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Opinion

Infuriating and irrelevant, Melbourne push their fans to the edge

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Roar Guru
30th July, 2020
70
1316 Reads

As a long-suffering Melbourne supporter, the best and worst of the Demons could be summarised in one play, their third goal against Port Adelaide.

What began as a scrambled frenzy of handballs as Tom Sparrow found Christian Petracca, evolved into a scintillating chain.

Petracca, having tried all game, threaded it to Michael Hibberd as he found the stalwart in Nathan Jones, who flicked off an inch-perfect handball to Jake Melksham and Melksham, purely in the team for this exact moment, found a waiting Sam Weideman.

The goal was perfect in its simplicity. It resembled something akin to a training drill but given Melbourne trailed Port Adelaide so significantly on the night, it mattered little.

Its beauty was in all the small parts of it that will go unnoticed; the composure in a sea of opposition jumpers, the perfect weight of each pass in the lead up to Weideman’s reception, the foresight of Jones to trust in Melksham’s ability to keep running, Melksham’s execution of his best skill.

This play showcased all of Melbourne at their luxuriant best.

Which makes it all the more frustrating to watch as they were ravaged by a Port Adelaide side which were a galaxy away from whatever Melbourne was playing.

Somehow, it would be an easier pill to swallow if they were as abject as the Melbourne sides circa 2012, yet, these glimpses of talent and brazen attack just compound the fact that this is a team which is horrible and unmistakably underperforming.

In a strange and difficult year in which I’ve felt dissonance from a lot of what has been going on around me, football on the weekend feels like the one remaining bastion of normality in a sea beset by waves of dark times.

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Except Melbourne make watching football unbearable at times. My mind spends minutes through games debating whether 2018 actually ever happened or was it just some glorious daydream.

Each game seems to render the harsh truth that Melbourne overperformed that season, which is an inarguable fact to almost everyone except those within the four walls of Melbourne.

Given everything occurring in 2020, this is such an insignificant issue but as a supporter, it is maddening watching the club employ the same methods, achieve the same results over the best part of two seasons and still earnestly tell supporters everything is going to be okay.

It’s more infuriating knowing that I am part of the problem; knowing that I’ll watch the next game and the one after that, pausing during my lunch break mid-week, pondering the possibility of a Melbourne victory. That I’ll be lulled into a sense of possibility rather than show my displeasure at a club which has found new and inventive ways to disappoint me over 22 years.

Clayton Oliver of the Demons kicks the ball

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Admittedly, that is part of the burden of being a supporter of any endeavour.

However, as I feel it necessary to divulge a stream of consciousness and incoherent writing to express my frustration, I wonder whether Simon Goodwin and company will demonstrate their frustration as well.

Does it frustrate them that players show an aptitude for running when a goal is on offer but refuse to exert themselves when defence is needed?

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Does it infuriate them to see countless balls routinely moved inside the attacking arc, only to see the opposition slingshot it the other way?

Does it make them want to scream as opposition midfielders shark the exquisite craft from Max Gawn while his midfielders look sedentary?
It’s vexing because it happens repeatedly, only for those in charge to point for frivolously to a brand, which in the light of recent performance, ought to be dumped or at least reconsidered.

Perhaps it’s the cynicism that comes from being continuously underwhelmed but Melbourne is pushing its entire supporter base to the edge.

And seems unremittingly okay to maintain that status quo.