Brent Stanton was one of the Bombers' round one standouts. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au/Colleen Petch
Last 5 Meetings
Round 10, 2012 – Melbourne Demons 58 d Essendon Bombers 52
Round 11, 2011 – Melbourne Demons 101 d Essendon Bombers 68
Round 15, 2010 – Melbourne Demons 122 d Essendon Bombers 103
Round 12, 2009 – Essendon Bombers 131 d Melbourne Demons 83
Round 18, 2008 – Essendon Bombers 124 d Melbourne Demons 108
It is hard to fathom – and not just on the differences in the teams’ performances last weekend – but Melbourne has somehow managed to win its last three clashes with Essendon . Last year the Demons picked up just four wins, and the victory over the Bombers was the only one which didn’t come over young pups the Suns and Giants. The other two years the Dees haven’t even sniffed finals footy, but they’ve still managed to overcome Essendon.
You could hypothetise that Melbourne’s structure suits playing the Bombers, but judging by last season and the Demons’ pathetic 79-point round one loss to the Power, it’s hard to see whether Mark Neeld’s team has much of a game-plan, at all, or maybe they just have an inability to follow it against most teams. The second-year coach reacted to the Port defeat by dumping three players and bringing in co-captain Jack Trengove and livewire Aaron Davey.
Considering what the club has gone through in the off-season, Essendon could hardly have been more impressive in dismantling Adelaide. Rarely will you see a team run harder than the ‘Dons did in the opening match of the AFL season, and the two week break means they’ll be full refreshed. Brownlow Medallist Jobe Watson probably racked up his first three votes of the season with a 34-possession game which included a game-high seven clearances.
(Bombers) Brent Stanton – For the first nine rounds of last season, Brent Stanton was among the best players in the competition. But like most of his teammates, Stanton had a quiet night in the round 10 loss to the Demons, and he never quite got back on track. The 26-year-old was another standout against Adelaide picking up 26 touches including 11 contested possessions. While Jobe Watson is Mr Consistent, Stanton’s fortunes fluctuate with Essendon’s. Last year he averaged 30 possessions per game in wins and just 20 in losses. If he can stay hot then so should the ‘Dons.
(Demons) Todd Viney – Last year in the season opener against Brisbane, Melbourne’s best player was a first-gamer named James Magner. In 2013 their standout in the first match of the season was another debutant, Father/Son draft selection Jack Viney. Magner is a serviceable player, but this kid has the potential to be good….very, very good. 16 of his 22 possessions were contested, showing that he can dominate at stoppages at senior level in a similar way to how he did at junior and VFL level. If the Rising Star award was handed out after round one, it would be a two-horse race between Viney and Port’s Ollie Wines.
There is no rhyme or reason why Melbourne has won the last three against Essendon. In saying that, in the first two of those wins, Brad Green and Brent Moloney were instrumental in the result. The latter is now in Brisbane’s midfield while Green is part of the backroom team at the Blues working as a development coach under Mick Malthouse. The Demons won in a scrap by six points last season, and they’ll probably need a similar type game to have any chance on Saturday. The Bombers are early season specialists, though, and if they work anywhere near as hard as they did against the Crows then they’ll romp home. Bombers by 45 points
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