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POST MATCH DISCUSSION - Round 5


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DEMON BATTLES by George on the Outer 

 
While there really should never be any comparisons between what happens in a football match and what soldiers have to endure  in battle, the Melbourne team at the end of their  ANZAC Day eve match against the Tigers looked very much like they had just been through the wars.
 
Before the half-time break, the Demons had lost their replacement ruck in Jake Spencer to a shoulder injury, forward Tim Smith to a rib injury and then had Christian Petracca and co-captain Jack Viney sidelined for long periods with what were reported as knee complaints.
 
Yet despite these setbacks, Melbourne outplayed Richmond in all facets of the game to lead by 20 points at ¾ time. With only two bench rotations but effectively none because Petracca and Viney had to be parked away from the action, it was inevitable  that the Demons would eventually run out of steam. They held on until the last few minutes but were exhausted and fell by 13 points.
 
Many would only look at the scoreline and the final quarter capitulation to criticise the Demons. After all, they had only two (both of them points) of the last 15 scoring shots. 
 
However, when you have to conscript Jack Watts yet again, to ruck for virtually the whole game, this instantly leaves you with one less capable player in the forward line but with Tim Smith also gone, Jesse Hogan playing his first game in three weeks was left as the solitary forward target.  And the coach probably would have like to put him in the middle, as he has done before, to get his hands on the ball, but that would have left him with absolutely nothing  up front. Small wonder the Demons could only manage 4 goals after ½ time and none in the final term.
 
Without the opportunity for reasonable interchange rotations, the mids just stopped being able to get to contests or cover the Richmond on-ball team in the latter stages of the match. There were numerous occasions in that critical last quarter when the ball just popped outside to see the likes of Cotchin and Martin alone and with free movement.  It hadn’t happened previously. but the Demon legs were just shot.  
 
While the battle was lost there were plenty of small victories. Clayton Oliver was magnificent again with 32 touches, and we need to keep reminding ourselves that he is only 19 and has played less than 20 games. Jayden Hunt set the ground alight multiple times, and is also brave beyond his slightly built frame. Michael Hibberd was a rock in defence, and with a left foot that is like a missile when used. In this, his first game for the Demons he racked up 27 touches and will provide that long term stability down back that has been missing for too long.
 
The loss puts Melbourne in a difficult position now.  The season is in dire risk of slipping away.  The injuries to the two ruckmen in Gawn and Spencer are devastating, not only because of the lack of drive that comes from the middle, but the imbalance that it causes across the rest of the side.  
 
The ANZACS faced such horrors, bloodshed and conditions that were indescribable to those that weren’t there.  It is for their heroism and sacrifice in battle that we remember them on this day.  
 
We have lost this battle, another that was within the grasp of victory.  How the team can regroup to face up again next week, and whether they can make a stand to keep the ultimate objectives in focus remains to be seen.  
 
The new coach is facing conditions that he probably never expected.  Can he marshall his troops?  Can he find the troops to fill the gaps now appearing in his list? Can he find a way where there may not be one that is obvious?
 
The Demons are now, without a doubt a competitive unit. That is what we fans have longed for. What is needed in the coming weeks are positive results, when the resources are at their lowest.  
 
Losing battles happens, we cannot lose the war.

Melbourne 3.4.22 7.6.48 11.7.73 11.9.75

Richmond 3.1.19 6.6.42 7.11.53  12.16.88                

Goals

Melbourne Hogan 3 Garlett 2, Hibberd, Hunt T McDonald, Petracca, Salem Watts

Richmond Riewoldt 6 Butler Caddy Castagna, Grigg Martin Rioli

Best 

Richmond Riewoldt Nankervis Martin Houli Grigg Caddy Cotchin

Melbourne Oliver Hibberd Hunt Watts Jones Frost Petracca 

Changes

Melbourne Nil 

Richmond Nil 

Injuries 

Melbourne Petracca (left knee) Spencer (right shoulder/right knee) T Smith (ribs) Viney (right knee)

Richmond Nil

Reports 

Melbourne Nil 

Richmond Nil 

Umpires Donlon Fisher Stevic 

Official crowd 85,657 at the MCG 
 

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Oh, Melbourne.

I could be angry, but I can't help but be proud.  2 men down for most of the night, one of them our ruckman (again) and we just didn't have it in us.

We can argue about skills on a slippery night, and a whole host of the usual, but while the loss cuts deep I can't help but be proud.  We were totally out on our legs and they ran over the top of us.  There was almost nothing we could do.

Chin up boys and bounce back next week.

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1 minute ago, Goffer said:

If Goodwin so much as mentions the word 'journey' in his presser it's foot through the TV time. 

Yep

Picked wrong lads

Well done FD

Well done to those still standing

Take a bow Goody ..lot to learn mate

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I still don't know why. Last week I watched us handball backwards and turn it over. This week I watch us handball forwards backwards sideways in the wet and turn it over or create another ball up. We for 3 quarters got to the ball first and had an option to kick long. We have to STOP handballing over kicking. I can't stand watching us do it every week. PLEASE give our forwards a chance to kick goals, apply pressure. Simple footy is all I ask for. Get ball, kick ball and play one on one. 

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Hunt, Oliver, Neal-Bullen, Harmes... these are the guys who stood up tonight and stuck at it.  ANB with 21 touches and 10 tackles, Oliver with the slick hands, Harmes with some good pressure and Hunt is a star.

Great return from Hibberd who will only get better from here and Watts put in a wonderful effort in the ruck when he was called upon to do it.

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We had no ruckman (and he was our second string)and lost the stoppages convincingly after that point.

We had no third on the bench for the second half. 

CP played on one leg.

We lost because we had nothing left not through lack of effort or ability and also didn't dominate on the scoreboard early when we had all the play.

Great game by Oliver, Hibberd, Hunt and Trac on one leg, others ok in part but thought across the game those four were immense. 

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As I said to a mate, good signs for the long term, but gee it gives me the sheets.

the 2 rotations cost us - dead men walking.  Martin is a protected species.  Welcome Hibbard.

bombing it into the 50 cost us and brought us undone.  

Damn.  But we are on the up, for sure.

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Geez bemoaning injuries and bad luck...again. We managed to get smashed by GWS at the MCG a couple of years ago when they didn't even have 18 players they could put on the ground.

As long as Tom McDonald is playing in our defence we will never win a final.

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It is possible to win with two down but the nature of our injuries was terminal to our structure. Basically went from a 3 tall forward line to one and petracca was on one leg. Just unable to capitalise on forward entries without the targets and not enough rotations to match them in the last.

Feel like the season is slipping away but not because we are a bad team playing bad football. Footy gods haven't been with us at all this year.

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Season over, thanks to suspensions and injuries. Compared to dogs last year, we have no depth and most of our list is still B & C graders. No leadership, Jones isn't a captains ahole, Viney should not be captain. Brace effort tonight but damage done in previous weeks. Our young guns are carrying our leaders.

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