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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT by George on the Outer

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It was bad enough that the Demons “necked” themselves yet again, as the opportunity to cement a finals spot was once again blown through the simple inability to play to the conditions. 

But the freezing conditions at Manuka did no favours to the multitudes of Demon fans who had made the trip to Canberra, only to see those hopes dropped through the trapdoor of failure. 

And although there were more Melbourne supporters at the game than those from GWS, the wind flowing from the Brindabella ranges only exacerbated the punishment meted out to them from the on-field display. 

It would have been easy to think that the experience gained from Hobart the week before with the simply mantra of kick long with the wind and kill the contest when not, should have been learned.  

Yet Melbourne still played the dinky short kicks with the wind and handballed relentlessly when not kicking short. The coach said we butchered the ball and that was the obvious outcome. The fact was that the ball was being butchered because we weren’t taking advantage of the conditions, and imagining it was a fine spring day with the style of play being adopted. 

The wind was a good five goal breeze in the first half and the ability of the Giants to use it correctly was shown when they piled on eight goals straight, even after the Demons had kicked the first three. Despite all that, Melbourne was in the game with that same advantage to come in the second quarter.

Incredibly they could only manage two majors with the same wind in the second, which signalled the finish of the game. GWS showed exactly how to play against the wind as they bottled the ball up on the Hill side wing with contest after contest.  And when the Demons managed to break the shackles, they kept looking for short options or leading options which were covered by the GWS man on man backline with Heath Shaw running riot as an unmarked spare.  

It was telling that the only two players who seemed to be able to adjust to the conditions were Vince and Lewis.  No surprise they were also the top possession getters, but they used the wind to their advantage and just didn’t try to do anything too fancy.  That worked but others didn’t follow their lead and kept up the handball and dinky kick barrage.

For the third, the wind blew across the ground and neither team had any real advantage, but the damage was done, even though the Demons outscored the Giants after 1/4 time.  To top it off for the fans the weather was at the point of snowing, which made Jayden Hunt’s tactic of long sleeves in the first half, but short in the second half all the more strange.  

It was an arm wrestle in the second half, and Melbourne gained some credibility against a side who will finish at least top two by season end, and without the likes of Patton, Cameron and Greene playing.  To say they are the better side gives little solice to the punishment the Demon fans face, as their team has a hoard of players who simply didn’t give enough or are playing injured or just don’t care.  

With Garlett and Watts failing to get a single kick between them in the first ½ and only 2 touches in total in that same period, it signified a complete failure in the forward line and its structure.  GWS fell back when defending against the wind, leaving no space to run into, but Melbourne helped them out by trying to kick to the top of the square all the time rather than at the upright targets at the end of the ground. Tom McDonald tried hard but without space and proper delivery he too was hampered.  

In the ruck Max Gawn did magnificently against the aggression of Mumford, as Max played the ball unlike Mumford who plays the man, and will probably pay a price again at the MRP this week for a couple of incidents.  

Incredibly, a hit to the head of Max happened not five metres in front of umpire Williamson who called "play on, nothing to see here ... " as he did all day.  It is a sad state of umpiring affairs when you credit Razor Ray as being by far the best umpire on the ground.

Corey Maynard made a more than credible debut and will work his way into the mid-field team well with his strength and attack on the ball.  While we now have the best side “inside” it exposes our weaknesses on the outside as Tyson, ANB and Harmes are inefficient users of the ball when in their hands.  It was a sharp contrast to the skills of Scully, Coniglio, Shiel and Kelly who run and hit targets rather than contests.  

The punishment for the Demon fans is probably over now for the season.  Already we have dropped to tenth on the ladder and can kiss goodbye to finals short of some miracle results in other games.  It is almost an exact replica of season 2016, and the only thing that will keep the supporters coming back is that 

Capital punishment is no longer an option in this country. 

Melbourne 3.0.18 5.1.31 7.1.43 10.2.62

Greater Western Sydney 8.6.54 10.7.67 13.12.90 14.13.97

Goals

Melbourne Melksham Neal-Bullen 2 Gawn T. McDonald Maynard Pedersen Tyson Watts

Greater Western Sydney Kelly 3 Johnson Smith 2, Coniglio Deledio , Himmelberg Mumford Scully Shiel Ward

Best 

Melbourne Gawn Lewis Oliver Hibberd Vince 

Greater Western Sydney Kelly Ward Coniglio Scully Shiel Mumford Williams

Changes 

Greater Western Sydney Patton (hamstring tightness) replaced by Himmelberg in the selected side

Melbourne Nil 

Injuries

Greater Western Sydney Nil

Melbourne Nil 

Reports 

Greater Western Sydney Nil

Melbourne Nil 

Umpires Chamberlain Williamson Ryan 

Official crowd 14,274 at UNSW Canberra Oval

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