Can they do it?…Oh yes they can!!

September 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Can you believe this? It’s been a long 18 years since the Mighty Demons have had the chance to play off for a spot in the big dance and it came against a side that not only caused us heartache in 87 and 88 but has consistently beat us for many years.

by Darren Spence

The wooden bar at the Eastern Promise bar in Jakarta has copped a pounding over the years by me – mainly in anguish – but it was in triumph on Friday night as the Dees won a hard fought game over the Hawks by 33 points.

I was hoping for another fast start but it was the Hawks that got out of the blocks with the first major and things were all tied up at the first change. The Hawks will be rueing their chances in the 2nd quarter as they embark on Mad Monday as a goalless second quarter saw us take a very handy 19 point lead into the main break.

The third quarter was by far our best as we were able to play the game on our terms and a 6 goal to 3 3rd term saw me grinning from ear to ear at the last change and a 32 point lead. It soon went though…..the first 3 goals to the Hawks saw us seriously wobbling…the Melbourne of old would have lost from here. however this team is not to be outdone and a piece of Melksham Magic steadied the ship and then 2 quick goals in succession and the game was ours….We are in the Preliminary Final!!!

Viney was sensational, however I am going to do a Lou Richards type act and give my Robert Klomp award to Neville Jetta. Yes he only had 17 possessions (albeit more than Klomp got when he won the TV back in 1981) but to keep All Australian Luke Bruest scoreless on the night – for me he was my best player. I am very sorry Viney, you still have my love. The All Australian selectors definitely got that wrong – we should have had 3 AA players this year, Neville you were stiff!

TMac again was dangerous all night and finished with a game high 4 goals, I mentioned Viney he also led the possession account with 27, Harmes blanketed Mitchell and had a game high 11 tackles, Petracca was electric, Hibberd was composed and all in all it was a magnificent night to be a Melbourne Demons fan!!

The Eagles in Perf hold no fear for us. We have beaten them twice in row over there and there will be no stopping the Dees next Saturday!!!…2 go to boys….Can they do it?…Oh yes they can!!

Go Dees!!!

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Demons Slay Hawks (The Dream Continues)

September 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Semi Final – Hawthorn Vs Melbourne – Demons Slay Hawks (The Dream Continues)

By Liam Chambers

Suddenly Melbourne is looking like a contender. A month ago the chances of securing a finals berth was receding after we failed in our efforts against Sydney. The remaining games were against two in form sides that were looking to finish in the top four. Then we flew to Perth and confounded the critics. The following week we beat the Giants, showing our previous win was no anomaly.

Even though we were expected to put up a good fight against Geelong, the conventional wisdom was with the experienced Cats; yet we prevailed again. Finally, Friday night’s performance showed how much Melbourne has grown as a team. When Hawthorn applied unrelenting pressure in the third and especially the fourth quarters, the Dee’s response was magnificent. There may have been some concerns amongst the supporters but the lads rallied and rose to the occasion.

The first quarter was an even stevens affair at nineteen points apiece. There were two goals from T Mac and a six pointer from Petracca who was having the time of his life. Finals footy brings out the stars and Christian Petracca was making sure his name was up there in lights. Speaking of stars, Neville Jetta showed yet again why he is one of the best defenders in AFL. He should never have been over looked as an All Australian; if they were compiling that team this week he would be the first pick. He was a contender for best player along with Jack Viney who is turning and twisting his way out of impossible situations.

In the second quarter, Melbourne continued to take the fight to Hawthorn with Max Gawn showing more comfort in front of goal, scoring the opener. Sam Weideman was always going to struggle trying to match last week’s display but he got the second goal for the Dees in the eight minute. Similarly, Angus Brayshaw was less central but also kicked a goal to keep Melbourne in front. All in all a solid performance but the Hawks were still very much in the game.

The Dees were bringing the pride back to Melbourne and you could see how delighted the fans were at the way their team was playing. Hawthorn continued to threaten and piled the pressure on in an attempt to get the upper hand. Sam Weideman got his second at the start of the third quarter to extend Melbourne’s lead but the Hawks kept attacking. Paul Puopolo got one back before Tom McDonald secured his hat trick.

A turning point in the match came with just over four minutes to go in the quarter. Jack Gunston was storming in and kicked what looked like a certain goal, only to have it ricochet off the post for a minor score. Less than a minute later, after a beautiful run of play from the Demons, Alex Neal-Bullen scored at the other end. This was the first of three unanswered goals for Melbourne with Mitch Hannan and Angus Brayshaw both scoring before the siren.

Hawthorn knew they would have to produce something amazing in the last quarter if they had any chance of winning. Well, they almost achieved their aim. The Hawks kicked all of the first twenty points including three unanswered goals. When Jarryd Roughead slotted home his first goal of the game, reducing the margin to twelve points, something spectacular and inspirational was required from Melbourne.

Jake Melksham take a bow. In a post match interview, Max Gawn confided that he was supposed to take a rest at the same time as the opposing ruck man McEvoy. He defied the bench so he could be involved in the hit out and try to secure an advantage for the Demons. He was successful in the ruck, allowing Angus Brayshaw to kick the ball to Melksham who scored the goal of the finals so far. Satisfied, Maxy trotted off for a well earned rest. Moments like that show why Melbourne can go all the way. After that, the Dees had the momentum and the confidence to seal the deal and didn’t the fans love it.

The Eagles’ game will be a monumental task. Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling are back and the hostility of the Perth crowd will be hugely daunting. All supporters take their passion up a notch when a grand final spot is on the line but the parochial Perth crowd will be something else.

We will be the underdogs again but that’s the way we like it.  My predictions is for a Melbourne V Collingwood Final (sorry Tigers’ fans). We need to get revenge for that Queen’s birthday game.

“May The Dees Be With You!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAWTHORN 3.1 3.7 6.9 10.11 (71)
MELBOURNE 3.1 6.2 12.5 16.8 (104)
GOALS
Hawthorn: Gunston 3, Schoenmakers 2, Roughead 2, Worpel, Puopolo, Smith
Melbourne: T. McDonald 4, Weideman 2, Brayshaw 2, Melksham 2, Spargo 2, Petracca, Gawn, Neal-Bullen, Hannan

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Third Strike and The Cats Are Out

September 13, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Elimination Final 1 – Melbourne Vs Geelong – Third Strike and The Cats Are Out

By Liam Chambers

An interesting statistic was a topic of discussion before Friday night’s decider. Geelong had eighteen players with finals experience, whereas Melbourne only had a paltry four. One was Nathan Jones; who’s last finals game was in 2006. This experience would be vital for Geelong if they were to edge out the in-form Dees. At the end of the first quarter, one could be forgiven for thinking that it was Melbourne who had the eighteen experienced players.

During the national anthem the Dees all had their arms around each other’s shoulders, facing a Geelong side where each member stood individually making no contact with their peers. Melbourne looked united and determined to succeed. If the lads were nervous they didn’t show it. The spirit was infectious. The Dees were on a mission.

From the start they played like a team who’d defeated a top side in each of their two previous matches. They were out to prove that they’d earned their place in the final eight and they made the Cats look pedestrian. Tom McDonald was marking superbly, Jack Viney played like he hadn’t missed the last seven games. Neville Jetta was again brilliant in the last line of defence and of course Sam Weideman was the star of the quarter. His mark just on the siren was symbolic of the way Melbourne played for the first thirty minutes.

The fans were ecstatic. If this was how the Demons intended to play for the next three quarters, then this could be a game for the ages. Melbourne again dominated at the start of the second quarter but just couldn’t seem to convert their superior play to results on the scoreboard.

Time and again, what looked like a certain goal saw the ball slip behind for a minor score; either that or the Cats thwarted our chances. Geelong were defending well and their record of limiting opposition teams to low scores was intact. The longer the situation went on, the more hopeful the Cats were becoming.

For the first time in the game a sense of doubt was creeping into the minds of the players and the fans. Midway through the second quarter, Geelong had clawed back two goals, one of them from our arch nemesis Tom Hawkins. Memories of Kardinia Park and Hawkins’ seven goal haul was creeping back into the collective memory of the Melbourne faithful.

At half time we were still a healthy twenty-three points to the good, but the Cats were far from defeated. The Dees would need all the self-belief they could muster if they were to stave off a side who specialised in come from behind wins. The Cats are particularly dangerous in the last quarter, so the Dees needed to regain the upper hand in the third.

In recent games the Demons have played their best and most dominant football in the third quarter. If they could do so again then the Cats would really struggle to stage an upset in the final thirty minutes.

Tom Hawkins gave Geelong the best start they could hope for with his second goal, reducing the margin to seventeen points and jangling Demon Army’s nerves. We needed to counter quickly, and Jake Melksham did the honours with his only goal of the game. Patrick Dangerfield was determined to keep the Cats competitive and applied plenty of pressure but his shot on goal went for a behind.

Angus Brayshaw was just as determined though and his inspirational play was pivotal in pushing Melbourne into Geelong territory. The Dees however, continued to struggle converting opportunities into goals. Luck was on our side though. Initially, a lapse of concentration saw Tom Hawkins mark the ball midway through the quarter. At twenty-five metres out and at a favourable angle, it looked like Hawkins had the goal in the bag.

I must admit, watching the game from the comfort of my lounge room chair, I did vent a little bit of frustration that we had allowed such a dangerous player to be in that position. Had he kicked the goal the margin would be reduced to fifteen points. The boost to Geelong would be enormous.

Then I could hear the beautiful lilting tones of the sideline commentator Daisy Pearce. She was confirming that there had been an off the ball incident. It involved Joel Selwood and James Harmes on their way back to the bench. Replayed footage showed Selwood throwing Jake Melksham to the ground in a high tackle. We don’t know what was said by Harmes or why Melksham was involved but Selwood’s reaction was bizarre. It was also inexcusable if you’re a Cat’s fan.

I didn’t even know that the bench umpire could do that, but it was a let off for Melbourne and a momentum breaker for the Cats. If I was religious, I might even say it was divine intervention by the gods of footy. Despite the reprieve the Dees failed to secure another goal for the quarter, so the Selwood incident was indeed fortuitous. It was a disappointing quarter with both sides only securing a single goal and four behinds each.

I’m not sure what Simon said in the break; maybe something like “I want you all to play like Angus”? Whatever it was, the Dees came out with all guns blazing. Viney gave away a free kick to Selwood almost immediately then when the Geelong Captain slipped while playing on, Viney pounced in a take no prisoners tackle to win back the ball. The ensuing free kick found Petracca who in turn found Jones who kicked a beautiful goal.

Suddenly the belief was back. Zach Toohey then got one for the Cats a few minutes later and gave a glimmer of hope to Geelong. The fans know how good their side is in the final quarter so there was still plenty of time to cause an upset. It wasn’t to be Geelong’s night though with Dangerfield uncharacteristically giving away plenty of free kicks.

Then Mitch Hannan finally slotted a goal. He had made several promising runs over the course of the night only to disappoint at the crucial moment. Not this time though and now the Dees had the momentum. A third goal from Sam Weideman in the twentieth minute gave Melbourne the buffer to play more confidently.

The Cats weren’t finished yet though and goals from Jordan Murdoch and Mitch Duncan kept things interesting. Alex Neal-Bullen finally put the result beyond doubt with just over two minutes to go. My triumphant yell broke several of the neighbour’s windows.

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Harmes most improved player and what about Weideman!?

September 13, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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by Darren Spence

Well I didn’t write a report for the last game of the regular season as I didn’t watch it. Yes I know…my first game I have missed watching live since well…. since last decade. I had to work in the Solomon Islands and it was 30 hours door to door. Jakarta, Singapore, PNG and then Honiara. I thought I had it all planned. AFL Live subscription up to date. Check. Make sure my flight arrives in time. Check.

Everything was running smoothly. I checked into the hotel with 1 hour before the start and this is when things started going downhill and downhill quickly. It became apparent that wifi in the country is well let’s just say the whole main island has 10…yes 10 wifi hot spots and they work as consistently as a Metro rail train timetable.

The hotel I was staying in thankfully had one. Starting to feel a little nervous my next hope was that it would be shown on TV in the hotel room. I searched the channels…No luck. I then had to rely on the wifi gods being good to me and ran the wifi gauntlet in one of the many bars they had. It was unwatchable. After 15 minutes of buffering and reloading I resigned my fate to checking the scores as the game progressed.

We won!!..I read we played well…One day I will get around to watching the replay. The end of this story?….The next day I was speaking to some hotel guests and they told me that the game was shown LIVE on TV in a bar just 50m away from where I was screaming at my laptop trying to watch it!…So much for my forward planning!

I was not going to make the same mistake again. So another 30 hours of travelling saw me perched in my favourite bar in Jakarta with a good 2 hours before the start of play in the first final the Dees have been in for 12 years. It was so worth it.

From the start of the game the boys were switched on. It was always going to be critical. With our lack of finals experience, a fast start by the Cats could have seen the game over before we even got started. A 5 goal to nil quarter time score is everything this sleep deprived Dees fanatic as well as all Dees fans could have dreamed for. (Speaking of dreaming…..at one stage I thought I was….by this stage it was approaching 2 days since I had anything like resembling sleep!).

The second quarter had me worried. 17 inside 50s for the quarter should have seen the game well and truly over but as has happened all year our lack of conversion came back to haunt us. 6 behinds and 4 no scores was a poor return and it kept Geelong in the game. The third and forth quarters were pretty much even and in the end it was our efforts in the first quarter that ensured our long awaited first finals appearance was a joyous one and absolutely erased any pain from our 2 losses against the Cats in the regular season.

Our pressure, both direct and referred, has been one of strong points this year and we took it up a notch on Friday night. Viney 11, Harmes 10, ANB 9 and Vanders 7 all led the way in the tackling department and it definitely set the tone for the night.

What about Weideman!?…..Far and away his best game for the red and the blue and 3 goals from 24 disposals and some towering contested marks saw him take BOG honours. Some of the media this week are even claiming that we should now entertain the thought of trading Hogan now we have Weideman and TMac up front!!!…A little premature I do think!

Harmes is now officially our most improved player this year. He towelled up Selwood and picked up 26 touches. Oliver led all comers with 30 disposals, Jetta was the boss down back, Brayshaw was fantastic as were TMac, Viney, Gawn and Vanders. In fact all the boys should be proud of their efforts as 91,000 screaming Dees fans cheered them off the ground in our most famous and important win in a very very long time.

But our most important game now becomes this week! The Hawks. They certainly have had the wood on us of late and smashed us after half time earlier in the year. But this is now our year. The Mighty Dees are on a roll and it will continue on Friday night with another monumental win!!!

Go Dees

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Lets compare Neville Jetta with Alex Rance – just out of interest!

September 6, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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I reckon we need to get Neville Jetta more media exposure in 2019 – he needs to be doing some interviews post game and on the commercial stations (radio and TV). Probably not how he wants to spend his time, but it is what you have to do to get talked about and that no doubt helps your chances.

By Jacqui Parry

I would like to see the club get right behind a campaign to make sure Neville is not overlooked ever again, because he has played sensationally and everyone knows it.

Please send these thoughts on to Neville, the coaching and media staff, as I really think we do him a disservice by not making sure he is recognised as the champion player that he is.

Lets stop talking about Neville as “under-rated” and lets make sure he is always talked about as “a champion” which he is – you don’t hold your spot in an AFL team all year unless you are pretty damn good.

Max will tell you I haven’t got a clue about the statistics (in fact didn’t even know they were published in such detail until Max showed me). However, lets look at Nevilles statistics and start shouting them from the rooftops. He has just signed a three year contract – and a well deserved one. Lets make sure the next three years are worthy of his efforts for our club.

I just had a look at how he compares with Alex Rance – just out of interest:

Neville Jetta

He is younger than Alex – plays a different position and style, but averages more tackles per game and has better disposal efficiency than Rance and less clangers. Compare him with someone of similar height, weight and position and you will get a better picture,

But my point is – Let’s make “under-rated” a swear word in our club and make sure all of our players – ladies and men – get the recognition they deserve by objectively focussing on their contribution to the club, the stats and the results.

(Sorry, I am getting a bit carried away – Go Dees!!)

Best wishes from Jacqui Parry, Merlin and Sugar
Proud Guernsey Sponsor of Max Gawn No. 11

May the Beard Grow Long and the Hammies stay Strong –
cos’ we are goin’ to the Big Dance this year!!!!!!!!!!!!

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