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WASH, RINSE, SPIN, REPEAT! by George On The Outer



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Although the Demons got over the line in their must win final round game against the hapless Bombers, they ensured it was Groundhog Day for their supporters who well remember what happened three years ago (although, this time they at least enjoyed the success of victory).

Melbourne had its customary start dominating play and having plenty of chances in front of goal, only to find itself down on the scoreboard at the first change. Inaccurate kicking, particularly from set shots would have put the game beyond doubt even at that point, but a miserable one goal four behinds was a poor outcome for its troubles. Easy set shots from inside 40 metres from Bayley Fritsch (2) and Charlie Spargo should have been the game breakers their kicks went astray.

And again, in what was to be a rinse and repeat, the Demons conceded a goal to the opposition in the dying minute of the quarter. It was to be the same at the end of the third term as concentration seemed to lapse after players thought the job was done.

Fortunately, the Demons were able to blow the game away in the second quarter with five unanswered goals that came of the back of open running and attack through the corridor. Steven May in particular was the starting impetus from the backline on two occasions for moves that resulted in Melbourne goals. Ed Langdon on the wing was always the outlet man and he kept on thrusting the ball into the forward 50.

Finally, Fritsch and Jayden Hunt were able to find the big sticks and by game end they scored seven of the team’s 10 goals.

Taking a 28 point lead into the final change, it could be expected that the Demons had this one in the bag. But no, not Melbourne which reverted to trying to save the game instead of winning it. This had begun in the third quarter and was simply the wrong tactic in a game where Melbourne had been so adventurous earlier in the piece. Previously Essendon had no answer, but with the change in tactic, they were provided with a solution.

In that final quarter the Dons managed to whittle the deficit down to 13 points with over five inutes to play. Even when Hunt restored the lead back to 19 points, Essendon came back instantly to reduce the margin again. They continued to attack but the final turning point came when Trent Rivers tackled an Essendon player to win the ball back at a critical juncture in the game.

Another snap goal from Fritsch, against four Essendon defenders who failed to clear the goal square, and the game was sewn up.

Despite the win, it was hardly convincing as once again, multiple players showed little output on the field. Jake Melksham had to be moved to the midfield to get him involved and was tagging Shiel at the first bounce. At the end of the game he had amassed the grand total of eight touches and once again, zero tackles! Much the same as for the previous 16 games!

Down back Joel Smith fails to inspire, simply because he doesn’t read the play and the ball in flight. No surprise his opponent kicked three of Essendons goals and singlehandedly almost put them back in the game — yet another experiment gone wrong.

Sam Weideman was disappointing with seven touches and once again zero score. This is our full forward, who doesn’t score, and without second efforts! It’s sharp contrast to Mitch Brown alongside him. Brown is a 30 year old on a one year contract but he managed 20 touches including 13 marks, as well playing as a back-up ruck and finding himself in defence at times!

So the team put itself in contention for a finals spot, but now must hope that Fremantle can defeat the Western Bulldogs to achieve that. What a waste those games against Sydney and Fremantle have been? A win in either would have guaranteed that elusive finals spot.

If the Dockers are unable to do the job for us, then season 2020 will be simply a wash, rinse and repeat ... again. Same as 2017 and that would not be surprising, since the team is still playing the same way, with the same approach within games.

The coach spoke of being ruthless just a week ago. Ruthless is taking a 28 point half-time lead and turning it into a 10 goal win. Ruthless will be doing the clean out of those non-performers, because the Demons supporters are tired of the spin and repeats.

MELBOURNE 1.4.10 6.6.42 7.7.49 10.8.68

ESSENDON 2.0.12 2.2.14 3.3.21 7.7.49

GOALS

Melbourne Hunt 4 Fritsch 3 Neal-Bullen 2 Petracca

Essendon Stewart 3 Laverde Shiel Smith Stringer

BEST

Melbourne Petracca Gawn Oliver Viney Fritsch May

Essendon Parish Merrett Shiel Langford Stewart Saad

INJURED

Melbourne Nil

Essendon Nil

REPORTED

Melbourne Nil

Essendon Nil

UMPIRES Hayden Gavine, Ray Chamberlain, Nathan Williamson

VENUE Metricon Stadium

ReportRd182020.png

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