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THE TORRENS THUMPING 2.0 by GOTO



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Once again the banks of Adelaide’s Torrens River witnessed the Melbourne Football Club handing out another on-field thumping to its opponent. This time the hapless victim was North Melbourne and given it was only the club’s second win against them since 2007, it was a very satisfying outcome.

The Demons got off to a slow start once again, looking listless from their four day break, a situation that wasn’t helped by Sam Weideman and Christian Petracca missing easy set shots. At the first break, they trailed by 10 points after conceding a goal after the siren.

North’s lead was short-lived as Melbourne came out firing and despite dominating the opposition they conceded a late goal again in the second term but managed a goal after the siren to Weideman to take a 5 point lead into the half-time break.

The question was raised as to whether the team was tiring because of the short break? It was hard to tell, for while they were in front on the scoreboard, they were still making mistakes that let the opposition keep on the score-board pressure.

After half time however, Melbourne opened up the gap that it needed as Petracca showed the way with his hustling and bustling putting constant pressure around the ball. He was ably assisted in the midfield by Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw who were also damaging around the packs as they went about setting the tone for the final quarter showdown.

The dam wall broke in that final quarter and the Petracca, Oliver and Brayshaw show went viral: Christian and Gus with 29 touches and Clayton picking up 31 possessions for the evening. When your three main mids are each getting in the vicinity of 30 disposals then something is going to happen — and it did and the club posted it’s second 50 plus point victory in four days.

And it happened without Max Gawn in ruck! In his place, Luke Jackson led the rucks and followed up his Rising Star nomination from a few days ago with another fine game. Coming up against Todd Goldstein, he might have only managed five hitouts, but he completely nullified Goldstein with this second efforts and clearances. The North ruckman should have had a field day against an 18-year-old, but it was not the case.  To take the heat off the young kid, Tom McDonald filled in when needed and actually beat Majak Daw as North’s second ruck with 13 touches and like Jackson, just cleared the space for the other mids to do their job.

With everything working in the final quarter, and North having players lining up to see the club doctor, the Demons just thumped the ball forward and peppered the goal face. Unfortunately, they continued to pepper the behinds more than the goals, but a final quarter score of 6 goals 6 behinds delivered the thumping that was needed to keep the team in the finals race.

The inaccurate kicking needs to be rectified in some way, with easy set shots missed from very gettable range. Other oppositions will not allow that sort of luxury, and without the scoreboard pressure, games will be lost. And Melbourne simply cannot afford to lose too many before the season end if it is to feature in finals.

Still, Weidemann kicked 2, Fritsch 2 and finally the mids made a contribution this week, with Petracca, Brayshaw and Oliver all posting majors. 

Down back the “Firm Four” of May, Lever, Hibberd, Salem  worked like clockwork to deny North multiple opportunities. The Kangaroos only managed two goals after quarter time to reflect the dominance of the Demon defence though North’s Larkey managed four for the game. 

The inclusion of Trent Rivers and Charlie Spargo was a positive, with both acquitting themselves well.  Spargo in particular cannot be questioned as he, like Pickett creates opportunities for others with the pressure that they apply.  Looks like those small forward positions are cemented for a couple of weeks at least.

Rivers is only raw, but he plays far beyond his years.  His calmness and kicking ability complements Salem on the other side of the ground, and 14 touches with 6 marks is a good achievement for someone so young.

North tried the Kick and Chip method that Geelong employed against Melbourne earlier this year. But without the talent, they simply lacked the surety to penetrate the defensive structures set up by the Demons.  And once again this week, they were unable to switch the ball across the ground, due to the running ability of the two wingers in Langdon and Tomlinson. 

Coming into this game North had won only one less game than Melbourne.  Like last week, the season was all on the line for the Demons. Lose this and it was as good as over. Win by falling in by a small margin, and it would be insufficient to be taken seriously as a finals challenger.

What was needed was a decisive thumping and that is what Melbourne handed out, to the tune of 57 points, backing up the 51 point beating of Adelaide in it’s last game.

Let me emphasize that makes it two thumping wins in four days to get the Demon fans’ hearts thumping again strongly with expectation. Their team now sits just outside the top eight with a percentage that is competitive with the sides just above them. 

The next match is against the old enemy, Collingwood, a game not to be lost since every post has to be a winner to keep in touch with the team is in the top eight. The game to be played at the Gabba looks like being one that may well shape the club’s season.

In any event, after the two thumpings in recent days, a return to Adelaide for a final or two would not be unwelcome.

MELBOURNE 1.4.10 4.7.31 7.8.50 13.14.92

NORTH MELBOURNE 3.2.20 4.2.26 5.4.34 5.5.35

GOALS

Melbourne Fritsch Weideman 2 Brayshaw Hannan T McDonald Melksham Oliver Petracca Pickett Spargo Swallow

North Melbourne Larkey 4 Daw

BEST

Melbourne Petracca Brayshaw Oliver Langdon Pickett Lever Weideman

North Melbourne McDonald Larkey Dumont Davies-Uniacke Goldstein Higgins

INJURIES

Melbourne Nil

North Melbourne Anderson (eye) Bonar (left shoulder) Walker (head knock/leg)

REPORTS

Melbourne Nil

North Melbourne Nil

UMPIRES Chris Donlon Hayden Gavine Paul Rebeschini

VENUE Adelaide Oval

ReportRd112020.png

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