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SOCIAL DISTANCING by George on the Outer

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It was good to see the MFC players practicing the directives about social distancing at the game against West Coast.  Pity was that they continued to do so after the first bounce of the ball, as they allowed numerous WCE players run around un-hindered, with not a Melbourne player within 1.5 metres of them!

They then found themselves looking at nearly a 5 goal deficit at the first break, which was to be essentially the final margin for the game. It is difficult to judge exactly what is going on when only viewed from an armchair in front of the TV, but there was too much of the “ same old, same old” problems that the Demon fans have been witnessing now for many years…….

Selection table:

WCE have 3 of the best tall defenders in the competition, in Barass, McGovern and Hurn.  If you want to beat them you MUST play 3 equivalent talls, and keep creating contests.  We had Brown, T.Mac and ??  Then to make it even worse we use T.Mac as the back-up ruck.  Small wonder that WCE trio had 30 marks between them!  

As a double dose of the failure to have an extra tall, we added an extra small.  How do you play Pickett, Bedford, Spargo, and ANB in the same forward line? Pickett and Bedford showed their worth, but ANB ran around and ran around for half a game and then was not sighted, while Charlie kept kicking the ball to the opposition.

Forward line delivery:

Even if we had a sensible match-up pre game in the forward line, the delivery to those forwards was simply appalling, but much the same as we saw in 2019.  Then the excuse was having to play 2nd rate players due to injury, but that wasn’t the case in this match.  Again and again the long high bomb into the forward 50 resulted either in the Barass, McGovern, Hurn trio intercepting or a 1 on 1 contest.  Bayley Fritsch had no hope of getting his hands on it if he is giving away either 10 cm to Barass and McGovern or 10 kg to Hurn.  

Goal kicking:

Over the summer, the fans were promised more accurate goal kicking.  Proof should be in the pudding, but Melbourne kicked 2 goals 5 behinds from set shots in this game.  Reverse that and the game would have evenly matched.  And according to the commentators we managed to record our first goal-less quarter for 3 seasons in the opening stanza.  Nothing to be proud of there….

Slow starts:

More of the same, with 5 easy goals kicked by WC before we troubled the goal umpire.  Was anyone on Liam Ryan in that first quarter?  The damage was being done by the WC smalls.  Darling and Kennedy managed only a solitary goal for the whole match, and credit must go to our backs for that, but the lack of commitment and willingness to negate their mids in particular was telling.  The result was the match was over barely after it started, but to those that have followed the Demons they are well and truly familiar with this scenario.

So what were the positives from this game.  It all came down to a couple of great individual efforts and a turnaround with the defensive unit under May.  
Jack Viney showed what is needed to put this team on a winning trajectory.  34 touches and a return to his hard at it approach and relentless willingness to get the ball filled the fans with pride.  Pity was that as a mid, he was on his own.  Oliver and Brayshaw did little all day while Max was utterly and completely beaten by Natanui in the ruck.  He beat Nicnat around the ground, but the first use of the ball in the centre was all one way traffic for the Eagles.  

The backline was almost at full strength for the first time.  May shut down Kennedy completely who only managed 4 touches for the whole game.  Darling, likewise, was beaten by Oscar with only 8 touches and a solitary goal.  This left Lever to do his thing as 3rd man up, who just kept getting the fist in to deny those forwards the marking opportunity.  

If you were told before the game that at full time Darling and Kennedy had only kicked 1 goal between them for the game, one would rightly ask how much Melbourne won by?  

But there must remain questions around the rest of the backs.  Jetta looked well away from his best ( was he on Ryan?)  Hibberd kept bombing the ball directly to opposition defenders.  Harmes was needed more in his traditional role in the middle to shut down the likes of Shuey or Sheed, but that was never done.   

What was shown in this game was a repeat of the past failings, but with nearly a full list to choose from, the result was the same.  

Well with the season effectively finished after one game ( despite what Gil might think), there is a chance for the heirarchy to go away and think about a different approach to who and how they will play the game.

If they don’t then more social distancing will be needed to keep the fans away from banging down the doors at the Club.

P.S. Is there the slightest chance the AFL can stop putting Western Australian umpires in charge of West Australian games?

WEST COAST  5.1   7.3   11.6   12.6 (78)

MELBOURNE  0.4   3.6   5.9   7.9 (51)

GOALS

West Coast: Ryan 3, Ah Chee 2, Sheed 2, Gaff, Kelly, Jetta, Darling, Petruccelle

Melbourne: Pickett 2, T.McDonald 2, Viney, Neal-Bullen, Melksham

BEST

West Coast: Naitanui, Gaff, Sheed, Ah Chee, Shuey, Ryan, Hurn

Melbourne: Viney, May, Pickett, O.McDonald, Petracca, Langdon

INJURIES

West Coast: Nil

Melbourne: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires:  Dalgleish, Findlay, Dore

Official Crowd: 0 at Optus Stadium

ReportRd012020.png

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