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FOUR QUARTERS by George on the Outer

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A loss to Fremantle by two points. Thirteen points to  Richmond after it was all tied up as time on began in the last, 29 points to the Cats after leading at the final break and now three points to Hawthorn.  

In each and every match that Melbourne has lost this year, it has led or been level with the opposition late in the game, and each time it has been unable to put a win on the board.

Yes, the Demons are missing an all-Australian ruckman in Max Gawn and more lately his next in line, but they have still outplayed the opposition in his absence, and in this match despite losing the tap-out stats, they still won the clearances.  

The critical factor missing is the lack of intensity among the players for four quarters.  

The competition is that even in 2017, that to drop one's guard for even a short period of time can guarantee a loss.  In this match it was all to be seen in the first quarter, with the half-hearted efforts from numerous players who thought they just had to go through the motions.  

Suddenly, the team was four goals down and effectively, given the end result, all but over.

Running hard, tackling, and being aggressive at the ball and man wasn’t seen in that first half.  It was only after the main break that the Demons produced the football we now know they are capable of, and dragged back the four goal deficit to be within a point at ¾ time. 

How a team can kick four goals in a half of football and then seven in the next 30 minutes is enough to give the coaching team nightmares.

And Simon Goodwin and the coaches can take some credit for that turnaround with their positional moves that produced instant results.  

Jayden Hunt forward produced two goals in the opening minutes of the second half.  

Tom McDonals to the backline to bolster and provide a cool head.  This not only released Sam Frost to produce some stellar runs and moves, but forced Oscar McDonald to be third man in defence instead of first - a task that was beyond him in the first half of the game.  Yet, he became a solid last line and took telling marks and possessions when needed.  

Despite assistant coach, Troy Chaplin, alluding to it at the ¼ time break, they had to stop overusing the handball, it still took them another quarter until they stopped the frivolous handpass to teammates standing one metre away.  

Contrast that with the old Hawks, who in a tight situation often put the ball on the boot with accuracy to gain metreage (hope you were watching Clarrie)!

And by the way, can one of the defenders stay down in marking contests?  It’s becoming a systemic flaw each week now!

When those changes were implemented, the Demons returned to dominance and had the Hawks on the ropes.  But sadly, some stupid errors and simple mis-positioning in the middle gave them first use of the ball at the critical juncture.  

With a dominant ruckman in McEvoy, Demon mids left Burgoyne and Mitchell side by side and guess where the ball went and was then delivered to the leading forward?

Game over, although Melbourne had one last thrust which again was un-done with stupid handball.  

It’s a good thing Simon Goodwin has a crew-cut for his hairstyle, because he would be tearing it out when he has to witness that from senior players.

All credit must go to the younger players again.  Jack Viney led the way for the whole game and despite carrying an injury to his leg ( tape on knee area) 32 touches of which 16 were contested was a true captain's game.  Jayden Hunt turned the game on (again) with his speed and toughness. Jesse Hogan deserved more following his return to the game, and if treated as equally by the umpires as Jordan Roughead was in front of goal, his return would have been more than the three goals.  

Unfortunately JKH, Mitch Hannan and Tom Bugg are probably looking at missing the trip to Adelaide next week, JKH in particular, who managed not to not tackle a single player in 100 minutes of football.  Hannan continued to run around without purpose on the forward line and didn’t provide sufficient defensive pressure to stop the ball rebounding for the whole game.  Buggy just can’t hit a target when needed and makes silly decisions.  For all of them there are easy replacements.  

So Adelaide it is next week in front of a hostile crowd.  There is only one way to silence them, and that is to get off to an early start and take away their momentum.  North Melbourne did it to them this week (with the help of a howling wind in the first quarter), but when they failed to score in that quarter, they couldn’t come back.  

The Demons should learn the lesson from that match and our own.  Either bring your best to the contest from the start and play that way for the whole four quarters, or another loss will eventuate.
 
Melbourne 1.1.7 4.2.26 11.6.72 14.7.91

Hawthorn 5.4.34 8.7.51 11.7.73 14.10.94

Goals

Melbourne Garlett Hogan 3 Hunt Lewis 2 Jones Pedersen Viney Watts

Hawthorn Roughead 4 Gunston McEvoy O'Brien 2 Breust Burgoyne Langford Smith

Best

Melbourne Viney, Lewis Frost Oliver, Jones Hibberd Hogan

Hawthorn McEvoy Burgoyne Roughead Mitchell Langford O'Brien, Hardwick

Changes

Melbourne Nil

Hawthorn O'Meara (knee soreness) replaced in selected side by Langford

Injuries 

Melbourne Hunt (left shoulder)

Hawthorn Birchall (right knee)

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Hawthorn Nil

Umpires Kamolins Ryan Jeffery

Official crowd 38,693 at the MCG

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