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A RIGHT ROYAL BLUE CELEBRATION by George on The Outer

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In recognition of this weekend’s Royal Wedding, the Demons donned their royal blue away strip against Carlton, and then had one enormous celebration at the expense of the Navy Blues.

The 109 point victory was the highest winning score for the club since 1993, the greatest winning margin against Carlton and its eighth biggest win ever.  This was the way to celebrate, and the supporters whose MFCSS was well and truly alive at the first break when Melbourne had only managed to hold a three point lead, wondered just what happened, and whether the syndrome has finally been cured.

At the end of the round they found their team sitting in third spot on the ladder, with a now massive 127 percentage and the fans were searching the record books again to find out when they were last in that position at this stage in a season.

While Melbourne has yet to come up against the majority of those clubs considered the benchmark for 2018, you can only beat who the opposition presented to you. The difference between this season and the past is that it has not only beaten those teams below them, but it has beaten them comprehensively.  

The first quarter was a genuine arm wrestle and the three point margin probably understated the dominance which Melbourne were showing. The inside 50 count was already in favour of the Demons, and not unlike previous weeks, they had not converted to the scoreboard.

Then the dam wall broke again, with Melbourne piling on seven goals to two in the second term with Tom McDonald having four before the main break. The dominance began in the middle as Max Gawn overcame Kreuzer and though hit outs were relatively even, they were heavily to the advantage of Max.  

And that advantage was taken fully by the likes of Nathan Jones, Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver and James Harmes with Jones leading magnificently with 31 touches of which 17 were contested. Clarrie was playing with a finger which had been broken last week and only set last Monday, managed 26 possessions with 15 contested. The midfield assassination was finished of by Harmes (25) and  Brayshaw (24), and, just for good measure the Demons were able to bring on a bloke named Viney for a cameo here and there as he returned after an extended period cruelled by injury.

It is worth remembering that last year, Melbourne lost the likes of Gawn, Hogan, Jones, Brayshaw and Viney for extended periods, and their presence today showed the value of sheer talent in the end results.  Last year the Demons fell over the line by 8 points against the Blues, with an after the siren goal to make up that total. What a difference the injection of these players makes?

It is hard after such and emphatic victory to express how well the team played.  It was probably the first four quarter performance this year, and hardly any player put a foot wrong.  Jake Melksham, like Neville Jetta and Michael Hibberd had a slow start to the year, but he absolutely blew the game wide open with five goals by doing exactly what he does best around the packs up forward.  

Jesse Hogan may not have troubled the goal umpire much this week, but it was his work up the ground that caused the opportunities for Alex Neal-Bullen (4 goals), Mitch Hannan and  Bayley Fritsch (2 each).  It took until the last quarter before Hogan registered a major for himself, thus retaining his record of a goal in every game this season.

The backs had an excellent day, but really it was more like watching an U11s game where one team sets up a wall and keeps sending the ball back in the other direction. Jake Lever has stepped up into his finest intercepting role, similar to that he played in Adelaide, with a best on ground eight marks alongside 27 disposals.  The supporters now know why the recruiting staff were so keen to get his name on a contract at Melbourne.  

Having said that, we need to see similar signatures from the McDonald brothers, and no doubt their value has increased considerably since season began, but when the team has wins like today, perhaps that decision is a lot easier to make - in particular for Tom, whose size and running ability simply cuts the opposition wingers to pieces when it comes to the one on one scenario.  It is no surprise that the change in Melbourne’s fortunes this year have coincided with his presence on the field.

Simon Goodwin must be fairly pleased with what he has seen the past few weeks.  The relentless style that we now see is similar to that which Richmond and the Bulldogs employed in their successful years, but the difference is he now has to players who are prepared to implement it.  

And with 7, 8 and 7 goal quarters in succession, as we saw in this game, it shows the players are no longer prepared to take the foot off the accelerator, which was always a criticism in past years.  

When the club and the team play like they did in this game, then they truly look like royalty.  Royalty is something that stays around for a long time, and next week against last year’s Grand Finalist, in Adelaide, we will indeed discover whether they are really Princes or Paupers.

Melbourne 3.4.22 10.4.64 18.6.114 25.9.159       

Carlton 3.1.19 5.3.33 7.6.48 7.8.50   

Goals

Melbourne Melksham 5 T McDonald Neal-Bullen 4 Fritsch Hannan 2 Gawn Harmes Hogan Jones Oliver Petracca Viney 

Carlton Lamb McKay 2, Cripps Fisher Murphy

Best

Melbourne T McDonald, Melksham N Jones Brayshaw Gawn Lever Neal-Bullen

Carlton Cripps Graham Fisher Murphy Rowe

Injuries 

Melbourne Nil

Carlton Murphy (foot)

Reports Nil

Umpires Gavine, Hosking, Ryan

Official crowd 44,142 at the MCG

F20123EC-65D2-4ED0-9607-B3CF1FB3BC18.jpeg

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