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TOP END HEADING SOUTH by George on the Outer

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The Demons headed north for their annual game in Darwin, but the disappointing outcome could only mean they are heading south with the all too familiar failings happening again.

A Sam Weideman mark and kick for goal with only 30 seconds remaining in the match could have won it for the Demons, but the kick slid sideways and the team went down by two points.  Sam may have been devastated, but the fact that the team could only kick 1 goal 8 behinds in the final quarter lays the blame at the feet of others as well.

Max Gawn and Tim Smith equally had easy set shots in those final minutes and missed.  Nathan Jones and James Harmes had easy shots on the run and missed, while Jayden Hunt sent one over the boundary for no score. Jeff Garlett and Charlie Spargo fluffed straight forward chest marks, when only metres from goal.  But it was just as telling that other forwards barely got a touch for the whole match.

Still the Demons led by 22 points in the last quarter when Garlett scored after five minutes. 

It was all downhill from there, as Melbourne seemed to dig out that old characteristic of not knowing how to put a side away, and not knowing how to win.

The Demons let by 25 points at half time when victory was looking all but assured.  Getting off to a good start is critical in Darwin, as the mist comes down not long after sunset, so the ball gets more and more slippery.  With this lead at half time, there should have been only one result, but it wasn’t to be. 

The second half drop off was telling.  Even Max had his colours lowered to Reilly O’Brien who had more hitouts for the match, although Max had  four times the number of disosals with 25.

And, yet again, there were serious non-contributors all around the ground. Jeff Garlett kicked three goals but never went near a contest - they were all “cheapies” out the back and he only had one disposal in the second half of the game. This despite the ball bouncing around the Melbourne forward line for the majority of the time, especially the last quarter. 

Billy Stretch had a miserable game playing as a backman who managed either 1 tackle or zero (depending upon which statistician you believe) for the whole game!  If you want to know who was on Eddie Betts in that last quarter ... or rather who wasn’t on him.

The returns of Michael Hibberd and Mitch Hannan was not something to excite the fans, but given their extended lay-offs they could be forgiven.  Hibberd at least provided some telling long drives into the forward half, but Mitch had virtually no influence in the forward line. 

The one big, big positive to come from this match was Oskar Baker.  In only his third game, he racked up 21 touches and looks to be a genuinely strong capable player.  He is certainly one who will not be heading back to Casey when the injured players become available again.

Jack Viney, Nathan Jones, James Harmes and Clayton Oliver were joined by their old compatriot Angus Brayshaw in the middle again, and were it not for Adelaide sitting Gibbs on Oliver in the second half, he might have been on target to getting the most possessions ever in a game.  16 in 1 quarter is something to behold, but the clamps were laid strongly and we missed his drive thereafter.

With the late withdrawals of Christian Salem and Marty Hore, we saw Weideman and Jay Kennedy Harris brought back into the side.  The one big lesson to be drawn from this was finally the coaching staff were forced to have three big men in the forward line with Smith, Weideman and Tom McDonald.  This gave Max his breaks and still left two of them up front.  It is something that we should have been doing with Braydon Preuss in the past month! 

Weideman will keep his spot, but McDonald once again didn’t trouble the scorers and Smith barely did so.  What to do with them?  Tom is still apparently injured, as he cannot jump off the ground, but we have no other options. 

Down back, brother Oscar had a shocker against Jenkins.  Truth is that is not surprising given the height and weight difference. Adelaide isolated him time and time again, but Oscar got no help from others even when he brought the ball to ground, or to come in as a third up. 

Sam Frost had a pearler of a game holding Walker to only a solitary goal, but also with numerous charges and long kicks out of defence.  In the absence of Salem, the backs held up really well, but Wagner and  Stretch will surely make way as soon as Lever, Lewis and May return, along with Salem. 

Melbourne only had itself to blame for this loss.  The pressure and intensity of the first half evaporated as too many thought they could sit back, get the cheap kicks and disposals, and just not do the necessary work. 

Fortunately, those players will not be seen in the coming weeks, and they also have only themselves to blame.  Some of them will have played their last game in the Northern Territory, and probably down south as well.

Melbourne 6.3.39 9.4.58 11.8.74 12.16.88 

Adelaide 4.0.24 5.3.33 9.4.58 14.6.90 

Goals 

Melbourne Garlett 3 Brayshaw Hannan Harmes Hunt Jones Oliver Petracca Smith Weideman 

Adelaide B Crouch Lynch 3 Betts Jenkins 2 Ellis-Yolmen Gallucci Murphy Walker 

Best

Melbourne Gawn Harmes Brayshaw Oliver Hibberd Petracca 

Adelaide Lynch, B Crouch Laird Greenwood Ellis-Yolmen Atkins 

Injuries 

Melbourne Christian Salem (illness) replaced in selected side by Sam Weideman, Marty Hore (calf soreness) replaced in selected side by Jay Kennedy Harris

Adelaide Rory Sloane (hamstring) Kyle Hartigan (team balance) replaced in selected side by David Mackay

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Adelaide Nil

Umpires Foot O'Gorman Mitchell 

Official crowd 10,634 at TIO Stadium   

ReportRd112019.png

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