Premiership #13… it’s there for the taking.

September 24, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Nigel Dawe

I was inclined to write absolutely nada, more through not wanting to do this crystal moment in time a disservice, or some kind of reflective injustice – as we’re into a Grand Final, and on the very cusp of a Melbourne Demons premiership; something I’ve had pegged, for so long, as a life highlight ‘when that day’ finally arrived … well that day is incredibly, discernibly, and immaculately… very near upon us.

One of my favourite theorists, Roland Barthes once said: “The writer is the prey of an inner god that speaks at all times.” For mine, I’d never be audacious enough to ever reference being in possession of any such self-residing deity, however – I can’t say the same thing about that ever pacing, flame-eyed inner demon of mine, that speaks at all times.

After having seen our boys ascend the ‘mountaintop’ twice, only to come up heart-breakingly and engulfingly short (in ’88 and 2000) … 2021 feels different, much different. There are so many facets and fundamentally ‘pure’ footy things that are presenting and co-aligning for us, it almost feels like destiny. Just take Gawny’s after the siren goal to claim the minor premiership, which will surely be referenced and resurrected in discussion for as long as our code of footy is played!

But having reflected upon and observed every nuance of this sport and club for so long, I know there is no such thing as an ‘assured’ fairy tale, however the greatest fairy tales are the ones you earn, trust in, never let go of, deeply wish for, and yet are never quite able to foretell; because the great stories in life only ever become ‘realised’ fairy tales in the fantastic glow of hindsight, never in the expectant haze of hope.

On that note, absolutely rest assured (contrary to the witless static doing the rounds) THERE IS NO Norm Smith curse, and if he were still alive (having passed away in 1973) he’d be quick to correct such a ridiculous blasphemy; because no one – no one – bled, loved, felt, did, wished for, or thought more about this grand old club than he (having had involvement in 10 of our club’s 12 premierships, says it all).

And I’m certain, he’s looking down from that great MCG in the sky (with his red and blue scarf on) alongside the equally revered figures of Jimmy Stynes and Robbie Flower, all wishing us nothing but the best, and the ultimate success.

Similarly, all thoughts and deepest admiration for our other number 2 wearing warrior – Nathan Jones, his ‘larger than life’ example, playing career, love of club and graciousness is another of the stars that are aligning to make this season so special, and one that we’ll truly never forget. As such, I’ll be wearing my Melbourne guernsey with a bold number 2 on its back come Grand Final day, as a tribute to this unforgettable stalwart of the red and blue!

I could waffle on and parrot old stats and facts from bygone eras about this proud founding club of ours, but I won’t; it’s all about the right here and now… because claiming premiership number 13 (the devil’s number itself) is what it’s all about… and quite frankly, it’s all about our Demon players of 2021, and making their own history… after 57 long years between drinks… So just go out there boys and do as our finals slogan says: “Give ‘em Hell!!’

Or, as the greatest football coach in all of world sport – Vince Lombardi, once roared to his all-conquering Green Bay Packer troops:
“Want it; desire it; earn it; take it!”

The man in the stand

September 23, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

By Geoff Cordner

There’s a man in the stand, and he’s looking at you
And he’s wanting to know if you’re feeling it too –
The pride in the guernsey that means so much more
When you wear it for all those who’ve worn it before.
There’s a duty that comes with the honour bestowed
To respect the ideals of the MFC code;
So with the passion and courage of teams of the past
Play each quarter, each minute, as if it’s your last.

There’s a man in the stand, and it shows in his face
He’d give anything just to be there in your place
To lace up your boots, and to feel what you feel
When you pull on the armour of red and blue steel,
To be able to tell the young boy on his knee
Of the day that the fans roared for him at the ‘G.
So one thing you must say as you walk from this shed
Is you’ll never let this privilege go to your head,
You’ll never take for granted what you’ve been allowed –
The chance to play footy in front of this crowd.

There’s a man in the stand, but he’s not on his own,
There are thousands beside, and behind, and at home
Those who wear the Club colours, and whose welfare depends
On whether their team is in front at the end.
And though between them they haven’t a stat to their names,
They are the very heart and the soul of this game,
And the question those people are asking of you
Is “If you get cut today, will you bleed red and blue?”

It’s a Grand Old Flag, but in this brave new world
If you want to see another flag being unfurled
Then don’t waste your time on the papers or news,
Because games aren’t determined by media views
Nor do crowds or the umpires decide who prevails,
It’s young men with big hearts just refusing to fail
With heads over the ball, and their bodies on the line
Who when knocked down get up again time after time
And who know that there’s always some more they can find
Even when the board says that they’re five goals behind

Winners don’t play three quarters, or give into fear
And they don’t play for money, or backslaps or beer
No, they play for each other, standing shoulder to shoulder,
When the other team’s brave, then you have to be bolder
And the thing you’ll reflect on one day, when you’re older
Is the man you became as a red and blue soldier.

There’s a man in the stand, and like those who surround him
He smiles as he turns to the faces around him
He smiles in the knowledge this team shares his pride
That this is a group who will not be denied
And he roars himself hoarse as he cheers for that team
He believes that these men can deliver that dream
And he knows that the prize they have sought all these years
Will be well worth the blood, and the sweat, and the tears.

The Great Gate Post Challenge

September 10, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons, Our stories 

The Great Gatepost Challenge of 2021

Jacqui Parry

The Battle of the Gateposts has begun and I have started with the Ganeshas!!!  Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god of beginnings, is traditionally worshipped before any major enterprise and is not only the patron of intellectuals, bankers, scribes, authors amongst others but also is a remover of obstacles – how appropriate for the Demons in 2021!

I have a nice big farm gate to decorate and even a spot for the premiership cup if / when we get that lucky!!!

The Gawny Ganesha Gates now have their game day socks and boots on. Just waiting on the strapper to apply the shin guard and bandaging to the right leg and then we are good to go.

How are your gateposts looking?

Ok I hereby challenge all Dees fans to top the attached!!

Send your decorative Dees photos to sally@nswdemons.com and we will publish in next week’s NSW Demons email.

Go Dees

Melbourne v Brisbane QF – All Luke Jackson wants for Christmas

September 9, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
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Melbourne v Brisbane QF

Liam Chambers

This time it’s the real deal. The lads want it and they refuse to be intimidated. They’re giving it everything, even biting off more that they can chew at times. After taking the minor premiership in the greatest comeback since John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, the Demons were pumped for their showdown with the Lions.

Melbourne opened the scoring after 30 seconds when Bailey Fritsch slapped the sherrin into the Ben Brown’s hands 35m from goal. The big forward didn’t hesitate as he dropped and kicked the ball high and on target. A couple of minutes later and Charlie Cameron responded with his trademark turn and snap as the ball fell into his orbit. Another couple of minutes and Cameron got his second, albeit after a slightly convoluted run from the centre square. Tom Sparrow was on the beneficiary of an attempted mark by Tom McDonald and he launched a powerful kick from 40m to score the Dees’ second.

I’ve watched Kysaiah Pickett’s first goal several times now, trying to work out how he was able get the ball through the uprights. With the way he was running plus the difficult angle, it looked all but impossible. Making the impossible possible seems to be what Kozzie does now.

Zac Bailey evened up the scores when he collected the loose ball and kicked it from 25m in front of goal. Clayton Oliver added to the tally with a brilliant snap off his left boot but Melbourne’s lead didn’t last long when Cameron notched up his hat trick with a kick from the edge of the goal square. With Ed Langdon kicking around the corner and adding to the score sheet, the Dees took an 8 point advantage into the break.

Bailey Fritsch scored the first of the second term after Oliver’s perfectly placed kick soared behind the Lion’s defence and landed in the hands of Melbourne’s top goal scorer. Unfortunately, Jarrod Berry was awarded a 50m penalty after an infringement and was successful from just outside the goal square. Next goal was the second for Pickett as he marked just to the right of the goal and launched a round the corner kick to give Melbourne a comfortable 17 point buffer.

Charlie Spargo extended the lead after he was rewarded for a particularly determined tackle 40m metres in front of goal. The Dees had a few opportunities to really push out the margin and put the Lions away but the kicks strayed from the target. Finally Bailey Fritsch, contorting himself when a hand pass from Oliver had him at full stretch, managed to turn and snap, even as he was falling to earth, kicking Melbourne’s ninth of the night.

With only minor scores on the board halfway through the third quarter, Brisbane desperately needed a circuit breaker. One was provided by Charlie Cameron as he took advantage of a loose ground ball and took off at speed before snapping one via his right boot from just shy of the goal square. After that Brisbane applied some major pressure to the the Dees’ defence which eventually paid off as Hugh McCluggage scored from a set shot and reduced the margin to 19 points.

The Demons didn’t let the resurgent Lions upset their game plan though and went about blocking off any possible pathways to goal for Brisbane. Then Melbourne were able to mount a counter attack just before the end of the quarter with Fritsch having a set shot attempt but missing the target after the siren sounded.

Fritsch had another opportunity at the start of the final term and converted to kick the Dees’ first goal since the second quarter. The goal helped settle some Demon jitters but then Lincoln McCarthy again clawed it back to 19 points when he curled one through from 20m out. It was Bailey Fritsch’s night though and he took a brilliant contested mark, then kicked from 40m to restore Melbourne’s lead to 25 points. It wasn’t over yet as Cameron got his fifth when he bent a banana to perfectly place the ball between the uprights.

Christian Petracca was having a good game but his accuracy in front of goal had been lacking. That changed when he took a mark from captain Max Gawn. The midfielder launched a kick from the pocket and watched it sail through effectively cementing Melbourne’s place in the preliminary final. It was back to back goals for Tracca when another kick from Gawn reached the pack to the left of goal allowing him to snatch the crumb and run on before snapping it between the uprights. Now the Demons had the luxury of resting some of their star players on the bench for the remainder of the game.

The 33 point victory was a good preparation for our next encounter with arch nemesis Geelong. The Cats bounced back well from their qualifying loss to defeat the Giants in their semi final clash and can’t be underestimated. The neutral turf of Perth and a week’s rest is no guarantee of triumph for Melbourne.

Not in doubt though will be the Dees total and utter commitment to give 100% to the battle and this time they’re not going to die wondering.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

Previous reports on the match ups with the Dees:

Melbourne v Geelong – Everybody Loves Gawny

Melbourne v Brisbane The fall and the rise of the red and the blue 

 

 

 

Melbourne v Geelong – Everybody Loves Gawny

August 26, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 
Celebrating that goal

Liam Chambers

Chris Scott thought the Umpire’s decision to award a 50m penalty to Jake Lever when Brad Close hit the ball into the stands after it crossed the boundary was confusing. I think the Geelong coach was more confused about how his team had relinquished a 44 point lead to a side more used to giving up seemingly insurmountable advantages rather than reining them in.

That was the old Demons. The new Demons don’t see obstacles, they only see a pathway to victory. I haven’t been able to discover if any other AFL team in history has overcome a 44 point deficit in the third quarter and then score the winning goal after the siren to claim the minor premiership. With that in mind, I’m willing to bet that Melbourne’s win on Saturday night was unprecedented.

From the opening clearance, I thought it would be a close game. It was in the end but certainly not how I’d imagined it. The players were slow to get points on the board but Kysaiah Pickett collected the ball from the stoppage and made a brilliant run behind to score Melbourne’s first. Luke Dahlhaus returned the favour for the Cats after taking a mark 30m to the left of goal.

The Dees had a few opportunities to score but were unable to add to their goal tally before Joel Selwood added another from a set shot to give the Cats the lead. Ben Brown ensured Melbourne went to the break with a 2 point advantage when he had no bother marking Christian Petracca’s long kick from the centre square.

With the teams evenly balanced, there was no surprises at the start of the second and certainly no hint of the Geelong tsunami to come. When Jack Viney’s perfectly balanced kick sailed through the posts, Melbourne had back to back goals and looked comfortable. Even when Jeremy Cameron marked the ball on the edge of the goal square, it seemed like a minor slip up in defence. Then Tom Hawkins’ opportunistic soccer attempt gave the Cats a slim lead.

Not good, but no great cause for concern. Five minutes later, the floodgates opened. First Hawkins marked in the pocket and kicked round the corner to score. Then he marked again; this time just outside the goal square before he left booted the shot to get his hat trick. Just after the centre clearance, Patrick Dangerfield received the ball, ran on and kicked a goal from 60m. Another centre clearance and Dangerfield was off again. This time he got the ball to Brad Close who put it away, notching up Geelong’s fifth for the quarter.

Yet another centre clearance went the way of the Cats and Gary Rohan was the ultimate beneficiary who poured more salt on the Demon’s wounds. Just before half time, Jeremy Cameron bookended the term with his second goal as he pulled the ball back just before it crossed the goal line then tapped it over.

In Round 12, Melbourne had a famous victory over Brisbane after being 20 points down at half time. Now they were facing a 39 point deficit. How to respond? Max Gawn would later say that they drew inspiration from Port Adelaide’s win the previous night where the Power chipped away at the Bulldogs’ lead.

I remember Serena Williams once saying in a post game interview that she hadn’t wanted to lose the match 0-6, 0-6, which was a possibility half through the second set. She kept saying to herself “if I can win just one more game, it won’t be so bad”. Eventually she chipped away so much that her opponent was the one fighting to stay in the game and Williams finally prevailed.

It appeared that the Dees were about to embark on a similar trajectory. However when Tom Hawkins kicked his fourth to extend the lead to 44 points, even the most optimistic Melbourne supporter must have had their faith sorely tested. Clayton Oliver’s goal from a running 35m kick reignited a small flicker of hope before Gary Rohan tried to extinguish the flame with his second of the night. Margin back to 44 points.

Cue the camera to the unfortunate Simon Goodwin. You could just about make out the contorted facial emotions hidden behind his Covid mask. Still the Dees didn’t give up. The hand passing sequence that preceded to Kossie Pickett’s second goal showed a renewed determination to keep chipping away. With three minutes to go in the third, Oliver kicked the ball to Ben Brown who slipped and lost his footing but kept his head and marked the ball 30m out. When the shot went through, Melbourne were 33 points behind.

The Dees needed the perfect start to final quarter and they got it. Gawn won the clearance and Christian Petracca launched the kick to inside 50 where Pickett marked and claimed his hat trick. A 26 point game. Later Ed Langdon, aka the Running Man, thumped a long kick towards the goal square, seeking out Ben Brown. The ball was knocked to ground level and bounced towards the line where Charlie Spargo got a toe to it just before it crossed.

Margin down to 20 points and a camera shot of Chris Scott looking concerned. Clayton Oliver made it three unanswered goals when he snapped one through amid the frantic Geelong defence. Chris Scott was now shown sweating and sitting on his hands. Melbourne again won the clearance and Tom Sparrow took a nice mark before kicking long to the pack in front of goal. The ball was knocked down and Spargo pounced to snap a second and make it a 7 point game.

So many times in recent seasons, Geelong have whittle away a lead to take the game away from their opponents who’d believed they had it in the bag. So many times, we were that team. When Pickett’s kick soared behind the Cats’ defence, Bailey Fritsch was able to run on and gather the ball, taking it to the goal square edge before tapping it home in the nick of time. Now it was a one goal game as the Dees trailed by 2 points.

So it stayed until the last minute and what a minute that was. The ball was thrown in from the side line and Gawn tapped it down but another stoppage ensued. As the ball came out, Angus Brayshaw was pinged for kicking it over the line. Why would he deliberately kick it out of bounds when Melbourne had 36 seconds to win the game? Come on ump?! Cameron Guthrie took the free and then kicked it out on the full but not before Brad Close hit the ball into the lower stands after it crossed the line and was penalised in the process. Jake Lever got the 50m penalty and ran down towards the 50m line.

All eyes were on Lever and and Max Gawn was able to slip unnoticed behind Gary Rohan (not easy when you’re 208mm tall) before taking the mark. As Gawn walked towards the spot where he would take the potential minor premiership winner, the siren sounded. Later Max confirmed that the sound had calmed and centered him, allowing his mind to solely focus on getting the sherrin through the uprights.

Having missed a similar opportunity at the Cattery three years before and with all the Geelong players calling out to remind him of the error; the “cat calls” must have added to his stress levels. However, he didn’t miss this time and the goal meant the Dees had won their first minor premiership in 57 years.

I’m not religious but I’m convinced that something spiritual was happening on the footy field last Saturday night. I can’t shake the feeling that this is our year and we’ll be picking up a flag in four weeks time. It doesn’t matter where we play, we’ve proved we can beat any team on any ground in any State.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

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