AFL Wrap: Demons’ sledging backfires; Ablett a ‘selfish little mongrel’; Footy’s strange snub
James Matthey, news.com.au
August 29, 2017 9:19am
MELBOURNE will have an entire off-season to wallow in self-pity after a late-season shocker crushed the Demons’ hopes of making their first finals appearance in 11 years.
Collingwood defeated the Dees 14.15 (99) to 12.11 (83) on Saturday and when Essendon and West Coast both won their clashes on the weekend, Simon Goodwin’s men slipped out of the top eight.
Melbourne looked for all money like it was September-bound but the late twist of fate that was the Eagles upsetting minor premiers Adelaide crushed supporters’ hearts. Ex-Demons star David Schwarz said he was “gutted” his former side collapsed in the first quarter to pave the way for a Magpies’ victory.
“How can you rock up to a game not ready?” Schwarz said on SEN’s The Run Home. “I’m not making excuses, they weren’t good enough … they got well and truly ahead of themselves and they have no right to do that. They haven’t achieved for a long time.
“It’s devastating for the younger players. It’ll burn, and hopefully it burns over summer. If Jack Watts, or any other player, thinks they can cruise through the pre-season, I don’t want them to. I want this to hurt and for them to come back and be hungrier than ever before.”
Melbourne had success against several sides who find themselves in the top eight, which made its end-of-season disaster even tougher for Schwarz to swallow.
“When you sit back and summarise, and look over what happened in the year, to play some good footy, and some really great footy, and then to let it slip, is really disappointing,” he said.
“I’ve never been more gutted … ever.”
Herald Sun journalist Mick Warner revealed the finals bungle hurt Melbourne in more ways than one as some arrogant sledging during the side’s win over St Kilda a few weeks ago came back to haunt the Demons.
“Late in that (final) quarter there were some sledges directed from Melbourne players to St Kilda players along the lines of, ‘What are you blokes doing in September?’” Warner said on Fox Sports program On The Couch.
“As we know it turned out none of them were doing much in September.”
“Are you serious? Host Gerard Healy added.
Speaking on Channel Seven’s Talking Footy, Brian Taylor questioned whether the Demons played with an “unhealthy arrogance” while footy legend Wayne Carey said they were “abysmal” and “didn’t turn up” against Collingwood.