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PACK YOUR BAGS by George on The Outer

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The scene was captured by the TV camera’s before the match with a view of the Melbourne side’s bags packed next to the team bus to facilitate their flight up north to the AFL hub where they will play their next matches.

However, on the basis of the efforts against Richmond, unless things change, and change rapidly, there will be some who will be told to pack their bags on a more permanent basis.

Once again, the supporters got much the same story from this match against Richmond, as they have heard for the past 12 months, and certainly a complete unchanged replica of all the games in 2020.  Once again, in nearly every statistic, the Demons won the count, yet couldn’t get within nearly five goals of the opposition at the final bell.

Once again, the coach persisted with a solitary tall forward, and it is obvious from the lack of scoring from the forward line in general, that it isn’t working.  Commentators after the match praised Tom McDonald for his workmanlike ethic of hard running, bustling and repeat efforts, but he is operating in a solo capacity.  Around him there is nothing else. And certainly nothing with flair.

Jake Melksham and Jayden Hunt managed the grand total of 7 touches between the two of them.  If it wasn’t for hanging out the back getting cheap kicks, Melksham wouldn’t have touched the ball at all, even though he was gifted two goals.  Hunt despite all his foot speed, was never to be seen.  And while Kossie Pickett was in everything, he only had 5 touches, which can be overlooked considering his work efforts. 

But that is half the forward line who only touched the ball 12 times in the whole game!

Thank goodness that TMac, Fritsch and Hannan made the most of their opportunities to make the score-line looks something respectable, although 52 points in total is never going to look anything like that, in truth.

And to make things worse, Richmond bring in Noah Balta in his first game for the year, and only 14th of his career to fill the hole of Astbury, and he picks up 20 touches and 8 marks against these same “forwards” of Melbourne.  Or to put it another way, one kid had more touches than three Melbourne players.

Now let’s talk about the mids … all those possessions, and only Max Gawn put something past the goal umpire … 1 behind!  It’s bad enough when the forwards aren’t performing, but the mids have to provide something, anything.  Their opponents in Lambert, Martin and Higgins produced five goals in their winning score. 

Even though there was a serious lack of contribution, with even the commentators noting that nine Melbourne players had less than three touches in the first quarter, the Demons had a chance to take this game. 

Sadly, they just kept giving the ball back to the Tigers players, predominantly in uncontested and unforced scenarios.  Today, those type of turnovers just kill a side, as the defence is totally out of position, and it destroys any momentum that might have been built up.  Call it what you may, but these were simply unforced skill errors, and Richmond capitalized on them to maximum advantage.

Even in the last quarter with Richmond having only one un-injured player on the bench, Melbourne could only outscore them by two points.  Opportunities were thrown away again and again. 

The backs, despite the lack of effort up-field held the side together.  Hibberd, Salem and May were three of the side’s top six possession getters, which shouldn’t be the case, but thankfully they were as they repelled attack after attack. 

Unfortunately, Joel Smith continues to be the weak link in the armour.  Twice he spoiled May and Lever in marking contests, only to see the ball go out the back for an easy Richmond goal, and topped it off with a kick into the opposition player just in front of goal, to result in another major.  Sadly, he doesn’t have the mindset required for a defender and in close games these critical errors are alone the difference between winning and losing.

This side has won a solitary game in 12 months, and that by a single point against a side who have occupied the bottom of the ladder for as long as we have.  The perennial joke about Melbourne supporters packing their bags and heading to the snow at this time of year has substance, when they would otherwise have to watch what is being served up to them on the football field. 

With forty fit players to choose from there had better be changes next week.  There are players who should be told not to bother unpacking.  And there are others who should be told to pack your bags and get up here as quickly as possible.  Because after only four games for this side, the 2020 season is fast looking like a repeat of 2019.

MELBOURNE 3.1.19 3.2.20 5.2.32 8.4.52

RICHMOND 3.2.20 7.3.45 9.7.61 12.7.79

GOALS

Melbourne Hannan 3 Fritsch Melksham 2 T McDonald

Richmond Lambert Lynch 3 Castagna Higgins Martin Nankervis Riewoldt Rioli

BEST (FROM THE AGE)

Melbourne Gawn Oliver Petracca Langdon May Hibberd

Richmond Lambert Prestia Cotchin Caddy Martin Castagna

INJURIES

Melbourne Nil

Richmond Nankervis (ankle) Prestia (ankle), Cotchin (hamstring)

REPORTS

Melbourne Nil

Richmond Nil

UMPIRES Gavine, Foot, Findlay, Power

VENUE MCG

ReportRd052020.png

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