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½ PER CENT DEMONS by George on the Outer

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After the 2017 finale to the season, where the Demons were denied a finals spot by ½ a percent, surely the message about those little efforts in a game which affect the final outcome should have been learned.

Yet again, the Demons failed at the final hurdle, and it wasn’t that a Max Gawn shot on goal cost the game, but when those chances are given to a player, it can mean the difference between winning and losing ... or missing the finals by ½ a per cent. 

And there were others in the game who stuffed up opportunities that would have broken Geelong’s back and they too fluffed those chances. Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen and Corey Maynard all produced some shockers at critical times, and the overall situation wasn’t helped by the sheer lack of output from too many in the side. 

Mitch Hannan with only 9 touches, Salem with 12, ANB with 13 simply wasn’t good enough when playing through the mid-field, and each and every one of these will come under scrutiny for their places next week, especially since the likes of Dom Tyson, Sam Frost, Tom Bugg and Angus Brayshaw stand match ready.

The real positive to come out of this game was that Geelong (even without Dangerfield) were and probably still are a top 4 side.  That is the standard that the Demons have to aspire to, and they took it up to the Cats the whole game.  

Virtually all statistics, but for uncontested marks were nearly identical, yet this stat showed the willingness of the Geelong players to run to position and offer an option.  Equally troubling was the lack of willingness to “man up” in those one on one situations, and the Melbourne players too often let their direct opponent run into that space, without being right on their shoulder. 

The other troubling problem was the lack of forward pressure from the small forwards.  Geelong were always playing one extra deep in defence and often up to three extras behind the ball.  The likes of Jeff Garlett, James Harmes and need to tackle and harass, Garlett with a solitary tackle and Hannan with 2. Harmes had 4, but most of his efforts were broken.  As well they didn’t provide the ground-level support to Hogan who was a first rate target and brought the ball to ground, only to find no Melbourne forward at his feet.  With three goals to his name after being double-teamed for much of the game, this was a courageous outcome from him.  

First gamer Bailey Fritsch showed more than enough in his debut with his strong aerial capabilities and willingness to compete.  And down back Jordan Lewis and Bernie Vince held the fortress time and time again with 17 and 24 touches each, and Lewis having 10 contested possessions.  Most will overlook Oscar McDonald’s efforts, but his direct opponent in Tom Hawkins finished the day with a solitary behind!

Next week is an away game against a young Brisbane side.  To avoid a repeat of 2017, this is a side that not only needs to be beaten, but beaten by a large margin, to ensure the percentage boost necessary to put the Demons in a good place come year end, when a spot on the ladder can be made or lost by a goal here or there……or ½ of one %!

Melbourne 6.1.37 8.5.53 12.9.81 13.16.94

Geelong 5.3.33 12.8.80 13.10.88 14.13.97

Goals 

Melbourne Hogan 3 Neal-Bullen Pedersen 2  Fritsch Garlett Gawn Hannan Oliver Petracca

Geelong Menzel 4 Parfitt 2 Ablett Fogarty C Guthrie Kelly Murdoch Parsons Ratugolea Smith

Best 

Melbourne Petracca Gawn Oliver Jones Hogan Lewis

Geelong Selwood Ablett Menzel Duncan Parfitt Kelly 

Injuries 

Melbourne Nil

Geelong Taylor (foot), Stewart (ankle) C Guthrie (groin) 

Reports Nil 

Umpires Stevic, Deboy, Gavine 

Official crowd 54,112 at the MCG

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