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THE BRIGHT SIDE by Whispering Jack

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I don’t often agree with Dermott Brereton but he came close to the mark last week when he labelled Melbourne a “team of downhill skiers” that works much harder offensively than it does defensively.  And he was looking at the bright side of the team’s game plan.

That proposition has been clear since before the season started. It was obvious from the first JLT game against Richmond when the team leaked multiple goals in a short space of time as players gave metres away to opposition forwards. The same thing applied when the team went forward - there were no desperate acts to keep the ball in the forward regions.  This has been a feature of Melbourne’s game ever since.

And nothing was more emblematic of that style of play (or embarrassing) than the way the Demons finished off their game last Saturday against the Saints.

With 1 minute and 10 seconds left on the clock, the St Kilda was leading by 28 points. The ball was kicked into the Saints’ forward pocket where the two tallest Demons, Max Gawn and Braydon Preuss, were standing among a group of half a dozen as the ball descended on the waiting pack. 

Now, the game was all but over and the four premiership points were already in St Kilda’s pocket but that doesn’t mean that the defence suddenly had the licence to be the bystanders as Tim Membrey marked without the pressure of the two tall Demons, one punching from behind and the other moving across to force a contest. But it didn’t happen and what made it worse was the lapses in the following minute that enabled a mark on the siren and another goal to Jack Billings. 

That was the difference between Melbourne and St Kilda - the lack of concentration and application for the full 100 minutes. It also marked the difference between the team Friday night performances last September and what is the shell of that side today. 

It was hard to watch the Easter Sunday game between Geelong and Hawthorn and to realise that what is virtually the same team personnel wise, eliminated both of them from the finals last year. 

Despite all this, the result of this game is not cut and dried. The Tigers only beat the Swans by 22 points at Marvel Stadium which was also Melbourne’s winning margin against the same team on their dung heap. 

Miracles have been know to happen at this time but only to those who look on the bright side and make them happen. In Melbourne’s case that might be the case if  every player reverted to their 2018 mindset and worked harder defensively when the ball is in both halves of the ground.

THE GAME  

Richmond v Melbourne on Wednesday 24 April 2019 at 7.35pm at the MCG  

HEAD TO HEAD  

Overall Melbourne 75 wins Richmond 105 wins Drawn 2  

At MCG Melbourne 63 wins Richmond 70 wins Drawn 1  

Past five meetings Melbourne 2 wins Richmond 3 wins  

The Coaches Hardwick 2 wins Goodwin 0 wins  

MEDIA  

TV - Channel Seven Mate Fox Sports Live at 7.00pm  

Radio -  TBA

THE LAST TIME THEY MET  

Richmond 15.12.102 defeated Melbourne 8.8.56 in Round 5, 2018 at the MCG  

The Tigers played with the Demons for three quarters and then turned on the afterburners in a matter of moments to win by 46 points.

THE TEAMS  

RICHMOND   

B Nathan Broad David Astbury Dylan Grimes
HB Nick Vlastuin Shane Edwards Bachar Houli
C Brandon Ellis Dion Prestia Kamdyn McIntosh
HF Daniel Rioli Jack Ross Jason Castagna
F Jack Riewoldt Tom J Lynch Dustin Martin
FOLL Toby Nankervis Josh Caddy Kane Lambert
I/C Liam Baker Noah Balta  Jack Higgins Sydney Stack
EMG Shai Bolton Jack Graham Connor Menadue Ivan Soldo 

IN Jack Riewoldt

OUT Shai Bolton (Omitted)

MELBOURNE

B Marty Hore Sam Frost Jordan Lewis
HB Bayley Fritsch Michael Hibberd Christian Salem
C Nathan Jones Jack Viney Jayden Hunt
HF James Harmes Sam Weideman Christian Petracca
F Alex Neal-Bullen Tom McDonald Jake Melksham
FOLL Max Gawn Clayton Oliver Angus Brayshaw
I/C Jeff Garlett Jay Lockhart Tim Smith Billy Stretch 
EMG Declan Keilty Oscar McDonald Tom Sparrow Corey Wagner 

IN Jeff Garlett Jay Lockhart Alex Neal-Bullen  Tim Smith Billy Stretch

OUT Neville Jetta (knee) Braydon Preuss (shoulder) Charlie Spargo (omitted) Corey Wagner (omitted) Josh Wagner (omitted) 

Injury List: Round 6

Braydon Preuss (shoulder) – 1 week
Steven May (groin) – 4 weeks
Mitch Hannan (knee) – 4-5 weeks 
Jake Lever (knee) – 4-5 weeks 
Jay Kennedy Harris (knee) – 4-6 weeks
Joel Smith (groin) – 4-6 weeks
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – 4-6 weeks  
Neville Jetta (knee) – 10-12
Kade Kolodjashnij (concussion) – TBA 
Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite 
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

Screenshot_2019-04-23 Richmond Vs Melbourne - Match Centre - AFL com au.png

PreviewRd062019.jpg

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