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WADDA WE SING, WADDA WE DO? by George on the Outer

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The train trip home following the Melbourne v Doggies match was almost deathly quiet.  It was packed with Demon supporters, yet there was little exuberance following the win.  

Trouble is the fans had no idea what to do now that their team is sitting comfortably in the top eight (in fifth place to be precise), a full game and percentage clear. 

Their team had just beaten the reigning premier by almost ten goals; it had won its third game in succession and did that coming off a six-day break at a ground where until a little over twelve months ago, it had experienced a long unbroken string of failure. And this with its All Australian ruckman and a serious quality key forward out of action!

Wadda we do?  The MFCSS is strong, but there must now be the realisation that in season 2017 the Demons are the real deal.  It is not too hard to think that but for the couple of close games lost when injury intervened, the team could be well be sitting on top of the AFL ladder!

With much hype before the game about the aggressive approach the Demons were going to bring, it was to be quite frank, truly unexpected when that is exactly what Melbourne did.  Right from the start (and not after incurring a four goal deficit, as has often been the case this year) the players were right in the faces of the Bulldogs.  They were unable to get their swarming forward running going as they were pressured constantly into fumbles and turnovers. 

Surprisingly, Luke Beveridge failed to respond in any way from the box as he stuck with the same structures throughout the game.  Melbourne had a wave of players coming off half-back at centre bounces, while the Bulldogs had either three or four players on the wing.  Whichever side the ball came to the Dogs were always a man down.  

This situation was helped enormously by the great work done in the ruck by primarily Tom McDonald. While the Dogs won the hit out count by  61 to 19, the clearance number was an extraordinary 40 to 34 in the Demons' favour.  Clayton Oliver continued his stellar year, and if you watch him carefully he is simply not entitled to get the ball as often as he does.  But he is as tough as nails and just keeps on doing it.  He then delivers to the runners and the Demons are away. 

What a contrast to 2 or 3 years ago when Nathan Jones battled manfully alone in the middle.  Today with Oliver, Viney, Lewis and others we even saw Simon Goodwin “blooding” Mitch Hannan in the engine room as well.  

Tom Bugg did exactly what his name suggested and annoyed and pestered the Footscray players to the point where they gifted him a free kick after a Demon goal to score yet another.  Not only that but he provided plenty of run and contested marking both up forward and around the ground.  

When the team plays this well, it is difficult to record the efforts of everyone.  But Oscar McDonald was a standout in the backline with 23 disposals, 12 marks and 8 rebounds from defensive 50.  Michael Hibberd was equally as unforgiving and stingy with 27 touches 11 marks and 5 rebound 50’s.  A special mention to Neville Jetta who doesn’t worry the statisticians too much, but there should be a special stat for “thank goodness Neville was there”, because his spoiling and contesting is simply first rate and he is always where and when needed.

There may be some injury concerns, not surprisingly given the brutal aspects that the Demons brought to the game, with Nathan Jones, Jack Watts and Jayden Hunt all taking a battering, but in the cases of Watts and Jones they were afforded the luxury of resting for virtually the whole last quarter.  

So wadda we do now?  In years past, a follow-up game against West Coast in Perth after another six-day break would be a certain flogging.  

After this game and the style and emphatic display put on by the Demons, the expectations are surely higher.  It is the chance to put another bogy to bed with a Perth win, but if it were to happen, then the rest of the competition will really sit up and take notice.  

And the Demon fans will really find their voices ...

Melbourne 4.2.26 8.6.54 14.7.91 17.11.113

Western Bulldogs 0.1.1 3.3.21 6.5.41 8.8.56
   
Goals

Melbourne Watts 3 Bugg Garlett Hannan T McDonald 2 Harmes Melksham Neal-Bullen Petracca Salem Tyson
                 
Western Bulldogs Bontempelli T Boyd Dahlhaus Daniel Dickson Liberatore Picken Roughead

Best 

Melbourne Hibberd Oliver Watts T McDonald O McDonald Petracca Garlett

Western Bulldogs Bontempelli Hunter Wallis Liberatore Daniel
 
Changes 

Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs Nil

Injuries

Melbourne Jones (thigh) Watts (hamstring) 

Western Bulldogs Jong (knee)

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs Nil

Umpires Foot, Rosebury, Hosking, Findlay

Official crowd 33,667 at Etihad Stadium

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