Team selection will be announced in just a few short hours, but it’s not whether Darren Jolly or Ben Johnson return that I’m most curious to find out. Instead, it is the VFL team selection that has me most intrigued this week, specifically the hopeful return of Josh Thomas.
At the beginning of the year, many supporters and I imagine quite a few at the club would have pencilled this game in, for a variety of reasons.
Hawthorn were the last team to beat us prior to our premiership victory, by a paltry three points in a game where we did ourselves no favours with inaccurate kicking. Probably more important though, is the fact that the Hawthorn game coincides with a point in the year that we have marked as the period where we begin to hit top gear.
This is a somewhat belated review and as such, my recollection of the specifics – the play by play – is a little hazy. All the same, the frustration at our inaccuracy is easy to remember, but despite only winning by a mere six points I felt – as the scoreboard attests – that we could have easily won by more.
This week’s full player review for our clash against Sandringham on Sunday, a windy extravaganza that despite the result, provided plenty of positives.
It was around this time last year that we mounted our charge toward premiership glory. We had just come off a disappointing draw with the Demons and speculation over whether we were genuine contenders or simply making up the numbers again was at an all-time high. We all know what happened last year, with the boys hitting top gear and blowing away the rest of the competition on the home stretch.
We’ve reached the mid-season break, set to be starved of our beloved Magpies this weekend in both the AFL and VFL, so what better time to take a look at some aspects of the season so far?
I concluded my preview by saying that we shouldn’t expect Melbourne to be a pushover and I honestly meant that, but now I can’t help but feel a little foolish for giving them too much credit. A lot was made of our two contests last year, which resulted in a one point victory and a draw for us, but it seems a lot of people read a little too much into that. Until yesterday, Melbourne were yet to face the evolved Collingwood side – an evolution which occurred after the mid-year break in 2010 – and the result speaks for itself.
VFL player review from today’s game against the Casey Scorpions. The boys went down but once again had periods where we were more than competitive. Jye Bolton and Luke Rounds easily amongst the best on field, with Daniel Farmer showing some very good signs also.
Right now, half a year away from draft time, the hint of a contented smile might be seen on the face of Derek Hine; and it’s got nothing to do with who he might select in the national draft once our picks are known.
Hine might be experiencing the early signs of satisfaction, because he already has rights to a couple of players as a reward for his foresight a few years earlier.
We have been fairly conservative this year in terms of weekly changes, which is to be expected when you’ve only lost the single game, yet we’ve still managed to get games into the likes of Cameron Wood, Simon Buckley, John McCarthy and Brad Dick. This week, we’ll have our hand forced a bit more, with a minimum of at least three changes being required.