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VULTURES CIRCLING (but not dead yet) by George on the Outer

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The main entrance to the Gabba is located in Vulture Street and it seemed an appropriate name for the Demons half way through the final quarter against the Lions because they were surely circling the tatters of a side that had led the game by seven goals, not 30 minutes earlier.

Scores were level with 10 minutes to play and a confident young Brisbane side had all the momentum and will to win. But the Demons weren’t dead yet, and the new breed of young players at the club willed themselves to a 26 point victory.  

With it all on the line and following the lead of skippper Nathan Jones, the inspiration flowed through to Clayton Oliver, who managed to extract a ball from an impossible position, handball 20 metres to a free Christian Petracca, who slammed the ball forward to a waiting Jesse Hogan who brought the ball to ground for Jeffrey Garlett to crumb and goal. The back of the Lions challenge was broken, and then it was put to bed with further goals to Hogan, Garlett and Bayley Fritsch. 

This was a game that Melbourne had to win and while that term is widely used at each and every round, in this case it had a high degree of need. Brisbane is an up and coming side, much the same as Melbourne was two years ago, so they can and will cause upsets. Widely touted to finish in the bottom 25% alongside Fremantle and North, the invalidity of that assessment was shown on the weekend as both of those sides proved to be better than Essendon and St.Kilda who were equally touted as possible finalists.  

To lose this game would have sent the Demons to a 0-2 start to the season and trying to catch up those games during a year with finals aspirations . Most Demon fans would willingly admit Melbourne would have lost such a game in the past, and even more so when the opposition has come back from seven goals down.  

In 2018, with the results already in, there is a certainty that NO game is a win that can be pencilled in. Every team seems to be capable of winning on the day, so losing the un-losable from the dominant position the Demons were in during the 3rd quarter would be more than costly.

The first quarter was a complete whitewash for Melbourne as it completely blew away a hapless Brisbane which failed to score a major, while the Demons piled on five. Jesse Hogan had 3 to half time and Clayton Oliver racked up nearly 20 touches in the same period on his way to 35 for the game. It is still easy to forget that Clayton is 20 years old and is rapidly developing into one of the stars of the game.  

Max Gawn and former Demon, Steph Martin had a nil all draw in the ruck, so it came down to the rest of the mids to battle for ascendancy.  While Bernie Vince held down Zorko in the first half, it was reversed in the second half, which coincided with the Brisbane revival. Jones v Beames saw Jones finally get on top, which also coincided with the Demons finally shaking off the challenge from the Lions in the last.  But it was the persistence of Petracca, the timely brilliance of Garlett and equally telling cameos from Fritsch, Hibbert and Oscar that turned the game.  

Sadly, there were still too many performances which were not up to scratch, at the critical times of the game.  Jordan Lewis again sullied his reputation with numerous fumbles and undisciplined acts which gifted the opposition goals.  Neville Jetta put in another shocker, although he was nearly knocked out in the first quarter when pushed into a collision overlooked by the umpires.  

Alex Neal Bullen, Tyson and James Harmes got plenty of touches but simply disappeared for long, long periods of the game, while Tom Bugg virtually guaranteed a return to Casey with a nothing performance and an inability to kick straight from even 20 metres yet again. Strangely Jayden Hunt has lost his dash and must also find something more than six touches for the game or he too will be gracing the grounds with the Casey Demons in coming weeks. 

Next week sees a return to the G against a now confident North Melbourne. This writer doesn’t need to remind other fans how long it is since we have beaten this side, and their performance against St.Kilda while simply appalling in the first half, showed that they can cause damage when allowed to do so especially when Ben Brown is left to his own devices in their forward line.  

With the majority of sides sitting on a win for the season, ourselves included, this game will again become a “must win” or once again the Vultures will be circling ...

Melbourne 5.4.34 8.7.55 9.11.65 14.16.100

Brisbane Lions 0.3.3 2.6.18 5.11.41 10.14.74

Goals

Melbourne Hogan 5 Garlett 4  Fritsch Jones 2 Neal-Bullen.

Brisbane Lions Cameron Christensen 3 Bewick Cox Hipwood Zorko

Best

Melbourne Hogan Garlett Jones Oliver Tyson Petracca

Brisbane Lions Cameron Christensen Cox Taylor McStay Zorko 

Injuries

Melbourne Nil

Brisbane Nil

Reports Nil

Umpires Fisher, Rosebury, Hosking

Official crowd 17,141 at the Gabba

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