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TAKING A BATH by George on the Outer

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On a day to promote the cause to find a cure for MND, it wasn’t only the coaches who took a bath; the Demons took one from the Pies as well, when they went down by seven goals in front of a big crowd at the MCG.

It was a big day for the Melbourne Football Club - a big occasion, big crowd, big expectations and all that happened was a big, big disappointment. 

The loss of the game and the loss of percentage dropped the club to fifth spot on the ladder and facing a game against Port Adelaide in 2 weeks time, who will be looking to leap ahead of them.

The game started badly with Collingwood having ten scoring shots in the first quarter to a paltry two for the Demons.  The forward line set-up was poor, leaving Jeremy Howe free and he repelled attack after attack. When he was properly manned up at quarter time, he didn’t get another intercept mark for the game.  

But it was the clearance battle that was decisive, with the Pies able to extract the ball from the middle to their outside runners with ease.  Unfortunately, no change was made by the coaches to stop their players coming off the back of the square to provide those outlets. And our players simply didn’t go with their opponents.  

Gawn v Grundy was touted as the competition for AA ruckman, and probably was a tie, given Grundy managed 5 more hit-outs, but Gawn had 4 more possessions including 3 marks to 1.  Keeping the ball in close was the Collingwood aim, and it worked all game, with  45 to 28 clearances in the Pies favour. Our much vaunted contested ball players were given a bath.  

The game really didn’t change much over the final three quarters as Collingwood kept on giving themselves more opportunities in front of goal. A total of 18 chances to 9 at half-time blew out to 33 v 21 at the final bell - the Demons were never going to win a game with that sort of return.

In addition it was the Collingwood spread which provided those opportunities, and the lack of run in the legs of the Melbourne players was obvious. The drop off in possessions for the likes of Brayshaw (16), Petracca (15), Spargo (12), Melksham (12) and Hannan (8) showed either some very tired players, or players who need to lift their running game and effort when needed most.

The addition of Cam Pedersen was a complete failure as he was to provide a replacement for Tim Smith up forward.  By half-time he was relegated to the backline. The only forward to provide any real output was Tom McDonald with six goals from six contested marks. Jesse Hogan was left stranded by the lack of opportunities coming his way, and was used in the middle to try to get his hands on the ball, but that didn’t work either.

With low output from the small forwards and a lack of accountability for their opponents, the ball came out of the Collingwood defence all too easily.  In sharp contrast the defence without Jake Lever was poor. Jordan Lewis racked up 33 touches, but that in itself is a bad sign as it showed how often the ball was down that way.  Also running him as the spare, when he is not the most athletically gifted gave no drive from the backline.  It was just a stop and kick movement, which was completely inadequate against a running Collingwood.

Joel Smith is a work in progress, to replace Lever for the remainder of the season but he was used badly and was forced to play on Cox initially.  An older head should have been assigned the role as Joel still needs to learn how to position his body.  He would have been the better option as the spare, with Lewis on Cox. He still managed 16 touches and will be better for the experience.  It will take some time for him to get used to the role that he has to play.

With a bye next week, the break will relieve the tired younger bodies. With eight wins to date, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure a finals appearance for the team. The Magpies cheer squad reminded us all today of what happened in Round 23 last year ... does the team want to be given a bath again in the second half of the season?

Melbourne 2.0.12 7.2.44 11.5.71 14.7.91

Collingwood 5.5..38 9.9.63 15.11.101 20.13.133

Goals T McDonald 6 Hannan 2 Fritsch Gawn Harmes Neal-Bullen Oliver Viney

Collingwood Cox 5 Hoskin-Elliott Stephenson 4 Thomas 3 Adams Mihocek Pendlebury Treloar

Best

Melbourne T McDonald Jetta Oliver Jones

Collingwood De Goey Cox Adams Hoskin-Elliott Sidebottom Treloar

Injuries

Melbourne Jetta (shoulder) O McDonald (concussion)

Collingwood Wells (foot)

Reports Nil

Umpires Donlon, Haussen, Findlay 

Official crowd 83,518 at the MCG

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