Melbourne Unable To Harness Their Inner Demon

July 11, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 4 – Melbourne Vs Richmond

Liam Chambers

This week Victoria went back into lockdown after a short burst of optimism that coincided with the reopening of the economy. We can draw an analogy with Melbourne’s 2018 season and what’s happened since. The effort of the building the team over preceding years, culminated in the Dees reaching their first final in twelve seasons and heralded an new era of success for the Club. Then the disastrous 2019 campaign and the single win (by a single point) so far in 2020. It seems now the rebuilding process is starting again but someone forgot to provide the game blueprint.

The Tigers pounced early when the ball was turned over in our half and marked by Tom Lynch in front of goal. First blood to Richmond. Things improved when Christian Petracca got the ball on the 50m line and saw Hannan to the left of goal. Hannan duly marked the kick and got the bend right to even the score. Richmond continued to apply pressure but were unable to get the results. Then in one of the best displays of the game, Steven May kicked the ball to Michael Hibberd whose subsequent kick to the centre bounced nicely for James Harmes. Harmes passed to Petracca who kicked wide to Bailey Fritsch (good vision). Finally, Fritsch kicked to Jake Melksham in front of goal. Numero two to the Dees. Great end to end play.

One of the bright lights in defence this year has been Trent Rivers. He got Melbourne out of strife after some messy play in front of goal. Eventually though the Tigers were rewarded for their efforts when first Jack Higgins then Daniel Rioli found the space between the uprights to put Richmond back in front. In the dying second, Bailey Fritsch gave the Demon fans something to cheer about when he marked a beautifully weighted kick from Kysaiah Pickett. His 30m shot after the siren brought the score back to a respectable 19-20.

The Dees were let off early in Q2 when Jake Hart was unable to add to the Tigers tally of goals. Thank you ACR. Richmond were the beneficiaries of the new holding the ball rule when Tracca got pinged for not trying to release the sherrin. Despite his protests, Toby Nankervis took the free and got the Tiger’s fourth. Melbourne were turning the ball over a tad too much and it seemed our midfield were not all they could be. We were struggling to get into Richmond’s half.

Jack Riewoldt started to rediscover some of his lost mojo when he slotted the fifth for the Tigers. Hibberd was putting on some good plays. Unfortunately Clayton Oliver’s slump continued and he turned the ball over a few times during the match. Pickett had a chance to set up a goal but his kick went nowhere with no Demons inside 50. His attempted mark later would have been a classic had he succeeded. Great expectation of things to come.

Unfortunately, Richmond continued to add to the score sheet with Jason Castagna kicking their sixth. They were a bit lucky with their seventh after the in form Petracca was caught watching the ball instead of the player and allowed Kane Lambert to slip through and kick a goal on the run. We had a chance at the other end when Ed Langdon’s speed and accurate kick was unable to be marked inside 50. Bailey Fritsch had another chance to score in the last minute but missed badly. His record from set shots needs a bit more work.

Melbourne looked determined to make amends at the start of the second half. They needed to do something quickly as they were trailing Richmond 20-45. However, a kick inside 50 to the lone figure of Dustin Martin in front of goal had Hibberd madly scrambling to get back. Dusty never looked in any danger of missing the mark though and his goal was the fifth unanswered one for Richmond. After that we had a couple of lucky escapes. First Jack Riewoldt missed a sitter, then Tom Lynch had a brain freeze and kicked the ball into the post after he marked it three metres out from goal.

Just when it was looking like another goalless quarter for the Dees, Oliver got the ball to Gawn who marked it well and then kicked it on to Jake Melksham who was perfectly placed to score. It seemed our luck was turning, when for once it was Richmond turning over the ball. Fritsch got the mark and kicked to Aaron vandenBerg who cleverly tapped it on to Mitch Hannan to walk it in. As is often the case, Melbourne was caught basking in the glow of back to back goals and Kane Lambert snuck one in for Richmond almost immediately. Cue camera shot of Simon Goodwin mumbling to himself.

Frustratingly, a few times players had a chance to kick it to Pickett near the Tigers goal but declined. Just kick it to him and see what happens. It might just catch Richmond off guard. Again Trent Rivers showed some nice skills with a few good kicks as well as a creative vision. Melksham went off on a tangent near the end of the term when he could have passed the ball up the field. Then he gave away a 50m penalty after being tackled. Melbourne was thankful to be going in the last quarter only 29 points down.

Like Round 4, the Dees had it all to do in the last quarter. They threw themselves into it and eventually Petracca got the ball to Tom MacDonald who marked it thirty five metres out from goal. Though T Mac has been below par since his recovery from a broken leg, he didn’t make any mistakes this time. Still 23 points behind though. Bailey Fritsch had another set shot and was successful to further reduce the margin. It was still possible for the Dees to win but we needed a further three goals. However Tom Lynch spoiled the party with six minutes to go.

After that, the Tigers were reinvigorated and the Demons struggled. Even a third goal for Mitch Hannan was all too little too late. Tom Lynch put the final nail in the coffin with two minutes to go and ten seconds before the siren, Kane Lambert helped lower the casket into the ground, making the final score 51-73.

It’s been a hugely frustrating start to 2020 for the Demons. So many times our game is lacking the flexibility to out play the opposition. We desperately need a consistent goalscorer. We were the highest scoring side in the competition in 2018, now we’re the lowest. Jesse Hogan and Tom MacDonald scored 100 goals between them in 2018. Of course there’s no guarantee that Jesse would have played well last year if he’d stayed but Tom’s form slumped noticeably after Hogan’s departure. It’s like Lennon and McCartney. Once they broke up the Beatles, neither were as prolific again.

One interesting stat I read this week. Fifteen times since 2018, Melbourne have had more inside 50s than the opposition but have gone on to lose the game. The team average in the League is six times. Anyway, maybe relocating to Sydney will help the Dees. Without the relentless focus of the Melbourne media, they may recover some of their success from two years ago.

We play Gold Coast in Round 6. The Suns have lost their star player Matt Rowell to injury but will still be a tough team, having discovered a winning spirit since the restart of the season.

Finally, a shout out to Shaun from Coffs Harbour, a one time Dees’ aspirant. It always good to discover another Demons fan in these here parts.

Go the Mighty Dees!


Dees Can’t Quite Catch Cats

July 4, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 4 – Melbourne Vs Geelong – We need more Picketts and Petraccas.

So many times in recent years (2019 has been surgically removed from my memory), games involving Melbourne and Geelong have come down to the dying seconds. Unfortunately for the Dees, Round 4 wasn’t to be the exception. For most of the first quarter, the Cats were in almost total control. They maintained possession and pressured the Dees but could only score two goals. The first came in the opening minutes courtesy of Darcy Fort and the second in the closing minutes via Mitch Duncan.

In between Melbourne looked like a shadow of the team that played their brilliant first quarter against Carlton in Round 2.

The bright spots were some inspirational play from Christian Petracca and the gifted Kysaiah Pickett. While Pickett created some nice chances his moment came with two minutes to go when he was given advantage but unfortunately his ensuing shot hit the post. Once he gets a few goals under his belt, he’s going to be a scoring machine.

Melbourne started Q2 more determined and were rewarded when Bailey Fritsch marked the ball twenty metres out to the left of goal. The run of play that got the ball to Fritsch was one the best displays of the game by the Demons. First goal for the Dees. They continued to maintain the pressure on Geelong but eventually the Cats steadied the ship. Melbourne’s chances weren’t helped by turning over the ball when they were charging up the corridor.

Interestingly, with no crowd to return the wayward sherrins, is the number of footys used having an affect on play? Obviously it’s a lot different to a cricket ball but could it potentially make a difference?

Anyway, neither team was able to add much to the scoreline. Steven May was defending well and Pickett continued to have some nice touches but nothing was working until Angus Brayshaw was able to slot one in under pressure. I’m not sure if 15-14 is the lowest score for a first half this season, but it must be very close.

After a reasonably adequate display in Q2, Melbourne literally dropped the ball at the start of the second half. A 50m shot from Esava Ratugolea sailed behind the line with the Dee’s defence seemingly missing in action. Great goal but I’m sure Goody was reaching for the stress ball after that.

Then to rub salt in the wounds, when it look like Luke Daulhaus was going for a set shot, he passed the ball to Dangerfield who then kicked a goal from 50 metres out. Paddy was standing right next to Daulhaus but no one thought he might be a danger in that position. He was though and after all danger is his middle name. Now Goody was rummaging around for the rescue remedy. When Brandan Parfitt kicked his first goal, the Cats were three up for the quarter.

Then at last the Dees got back on the score board. A snap shot from Petracca in front of goal stemmed the flow and reinvigorated Melbourne. Kysaiah Pickett was also involved and almost marked the ball before Tracca took advantage and kicked the Dee’s third. We need more Picketts and Petraccas. With four minutes to go, Petracca almost got a second. However, at the other end of the field a classy one handed mark form Cameron Guthrie saw the Cats go into the final quarter seventeen points ahead.

Melbourne knew they had to throw caution to the wind and go for broke if they were to have any chance of winning. Luckily that’s just they did. Jayden Hunt got the first with a banana kick to the left of goal. Happy Days. Then there was some great Demon pressure that had the Cats looking worried.

Unfortunately my least favourite player of all time, Tom Hawkins, finally kicked a goal after an fairly ordinary day by his standards. With the lead back to sixteen points, we needed something special to inspire the fans. Luckily Tom MacDonald was waiting in the wings and after a beautiful mark, he put away the sherrin to reduce Geelong’s advantage to ten points.

However it looked like it was all over for Melbourne when Dangerfield stepped up to have a shot in front of goal. Maybe he should have stayed on the bench after he was checked out for concussion as his shot sailed wide of the mark. Demon fans and players alike heaved a huge collective sigh of relief.

With two minutes to go, Angus Brayshaw got a clean pick up thirty metres from goal and ran to cleanly kicked Melbourne’s sixth and get us to within four points of the Cats. When Christian Salem had a 50m penalty awarded, it looked like the Demons might have a famous victory.

However he didn’t go for goal and in the ensuing confusion, the ball was booted back to the 50m line where Adam Tomlinson marked it with thirty seconds to go. As the great footy viewing public held their breath, Tomlinson unleashed a mighty kick that sailed enticingly close but veered left as it reach the goal line. A win was not to be.

Next week we play Richmond after our travel plans to Queensland were thwarted when the State Government announced that visiting teams would be required to self quarantine for fourteen days; effectively putting a stop to any team travelling north of the Tweed.

Even though the Tigers have not won any of their games since the renewal of the season, they are notoriously slow starters and should never be underestimated. I would have preferred to be playing the Swans as I fancied our chances against their style of play.

Anyway, it’s been a year of unexpected results so it’s anybody’s guess.
Go the Mighty Dees!!!


Red in the Shade of Invincible White

June 27, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons, Our history 

Red in the Shade of Invincible White

Nigel Dawe

Well, put it down as a sign, or dare I say a ‘symptom’ of the times, a game canceled at the 11th hour because of an occurrence of the Corona virus (on that note and most importantly, sincere best wishes to the entire Essendon Football Club and that everything pans out okay for all at Windy Hill).  But the more things change, the more they stay the same, albeit return to a point where they began. And so, it occurred to me, Australia’s national game both symbolically and literally looped a full 16 decades back in time to its origins last Sunday.

That being an intra-club match on the MCG between the gents of the Melbourne Football Club. If our boys were wearing all white (which was the club’s original playing attire, keeping in mind they were to a person – cricketers, that merely wanted to keep themselves fit during the winter months) then the journey back to our beginnings would’ve been made complete.

Thus the team’s first nickname ‘The Invincible Whites’, and if you think that’s a little tame or perhaps quaint in some way, then reconsider, because apparently the matches back then were of a highly competitive and take no prisoners nature (rather like our spirited ‘hit-out’ on the weekend) only no-one had to replace their torn shirt four times in the course of ‘play’ like one of our pioneers did in the early days.

I can’t help thinking how the ghost of Tommy Wills was in some way watching or pacing the boundary line, perhaps wishing he were able to once again physically enter the fray.

So, without an official game last week, I dug out my hen’s tooth copy of my favourite Melbourne match, which might come as quite the surprise to some fans, as it’s not even a first grade game, but it’s one that has enabled me to say – “yep, I’ve actually seen a Demons team win a big dance on the last Saturday of September at the MCG.”

It was of course the Greg Healy-led reserves grade Premiership of 1993, and if you haven’t ever seen this match, it is an absolute spirit-churning corker for the ages. Not only did Melbourne kick the first 9 goals of the game, it was an outing that was almost clinically executed from start to finish by our boys, some of whom played their last game in the red and blue. Darren Bennett was one such trooper, who kicked 3 absolute sound barrier breaking big ones (all in the first quarter) before he headed to the States to teach them a thing or two about punting like you really mean it!

My highlight (and it may be out of sync with the central tenets or tone of the modern game, and I’m certainly not condoning violence, but ‘flying the flag’ for your club in a Grand Final is an exempt-able matter as far as I’m concerned) was the Graeme Yeats instigated goal-square melee at the city end just before half-time.

To say it made last week’s Bulldogs-Giants tangle look like a meek night on Dancing With the Stars, would be an understatement. But the real throw-back for me was the ‘delighted’ reaction of the commentators (Drew Morphett, Bernie ‘Super Boot’ Quinlan and Dennis Cometti) whom each dissected the fracas with an analytical-tilt you wouldn’t see anywhere beyond the labs that are now trying to concoct a cure for Covid! They even managed to somehow get it shown later in the match in slow motion (“for those that may have missed it!”).

Different times, yes, but to this day it remains a game and a club for those willing and wanting to test themselves and have a red hot go, as Norm Smith himself once said: “League football is 70 percent guts. Split the other 30 percent any way you like.”


The Skin Of Their Teeth

June 20, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 2 – Carlton Vs Melbourne – The Skin Of Their Teeth

Liam Chambers

First the good news. Q1 was about as good a quarter as Melbourne have ever played. Within the first minute the Dees were inside 50. Alex Neal-Bullen got the ball to Bailey Fritsch who slotted the first goal. Four minutes later Christian Petracca gets the second from thirty metres out in front of goal. Then it’s Neal-Bullen’s turn after a nice mark, courtesy of a Max Gawn kick. At the halfway mark, Melbourne were dominating with ten inside 50s to nil.

Debutant Trent Rivers was splendid, showing great control and vision. Even when Carlton’s ventured inside 50, the Dees dealt with them easily and efficiently. The fourth and fifth goals went to the energetic Jayden Hunt. Max Gawn was dominating the hit outs. All in all a masterclass performance by the Demons.

Q2 started with a Blues side more determined to staunch the flow and reverse the one side nature of the game. Melbourne held on but were noticeably less dominate. Then at the midway point, Tom McDonald got the footy to Jayden Hunt who slotted his hat trick. Shortly after that, Neal-Bullen kicked a messy but effective goal to put Melbourne forty two points in front.

Now the Dees were in the driver’s seat and should have put the game beyond Carlton’s reach. Instead they threw the Blues a lifeline. With ninety seconds to go, first David Cunningham, then Darcy Lang found the back of the net to reduce the margin to twenty nine points and give them a sense of belief going into the second half.

From the start of the second half, Carlton relentlessly piled the pressure on Melbourne. The Dees were unable to to control the game and even though the held the lead, all the momentum was with the Blues. The few chances presented to Melbourne went begging and that old familiar feeling was back. The Demon faithfully had been here too many times before but we hung on for dear life; needing to believe that we could not surrender a game that seemed a near certainty just half an hour before.

The Blues just kept going though and first Levi Casboult then Mitch McGovern scored to get within spitting distance of the Dees. Finally, a long kick from Petracca on the edge of inside 50 sailed towards goal and a fortunate bounce saw the Dees notch up their eight goal. In hindsight, this proved to be the match winner for Melbourne.

With the score 53-31 at the start of the final quarter, the Dees were ruing not putting Carlton to the sword when they had a forty two point lead. This regret was compounded when Michael Gibbons kick the blues fifth. After a few near misses, the great Eddie Betts finally got his first goal since returning to Carlton. Celebrations for Carlton meant Melbourne had to now preserve a wafer thin lead made worse when Captain Patrick Cripps reduced the margin to a single goal. The change in fortunes was summed up by Bailey Fritsch’s miss in front of goal in the dying minutes. However, Melbourne hung on to win by the narrowest of margins.

It was a disappointing performance from the Dees considering our early dominance. However, I can live with disappointment. I grew up in Ireland and was constantly disappointed by our performance in all International codes.
So it’s not the disappointment, it’s the frustration. The frustration of a team so obviously talented and fit. A team that knows what needs to be done but so often fails to do it. I know that sounds harsh and I’m not on the field dealing with the immense pressure of the game played at this level. But every team faces that pressure and Melbourne have been guilty of capitulation too often.

We proved what we can achieve when we made the preliminary finals in 2018. However, we’ve made a habit of being hunted down. When the opposition changes tactics in an attempt to win the game, why does Melbourne not have a contingency plan? If there is a plan, why do we struggle to implement it?

I saw an interview with Max Gawn last night and he indicated that the terminology used at half time and the final quarter break was perhaps lacking in clarity. Max said that they were now reviewing their terminology.
A failure to communicate at this level of a professional sport is surprising. I really hope that this problem is rectified urgently. If not, we may struggle to find a winning formula this season. I know a win is a win but the Round 2 result was too close for comfort.

On a lighter note, congratulations to Neville Jetta on his 150th game for the Dees! Also welcome to the three debutants Harley Bennell, Trent Rivers and Luke Jackson.

Go The Mighty Dees!!!


Demons Nation – Connected Where it Matters the Most

June 20, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons, Our history, Our stories 

Demons Nation – Connected Where it Matters the Most.

Nigel Dawe

It’s no exaggeration to say that I’m a fanatical Demons fan, but one thing that forms a keen intertwining feature in this one-eyed fanaticism of mine is the fact that we truly live in a Demons nation. I know, you’re probably thinking where’s he going with this, but one thing I bet you haven’t known prior to now is what our iconic little foot-soldier of Lucifer has in common with so many different places across this wide-brown land.

From Surface Paradise to Mildura, Moonta to Pennant Hills, Alice Springs to North Hobart, Corryong to Casey, Perth to Canberra, Koo Wee Rup to Yarram – they all have a local Demons football team.

And that’s just to name a few, not to mention we also have red and blue coloured demon sides raising hell with their leather projectiles in cities as far-flung as Toronto, Boston and London. So on the topic of keeping exaggeration to a minimum, it’s fair to say that on any given weekend during winter – ‘A Grand Old Flag’ is being sung by a bunch of 18 sweaty combatants, somewhere in not just this country of ours, but right across the entire globe. And I can’t tell you how much the thought of this brings me an outright deep-seated peace and relief.

But the interconnections don’t just end there, the Perth Demons (even though they wear red and black) are coached by none other than Earl ‘Duke’ Spalding, the lovable bloke we all held our collective breaths when he took his set shots at goal back in the 80s, to say he had one of the more ‘interesting’ or outright elegantly wasted kicking styles, would be an understatement.

Then there’s our 2013 runner up best and fairest winner – Col Garland doing his bit to make the North Hobart Demons the best team in Tasmania, not that they need all that much help, seeing they’ve notched a whopping 27 premierships and finished runners-up 17 times in their overall club history.

One of the more little known cross-overs in the game is the fact a former Melbourne player, Lou Suhard answered a call to meet up at a pub in Adelaide one Thursday night in 1878 to form the Norwood Football Club. And of course, Lou suggested what an aesthetically pleasing and no less formidable combo of colours red and blue were for a football team, not to mention the moniker ‘Redlegs’, as Melbourne were then also known, and thus the rest is history.

Whilst in South Australia, I have to make mention of a little town and a football team very dear to my heart – Moonta and their Moonta Demons, who have quite possibly the most sublime red and blue guernsey you’ve ever seen, it actually features a pitch-folk wielding demon on the front.

As some background, my entire family and I used to holiday for three weeks at a time each Christmas in the early 80s in this beautiful old Cornish influenced mining town, come idyllic tourist mecca.

So recently, I got in touch with Mark Durin, Moonta’s club president and Andrew Pearson, the secretary to find out what impact the Covid period has had on their town and club. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have reached them at a tougher time and yet they were the last to complain, as their entire league has been canceled for the first time ever, and the whole region has suffered quite a down-turn.

Having grown up in a small country town I know how devastating this would be, and so on behalf of the broader Demon community I’d like to extend our heartfelt best wishes and sincere hope that come next season the Moonta Demons go on to claim their 14th premiership, the most recent coming in 2018.

For a club that boasted an evergreen (ex-Brownlow medallist) Gavin Wanganeen in their team last year, the boys are surely well placed to do themselves and us all proud. As an excellent and ever-apt promo from the Norwood Football Club hammered home in the early 90s – ‘Times don’t stay tough forever, but tough clubs do!’


Next Page »

Click here join NSW Demons now.

follow us on twitter Follow us on twitter

join our facebook group Join our facebook group

Sign up to our newsletter: