This week Melbourne have been brandished “almost irrelevant” by Paul Roos and accused of tanking by former player Brock McLean, and will have even more to lose if they don’t get over 17th placed Gold Coast.
McLean opened a can of worms accusing his former club of ‘tanking’ in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, implying they deliberately lost games to receive priority draft picks. Premiership coach Roos branded Melbourne as “almost an irrelevant football team” and highlighted the fact the Demons had only won 16 quarters for the season, where they sit in 16th place with only two wins.
First year coach Mark Neeld has highlighted the inexperience of his team, pointing out that there had only been one game this season where his team had more games experience than their opponents – GWS – which the Demons won.
The Demons are coming into the clash after a 54 point loss to North Melbourne in a game where they matched the Roos for two quarters, yet leaked points in the first and third quarters. Their previous two games have seen losses of 28 and 34, and GWS win aside, their unexpected victory over the Bombers must seem like a lifetime ago.
Untimely injuries – with Daniel Nicholson likely to miss three weeks with his broken jaw and Ricky Petterd injuring his hamstring in the VFL – and Neville Jetta’s one match suspension means the window is open for the likes of Cale Morton, Jordan Gysberts, Michael Evans and Luke Tapscott to press for selection. Jack Watts – the supposed reward for the dismal Demons 2008 and 2009 season’s is no certainty to start, yet a big game from him will do wonders for the Melbourne faithful.
Gold Coast met the ladder leading Sydney Swans last round and suffered an eventual 72-point loss, after a competitive first half. The Suns have had a good few weeks of football with a victory over Richmond in Cairns and a closely fought Q-Clash which saw them lose to the Lions by nine.
Gary Ablett has been particularly prominent, notching up 42 disposals against the Swans and 37 against the Lions. The Suns will welcome back promising forward Sam Day, with Aaron Hall, Kyal Horsley and Sam Iles in the selection mix.
Melbourne need to stand up as a footy club, and put the off-field cloud behind them with a win on the field and. hopefully for their sake, will be too good for the Suns at home.
Demons by 28.