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Opinion

Five reasons to watch Melbourne in 2020

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Roar Pro
19th February, 2020
10

Seeking an in-depth analysis of each club’s chances in 2020? You’ve come to the wrong place. Looking for an off-kilter and slightly unhinged reason to watch each club in 2020? Step into my office.

Jayden Hunt
The law said no multi-coloured headbands. Jayden Hunt volunteered as tribute. Jayden Hunt fought the law. Jayden Hunt won. Superhero origin story complete.

So it was that on the 15th of July 2017, Jayden Hunt marked the ball on the cusp of three-quarter time, so far out from goal that he was basically on the outer wing. Old ladies in the cheer squad were reduced to frantically staring through binoculars to spot him.

Jayden Hunt unleashed a torpedo so monstrous he caused a group of commentators – who are paid to speak – to forget how to construct sentences. Somebody attempts to describe the action. Mayhem ensues. Somebody yells over the top. Somebody simply laughs.

Champion Data said the ball travelled 61 metres from foot to goal line. Jayden Hunt’s right foot says it yeeted the ball into orbit where it still sits, silently observing other Sherrins like an omniscient leathery god. Melbourne lost that game. Nobody remembers this. People remember Jayden Hunt.

After a frankly pathetic 2019, Gotham Melbourne needs a hero. In 2020, Jayden Hunt stands ready.

Jayden Hunt Melbourne Demons AFL 2017

(AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

Max Gawn
Max Gawn did an ad for Google Home Mini, requesting “Hey Google, play Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”. For his sake I hope he recognises the train wreck of a person that Rory Gilmore was in the reboot. The internet has very strong thoughts on this.

Gawn himself has some very strong (and quite unique) thoughts on life, noting in one pocket profile that the best piece of advice he’s received is: “Work like a captain, play like a pirate”. Presumably this revolves mainly around maintaining his luscious Garry Baker-esque beard. Baker – a hard-hitting Melbourne ruckman from the 1970s and ’80s – had a beard that was a thing of beauty. However, Ron Barassi made him shave it in the summer of 1981, and he never played for Melbourne again after injuring his knee in early 1982.

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If Simon Goodwin is reading this, I hope he’s taking notes. Gawn doesn’t need any advice of that sort. He just needs a few willing shipmates to make the voyage a smooth one in 2020.

Mitch Brown
Jesse Hogan was not the Messiah, just a very a naughty boy who left for the bright lights of Fremantle. And, just as the ‘Boring Prophet’ reciting the Book of Cyril noted: “At this time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before”.

Translation? Obviously that Sam Weideman, Tom McDonald and Jake Melksham lost their proverbial goal-kicking hammers for large parts of 2019, undoing all the good work of the nights before. Reciting from the book of clichés, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Surprisingly delisted by Essendon, Mitch Brown’s gut-running goal-kicking ways might not miraculously turn around Melbourne’s fortunes, but he’ll offer enough to provide a glimmer of gold.

Clayton Oliver
Leading the Melbourne midfield is a tough gig. Exhibit A: Robert Flower played 272 games as the heart and soul of the Demons in the 1970s and ’80s. He played just three finals matches. Exhibit B: Nathan Jones spent 260 games at the Demons before playing a final. Throughout the dark days of the 2000s and 2010s, he’s been part of 195 career losses, just 13 behind Kevin Murray’s much unwanted record. He’s played just three finals matches.

Clayton Oliver has played 82 games for Melbourne. He too has played just three finals.

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Clayton Oliver

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

To his credit, Oliver kept amassing frightening amounts of the Sherrin courtesy of his lightning-fast hands as Melbourne launched into free fall down the ladder in 2019. History has an ugly way of repeating itself. Can Clayton buck the trend and save his youthful face from the despair of prolonged mediocrity?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Charlie Kaufman’s 2004 sci-fi tragi-rom-com finds Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey undergoing procedures to erase all memories of their relationship following a rocky break-up. Melbourne supporters would be keen to follow suit following last year’s tumultuous campaign.

In 2018, Melbourne did what Melbourne had not done for a very long time and made the preliminary final. They were named by nigh on every pundit in the land as being a flag contender in 2019. As much as Demons supporters want to forget, last season brought them just five wins.

Now, in Kaufman’s film, Carrey and Winslet’s characters reunite despite knowing their bitter past. And seem destined for happiness. Can Melbourne follow suit?