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Melbourne Down Determined Hawthorn

Max Gawn (file photo AFANA)

Melbourne started the game without their coach Simon Goodwin, out due to the health and safety protocols.  Hawthorn started with goals, to Koschtizke who marked on the lead and two to Breust who played on and snapped truly. Fritsch kicked Melbourne's first twelve minutes into the game after the Demons caught the Hawks out the back of the contest on a turnover.   Oliver and Petracca dominated around the ground for the Demons.  But the Hawks were able to get some good movement halving the center clearances. 

Ward kicked the Hawk's third, but it was Koschtizke who deserved the credit when he backed into the contest preventing Hunt from marking and the spill favoring the goal kicker. The Demons worked their way into the game to be just two points down at quarter time thanks to Petracca hitting Tom McDonald with a short pass for a goal and young Toby Bedford marking and kicking his first goal for the club.  The Dees were on the board early but it took a review to determine whether the first one was a goal to Harms or a mark to McDonald. It mattered little to Melbourne as McDonald eventually took the paid mark from point blank range.

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Melbourne Demons Back Goodwin

Goodwin at MCG "Big Freeze"

In mid-February, allegations surfaced regarding the behavior of Melbourne Coach Simon Goodwin. There were reports of bullying at the club and reports that, ahead of the 2021 season, he was drinking and gambling with players at a hotel pub. Goodwin, along with the entire football department was reviewed ahead of the season and some changes were made. Goodwin spoke to the board and denied the allegations of bullying.

The AFL got involved last February with then-Demons President Glen Bartlett and club director Mohan Jesudason attending an online meeting with commission chairman Richard Goyder and AFL boss Gil McLachlan, who reportedly told the group he had previously shared information with then-Demons chief executive Gary Pert in late 2020 about the drinking incident.

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Post-Trade Delistings 2021

Atley Pressures Coniglio

Shortly after the trade period concluded, Brisbane, Melbourne and North Melbourne delisted some players.

The Lions cut Tom Joyce, Brock Smith, rookie Connor Ballenden, and Cam Ellis-Yolmen. The club plans to re-select Ellis-Yolmen (who joined the club at the end of 2019 as a free agent) as a rookie. Ellis-Yolmen managed just nine games in 2020 and none in 2021. Ballenden, a Lions academy product, played three AFL matches, while Joyce and Smith never managed a senior game. The Lions are considering offering them VFL playing contracts if they fail to find another AFL home.

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2021 Delistings and Retirements, Part Seven

Birchall Spoils Roughhead

Two days after Melbourne's Grand Final victory, it was back to business for the club with three players being delisted, one retiring and another deciding to look for better opportunities elsewhere. Jay Lockhart, Aaron Nietschke and Austin Bradtke were delisted, while Aaron vandenBerg will seek opportunities elsewhere and Neville Jetta announced his retirement. Lockhart played twenty-two games since joining the club as a preseason supplemental selection in 2019. Bradtke and Nietschke never played a senior game with the latter suffering three ACL injuries in his time at the club, vandenBerg played 51 games for the club.

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2021 Premiers - The Melbourne Demons!

 Congratulations to the Melbourne Demons!

Winners of the 2021 AFL Grand Final

Melbourne Demons:  4.5 5.9 12.11 21.14 (140)
Western Bulldogs:  1.2 6.3  8.3  10.6   (66)

Norm Smith Medalist: Christian Petracca
Attendance: 61,118 at Optus Stadium in Perth
A full match report will be available soon.

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2021 Grand Final Preview: Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs

Bontempelli With the Footy

Finals matches between the Demons and Bulldogs have been sparse over the years. Of course, the Demons are well ahead of the Bulldogs with 12 premierships to two. The first finals match was a semi-final in 1946 which Melbourne won 17.18 (120) to 15.12 (102). They played a Preliminary Final in 1961. The Bulldogs won it 13.7 (85) to 8.10 (58). In between those two matches was the 1954 Grand Final - the only Grand Final between the Demons and Bulldogs until now. The Bulldogs prevailed 15.12 (102) to 7.9 (51) for their first premiership since entering the competition in 1925. The Demons went on to appear in four more Grand Finals since 1954, winning two against Collingwood in 1960 and 1964 and losing two against Hawthorn in 1988 and Essendon in 2000.

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2021 Delistings and Retirements, Part Six

Nathan Jones Gets His Kick Away

Demon champion Nathan Jones announced his retirement less than two weeks before the Grand Final. He informed his teammates via Zoom after leaving the club's hub in Perth to return home to be by his wife's side as she gave birth to twins. He flew out Saturday and made it just hours before she gave birth. Jones, 33, has not played a senior game since Round 14. He was an unused sub for Round 15 but was not recalled since. With West Australia's tight border restrictions, it was unlikely he would be allowed back across the border for the Grand Final. His career finishes with 101 wins, 198 defeats, and three draws. He kicked 141 goals in his 302 games. He was a Rising Star nominee in 2006 and 2007 and won the club best and fairest 2012, 2013, and 2014. He was co-captain in 2014 and 2017-19 and captain in 2015 and 2016.

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Melbourne President Steps Aside

Brad Green Celebrates A Goal

Just ahead of Melbourne's match against Geelong in Round Four, Melbourne Demons president Glen Bartlett announced during his president's address at the MCG, that he would step aside as club president. He does intend to stay involved at the board level.  Bartlett, who has been at the helm since 2013 and was up for re-election in six months, said he believes the time was right to step down. Co vice-presidents Kate Roffey and Mohan Jesudason are believed to be the candidates to take over on an interim basis.

Club CEO Gary Pert confirmed the news to foxfooty.com.au in an email late Saturday night so as not to distract the players or coaches from the Sunday game. Former Demon Jordan Lewis, who does footy commentary for Fox, said of Bartlett, “The beauty about Glen was he wasn’t really seen. He was in the background and provided great stability for a club that was on its knees. He’s done a fantastic job and has always been good to me. I love how he’s staying on the board because he has plenty more to offer.”

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12 Added Via SSP, Scully Retires

Scully Handballs Under Pressure

The AFL Supplementary Selection Period (SSP) ended on March 9 with eight clubs selecting 12 players. Several had been delisted by other clubs and were invited to train with other clubs in the hope of being selected. Below are the clubs and their selections.

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Clubs Juggle Lists, Trade Draft Picks

Fox and Marcus Adams Vie for Bal

The Swans have moved Robbie Fox and Sam Gray to the rookie list under the new AFL Rules. Both will be listed as Category A rookies for the 2021 season. Under the new rules, the club does not need to wait until the rookie draft period and the pair will be available for senior selection without having to be elevated back to the senior list. 

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