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SAME STORY, DIFFERENT SONG by George on the Outer

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Melbourne was still suffering from the same old story - a lack of AFL capable players from which to choose at the selection table - and the Western Bulldogs got to sing their song again.

But wait, that wasn’t the Doggie’s song we’ve been hearing for the last 30 years, it was some other concoction and no-one knew the words to it but whatever it was, they got to mumble it with gusto after a huge 8 point win!

The sad thing is that the Bulldogs (or Footscray or whatever they choose to call themselves this week) are now within 1 game of the final 8 while the Demons languish near the bottom of the ladder, with the Blues nipping at their feet.  Were the teams really that far apart?  Or is the difference between making finals this year coming down to a couple of decisions either way in the matches?

Probably all of the above, as Melbourne had plenty of chances to kick goals, or as coaches love to say “take on the game”, but few Melbourne players did exactly that.  Errant handballs, inability to kill the ball in defence, unwillingness to kick the ball through the sticks, giving the responsibility to others, just meant those chances were squandered.

It is truly, truly frustrating for the fans to watch such rubbish, and have now been watching exactly the same for the past 16 weeks.

Yes a lot can be sheeted home to the injuries that the club has faced.  We still have the longest list of players unavailable of any clubs, and that has forced us to play sub-standard players to fill the gaps.  Worse is that the injuries have happened to “first 22” selections for long periods of time, and even when those players have returned, they are far from being in touch with the game.

Todays example was Neville Jetta.  The ever-reliable Neville, who never loses a contest, who saves the unsavable. Not today.  Likewise Jake Lever, who was all at sea in his first game back after yet another inj

Losing key forwards Sam Weidemann and Tom McDonald (on top of the missing Tim Smith)  meant we had a 19-year-old player in Harrison Petty, with the grand total of seven games under his belt, and having played as a backman during his time at the club, facing up at full forward! That is how desperate this club is for a body to fill the role.  That he did remarkably, and kicked three goals to boot, and took 5 marks is a true credit to the youngster.  He will get the job again next week because we have no-one else but he has earned it for next week.

The game was really a close battle all the time with barely a point separating the two sides at the first and second change.  The Dogs opened that to 6 points at ¾ time, but that was only courtesy of 1 goal 8 behinds.  Without the work of the backline, ably led by Stephen May, they really didn’t get an unpressured shot on goal.  It kept us in the game.

And in fact the Demons hit the front in the final quarter, but then the forwards ( because we don’t have any) were unable to kick a winning score, managing 2 goals 5 behinds.  Just a couple of those should have won the game, but when we have ANB and Mitch Hannan just running around and not doing much other than running around, then the Demons were never going to be winners.

Finally we got to see the Preuss/Gawn combination and it worked a treat.  This will continue, as we have no other options available, but it is still a good outcome.  Sadly we have too few in the middle who can take advantage of this dominance, with Angus Brayshaw way, way off his best with only 12 touches, and Clayton Oliver down to 17 for the game.

That was in sharp contrast to the four Bulldogs players with over 30 touches, including Dunkley (of the other brother variety) with 39 disposals including 24 contested possessions.

We were forced to use Jordan Lewis in the middle again, and he did a good job at keeping Bontempelli quiet, but it means we are losing the grunt that we have had before.  Once again this is a sign that there is something wrong with the likes of Brayshaw, that we are not using him around the ball, but we have no-one else.

Critics here will call for this player or that to be dropped, but while there were some very, very ordinary performances in this game, the fact is still unanswered….who would you bring into the side to replace them?  JKH, Wagner x2? Or others that have been tried and failed when given the chance earlier in the season.

Our stocks are at an all time low.  Yet, we just lost out in this game with a squad of beaten up players with too good a smattering of NQR’s filling the g

If only one thing is certain, then it is that when we have a half decent group on the field, it will be The Grand Old Flag that will be sung instead of some concocted drivel….but equally that will probably not happen again until next year.

Melbourne 3.2.20 6.4.40  7.7.49 9.12.66

Western Bulldogs 3.3.21 6.5.41 7.13.55 10.14.74

Goals

Melbourne Petty 3 Fritsch 2 Dunkley Hunt Lewis Petracca

Western Bulldogs Dunkley Lloyd R Smith 2 Hunter Richards Schache B Smith

Best

Melbourne Gawn Viney Salem May Petty Harmes

Western Bulldogs Dunkley Hunter Duryea Macrae Lloyd Bontempelli

Injuries

Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs McLean (hamstring)

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs Nil

Umpires Dalgleish, Williamson, Mitchell

Official crowd 26,781 at Marvel Stadium

ReportRd172019.png

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