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ANOTHER WHAT IF? by George on the Outer

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Sunday's loss against Adelaide at the MCG has put an end to the Demons' finals aspirations for 2016.  It was a game that could have been won, but for a few critical phases and individual failings during the course of the match.

What if Dom Tyson had not spilled a simple chest mark from Jack Watts 30 metres out of goal?  What if Nathan Jones had looked before he hand passed blindly to an Adelaide player, missing the Melbourne team-mate clear only meters out from goal? What if the team had come out with even half the endeavor shown in the second quarter, in the first four minutes of the third only to see Adelaide kick four unanswered goals?

Yes the Demons lost the game. It was a loss of only 22 points against a side that has now had six wins on the trot and is probably going to go deep into September.  Adelaide really didn’t win the game, it was gifted to them. 

Were the Demons competitive?  They certainly were, and after the catastrophic performances that we have witnessed in the past couple of years, it was light-years ahead of where they have been.

But as another supporter noted after the game ... we played as if we thought we were Hawthorn, but the players simply aren’t (at least yet). And it is those little errors at critical junctures in the game that are the difference between winning and losing.

Hawthorn wins this type of game and we don’t - yet!

And that remains the hope for the supporters.  All too often we have seen the same this year.  What if we had beaten Essendon, North, St Kilda and now Adelaide?  All these games had the same flavor.

We could have won.  We should have won….but we didn’t.  The pity is that we haven’t won any of these.  Even half of them would have kept us in contention this year.  But we still have a long way to go.

Strangely, after the bye, there were too many Melbourne players who chose to put in well below par performances. Chris Dawes was a standout in this ignominious category and simply provided nothing up forward. Nine disposals (a team low) and only two marks were matched by his treacle like movement around the ground.  Pity is that we have little to replace him, as Cam Pedersen is still out for another week with a shoulder injury. 

Bernie Vince put in a lacklustre performance as he played off half-back and took kick outs.  However, his mere 17 disposals and those four clangers cost us dearly. 

The real contrast to these old stagers was the emergence of Jayden Hunt.  He simply turned the game around in the second quarter with a spectacular intercept mark and a couple of courageous efforts to frustrate and deny the opposition goals.  It was no surprise when he was cheered wildly by the crowd when he left the ground for a well-deserved break. 

Up forward and as stand-in ruck Jack Watts was simply superb.  He has truly taken another step forward this year, and his placement in the ruck seems to mean that he is much more aggressive at ball and opponent.  He was rewarded with three goals including one that came from a solo effort that epitomized his changed character.

Unfortunately, the coaching box failed again after ½ time as it took them a whole quarter to wake up to the Crows placing Charlie Cameron or Eddie Betts at half-back for centre bounces, who ran past to receive and break open into their forward line.  Our spare sat on the wing, which was pointless if the ball went to the wrong side of the pack.  Worse still was that Max Gawn kept hitting the ball forward to ... you guessed it ... Cameron or Betts. 

And once again, the overuse of handball cruelled the team with costly turnovers. The ability to get meterage with kicks is critical so when the opportunity exists, it has to be taken, the way football is being played today.  More so in the middle where we try to be too smart instead of scrubbing it out whatever way we can and give the forwards that we now have the chance to show their wares.  Dom Tyson with 6 kicks and 18 handballs simply has to reverse those numbers, because the handballs are not effective.  

We are that close to becoming something truly competitive.  But we will not get there until the attitude shown by the likes of Viney and Hunt and Jetta become the norm for all the team. 

We won’t be playing in September, and Paul Roos will now have the opportunity to give more games to the players at Casey who MAY provide something in the future. 

We need to get the likes of Brayshaw, Oliver, Viney and Petracca playing together in the middle to give them a foundation for next year.  We now need to see what Weideman and Hulett can produce up forward. 

We simply cannot be asking the same “what if’s…” next year.  There can be no more questions. 

We are due for answers. 

Melbourne 2.3.15 10.4.64 14.5.89 15.8.98

Adelaide 5.2.32 8.5.53 15.8.98 18.12.120

Goals

Melbourne Gartlett 4 Hogan Watts 3 Hunt Harmes N Jones Kennedy Kent

Adelaide Betts Douglas Walker 3 Cameron Jenkins McGovern 2 Atkins Lyons Lynch 

Best

Melbourne Watts Hunt Jones Hogan Garlett Jetta

Adelaide Laird Walker M Crouch B Crouch Cameron Douglas

Changes

Melbourne  Nil

Adelaide  Nil

Injuries 

Melbourne  Nil

Adelaide  Nil

Reports 

Melbourne  Nil

Adelaide  Nil

Umpires Chamberlain, Hay, Meredith, Harris

Official crowd 29,133 at the MCG

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