James Magner

It is no secret that James Magner did not get along with the coaching staff at Melbourne last season.

The delisted Demon was cut from the AFL at the end of last season after having played only two games despite his club’s dismal year.

Magner gathered a combined tally of 41 disposals in his two appearances in 2013 and claims he was played out of position by coach Mark Neeld.

The 26-year-old was an outstanding contributor for his side’s VFL affiliate the Casey Scorpions while playing through the midfield.

In one game he racked up a massive 52 possessions yet was overlooked for senior selection that week despite Melbourne losing by over 90 points.

Magner admitted that his personal relationship with Neeld had deteriorated last season after an impressive first year in 2012.

After his well-documented fall from grace, Neeld has recently accepted the job as talent manager at TAC Cup side Eastern Rangers.

In response to this, Magner cheekily wrote “unlucky Eastern” on his Twitter page.

Most people have pointed the finger at Magner with comments such as “he should just get over it” and “he needs to move on”.

But there is simply more to it than that and I find it refreshing that ex-players display their emotion on a public forum.

AFL players are expected to behave like robots and toe the company line with clichéd responses to questions.

And it is easy to understand Magner’s frustration.

He worked hard in the VFL for five years before finally getting his opportunity at AFL level as a mature-aged recruit.

After a solid first season, he gets little opportunity in his second year at the club and finds himself on the football scrapheap.

The Demons had arguably one of the worst midfields in modern AFL history and the 2013 season must have taken a massive toll on him both physically and mentally.

Magner’s non-selection perhaps indirectly contributed to Melbourne’s on-field woes.

By not rewarding players that are performing well in the VFL, it creates a culture where poor performances at the top level become, in a way, accepted.

Magner has signed with VFL club Port Melbourne for the 2014 season.

TWITTER – @JClark182

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.


  1. I don’t want to appear to be shooting the messenger here, so don’t take this personally Jackson.

    18 clubs passed when given the opportunity to draft him, regardless of his VFL performances. Stats are just one small factor a club takes into account when considering their draft options. Perhaps his need to broadcast a petulant opinion on Mark Neeld getting a TAC Cup gig might underscore one of many reasons the same 18 teams all by-passed him ahead of, say Robin Nahas (ex VFL too, don’t forget).

    I stand to be corrected, but was Magner cut by Melbourne’s old regime or did Paul Roos – he of the famous ‘no dickheads policy’ – put the red line through his name? Who knows, maybe clubs have their own #SBF* list. And Magner looks as though he’s on it.

    *SBF = shit bloke filter (thanks David Downer)

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