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TO THE SWORD by The Oracle

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There was a time when a seven goal first quarter haul against the Demons would be enough to spell doom and disaster - a defeat of in excess of ten goals and perhaps more than 100 points. Similarly, if the skipper failed to get his hands on ball for an effective disposal in the first quarter.

That is what happened to Melbourne against North Melbourne in their Round 19 game - it simply was not in the contest in the opening term and trailed by 28 points conceding nine scoring shots to one (a goal to Chris Dawes) by time on. Viv Michie then missed everything from 35 metres out and a lucky 50 metre penalty and goal to Jesse Hogan temporarily provided some respite but by the first break they were staring down the barrel and 34 points in arrears. Little wonder that four years have passed since Melbourne won consecutive games of football or that it holds the AFL's current longest losing streak against another club, namely 14 on end to the Shinboners!

From the opening, the Demons struggled to hold the little men of the opposition - Lindsay Thomas kicked the first and the last goal of the quarter and scored five for the day which was virtually the difference between the teams in the end, Robin Nahas seemingly revived his career for the nth time against Melbourne and Boomer was Boomer.

What the Demons did next only partly atoned for their weak opening but they, at least showed a capacity to fight back and if the rumours of an illness having swept the club during the week went true and provided a genuine excuse for that weakness, then the comeback was even more meritorious. Max Gawn came back from a bit of an early spanking at the hands of the AFL's leading ruckman to provide an interesting match up and Dom Tyson produced his best game after a stellar 2014 but a lacklustre 2015 season to date. Jack Viney underlined his improvement beyond expectations and these contributions were invaluable at a time when the club's prime midfield movers in Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince were well down on their recent form. Then of course, the two key forwards hit the target and thanks to Chris Dawes playing his best for the season and Jesse Hogan continuing his pathway to the top as a power forward (he's not there yet but how many 20 year olds in their first year can boast such impressive KPI's?), the game turned. By half time, they were three goals down and at various times in the third quarter the margin was only two points but they could never get in front and that goal on the siren to Brown which gave North a 10 point lead really hurt.

However, the thing that hurts a team really badly are the brain fades like the kick off by Jack Watts who is having his best season to date that hit an opponent or the dropped mark by Jeff Garlett only 35 metres out from goal. Those costly errors at crucial times can kill you and their likes did exactly that. The great fightback was cruelled by costly errors and the Roos needed only a few minutes in the final stanza to put the Demons to the sword and effectively snuff out the fightback.

The end result - a 35 point defeat - was disappointing but will be far worse if the team fails to learn the lesson of a slow start and those lapses of concentration that can turn momentum of a game.

Melbourne 2.0.12 6.4.40 11.6.72 14.8.92

North Melbourne 7.4.46 9.4.58 12.10.82 19.13.127

Goals

Melbourne Hogan 4 Dawes 3 Brayshaw Gawn Garlett N Jones Neal-Bullen J Viney J Watts

North Melbourne Thomas 5 Waite 3 Brown Harvey Higgins Nahas 2 Cunnington Jacobs Petrie

Best

Melbourne Hogan Dawes Viney Tyson Cross T McDonald

North Melbourne Higgins Goldstein Cunnington Thomas Jacobs Waite

Changes

Melbourne Nil

North Melbourne Nil

Injuries

Melbourne Howe (ankle)

North Melbourne Brown (corked calf)

Reports

Melbourne Nil

North Melbourne Nil

Substitutions

Melbourne

North Melbourne

Umpires Shane McInerney Andrew Stephens Leigh Fisher

Official Crowd 30,695 at MCG

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