Melbourne Demons’s problem is a lack of effort
Demons players leave the field dejected after the round one loss to the Brisbane Lions in 2012 (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
When I write about sport, I usually don’t enjoy writing in such a negative manner. But sometimes, a negative opinion is necessary.
I’ll only construe a negative opinion when I believe there is a significant problem in a respective topic. And that topic right now is the Melbourne Football Club.
Hell, I’m glad I live in Adelaide. Because if I lived in Melbourne, the storm that has eventuated as a result of Melbourne’s undeniable amateurism would send me into melt down. Even watching Fox Footy’s On the Couch and 360 AFL programs gives me a fair indication on the current state of the football landscape over in Victoria.
And you know what? I can’t blame the Melbourne media one bit.
I was flabbergasted, amused, bemused, in awe, in disbelief, and any other shock induced adjectives you could infer after watching Melbourne’s performance on Saturday Night.
Now, beating Sydney at the SCG is a pretty difficult task. So no one was expecting any miracles from the Demons. But going down by 101 points and losing the inside 50 count 71-35 where the 50 metre arcs are pretty much inside the centre square at the SCG is simply unforgivable.
But the worst thing of all is lack of spirit displayed by the 22 players who essentially disgraced the red and navy-blue.
In all of the football matches I have watched, I have never seen a football side show less heart. It’s a real blight on the work the late Jim Stynes had put into that football club, not only since he became president in 2008, but over the past 27 years since he arrived in Australia as a fresh faced 18-year-old from Dublin, Ireland.
Jim led the way on spirit, hard work and determination, and it’s a real shame to see these footballers go out and dish up what they did on Saturday Night.
The thing is that the Melbourne list isn’t bad. The have genuine talent on their list.
One small question has been floating around in the back of my head over the past few days. Melbourne beat the Adelaide Crows by 96 points in Melbourne last year. Both lists are almost as identical today as they were last season. Tom Scully left after last season, but he was injured on the day they beat Adelaide. In fact, Melbourne have now added a very capable footballer in Mitch Clark to their list, which would make one think that their list has improved.
Adelaide are strong premiership favourites after thrashing Carlton by 69 points while Melbourne are zero wins, eight losses. So the question is this: How can a Melbourne team beat the Adelaide Crows by almost one hundred points and only 12 months later, be on the opposite ends of the ladder?
One word: effort.
Melbourne has won only four quarters in the eight games played this season, and it’s their effort in which every problem comes down to.
I’m sick of the same old crap. “We believe in Mark Neeld’s strategies”, “It’s not the coach, it’s us” or “We’ll work hard this week and go and perform our best on the weekend”.
Blah, blah, crap! It’s high time the players put some effort and spirit into their performances rather than just talking about it.
That Melbourne list doesn’t deserve the job description of “AFL footballer”. A better description would be a “Whiny child who put’s blame on himself and his teammates yet can’t follow through on the promises made to the media, the football world and most importantly the members”.
Until these lazy, self-important players realise that to put on an AFL jumper requires integrity, strength, leadership and most importantly, effort; they will continue to receive the same amount of vitriol week in, week out.
And it eventuates into the sad demise of several very promising AFL careers. But that’s the way AFL football is. It’s a cut throat industry in which you could be flying one second, and have your career in the gutter the next.
Effort will win you admirers (look at Port Adelaide’s extraordinary comeback win on the weekend) while the opposite will see you face scrutiny, and have everyone doubt whether or not you can cut it at the top level.
I don’t expect Melbourne to win many AFL games this season. However, like many other football followers, I expect that their effort be second to none from here on in.
If they can’t even do that, they may as well not even run onto the football field.