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EBBS AND FLOWS by Whispering Jack

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For a tiny bit over three quarters it was a game of ebbs and flows with Melbourne holding the ascendancy for the most part after dominating the opening stanza with four goals to one. It should have been more but Jack Viney and Dom Tyson missed easy shots late in the term after Jesse Hogan nailed his second goal for the game after just 23 minutes.

That was the sort of thing that we've seen before this season with the game against the Crows at the Adelaide Oval a case in point so it came as no surprise that Collingwood was able to hit the front at the midpoint of the next quarter when Travis Varcoe goaled. At that point, we feared the worst - that the tide was turning the game in the direction of debacles like the GWS and Port Adelaide games but the Demons surprised us, regrouped and went into the main break with an eleven point lead thanks to the brilliance of Bernie Vince and emerging big man Max Gawn.

The Demons' dominance continued into the what they call the premiership quarter which for Melbourne is a concept so far embedded in its distant past as to be rendered almost meaningless. But there's a new kid on the block who might just change that one day and his name his Jesse Hogan. After a wide kick at goal spoiled what would have been a dream start to the second half, he had the presence of mind to tickle the ball of the ground after a spillage and the Demons were away. The Pies fought back but goals to Vince and another to Jack Watts who keeps getting better and better, opened up a 23 point lead before the flow of the game changed once more.

It was all Collingwood in the second half of the third term leading to heart flutters among the Demon faithful in the crowd. It was as if the fact that the team had hit the magical 60 point mark meant that everything came to a grinding halt. The tide ebbed as Collingwood clawed the deficit back to a manageable 8 points by the final break and narrowed it further thanks to a rushed behind early in the last. Then Vince re-entered the scoring fray and it was over.

Goals flowed and the opposition capitulated in a reversal of the situation when the teams met on Queens Birthday. Of course, back then it was Melbourne that was ravaged with injury. Now it was Collingwood whose main weapons were missing. No Cloke meant no seven straight goals and Tom McDonald was able to play the monster on young Darcy Moore. Once Neville Jetta shut Alex Fasolo down, the Pies had very little potency up forward. Nathan Jones did his job as usual but the most pleasing aspect of recent weeks for Melbourne is the emergence of Max Gawn towards the fringes of the elite among the competition's ruckmen and Jack Viney's growth in the midfield.

The defining aspect was that despite the presence of five first year players, Melbourne was the more experienced team in terms of games in legs - a vast difference to the week before when St. Kilda's match winners were all on the other side of thirty. That's exactly why the lamentations of many supporters and independent observers were a bit off the mark with their panic stations wrist slashing of last week. The form of young sides will always ebb and flow from week to week. The main thing is that the tide is taking you in the right direction.

Melbourne 4.4.28 6.5.41 9.6 .60 13.13.91

Collingwood 1.4.10 4.6.30 7.10.52 7.12.54


Melbourne Hogan Vince 3 Garlett 2 Harmes Howe N Jones vandenBerg Watts

Collingwood Fasolo 3 Adams Pendlebury Varcoe Witts


Melbourne Vince Jones Gawn Viney Garland Watts Cross

Collingwood Swan Fasolo Varcoe Williams Adams Langdon


Melbourne Nil

Collingwood Matt Scharenberg replaced Tyson Goldsack (tight quad) in the selected side.


Melbourne Nil

Collingwood Nil


Melbourne Nil

Collingwood Nil


Melbourne James Harmes replaced Viv Michie in the third quarter.

Collingwood Jamie Elliott replaced Paul Seedsman in the third quarter.

Umpires Donlon Kamolins Jeffery

Official crowd 37,894 at the MCG.

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