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SHOULD HAVE ... COULD HAVE by George on the Outer

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West Coast finally put the nail in the Demons 2019 season coffin with a 16 point win, but it was a game that Melbourne should have, could have, but didn’t win.

Once again woeful, truly woeful work in the forward line, both kicking for goal and the lazy, cheap efforts of some let the side down.

A solitary goal in the final quarter and only 9 goals from 24+ scoring opportunities was the costly difference in the game.

The selectors, once again, made a critical error in not selecting Braydon Preuss.  West Coast were always going to run 2 ruckmen and like the early games this season, we rob the already deficient forward line of a player to fill in for Max when he needs a break. 

The truth is that we have simply run out of players to put into the senior side, but even with this diabolical situation, Melbourne were 19 points up late into the 3rd term.  It was almost inevitable that the Eagles would over-run us, just like they did in last year’s Preliminary Final, when they use one as a battering ram against the solitary opposition ruck. 

Max was completely dominant with 56 hitouts and 7 clearances, more than anyone else in the side but the modus operandi of West Coast was obvious when Hickey just jumped straight into him to start the second half.  Unfortunately, Max wasn’t the same, and wasn’t helped when Ryan jumped all over him to put the Eagles in front in the last quarter. 

Let’s hope that next week the selectors learn their lesson, yet again, especially since Mumford will spend the whole game just attacking Max. 

The team played with some of the renewed vigour last seen in the 2018 season, but were let down badly in front of goal.  Tom McDonald didn’t bother the scorers again, Christian Petracca needs kicking lessons, particularly with his ball drop as for the second time in two weeks he couldn’t make the distance with a 30m shot at goal.  If it wasn’t for Jayden Hunt and his efforts to bring the ball to ground, chase and harass, the score-line would have been even worse. 19 disposals including 6 inside 50’s from a small forward is exactly what Melbourne needed, but he was a lone spark in front of goal.

Jeff Garlett should be quickly dropped to Casey, yet again, for his unwillingness to chase, tackle or even contest marks.  Three cheap goals, out the back, of itself is not acceptable, when others did the work to get it to him, and he is only available because he is miles behind the play and his opponent. 

That his non efforts were obvious to Carey, Ling and Taylor in the commentary box says it all.

The mids did their job, but when Gawn’s output was curtailed, so was theirs.  Jones put in a magnificent first half but faded, while Viney is clearly being managed with only limited on-ground time.  Oliver is back to his best, and so is Harmes with 10 and 14 contested possessions, but Angus Brayshaw is also restricted with some injury as he is playing far below his best. 

The backs did a fine job and had held the opposition to only seven goals at ¾ time, but when the ball kept coming in during that final quarter, the dam wall broke.  Marty Hore has been an excellent recruit and even the commentators noted that he looks like he has played 100 games, not six. Lewis will struggle to find a spot should he return, as Hore simply cannot be ignored, and Lever and May will take two roles alongside. 

Even in the final quarter the chance to snatch the game was there, but the skill errors were pounced upon by West Coast as they piled on 6 goals to 1.  Also with 3 players with concussion on the bench in that last quarter, the bucket truly ran dry. 

This was a game that Melbourne probably couldn’t expect to win:

 * Against the reigning Premiers at their home ground. 

* Off a 6 day break with 2 interstate games in that period;

* Decimated by injury. (probably the wrong word as it means 1 in 10 are not available, and we have 16 out of 44 missing);

* VFL quality players given a game, when they are clearly not up to scratch; and

* Others carrying injuries who would normally be sidelined.  

Yet, somehow the side was more than competitive and had a chance to snatch yet another win.  It was not to be and the season evaporated with it.  Still there is plenty of hope for the future when the injury list drops, providing the enthusiasm can be maintained.  

The Giants next week, whose record at the MCG is not too spectacular ( but same for us at the moment).  Three more players to have tests for concussions.  Can the stocks get any lower?

Melbourne 3.4.22 5.8.38 8.12.60 9.15.69

West Coast 3.2.20 5.4.34 7.6.48 13.7.85

Goals

Melbourne Garlett 3 Hunt Petracca 2 Jones T Smith

West Coast Kennedy 4 Crippd Rioli Shuey 2, Darling Ryan Sheed

Best

Melbourne Gawn Harmes Hunt Frost Hore Oliver

West Coast Yeo Hurn Kennedy Sheed Shuey Gaff

Injuries

Melbourne Neal-Bullen (concussion), T Smith (concussion) Salem (concussion)

West Coast Venables (concussion) Hickey (ankle) Schofield (general soreness) replaced in selected side by Tom Hickey

Reports

Melbourne Nil

West Coast Nil

Umpires Fisher, Margetts, Dalgleish

Official crowd 51,162 at Optus Stadium

ReportRd092019.jpg

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