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ENCOURAGING OR JUST ANOTHER DEFEAT? by JVM

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It was a strange game. After 11 minutes, the Sydney Swans had booted four of the game's first five goals and after that the two sides went goal for goal through to the end. Of course, the reigning premiers dominated the clearances at centre bounces and at stoppages around the ground and they went through passages (particularly in the second term where their kicking for goal was atrocious) but in the context of this year's results, a 31 point loss at the hands of such quality opposition was almost a win for the Demons.

The Swans' poor kicking for goal was offset by some gift goals courtesy of the men in blue and this leads me to wonder whether the outcome was an encouraging result or just another defeat.

Melbourne's well documented midfield deficiencies were exposed once again, this time against one of the best units in the business. Kennedy, McVeigh, Hannebery and K Jack were outstanding whereas the Demons' best on baller Nathan Jones, whilst still workmanlike, was pretty well covered. Mumford shaded Max Gawn in the ruck duels but the young emerging Demon worked hard around the ground where his contribution was more than useful.

The pleasing part was that although comprehensively beaten in the game's engine room, Melbourne did well everywhere else. James Frawley was strong in defence until injured and the likes of Dean Terlich, Colin Garland and Tom McDonald more than held their own. Mitch Clisby, despite giving away that controversial goal with the non kick out that went wrong, continues to impress in the early days of his career.

Jack Fitzpatrick, played his best game yet for the club up forward to finish with three goals. He presented well, marked cleanly and gave some good run at ground level. Jeremy Howe booted two, as did Chris Dawes and all that was needed to make it an even closer contest was a forward line crumber to milk a few sucker free kicks and score opportunist goals in the same vein as Sydney's B. Jack.

Speaking of free kicks that end up in goals, there were a few rippers today that weren't paid which ended up in goals for the Swans. The most glaring was the holding the ball decision not paid against Tippett during the last quarter, that gave McVeigh a stolen goal that seemed to snuff out any resistance left in the Demons.

There's definitely more spirit in the players. It was good to see the return of Jack Grimes. His co-skipper Jack Trengove is slowly working his way back to form and the fact that youngsters like Jimmy Toumpas, Dean Kent and Clisby are getting games into their young legs all add up to the fact that things are more encouraging and that it wasn't just another defeat.

Melbourne 3.1.19 5.2.32 8.5.53 13.7.85

Sydney Swans 5.3.33 9.13.67 13.18.96 16.20.116

Goals

Melbourne Fitzpatrick 3 Dawes Howe Watts 2 Davey N Jones Nicholson Trengove

Sydney Swans B Jack 4 Bird Tippett 2 Everitt K Jack Lamb McVeigh Mitchell O'Keefe Parker Pyke

Best

MelbourneTerlich Fitzpatrick N Jones Trengove McDonald Gawn

Sydney Swans K Jack O'Keefe Kennedy Mitchell McVeigh Bird B Jack

Injuries

Melbourne Frawley (hamstring tightness)

Sydney Swans Reid (quad)

Changes

MelbourneNil

SydneyNil

Reports

MelbourneNil

SydneyNil

Umpires Hay, Harris, Mollison

Official crowd 26,216 at the MCG

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Definitely some encouraging signs. The Dees are finally not over-focusing on their defence. Neil Craig has really brought out some attack in this young side.

While I would like to see Couch and Magner get more games to strengthen the midfield, our current side is built for speed. Once they start to get some more confidence and games in them, they will be hard to match.

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It was 'just another defeat', and that is encouraging, because it is a huge improvement on the 'monstrous shellacking' record of the first half of the season.

With the great signs from the likes of Fitzpatrick and Terlich, these last couple of games have moved my thinking back to 'promise for the future is there, and we might swing an occasional upset to laugh about', instead of the feeling of grey blankness that had set in early this season.

Making me all the hungrier for midfielders. I want all the midfielders in the first round of this coming draft! ALL OF THEM! BWA HA ha ha ha haaaaaa! :lol:

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Definitely some encouraging signs. The Dees are finally not over-focusing on their defence. Neil Craig has really brought out some attack in this young side.

While I would like to see Couch and Magner get more games to strengthen the midfield, our current side is built for speed. Once they start to get some more confidence and games in them, they will be hard to match.

Hardest team to play against ?? lol :cool:

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Definitely some encouraging signs. The Dees are finally not over-focusing on their defence. Neil Craig has really brought out some attack in this young side.

While I would like to see Couch and Magner get more games to strengthen the midfield, our current side is built for speed. Once they start to get some more confidence and games in them, they will be hard to match.

you picked two "midfielders" who may NOT be needed next year... In MY opinion.. :rolleyes: p.s. like your favourite players though

Edited by soxy@live.com.au

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Just another defeat to me. I re-watched the game last night via AFL.com and found myself getting incredibly frustrated. The skills we appalling, I do like how the boys are taking the game on and showing some heart and passion for four quarters but my gosh I'm glad no one else was around as I watched it. Rodan, Nicholson, and sorry to say but Toumpas (mainly second quarter) drove me mental.

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