back to almost full strength with the exception of the big hole in ruck left by the injury to Max Gawn. The game is all about coping with the loss of players through injury and sometimes this has to be done by improvisation. Simon Goodwin has demonstrated in his short time at the helm that he is capable of pulling rabbits out a hat and last week, his unorthodox ruck set up headed by Cam Pedersen, showed that he is very good at making hard things work. Melbourne by 29 points.
  12. THE BREAKOUT by George on the Outer At some point, as an upcoming side moves upwards from the lower reaches of the League ladder, there comes a defining moment. It is that moment that causes others to take notice, to admit that there is something genuine about the team's progress and to recognise that for the future they will have to be taken seriously. All that occurred in one afternoon in August 2016 when 11th placed Melbourne defeated the top of the ladder Hawthorn by nearly five goals. Paul Roos promised to re-build the playing list during his reign as coach, while off-field leader Peter Jackson has at the same time rebuilt the club. As we approach the end of the 2016 season, Melbourne supporters can finally see that those promises are being delivered. We have seen the steady progression of the side under Roos' tutelage but this game was the breakout that signified the step necessary to be a genuine future contender in the competition. Before the match, there were few who regarded Melbourne's prospects for success on the day. Hawthorn had a nine game winning streak, had won the last three premierships, and were fielding most of their well-credentialed list. Their battle hardened warriors in Hodge, Lewis, Mitchell, Burgoyne, Gibson and Rioli were all there. It had been ten years since a Demons side had beaten Hawthorn. It was a big task for the youngest AFL team to take to the field since the introduction of GWS –Gold Coast to provide even a meaningful contest, especially as it followed a 6 day break and two recent long interstate trips to Perth and Darwin. With everything pointing to an easy Hawthorn victory, the result and the size of the win was particularly notable. The young Demons got off to a flyer of a start with an early goal to Jayden Hunt when on the run, and then Sam Weideman, in his debut game, joined that elite group of AFL players to have kicked a goal with his first touch. But Hawthorn returned the fire and for the majority of the match the scoreboard showed barely a two goal difference between the two sides. That in itself was remarkable, because Hawthon with their skills, experience and stronger bodies should have been making a greater mark. However, the mark was being made by the Melbourne players instead. Max Gawn dominated the Hawthorn duo of McEvoy and Ceglar in the ruck contests with 41 hit-outs. Not only that but he took 11 marks around the ground, with some particularly telling contested ones both in offence and defence. His performances in this match and during the season have surely marked him as a certainty for AA selection this year. The game was almost a repeat of that when the teams last met. Melbourne close, sometimes in front, but eventually losing it in the last quarter. This time the roles were reversed as the Demons played with the same level of intensity, right up to the final siren. What was also different from the last was the output from the younger players. Christian Petracca may not have had spectacular statistics with only 12 touches, but seven of those were contested, and what was not reflected on the stats sheet was his new found ability to break tackles. He now knows his own strength and will use it more and more as he matures from his ripe old age of 20! Once again, it was Jack Viney leading the charge. 39 touches, 16 contested and 7 clearances. He is only 22! Clayton Oliver rejoined the mids after his further development in the VFL to record 23 disposals, 11 contested, 8 clearances. He just turned 19 a fortnight ago! Angus Brayshaw 16 disposals, 6 contested and he is just 20! Complementing them were Dom Tyson and Nathan Jones with their usual output of 30 touches each, and the injection of this talented youth made all the difference to the end result. Despite Jesse Hogan not playing, he was not missed because Weideman, Cameron Pedersen and Jack Watts stood up to more than adequately provide a target when the ball moved forward. Watts was once again unstoppable. With three telling goals, his turnaround from bit player to damaging pivot is yet another example of what Roos has achieved. He might have scored three on his own, but his pin-point passing and willingness to get involved provided others scoring opportunities that were manufactured from nothing. Troubling for the AFL was again the appalling display from the umpiring department. Calls which were just best guesses, or made on the assumption that the Hawthorn player could not possibly do wrong were rife throughout the game. How Rioli was gifted a free 15 metres out after a high bump to Oliver, which will surely be reviewed by the MRC was simply incomprehensible. Six Hawthorn goals came from free kicks. Without this one-sided interpretation, a rout in favour of the Demons would have happened. This was the breakout game. If there was ever any doubt in Hogan and Tom McDonald’s mind about where this club is heading, then this match would have settled it well and truly. The next step is the break-in that will see us vault into the finals. It probably won’t happen this year, but with the surfeit of talent that Roos and his team have accumulated, 2017 is a certainty. Melbourne 5.2.32 9.2.56 12.6.78 17.8.110 Hawthorn 3.3.21 7.9.51 10.12.72 11.15.81 Goals Melbourne Watts 3 Bugg Tyson Weideman 2 Brayshaw Gawn Hunt Pedersen Petracca Stretch vandenBerg Hawthorn Rioli 4 Ceglar Gunston Smith 2 O'Brien Best Melbourne N Jones Gawn Viney Tyson Watts Vince T McDonald Oliver Hawthorn Rioli Smith Hodge Lewis Mitchell Changes Melbourne Jesse Hogan (bruised knee) replaced by Cameron Pedersen Hawthorn James Frawley (shoulder) replaced by Injuries Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Stratton (pectoral muscle) replaced by Reports Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Umpires Farmer, Rosebury, Wallace Official crowd 38,818 at the MCG
  13. At some point, as an upcoming side moves upwards from the lower reaches of the League ladder, there comes a defining moment. It is that moment that causes others to take notice, to admit that there is something genuine about the team's progress and to recognise that for the future they will have to be taken seriously. All that occurred in one afternoon in August 2016 when 11th placed Melbourne defeated the top of the ladder Hawthorn by nearly five goals. Paul Roos promised to re-build the playing list during his reign as coach, while off-field leader Peter Jackson has at the same time rebuilt the club. As we approach the end of the 2016 season, Melbourne supporters can finally see that those promises are being delivered. We have seen the steady progression of the side under Roos' tutelage but this game was the breakout that signified the step necessary to be a genuine future contender in the competition. Before the match, there were few who regarded Melbourne's prospects for success on the day. Hawthorn had a nine game winning streak, had won the last three premierships, and were fielding most of their well-credentialed list. Their battle hardened warriors in Hodge, Lewis, Mitchell, Burgoyne, Gibson and Rioli were all there. It had been ten years since a Demons side had beaten Hawthorn. It was a big task for the youngest AFL team to take to the field since the introduction of GWS –Gold Coast to provide even a meaningful contest, especially as it followed a 6 day break and two recent long interstate trips to Perth and Darwin. With everything pointing to an easy Hawthorn victory, the result and the size of the win was particularly notable. The young Demons got off to a flyer of a start with an early goal to Jayden Hunt when on the run, and then Sam Weideman, in his debut game, joined that elite group of AFL players to have kicked a goal with his first touch. But Hawthorn returned the fire and for the majority of the match the scoreboard showed barely a two goal difference between the two sides. That in itself was remarkable, because Hawthon with their skills, experience and stronger bodies should have been making a greater mark. However, the mark was being made by the Melbourne players instead. Max Gawn dominated the Hawthorn duo of McEvoy and Ceglar in the ruck contests with 41 hit-outs. Not only that but he took 11 marks around the ground, with some particularly telling contested ones both in offence and defence. His performances in this match and during the season have surely marked him as a certainty for AA selection this year. The game was almost a repeat of that when the teams last met. Melbourne close, sometimes in front, but eventually losing it in the last quarter. This time the roles were reversed as the Demons played with the same level of intensity, right up to the final siren. What was also different from the last was the output from the younger players. Christian Petracca may not have had spectacular statistics with only 12 touches, but seven of those were contested, and what was not reflected on the stats sheet was his new found ability to break tackles. He now knows his own strength and will use it more and more as he matures from his ripe old age of 20! Once again, it was Jack Viney leading the charge. 39 touches, 16 contested and 7 clearances. He is only 22! Clayton Oliver rejoined the mids after his further development in the VFL to record 23 disposals, 11 contested, 8 clearances. He just turned 19 a fortnight ago! Angus Brayshaw 16 disposals, 6 contested and he is just 20! Complementing them were Dom Tyson and Nathan Jones with their usual output of 30 touches each, and the injection of this talented youth made all the difference to the end result. Despite Jesse Hogan not playing, he was not missed because Weideman, Cameron Pedersen and Jack Watts stood up to more than adequately provide a target when the ball moved forward. Watts was once again unstoppable. With three telling goals, his turnaround from bit player to damaging pivot is yet another example of what Roos has achieved. He might have scored three on his own, but his pin-point passing and willingness to get involved provided others scoring opportunities that were manufactured from nothing. Troubling for the AFL was again the appalling display from the umpiring department. Calls which were just best guesses, or made on the assumption that the Hawthorn player could not possibly do wrong were rife throughout the game. How Rioli was gifted a free 15 metres out after a high bump to Oliver, which will surely be reviewed by the MRC was simply incomprehensible. Six Hawthorn goals came from free kicks. Without this one-sided interpretation, a rout in favour of the Demons would have happened. This was the breakout game. If there was ever any doubt in Hogan and Tom McDonald’s mind about where this club is heading, then this match would have settled it well and truly. The next step is the break-in that will see us vault into the finals. It probably won’t happen this year, but with the surfeit of talent that Roos and his team have accumulated, 2017 is a certainty. Melbourne 5.2.32 9.2.56 12.6.78 17.8.110 Hawthorn 3.3.21 7.9.51 10.12.72 11.15.81 Goals Melbourne Watts 3 Bugg Tyson Weideman 2 Brayshaw Gawn Hunt Pedersen Petracca Stretch vandenBerg Hawthorn Rioli 4 Ceglar Gunston Smith 2 O'Brien Best Melbourne N Jones Gawn Viney Tyson Watts Vince T McDonald Oliver Hawthorn Rioli Smith Hodge Lewis Mitchell Changes Melbourne Jesse Hogan (bruised knee) replaced by Cameron Pedersen Hawthorn James Frawley (shoulder) replaced by Injuries Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Stratton (pectoral muscle) replaced by Reports Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Umpires Farmer, Rosebury, Wallace Official crowd 38,818 at the MCG
  14. PERFECTION by Whispering Jack I was thinking the other day about world affairs and politics and it occurred to me that, given the calibre of the major candidates in the coming elections for the president of the leading country of the so called "free world", we might be in a bit of trouble. Then I looked at who was leading the other "developed" nations across the western world, including our own, and a spot of panic set in. I understand completely that there are many countries across the globe that lack democratic values and are ruled by corrupt, incompetent or plain evil tyrants (and most of them will be on show over the coming weeks at the Olympic Games) but when the calibre of leadership in our democracies is weak and pathetic, I wonder whether mankind has lost its desire to achieve perfection. Of course, philosophers will argue that the question of perfection concerns not whether man is perfect, but whether he should be perfect and if that is true, then how is perfection to be attained? I wonder about this in many spheres of life but last week at roughly 3.30pm last Sunday afternoon, as I sat in the stand at the MCG watching players committing the most basic skill errors such as miskicks and handballs to teammates with their backs to the play, I was confronted with the thought that perhaps the search for perfection in our game is beyond reach. However, it was after the game, when I had time to collect my thoughts and notice who Melbourne was drawn to play against in six days’ time, that I changed my mind. If there is perfection in our game then the current Hawthorn team must be close. The Hawks have won the last three AFL premierships and they currently sit on top of the ladder, two games clear of their nearest rivals and well on their way to achieving a rare fourth successive premiership. I used to think that the Demons of the fifties and sixties were the perfect team but even they fell at the final hurdle in 1958 when their time came to emulate the Magpies' record from three decades earlier. Melbourne's recent record against Hawthorn has been embarrassing. They haven't beaten them since Alistair Clarkson's early days of a decade ago when the young Hawks were like the Demons of today - inexperienced and wet behind the ears. Two months ago, an enthusiastic young Melbourne team took it right up to them for three quarters but they were overwhelmed in the final term. This week, they face a ruthless foe that has its eyes firmly set on winning the flag in September and it will give others no favours in that quest. The Hawks' game against Carlton was by no means perfect but they were fielding a side that was nowhere near to their best. They are expected to bring in Cyril Rioli, Paul Puopolo and possibly Liam Shiels this week and against the tiring young Demons, I fear that we might finally see a team achieve perfection. THE GAME Melbourne v Hawthorn at the MCG Saturday 6 August 2016 at 2.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 74 wins Hawthorn 85 wins At MCG Melbourne 35 wins Hawthorn 44 wins Last 5 meetings Melbourne 0 wins Hawthorn 5 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Clarkson 3 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Sports 3 Live at 2.00pm RADIO - Triple M 3AW THE BETTING Melbourne $5.75 to win Hawthorn $1.14 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Hawthorn 11.16.82 defeated Melbourne 10.4.64 in Round 11, 2016 at the MCG The Demons lasted for three quarters before the weight of experience and talent started taking its toll. The Hawks' 18 point win in the wet gloomy conditions was their 13th win in a row in a streak that goes all the way back to 2006. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Sam Frost, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Billy Stretch C: Christian Petracca, Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson HF: Jeff Garlett, Jack Watts, Clayton Oliver F: Sam Weideman, Cameron Pedersen, Dean Kent FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Tomas Bugg, James Harmes, Aaron Vandenberg EMG: Colin Garland, Matt Jones IN: Tomas Bugg, Clayton Oliver, Cameron Pedersen, Sam Weideman OUT: Chris Dawes (omitted), Jesse Hogan (knee), Matt Jones (omitted), Josh Wagner (omitted) NEW: Sam Weideman HAWTHORN B: Taylor Duryea, Ben Stratton, Brendan Whitecross HB: Shaun Burgoyne, Josh Gibson, Grant Birchall C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Bradley Hill HF: Luke Breust, Jack Gunston, Will Langford F: Tim O'Brien, Ben McEvoy, Cyril Rioli FOLL: Jonathon Ceglar, Jordan Lewis, Luke Hodge I/C: Kaiden Brand, Kurt Heatherley, Jonathan O'Rourke, James Sicily EMG: Blake Hardwick, Dallas Willsmore IN: Kurt Heatherley, Cyril Rioli OUT: James Frawley (shoulder), Blake Hardwick (omitted)
  15. It really is a case of men against boys in today's clash between the Demons and the Hawks at the MCG. The average age of the Hawthorn team selected for today's game is 26½ years - almost four years more than Melbourne's average age. The average games differential is slightly above 80 (137.0 to 56.6) in favour of the reigning premier. The figures suggest a blowout but the spirit of the decision to play our youth and the quality of these young men suggests to me that it's not just about today but rather, about next year ... and the year after. Of course, at this time of the season, it seems like it's always been about "next year" for Demon fans but I seriously think there's something about this group.
  16. I was thinking the other day about world affairs and politics and it occurred to me that, given the calibre of the major candidates in the coming elections for the president of the leading country of the so called "free world", we might be in a bit of trouble. Then I looked at who was leading the other "developed" nations across the western world, including our own, and a spot of panic set in. I understand completely that there are many countries across the globe that lack democratic values and are ruled by corrupt, incompetent or plain evil tyrants (and most of them will be on show over the coming weeks at the Olympic Games) but when the calibre of leadership in our democracies is weak and pathetic, I wonder whether mankind has lost its desire to achieve perfection. Of course, philosophers will argue that the question of perfection concerns not whether man is perfect, but whether he should be perfect and if that is true, then how is perfection to be attained? I wonder about this in many spheres of life but last week at roughly 3.30pm last Sunday afternoon, as I sat in the stand at the MCG watching players committing the most basic skill errors such as miskicks and handballs to teammates with their backs to the play, I was confronted with the thought that perhaps the search for perfection in our game is beyond reach. However, it was after the game, when I had time to collect my thoughts and notice who Melbourne was drawn to play against in six days’ time, that I changed my mind. If there is perfection in our game then the current Hawthorn team must be close. The Hawks have won the last three AFL premierships and they currently sit on top of the ladder, two games clear of their nearest rivals and well on their way to achieving a rare fourth successive premiership. I used to think that the Demons of the fifties and sixties were the perfect team but even they fell at the final hurdle in 1958 when their time came to emulate the Magpies' record from three decades earlier. Melbourne's recent record against Hawthorn has been embarrassing. They haven't beaten them since Alistair Clarkson's early days of a decade ago when the young Hawks were like the Demons of today - inexperienced and wet behind the ears. Two months ago, an enthusiastic young Melbourne team took it right up to them for three quarters but they were overwhelmed in the final term. This week, they face a ruthless foe that has its eyes firmly set on winning the flag in September and it will give others no favours in that quest. The Hawks' game against Carlton was by no means perfect but they were fielding a side that was nowhere near to their best. They are expected to bring in Cyril Rioli, Paul Puopolo and possibly Liam Shiels this week and against the tiring young Demons, I fear that we might finally see a team achieve perfection. THE GAME Melbourne v Hawthorn at the MCG Saturday 6 August 2016 at 2.10pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 74 wins Hawthorn 85 wins At MCG Melbourne 35 wins Hawthorn 44 wins Last 5 meetings Melbourne 0 wins Hawthorn 5 wins The Coaches Roos 0 wins Clarkson 3 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Sports 3 Live at 2.00pm RADIO - Triple M 3AW THE BETTING Melbourne $5.75 to win Hawthorn $1.14 to win THE LAST TIME THEY MET Hawthorn 11.16.82 defeated Melbourne 10.4.64 in Round 11, 2016 at the MCG The Demons lasted for three quarters before the weight of experience and talent started taking its toll. The Hawks' 18 point win in the wet gloomy conditions was their 13th win in a row in a streak that goes all the way back to 2006. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B: Sam Frost, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta HB: Jayden Hunt, Oscar McDonald, Billy Stretch C: Christian Petracca, Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson HF: Jeff Garlett, Jack Watts, Clayton Oliver F: Sam Weideman, Cameron Pedersen, Dean Kent FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney I/C: Angus Brayshaw, Tomas Bugg, James Harmes, Aaron Vandenberg EMG: Colin Garland, Matt Jones IN: Tomas Bugg, Clayton Oliver, Cameron Pedersen, Sam Weideman OUT: Chris Dawes (omitted), Jesse Hogan (knee), Matt Jones (omitted), Josh Wagner (omitted) NEW: Sam Weideman HAWTHORN B: Taylor Duryea, Ben Stratton, Brendan Whitecross HB: Shaun Burgoyne, Josh Gibson, Grant Birchall C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Bradley Hill HF: Luke Breust, Jack Gunston, Will Langford F: Tim O'Brien, Ben McEvoy, Cyril Rioli FOLL: Jonathon Ceglar, Jordan Lewis, Luke Hodge I/C: Kaiden Brand, Kurt Heatherley, Jonathan O'Rourke, James Sicily EMG: Blake Hardwick, Dallas Willsmore IN: Kurt Heatherley, Cyril Rioli OUT: James Frawley (shoulder), Blake Hardwick (omitted)
  17. BUILDING ROME by The Oracle After the game, the coach explained: ''If the criteria was to have won 12 games by now, I don't reckon we would have taken Jesse Hogan at pick three and we sure as hell wouldn't have taken a kid that had two hip operations at pick four.'' He wasn't telling us that his arithmetic is poor or that his employers were idiots who can't count either given that he was commenting after just the 10th game of the season but that Rome wasn't built in a day. The problem is that when I visited the Italian capital city a few years ago, I saw a lot of ruined buildings and I'm worried that, at the pace with which the Melbourne is developing at the moment, the MCG might well look a little like the Colosseum when the Demons are next able to cope with the Hawks. Well, enough with the poor attempts at sarcasm. The fact was there to see that despite Melbourne's best efforts, the team was monstered by a far more experienced and accomplished outfit which had more depth and was therefore able to overwhelm a young opponent early and without a great deal of trouble. The best indicator of that was the difference between the playmakers of the respective teams. Brad Sewell (who could easily have been a Demon today but that's another story) picked up 31 disposals for the game and, in doing so, was in balance an attacking force for his team having a hand in setting up so many scoring opportunities in his team's easy win. Of course, he had plenty of classy midfielders around him as back up. On the other hand, Nathan Jones got his hands on the ball 28 times and while it was a tremendous effort on his part, his work was often the stuff of defending against the odds, under packs, under enormous pressure and just getting his team out of pickles caused by others making simple skill errors. Were he a Hawk, he would almost certainly have been best on ground but as a Demon, he simply didn't have the luxury of 21 others around him working their butts off as he does. One bright light was the performance of Chris Dawes who provided a target up forward and a glimmer of what might have been had Mitch Clark stayed healthy for more than just the first four weeks. James Frawley and Colin Garland were grand defenders and will form part of a terrific defence one day when Rome starts developing a suburban sprawl and Jeremy Howe showed his potential at times. Dean Kent is a keep as well. Other than that, there wasn't enough class and the work rate was still below what is expected to remain competitive with the lower ranked teams, let alone a premiership contender. Melbourne 0.3.3 1.7.13 5.10.40 6.12.48 Hawthorn 3.9.27 12.10.82 14.14.98 21.17.143 Goals Melbourne Davey Dawes Evans Howe Kent Watts Hawthorn Breust 5 Roughead 3 Franklin Hill Puopolo Smith 2 Birchall, Burgoyne Grimley Lewis Simpkin Best Melbourne N Jones Dawes Frawley Garland Howe Terlich Hawthorn Sewell Lewis Breust Puopolo Burgoyne Birchall Injuries Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Changes Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Reports Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Umpires Hay Farmer Mitchell Crowd 28,546 at the MCG
  18. After the game, the coach explained: ''If the criteria was to have won 12 games by now, I don't reckon we would have taken Jesse Hogan at pick three and we sure as hell wouldn't have taken a kid that had two hip operations at pick four.'' He wasn't telling us that his arithmetic is poor or that his employers were idiots who can't count either given that he was commenting after just the 10th game of the season but that Rome wasn't built in a day. The problem is that when I visited the Italian capital city a few years ago, I saw a lot of ruined buildings and I'm worried that, at the pace with which the Melbourne is developing at the moment, the MCG might well look a little like the Colosseum when the Demons are next able to cope with the Hawks. Well, enough with the poor attempts at sarcasm. The fact was there to see that despite Melbourne's best efforts, the team was monstered by a far more experienced and accomplished outfit which had more depth and was therefore able to overwhelm a young opponent early and without a great deal of trouble. The best indicator of that was the difference between the playmakers of the respective teams. Brad Sewell (who could easily have been a Demon today but that's another story) picked up 31 disposals for the game and, in doing so, was in balance an attacking force for his team having a hand in setting up so many scoring opportunities in his team's easy win. Of course, he had plenty of classy midfielders around him as back up. On the other hand, Nathan Jones got his hands on the ball 28 times and while it was a tremendous effort on his part, his work was often the stuff of defending against the odds, under packs, under enormous pressure and just getting his team out of pickles caused by others making simple skill errors. Were he a Hawk, he would almost certainly have been best on ground but as a Demon, he simply didn't have the luxury of 21 others around him working their butts off as he does. One bright light was the performance of Chris Dawes who provided a target up forward and a glimmer of what might have been had Mitch Clark stayed healthy for more than just the first four weeks. James Frawley and Colin Garland were grand defenders and will form part of a terrific defence one day when Rome starts developing a suburban sprawl and Jeremy Howe showed his potential at times. Dean Kent is a keep as well. Other than that, there wasn't enough class and the work rate was still below what is expected to remain competitive with the lower ranked teams, let alone a premiership contender. Melbourne 0.3.3 1.7.13 5.10.40 6.12.48 Hawthorn 3.9.27 12.10.82 14.14.98 21.17.143 Goals Melbourne Davey Dawes Evans Howe Kent Watts Hawthorn Breust 5 Roughead 3 Franklin Hill Puopolo Smith 2 Birchall, Burgoyne Grimley Lewis Simpkin Best Melbourne N Jones Dawes Frawley Garland Howe Terlich Hawthorn Sewell Lewis Breust Puopolo Burgoyne Birchall Injuries Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Changes Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Reports Melbourne Nil Hawthorn Nil Umpires Hay Farmer Mitchell Crowd 28,546 at the MCG
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