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It seems to me that one of Melbourne's selectors must have taken the kids to the movies during the week, stumbled into a screening of Jurassic World and assumed that the Top End of Australia was not dissimilar to the fictional island of Isla Nublar, where the film is set. Said selector must have been so impressed by the havoc those pre-historic creatures played with the punters who turned up at that dinosaur theme park that he convinced the others that the same sort of caper could succeed on Saturday night in Darwin.

Fat chance.

I don't know what it is about these sojourns to the Northern Territory but the Demons are getting things terribly wrong every time they play there. At their last meeting against Port Adelaide in Alice Springs back in May, the problem was that they stopped running after 1½ quarters which turned a possible victory into a disastrous loss. This time round in the warmish but not oppressive conditions of Darwin, they simply didn't run at all and I put this down to the fact that the team simply had insufficient runners and too much of the lumbering big men to match it against a team that moves the ball very well out of defence and mostly with plenty of hard, gut running.

At times, it was scary; just looking at Melbourne's forward line with all of those dinosaurs standing there knowing that the West Coast defenders had the mobility and run to take the ball away on the majority of occasions when the ball was delivered (often sloppily) into the Melbourne attacking zones. Compare and contrast with the set up when the ball came down to the opposite end of the ground.

Melbourne's troubles started early. They had already lost one creative mover before the game in Heritier Lumumba so it didn't help when last week's hero Angus Brayshaw crashed head-first into an opponent's hip and had to be subbed off.

When someone at Melbourne is omitted with "leg" next to their name having not been previously noted on the injury list, it could mean anything between one week or a lifetime out of the team. Losing Brayshaw so early as well as Lumumba was a crushing blow because it had one less set of fresh legs available when the heat of the night started to take its toll late in the third term. It was no coincidence then that the Eagles soared at that very time and went on to outscore Melbourne by 40 points to six in the last quarter.

Earlier, at the same time as we saw Brayshaw depart, Melbourne was being beaten in the ruck and at the stoppages and was missing some easy chances to score goals. Jesse Hogan hit the post with his first shot for goal and shanked his second. After that the forward opportunities dried up for him until late in the game and he did his best work further afield. The upshot was that a "coodabeen" lead at quarter time was in fact a deficit of three goals at the first break and whilst Melbourne fought valiantly until late in the third quarter (at one stage in midterm there were only two goals between the teams), the lack of run and the turnovers would take their toll - and they did. Not even a half time swim could save the team from going into melt down.


Credit as always goes to the skipper Nathan Jones who worked tirelessly to set the example, capably assisted by Bernie Vince and Jack Viney and the efforts of Jeff Garlett, Neville Jetta and Brayshaw's replacement in Alex Neal-Bullen but in the end, the opposition was simply too hot and two fast for a team that moved like the now extinct reptiles of the early days of the planet.

Melbourne 2.4.16 5.5.35 8.6.54 9.6.60

West Coast 5.4.34 7.8.50 10.14.74 16.18.114


Melbourne Dawes Neal-Bullen 2 Garlett Hogan Spencer Tyson Viney

West Coast Darling 5 Cripps Kennedy Shuey 2 Hill LeCras McGovern Sheed Sinclair


Melbourne Vince N Jones Garlett Viney Tyson Watts

West Coast Darling Gaff Sheed Masten Naitanui Wellingham Kennedy


Melbourne Nil

West Coast Nil


Melbourne Angus Brayshaw (head/neck).

West Coast Nil


Melbourne Angus Brayshaw (head/neck) replaced by Alex Neal-Bullen in the first quarter

West Coast Liam Duggan by Scott Selwood in the third quarter


Melbourne Nil

West Coast Nil

Umpires Schmitt Hosking Deboy

Official Crowd 11,873 at TIO Stadium

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