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 Demons – Mountains to climb & things to claim

August 18, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons, Our history, Our stories 

All week my brain has been like a swirling red and blue hurricane, but not in a batten down the hatches kind of way, more like a serene bombardment of thoughts and images, that reflect and ‘flag’ the enormity and significance of where we find ourselves as a club, right now in time.

Nigel Dawe

Of all the things that came flooding in, at the forefront was the memory of my two most revered players – Robbie Flower and big Jim Stynes. Should our team take us all the way to the promised land of a premiership in a few weeks: my first emotion will be recalling the wonderful players and people those two legends were, and what a premiership would have meant to these two icons, who don’t worry – will certainly be on their respective wing and centre circle positions in spirit, with hearts ablaze, come that final siren.

Relatedly, not getting ahead of myself (well, maybe just a little) the highlight of a Grand Final win in 2021 would be seeing the great Ron Barassi, up in the stands saluting and savouring his Demons being on top of the football world once again. It would be eerily reminiscent of our team’s 1926 Grand Final victory, which had the club’s ultimate spiritual figure, and the then 90-year-old ‘father of football’ H.C.A Harrison applauding his side’s ‘drought-breaking’ efforts, being Melbourne’s first premiership in 26-years.

In a similar vein, two monumental developments occurred on planet Earth in May 1953. The first was Ronald Dale Barassi’s playing debut for the Melbourne Demons at the MCG on Saturday the 16th; and the second, took place 13 days later on the 29th of May, when Edmund Hillary scaled Mt Everest, the first human being to ever do so. And it’s the imagery and thought-quest of scaling the highest mountain around, that our current-day players need to harness, prepare for and revel in.

Talking mountains scaled, a wonderful outcome of beating the Cats this weekend to claim our first minor premiership in 57 years, would also be the acquisition of the little spoken of – McClelland Trophy (which was first awarded back in 1951). Originally it was given to the club for having achieved the most points/ wins in the top three grades (back when there was a true club reserves and U/19s competition). Interestingly, Melbourne won the ‘last’ McClelland Trophy (along those original combined triple grade lines) back in 1990; since 1991 it has been awarded to the team who finishes the season as minor premier.

Whilst the achievement of a fifth McClelland trophy this year for the Demons (1955, 1956, 1958 and 1990 – being seasons we also previously won) the Melbourne connection to the award does not end there. The award itself was of course named after Dr William McClelland, the former Melbourne captain (1901-1904), 1900 premiership player, club president, and then head of the VFL (for a record setting 30-years) who passed away in the Demons premiership year of 1957.

Not that I’ve ever bought into things like horoscopes, tea readings or tarot cards, but there is something about season 2021 that has an element of ‘stars aligning’ for the Melbourne Football Club, in a very discernible way. As such, if I were to get a precious five minutes with the playing group over the next week or so, I’d flag two points in particular.

The first would be an old American football adage: “We have just four weeks to play, and the REST OF OUR LIVES to think back on it.

And the second, instructional ‘takeaway’ would be a line by the fire-breathing Frenchman, La Rochefoucauld: “We promise according to our hopes; and perform according to our fears.”

So, just go out there boys and be as fearless, committed, and ferocious as you’ve been for this entire year. The time and the season have arrived… and it is now, right now.

As we head full speed into the approaching month of September, there’s only one more thing left to say, and that’s: “Good luck Melbourne Demons – come what may… it’s been a wonderful season!”

MFC, Olympics and the NSW Demons

August 12, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons, Our history, Our stories 

Sally Trevena

Our recent story of Melbourne VFL premiership footballer Corrie Gardner, who was one of only two athletic representatives at the St Louis Olympic Games in 1904, prompted his grandson William Streeton, to share more of Corrie’s story and his passion for the Demons.

William remembers him as a passionate Demons supporter to his death. William has very fond memories of him, despite being very young and remembers going with him to the MCG and watching Ron Barassi, John Lord etc playing. He died watching a televised match of Melbourne playing and winning against Collingwood.

Corrie’s brothers, Mark & Eric also played for Melbourne. Corrie and Eric played together from 1900, 1901, 1902 & 1903, Mark played in1904 and Corrie and Mark in 1905.

I was delighted to hear from William and never cease to be amazed by the ongoing connections between our footy club’s history and members of the NSW Demons audience.

Thank you William

Go Dees.

Making an Art of The Winning Streak

May 13, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons, Our history, Our stories 

Nigel Dawe

The great Norm Smith, and ever-reigning coach of the Century, once snarled: “Winning isn’t everything, but it’s a bloody sight better than what comes next!” And, having stuck by our boys in the red and blue for the best part of the last four decades, I can vouch for Smithy’s comment, in a way that he couldn’t have remotely imagined when he said it at the time.

And so, without getting swept away by the first two absolutely fantastic ‘loss-less’ months of season ’21, and not to downplay or feign indifference to such a non-mean feat (because 8-in-a-row is sterling stuff) we have a long way to go; but what a trip we’ve been afforded thus far. One that’s starting to push our current crop of players into the realm of club record territory.

You’d have to have just come back from a trip to Mars to have not heard our best start to a season was back in 1956 – an ‘Olympic’ and truly halcyon year in which the Norm Smith-led, Barassi, Beckwith and Co gladiators notched wins in all of their first 13 matches, eventually going down to the Bulldogs in Round 14 by 13 points.

But one incredible ‘accompaniment’ to this statistical morsel, is the fact Melbourne also won the last six matches of season 1955, to create the most successful winning streak in the club’s history (19-games straight). The attached visual of ‘The Demon Comet’ and Beckwith with the ball-on-a-string appeared in The Age, 11 ‘supersonic’ games into that majestic season of 1956.

Having said that, the Cats of 1952-53 are the game’s true ‘astronauts’, albeit golden boys when it comes to stringing the W’s together in the win-loss column of ladder histrionics. This incredible dark blue-hooped bunch from Corio Bay fronted up for 23-games straight, without a loss. Next on the all-time list are those Bomber boys of 2000 (and how could we forget), but they amassed a mammoth 20-games straight from Round 1 through to Round 20 (dropping just that solitary outing for the entire year) – the most successful season of any side in the history of the game.

To paraphrase our more than canny current coach, Simon Goodwin, and his chief playmakers – Petracca and T-Mac from after the match last week: ‘To a person at the club, it’s about taking a 0-0 games won approach into each and every game – there is no next week or last week, winning streak or even Shit Creek, there is just an all-important right here and NOW, to be met, overcome and WON!’

Which is an approach and a convictional resolve that surely stirs not just the spirit, but the supreme example of Norm Smith to life, having once echoed: “Clubs must try to build a winning tradition, and develop to the highest degree a fierce pride in their team. If a club’s not a proud one, it has little chance of success.”

So, here’s to the pride required to rise, and prove to one’s self and the entire football world – that the team of the red and the blue have what it takes, to keep winning – one week at a time, for a long time to come.

winning streak

Season 2021 – Look Out, Here We Come!

January 23, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons, Our history, Our stories 

Nigel Dawe

Neither a monkey or even a dust mite on our backs this year!

I don’t know if you’d call it hard core, committed, neurotic, fanatical or just ridiculous, maybe it’s a swirling, churning one-eyed combination of all five, but ever since I was a kid I have ‘occupied’ myself during the final credits of every film with trying to recognise or fleetingly pick out any famous Melbourne Demon last names.

As such, I don’t think I’ve ever spotted a ‘Barassi’ or a ‘Warne-Smith’ represented in any capacity of a matinee film; however, the other day after having sat through near on 3 hours of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ with my 7-year-old daughter, I spied (and I’m not making this up) a ‘Lyon Beckwith’ in the film’s credits!

Not sure about you, but having a first name after perhaps the best player we’ve had at the club in the past 50 years and a last name after a two-time premiership captain from the ‘50s, would have to be an absolutely one-off celluloid occurrence, not to mention a red and blue referential miracle.
Needless to say, with me there is no pre-season, post-season or outright season in itself when it comes to the Melbourne Demons figuring, or pardon the pun ‘featuring’ in some daily way in my heart and mind. But that said, this pre-season is shaping as one of the most promising and talent crackling affairs that I can ever personally recall.

Our bounding, fit and seemingly balanced mix of players aside, it’s the cast that we’ve managed to assemble (almost by stealth) in our coaching and administrative quarters, that has me daring to believe and now menacingly murmur – “Yes, this will be our year!”

At some point over the passing of seasons, I remember hearing and retaining a comment made by the great (now in his 95th year) dual-premiership captain – Noel McMahen along the lines, “not until you fill the four heads [being Chadwick, Warne-Smith, Norm Smith and Cardwell] in the famous ‘Architects of Five Premierships’ photo, will you see anything like the success of what we saw in the ’50s and ’60s.”

Without lumbering the calamitous weight of expectation on the shoulders of our current ‘equivalents’, I’m looking so forward to seeing the collective effects generated by Alan Richardson, Mark Williams, Simon Goodwin and Gary Pert, add on a seasoned Adem Yze for good measure, and you have that aforementioned photo recreated, and then some.

While there’s quite a lot of talk around the traps about our club having the longest current premiership drought (57 years of silver-less Septembers to be precise) I don’t see this as being either a monkey or even a dust mite on the back of anyone associated with the club.

Football is a game played in a stand-alone, year-by-year fashion by players that live and die (without sounding too gladiatorial) by their exploits in ‘real-time’, such things as ‘seasons without a premiership’ are light years away from the realm of any footballer’s direct sphere of influence or control. That our oldest current player in Nathan Jones was born in 1988, puts into perspective the illogical chronological conundrum of holding anyone physically accountable for an overall inter-generational lack of success.

As for ‘premiership windows’, I always cringe when I hear this modern-day dupe of a phrase, for mine, like the best of budding cat burglars – every year is a premiership ‘window’ to be scrambled into in red-hot pursuit of the ultimate loot. If you don’t agree, then refer to the ‘Baby Bombers’ of ’93 or the marauding Hawks of ’08, to name just two supreme groups that came from the clouds to pull off the ultimate of ‘steals’.

I’d love someone to have mentioned such a ‘cute’ inanimate concept like a ‘premiership window’ to the game’s brimstone coaches of by-gone eras like Norm Smith or Checker Hughes; the notion of not having the troops committed or competent enough to win the competition in any given season would’ve absolutely confounded them.

Similarly, in the words and rollicking ‘Ocean’s 11’ spirit of perhaps world sport’s most celebrated and successful coaches of all-time, Vince Lombardi once ‘unpacked’ his approach to such things, by matter-of-factly saying, in his very concise ex-school teacher way (and something that could now well suffice for a rallying catchphrase for our primed Dees of ’21):
“Want it; desire it; earn it; take it.”

Architects of 5 premierships - Chadwick, Warne-Smith, Norm Smith and Cardwell

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