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RED AND BLUEPRINT 2019 by Whispering Jack

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The rusty red of the McDonnell Ranges and the blue skies above them provided the perfect backdrop that summed up everything about the Melbourne Football Club’s 2019 season. It set out the perfect red and blueprint for the club’s horror year.

The club’s previous season was one of great promise but it ended in a calamitous way in Perth with an 11 goal defeat at the hands of the ultimate premiership side, the West Coast Eagles in a game where the Demons’ first goal came early in the third quarter. The hope for 2019 was for betterment but it hasn’t occurred.

In fact, the team nosedived and now sits in 17th place on the AFL ladder mired in a season where very little has gone right with a pattern setting in of constant injury woes, an inability to convert goals when going forward and a propensity to leak goals to opponents who were able to score with accuracy because there was insufficient pressure applied on them. That is their red and blueprint.

Melbourne’s two games against the Eagles - in Perth and in Alice Springs have both produced similar outcomes.

Round 9 - West Coast 13.7.85 defeat Melbourne 9.15.69

Round 18 -  West Coast 14.7.91 defeat Melbourne 11.12.78

On each occasion, the inaccurate Demons led at the final break by a narrow margin that should have been much greater and on each occasion, they were overrun in the end. You can lead in most of the key performance indicators but in the end, if you don’t convert - and the Demons were dismal in this regard in the opening term yesterday, then you don’t win. Losing one of your skippers through concussion before the opening half is over doesn’t help.

Melbourne won in the disposal count (362 - 321), contested possessions, hit outs, clearances, tackles and shots at goal. It lost the free kick count and of course, the battle for accuracy in front of goal. The Demons were determined, the Eagles unconvincing for a top two contender but they got the chocolates at TIO Traeger Park.

Melbourne did well to come back from a sizable deficit in the early stages of the second quarter to trail by a single point at half time and lead by a goal at the final break but it should have done so much better.

The comeback was inspired by the slight figure of Bailey Fritsch who might still have been smarting from that late miss against the Bulldogs last miss that could have changed the outcome of that game. In Alice Springs and without injured key forwards Tom McDonald and Sam Weideman and with goalsneaks Jake Melksham and Jeff Garlett out of the picture, he stood up with four goals. He was helped by the persistency of Clayton Oliver with 34 touches and the Christians, Salem and Petracca who provided great drive throughout.

But the Demons’ paid heavily for several early misses in front of goal which of course have been the red and blueprint for the entire season.

And the irony would not have been missed when Dom Sheed’s rolling kick for goal iced the game for his team late in the game. It brought to mind a similar rolling kick for goal by the Demons a few weeks ago that stopped dead millimetres short of the goal line.

That’s been the story of the season. Everything falls short and stops dead - nothing goes right. Next week the Demons face up to the Saints. Ten days ago that might have been a simple assignment but thanks to the sacking and replacement of their coach, they are suddenly full of confidence and resurgent. They’ll probably match the accuracy of their earlier win this season when they kicked 15.5.95. It’s all part of the red and blueprint.

Melbourne 1.5.11 7.8.50 10.10.70 11.12.78

West Coast 5.1.31 8.3.51 10.4.64 14.7.91

Goals

Melbourne Fritsch 4 Lewis C Wagner 2 Oliver Petty Viney

West Coast Darling 4 Kennedy Petruccelle 2 Allen Rioli Ryan Sheed Yeo Waterman

Best

Melbourne Oliver Fritsch Harmes Salem Petracca Lewis

West Coast Darling Sheed Gaff Yeo Redden Jetta

Injuries

Melbourne Viney (concussion)

West Coast Shannon Hurn (calf) replaced in selected side by Francis Watson

Reports

Melbourne Nil

West Coast Nil

Umpires Donlon, Deboy, Glouftsis

Official crowd 7,164 at TIO Traeger Park

ReportRd182019.png

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