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Dees dump Watts for Cats clash

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Martin Blake

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MELBOURNE has run out of patience with Jack Watts.

The Demons last night dropped the No. 1 draft pick for their game on the road against Geelong tomorrow, leaving no doubt about how they were approaching his poor start to 2012.

''His form hasn't been up to where we wanted it to be,'' said assistant coach Brian Royal last night.

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Round 6 AFL Teams

Round 6 AFL Teams 

It breaks a run of 42 straight games for the anointed Watts, who was disappointing against St Kilda last weekend, failing to curtail the Saints' Sam Fisher in an unfamiliar negating role. He will play for Casey against Geelong in the curtain-raiser tomorrow.

The No. 1 pick from the 2008 national draft is at a flashpoint of his career under new coach Mark Neeld and has been under constant scrutiny since his 2009 senior debut.

Melbourne regained ruck-forward Mitch Clark and defender James Frawley for the game that is a reminder to the football world of last year's massacre at Geelong, a defeat that cost former coach Dean Bailey his job.

Dropped: Jack Watts.

Dropped: Jack Watts. Photo: Getty Images

The Demons are yet to win in five starts this season, and have a horror draw ahead. Geelong brought back brilliant midfielder James Kelly for the clash after two weeks on the sidelines with a groin injury.

Meanwhile, despite Carlton scoffing at suggestions it was being disrespectful of Greater Western Sydney, the Blues left captain Chris Judd, centre half-forward Jarrad Waite and ruckman Matthew Kreuzer out of the game at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Judd was left out with what the club called ''general soreness'', Waite has hip soreness and Kreuzer was said to have a knee problem.

But it is hard to escape the notion that the Blues are managing their players against a team that has not yet come within seven goals of beating its opposition in its first season at AFL level.

GWS coach Kevin Sheedy hinted this week of arrogance in Carlton's method, but Blues coach Brett Ratten dismissed the notion.

''I don't think you can call us arrogant in regards to what we're doing to look after our list and make sure that our best players are ready to play every week. I think that's a bit out of line,'' Ratten said.

''We're playing a game of football, we want to get the best preparation for our team and if it means we've got some sore players and [fit] players available, we'll make some changes''.

Judd said he had niggling injuries. ''If this was the last game of the year, sure I'd be playing. But I'm sure we're all smart enough to know it's important to manage players' bodies, particularly when you get to my ripe, old age.''

Former Blues forward Setanta O'hAilpin will make his debut for the Giants, after coming back from a calf injury with some impressive performances in the NEAFL.

Hawthorn selected defender Grant Birchall for the game against St Kilda after a prolonged absence, but lost another backman in Josh Gibson, who rolled an ankle against Sydney last weekend.

The Saints dropped Dean Polo and called up the highly rated Arryn Siposs to play up forward.

Essendon's injury woes continue, with key defender Tayte Pears being ruled out with soreness for Saturday's match against the Brisbane Lions. The Bombers regained Courtenay Dempsey and Nathan Lovett-Murray from their soft-tissue injuries and also recalled Travis Colyer.

With aap

15 comments

  • I am not surprised Jack Watts has been dropped. What does surprise me is that the Melbourne coaching staff persist in playing him in positions he is not suited to and then are critical over his lack of form. Watts is not a defender or a midfielder so why play him in those positions. He is a natural forward and that's where he should be played every week and allowed to develop his skills. The fitness staff don't seem to have done much to help him either. He is still too light in the upper body and his speed over the first ten metres is not what it should be. Those two issues can be fixed by better conditioning. The kid has been knocked from pillar to post since he was thrown to the lions (the Pies actually) in his first game before he was ready. I hope he enjoys the break in the VFL and all the off-field critics get off his back for a chnage.

    Commenter
    Tassie Dee
    Location
    Hobart
    Date and time
    May 04, 2012, 9:28AM
    • Exactly, play him out of position - then blame him when it goes Pear shaped.

      Its harsh on Watts the problem stems from the midfield and their senior players... shifting the blame onto a developing young forward is the wrong way to go. IMO

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 04, 2012, 9:44AM
  • I was all for some tough love for the dees but our new coach is failing on a lot of fronts. His communication skills are poor, his game plan uncompelling and not well suited to our list. Surely a game plan can be implemented in transition while the list turns over or is he a one trick pony with 'structures' essential and the failure of which is a good excuse when things dont work out. Jack Watts is a gun and should play between wing and half forward flank. Whats the point in belittling our older players. Show them some respect or trade them while they still have some value. Foolish throwing Grimes and Trengrove to the wolves as well They are too young to captain a weak side. Moloney was the perfect transition captain and he isnt even in the leadership group. I remain unconvinced by Neeld. He seams out of his depth and it would be a smart move to try to endear himself to his players just a little bit. Dean Bailey would have got us two/three wins so far so we have regressed.

    Commenter
    Platypus
    Location
    Mansfield
    Date and time
    May 04, 2012, 10:16AM
    • Here, here! I agree on all points here. Neeld does not seem to be any sort of communicator...and the game plan ought to suit the list. Maloney was ready made, tough and experienced and was effectively the engine-room last year, Grimes hasn't even played a whole season an may prove to be injury prone. It's my way or the highway is authoritarian and not the way to go with young developing players. The clean slate theory is BS he should have come in and learnt about each players strengths and weaknesses from their history. Jack Watts has been butchered.

      Commenter
      hard edge
      Date and time
      May 04, 2012, 12:22PM
  • The Melbourne coaching staff has been completely unfair in the development of this young player: continually playing him out of position.
    Also, continual criticism by the media, coaching staff (especially Neeld) and the so call loyal supporters have undermined his development.
    It seems Neeld and his cohorts are bent on breaking the spirit of certain players.
    Give young Jack a fair go and start playing him in the one position and give encouragement.

    Commenter
    cone-head
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    May 04, 2012, 10:19AM
    • Boy oh boy, what has Watts done wrong to Neeld? Becoming a soft target is Watts for Neeld. Mark Neeld rode into town like a new sherriff when appointed as Demon coach. So far plenty of shooting, but all blanks Mark

      Commenter
      Manny
      Location
      willowgrove sth
      Date and time
      May 04, 2012, 10:21AM
      • Precisely. Compare the treatment of Watts by Neeld with the treatment of Aaron Davey. Don't try and tell me that Davey has not been given preferential treatment because he is yet to play an acceptable game but has not been sent to Casey to try and find some form. Is Neeld too frightened to play hard ball with Davey? Now just why the difference Mark?

        Commenter
        Robbo
        Location
        Mt Eliza.
        Date and time
        May 04, 2012, 10:50AM
    • I am a Melbourne member and I am a big fan of Jack Watts I acknowledge that there are areas he needs to work on in his game and I'm sure Jack would acknowledge himself but the upside of having Jack Watts on our list far out ways the downside he has exceptional skills and poise my opinion is there is no better user of the footy at Melbourne, I have seen all home games live this year and thought Jack has made great improvement, I fully support the path Mark Neeld is taking with the team but if contested ball and intensity is the reason Jack has been omitted the Dees might want to explain to the supporters how Cale Morton gets a game week in week out?

      Commenter
      Iron Man
      Date and time
      May 04, 2012, 11:07AM
      • Im a carlton supporter, so dont care one way or other.

        But fair suck of the sav... Trial by media... Typical of todays papers, need to have a story every day on *SOMEONE* in AFL. The current victim - Jack Watts.

        The pressure this kid and scrutiny this kid is under is crazy.

        Yea he is struggling, but everytime he opens his eyes theres a headline about him and the expectations put on him. Give the kid a break. Yes he may fail in the end, but let him fail on his own merits.

        Way too many *licensed* reporters focusing on AFL these days, so we end up wiht nothing stories, or people being hounded to death. but this is how the AFL keeps themselves on the front and back page of the paper and everyother ball sport on page 40.

        Commenter
        Davo
        Location
        Langers.
        Date and time
        May 04, 2012, 11:36AM
        • Have watched Jack train and play since day dot. He ticked every box in the textbook - athletically outstanding, height, strength, hands, feet, all amazing. Watching him train and play loose has always been a pleasure. Against my better judgement I bought in to the Dees 'be patient with big guys' mantra. But you can't teach 'mongrel' desire. Jack has never wanted it badly enough and the Dees incl Neeld have enabled his 'going through the motions until I'm good' ethos. I'd love to see him go back to the VFL, get belted a few times and dish some out too. You want to play AFL footy mate? harden the hell up and get stuck into it. Magner you BEAUTY!!

          Commenter
          Committed but Disillusioned
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          May 04, 2012, 11:37AM

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