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OPPORTUNITY LOST

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OPPORTUNITY LOST by Mean Gene

Football as a game is all about making the most out of your opportunities. When you fail to do that then its likely that you'll fail in your objective of winning and Melbourne certainly proved that in front of a meagre crowd of 6,714 at TIO Stadium for its encounter with Port Adelaide.

Among those in attendance for the Top End game were some bemused looking US marines who picked an unusual venue for a spot of R 'n' R from their battles in Afghanistan. Their opponents from Al Quaeda were smarter. They gave the game a miss which was the right move because it turned into one that was well deserving of the AFL's smallest crowd of the year.

A depleted Melbourne side came out of the blocks looking bound for a winning result for the second week in a row, this time against a fellow cellar dweller. And for the second week in a row, they blew their chances.

Brad Green was in fine marking form in the early going as the Dees made a promising start in the mild to warm conditions. Stef Martin was handling the rucking duties in concert with Jake Spencer and when he went forward, booted an inspirational goal. The defence was working hard and forcing the Power forwards into error. 

They held a handy 13-point lead at quarter time but the momentum of the game turned dramatically in the second term when their scoreboard advantage was soon reeled in by a Port Adelaide that showed far more desperation for the win and for the football. Meanwhile, Melbourne continued to do what it has been doing best - hugging the boundary lines, making the wrong decisions with the football and breaking down up forward.

Port Adelaide was not much better but, by going down the corridor, it was able to at least score. The result was that the Power had taken a firm grip on the game by half time even if the lead was only 9 points. With Green covered and Martin, who looked had looked dangerous when he went forward early in the proceedings now nowhere to be seen, the Demon forward line had gone missing. It was clear that they lacked the scoring power to win the game.

From that point on, the Demons seemed to do most of the attacking but failed to make very much of their opportunities while their opponents managed to score goals when they went into attack. Strangely enough, it was Melbourne who finished with far more inside 50s (55 to 45) than Port yet this advantage was turned into a deficit of 16 to 24 in scoring shots and after quarter time, they converted only 3 out of 11 into goals.

Of course, there was no Mitch Clark or Liam Jurrah up on the forward line or anyone else apart from Green early and a couple of goals from Jared Rivers in the last half but let's face it, the latter is a good defender playing a makeshift role up forward. The forward line selected for this match was never going to be likely to win a game like this with an ineffectual midfield providing sub standard delivery. 

Melbourne was not even able to gain inspiration from the hanger which Jeremy Howe took - he was one of the offenders when it came to converting opportunities to score goals. 

Perhaps it was the steamy conditions of tropical Darwin or the fact that there's nothing to play for (although for quite a few their futures in the game were on the line) but there weren't many four quarter performances on the night. Captain Jack Grimes was one of them , Tom McDonald was the best of the defenders  and one or two others put in some effort but this was a game that could have been won had the team not failed to grasp its opportunities.

Melbourne 5.0.30 5.1.31 7.5.47 8.8.56

Port Adelaide 2.5.17 5.10.40 8.10.58 12.12.84

Goals

Melbourne Green Rivers 2 Blease Jones Martin Sylvia

Port Adelaide P Stewart 5 Boak Broadbent Brett Ebert Lobbe D Stewart   Wingard Young

Best

Melbourne Grimes Jones McDonald Nicholson Sylvia Macdonald

  

Port Adelaide Boak P Stewart Cassisi Brett Ebert Pearce Cornes

Injuries

Melbourne Nil.

Port Adelaide Pittard (ribs)

Changes

Melbourne Nil.

Port Adelaide Nil.

Reports

Melbourne Nil.

Port Adelaide Nil.

Umpires Dalgleish Kamolins Hosking

Crowd 6,714 at TIO Stadium.

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