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ROO-DOO GAWN ... by George on The Outer

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It had been twelve years since Melbourne last beat North Melbourne but it finally happened in what turned out to be an emphatic win by 37 points. It was an almost single-handed demolition of the opposition by Max Gawn that put the Demons over the line, and demonstrated how much his influence was missed in season 2017.

Gawn’s opponent, Todd Goldstein, was being touted as having returned to his best AA form, but big Max with 50 hit outs, 7 contested possessions, 3 inside 50’s and over a dozen hit outs to advantage (nine of those resulting in Melbourne goals!)  put to bed any question of who is the premier ruckman in the competition.

The game was a true danger one for the Demons, regardless of the long-standing hoo-doo, as North left out Tarrant from their side and replaced him with Daw.  With two known ruckmen in their side, the risk was that Max would be run into the ground.  But Brad Scott never took this advantage, especially when the Melbourne second string rucks were Christians Petracca and James Harmes!

Still, the Demons got off to one of their more traditional starts to find themselves four goals down half way through the first quarter.  The groans from the fans signified their past history, but it is this very history that is in the past.  For Melbourne pegged back the lead to two goals at the first break, and then hit the front twelve minutes into the second term and were never headed again.

While Ben Brown was the Kangaroos’ major target up front, he was gifted goal after goal from dubious free kicks, and it was only once in the whole game that he beat Oscar McDonald in the one-on-one contest.  Without his (or rather the umpires) input, the result would have been more of a ten goal win, than the six that it became.

Tomas Bugg chipped in with four goals for the Demons, but really, really should have doubled that score, as once again he failed to convert simple shots in front of goal, and on two other occasions dropped regulation chest marks without opposition.  Dean Kent returned from a long stay on the injured list to chime in with three goals, and was joined by Garlett with a trio of his own, including a brilliant steal similar to the one last week.

Jesse Hogan only managed one major, but was absolutely dominant around the ground, and he was one of the main reasons why the ball was getting down to the small forwards. Twelve contested possessions and seven marks is as good as can be expected from a key position player and his new found role up the ground and in the middle, will send shivers down oppositions during the coming year.

In the absence of Jack Viney, we once depended upon Nathan Jones to hold the fort, and he did so with five clearances of his own.  But Simon Goodwin has developed an additional mid in Christian Salem with eight clearances and twelve contested possession at 75% disposal efficiency.  These are numbers associated with top-line mids, and suddenly we have another one!

And surely, we cannot forget Clayton Oliver, with 20 touches, 10 contested, and despite a heavy tag, he was able to top it off with two last quarter goals, when taking a well-earned rest in the forward line.

The backs held up well again, especially Oscar, but also Josh Wagner who topped the tackle count on the day with seven. Josh is another one who is producing and repaying the faith shown in him by the selection panel.   

While Jordan Lewis had 27 touches, it is not surprising given where he plays. Unfortunately, he is not what he used to be when playing at the Hawks, and all too often the body is not responding to what he wants to do.  Still he is providing value, but for how long, as other younger defenders stake their claim for a place in the side?

In the past, in a game such as today, Melbourne would have either lost after getting four goals in front or won by a handful of points. Instead, despite the pressure of the final quarter, the margin was pushed to six goals.  Perhaps the team have learnt the lesson of last season, when so much depended upon so little.

The competition is seriously close this year.  Once again, it will be a small difference at season end as to who will make it or not.  Beating a bottom side convincingly, and not allowing oneself to fall back into the pack is exactly what needs to be done at this point in the season.

We now sit third on the ladder (with other games still to come), but a loss would have probably dropped us outside the eight. Our percentage has improved markedly, and we all know how important that is at year end.  

With losing Hoo-doo’s gawn, there is only one thing to now do, and that is turn those into winning Hoo-doo’s ... and we can start with the Brown and Gold mob next week.

Melbourne 3.2.20 9.7.61 12.13.85 18.15 123
North Melbourne
5.3.33 8.4.52 10.6.66 13.8 86
Bugg 4 Garlett Kent 3 Oliver 2 Fritsch Hogan Jones Lewis Petracca Vince
North Melbourne Brown 4 Waite 3 Cunnington 2 Goldstein Hartung Simpkin Ziebell
Gawn Hogan Petracca Lewis Salem Kent
North Melbourne Cunnington Brown Higgins McDonald Dumont
Melksham (cut head) Vince (groin)
North Melbourne Tarrant (hamstring) late withdrawal replaced in the selected side by Daw.
Reports Nil
Umpires Nicholls, Fleer, Mollison
Official crowd 35,518 at the MCG

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