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A BIT OF A MYSTERY

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A BIT OF A MYSTERY by Mean Gene

The game's over and it's 0 and 9 ... but it was still a bit of a mystery how it ended so badly.

For three quarters they actually put up a fight and, but for the circumstance of their lack of experience and their low levels of self-confidence, they might have been even closer than 16 points in arrears at the final break. At that time, the Demons had gone a long way to dispelling many of the accusations fired over recent weeks at the entire club from the top down and certainly at the playing group.

They opened up with the game's first two goals and three of the first four but after that, only three of seventeen and they finished with none of seven in the final term.

They led by a point at quarter time, having gifted two away with some poor disposal out of defence (an umpire gifted the other one). In much the same way as they did against Hawthorn a fortnight ago, they wasted their hard work in a few minutes early in the second quarter when they conceded three goals to the Blues. However, this time they would put up a much better fight and they held steady in the second half of the term. Indeed, a little bit more class in the on ball division and some better efficiency up forward might have seen them a lot closer at the main break.

The main problem was that they were being whacked at the stoppages but, at least there were some shining lights. James Frawley and Jared Rivers were holding things down in the backline and Jack Grimes was doing well. Rohan Bail, Sam Blease and Dan Nicholson all added some pace to the mix - a feature that has been missing at Melbourne for so long. Mitch Clark was scoring goals (he could so easily have had five by half time) and Nathan Jones added a touch of hardness along with Jordie McKenzie who was doing a good job in blanketing Chris Judd.

The dour struggle continued in the third and they again had their chances. At one stage late in the term, the inside 50 count was even but Carlton still managed an almost three goal buffer at the last change. In days gone past we might have even sensed the possibility of an upset in the offing but the troops looked a little tired as they went into the huddle.

So it was that the day was marred by a final quarter when they capitulated. Despite that, they finished with a mysterious and interesting statistic of having had the ball in their forward half for 52% of the game. And considering that the club was supposed to have acquired the cream of football's sports scientists at the end of last season, it's a mystery how the team fades out so badly at the end of games.

Melbourne 3.4.22 5.7.37 6.10.46 6.13.49

Carlton 3.3.21 7.8.50 8.14.62 15.17.107

Goals

Melbourne Clark 3 Blease Howe Jones

Carlton Betts 5 Robinson 3 Hampson Walker 2 Armfield Kreuzer Tuohy

Best

 Melbourne Jones Frawley Watts Bail Blease Clark McKenzie

Carlton Robinson McLean Betts Walker Scotland Curnow

Injuries

Melbourne Green (bruised lung)

Carlton Collins (jarred knee)

Changes

Melbourne Bartram (knee) replaced in selected side by Tapscott

Carlton Yarran (toe) replaced in selected side by Lucas

Henderson (hip) replaced in selected side by Bower

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Carlton Nil

Umpires Ryan Nicholls Fleer

Crowd 28,371 at MCG

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