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SMALL MERCIES by JVM

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We should be thankful for small mercies but the amazing statistic from Melbourne's visit to rain-drenched Spotless Stadium was that the team recorded its highest goal tally for the season - a measly 7 goals for the game.

The significant number for the day however, was 79 - the number of hit outs recorded by the Giants' ruckmen as against Melbourne's 37, less than half of what Shane Mumford and co produced. In conditions where you need ruck domination to win the ball out of packs and stoppages, Mumford had 60 to Jake Spencer's 25. The Snake had very little assistance. Jack Fitzpatrick was no help at all with four hit outs: even Daniel Cross managed more with five. The differential goes a fair way to explaining why the Demons lost.

Since the Melbourne forwards started keeling over like flies in a Mortein storm, the mantra has been that no forwards means no scoring power, translating into defeat. Well that was evident again but this time the club's lack of ruck power was more of a factor than anything else. With Mark Jamar back playing at Casey but on restricted time for the sake of conservative treatment for one who has been troubled heavily with injury of late, Max Gawn hamstrung and Mitch Clark's connections possibly looking at an exit strategy, the ruck cupboard is bare when you have to rely on a hardworking but limited big man in Spencil. The club worked hard to add to its midfield depth over the draft/trade period - it would have done well to find a big man like Mummy who it missed out on when he crossed to the Swans from Geelong a few years ago. But that's spilt milk and there's enough of around the club to cry over so why start with the tears now?

At least the Demons got good drive in the middle from Dom Tyson and Bernie Vince but they were battling uphill in the conditions where the opposition rucks were giving their direct opponents an armchair ride. GWS won the clearances handsomely.

Coach Paul Roos lived up to his promise to change the team around. James Frawley and Lynden Dunn went to the forward line but the conditions and Melbourne's scrappy disposal didn't help matters. After a low scoring scrumfest worthy of a second or third grade amateur contest, there was a brief ray of light in the third term when a Jack Watts goal briefly gave the Demons the lead. Then somebody turned of the lights and the natural order returned to see the team succumb for its twelfth consecutive defeat.

Somewhere in the background I could swear I heard the ghost of Mark Neeld mumble something about a reality bus.

Melbourne 0.2.2 1.5.11 5.5.35 7.5.47

GWS Giants 1.2.8 2.7.19 5.12.42 10.19.79

Goals

MelbourneDunn Watts 2 Frawley Kent M Jones

GWS Giants Cameron Kelly Patton 2 Coniglio Mumford Smith Treloar

Best

Melbourne Tyson Dunn Cross Vince McDonald

GWS Giants Mumford Ward Treloar Bugg Shaw Kelly

Changes

Melbourne Nil

GWS Giants Nil

Injuries

Melbourne Nil

GWS Giants Nil

Reports

Melbourne Nil

GWS Giants Nil

Umpires Ben Ryan Simon Meredith Ray Chamberlain

Attendance 7,016 at Spotless Stadium

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