JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Melbourne's missing ingredients

Date

Garry Lyon

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Demons back returning Jurrah

Melbourne football are standing by Liam Jurrah days after new charges of aggravated assault were laid against the footballer.

PT0M0S 620 349

THE hard work for the Melbourne Football Club has only just begun. Long-suffering supporters are understandably shaking their heads as they are again faced with the reality of their side propping up the AFL ladder.

No one could have envisaged that Melbourne would be on the bottom of the table after seven rounds. And with games against Sydney, Carlton, Essendon and Collingwood in the next month, the likelihood of this changing in the short term is slim.

That the playing group has been asked to embrace a dramatic change in the way it prepares and plays has been telegraphed from day one of the new, Mark Neeld-led regime.

Liam Jurrah is the ultimate wildcard but his kicking history speaks for itself.

Liam Jurrah is the ultimate wildcard but his kicking history speaks for itself. Photo: Getty Images

What the supporter base would be having trouble digesting is that it would appear that the change is going to, again, take time. For a group starved of success, the frustration of being asked to have patience as a new coaching group takes hold would be testing in the extreme.

Listening to Neeld and coaching director Neil Craig speak as they navigate their way through an extremely trying introduction to the club, it is obvious that they were under no illusions as to the magnitude of the job.

But perception and reality may have surprised even them as they seek their first win for the year. Despite what some may say, maintaining the faith is not hard if you understand the quality of the people charged with the responsibility of the playing group.

Right now, though, they are under enormous external pressure and that is also the reality of football. There is little patience or tolerance afforded to a football club that has seemed to be in a constant state of rebuild for the past 5½ years, and that is a fair enough position to take.

They will have a view of where they need to be in the long term, but the scrutiny of what takes place in the short term will not go away.

Having looked back at the performances of the side last year, the improved output of four players will, I think, have a significant influence on the fortunes of the team in the coming weeks.

Brent Moloney had an enormous season last year. He was in Melbourne's best three players in six of their eight victories, polling 14 of a possible 18 Brownlow votes in those wins. He was a dominant presence on the playing field and his combination with Mark Jamar was as good as any in the league.

He was elite in contested football, clearances and first possession and knocked up getting the football. He has played in five of the opening seven matches and hasn't been able to recapture anywhere near the sort of form of 2011, in which he won his first best and fairest for the club. Whether it's a result of the new style of football being asked of everyone to play remains unknown to me, but the fundamentals of winning hard football and clearances would still be a priority, regardless of the game plan.

Jack Trengove is another way down on his 2011 output. Connecting that to Trengove assuming the co-captaincy of the club, at a younger age than any footballer in the history of the game, is an obvious one that most in the footy world are making.

It is a reasonable question to ask, and a 0-7 start to the season would play on the minds of the most experienced leader. To know the player is to know that he will not be looking for, or making, any excuses. Rarely have I encountered a young man who takes more responsibility for his own performance and that of the team. The qualities that led to him being appointed as captain will see him through this period and have him emerge as a stronger all-round player.

From where I sit, he looks a little ''heavy'' in the legs and doesn't appear to be covering the ground as quickly as he has in the past. He seems to be labouring a little in his running and maybe that's a by-product of a heavier and far more taxing pre-season campaign.

Again, as an unbelievably hard trainer, he would have pushed himself to the limit in every session he's involved in. Perhaps a little freshen up might be in order. He was also a major influence in the Demons' better performances last year. Mitch Clark, Jeremy Howe and company have demonstrated an ability to stretch most defences, they just need more consistent supply from the likes of Trengove and Moloney.

Colin Sylvia is the other barometer for the Demons. I know there are a lot of people in football who would suggest that relying on such a temperamental talent is fraught with danger, but I am a fan.

He has been criticised for his inconsistency in both effort and output, and while I'm not saying he is completely blameless, there have been some mitigating circumstances this year. A serious back injury that sidelined him for six weeks in the pre-season with multiple fractures in his vertebrae came at an appalling time. He has managed just three senior games, one as a sub, and is still working towards full match fitness.

I think he's the most talented footballer on the Melbourne playing list - an explosive, power athlete with a physical skill set perfectly suited to the game. And yes, he has an unpredictable mischief about him that would not have raised an eyebrow 10 or 15 years ago, but in the modern, professional era he needs to continue to remind himself of the standards that need to be met every day of his AFL career.

He is a challenge for new coach Neeld. Finding the right buttons to push, coming down hard when it's required, and extending him some creative licence at other times are the sorts of balances that all coaches need to strike at some stage. But I have no doubt he is worth the effort and, with an uninterrupted run in the weeks ahead, he can become the sort of on-field leader that this young group desperately needs.

Which leaves the ultimate wildcard, Liam Jurrah. Again, when the Demons were winning games last year, Jurrah was the man kicking the goals. He kicked 27 in their seven wins, managing multiple goals in each victory.

No one can really understand where his mind is at, given the extraordinary circumstances he has been confronted with this year, but what the Melbourne Football Club has always done, and will continue to do, is act in his best interests.

If football is the one thing that allows him to keep moving forward, and his form warrants it, then he will be given that opportunity, as he has been this weekend. If he struggles to mentally prepare for a game of AFL football then I'm sure he will be given the time away he needs.

He undeniably makes Melbourne a more potent attacking force, and along with Clark and Howe would present a difficult challenge for opposition back lines. Moloney, Trengove, Sylvia and Jurrah have all faced challenges this year that have resulted in them not being able to put their best foot forward. Like the team itself, though, they are the only ones who can rectify the situation. The competition does not sit still and affords no player or side the luxury of time to find the sort of form that makes them a competitive outfit.

Respect in this competition is coveted and consequently it is as hard to win, as it is easy to lose. This quartet of players recapturing their best form would be a very good starting point.

5 comments

  • Gary this Neild led regime is not working. It's a failure and you won't admit it because you've got your fingerprints all over it. You were a champion player but should now step back as you're too emotionally invested which is not helping.

    Please Gaz step away

    Commenter
    offair
    Location
    Vic
    Date and time
    May 19, 2012, 10:01AM
    • Offair - i think you're spot on about the neeld regime not working. He's got a game plan that worked for a different club with a different set of players in a different time. It doesn't work now and it doesn't work for us. The coaches that are being innovative and utilising their players talents to build a game plan (rather then trying to make their players fit a game plan that doesn't work) are the ones that are now excelling. Gary has pointed out a number of players that are quality players but are being made to fit into a game plan that simply doesn't work for them. So I don't agree with Garry that they need to lift anymore then Neeld needs to utilise his players skills and adapt his game plan to meet it. At times I wonder if he even spent any time studying his players and what worked for them last season? I think it's just been lazy coaching i.e. apply a broadbrush change to our game plan which obviously doesn't utilise our players skills rather then use your brain and come up with something fresh that does. The players would know it too i reckon and guys like Scully will be even happier that they got out

      Commenter
      oztoddy
      Location
      Vic
      Date and time
      May 19, 2012, 10:37AM
  • patience grasshoppers, a new regime isnt any different from a new club....it needs time to build.
    rome wasnt built in a day.... nor were any of the top clubs of the last decade

    Commenter
    rl
    Location
    alberta
    Date and time
    May 19, 2012, 10:59AM
    • Perhaps one reason the Melbourne footy club is performing badly has something to do with the club culture - or lack of it. For example, Sydney has one of the strongest club cultures and when Barry Hall punched an Eagle on the jaw they got rid of him. Liam Jurrah is under police investigation for attacking his cousin with a machette yet Melbourne support him to play. Maybe Melbourne should be doing what's best for the club first.

      Commenter
      John
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      May 19, 2012, 11:38AM
      • Everything is magnified tenfold when any team is down... Demon supporters should try to keep that in mind before calling for any Melbourne people to be removed from any positions.
        Just try to remember that only about 4-5 weeks ago Dane Swan was an overweight & ineffective has-been with a duck waddle.

        Everything that Mark Neeld & Neil Craig have said to date about what they want to create for Melbourne & its supporters ring true... to me, anyway.
        But you really can't turn doggy do-dos into strawberry jam overnight. Mick Malthouse took 4-5 years to create the 2010 premiership winning team.

        And as for Mr Lyon ... well, about 1 year ago, he was being publicly begged by the supporters to physically step up, take charge & to lead his club;
        it might appear that some of those same supporters are now asking for him to step aside.
        Just chill, people.
        .
        Creating that culture of ' instant chop-chop' as mere gratification does no club culture any long-term good - anyone only need look at Richmond's last 30 years to see that.

        Hang in there, keep the faith Dees-fans.
        Oh... & Collingwood, before you ask.

        Commenter
        bowchamp
        Location
        Richmond
        Date and time
        May 19, 2012, 1:40PM
        Comments are now closed

        Related Coverage

        AFL 2015

        Round 1
        Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
        SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
        BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
        WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
        Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
        ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
        FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
        Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
        Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
        GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
        COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
        GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
        PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
        Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
        ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
        NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
        Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
        ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
        SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
        NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
        BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
        Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
        GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
        WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
        Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
        ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
        GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
        PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
        FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
        Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
        GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
        WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
        Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
        SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
        GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
        NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
        WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
        Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
        STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
        ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
        COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
        Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
        WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
        GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
        GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
        MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
        FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
        Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
        PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
        Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
        HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
        CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
        SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
        WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
        Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
        RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
        BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
        GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
        GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
        HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
        FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
        MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
        PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
        Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
        MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
        WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
        RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
        ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
        Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
        COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
        WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
        Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
        GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
        ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
        PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
        Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
        NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
        STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
        Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
        Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
        WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
        NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
        Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
        STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
        Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
        Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
        GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
        WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
        Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
        Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
        SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
        Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
        BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
        STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
        Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
        Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
        GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
        WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
        MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
        Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
        ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
        FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
        Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
        Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
        WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
        NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
        WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
        Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
        HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
        BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
        NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
        Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
        GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
        COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
        SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
        FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
        Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
        PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
        STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
        Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
        ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
        RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
        ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
        BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
        Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
        WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
        MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
        WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
        Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
        COL 54vs MEL 91 Stats
        SYD 117vs ADE 65 Stats
        CAR 54vs NTH 118 Stats
        GCF 83vs WCE 83 Stats
        Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA 53vs STK 28 LIVE Stats
        ESS ($2.95)vs WBU ($1.42) 15:20ES
        FRE ($1.22)vs GWS ($4.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE ($2.10)vs RIC ($1.70) 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.00) 13:45MCG
        WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
        BRI ($2.35)vs GCF ($1.55) 16:35G
        GEE ($2.00)vs SYD ($1.75) 19:20SS
        WCE ($2.10)vs HAW ($1.70) 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL ($3.50)vs NTH ($1.28) 13:10MCG
        GWS ($1.55)vs ESS ($2.35) 15:20Spotless Stadium
        STK vs FRE 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD ($1.25)vs COL ($3.70) 19:50SCG
        Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        ESS ($2.35)vs ADE ($1.55) 13:45ES
        NTH vs STK 14:10BA
        PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
        GEE ($4.60)vs HAW ($1.18) 19:20MCG
        BRI ($1.70)vs CAR ($2.10) 19:20G
        Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC ($1.05)vs GCF ($8.50) 13:10MCG
        WBU ($1.35)vs MEL ($3.00) 15:20ES
        FRE ($1.87)vs WCE ($1.87) 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
        Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL ($2.35)vs RIC ($1.55) 13:45MCG
        GWS ($3.70)vs SYD ($1.25) 14:10Spotless Stadium
        GCF ($1.50)vs ESS ($2.50) 16:35MS
        STK vs GEE 19:20ES
        ADE ($1.08)vs BRI ($6.75) 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH ($2.15)vs FRE ($1.65) 13:10ES
        CAR ($2.25)vs MEL ($1.60) 15:20MCG
        WCE ($1.15)vs WBU ($5.00) 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE ($1.50)vs COL ($2.50) 19:50MCG
        Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($3.70) 13:45Spotless Stadium
        HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($13.00) 14:10AS
        NTH ($1.50)vs WBU ($2.50) 16:35ES
        ESS ($4.00)vs RIC ($1.22) 19:20MCG
        GCF ($2.50)vs PTA ($1.50) 19:20MS
        Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE ($2.95)vs WCE ($1.38) 13:10Adelaide Oval
        STK ($3.80)vs SYD ($1.25) 15:20ES
        FRE ($1.07)vs MEL ($7.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
        COL ($1.50)vs ESS ($2.50) 00:00MCG
        RIC ($1.70)vs NTH ($2.10) 00:00ES
        HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($13.00) 00:00MCG
        GEE ($1.50)vs ADE ($2.50) 00:00SS
        SYD ($1.05)vs GCF ($8.00) 00:00SCG
        MEL ($1.87)vs GWS ($1.87) 00:00ES
        BRI ($3.05)vs WBU ($1.35) 00:00G
        PTA ($2.15)vs FRE ($1.65) 00:30Adelaide Oval
        WCE ($1.12)vs STK ($6.00) 02:00Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        AFL 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Fremantle 16 14 2 0 126.69 56
        West Coast Eagles 17 13 3 1 154.43 54
        Hawthorn 17 12 5 0 164.23 48
        Sydney Swans 17 12 5 0 115.86 48
        Richmond 17 11 6 0 112.43 44
        North Melbourne 17 10 7 0 107.19 40
        Western Bulldogs 16 10 6 0 106.84 40
        Geelong Cats 16 9 7 0 102.42 38
        View all
         

        Follow Us on Facebook

        Featured advertisers