Victory But No Glory

October 2, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
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Round 18 – Essendon Vs Melbourne

Liam Chambers

We won the battle but lost the war. Even Max Gawn’s offer to take out a Dockers’ membership had no affect on the final top eight. Life is full of what ifs and if onlys but the truth is we are the ones in charge of our destiny; however much we wanted Fremantle to triumph. There’s an old saying “never grow a wishbone, where your backbone ought to be”.

Despite some wobbles along the way, there were promising signs for the Dees in 2020. Christian Petracca finally began to fulfil his potential. Congratulation on making the All Australian squad. Commiserations to Steven May, who was nominated but didn’t make the final cut. A travesty of justice. Both players were important in the Dees win against Essendon, alongside Jayden Hunt (returning to form) and Bailey Fritsch (managed to surprise the opposition when they least expected it).

With Mitch Brown continuing to mark well, his early attempt to convert didn’t make the distance. Similarly Bailey Fritsch’s effort a few minutes later missed the target. Jayden Laverde got the first goal for the Bombers. Then another Jayden (Hunt) replied almost immediately. Finding a pathway to inside 50, he launched a forty metre kick for the Dees’ opener. Melbourne continued to display patience, building up to a good position and getting the ball to Fritsch. Another great grab inside 50 but again, one he was unable to convert.

When, right on quarter time, Jake Stringer took a mark from a driving midfield kick, Simon Goodwin thought about leaving the Coaches box. Instead he turned around, waited and watched through his fingers as Stringer kicked Essendon’s second after the siren.

Back from the break, the Dees continued their patient build up, sticking to the plan and not panicking. They strung some nice moves together via Joel Smith, Fritsch, Sam Weiderman and finally to Petracca just inside 50. Tracca briefly thought about taking the shot before spotting and kicking to Alex Neal-Bullen in the pocket. Neal-Bullen took his time to catch his breath before bending back a great shot on goal.

The pace picked up after that and it was third time lucky for Fritsch, marking near the goal after being left unattended. Melbourne’s fourth goal was a display of extreme team politeness when Petracca launched the ball inside 50 to Charlie Spargo. Spargo passed to Weiderman who decided Hunt was a better option as he ran towards the goal square. Hunt took the gift and ran in his second.

When Neal-Bullen took a hospital pass from Petracca, he was lucky not to be crushed between two Bombers. Managing to slip through at the last second, he bullet kicked his second goal from forty metres out. Encouraged by his team’s goal kicking display, Simon Goodwin took an early trip to the sideline in what looked like being a big payday for the Demons. Goody wouldn’t have been disappointed to see Clayton Oliver’s kick and Petracca’s accurate mark on the inside 50 line. Tracca’s ensuing shot from sixty metres was outstanding.

Essendon needed to claw their way back but Max Gawn wasn’t going to make it easy for them as he continued to dominate in the ruck. Even though Melbourne maintained control of the game, they struggled to put it beyond the Bombers’ reach. Finally Kysaiah Pickett was able to weave some magic with a nice pick up and pass to Hunt, setting up a shot from just outside 50 to record his hat trick. It looked a case of signed, sealed and delivered for Melbourne.

Then just before three quarter time, having absorbed all the Dees’ pressure, Essendon got the ball up the ground and into the waiting hands of James Stewart, twenty five metres from goal. Having left the door opened a chink, Melbourne gave their opponents a small glimmer of hope. That hope needed to be stuffed out in the first few minutes of the last term but instead the Bombers decided to make a game of it. When James Stewart got back to back goals, he reduced the margin to twenty one points.

With renewed confidence, Essendon piled on the pressure, forcing errors from the Dees. Initially their efforts only resulted in minors scores. Then Joe Daniher, who up to that point was only a glorified spectator, began to look decidedly more confident. Melbourne’s defence held up well though and when Hunt got a fourth against the run of play, it again looked all sewn up.

The Bombers weren’t finished though and Devon Smith restored the margin. Another twist and James Stewart again marks in front of goal. Three minutes to go and Dylan Sheil kicks another from forty five metres. Suddenly it was a seven point game. Nobody in red and blue wanted to lose this vital game, least of all by a few points right on the siren.

Cue the cavalry. In the midst of a desperate confusion, Jake Melksham collected a spilled ball and kicked to an unmarked Fritsch, who ran towards goal, easing the pressure that threatened to derail the Dees’ season. Melbourne then launched an outright attack to maintain the momentum.

Mitch Brown was awarded a fifty metre set shot and used his time wisely before kicking. The ball dropped lower as it approached goal but was tapped back into the field rather than over the line. Fritsch didn’t waste the opportunity and snapped it back for another goal. With a three goal margin, the Bombers were out of options and the Dees gave themselves a chance to play finals.

We know now that the other result didn’t go our way but we can take heart and continue to rebuild.

Go the Mighty Dees and bring on 2021!!!

Keeping Chunk

September 18, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

The Hawthorn Burgoyne playbook shows how resigning Nathan Jones to a one year contract as player and assistant coach would be a smart move by the MFC with the 2021 soft cap reduction in number of  coaches, playing lists and salary caps. Jones in a positive move for the club becomes an experienced mentor particularly for younger players, development coach and player who may or may not reach 300 games – win win all round!

Another major plus is that the MFC doe not repeat the mistakes of the past with previous loyal long serving players and captains of the club – Junior McDonald and Brad Green.

Note: Thanks to Mark McGowan (AFL) and Lisa Alexander (Offsiders) for highlighting this issue and opportunity. 

They Might Be Giants But Dees Stood Taller

September 18, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
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Round 17 – GWS Vs Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Both teams needed a win to stay in the running. For the Dees though, there would be no more second chances. Melbourne got off to a great start when Oskar Baker held his nerve to kick a set shot from a difficult angle and secure his first goal.

The Dees contained the Giants with some good tackling, pushing forward and attacking the Giants’ defence. Christian Petracca, looking determined early on, was also a good sign. Clayton Oliver landed a nice kick to Alex Neal-Bullen which he marked and converted from forty metres out for number two.

Up the other end, Toby Greene missed a sitter, letting the Dees off the hook. On occasion, Melbourne string a run of play together that is just pure poetry. This time, Kysaiah Pickett started by running through the pack just inside 50 and scooping up the ball. He then handed it to Aaron vandenBerg, before running on to receive it back again, accelerating and lobbing it to Sam Weiderman. Weiderman thumped it to Charlie Spargo who controlled the bounce on the run before straightening up and kicking directly through the uprights.

In a tough decision against Jake Lever for making contact after the ball was marked, Daniel Lloyd was awarded a 50m penalty. He couldn’t miss from that distance. A minute later the Giants had a second when Harry Perryman took an opportunistic kick in the middle of a scrum in front of goal.

After that GWS piled on the pressure but it was Jayden Hunt at the other end who got the next goal. To round off the term, Christian Petracca controlled a great one handed pick up and snapped one in from forty metres to put the Dees seventeen points in front.

There was no time to relax though, especially after Brent Daniels’ kick from the pocket got a lucky bounce to tumble in the right direction towards goal. Would have been a great score if we did it. Melbourne knew they couldn’t sit back and wait for a good last quarter performance. Applying some really intense pressure, they fought like demons around the goal square; especially Pickett who seemed to have the ball every time a Giant lost it. Eventually though it was Oskar Baker who struck, scoring his second banana.

Steven May was again having a stellar defence game but eventually Zac Williams snuck through when the guard was down, marking the ball twenty five metres from goal. GWS were again inspired to pile on the pressure but against the run of play Petracca was able to kick the ball towards the goal square. Waiting was Jayden Hunt who tapped the high bouncing ball towards Kysaiah, who ran it into the goal.

However, Lloyd was having a good game and snapped a goal from the 50m line to keep up the pressure. Then Jeremy Finlayson was able to cruise behind the defence and kick another from twenty metres out. Disappointingly both goals had come from Melbourne turning the ball over. Matt De Boer was lucky to be awarded a free after Jake Melksham was harshly pinged for a questionable infringement. De Boer converted and GWS took the lead for the first time.

Simon Goodwin opened a fresh packet of chewing gum.

With the scores even steven going into the second half, there were more than a few nervous Demon fans. One factor in our favour though was Toby Greene’s inaccurate kicking on the day. One player not having an off day was Trent Rivers and his first goal in AFL was a beauty.

Undeterred, the Giants were back up the field, pressuring our defence and culminating in Brent Daniels kicking his second. Then Zac Williams also got a second and when Jeremy Cameron added to the tally, it started looking bleak for the Dees with the scores at 66-54.

We needed to go hard and did, defending and tackling well before going on the attack. Christian Salem, after grabbing the ball on the edge of the 50m line, launched a powerful volley to sneak one in. He doesn’t score many goals but when he does, they are spectacular. With GWS getting the most points on the board for the previous two quarters, Melbourne needed to throw caution to the wind. They would have to go for it or go home.

They say that good things come in small packages and Charlie Spargo proved that by kicking his second from a forty metre a set shot. With both sides desperate for a win, every goal now was precious. When Bailey Fritsch marked cleverly thirty metres from goal and converted, it was back on for the Dees.

With so much on the line, both sides were making sloppy errors. Melbourne got the ball up the field only to see GWS bring it back down again. Then Rivers, on his left foot, kicked the goal of the night for the Dees and increased the volume to eleven (points). Kudos to Ed Langdon for his part in the goal. His hard chasing got the ball into a scoring position.

With Goody shouting from the sidelines, Brent Daniels managed to claw one back with thirty seconds to go. Then the Giants threw the kitchen sink at Melbourne but the seconds ticked down in our favour for a famous win.

We play Essendon in our last game. We have to win and hope the Bulldogs lose. Alternatively we have to win by a significant margin and hope the Giants beat St Kilda by thirty or forty points. Then we could slip through on percentages.

Just because the Bombers have been lacklustre over the last few games and been accused of not turning up, we underestimate them at our peril. Essendon have some good players and we need to play like the opposition are on top of the ladder (and I don’t mean how we played against Port Adelaide).

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

I love this guernsey – what a win!!

September 14, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Jacqui Parry

Our boys looked 500% more handsome in this guernsey – and they play well in it too.

It’s a retro look but it is just fabulous I reckon we should keep it for the finals series.

Reminds me of the good old days and the colours look fantastic on TV.

Congratulations to Oskar Baker – his family would be so proud of him – hoping they were able to get to the game. Every club needs a hard running red head – I reckon Oskar fits the bill.

..And what about Rivs goals too – sensational.  Also loved the goal by Kossie – he has been there abouts for a while and he is so quick.

The whole squad looks fabulous in this guernsey – Go Get em Dees!!

Jacqui Parry, Merlin and Sugar
Proud Player Sponsors of MFC Captain Max Gawn No. 11
Proud Player Sponsors of Gun Forward Jackie Parry No.19
Go Dees!!! Go Gawny!!! Go Jackie!!

On The Canvas But The Ref’s Still Counting

September 11, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
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Round 16 – Melbourne Vs Fremantle – On The Canvas But The Ref’s Still Counting

Liam Chambers

Melbourne rarely performs well in the rain. So when the heavens opened after the first three minutes of play, it didn’t bode well for the Dees. If there is going to be a pre season boot camp next year, may I make a suggestion. How about two weeks in the top end where it rains practically every day from October to March. If the Demons can train in those conditions, they need never worry about water again.

Initially we needed to win this game to have a fighting chance. However, sometimes fate has a way of intervening and changing the course of events. Thank you Adelaide Crows!

Currently there are five teams fighting for the last three spots if you discount Carlton (97% and in 11th position) then any combination of two teams from the Pies, GWS and the Dogs need to lose their final two games. I’ve also discounted the Saints as they play GWS in their final game and we play the Giants in Round 17.

Our best chance, should we beat both GWS and Essendon, would be Collingwood/Giants losing both of their games. Collingwood face Port Adelaide in Round 18 but Round 17 is against the Suns. With Gold Coast just playing for pride, I’m hoping for an upset. Anyway, it’s all in the lap of the gods now.

Fremantle were able to handle the conditions better in the first term but their accuracy in front of goal let them down. Only leading by six points with two minutes to go, it looked like being a goalless term for both teams. Then Freo’s Michael Walters had a set shot just inside 50 to the left of goal. He succeeded where his team mates failed previously, slotting through the first major score of the night. Jayden Hunt almost did the same for Melbourne a minute later but the ball went wide for a behind.

At the start of the second, the Dees looked more determined but the Dockers also went hard, playing against the breeze. One highlight for Melbourne was the sight of Braydon Pruess chasing down Nathan Wilson, finally catching him by the collar and flinging him to the ground. It was touch and go whether he would be awarded a free kick or penalised for a high tackle. Luckily it was the former. However Pruess decided to try his luck and made an attempt at goal. At almost fifty metres out and at a difficult angle, it was always going to be an optimistic kick for the big man.

While the Dees continued to mis-kick and turn the ball over, Fremantle looked more disciplined and focused. Melbourne were lucky not to concede more goals but our back line defended desperately. Finally with three minutes to go, Jayden Hunt kicked the first goal for the Dees. His set shot from twenty five metres in front of goal narrowly sailed past the inside of the right hand post. Just on the siren Trent Rivers had a chance to score his first goal but was unable to convert.

With the score at 9-15 it was anyone’s game. Worryingly for Melbourne though was the number of uncontested marks; 46 to 10 in Freemantle’s favour.
The Dockers remained disciplined, forcing the Dees to react. Jayden Hunt got another chance to add to the scoreboard but the accurate shot was too low and the ball was marked on the goal line.

Freo’s ruckman Sean Darcy got an opportunistic goal when he grabbed the ball in the square after a throw in, then turned and kicked it straight into the open goal. When Bailey Fritsch targeted Sam Weiderman twenty metres from goal, the talented forward converted to put Melbourne back in contention.

As the Dees looked to make some progress, they hesitated going forward allowing Fremantle a way back up the field. The run caught Melbourne off guard in defence and Michael Walters picked up the loose ball, kicking his second goal. A camera shot of Simon Goodwin in the box shows he knew that play was costly. After the goal, the Dockers raise the intensity, even marking well in the wet conditions.

Max Gawn makes some important marks himself in defence, keeping Melbourne in touch with Freo. The pressure proves too much eventually and Walters was again able pick up the ball and score after some fumbling from the Dees.

Trailing by seventeen points going into the final quarter, it was now or never for Melbourne. The Dees got inside 50 but couldn’t press home their advantage. At times it seems like not all the players were on the same page. Bailey Fritsch took a brilliant mark but was unable to convert. As the seconds tick down, it was looking more and more ominous for Melbourne. Then Adam Cherra sneaks one in from a difficult angle and the Dockers looked to have it all sewn up.

However the fans were given a glimmer of hope when Aaron vandenBerg took a great mark thirty in front of goal and converted. Toby Bedford almost had another but put it behind. Still, for the first time in the match, the momentum was with the Dees. When Fritsch took a handball from Ed Langdon, after some great pressure, the subsequent shot from twenty metres out gave the trailing Demons a shot in the arm. As Christian Petracca shot on goal was touched, it left fans lamenting what could have been the match winner. Behind by only eight points, the Dees were unable to land the killer blow.

With only seconds on the clock, it was all over for Melbourne. We didn’t need Michael Frederick’s kick for another on the siren, it only served to deepen the loss. Fans were left wondering why, if we could play the way we did in the last ten minutes, we couldn’t have been more intense throughout all four terms.

While we won’t necessarily qualify for the finals if we win our last two games, we definitely won’t be in the eight if we lose them. The Giants are just as keen to qualify and will be stinging from their loss to Adelaide. There are no more second chances.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

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