First up, Melbourne’s Demons are an abomination

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert

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    Effort. It’s the one thing AFL supporters demand from their players at the expense of all else. At times, with a developing side, it’s the only thing.

    What Melbourne’s players excreted yesterday was an unforgiveable sin.

    The keys are desire. Competitiveness. Work ethic.

    Showing the fans a willingness to be better without the ball than they are with it. Chasing. Tackling. Harassing. Players putting their bodies on the line as if their teammates, the club and the game mean something to them.

    We all recognise skill errors are going to be made. We acknowledge that new game plans take a while to understand and implement. We’re cognisant of the fact that sometimes players and teams can be a little bit off on a given day.

    Adelaide were apathetic. Brisbane were bad.

    But Melbourne were utterly uncompetitive against a visiting interstate side, Port Adelaide, that won only five games last year. It was an abject, atrocious display that showed not one iota of the qualities described above.

    “I simply want to coach the team that is hardest to play against in the AFL.” This was Mark Neeld’s most telling and memorable statement after he was announced as the Demons’ senior coach in September of 2011.

    If his statement is still true, he needs to be filling out job applications for 17 other clubs. Right now, 23 games into his tenure, Melbourne would be lucky to be the hardest team to play against in amateur football.

    It’s been two years since Carlton’s Mitch Robinson famously derided the Dees as playing “bruise-free football”, supposedly sparking rage and indignation within the Melbourne camp.

    What the hell has changed in the meantime?

    The only thing that’s changed, as far as I can tell, is Melbourne supporters have become more dispirited, more disenfranchised, more disappointed in their club.

    Load up every damning, negative and condescending word you can think of, and every one could describe this club, and this team.

    Disgraceful. Disgusting. Gutless.

    Colin Sylvia probably has more talent in his little finger than a lot of players in the AFL, let alone at his club, have in their entire bodies. He was the most experienced Melbourne man on the ground yesterday, in his tenth season of senior football.

    His numbers look okay, with 20 touches, six marks and a few tackles. He may well be thinking that it’s not his fault, he did his bit.

    But this would be a thought process unworthy of a team game. It is his fault. He didn’t do his bit.

    The last quarter, with his team having been blown away, was the ideal time to show some leadership. To show he hadn’t given up. To show he could be an example when the ball was delivered to him with only Tom Jonas, of 13 games experience, as opposition.

    Jonas got the better of the one-on-one body contest in the air, found the leather on the ground, released the handball, and followed up his possession with hard running to provide another link in the chain before hitting a target with his kick.

    Sylvia was seen dawdling along some metres behind, uninterested.

    Anyone can lose a contest. It’s what you do afterwards that defines you. It’s time for this sorry footballer to be dropped to the reserves for a lengthy spell, as he’s symbolic of everything that’s wrong with this football club.

    Perhaps more first-gamers like Jack Viney and Matt Jones need promotion.

    We’d heard a lot about Viney before his debut, having been pumped up seemingly from birth. He delivered a performance of hardness, heart and passion, attacking each contest with the vigour of a starving animal seeking prey. It was unlike Melbourne in every way.

    Viney led the side in contested possessions, doing the work in close, and Jones led them in uncontested, running hard to create options for his teammates on the rare occasions they were able to keep the ball.

    Thank goodness that Viney has come along to give the supporters something to cling to. We can only assume a pall of sadness has overcome these pitiable, disconsolate figures, and every member is to be commended for their loyalty in the face of such horror.

    They say too much can be read into round one but this can’t be passed off as an aberration.

    Earlier this month, Neeld was quoted as saying “We are very bullish about the future.”

    Try telling that to your paying members and fans now Mark. Because not a single one of them is.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • April 1st 2013 @ 4:44am
      Johnno said | April 1st 2013 @ 4:44am | ! Report

      Patience the Demons,are in a rebuilding year.

      • April 1st 2013 @ 11:41am
        Brendon said | April 1st 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        They’ve been rebuilding for 5 years

        • April 2nd 2013 @ 1:52pm
          Nathan of Perth said | April 2nd 2013 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

          Have they? Have they REALLY? I’d suggest they’ve only been building for the past year. The years before that were just self-immolation.

    • Columnist

      April 1st 2013 @ 7:44am
      Sean Lee said | April 1st 2013 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      Liked the look of Viney. He is a natural footballer and just knows what to do with the ball when he gets it. He’ll have to grow up quick playing for this mob though! Not much support.

      • Columnist

        April 1st 2013 @ 9:49am
        Cameron Rose said | April 1st 2013 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Sometimes a kid just looks a natural and you can tell from the start. Cotchin was one of those, and Viney looks the same. So did Wines for that matter. Ferocity at the contest will always be an asset.

      • April 1st 2013 @ 10:14am
        Matt F said | April 1st 2013 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        Let’s just hope that Melbourne don’t drag Viney down to their level

        • Columnist

          April 1st 2013 @ 11:12am
          Cameron Rose said | April 1st 2013 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          Hard to know after one match, but Viney already seems like one out of the box, especially in light of his supposed comments in the rooms after the game.

          Who knows how Trengove, Watts, Grimes, or any of their highly rated draft picks would have performed if taken into a culture like Geelong or Sydney rather than the cancerous Melbourne. Maybe they’d already be considered guns of the comp.

          Viney may well be the one who has to carry this team on his back to contend a decade from now.

          • April 2nd 2013 @ 1:53pm
            Nathan of Perth said | April 2nd 2013 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

            Oops, should have read your comment before replying to Matt…

        • April 2nd 2013 @ 1:53pm
          Nathan of Perth said | April 2nd 2013 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          Would have for him to be like Watts where you look at him and think that another team with a harder nosed environment and he might have been someone.

    • April 1st 2013 @ 8:27am
      LK said | April 1st 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      It’s hard not to feel for Dee’s fans, they have been in rebuilding mode for 6 years or so. Over this time they have tried loading up on draft picks, which didn’t work. More recently they have traded for experienced players including some premiership players. Yesterday their best player was a father/son pick in his first game, so it remains to be seen whether trading for those players has worked either. I’m not sure where they go from here. It has to get better by virtue of the fact that it can’t get much worse. They can’t get worse, can they?

      • April 1st 2013 @ 9:46am
        Scott said | April 1st 2013 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        Absolutely discusting effort for last 5 years. The melbourne officials need to go NOW!!!! Especially Connolly, Schwab, Misson all have to go. half the team need to be sent to Casey for the rest of their contracts and then delist them. Over it. If I hear the words ‘be patient’ I’ll throw the tv thru the window. Neelds head is on the block with the axe poised. stop this softly softly approach. Neil daniher was a hard man and got us to a grand final. That’s what we need

      • Columnist

        April 1st 2013 @ 10:00am
        Cameron Rose said | April 1st 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        The Dee’s remind me of some shares I bought about 5 or 6 years ago for around 30c, which fell away and have been trading along between 2c-5c for years now. No prospect of ever going higher, but too low to even go any lower, they just limp along the bottom in a meaningless existence. Like the Dee’s supporters who will continue to support their club, I’m stuck with these shares and can’t sell them, and there are no buyers, just like no new person is ever going to pick this hopeless case to barrack for.

      • April 1st 2013 @ 2:04pm
        Radelaide said | April 1st 2013 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

        It’s the culture of the club, it’s like if a melbourne and carlton player were vying for the same girl in a night club the dees player would probably give up due to thinking she won’t go for me over the confident up himself carlton player and thats the way it will pan out.

    • April 1st 2013 @ 10:10am
      Brendan said | April 1st 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      Same result as last year thrashed first up by an interstate side at the G who hadn’t played finals the year before.Is Neeld another Bailey – a moderate Vfl player appointed as coach who doesn’t know how to get the job done?It is only one loss but after the salary cap scandal on top of years of failure where too for the Demons.

    • April 1st 2013 @ 10:16am
      Matt F said | April 1st 2013 @ 10:16am | ! Report

      Absolutely appalling. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Demons fans right now. They’re about to head into their 6th or 7th straight “rebuilding year” and there is still no sign that they’ve turned a corner. Well, actually they may have turned a corner, but it’s taking them the wrong way

    • April 1st 2013 @ 10:46am
      Jack said | April 1st 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

      Sylvia is a poster boy for all that is wrong with the D’s.

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