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BULLDOZERS by George on the Outer

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It was a little over a week ago when the Fugazi  about Melbourne was that it had yet to beat a team in the top eighth, that the word was that it may limp into the finals by dint of the results of games in other matches and it’s decent percentage. The “Bradbury Plan”, if you like.

However, the last two games have shown that Melbourne is not just there for show or to make up the numbers by merely limping into September. The stirring finish against the Eagles and the emphatic victory over the Giants is sending a fearsome message to the other finalists - the Demons have simply bulldozed their way to fifth spot on the ladder, past two teams with expectation of solid finishes to the season. And the bulldozing has been emblematic of the type of gamestyle the coach has instilled into the players and with a group of extraordinarily young talent, they truly are setting themselves up for something exciting to come.

Jordan Lewis has been attributed as reminding the players, that they not there just to make up the finals numbers. Rather, they are there to win them and, coming up against the Cats in the first Elimination Final, gives them the added incentive of atoning for the two defeats suffered at their hands by less than a kick during the season.  

The game against the Giants was not unexpectedly a see-sawing contest for the first half. The sides were evenly matched on the ladder with GWS seemingly running into good form with the return of some of their better players in recent weeks. The real concern for them is that they are still a club without a beating heart and while laden with talent, they don’t play together as a team. There is no “fight to the death, with your mates by your side” attitude, and so when challenged, like this week and last, they drop away badly.

There was not much more than two kicks in the game at half time and with the Demons already two men down with Kent and Tyson out of the game, it was all there for the Giants to take.  However, they were bulldozed aside by the Demons.  

Max Gawn took Lobb apart from an early stage, and by half time he was struggling to keep up with him around the ground.  He finally left the game at ¾ time injured, which only served to let Max rest out the final quarter in the forward line. 

The mid-fielders took full advantage of Max’s superiority. The GWS opponents are no slouches with Coniglio, Kelly, Ward and Shiel matched up against Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, James Harmed and Nathan Jones but they were forced to lower their colours in this contest.

Harmes truly lived up to his name causing untold harm to the GWS mids - in particular Kelly who had only 19 touches with only six contested. On the other hand, Harmes had 29 disposals and 15 contested possessions.  Brayshaw and Oliver both with 30+ touches just added to the GWS pain as they bulldozed their opponents aside, while an old stager in Nathan Jones chipped in with another 27 touches.  

The result of all this work was to be seen in the premiership quarter. Melbourne piled on five third quarter goals, while they held the Giants goalless.  And the reason they failed to score a major was the rock solid defence with Salem running riot in the backline delivering laser type passes up field, Lewis with similar accuracy, while Frost ran and sliced through the hapless GWS forwards. Oscar McDonald took Cameron to the cleaners, once again putting a notch on his tally of full forwards who have failed against him.  

With the game all over by the final change, all that was left was to see out the final term, and even though GWS had a major on the board within a minute, the Demons swiftly replied to put paid to any suggestion of a last minute revival.  

At the end - a seven goal win, and 37,000 Demon supporters rocked the house with the Grand Old Flag rendition, not heard sung that way for over a decade.  

The finals are upon us and the next task is to finish Geelong’s season. Some could suggest they are only there courtesy of thrashing two of the sides in the completion in the past 2 weeks but they still have beaten Melbourne twice this year.   

While most teams have a long list of injured players at this time of year, our situation is rather dire. The game produced two more serious injuries today, and there are not really any players worthy of elevation from the depleted ranks over at Casey.  There is a handy certain starter in the wings in Jack Viney and hopefully Mitch Hannan will overcome his knee soreness but we are really on bare bones.

There are others who have done it like the Bulldogs who were decimated at this time two years ago and famously came out of the pre finals to carve out some history for themselves.

Can the Demons repeat history and similarly bulldoze their way further through September?
 
Melbourne 4.2.26 7.6.48 12.9.81 15.12.102
 
GWS Giants
 4.1.25 5.5.35 5.8.38 8.9.57

Goals

Melbourne T McDonald Petracca 3 Neal-Bullen 2 Brayshaw Gawn Harmes Jones Melksham vandenBerg Weideman, 

GWS Giants Coniglio 2 Cameron Finlayson Himmelberg Langdon Lobb Tomlinson

Best 

Melbourne Gawn Harmes Brayshaw Oliver Petracca Jones Frost

GWS Giants Coniglio Ward Shiel Haynes Kennedy

Injuries 

Melbourne Kent (AC joint) Melksham (head) Tyson (broken arm) 

Greater Western Sydney Lobb (beaten to a pulp)

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Greater Western Sydney Nil

Umpires Dalgleish, Rosebury, Stevic

Official crowd 37,285 at the MCG 

POSTSCRIPT: Wasn’t it nice that Adelaide’s pick received for Jake Lever just dropped three spots as a result of them beating the Blues to who they want to trade the pick for one of their young local draft prospects

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