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THE WALKING WOUNDED by Paddy Gosch

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Forget the fact that Melbourne narrowly missed out on getting the four JLT points on offer for a second consecutive week and the blow to the ego of a supposed top four contender losing ... well almost at home ... to a team that has recently dwelt in the AFL cellar and won a mere five games in 2018. The things that emerged from the horror final JLT outing was that the Demons are a long way from being prepared to take on the rigours of a long tough season in which they have one of the hardest fixtures in the competition and that things weren’t helped by injury blows to James Harmes and Jay Kennedy Harris (along with Braydon Preuss injured in the curtain raiser) and the MRP most likely looking at incidents involving Steven May and Aaron vandenBerg.

The major concern was the failure of the team to put together some consistently fluid football in any area of play. Max Gawn won in the ruck as was expected but the much vaunted midfield strength was not evident as the Lions won the stoppages, a factor that was due to the brilliance of Gold Coast reject Jarryd Lyons and a bevy of young helpers. Whilst Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver and James Harmes (until injured) did their best they lowered their colours on the day and could have done with the aid of the comeback skippers who were kicking up the Casey dew earlier in the day.

The defence had a number of poor patches and conceded 100 points for the second week running. Oscar McDonald was particularly disappointing, Steven May looked good in nullifying a rampant Hipwood who threatened havoc with two early goals and Neville Jetta was Neville Jetta but once again the defenders were often too loose and conceded easy goals. To let through seven in the opening quarter was not a good sign just a fortnight before the season opener.

I know the results of practice games are usually forgotten in the blink of an eye but the contributions of Tom McDonald and Sam Weideman were below par and their lack of goal power would be of concern. Fortunately, Joel Smith showed something with four goals including a couple on one leg in the latter part of the game while Jayden Hunt was exciting with a couple of early goals.

On the whole however, it was a performance that was not indicative of a team that has been predicted to rise above the pack and perhaps the blow to the ego of two losses in the JLT isn’t such a bad thing given that we might have been getting ahead of ourselves in the face of the blaze of publicity that had the Demons set in stone almost as a top four certainty for 2019. 

Melbourne 4.2.26 9.4.58 10.6.66 15.7.97

Brisbane 7.4.46 9.6.60 13.7.85 16.8.104

Goals 

Melbourne J Smith 4 Brayshaw 3 Hunt 2, Fritsch T McDonald Neal-Bullen Petracca, Spargo Weideman

Brisbane Lyons 4 Hipwood McStay 2 Bastinac Cameron McCluggage Mathieson Neale Raynor Robinson Taylor 

Best 

Melbourne Brayshaw Gawn Petracca J Smith Jetta Oliver

Brisbane Lyons Neale Robinson Rich Martin Witherden

Injuries

Melbourne Kennedy-Harris (knee) Harmes (finger) Fritsch (leg)

Brisbane Smith (larynx)

Reports Nil

Umpires Harris, Brown, Haussen 

Official crowd 4,215 at Casey Fields

ReportJLT022019.png

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