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  1. There are certain games that are part of the history of the Melbourne Football Club that fans would prefer to forget. One of them was the 1988 VFL Grand Final which the Demons lost by a then record margin for a season decider — 96 points. I won’t dwell on this too much other than to mention that Jamie Duursma was named at centre half back in the game, that his brother Dean was also on the club’s list at the time and that the family connection will be revived today when Dean’s son and Jamie’s nephew Zane debuts in Demon colours out at Wonthaggi when Casey takes on the Box Hill Hawks. Back in the 1980s, the Duursma boys certainly moved around in their search for a VFL home. Jamie Duursma was recruited by the Sydney Swans in 1986 from Sandringham after a stint in the Hawthorn Under 19s and Reserves but was shipped off to the Brisbane Bears in 1987 after the Swans ran into salary cap problems. At the time he was also approached by Essendon. His season in Queensland was curtailed by knee surgery and he managed just one game for the Bears. Melbourne coach John Northey had faith in Jamie Duursma and encouraged him to play with the Demons when he returned to Victoria at the beginning of 1988. In his first season, he was instrumental in helping the club to that first grand final in 24 years by blanketing the dangerous Stephen Kernahan in the Preliminary Final against Carlton. The grand final a week later was a tougher challenge. Jamie Duursma wore guernsey number 28 and played 39 games for Melbourne in 1988-9 but required a knee reconstruction after an injury in the 1990 Fosters Cup Semi Final and despite, a swift five month recovery period, Duursma never played VFL again. His brother Dean Duursma was an Under 19s player in 1986 and remained on the list until 1988 wearing the number 48 in the Reserves but he didn't play seniors. He also had stints at other clubs including Sandringham and he played in a premiership at North Hobart in 1989. Today, he’s the proud dad of an emerging football dynasty as his children, named alphabetically from X to Z are all making their mark on the game. Xavier Duursma has been with Port Adelaide since 2019 (he made his debut on the MCG against the Demons in Round 1) and has played 64 games. He was subbed out at quarter time on Friday night against the Saints after limping from the field with a knee injury and is expected to be out for several weeks with suspected damage to his PCL. Sister Yasmin has already played 4 games for Port Adelaide’s AFLW team after being drafted through the Casey Demons and Gippsland Power. Zane is an Australian Academy player and in his third season with the Gippsland Team. An athletic 189cm, he’s a clever player capable of finding the goals, versatile and predicted to go in the top five in November’s AFL Draft. AFL draft guru recently rated him as high as a potential number one pick - Kicking and reaching goals no issue for potential No.1 pick — although Harley Reid from Bendigo appears to have that spot well and truly stitched up according to many good judges. Zane did work experience of a pre season stint at Melbourne with the Stingrays’ Cooper Simpson as part of the AFL Academy programme. Both impressed observers at these sessions. Simpson played for Casey last week and this week Duursma gets his chance with a bye in the Coates Talent League. The connection doesn’t tie him to the Melbourne Demons but there are many draft watchers who would be delighted if that were to happen at November’s AFL National Draft.
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