Newell’s Notes Round 22 Melbourne vs Sydney 2019

Good to be back in the winners circle for Sydney

Sydney really had a good night out at the home of football the Melbourne Cricket Ground. I thought Melbourne would be a tougher opponent, but to the Swans credit they took the game up to the Dees with a combination of pressure in the contest and making the best of their scoring opportunities. Ollie Florent played a great game, probably his best for the club. He only passed the 50 game mark a couple of weeks ago and is starting to gain some consistency in form. His tackle on James Harmes was ferocious. Florent chased and grabbed a hold of Harmes and dragged him down for a superb holding the ball get. The emphasis we’ve been getting from coach Longmire is the club’s future fortunes will be based on it’s youth roster. If Florent is a key part of that, then Nick Blakey is also another emerging talent. He was best on ground in our opinion. His attack on the ball was fierce and he seemed to be made of rubber as he bounced off players and dived into a pack. He look indestructible at times no matter what the opposition throws at him, he comes back just as hard. He would have to be one of the best Father Son pick ups in years. Fearless and with a tincture of measured aggression, Blakey has fitted in well to the senior Swans team and a really bright and exciting future surely is ahead.

Oliver Florent about to bring James Harmes down after a superb chase tackle. Photo: Jodie Newell

Lewis Melican watch

Good to see Lewis Melican in the backline for the Sydney Swans. Lewis was a late inclusion for Sydney after fill-in ruckman Hayden McLean was a late withdrawal.Lewis played a solid role at the back and is another of the young brigade of who Sydney is backing to take them to a new era. Lewis didnt have big numbers but he did do a good job in combining with Dane Rampe and Callum Mills at the back and help repel and threat from Melbourne. It’s always a pleasure to talk to him after a win.

Late inclusion Lewis Melican played a solid game at the back for Sydney. Photo: Jodie Newell

The Demons are awful

Honestly the season can’t end soon enough for the Melbourne football club. To state the bleeding obvious, they are a shell of their former selves aka 2018 season. One wonders why the fall? Did the Dees think everything would simply fall into place and that they would simply just end up in the final 8? I’ve seen it happen many times. The best example I can think of is the 1985 Footscray team. They made the preliminary final against Hawthorn only to lose by 10 points. Not as bad as Melbourne’s massive 66 point drubbing by eventual premiers West Coast, but the Dogs were expected to return the following year. They didn’t, in fact they failed to make the finals until 1992. The Dogs did lose their captain and other players, but they simply didn’t turn up when it mattered. Melbourne havent turned up at all in season 2019. Max Gawn battled gamely, but looked disconsolate and seemed to go through the motions. He made 52 hit outs and dominated the ruck, but his team mates around him looked lethargic and were unable to gain any traction. They failed to kick a goal in two quarters of football and only booted 5 for the match. Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney were the only two others players along with Max Gawn who really worked hard. Nathan Jones wasnt his hard running, hard at the ball self. James Harmes struggled. Their forward line was dysfunctional. One wonders how badly the Jesse Hogan trade has hurt this team. Coach Simon Goodwin looked tired at the post game presser and his repeated PR spin lines of “we have to own this and we apologize to the supporter base” sounded hollow. No doubt he means well, but Goodwin I gather, can’t wait for the draft and pre-season period to begin afresh and try to return his side to the sensational, running team they were of 2018.

Max Gawn looks gone as the Demons 2019 campaign comes to an inglorious end. Photo: Jodie Newell

Vale Polly Farmer

I never got to see Graham “Polly” Farmer play football. I did see his former opponents in John Nicholls of Carlton, Ted Whitten of Footscray and Don McKenzie of Essendon play and those guys could ruck and play the game. I think Nicholls was the better tap, body work type ruckman, however Farmer’s ability to spear long hand-passes and his height and agility were unique. Polly did play in the 1963 Geelong premiership game and played state football for Western Australia. He was always spoken of highly and always described as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Have to agree totally with that statement. Watching his video highlights, the long handball is something I haven’t seen repeated. It really annoys me when the pundits of today say today’s players are better. Heaven help the players of the past who only have words and numbers to defend their reputations as there are little or no film footage of their deeds. Thankfully in Polly Farmer’s case there are and the highlights are incredible. There is even an old World of Sport handball comp You Tube video with Polly Farmer, Barry Cable and Ron Barrassi competing. One has to remember all of those players had retired from the game, yet Farmer and Cable go toe to toe with a superb exhibition of the handball skill, with Barry Cable coming out the winner by a single point. One of the cool things about the MCG at the Ron Casey media centre is the walls leading to the media room have the superb Scanlens gum footy posters of players from the 1960’s. One is of Polly Framer taken in 1966 at Kardinia Park, you can just make out the classic, tall pine tress at Kardinia in the background. I had to look it up and pay a short observance to the great footballer, who at the MCG had put in some fantastic footballing performances. Rest in Peace Polly thanks for your superb footy.

The superb Scanlens footy posters of stars of the 60’s that line the wall at the Ron Casey media centre. Photo: Jodie Newell

 

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Jodie Newell
Love reporting on sports, politics, history and music