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THE MONKEY, THE MONGOOSE AND CHRISTMAS EVE by George on The Outer

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After 12 years the Demons have finally made it to September action again, by beating West Coast in Perth.  At the same time, they removed the Media Monkey of “they haven’t beaten anyone in the eight” saga.  

Our own Ethan Tremblay has now had his childhood dreams restored and perhaps he will get his Mongoose still in this prediction ...

For those who didn’t see the exchange it went something like this:

Petraccattack: Tomorrow we beat the Eagles and book our first finals berth since 2006.  It feels like Xmas Eve!  😎

Ethan Tremblay: It’s like that Xmas Eve when I was a kid and I was sure I was going to get a Mongoose BMX with pegs. Very exciting. Come Xmas Day I got some lime green BMX from Kmart I had to assemble myself. I put it together and ghosted it down Jells Road (Possibly the steepest hill in Melbourne?)  Worst.Xmas. Ever. 

Petraccattack: Go to bed, sweet Ethan.  Tomorrow you get the Mongoose you've always dreamed of.

………….

While Demon supporters can now relax, once again their hearts were sorely tested in the course of the game and particularly in the final quarter, when West Coast nudged in front following a Mark LeCras goal at the 18 minute mark. 

Once again the Demon supporters could see “it” coming again - defeat at the final hurdle. 

But instead of conceding the match, the team dug even deeper.  They went back to system and methodology and calmly sliced through the Eagles players slowly. Jake Melksham put one from the goal square, the result of hard work up the field but that still left the Demons five points up with a couple of minutes to play. 

Still further hard work and effort came from the likes of Nathan Jones, Angus Brayshaw, Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver to control the ball and bodies were thrown in at all costs, because the whole season was on the line.  Finally that work resulted in a mark and set shot to Dean Kent who went back and slotted the major, something which others had not been able to do in a number of similar situations during the year. 

What was equally surprising was that Kent had barely been sighted in the previous three quarters, but bobbed up with seven touches in the critical last and sealed the game.  Another Melksham goal in the dying seconds and Melbourne were finals bound.

The game began with the pressure and intensity that could be expected of two teams that were in the top eight and it was the Demons who burst out of the blocks and found themselves three goals up before the Eagles had scored.  Not unexpectedly, they came back and at quarter time Melbourne held a small term point lead. 

In reality that was the margin, or thereabouts for the next two quarters until WCE hit the front briefly in that final term.  The addition of Melksham, Mitch Hannan and Michael Hibberd turned out to be the decisive factor in the win in comparison to last week.  Melksham with four, Hannan with three and Hibberd a rock in defence were exactly what was needed to boost the side. 

Unfortunately, Hibberd had some kind of hamstring problem and his absence along with Max having a break in the final term was exactly when West Coast mounted itsw final charge.  Order was restored when both returned to the field, and it can be hoped that Hibberd is OK for the future (with the ability to rest him for two weeks if in doubt, could be a necessity leading to finals).

Special mention must also go to Sam Weideman, who came in as the replacement for Jesse Hogan, and put up his hand on multiple occasions with 5 marks including 4 contested, and tackling again at critical junctures in the game.  He scored only a single major but he may well have made that leap of confidence at exactly the right time for himself and the team.

The mids were magnificent putting their bodies on the line, none more so than the Captain.  While his kicking was errant at time, he just willed his body to get the ball and did so 27 times. 

But even more telling was the performance of James Harmes, who has also become a highlight in the latter part of the season.  He shut down Shuey comprehensively, and then got 28 touches of his own including 14 contested possessions.  With him doing such a fantastic job, it has meant the Demons mids are now truly one of the best team in the competition. 

Did I mention a couple of others in Brayshaw and Oliver?  Best to do so with Angus getting 28 touches 14 contested, while Oliver managed, by his standards, only 23, but also 14 contested.  And we had best mention Max as well who doubled the Eagles rucks in hitouts, and chipped in with a massive 20 touches including 12 contested!

Down back the usual team became a solid unit with the return of Hibberd. Jordan Lewis marshalled the troops magnificently with only his pace under question at times.  Neville Jetta for all the small number of touches (10), had 4 contested.  But each and every one of those 4 was probably a goal saver … and match saver, probably a season saver. He should be in the running for mark of the year as well.  Not one of those high flying species, but when he was tied up by his opponent grappling him, then managed to spin around the back and haul in a one hander, again stopping a certain goal.

One monkey off the back.  Another of the tragic MFC records removed (12 years since finals appearance).  Next one is a finals win.

Get that monkey from the shoulders and we should all wait at the bottom of the Jells road Hill to see the now older Ethan come sailing down on his Mongoose!

Melbourne 4.4.28 7.6.48 12.8.80 16.12.108 

West Coast 3.0.18 5.4.34 11.6.72 14.7.91   

Goals 

Melbourne Melksham 4 Hannan T McDonald 3 Brayshaw Jones Kent Harmes vandenBerg Weideman 

 West Coast Rioli 4 Hutchings 2 Ah Chee Cripps LeCras Masten Sheed Vardy Venebles Yeo 

Best 

Melbourne Harmes Melksham Hannan Brayshaw Gawn Jones 

West Coast Rioli Redden Hutchings Sheed Masten 

Injuries  

Melbourne Nil  

West Coast Jack Darling (concussion) 

Reports 

Melbourne Nil 

West Coast Nil  

Umpires Stevic Hosking Schmitt 

Official crowd 55,824 at Optus Stadium  

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