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EASTER BUNNIES by George on the Outer

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Easter is supposed to be an occasion of hope, revival and ultimately celebration.  But for the Demon supporters it was none of these as yet again their team was made Easter Bunnies by the Saints.

With the exception of Christian Salem, there was not a single winner on the ground.  The danger for the Demons was giving the Saints their own hope and enthusiasm by conceding early goals.  That is exactly what happened in the first quarter, although with some ridiculous frees from the umpires close to goal.

Nevertheless, the opportunity still stood before the Melbourne players, all they had to do was stay in the game, and all the efforts would come to fruition ... surely ... surely?  

On just about every statistic the Demons outclassed the Saints, yet the scoreboard showed no genuine improvement.  Simple fact is that the forward line is completely and utterly dysfunctional. Aside from early goals (yet again) from Braydon Preuss, the rest of the designated forwards contributed nothing of value for the game (yet again). 

Jake Melksham with two goals and Christian Petracca with a single out of a total of seven majors for the game says it all. Once again Tom McDonald and Sam Weideman failed to bother the goal umpires. We are missing Jesse Hogan more than most would admit, and the plans to cover his loss have been shown to be worthless.

A single goal in the second quarter, followed by another goal-less third quarter, as the Saints piled on eight unanswered goals to have the match all sewn up by ¾ time. 

Too many only look at the defenders and blame them for when the opposition walk the ball into goal, seemingly without a Melbourne player nearby. The truth is the problem lies further up the ground, particularly with those non-performing forwards, and some will not like to hear this, but also the mids.

For the third time this season we have been absolutely cut to ribbons by the small outside runners.  Where do they come from?  Just look a little upfield to see where the likes of Lonie, Billings, Steven and Steele start their runs from.  Who are their opponents?  They are usually easy to find as they are 30 metres behind.  

And sadly, their opponents are some of the highest possession getters for the Melbourne side.  Not much point getting the hands on the ball when your opponents are busy waltzing down the field and kicking goals ...

The situation is not aided when the coaching staff put Jones and Lewis on the wings.  That might have been something done in 2018, but wings are now needed and used (by winning sides) to cover a far greater depth of the ground.  

And Melbourne players on those wings and even flanks continue to just meander toward the contest.  It was a sharp contrast to St.Kilda players who ran toward the middle to either cover defensively, or provide an outside option.   

The other standout was the team positioning in general play by St.Kilda. They were well drilled at the outside fringe and moved almost ballet like together as they kept their Melbourne opponents inside by a metre or so.  

Should they win the ball, they have that metre start, but not just one of them, all of them.  It was why the Melbourne players were so far behind as the Saints linked up down the field.  

In sharp contrast the Demon players gave their opponents five metres and have fallen into the old defensive zone trap of “guarding grass”. 

This type of zone works on a basketball court where the space is limited.  On a football field it leaves holes everywhere.  To apply it to a football field, it is essential to concede the minimum space, but keep the opponent within striking range.

Back to the forwards. Tom Mac cannot run at the moment - he has not recovered from his foot injury and so cannot lead.  Weideman needs serious coaching in forward work.  His leads are non-existent and as a result the only time he is seen competing is in the air, contests he will not win until he adds strength to his body.  He also needs coaching on when to jump, as he runs under the flight of the ball too often.  

Importantly, ALL the forwards need to apply some pressure on their opponents.  Remember, Tom can’t run, but Petracca, Melksham, Weidemannn and even Hunt were nowhere to be seen. Between them they could only manage 7 tackles for the game! That’s the same number as Jack Viney.  This is where the opposition start their attacks, especially when the same players are unable to mark the ball to keep it in the forward 50m. 

Melbourne certainly didn’t come home with the chocolates at Easter.  Those failings that have re-surfaced again and again since the start of the season will surely standout even more  when facing a Richmond side which uses forward manic pressure and slingshot manoeuvres to score more than any other side. 

Is there any hope?  Probably not, for coming into an ANZAC eve match without ammunition or reserves is something not even those brave souls at Gallipoli faced.  

Demon fans are calling for various players to be replaced, but the options at Casey have either been tried and failed, or are simply not up to the task. We desperately do need a player or 2 in the forward line who can run and chase or who can mark the ball.  Losing one of the current batch in front of goal will not change the scoreline, given their output this season.  

The season is now over for the Demons.  In 2018, even in losing games, the side was competitive.  Failings could be sheeted home to youth and inexperience.  

Not so this year.  

We have returned to the stage where opposition get runs of unanswered goals, and we have no answer.  We have too many unfit, injured players unable to make a meaningful contribution, with little prospect of replacements to fill the gaps.  

And unlike the Christian faith, there is little prospect of resurrection in three days.  

Melbourne 3.3.21 4.5.29 4.8.32 7.13.55  

St Kilda 4.1.25   7.2.44 12.5.77 15.5.95  

Goals  

Melbourne Melksham Preuss 2 Brayshaw Harmes Preuss  

St Kilda Membrey 4 Kent 3 Billings Bruce 2 Acres Lonie Long Parker  

Best   

Melbourne Brayshaw Oliver Gawn Harmes Salem Hore

St Kilda Billings Kent Membrey Newnes Acres Steele Geary  

Injuries   

Melbourne Nil   

St Kilda Long (corked thigh)  

Reports

Melbourne Nil  

St Kilda Nil

Umpires Chamberlain Whetton Harris  

Official crowd 35,558 at the MCG

ReportRd052019.png

 

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