Melbourne’s season started off in a blaze of glory, winning the first 10 matches before a wobbly patch of three straight losses. Thursday night’s victory against Brisbane has breathed new life into the Dees’ season and it begs the question with eight rounds left – where will Simon Goodwin’s men finish?
Round 16 – Adelaide Crows @ Adelaide Oval – Dees by 33 points
Remember when the Crows fans and their players celebrated like they’d won the flag? I certainly haven’t forgotten. Fair play, they caught us off guard and inflicted Melbourne’s first loss of the 2021 season, winning a nail-biter by one solitary point. Despite the fact the Dees went on to clinch a drought-breaking flag, there’s revenge on the mind and it’s hard to see a rejuvenated Demons outfit not getting the chocolates against an indifferent Adelaide.
Round 17 – Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium – Cats by 8 points
I saw a Melbourne supporter on a fan forum likening the trip down the highway to Geelong like entering the AFL’s version of a dark, gloomy Mordor. Well, they’re not wrong! It’s always a very tough assignment and arguably the hardest task in footy. We’re really starting to grind the Cats and Chris Scott’s gears, particularly after the famous Round 23 and Preliminary Final showdowns last season. It might give them an exorbitant amount of belief, and in the end a win. They can saviour this one, while we get them back in September when it matters most.
Round 18 – Port Adelaide @ Traeger Park – Dees by 14 points
It’s a potential banana skin, with Ken Hinkley’s men waking from their early season 0-5 slumber. By the time this game comes around they could still be a sneaky chance to make the eight. Regardless, they’ve been on a mission recently trying to earn back respect in the competition, after falling short of two consecutive Grand Final appearances at the final hurdle in the last couple of years. Melbourne seems to relish the Northern Territory trips and this should be no different, but it’ll be tighter than some think.
Round 19 – Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium – Dees by 21 points
Another side who made a sluggish start to the year, but have found form and at the time of writing and occupy a top eight position. They seem to have a strange complex with the Dees, ever since Caleb Daniel tried to UFC stare down our legendary skip Max – and from that moment onwards the Demons produced some of the most soul-destroying footy known to mankind. A total of 100 to 7 points to be exact in a quarter and-a-half. Expect the Dees’ strong Marvel record under Simon ‘Greatwin’ to continue.
Round 20 – Fremantle @ Optus Stadium – Dockers by 18 points
They’re undoubtedly a different beast in the west; unless it’s wet. In Round 11 they really rocked us to our core, with a commanding second half display that had all the Freo fans giddy and going the early crow with ‘Flagmantle’ tatts. They’ve got a brilliant defence and play a very similar brand to Melbourne. On their home deck and with the confidence they would’ve garnered with that big win at the ‘G, it’s hard to go past the Dockers, who might give the Dees a nice mental sharpen up before the final few weeks.
Round 21 – Collingwood @ MCG – Dees by 4 points
It’s hard to utter these words, but you can’t deny it: Collingwood has owned us in recent times. In fact, they’ve won six of the past seven encounters, making Queen’s Birthday clashes generally quite miserable. On a Friday night at the home of footy, Goodwin’s troops will be keen to atone and rally against an old foe that have taken the piss out of the Dees far too often. Don’t forget, Melbourne should have a fit and firing Steven May back in the lineup for this one, which could prove the difference.
Round 22 – Carlton @ MCG – Blues by 9 points
It’s such a brutal run home and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion we’ll drop either one of the Collingwood or Carlton games. There’s no real logic to it, but I’ve gone with the Blues. They have played some scintillating stuff at times throughout the season. Their best is devastating. Their worst is, well, Carlton of the past 20 years. It’ll be really intriguing to see where both teams are at by the time this one comes around, particularly given the Blues’ woes with defensive personnel. Big Harry and Charlie might clinch it off their own boots.
Round 23 – Brisbane @ Gabba – Dees by 26 points
Simply put, we’re the big bad bullies in the school yard when we come against Brisbane. I really don’t like bullies, but I love a sporting adaptation of one, especially when it’s guys like Jack Viney crunching the opposition. With this in mind, the Lions will be seething from their embarrassing Round 15 loss. They’ll conjure up oodles of motivation, pin up photos of Dees players and place them on punching bags and manifest images in their heads of a famous victory at the Gabba… then lose.