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A TOUCH OF MADNESS by Ruby Tuesday

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There is a quote that is often misattributed to Albert Einstein which goes along these lines: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” meaning that if you always follow an unsuccessful pattern, you will inevitably always fail.

It turns out that Einstein never said it but whoever did, perfectly encapsulated the 2018 campaign of the Melbourne women's team. Since after the opening round, the Demons have been shooting themselves in the foot with strong starting quarters followed by poor kicking for goal and performances that were punctuated by hesitancy and indecisive play, some absolute howlers (missing after running into open goals has been a special) that ultimately cost them a grand final place.

Against the Bulldogs, the same mad pattern was there for all to see although this time, they had first use of the breeze after captain Daisy Pearce won the toss so they were always likely to hold a lead at the end of the opening term. 

And so it was, that Melbourne controlled the ball for much of the term when kicking to the southern end. As usual they had a lopsided inside 50 advantage of 11 to 2, but all they had to show for the dominance was a seven point lead thanks to a solitary Richelle Cranston goal.

After the break, the Bulldogs showed the Demons how things should be done properly by going on the attack and, after a couple of early behinds, the goals came regularly - they snagged three goals in the first 12 minutes and though the visitors came back with a goal to Karen Paxman in a rare foray forward, it would have taken a genius like Einstein to get them across the line from there.

Katherine Smith’s snapped goal just three minutes into the the third term offered some hope but those insane Demons lapsed into their pattern of wastefulness. They kept the Doggies scoreless for what is often known as “the premiership quarter” but they managed only one goal from seven scoring shots with their second use of the breeze. 

It was the old familiar pattern from that game in Fremantle. No urgency and no desire to go in for the kill but rather, a slow approach that gave opposition defenders the chance to apply that little bit of extra pressure when going for goal. 

They tried hard to stem the flow in the last and even tantalised the fans by regaining the lead with Kate Hore’s diving mark and goal but, as fate would have it, the Bulldogs’ Brooke Lochland kicked accurately for the winning goal with less than a minute and a half left to play. 

The pattern had been followed: the season was over.

Melbourne  1.1.7 2.1.13 3.7.25 4.7.31

Western Bulldogs  0.0.0 3.2.20 3.2.20 5.3.33

Goals

Melbourne Cranston Hore Paxman Smith

Western Bulldogs  Berry Brennan Conti Kearney Lochland

Best

Melbourne Paxman Smith L Pearce Downie O'Dea, Jakobsson

Western Bulldogs Kearney Blackburn Bruton Spark, Conti Birch

Injuries

Melbourne Lampard (knee)

Western Bulldogs Nil

Umpires Mirable, Dore, Johanson

Official crowd 7,593 at VU Whitten Oval

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