Monday, 28 March 2005

Around The Grounds

Post-Essendon match reaction,

The Age

Inefficient Dons
Kevin Sheedy said after Essendon's 46-point loss to Melbourne on Saturday night that the result could be put down to some silly errors and a lack of goalkicking ability up front.

If only that were true. Sure, there were a couple of howlers committed by Dustin Fletcher late in the second quarter, particularly one in which he did the hard work in the pocket and outmuscled David Neitz before kicking across goal to Adam Ramanauskas. Adem Yze made a great spoil running backwards and the ball spilled to Aaron Davey, who goaled.

But a limited number of errors do not explain a scoreline blowout of Saturday's magnitude. A look at the statistics shows that the Demons actually made 44 clangers for the game, as opposed to the Bombers' 42.

Dees' tribute to Troy
Melbourne coach Neale Daniher believes his grieving club can now move forward after the players fulfilled their wish to pay tribute to fallen teammate Troy Broadbridge by emphatically demolishing long-time nemesis Essendon by 46 points at the MCG last night.

The match, coming exactly three months after Broadbridge was swept away in the devastating Boxing Day tsunami, brought out "mixed emotions" of sadness and celebration about Broadbridge, said teammate Paul Wheatley, while Cameron Bruce, who dealt with Essendon champion James Hird, said the qualities Broadbridge had brought to the club would remain with them always.

"The memories of Troy are going to be with us forever," Bruce said. "The whole of this season's about having a little bit of Troy Broadbridge in all of us." Said Wheatley: "It's good to win for Broady, it's good for the club to get off to a good start."

Daniher said the emotion-charged victory - which was Melbourne's third victory against Essendon in their past 16 encounters - was "a terrific result" and there was now a sense of relief, given the players had fulfilled their pledge to win the match for Broadbridge, his widow Trisha, and his family.

A minute's silence marks the great loves of Troy
Trisha Broadbridge knew it would be hard to go to the footy last night, when she should have been sitting with the other wives and girlfriends in the stands and following the No.20 guernsey around the MCG.

Instead she was speaking at the Melbourne president's dinner, talking with remarkable control about her husband, Troy, and their time in Thailand together before the tsunami swept him away.

Then she was standing on the MCG, arm in arm with Demons captain David Neitz, as the Melbourne and Essendon players stood for a minute's silence in memory of Troy after the two teams, in a moving show of solidarity and empathy, walked onto the ground together and stood solemnly before their banners.

Demons outgun Bombers
Given the circumstances surrounding last night's game, many neutrals would have liked Melbourne to come out against Essendon and turn on the style. They might have been a little disappointed with what was, despite the 46-point margin, an at-times workman-like win.

The point was, though, that the Demons showed steel. Despite topping the table late last season, they never really convinced when the chips were down.

Last night, they outmuscled and outran the Bombers, turning the screw when they sensed weakness and giving nothing up for lost.

Essendon finished the first quarter two points up, Aaron Henneman kicking two goals to suggest he might be ready to silence his many doubters. James Hird was giving Cameron Bruce the run-around and recruit Angus Monfries was doing enough to suggest he might be a player of the future.

Moloney the Demon set to haunt Cats
It is perhaps unfair to suggest that Mark Thompson sold a perfectly good milking cow for a handful of beans at the end of last season when he traded Brent Moloney for Tigers big man Brad Ottens, but it is likely the Geelong coach will be hoping a little harder that he has found his goalkicking giant after last night's events at the MCG.

It was all cream from Moloney for his new coach, Neale Daniher, in his first match as a Demon, and his midfield power made no small contribution to the whipping Melbourne handed the Bombers. It gave further substance to the disappointment - it was not far from sorrow - that Thompson endured in letting the boy from Warrnambool go. Moreover, it intensified the spotlight that will track Ottens when he plays his first match as a Cat today - enticingly against his old club - and will continue to track his every move for the long-suffering folk of Geelong.
Demons do it for Broadbridge
It was a performance which would have made Troy Broadbridge proud.

On the night Melbourne paid its last respects to its fallen teammate, the defence which Broadbridge was part of last year completely shut down a disappointing Essendon as the Demons avenged last year's elimination final loss with a comfortable 15.13.(103) to 8.9 (57) victory at the MCG.

But while it was a great start to the 2005 home-and-away season for Melbourne as they bid to make successive finals series for the first time since 1991, the Bombers played just as they did during the pre-season when they were one of just three clubs that failed to register a victory.

Herald Sun
Grooming pays off
MELBOURNE, a convincing 46-point winner over Essendon, looks set to reap the rewards of a strategy instituted in 2003 to develop key-position players.

Coach Neale Daniher said it was no surprise that Jared Rivers (centre half-back) and Brad Miller (centre half-forward) were now established in those key roles.

And Ryan Ferguson, back in the team at full-back after missing last season because of a shoulder reconstruction, was also part of the equation, Daniher said.

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