Que Sera, Sera… What will Dee will Dee.

September 16, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons, Our history 

Nigel Dawe

Twenty-four times since 1930, the Premiers of one season have failed to make the cut of the following season’s finals. As such, the Melbourne Demons of 2022 did not add their name to that ignoble list.

OK, we may have been bundled out of September in two-straight sets thanks to the Swans and the Lions (who deserve praise for grounding our juggernaut to a halt, on our very home turf). But to say our Dees have lost their way would be a gross misrepresentation of the season we had, and where the club is at right now.

Referring to 2022 as ‘one that got away’, certainly – but any assessment more scathing than that and you need to brush right up on your history and your overall understanding of the game.

For starters, the worst slide ever experienced by a premiership team belongs to the Adelaide Crows, who put back-to-back winning campaigns together in 1997-98, all to tumble, if not free fall to 13th in 1999. Richmond limps into second place on the all-time hangover list with finishing 12th in 2021, after performing their own back-to-back treat in the seasons of 2019-20.

The less I dwell on seasonal slides, blame or blanks that can’t be filled, changed or ever made otherwise, the better and quicker I can cut to the positive chase (that has always been footy, and more to the point, the Melbourne Demons, for me).

There is always something to celebrate and cheer about when you are blessed (and perhaps cursed) with having a one-eyed affiliation, albeit deep affection for anything like a passion-fueled, group-willed and pride-driven entity, that is a football club.

As such, the Charles Brownlow medal is my healthy distraction right now – which our number 13 wearing Clayton Oliver is looming as a clear favourite to claim. Should Clarry be declared the winner on Sunday night, he will become our seventh recipient of the award, representing the eighth time it has been given to a Melbourne player.

Being twenty-two years since someone in the red and blue has taken out the award, we are due. Previous winners being: Ivor Warne-Smith (1926, 1928), Dr Don Cordner (1946), Brian Wilson (1982), Peter Moore (1984), Jim Stynes (1991), Shane Woewodin (2000).

One of my favourite lesser-known points of trivia when it comes to the Dees and the competition’s highest accolade, concerns the 1987 MFC team photo. It is the only time in the club’s history that three different Brownlow winners (for the club) are in the side’s line up. They being the number 30 wearing Peter Moore, the number 7 wearing ‘Wilo’ Wilson, and of course, the number 11 wearing ‘Dublin’s Jim’ Stynes.

Intriguingly, Clarry’s third-place in last year’s Brownlow count (with 31 votes) would’ve been more than enough for him to win the award in just about any other season. As it was, he finished six votes clear of the best ever tally registered by a Brownlow winner for the club. Jim Stynes polled a then tear away 25 votes back in 1991 to dominate the competition.

Should Clayton Oliver not lay claim to the club’s eighth Brownlow medal this week, there is still the distinct possibility that he’ll collect his fourth ‘Bluey’ club best and fairest award. Which would elevate him to equal first (alongside the great Allan La Fontaine and Jim Stynes) as the only players to do so. Being 25-years old, with surely a good six to seven years of football left in him, who knows how illustrious this ‘Barassi-like’ Shepparton-born gun will go on to be.

Dees overturn Grand Final result

September 2, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 

AFLW – Round 1 – Adelaide V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Adelaide’s intent was obvious from the first touch. The premiers were going to go hard and fast in attacking the Dees. The Crows’ pressure paid off early with Ash Woodland able to get boot to ball in the goal square and notch up the first of the night.

Initially the demons looked shell shocked by Adelaide’s pressure, but slowly they started to find their feet. As Melbourne got more hands on the footy, they grew in confidence. They had some early opportunities but it wasn’t until Kate Hore’s centering ball from the pocket bounced favourably that the Dees had their first goal. Thank you lack of goal review system in AFLW.

The goal inspired Melbourne and their pressure and tackling became more ferocious; matching the Crows’ efforts. In the end, it was an even quarter with the Dees holding a slim advantage.

Melbourne made some good progress in the second term, penetrating the Adelaide defence but was unable to add to their goal tally. Both sides have strong back lines so potential scoring opportunities were quickly closed down.

The Demons were giving it their all; showing great skill, stringing hand passes together and trying to break through the Adelaide fortress. Finally the pressure paid off with Taylor Harris finding enough space 25m out to snap and claim the only goal of the quarter.

At the start of the second half, the Crows came out firing on all cylinders. They had the ball between the uprights within two minutes as Ash Woodland snapped her second, reducing the margin to four points. Then Woodland claimed her hat trick when she found enough room to the left of goal and chipped the ball off the outside of her right boot.

With Adelaide leading by a point, Melbourne kept their cool and started hunting for the next goal. It came via a Tyla Hanks’ effort. The midfielder was able to collect and control the tapped down ball before snapping goalward and watching it bounce across the line.

It was another Demon six pointer when Lauren Pearce marked at the top of the goal square and went back for the set shot. The Ruck’s initial kick was smothered by the player on the mark but Captain Daisy pounced on the rebound and snapped to claim the goal.

The Crows landed the first goal of the final term when Danielle Ponter snapped from 25m out to bring it back to five points.

Then Eden Zanker took an uncontested mark directly in front and slotted another for Melbourne. Finally Karen Paxman iced the cake with her mark and set shot from 30m to give the Demons a deserved eighteen point victory.

It’s going to be an interesting season now that there is the full quota of eighteen teams in the competition. Also, the fact that the top players are getting a half decent wage means they can devote more time to improving their skills and knowledge. The Dees are well place to repeat the success of season six with a good chance to go one better and claim their first flag.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

 

 

Demons dominant in visit to Gabba

September 2, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 

AFLM – Round 23  – Brisbane V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

The Dees had beaten Brisbane in their last three encounters. Our performances since the bye have been mixed though and the Gabba is always an intimidating venue for visitors. We could take inspiration from our last gasp victory against the Blues in Round 22 as we continue to build on our sense of self belief.

Fittingly it was the match winning hero of the Carlton game who kicked the opener against the Lions. It took all of eighteen seconds for Kysaiah Pickett to put Melbourne on the scoreboard.

The Demons dominated Brisbane early on, restricting them to their defensive half. Every time the Lions made progress, they were quickly driven back. When Jake Lever took a defensive mark and was deemed to have been push in the back, he was awarded a 50m penalty. His kick from the 50m line was accurate and had just enough distance to cross untouched. It was his first goal as a Demon and the look on his face was priceless.

After the bounce, it was straight back to work for Melbourne. Within a minute, Bayley Fritsch had marked the ball 40m out. His set shot split the middle and it was 0-20 to the Dees.

We knew it would be difficult to restrict Brisbane to no score for the entire first quarter and that proved true when Joe Daniher marked and kicked from the 50m line. The Gabba crowd was ecstatic but the mood returned to sombre when Ben Brown ran into space and marked the ball 45m out in the pocket, then kicked to claim his first of the evening.

Ed Langdon does a lot of running but doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to score. His contested mark on the square was impressive and he had no bother slotting his quickly taken set shot.

When Melbourne went to Perth in Round 20, they proved that they could play as well as they did at anytime in 2021. However, the big question being asked, was could they sustain the level of determination required to win another flag. Well, they certainly played like champions for the remainder of the quarter. Then when Pickett bookended the term with his second goal from two disposals, it looked like being the Dees’ night.

Brisbane came out looking determined to get on the board early. Their forward pressure was intense and Melbourne was under siege. The Lions were rewarded eventually when Daniel McStay marked the ball inside 50 and scored from the set shot.

After the bounce, Brisbane surged again. Joe Daniher got boot to ball in front of goal, but Michael Hibberd’s cat like athleticism ensured the ball was touched prior to crossing the line. Those sort of reactions can be the difference in a tight game and Hibberd was roundly applauded for his quick reflexes.

Brisbane looked to have settled into a comfortable rhythm, controlling the footy and dominating territory with Melbourne unable to break out of their defensive half. Then against the run of play, the Demons got the ball up the ground and inside 50 thanks to a driving kick from Jake Melksham. Ed Langdon grabbed the ball as it was thumped away from the pack and somehow got a hand pass to Kysaiah Pickett, who turned and launched off his left boot to claim his hat trick.

After Pickett’s goal the Lions seemed to lose some of their drive and Melbourne slowly resumed control of the game. The next major came via a superb banana kick from the in form Ben Brown. By now the Dees were looking comfortable with a thirty six point lead.

Pickett’s fourth goal was classic Kozzie. He casually collected the tapped down ball, then ran forward before changing direction, spinning around and kicking the ball; watching it float to the very top of the uprights, then passing through for the goal.

They say when you’re in the zone, you can kick a goal blindfolded. That’s sort of what happened when Christian Petracca picked up the ball 30m out and chipped it over the pack. The ball landed on the edge of the square, then bounced high over Jarrod Berry’s head and across the goal line. I have a feeling that Petracca was slightly bemused by it all.

The complete domination continued after the centre bounce when Clayton Oliver’s streaming kick to inside 50 was knocked down, then collected by Jake Melksham. The forward then added his name to the scoreboard when his shot also bounced over.

Brisbane was still trying valiantly but nothing was working for them. Even when they had spells of playing in their forward half, the Demons found a way to thwart their efforts before counterattacking. It happened again when Trent Rivers’ long kick was collected by Petracca who hand passed to Bayley Fritsch giving him plenty of time and space to snap his second from the edge of the goal square.

The margin was now sixty points and there was still two minutes left in the half. Then with five seconds to go, Ben Brown took a heavily contested mark 25m out from goal. Kicking after the siren, Brown kicked his third to close out the term.

Trailing by sixty six points, Brisbane needed to be perfect for the remainder of the match if they were to have a snowball’s chance of launching one of the most unlikeliest comebacks of all time. They started well with Hugh McCluggage slotting a set shot from the pocket. Then a minute later, Joe Daniher marked from 20m out and reduced the margin to fifty four points.

That was about as good as it got for the Lions. The next goal went to Melbourne via a Bayley Fritsch mark and an around the corner snap for his hat trick. When Christian Petracca got his second unorthodox goal after somehow finding a clear path to dribble through, it was undeniably the night of the Demons.

Lincoln McCarthy restored Brisbane’s deficit to ten goals when his running kick from 35m sailed through. The hosts were unable to back it up though and their subsequent efforts only resulted in minor scores.

When Alex Neal-Bullen brought up the ton for Melbourne with his 25m set shot, the home fans could see the coveted top four spot slipping irretrievably from their grasp. As if to emphasis the impossibility of the task, Bayley Fritsch kicked his fourth after being on the end a chain that totally opened up the Lions’ defence.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Brisbane was now only playing for pride. Whether they could make a dent in Melbourne’s seventy point lead remained to be seen. The Dees would want to hang on to as much of the advantage as possible. The superior percentage meant that the Sydney Swans would need to defeat St Kilda by somewhere in the region of forty points. Second place on the ladder meant having a home game advantage which could prove crucial to the team who secured that result.

The Lions again got the first goal of the term thanks to a Hugh McCluggage snap from 20m out. After that the goals dried up for each side until Luke Jackson took an uncontested mark 20m directly in front of goal.

With two minutes to go, Mitch Robinson marked just inside the 50m line before going back to cleanly kick his set shot. Then right before the siren, Cam Rayner was awarded a free kick in front of goal and went back to reduce the final margin to fifty eight points.

The Swans won their game against St Kilda but not by enough to knock the Dees off second position. We face Sydney in our qualifier and if we continue with our current form, I like our chances.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

Sponsoring Liv

September 1, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

We’re sponsoring Liv Purcell again this season.

It’s time to get on the W train and support our team in AFLW season 7.

Olivia Purcell joined the Demons in 2021 and is starring in the midfield in 2022. Liv was amongst our best in the win over our arch nemesis Adelaide last week with the Dees focusing on contested possession and executing their roles under pressure. Olivia had 24 disposals displaying her innate competitiveness. Coach Mick Stinear commented after the game “She’s really strong, clean and a good competitor.”

Liv debuted for the Dees in AFLW Season 6 and played in the last 6 games including the Grand Final. Liv brought her competitiveness and work around the contest to our mid field strength.

You are invited to join us in sponsoring Liv again this year when we hope to go one better than our 2nd place finish in Season 6.

Join now

Sponsorship prizes – AFLW Season 7

In addition to supporting Olivia and the Melbourne Football Club members of the sponsorship will be eligible to win one of the following fabulous prizes:

* 2 x Invitations to attend the AFLW Season 7 2022 B&F
* 2 x Invitations to an event with all players in attendance
* 2022 AFLW Squad poster signed by the team

In addition all members of the Player Sponsorship will also have access to:
* A virtual AFLW update from the senior coach and team captain and
* A personal video from our sponsored player

** – The NSW Demons will invest $995 to sponsor Olivia and support the Melbourne Football Club in 2022. Each $50 share you buy is a vital a part of this investment and enables the NSW Demons to continue to sponsor Olivia and support the MFC.

Oh so sweet September

September 1, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons, Our history, Our stories 

September…. My favourite month of the year

Nigel Dawe

Before commencing this piece, I made a point of closing my eyes and taking a deep breath through my nose… and you can smell it… September that is – oh, so sweet September! There is nothing that stirs my inner 12-year-old to life than the thought of the Melbourne Demons headed to the finals.

Ironically, a book I was recently gifted by my sister called ‘Footy Banners’ sits at my elbow, and it has a snap on its cover which I figure in as a dot. It is the 1989 State of Origin at the MCG with the Vics streaming through their banner, and way up in the background between the major and the behind post (above the ‘M’ of the second Myer sign to the left) I’m there taking it all in as a then wide-eyed 12-year-old seeing his very first game at the ‘G.

As for that beautiful, mad 9th month of the year we call September (doubly so, seeing ‘sept’ stood for the numeral seven in ancient Rome) originally there were only 10 months in a calendar year. January and February weren’t added until quite some time later, and when they finally were, no one bothered to correct the other month names to reflect the ‘addition’.

Ancient history aside, our team is about to embark on its 41st September campaign, to hopefully net a 14th premiership, and if we do, it will be the 37th time in VFL/AFL history that a team has gone all the way after finishing the regular season in second place. Incredibly the Melbourne Demons have played in 90 finals matches, the exact same as the South Melbourne/ Sydney Swans. The ledger changes when you factor in the win/loss record though, the Demons having won 54 games to the Swans overall 40.

That’s the backstory, the one surging towards us concerns our third ever final against the red and white wearing Swans. For two foundation clubs, it is incredible that we’ve only met so few times. Who could forget the last time though? It was the second week of the finals in that magical year of 1987, a day in which our Demons left the field 76-point victors with Robbie Flower having kicked a game high four goals.

The first and only other time our two sides have met in September was way back in the preliminary final of 1936. That day we were beaten to the tune of 26-points by a then all-conquering team that won the flag three years prior, and were known as the ‘foreign legion’ because of the sheer number of players they had ‘acquired’ from abroad to bolster their ranks.

Back to the present day, and good luck Dees for our upcoming 91st finals match against the Swans, a wonderful omen – that being Jimmy Stynes Brownlow winning year. And let’s hope Simon Goodwin’s incredible post-season record continues, which currently reflects an 83% winning return.

Even the great Norm Smith claimed a 69% winning average in finals (mind you that was for 23-games in 11 different finals campaigns, compared to Simon’s six-games in his two post-seasons so far).

And ‘finally’, come what may, keep a quiet eye on the Geelong-Collingwood match, as there is an absolute potential hidden treat. Should our arch combatants in the black and white go down to the more favoured Cats, it will be their 100th loss in a final, making them the first team in the history of the league to notch up such a ‘wobble-some’ feat.

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