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TO A “T” by George on the Outer



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Thursday night football - not something Melbourne FC are accustomed to doing, especially after barely garnering a Friday night game for years.

Yet with this opportunity, the Demons soundly beat the Swans at the SCG and put their season back on Track.

This was not only a game of mental toughness, since the Demons had so far failed to win a game in 2019 and faced possibly a season ending prospect of 0-4, should they have failed in Sydney. 

History was against them, and Buddy Franklin’s record of 15 successive wins against the Demons was a genuine Threat, as he can single-handedly rip a game apart. 

Things looked good with Melbourne kicking the first 2 goals, but then fell into their habit of allowing the opposition to get a run of  unanswered goals, and at ¼ time they Trailed by 14 points.  It was almost a repeat of the previous 3 weeks, and based on that a recovery of sorts could be expected in the second.

And it was. 

The game turned into a simply Tough, hard contested contest.  Though behind in contested ball at ¼ time, the Demons just started grinding the Swans down.  Telling goals from co-captain Nathan Jones put Melbourne back in the match, and he simply dragged his Team mates along with him. 

The Twin Towers of Gawn and Preuss simply overwhelmed the Swans talls, in what was to be a complete reversal of what had happened to Melbourne in the past weeks. 

With Preuss as a resting Target in front of goal, he simply terrified the Swan defenders, and then was able to give Max the rest from the rucking responsibilities he had been denied for so long.

Furthermore, with both of them on the ground, it released Max to sit out the back and in the dying minutes of the game, this proved vital, as Gawn took telling marks to deny the Swans any hope of revival. 

Make no mistake, this match has the capacity to be the Turning point for the Demons.  It re-inforced in their minds and the spectators, the Toughness of AFL, as we saw players from both sides taken from the ground with collision injury after collision injury.  Preuss, Heeney, Brayshaw, Oscar, Oliver and Sinclair were all sidelined at some point in the game.  For the Demons, already with injury woes, the pre-game losses of Jetta, Lockhart and Kolodjashnij only compounded the problem, and it is hoped that a 10 day break will give these bodies the chance to recover. 

With the game on the line at ½ time, it was the Demons who came out and started to stamp their authority.  The contested ball statistics had been reversed from the first quarter as Oliver, Brayshaw, Viney and particularly Jones bullocked into contests.  This was more of the Melbourne brand that the fans had come to know. 

With Gawn providing an enormous 55 hitouts and 38% to advantage, in a way the game should have only had the one possible result.  Backup from Preuss gave the Swans no relief, so hopefully this Tandem operation will be used again in future games. 

Frost on Franklin was always a concern, but his speed was able to match Buddy’s and he forced him far and wide continuously.  The result was a solitary goal, with a couple of failed shots, simply because he was too far out. 

Without a true second target in front of goals, the Swans were denied scoring opportunities.  

Make no mistake, the Demon defence is still fragile. Oscar McDonald, prior to his injury did little to inspire confidence, and Hibberd is still miles from his best.  However, Hore in his second game proved to be more than reliable, and took some telling defensive marks at critical times. 

Salem was simply a rock, yet again, with 33 disposals, which always seem to finish in the hands of team mates up the ground. 

The main forwards also are far from their best, and the addition of Preuss or Gawn really covered the lack of output from them again. Melksham, Tom McDonald and Weideman only contributed 3 goals, but Petracca took a step in the right direction with more intensity when required to record a couple of goals himself.

Hunt has fitted into the crumbing forward role as he has his career re-defined, and he has also learnt the importance of defensive pressure, something badly missing from the whole teams performance in these past weeks. Spargo and Stretch however, provided little and will only keep their position in the side should no-one else suitable be available.  They must take their chances and perform.

Ten days to recover.  The bodies certainly need it after that game.  And it may give other bodies the Time to also get to game ready.  Jetta and Lockhart should be available, with Lewis also a possibility.  Preuss has guaranteed a position in the side, and it is now Time for the Demons to Truly put their season back on Track.

Melbourne 3.2.20 8.4.52 12.7.79 15.10.100

Sydney Swans 5.4.34 8.10.58 9.11.65 11.12.78

Goals

Melbourne Jones 3 Hunt Petracca Preuss 2 Brayshaw Harmes T McDonald Melksham Viney  Weideman

Sydney Dawson Florent Jack 2 Franklin Heeney Jones  Ronke Sinclair

Best

Melbourne Gawn Oliver Jones Salem Hore Harmes

Sydney Cunningham Lloyd Florent Rampe Jones Heeney

Injuries

Melbourne Braydon Preuss (shoulder)  

Sydney Nil

Reports

Melbourne Nil 

Sydney Nil

Umpires Rosebury, Stephens, Wallace 

Official crowd: 26,669 at the SCG

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