Dees need to recapture the desperation

June 23, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 

Round 13 – Collingwood V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Is the lack of pressure is getting to Melbourne? The best teams, regardless of code are the ones who chase every ball, tackle mercilessly but most importantly work for each other and put the team above all else. That was the Demons in 2021.

This year they’ve played some terrific football but the consistent desire, the hunger, the focus, the determination has definitely slipped. There has been some brilliant displays of individual effort and moments of team clarity but compared to last season, something is missing.

There are injuries that have hurt the Dees but we’re no longer the pressure side that we were and it’s showing more every week. I know it’s a simplistic argument but I believe that until we recapture the desperation that won us the flag, we will continue to struggle. When we get back to our core game, the belief and success will follow.

It took awhile for the opening goal and fittingly it came on the back of some good co-operative play between Luke Jackson and Bayley Fritsch, capped off by Fritsch’s chip across the line. Ben Brown’s form has been below par recently but he had no trouble slotting his set shot from 20m for the Dees’ second. James Jordon was the beneficiary of a 50m penalty and took full advantage to kick Melbourne’s third.

Collingwood got their first goal at the start of the second term when Jack Ginnivan snapped one from 30m. Despite clawing one back, it was still Melbourne who was controlling the game.
Clayton Oliver collected the crumb from a tap down and found some space to launch one through the middle. The Dees continued to mount pressure on their opposition and it paid off when Ben Brown grabbed the wayward ball in front of goal and snapped his second.

As the quarter wore on though, the Pies were growing in confidence. When Brody Mihocek marked in the goal square, there was a sense that the game was tilting to the home side’s advantage. Mihocek always seems to save his best for the Melbourne clashes and he converted to reduce the margin to fifteen points. Then with a minute to go Mihocek struck again; marking 30m out and making it an eight point game.

The Demons’ game seems to be following a familiar pattern in recent weeks, where they’ll build up a big lead in the first quarter, maintain it for most of the second before succumbing to an opposition comeback just before half time. Then they strike early in the third term as Jack Viney did with his impressive curling snap from 40m. After that, they seem to lose the momentum and allow the rival team to take over. These events are in stark contrast to last year and earlier games this season when the third quarter was where they unleashed their best footy.

One bright spot though was when Kysaiah Pickett intercepted a clearance kick to smother and snap, giving Melbourne a twenty point lead. Then it was all Collingwood, starting with Beau McCreery who converted his set shot from 35m. Just after the bounce, Mason Cox was delivered the ball just inside 50, where he ran on and kicked for goal. Then Mason Cox hand passed to Jamie Elliott who kicked another from just outside the goal square.

With only two points separating the sides in the final term, the contest was on. Unfortunately all the momentum was with the Pies and Brody Mihocek gave them the lead when he marked on the 50m line, then kicked straight through the middle to claim his hat trick.

Collingwood was able to take a second mark in the goal square when Jamie Elliott outran the Dees back line and took the grab. Luke Jackson helped stem the black and white tide with his brilliant mark and successful set shot from the pocket. After that though, the Magpies had more or less free rein and for the last ten minutes the Dees were reduced to spectators.

Oliver Henry marked and converted. Then Brody Mihocek had another mark in the goal square. It got worse with only two minutes remaining as Jack Crisp’s running kick from 40m found the target. Then to round it off, Jamie Elliott found himself with plenty of space and ran into the open goal.

There’s no doubt now that the Demons are in a slump. How they reset and restart their season remains to be seen. There will have been a lot of soul searching over the bye.

For an interesting take and perspective on our current situation, read Nigel Dawe’s excellent article in the Newsletter. As he notes, we have some exceptional players who are prepared to give it their all week in week out, we just need the whole team recapturing the spirit that took us all the way in 2021.

Also his link to the ”Man in the Arena” speech is well worth checking out. One of my favourite quotes though is from George Halas, founder of the Chicago Bears, but it relates to all acts of endeavour: “At least 80 percent of the success of the football team is determined by the fight and spirit that they put into their play”

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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