AFL Round 20: As a Dees fan, I can’t wait for next season

I am off to my fourth consecutive 1.10pm Sunday game in a row. The conditions are wet and windy as I make my way to the ground. This is a bad sign for the Dees. According to many one-minded Demon supporters, this is the only game we are allowed to win before season’s end.

I arrive at the MCG about an hour before play gets underway. I am the only supporter in N49; the rest might be eating lobsters and drinking champagne in the dining room. It’s the Green Round. Speaking of which, I wish Brad Green was playing.

The lights come on and the rain starts to fall quite heavily. The Dees ran out on to the ground with a tiny audience watching. I look to my left and see Wheatley and Whelan sitting in the stands. I was quite shocked to hear that they will both retire at season’s end.

McDonald wins the toss and decides to kick to the Punt Rd end. The umpire bounces the ball and the game is underway. Des Headland immediately marks inside 50 but hits the post. Pavlich kicks a long mongrel punt to McPharlin who marks and kicks a goal. Things didn’t look too good for the Dees. Luckily the in-form Petterd courageously marks at the other end and puts through the Dees’ first. McLean scrambles one through to put the Dees in front. McLean follows it up a couple of minutes later with a funny old kick which somehow goes through. A down field free kick to McPharlin gifts him his second goal, and not for the first time this season I find myself complaining about the umpiring. McPharlin marks again and kicks his third from a tight angle (but it should have been tighter, umpire!) and the Dockers are in front. Bate kicks to Jurrah, who passes beautifully to McNamara. The second-gamer kicks his first career goal from 50. The siren sounds shortly after the Dees lead by two at quarter time, 4.0 24 to 3.4 22. McLean leads with nine possessions for Melbourne and Hasleby is on 10 for Freo. The free kick count is 0-7 in Freo’s favour.

As the sun comes out and the lights go off (to save energy of course), Freo start to turn off and Dees start to shine. The Dockers turn it over and Davey kicks a trademark goal from just inside 50. The Dees have five straight. Headland throws the ball on to his boot from 50 and it amazingly goes through the goals. The Dees miss a couple but Paul Johnson gets the ball from the ruck contests and dribbles through a brilliant goal. He knows how to kick those. Robbo takes a brilliant screamer and kicks through his first. Robbo, if you’re reading this, please don’t retire because your leap and goal kicking ability is still as good as it always has been. The game slows down a bit but a Jurrah shot at goal is a provided spark. The 20-year old from Yuendumu drills through his first. Just before the siren, Miller marks inside 50 and plays on and kicks another. At half time the Dees are dominating, 9.4 58 to 4.7 31. Moloney and Davey have 17 possessions each and Hasleby has 17 for the Dockers. The only player not to have a possession yet on the ground is Neville Jetta.

The third quarter begins and Suban kicks a good and badly needed goal for Fremantle. From the bounce, Johnson taps to McDonald who smashes it in to the forward line. Jurrah swoops on the ball and snaps it through for his second. Fremantle stuff up a kick in, and Robbo marks at the top of the square and drives through his second. Davey replies quickly with a breathtaking goal. This isn’t the Melbourne I have seen this year. We’re up by 39! Bradley ruins the run with a good set shot from a tough angle. Jones takes on three opponents at half forward and hits Bate on the chest. What a season Jones has had. Bate drives through his first. The siren sounds and the Dees lead by 38, 13.5 83 to 6.9 45. Melbourne are $1.02 in the odds on the scoreboard which is something you don’t see often. The Dees faithful rise as one. Moloney and Davey have 25 possessions each and Hasleby has 22.

The teams trade behinds at the beginning of the last quarter before Sylvia bursts through half forward and finds Jurrah who gets a free and 50. Jurrah slams home his third. Sylvia marks in the centre square and the fans egg him on to have a shot. He kicks a long bomb straight through the big sticks. It’s all clicking for the Dees now. Robertson takes a diving mark and lines up and kicks through his third. I have seen Robbo do that so many times in my life. Mayne runs in to an open goal for Freo which barely calms the storm. The next passage of play is incredible. Petterd kicks it long in to the goal square. Jurrah leaps and falls, and somehow gets the ball back and kicks it through while he is on the ground. Amazing! He has four. I stand up and cheer. He does the unthinkable every time he plays. Bate runs in and kicks his second. From the centre, Petterd kicks long and Bate marks again. Bate kicks a goal. Valenti caps off a great game with his fourth for his career. Everyone’s contributing. It is brilliant to watch. Hill gets a consolation prize for Freo, as does Mayne and the siren sounds. 20.7 127 to 9.10 64. Davey lead for the Dees with 31 touches, Moloney and Valenti 30 each. Hasleby lead for Freo with 27. Melbourne have a very long ‘best players’ list.

What an amazing victory. The Melbourne players do a lap of honour. A healthy-looking Jim Stynes is waiting for them at the players’ race. The Melbourne faithful stand as one, signing the song together. The fans run on to the field to celebrate. Life is good for the red-and-blue supporters. I go home on an empty but lively train.

Melbourne finished with 93 more possessions and 35 more marks than Freo. Fremantle won the frees 18-8. Melbourne have only won the free kick count twice in the past twelve weeks. It was Melbourne’s biggest win since Round 8, 2006, when they beat Hawthorn by 75 points. It’s also Melbourne’s highest score since Round 22, 2007.

If Melbourne looked good today, just wait until next season …

Melbourne  4.0  9.4  13.5  20.7 (127)
Fremantle  3.4  4.7  6.9  9.10 (64)

Melbourne: Jurrah 4, Robertson 3, Bate 3, McLean 2, Davey 2, Miller, Sylvia, Johnson, Petterd, Valenti, McNamara.
Fremantle: McPharlin 3, Mayne 2, Headland, Bradley, Suban, Hill.

Melbourne: Davey, Jurrah, Jones, Moloney, McLean, Valenti, Bate, McDonald, Morton, Sylvia, Robertson, Johnson.
Fremantle: Hasleby, Sandilands, Broughton, Mundy, Mayne.

My Votes: 3. Aaron Davey (Melb), 2. Liam Jurrah (Melb), 1. Nathan Jones (Melb).

Umpires: Sully, H. Ryan, Wenn.                     Crowd: 13,004 at the MCG.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.


  1. Steve Healy says

    Robbo didn’t read this obviously. Even though he might play for another club.

  2. naww dont worry Steve.
    its normal for players to want ‘change’
    plus you have Watts!!!

  3. Michael Allan says

    Melbourne have a very bright future. Sam Blease goes to my school and he’s a damn good player, it was a shame he got injured. As a Richmond supporter I’m very jealous!

  4. Steve Healy says

    Really? Michael were you there when he injured his ankle playing kick to kick at lunch time?

  5. Michael Allan says

    I saw the ambulance out the front but I have a look at what was going on.

  6. Michael Allan says

    I DIDN’T have a lookj at what was going on. Word spread pretty quickly around the school.

  7. Steve Healy says

    That would have been strange. Sam Blease will be great, from what I’ve seen of him. Have you seen him play footy at school, Michael? Does he completely dominate?

  8. Michael Allan says

    I didn’t watch many first games last year but one lunchtime he was kicking the ball to us at lunch. Every kick went straight in the the middle of the pack. It was the best marker’s up session ever. The only difference was when somebody took a mark they just kicked it back to Blease.

  9. ahh good old marker’s up!
    those were the days!
    eventhough all us girls were shocking kickers the boys still had us join in.

Leave a Comment