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THE TIDE by Whispering Jack

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Before the game, I recalled the words of Brutus in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:-

"There is a tide in the affairs of men.

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures."

It's not that I'm a believer in the concept of the "line in the sand" but if it was ever needed at Melbourne in the past eight or nine seasons then this was the time to take the current and move forward. Three crushing defeats at the hands of clubs at the leading edge of the AFL competition, the last by three figures had left us wondering whether it was ever going to be possible to bridge the enormous chasm between the top echelon of the competition and those who struggle beneath them barely treading water.

Something had to be done this week.

A statement had to be made and it was made, perhaps not as eloquently as in the words of the great bard but made it was in the form of Melbourne's 39 point victory over the Western Bulldogs.

The opening lines were delivered by youth. Young first season power forward Jesse Hogan marked 15 metres out and booted a goal in the first minute and then there was silence as the Bulldogs moved into action and dominated the next seventeen. They looked threatening without causing too much damage on the scoreboard but we feared that the flood would be unleashed at any time.

In a moment of boredom when I was expecting the worst and even a possible early exit on a coolish evening, I looked up the statistics on the AFL ap on my iPhone and the inside 50 figures showed the Bulldogs in command by a whopping 16 to 1. And then the tide turned.

A couple of behinds and two quick goals to Jimmy Toumpas and Cam Pedersen, two often maligned players and the Demons were on their way. They continued their dominance into the second term to set up a 20 point half time lead through the strength of their persistence and tackling and through some hard running.

Jake Spencer was playing his best game for the club in the ruck. Nathan Jones was leading the way at ground level with great assistance from rookie revelation Aaron vandenBerg and Bernie Vince was doing the hard work nullifying the dangerous Marcus Bontempelli. The contrast between Hogan and the Bulldogs' key forward Tom Boyd (who was thrashed by Jack Fitzpatrick in his new role in defence) was marked as the Demon full-forward was a focus in attack combining perfectly with Pedersen.

The Demons continued their surge well into the third term with goals to Howe and Hogan that saw them off to a 33 point lead but at that point both tragedy and comedy became the order of the day.

A Tom McDonald lunge was adjudged by the video as being a fingertip short of stopping a goal and then a couple of cheap goals were gifted to the Doggies by Demon brain fades including one from the skipper who ignored or missed two players in the middle of the ground to kick backwards. Early in the final term, when the visitors had edged to within seven points, it seemed that tide had turned again but some clever combination between Hogan and Pedersen started an inexorable Demon march to victory.

Jeremy Howe entertained the crowd with his weekly mark of the year contribution, Jeff Garlett and Bernie Vince booted some gem goals from impossible angles and Angus Brayshaw underlined his great potential with a sizzling final quarter.

Melbourne learned a great deal over the three week period when it succumbed to those top sides and now it was its turn to treat an opponent with disdain as it ran down the clock playing keepings off with the despondent Dishlickers. The team would have learned a great deal from former Bulldog coach Brendan McCartney who knows his former charges very well and helped expose their weaknesses. The game was also a reward for Paul Roos who has been steadfast in overseeing the team's development and is steering them through treacherous currents and into calmer waters.

Melbourne 3.3.21 7.5.47 10.10.70 10 15.13.103

Western Bulldogs 2.3.15 3.9.27 8.9.57 9.10.64


Melbourne Hogan Pedersen 3 Toumpas Vince 2 Newton Garlett Howe M Jones N Jones Newton

Western Bulldogs Stringer 2 Dale Dahlhaus Hunter Jong Picken Wallis Wood


Melbourne vandenBerg N Jones Pedersen Hogan Vince Fitzpatrick Brayshaw

Western Bulldogs Dahlhaus M Boyd Wallis Wood


Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs Nil


Melbourne Matt Jones (concussion)

Western Bulldogs Brett Goodes (arm)


Melbourne Aidan Riley replaced Matt Jones in the third quarter

Western Bulldogs Bailey Dale replaced Tom Boyd in the third quarter


Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs Nil

Umpires Robert Findlay, Andrew Mitchell, Curtis Deboy

Official Crowd 29,381 at the MCG

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