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With the Demons making an absolute meal of the opportunities achieved through their sheer dominance around the ground against Carlton, it was as if the fans being asked if they would like what was being served up to them with gravy.

The fortunate thing from a club perspective was that in the end, it wasn’t gravy that came with the meal, but rather the icing on the cake that saved the day and finally saw Melbourne run out the eventual victors on the day. In this instance the icing was provided by the likes of Jeff Garlett, Christian Salem and Jack Watts with a handsome contribution from Nev Jetta.

In the early going it was all Melbourne. By halfway through the second quarter, the Demons led by four goals. At that stage, they had five players with more possessions than the best performing Carlton player and yet, at the main break, the lead had been pared back a meagre 10 points.  

The fans had seen this before. This was a Melbourne game that had been marked down as a certain four premiership points but suddenly they found themselves in an arm-wrestle by giving the opposition plenty of opportunities to recover as a result of their over use of the football and sloppy turnovers. 

Things got worse in the third quarter as the Demons continued to produce more of the same. The battle of the rucks between Max Gawn and Matt Kruezer was relentless and there seemed to be no curbing Bryce Gibbs and Patrick Cripps while, despite numerous clearances, the Melbourne mids were simply being trounced. Jack Viney was strangely quiet again this week, Dom Tyson was getting plenty of the ball around the ground but little in the middle, and Clayton Oliver also got lots of touches but he was too dependent upon handball when kicking was the order of the day.

In the latter stages of the third quarter, the Demons had fluffed around with the football so much and had shown such a lack of intensity and discipline that the unthinkable happened. They had allowed the Blues to hit the lead and take it out to a nine point margin before Jeff Garlett decided that enough was enough when he put the team's first major for the term on the board at the 21 minute mark. This brought the margin back to only three points at the final change with hope that the worst was now behind the team.

It wasn’t to be entirely because despite the Demons kicking the first two goals of the final stanza to take a nine point lead, the Blues replied to restore the margin back to within a goal. With the minutes ticking by, Garlett came off the bench and as he did in the third, he made something out of nothing in the middle to start a chain of possessions that left the fans with their hearts in their mouths. The team still managed to stuff around in front of goal as better options were looked for instead of simply putting the ball to boot and through the majors.  Tyson snapped a goal and Sam Weideman chipped in with his second but Casboult replied. It was Jeff who followed up with a spectacular run down from behind on Docherty and he converted from the resultant free to ice the game.  

A final snap from Nathan Jones in the dying minute saw the Demons record a 22 point win. More hoodoos were put to bed  as a result. The first win in round two since 2005 and only the second against the Blues in that space of time. They had only beaten Carlton once in the past ten meetings. 

Special mention must go to Christian Salem who time and time again delivered the ball accurately and faultlessly with his 31 touches.  Both he and Tom McDonald held back multiple attacks and launched many forward thrusts. They genuinely kept the team in the game at critical times, when Carlton threatened to do exactly as they did in round 21 last year.  

Oliver put forward another 35 touch performance in only his 15th game, while Tyson racked up 32 of his own after return from injury.  He will be better for the run, for despite his 145 Dream Team points tally, his delivery at critical times was below his usual standard. 

With the likely return of Dean Kent and Bernie Vince next week, Mitch Hannan and Alex Neal-Bullen will probably find themselves Casey bound as they were found wanting against an opposition that is not highly regarded. They will get another chance as the season progresses, but the message is clear that players will genuinely have to earn their spot in this side in 2017.  

No longer is senior selection assured week after week, because the gravy-train has now left the station. 

Melbourne 3.2.20 6.4.40 7.5.47 13.8.86

Carlton 2.2.14 4.6.30 7.8.50 9.10.64


Melbourne Garlett 3 Jones Watts Weideman 2 Gawn Petracca Salem Tyson

Carlton Wright 3 Armfield Casboult E Curnow Murphy Petrevski-Seton Pickett


Melbourne Salem Tyson Oliver Watts Garlett Jones Harmes

Carlton Wright Murphy Cripps Docherty Gibbs Curnow


Melbourne Nil

Carlton Nil


Melbourne Brayshaw (cut eye)

Carlton Silvagni (corked thigh and ankle) Thomas (right knee)


Melbourne Nil

Carlton Nil

Umpires Dalgleish, Meredith, Williamson

Official Crowd 46,727 at the MCG

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