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THE FUGAZI GETS LOUDER by George on The Outer

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While Melbourne hardly played its best brand of football against the Western Bulldogs, in the end an eight goal win and another boost to percentage has done nothing to quell the fugazi (noise) around the club.
 
After a fifth successive win at Docklands where not a solitary victory was recorded from 2008 to 2015 and with six consecutive wins under the their belts, it is not surprising that the Demon bandwagon is truly up and running.  And while the coach and players are trying to keep “a Lid” on it, as we have only reached the half way point of a long, long season, these wins are making a finals appearance this year more of a certainty.
 
The toll that the season and competition takes was shown in no uncertain terms today, when Jake Lever went down with what looks like a season ending knee injury. Others, in Jake Melksham and Tim Smith copped a battering during the game, and will be truly grateful for the nine-day break until the next match. And after the injury losses that befell the club last season, we are too familiar with the cost of losing talented players.
 
Perhaps the grinding nature of the season to date was also showing up in the first quarter as Melbourne just looked tired and out of sorts after their complete demolition of Adelaide the previous week. The Dogs led at quarter time, thereby ending Melbourne’s streak of winning quarters, but it is the result at the end of the game that matters, and the Demons regained some of their composure and simply steamrolled the opposition to run out 49 point winners.
 
With the early loss of Lever, the backs had to regroup, and that they certainly did. Neville Jetta in a tribute to the Douglas Nicholls Round, played an absolute blinder across half-back with 24 touches, 9 marks and 11 contested possessions. Time and time again, it was Neville or nothing and each time he beat his and other opponents to repel the Dogs forward thrusts.  
He was ably assisted by Michael Hibberd and Oscar McDonald who are proving to be equally solid “impassables” in defence.  
 
In the middle Max Gawn got on top after a slow start in the ruck and finished with an incredible 57 hitouts. While the Dogs continued to win clearances, they were always under pressure, while the Demons were cleaner and more methodical with their work at the stoppages. The result: after ¼ time, the Demons kicked 13 goals to a mere four from the Bulldogs.  
 
The mids had a field day, but not just in the middle as 14 Melbourne players had 19 or more disposals in the game. They were getting bucketloads of the ball, none more so than Angus Brayshaw and Clarrie Oliver with 39 and 38 touches respectively.  It is a sign of the progression of this side, that we hardly notice the 26 and 22 touches from Jones and Viney, something which would have topped the tally sheet not that long ago.
 
Up forward the tag team of Jesse Hogan and Tom McDonald cut the opposition defence to pieces again, posting nine goals between them - more than the Dogs total score.  
 
Bayley Fritsch, Alex Neal-Bullen and Mitch Hannan continue to be live-wires on the edges and provide those critical links to the forwards.  Fritsch has been a revelation and 14 marks in this game as a first year player has cemented his spot in the short term, and longer probably.  
 
The Fugazi continues, and you expect there to be plenty of it in the lead up to the QB game against the Pies, who make plenty of their own fugazi, even when they are rubbish.  For the Demons, they can do no more than to continue to do what they are doing at the moment, which is to defeat whoever is drawn to play them aeach week.  
 
Melbourne 2.1.13 7.4.46 11.7.73 15.10.100
 
Western Bulldogs 3.3.21 4.6.30 6.8.44 7.9.51
 
Goals
 
Melbourne Hogan 5 T McDonald 4 Brayshaw Fritsch Hannan Jones Neal-Bullen Petracca
 
Western Bulldogs Bontempelli 2 Gowers Honeychurch Roughead Schache Suckling
 
Best
 
Melbourne Brayshaw Jetta Hogan Gawn T McDonald Oliver
 
Western Bulldogs Bontempelli Hunter McLean Suckling Macrae Morris 
 
Injuries              
 
Melbourne Lever (knee) Melksham (ankle) T Smith (neck)
 
Western Bulldogs Dickson (hamstring)
 
Reports Nil
 
Umpires Chamberlain, Hay, Wallace 
 
Official crowd 28,485 at Etihad Stadium
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