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LESSONS IN LOSING by George on the Outer



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Turn up for the game and look like you want to win it.  Melbourne lost this game to Geelong, a game after a couple of extended breaks, looking like they were at the end of a 22 game season.

Right from the start there was a lack of intensity across the board, as the Demons played exactly the type of game that the ageing Geelong list wanted. Geelong repeatedly played possession footy, to avoid having to run those ageing legs, something that Melbourne failed to exploit.  To use the oft quoted phrase “take the game on”.

Where was the enthusiasm? Where was the killer instinct?  Where was the fast start that has characterized the winning sides in this reduced competition?

The whole game only saw a maximum margin of 17 points between the sides, something that could have been easily breached if Melbourne had applied pressure from the start, not just in the last quarter when they  managed to nearly kick the same score as they had in the previous three quarters. It was too late and while they had chances, even in the final minute of the game, they were always chasing from behind.

It is hard to understand just what the coach was thinking.  It was blindingly obvious that Geelong were kicking the ball around in circles, for ¾ of the game, just to keep it in their hands.  And yet the team were running a wide zone defence.  It’s not something that can be done on the MCG!

Simple solution is man on man, even for a short time.  Just force them to kick down the line.  But no, we had to watch it going on and going on again.

Once again, the Melbourne forward line failed and failed in a monumental way.  The notion of running a small forward line against solid defenders like Stewart, Tuohy and Blicavs was just fraught with danger.  It was a similar result as the WCE game in round 1. 

Fritsch cannot be expected to compete in the air against someone taller than him.  No point planning to have the talls bring the ball to ground, when they never get their hands to it in the first place, because we don’t have enough talls!

TMac kept presenting and fortunately proved to have stronger shoulders than Stewart when he tried to bump him off the ball.  Melksham continued to provide nothing, which has been his hallmark for the season.  More importantly he provides no defensive efforts, and it was easy to see where the Geelong run and possession from the backline started….his man!

Even Hunt disappeared for most of the game, and it was fortunate we had Pickett terrorizing the opposition every time he went near the ball, as there was so little forward pressure from others during the game.

Finally, being 3 goals down at ¾ time forced changes.  Brayshaw, who had spent inordinate time on the bench created turnovers and kicked a telling goal to bring the side to within 4 points.  Why is he being held off the ground for so long?

With a minute to go Melbourne had two kicks from the 50 m mark. Salem, normally a good kick walked the ball to that point courtesy of a 50 m penalty.  That only allowed the opposition to fall back into the arc and block any chances.  No urgency again.  Tomlinson’s final shot from 50m unfortunately went wide and denied Melbourne the win.

This is only a 17 game season.  8 or 9 wins get you into the finals, but you can’t afford to gift games to teams around your level.  And this game was gifted to Geelong.

Geelong scored 2 of their goals simply because the Melbourne mids failed to fill the hole at the 50m arc, or have the awareness of their opponents when Geelong were kicking for goal.  Luke Dalhaus cannot kick more than 40 m, so you don’t let Patrick Dangerfield stand alongside him un-marked.

Similarly a Mitch Duncan mark inside 50 was because there wasn’t a Melbourne mid minding him.  Without those 2 easy goals given away the match would have gone the other way.

The experiment with Smith down back has also badly failed. Sadly, he just doesn’t have the defensive mind set required for playing in that part of the ground.  His athleticism and height should be used up forward, and we certainly need something else up there at the moment.  Lockhart had a “mare” of a game, with 3 holding the ball decisions paid against him.  For someone who is a natural footballer, he looked to be trying to do too much.

Hibberd came back, and made some telling possessions, particularly in the final quarter, while overall you can’t complain about a defence that only allows the opposition to kick 7 goals for the game.

It was just that Melbourne kept finding ways to lose the game.  The coach is now seriously under the microscope, as are his assistants, who seem incapable of recognizing failings on the day, and adapting and re-organising.  But unless he can instill the motivation in this side to want to win, then he is already taking the steps toward the exit door.

MELBOURNE 0.1.1 2.3.15 3.5.23 6.8.44

GEELONG 2.1.13 2.2.14 6.4.40 7.5.47

GOALS

Melbourne Brayshaw 2 Fritsch Hunt McDonald Petracca

Geelong Dangerfield Duncan Fort Guthrie Hawkins Parfitt Ratugolea

BEST

Melbourne Brayshaw Gawn Viney Oliver Petracca Tomlinson

Geelong Guthrie Dangerfield Parfitt Blicavs Menegola Duncan

INJURIES

Melbourne Nil

Geelong Stewart (collarbone)

REPORTS

Melbourne Nil

Geelong Nil

VENUE

MCG

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