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CHANGING THE NARRATIVE by George on The Outer

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We’re changing the narrative said the coach over the past couple of weeks.

So is there another word that can be used instead of “cr..p” to describe the performance of the MFC against Hawthorn?

Every one of the traditional criticisms of how this Club plays football was brought to the fore as the players simply gave up trying in the last quarter. There was simply no excuse for allowing Hawthorn to waltz in seven goals, no matter how badly you have played.  

Teams that stop trying will NEVER be any influence in Finals, leave alone the possibility of even getting to September action.

And this was after Melbourne had allowed Hawthorn to kick 16 goals to 1 from mid way through the first quarter, despite it leading at quarter time.  

Just to top it off, Hawthorn had lost Rioli and Puopolo at ¾ time, and were forced to bring Frawley back on the ground, despite being him being injured in the first quarter, and sitting on the pine for nearly a ½ of football.  

And it is not a new narrative needed for a whole raft of players currently playing ( if that’s the word) in the side. A relocation to Casey is all that is required.

Tom Bugg was simply shocking, yet again, and his inability to kick the ball straight from 20 metres from goal or to another player in the open was repeated again and again.  No point getting possessions if they are meaningless or cause turnovers by handpassing to teammates already under pressure. It just kills any momentum that has come from hard work up the field, when this happens.

Jake Melksham has not had any impact in any game this season, Jeff Garlett only five touches for the whole game, while Jordan Lewis continues to stumble and fumble when needed.  James Harmes, nine touches while playing in the middle is simply insufficient output.

Yet there was some real fortitude shown by a few.  Max Gawn in the ruck overpowered McEvoy, but his good work was undone by the shocking coaching inaction in the game.  

Hawthorn had 8 players at the back of the square at centre bounces, while we continued to have solitary isolated wingers.  

Hawthorn numbers stormed from their backline, skirted the pack, and overwhelmed the Melbourne mids.  No wonder Max won the hitouts 66 to 27, but the clearances were lost by a margin of 17!

The coaching decision to once again not have a back-up ruck proved to be disastrous, as we saw Harmes up against McEvoy at times, when the rotations were messed up. Then he had to ruck against Roughead or O’Brien, both of who stand well above him.  

But the single faiing from the coaching box was the inability to change the way the game was played in wet and slippery conditions.  

Sticking to the quick movement and slick handball type play doesn’t work, when simple grunt is required.  Hawthorn stacked the backline and waited for the turnover, which invariably came. The rebound saw Melbourne players hopelessly behind the ball, and length of the field goals came easily and regularly.  

Where was the change?  Where were the extra bodies sent back to stop the rot?  No, we finished with Jesse Hogan playing up the field, and a forward line of Bugg, Bayley Fritsch and Garlett hoping to outmark and out-position bigger opponents on a wet day!

Nathan Jones was magnificent, yet again, as he held Tom Mitchell to 24 touches, while he himself racked up 20.  Considering Mitchell’s record setting disposals in the previous 3 games, it was a sterling performance, but Jones had only Clayton Oliver assisting him to actually get the ball, or Christian Petracca, when he was rotated through the middle.  

Given the regularity with which the ball came into the Hawthorn forward line, the backs did a fairly good job.  O Mac was solid and while Roughead kicked 3, one was from a free and another in junk time.  

The real worry is the lack of composure among Michael Hibberd, Sam Frost and Jake Lever when the pressure is on, so we saw the Hawks time and time again craft goals from scrubby kicks out of packs or soccered through after the ball was allowed to bobble around in the goal mouth, instead of being killed by the defenders. Lewis is supposedly in the side for leadership in the backline, but there needs to be another narrative for his performance.

The game against Richmond now looms as a horror prospect. A depleted Hawthorn side (without Burgoyne as well) with 2 injured on the bench and another injure on the field, gave Melbourne a first class walloping.  

With the Tigers in full flight and a full fit side to put on the field, there may be a new narrative needed for the carnage which threatens this Melbourne side.

Melbourne 5.5.35 5.9.39 5.11.41 6.12.48

Hawthorn 3.5.23 7.5.47 11.7.73 18.7.115

Goals

Melbourne Kent 3 Hogan Neal-Bullen Salem

Hawthorn Breust 4 O'Brien Roughead 3 Gunston O'Meara Smith 2 Henderson Puopolo

Best

Melbourne Oliver McDonald Hogan N Jones Kent

Hawthorn Shiels, Gunston, O'Meara, Smith, Breust, Sicily, Mitchell

Injuries

Melbourne Jetta (leg)

Hawthorn Frawley (migraine & hand), Rioli (medial ligament), Puopolo (hamstring)

Reports Nil

Umpires Foot, Margetts, Chamberlain

Official crowd 41,973 at the MCG

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