AFL Round 14: Melbourne v West Coast: Stynes inspires Demon win

By Josh Barnstable

This was always going to be a victory to the Melbourne Football Club after the announcement that their president and saviour, Jim Stynes, the one who pulled Melbourne out of a big dark hole, was suffering from cancer. After surgery to stop the spread of the disease, Stynes was hospital-bed ridden for today’s match; he was not out in the cheersquad with the Melbourne faithful. The Demons stood together in a huddle around the jumper Stynes wore when he infamously ran across “that” mark that robbed Melbourne a chance of getting into the Grand Final in 1987. If Melbourne didn’t win this match, they ought to have been ashamed in themselves.

There is definitely some excitement factor in this match despite the two teams sitting in 16th and 12th position. There is Nick Naitanui for the Eagles and Liam Jurrah for the Demons. Just who is more exciting?

The first quarter begins and the Eagles start well with a snap from Mark LeCras close to the boundary line going through. A free kick and goal to Ricky Petterd for the Demons follows but some undisciplined acts of footy from Melbourne sees the Eagles with the ball in the centre to restart play. Sam Butler snaps a rare goal to give West Coast a 7 point lead before the Demons get on a role with Brad Green bringing the Melbourne fans to their feet with a 3-bounce run down the centre of the MCG and finishing with a goal and a big celebration. The Demons are on today. Jurrah marked on the lead and kicked a goal with a good kick to give Melbourne the lead before Russell Robertson goaled to extend the margin out to 9 points. Back-to-back goals to Adam Selwood, a rare type to kick 2 goals in a row, and the Eagles lead by 5 points. But late goals to Robertson and a big goal to Matthew Bate from outside 50 sees the Dees go into quarter time with a 7 point lead, 6.1 to 4.6. Cameron Bruce has 9 touches for Melbourne while 50-gamer Shannon Hurn has 7 possessions. The quarter saw many spiteful clashes, scuffles that saw Aaron Davey reported for striking and Petterd for abusive language to the umpire. Bate showed them how to let off some anger though. With a few seconds left on the clock, Bate marked as the siren sounded but the umpire did not pay the mark so Bate threw the ball at the back of an Eagles player. Hilarious. It’s a shame you can get reported for stuff like that these days.

The second quarter starts and the Eagles get the opening two goals through Josh Kennedy after a strong mark and David Wirrpanda after a long running goal from outside 50, the Eagles led by 6 points. The Red and Blue storm started there though. Green kicked a monster from outside 50 to draw scores level, Colin Sylvia kicked a running goal from 65m out to give the Demons the lead, Petterd converted after a free kick, Bate goaled from 55m out and finally Jurrah took a big mark and goaled from 30m out to make the margin 24 points. A goal to Chris Masten sees the margin cut back to 18 points at half time though, 7.8 to 11.2. Brock McLean has 16 possessions for the Demons while Quinten Lynch has 15 for the Eagles.

The third quarter starts and Stefan Martin takes a strong mark and kicks a goal to take the margin out to 24 points. This is followed by a 3rd goal to Robertson and the margin is out to 28 points and dare I say it, the Demons are looking like they’ll win. And then it starts. LeCras snaps a good goal from 15m out then Kennedy kicks a ripper from outside 50 to cut the margin to 17 points. Then a great running goal to Nathan Jones gives Melbourne some breathing space. A courageous Jones then backs towards the ball coming at him and collides with a flying Wirrpanda, smashing his head into Wirrpanda’s hip. Jones is blurry-eyed but on his feet and manages to get off the field. But in true Melbourne style, he is back on the field within 5 mintues. Davey marks and goals from outside 50 to take the margin out to 5 goals before Kennedy kicks his 3rd goal. A goal to Mark Jamar after swooping on a loose ball sees the margin out to a game-high 31 points but a late goal to Matthew Spangher sees the margin cut to 24 points at half time, 11.12 to 16.6. McLean is up to 25 touches for Melbourne while Lynch has 20 for the Eagles.

The final quarter begins and a 3rd goal to LeCras sees the margin cut to 20 points. Questions go around the Channel 10 commentary box, asking if Melbourne know how to win. Malcolm Blight and Matthew Lloyd ponder on this question, and I must say those two belong in a commentary box much more than Robert Walls. A 4th goal to Kennedy sees the deficit cut to 14 points and there is a spread of worry around the MCG for Melbourne. A huge Robertson hanger is the highlight of the quarter though, and despite missing the goal, he follows up with a running goal on a tight angle to seal the win, and celebrating in fine style. The siren sounds and the Demons’ players and fans go crazy, celebrating the club’s 2nd win of the year, 17.10.112 to 13.14.92. All of the players doing interviews with Andy Maher say the most appropriate words: “This one was for you, Jimmy.”

A wonderful gesture is Davey and James McDonald holding up Stynes’ jumper as they walk off the MCG, holding it up high to the Demons’ faithful as they applaud the young team. A young team with definite potential. Jack Grimes is a future star. 29 disposals for the match is one of the many indicators while Jurrah, Petterd and Bate showed many good signs among many. In the Eagles’ case, they are absolutely terrible on the road but can play a great brand of footy at Subiaco Oval, footy that saw them beat the Western Bulldogs in Round 4. The difference between their performances at home and away is too great. Today, we saw the likes of Naitanui and Jurrah out on the MCG, two new exciting prodigies to the AFL scene, and Jurrah came out on top today in excitement factor, with Naitanui not managing to put the ball on his boot for the whole day, while Jurrah took a specky in the second quarter and kicked 2 goals. Perhaps Naitanui is a one-trick pony? But, I know, like many others know, the Demons were possessed today. Possessed by a man who came to Australia from Ireland to play our great sport and excelled at it, earning himself a Brownlow Medal and several Best and Fairest’s and All-Australian honours along the way. The Demons’ were inspired today. Let’s hope they stay inspired for the rest of the year. For Jimmy’s sake. Well, they can give Round 19 a miss actually; that round they can revert back to the Demons we saw on the Queens Birthday clash.

Melbourne 6.1—11.2—16.6—17.10.112
West Coast 4.6—7.8—11.12—13.14.92


Melbourne-Robertson 4, Green 2, Petterd 2, Jurrah 2, Bate 2, Martin, Jones, Davey, Jamar, Sylvia

West Coast-Kennedy 4, LeCras 3, A. Selwood 2, Butler, Masten, Spangher, Wirrpanda


Melbourne-Grimes, Jones, Robertson, McLean, Petterd, Bate, Bruce, Davey, Jamar

West Coast-Kennedy, Lynch, LeCras, Hurn, Masten, A. Selwood


23,149 at the MCG

My votes: Jim Stynes (M) 4 (for inspiration), Jack Grimes (M) 3, Nathan Jones (M) 2, Russell Robertson (M) 1.


  1. Well written. I agree that Naitanui is a one-trick pony, he needs to add more physical aspects to his game. After his debut and the game against Hawthorn everyone was saying how much better he was compared to Watts, but now I think that Naitanui is pretty much on the same boat as Watts.
    Jack Grimes will definitley be a future star. He has picked up a well deserved rising star nomation this week, which he probably should have gotten a few weeks ago.
    He has averaged 19 possessions and 8 marks in just nine games of his career. Dean Bailey is in a tough situation now. The Dees are 2-12 and need 4 or less wins to pick up draft picks 1 and 2(or 1 and 3) and we still have Port, Freo and Richmond at the G in coming weeks and we play your mob North Melbourne at the Dome, which is winnable. In my opinion I think that we should take it one win at a time, and that you should go out to win every week but I’d hate to think about what it’d be like if we have 4 wins going into the Freo game in Round 20.

  2. Josh Barnstable says

    I actually think Melbourne can knock off Port Adelaide next week. Hope you get to the G on Sunday, i’m tipping a fairly low crowd and it would be good to see Melbourne and Port Adelaide send a message to the AFL, saying that they can get some good numbers to a game.

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