Round 2 – Essendon v Melbourne: A Personal Thank You To Essendon and Kevin Sheedy

Just when Demon members started to take themselves seriously, to the point where would give advice to St Kilda and Carlton supporters, the crunch came. The only surprising thing was, they didn’t see it coming.

Won the NAB Challenge. Silverware. Watts on fire. Roo’s magic. Young guns Viney, Brayshaw, Oliver show what the future of football looks like. GWS under the belt and of course, Essendon is a gimme. Would have rested most of the side if it wasn’t round two.

And they lose.

Lose to a collection of discarded, second pick, semi retired players who had one match playing together. That’s not to say Essendon don’t have any talent. They do. They have a core of talented players, but no stars. But they have heart, and that means a lot. It’s just that they shouldn’t win with the limited selections available to them. No disrespect intended, they simply have the worst list. Given Hird and Little have gone – can now say – “more power to you Essendon”. Well would have said that if they didn’t pick up Ryan Crowley. That is unforgivable, so the loss is galling.

It was a Melbourne loss.

A Melbourne loss which is befitting of the rich recent history of the club built up over the last 50 years. The only years that the vast majority of membership can recall.

Few sides can lose like the Demons. When they should win, they don’t. When they lose, they lose ugly. As soon as someone mentioned the words “favourites to win”, it should have been known, indeed expected. The writing was on the wall. It was the death knell. It was pre-ordained. It was …….. Melbourne.

Why suggest Lleyton Hewitt and Nikolay Davydenko have suspect results, when Melbourne flies under the radar? The ATP should inquire into Melbourne. The AFL integrity unit must have an officer on not less than $350k pa to personally monitor the Demons.

Frankly, it was relief.

Winning makes a Melbourne supporter nervous. Every win means you are closer to a loss. And it will be a bad loss. Mark my words. A loss that does not bear contemplating. So, better to have the loss early. Better to have the loss of such significance that one cannot take the team seriously again this year. It was the loss Melbourne needed to have. A loss to put supporters back in their comfort zone.

So, to Essendon. To Kevin Sheedy. To those who participated in the momentous Bomber walk to the “G” – thank you. Thank you for reminding Melbourne that the last fifty years have not been accidental. That Melbourne are mediocre at best, and that’s not a bad thing. Means we can attend and watch matches in a detached manner with little expectation or concern. There is no great shock or shame or angst in losing. It is what we do often and do well.

But don’t think Melbourne serves no purpose in the league. Sides need to be played into form. Sides need to have percentage which may be important come finals time when Melbourne have packed up for the year.

Question – Who will be the next player to kick 100 in a season for Freo?

Answer – Jessie Hogan. That’s Melbourne’s role. When Tom Scully raises the Premiership Cup aloft, Melbourne can say we had a hand in it. He will go into the Ron Barrassi Hall of Fame with James Frawley, Stan Alves, Darren Jolly and Christian Petracca as premiership players for other clubs. One thing Melbourne can do is groom players for better days.

By end of round two, Melbourne have been returned to their rightful place in the scheme of things. It’s was fitting that this weekend the clocks were reversed to real time. Everything is again right with the world. Ivor Warne Smith is at peace. So are the Melbourne faithful. Melbourne are back where they are meant to be. Thank goodness next week it’s North Melbourne at ……… Blundstone, Manuka, Port Lincoln, or wherever the match has been sold to – no chance of a rebound. Am content with that.

It’s frightening to think, it could so easily have been “the Dawks”. Just think that would meant Hodge, Mitchell and Cyril would never have won Premierships.

In closing – Love the Demons. Proud they are my side. Less proud that I made my son follow them too.

Go number 4.

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"

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