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THE CLIFF by George on the Outer

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Standing at the brink of success for the first time in a decade, in the top eight, and with September action a strong possibility, the Demons finally realised that the brink was, in fact, a cliff ...

The tough, aggressive role played by the Demons has taken its toll with injuries mounting to the point that the club cannot field a side capable of winning. Up against the Swans without Jesse Hogan, Nathan Jones, Jeff Garlett, and Jack Watts simply meant it had no forwards capable of kicking any semblance of a winning score. Tom McDonald performs admirably and topped the goal-kickers for the second week running, but with the rest of the forward line populated by small running types, it was easy pickings for the Sydney defenders.  

In the first quarter Melbourne barely entered the forward 50, yet scored four majors. Sydney relentlessly attacked with nine scoring opportunities and trailed as a result of their inaccuracy.  While leading after ¼ time, it soon became a thing of the past as the trend continued and the Demons could register only a solitary point for the second quarter while Sydney added 4.7. By half time it was obvious that the game was over, for if the Swans had even kicked half accurately they would have been at least six goals in front.  

The Demons found a little to capture some pride in the remaining half, but the truth was that the selection barrel had been well and truly scraped for talent, and found little of value.  The “depth” of the list had been tried and the cliff of capable talent reached. Unfortunately a whole raft of players were and maybe are not up to AFL standard, and against a side like Sydney they get found out. This was only compounded by three consecutive six-day breaks, combined with travel to Perth and back, so a whole raft of players just looked tired.  

White was an inexplicable selection, as he had played Casey as a backman, yet we needed a suitable replacement for Jeff Garlett up forward.  His 11 touches with 4 clangers, and plodding ways were exposed. Equally, Tom Bugg, Billy Stretch, Alex Neal-Bullen and James Harmes produced statistics which were even more mediocre, totally a number of disposals equivalent to Luke Parker’s output. Adding to that were Jake Melksham, Josh Wagner and even Tom McDonald with 16 clangers between them and you get a picture of the wide spread malaise throughout the ground.

The backs were under constant pressure, and to be honest they held up really well. Neville Jetta was a stalwart, yet again, and Michael Hibberd continued his fine form with 33 touches while Oscar McDonald grew in capability with 28 touches and 8 telling and strong marks. Sam Frost really held Franklin to a draw as he forced him beyond the 50 where he could do a lot less damage.  

Tom Bugg will face a certain bungee jump from the cliff this week when he meets the Tribunal  facing a multiple week suspension following his strike on Callum Mills. The injury pool at the bottom of the cliff will be further enlarged as Jack Viney suffered a foot injury and made no more than a brief appearance after ½ time.

While the Demons still sit within the eight, it may not be for long as they teeter at the precipice.  Their opponents next week in Carlton accounted for Sydney earlier in the season, and while we know of the change in fortunes since, they will still be a challenge.  Without a viable forward, and without the two best mids available, the prospects of a dramatic fall is staring the MFC in the face.  

We have stared these challenges in the face before, none more so than last week against the Eagles, but it is more and more likely that the task will be too great without the foot soldiers to hold the line.  

Melbourne 4.0.24 4.1.25 5.4.34 7.8.50

Sydney Swans 1.8.14 5.15.45 8.16.64 11.19.85  

Goals
 
Melbourne 
Petracca T McDonald 2 Hannan Hunt Melksham

Sydney Swans Franklin 4 Papley 2 Jack Heeney Lloyd Parker Reid

Best

Melbourne Hibberd Vince T McDonald Tyson Jetta

Sydney Swans Parker Kennedy Lloyd Jones Franklin Newman 

Changes 

Melbourne Nil

Sydney Swans Nil

Injuries 

Melbourne Viney (foot)

Sydney Swans Jones (cut head) Mills (concussion)

Reports 

Melbourne T Bugg reported in the first quarter for striking C Mills Sydney Swans

Sydney Swans Nil

Umpires Fisher, Stevic, McInerney

Official crowd 47,464 at the MCG

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