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.

Perceptions punish Demons, but Dogs are none too rosy

The Western Bulldogs leave the field after losing to Geelong in round 5.

The Western Bulldogs leave the field after losing to Geelong in round 5. Photo: Pat Scala

First impressions are often accurate, and lasting. The first impression of Melbourne this season was not pretty nor was it inaccurate - a 79-point loss against Port Adelaide. And it has been lasting.

As first impressions go it was like walking in on your grandmother in the shower - some images you can't get out of your head.

Some first impressions also flatter to deceive. Like the Western Bulldogs. The Dogs accosted a Brisbane Lions side that come round one retained a bloated and misguided pre-season optimism.

Melbourne has won one game; the Western Bulldogs have won one game. Melbourne has lost five games by 10 goals or more, the Bulldogs three games by 50 points or more. Admittedly, two of those Melbourne losses were by more than 15 goals. But for all of the excitement of the Western Bulldogs' first-round victory, the stark reality is this: the Dogs have won one of their last 18 matches.

In this season, Melbourne might have quickly and cringingly re-established itself as a poor side, but the Western Bulldogs' slide has continued without anything like as much scrutiny. The difference between the teams and the disparity in the criticism they have deservedly drawn is because the biggest discrepancy between the sides has not been win-loss but effort and competitiveness.

The Bulldogs have escaped serious criticism because, first, there is always a more compellingly pathetic option to focus on (Melbourne) and because the players have appeared largely to be trying. They have been competitive in each of their games - bar the West Coast loss - even when the margin has blown out late in matches, such as occurred again at the weekend against North. They have also played better sides than Melbourne has and pushed them harder (Geelong recently).

Against that, Melbourne deserves its lumps because from the opening minute of its game against Gold Coast at the weekend it plainly was not there to play. Or it was there to play, it's just that the game the Demons wanted to play was not football.

Over 100 missed tackles says enough about their limp effort. But it also in part is a reflection of the fact the Demons were missing six of their best 22 players. This week Colin Sylvia's knuckle-headedness means it will be seven (Trengove, Grimes, Watts, Clark, McDonald and Jamar). Few good teams can afford to lose that number of their best players and still be competitive. When poor sides lose that number the result is grim.

The Western Bulldogs mind, have had the bulk of their best side out there each week. Bob Murphy and Matthew Boyd have both missed three games, Daniel Giansiracusa and Ryan Griffen two each and Shaun Higgins has gone for the year. But Adam Cooney, Daniel Cross, Dale Morris and Luke Dahlhaus have played every game.

The Bulldogs' problem is not that the players have lacked effort but they have constructed a side around a game plan which is skewed towards big contested ball-winning midfielders but seemingly at a cost to players with polish in disposal and foot speed to cover the ground. Coach Brendan McCartney has acknowledged this ground cover problem recently.

The Bulldogs' further problem is that those senior players - save for the experienced Will Minson - do not occupy key positions. This has magnified a problem of covering the ground for when there are not the big players to mark the ball, the smaller players have to work that much harder.

Melbourne's problem over the Bulldogs is that its issues are not restricted to the misery on the field. The chief executive has been pushed out the door, the board has proven itself well-meaning but flawed and now the dark touch of Dank has drawn the Demons into the ugly AFL investigation.

All of these matters further pollute the idea of the club beyond what is occurring on the field. Unlike at Essendon where what is happening on the field is salving the wounds off it and galvanising the club, at the Demons it is only painting a starker picture of chaos and incompetence.

BAD TO WORSE

Melbourne and the Bulldogs from round 13 last season

*Melbourne is 16th, the Bulldogs 17th and GWS 18th in all those categories.

17 comments so far

  • WOW comparing the Dogs to Melbourne that is ridiculous so here's a few points;

    - The Bulldogs were challenging for a premiership in 2010 and have been rebuilding for just a year and 7 games. Melbourne have been rebuilding for 5-6 years and are still showing no improvement

    - Melbourne have shown absolutely no desire to follow the coaches instructions and was evident last week against the Gold Cost. One thing you can guarantee is the Dogs will have is effort, no-one in the world could guarantee the Dees to do that

    - Mentions a stupid stat at the bottom that says since round 13 last year Melbourne have won 4 games and the Bulldogs 1. Of those four Melbourne victories three were against GWS (Rd 13 2012, Rd 21 2012 & Rd 4 2013) and one against Gold Coast (Rd 19, 2012). Guess how many times the Dogs have played those two teams since Round 13 last year?? A big fat 0, plus you can add into that they havent played Melbourne in that time either

    You want to see the difference between the Dogs and Dees, take a look at how the Dogs go against Gold Coast this week compared to how the Dees did last week. I'm actually offended to have my team compared to Melbourne, we are a side rebuilding they are a basket case.

    Commenter
    Daniel Saliba
    Location
    Keilor
    Date and time
    May 15, 2013, 11:20AM
    • Totally agree Daniel. I watched that Demons game last week - the day after watching the Dogs live at Etihad, where they showed exactly how good they will be in a year or two - and frankly it's like comparing horse manure with roses. The Demons ducked, avoided tackles, stood around outside the packs waiting for something to happen and generally looked slow and disinterested. In contrast the Dogs were hard at it, competitive and tough. No-one took a backward step. We were beaten by a better side, not beaten because we couldn't be bothered.

      Commenter
      ET
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      May 15, 2013, 11:43AM
    • Cherry picked statistical timeframes by the author since 9am this morning: 1
      Non-cherry picked statistical timeframes by the author since 9am this morning: 0

      Commenter
      Ceej
      Date and time
      May 15, 2013, 12:01PM
    • Totally agree, Daniel.

      Melbourne are an embarrassment to watch.

      Sometimes you see a player who doesn't have a heart for the contest, but I've never seen so many as are running around in a Dees jumper at the moment. Too many look like a school kid watching the clock for the hometime bell. There's no pride down there at Dee-land.

      The extraordinary thing is, they showed in the last quarter against the Giants that they are capable, but still aren't trying to reach that again.

      A team of Michael's grandmas could beat the Dees.

      Doggies on the other hand, might not have the talent at the moment, but they aren't giving up. When it comes to the Dogs, you still have to beat them. Any team that turns up not 100% to play, will get beaten by them.

      You still have to earn your win against the Dogs, unlike the Dees.

      Commenter
      Swans Fan
      Location
      Vic
      Date and time
      May 15, 2013, 1:02PM
    • Watched the Crows Dogs game and it wasnt good but agree harsh to compare Dogs to Melbourne. Good picks in the draft though so promise for future.

      Commenter
      rod2087
      Date and time
      May 15, 2013, 2:52PM
  • Totally agree with you Daniel, im a passionate Bulldogs supporter myself and for this bloke (Michael Gleeson) to even put us in that catagory without even checking all the facts just shows how good he is at his job, he just blazed away with all those ridiculous figures which are true figures but look at the quality of opposition Melbourne has played compared to us and like you said we have been rebuilding for a year and a half Melb has been rebuilding for the best part of 10 years, and i reckon we are streets ahead of them in our development. Michael may just be another one of those frustrated sad Melbourne supporters trying to turn the attention elsewhere, sad thing is Melb are looking worse than Fitzroy of '96' i hope they can turn things around for there supporters sake, but Michael fairdinkum do you even watch the game ' i think not' !

    Commenter
    Natjjr
    Location
    Port Melb
    Date and time
    May 15, 2013, 11:52AM
    • This article makes some reasonable points about the Dogs' deficiencies, but makes little mention of the things they're doing right.

      For example, winning the contested possession count in five of seven games is a huge positive for a young side, as highlighted in this article: http://www.upstart.net.au/2013/05/15/upside-round-seven-western-bulldogs/

      By comparison, there's no area in which Melbourne is improving; that's the difference between the two clubs right now.

      Commenter
      Footy Tragic
      Date and time
      May 15, 2013, 12:03PM
      • I'm a rusted on Dogs supporter. While I think there are far more differences between the Dees and the Dogs than there are similarities (all of which have been well outlined in the preceding comments), I think the Dogs have escaped some genuine scrutiny. Lets compare with teams like Geelong, Collingwood, Hawthorne, we were rebuilding at about the same time as these teams through the noughties and we were competitive with them a couple of seasons ago. But look at the disparity now. They remain top 8, arguably top 4 teams and we are now bottom 4. I do think questions need to be answered about how we were unable to retain the status of a competitive top 8 side. I get that we're "rebuilding", but what I don't get is why we can't keep it built?

        Commenter
        pawnagain
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        May 15, 2013, 12:13PM
        • Its about money, unfortunately... Geelong are extraordinary, but Hawthorn and Collingwood have buckets of money to throw at staying "up".

          Commenter
          Heath
          Date and time
          May 15, 2013, 2:46PM
      • what both teams have in common is that their current ead coaches were very good assistants who can't cut it at the elite level as a head coach. what is the point of melbourne continuing with neeld when his message is not getting through still after 29 games. or is it that his tactics and motivational ability just aren't up to it? either way, everyone knows he won't be there next year so surely they would be better off getting the next sucker in to start as soon as possible so next year isn't a complete waste. starting with someone new at the neginning of next year is akin to writing that year off for a team like melbourne. western bulldogs have shown more effort at times but mccartney's emphasis on players capable of winning contested possession to the exclusion of pace and skill has cost the bulldogs dearly given the increasing trend over the last couple of years for teams who win the contested ball/clearances to lose the game. they generally hack it out of the pack (lack of skill) and get caught on the rebound (lack of pace).

        Commenter
        me
        Location
        meville
        Date and time
        May 15, 2013, 5:05PM

        More comments

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        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 Report Stats
        SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
        CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
        GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
        Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
        ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
        FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
        Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
        WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
        BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
        GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
        WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
        Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
        GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
        STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
        Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
        NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
        PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
        GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
        BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
        Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
        WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
        FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
        HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
        Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
        GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
        GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
        STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
        ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
        Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
        CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
        WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
        Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
        HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
        NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
        ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
        GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
        Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
        STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
        FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
        RIC ($1.36)vs NTH ($3.20) 19:50ES
        Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
        GEE ($2.50)vs ADE ($1.53) 13:05SS
        BRI ($4.50)vs WBU ($1.20) 13:45G
        PTA vs FRE 15:50Adelaide Oval
        HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($17.00) 16:40MCG
        SYD ($1.04)vs GCF ($11.00) 19:20SCG
        WCE ($1.04)vs STK ($11.00) 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
        MEL ($2.95)vs GWS ($1.40) 13:10ES
        COL ($1.28)vs ESS ($3.70) 15:20MCG
        View All Fixtures
        AFL 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Fremantle 21 17 4 0 125.10 68
        West Coast Eagles 21 15 5 1 143.00 62
        Hawthorn 21 15 6 0 156.77 60
        Sydney Swans 21 15 6 0 124.11 60
        Richmond 21 14 7 0 121.39 56
        Western Bulldogs 21 14 7 0 116.76 56
        Adelaide Crows 20 13 7 0 119.10 54
        North Melbourne 21 13 8 0 109.08 52
        View all
         

        Follow Us on Facebook

        Featured advertisers