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THE SPIRIT WAS THERE, BUT ... by The Oracle

For once, things were going well for the Melbourne Football Club. A major announcement was made at the President's luncheon - another sponsorship (German car manufacturer Opel) to help fill the retinue of sponsors after Webjet and Hertz jumped on board to more than fill the void left by the dismissal of a previously disgraced company which apparently still owes the club money. Then, a moving tribute to the legendary Jim Stynes so that when it was over the majority crowd of Demon fans was thirsting for not just a better performance from their team but a win.

Only a victory could do justice for this day.

There was one man who typified Melbourne on the day and fittingly, he wore the number of the crowd's hero for the day. Big, strong and solid at full forward Mitch Clark marked and goaled for the Demons but he was also part of a procession of players whose shots at goal from straight in front missed their mark. You don't expect Clark, Jeremy Howe and Jack Watts to all miss from dead in front.

At the other end, the Western Bulldogs made the most of the opportunities that presented themselves. A couple of snaps from angles, a gimme free and lo and behold, they led at the first break by nine points even though they had one shot less. It's useless to bemoan bad fortune when you fail in the game's most fundamental of skills but, when the final result is a 21-point defeat, then the poor conversion rate really hurts.

The trend really did continue throughout the game although when the team momentarily straightened up for a few third quarter goals, the difference in conversion was no more pronounced. Melbourne had inched its way back to trail by a solitary point and the scoreboard read - Melbourne 7.10.52 to Western Bulldogs 8.5.53. The Dogs steadied at that point - thanks to errors committed by both Demon players, some inexperienced umpiring and some great snap shots at goal.

It all came back to haunt Melbourne late in the third term and it could have been much worse when Mitch Clark crashed to the earth neck first. Fortunately, he must have had Jimmy and those magnificent recuperative powers smiling down on him because, to the relief and amazement of the crowd, he got up, walked off the ground and was later cleared after scans taken in hospital.

This was the epitome of what generations of Demon fans had come to know as the Stynes spirit but the current number 11 was still subbed off and the team's balance was awry for the remainder of the game.

The spirit might have been there but it was not enough. The Dogs managed enough successful snaps at goal to make it their day while misses from Colin Garland and Lynden Dunn in the middle of the final term put paid to any chances of a late game resurgence.

But it wasn't just the poor conversion rate in front of goal that proved damaging for the Demons. They were at times painfully excruciating to watch as they botched up straight forward kicks and handballs, often gifting away possession to the opposition and sometimes when not under the slightest amount of pressure. These gifts were enough to allow the Western Bulldogs their maiden victory.

At least there was a turnaround in effort which was maintained for close on the full four quarters and with a few handy players due to return from injury and suspension, perhaps things might continue to improve for the otherwise hapless Demons.

Melbourne 1.5.11 3.8.26 7.10.52 9.13.67

Western Bulldogs 3.2.20 6.5.41 10.7.67 13.10.88

Goals

Melbourne Bate Davey 2 Bail Clark Moloney Morton Watts

Western Bulldogs Cooney Giansiracusa Grant 2 Dahlhaus Djerrkura Griffen Jones Roughead Sherman Wallis

Best

Melbourne Rivers Bate Moloney Jone Magner Jamar

Western Bulldogs Dahlhaus Murphy Cooney Cross, Wallis Djerrkura

Injuries

Melbourne Mitch Clark (head/neck)

Western Bulldogs Nil

Changes

Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs Nil

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs Nil

Umpires Wenn Bannister and some other joker

Crowd 33,565 at MCG

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Davey showed a little today, and what little support I had for Joel Macdonald is all gone. Terrible skills.

Why can't we just keep the Game Day thread and post on that after the game? It is, after all, still game day.

Yes he did but he also went soft on two occassions. He is of no value any more.

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We just played the supposedly worst team in the AFL and couldn't win a SINGLE quarter - something is seriously wrong here...

Did anyone seriously go in to this game thinking they were a worse side than us? I've got to say, you'd have struggled to convince me that there existed a side worse than us prior to this game.

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We just played the supposedly worst team in the AFL and couldn't win a SINGLE quarter - something is seriously wrong here...

Nah, we R the worst unfortunately

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We lack any class anywhere on the ground.

Watts may have a little and Davey used to have it, but that's it. Zippo.

How do we expect to transition the ball out of our backline when we have the Likes of the two Macs, Rivers, Bartram, Garland and Frawley? Where is our Robert Murphy. 5 years of tanking and stinking it up and we can't uncover one player like that when it is clear that all the good teams have probably have at least of those players.

Then if we do get it forward quickly(rare sight), where are pacy forwards running into to space?

Oh, maybe that isn't our gameplan. Instead we will just move it slowly around the boundary line and hope we can scramble a stoppage win and bomb inside 50 and hope for a mark.

Crap footy.

Don't try and polish this turd Neeld.

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500 fewer possessions than our opponents over the first four games of the year and people are worried about the 'game plan'.

500!

It's about the cattle, folks. Nothing more, nothing less.

Game plan does come into it becuase if the only option is the bomb the ball down the boundary there will be few opportunities to get the ball, run and handpass.

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500 fewer possessions than our opponents over the first four games of the year and people are worried about the 'game plan'.

500!

It's about the cattle, folks. Nothing more, nothing less.

Thats a very sobering number........sobering and disgusting at the same time

but hey...we're a whole 10.5% clear of the Giants .....woooohoooooo !!!!

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Eh. You know what. We have a very young inexperienced list. Bulldogs have been shocking but I still rate them. We were all over them but lacked polish. I'm sure we all would have loved a win, but you know what? We had a crack. Finally. We needed Clark in that last quarter. Add Sylvia in the midfield. Jurrah up forward. We WILL look better.

Ive been guilty of being pessimistic this year, but without sounding like bailey, lets get these kids to 100 games before we hang crap on them.

I saw heart today. That's what we want.

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Some very ordinary posts on this thread already. Well done folks.

Ron.... the numbers dont really lie.

4 games 4 losses

games stats that should make the team blush

whats really to get excited about

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Let's not kid ourselves. Yes, we only lost by 21 points, but Bulldogs are crap.

We got demolished through the middle again, we couldn't hit targets, we couldn't kick a goal and we sure as hell didn't have the intestinal fortitude to stick it out when the game was there to be won.

For a team to concede two [censored] easy goals two minutes into the last quarter is inexcusable.

Jordie, Jonesy, Rivers and Bater can stand tall. The rest all had patches of absolute garbage and let us down badly.

And FFS Morton stop being so lazy you can't be arsed hitting a target by hand 3meters away.

ARRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!

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