Mentoring Jake Melksham

Mentoring Jake Melksham took on a different complexion this week.

Jake being one of three AFL players being mentored by dam (da mcdonell) as part of the Sports Crisis Management project.

Jake also being one of the 34 Essendon, or former Essendon players suspended for a year. Crisis has taken a whole different meaning.

In hindsight may have gone a touch early with the “Melbourne’s Melksham led recovery” designer tee shirts. Can see them in the discount bins next to the Jarryd Hayne’s jumpers.

Have to confess to feeling a little guilty about having had a hand in recruiting Jake to Melbourne. Although was surprised Melbourne didn’t insist on some sort of “eligibility to play” clause given he was in the midst of a serious ASADA appeal. But with all the captains of industry on the Board, guess they know best.

It was crucial to be proactive.

Immediately on the phone to Paul Roos.

Wanted to ensure Melbourne would support Jake, and to do so promptly and publicly.

Thought it was pretty safe to get a commitment from Roos. Seeing he wont be there next year, he wouldn’t give a continental about future commitments.

Also pleased he was satisfied with the dam supplied press release which went along the lines of:


Jake was recruited to our club for the long term. He is only 24 years and still has a long and successful career ahead of him at the Melbourne Football Club. We look forward to him resuming in 2017.


Jake will still get paid his $400k this season. When you think about it, what a great deal. Especially when the extra incentive clauses probably wouldn’t have been relevant anyway.

But the question is what to do with Jake for the year. The idea had been mentoring, not babysitting.

Did suggest to Melbourne that they send him to Fontainebleau to study for a Graduate Masters degree, but they baulked at the suggestion. Not too fussed, as apparently you have to have a degree to start with, which counted Jake out.

So if can’t train, play or coach – need to find out if he can be employed in a sports crisis management company. Will ask Paul Marsh. He will advocate Jake’s cause. Perhaps will just say Jake will be doing photo copying, which may not be too far from the truth.

To digress, would have to say was curious of the comment of Essendon president Lindsay Tanner who said he couldn’t comprehend the decision of the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

To assist Lindsay here are few points:
– Not able to say what substances they took
– Did not produce the people who gave the injections
– Do not have records
– Did not ask the club doctor who was marginalised, or any doctor
– Did not ring the WADA hotline
– Did not disclose the injections to ASADA during the period when information was sought
– Had no supervision or management of the program
– Had a leadership group who thought subjecting young players to a weekly injection regime was entirely appropriate

Lindsay, had the defence succeeded every Chinese swimmer or any Russian sprinter would never face sanction – they would go with the “got no idea” defence.

Anyway, that’s of no concern. Jake is the specimen under the microscope whose interests are paramount at this time.

Hadn’t actually planned for this. The prevailing thought was that if any player was found guilty, CAS would accept the “no significant fault” and “co-operation” arguments. This would result in a meaningful ban like suspension from the Army Reserve Cup, but allowing players being available (along with Dustin Martin) in Round 1.

Accordingly, dam’s focus to date had been digging up dirt on selectors to promote Jake’s chances of selection. Not that he wouldn’t be in Melbourne’s top 22 players. Indeed in the best dozen. They wouldn’t pay him $1.6m if you didn’t think so. But always good to have some insurance.

So will it be travel, study, contemplation or work?. Discussed with David Parkin who recommended employment, which disappointed Jake who was quite keen on a year of contemplation.

Will also need to monitor Jake’s moods. Despite Roos’ reassurances, Jake is already exhibiting some paranoid thoughts of being dumped. Apparently dreamed that Melbourne having painted JM on the locker no 18, may go out and recruit James Magner. The fans may not notice the difference and the transition would be seamless. Actually that’s given another idea. Jake could get Magner’s job on the roads.

But the current thinking is to do some community service work.

Slater & Gordon have fallen on hard times and need assistance. Jake will go and work for them.

At least Peter Gordon wont be idle. Will be running the Crameri case against Andrew Demetriou. He will bypass suing Essendon and go where the real money is. The difficulty may be that Andrew apparently had no prior knowledge of events or an impending investigation of Essendon, nor was he in any way conflicted. Hard to believe Gordon and Hird believe otherwise.

Jake’s contribution to the Slater & Gordon bottom line would be to take care of all the “other” litigation against Essendon. Seeing Jake’s not going back to Essendon, and didn’t play grand finals there won’t be any reunions, so he can go hard at the club. But not only will he be the law clerk in charge of the files, he will be the self appointed expert witness. Having sat through the AFL mediation, the AFL tribunal and CAS appeal, there is nothing Jake doesn’t know about expert witnesses.

Will have him start working on some of the proposed litigation suggestions to date.
– Punters who lost when betting against Essendon in 2012,
– The WAGS who wont be snapped in weekly magazines and denied the red carpet on Brownlow night,
– Merchandisers with an excess stock of Jobe Watson jumpers
– The suburban footy league which used former league star Scott Gumbleton to promote its competition.
– The Blues whose strategic plan was to finish bottom two years in a row to maximise its draft selections.

In his spare time, Jake can recast the 2012 Brownlow. Not actually he, but the umpires with Jake to supervise. When Jobe loses his medal, then all Essendon players will have their votes forfeited. Great opportunity to work with umpires who will need to sit through hours of replays of 2012 season for the re-awarding of votes.

Can then hold a fresh Brownlow night where suspect neither Cotchin or Mitchell will win. Scott Thompson is likely to receive an extra four votes to win by one. A deserved medal. Some former winner like Shane Woewodin or Graeme Teasdale can present the medal on the night.

But do want to ensure Jake is fully occupied this year. So am seeking readers’ suggestions as to either employment opportunities or other actions against the Bombers. Please send comments. Await your thoughts.

Regards da mcdonell.





About da mcdonell

Established "dam Sports Crisis Managment" to salvage & reinvigorate flagging careers of elite athletes. In practice mentoring rather than coaching or managing in the traditional sense. In the Almanac, we focus on the AFL players of the "dam AFL sports team"


  1. Giggle. Cringe. Giggle

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