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PRACTICE PUMMELLING by George on the Outer



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Was this a practice for what lay ahead for the Demons in 2021 or was it an outcome to expect because it was used as a true practice game?

Those of us on the outside will never know, but a 39 point loss to the Western Bulldogs was a pummelling in anyone’s language. We can draw some consolation from the players that Melbourne put on the field, with Toby Bedford, Jake Bowey, Kade Chandler, James Jordon and Tom Sparrow each getting a guernsey whereas they probably would not normally be in the first 22 selected.

However, it would be remiss to dismiss the Bulldogs as a full-strength side, with Johannisen, Treloar, and Easton Wood not playing.  Still, the Demons without Clayton Oliver, Angus Brayshaw and Jack Viney missing from the midfield left the side without any grunt out of the middle and it was not surprising the one way clearance statistics in favour of the Bulldogs.

Furthermore, the lack of delivery from the engine room left the forwards without any real chances.  But just as equally the lack of output, even with limited opportunities is something to truly worry about, leading into Round 1 without Ben Brown and Sam Weideman.  Tom McDonald didn’t take a mark inside forward 50 until the last quarter, and goals only came from the likes of Alex Neal-Bullen and Bayley Fritsch. We simply didn’t have a target, and it was surprising that Luke Jackson wasn’t given more time in front of goals. This was the chance to trial an option, and Goodwin didn’t do so.

The 39 point difference was probably giving too much credit to the Demons, who without Steven May and Jake Lever, would have easily faced a 15 goal defeat.  But it was a practice match, wasn’t it?  Not really serious?  Or is it an excuse?

What was obvious were the deficiencies exposed by the Dogs.  Nev Jetta unfortunately, doesn’t have the speed of the game within his grasp, and was exposed time and time again by younger legs. Adam Tomlinson likewise leaves a lot to be desired as a back, when he doesn’t have feel for the game, unlike someone like Trent Rivers, who has now cemented that spot on the half-back line. 
What else did we learn? Well James Harmes is a mid first and foremost. Enough with experiments, he held his own in the middle. And while we tried Jordan and Sparrow in there, we also tried ANB who isn’t a mid or a useful tagger.  And we didn’t try Nathan Jones who is.  We thought it was a practice match?

Defensively we were good, even all around the ground and at half-time were only 3 points down.  But then the dam wall broke, and once again our lack of forward scoring pressure of any sort simply saw the Dogs have a party.  It was promising to see us come back late in the first half and toward the end, so the fitness levels don’t seem to be a major concern.

Other games in this meagre competition have shown that games will be seen with far greater scores.  And this is a real concern, because based on this match we don’t.  What can be done?  It was a practice match and options like Harry Petty up forward, weren’t even played. 
From the coaches box, we couldn’t gain much confidence.  It took a quarter to shut down Caleb Daniel, as if no-one knows how the Dogs play through him.  It took another quarter to get Harmes onto Bontompelli. 

Did we gain anything from this?  Perhaps the only thing was impressing on the playing list of what standard is required to be serious contenders. 

Perhaps we need more practice ...

MELBOURNE 2.2 5.5 6.6 10.7 (67)

WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.6 5.8 11.11 15.16 (106)

GOALS

Melbourne Fritsch 3 Neal-Bullen 2 Chandler Gawn Jones Petracca Sparrow

Western Bulldogs Bontempelli Lipinski 3 Bruce Dale Scott 2 English McNeil Smith

BEST

Melbourne May Lever Gawn Fritsch Petracca Langdon

Western Bulldogs Bontempelli Macrae Daniel Lipinski Dunkley Liberatore

INJURIES

Melbourne Lockhart (testicle) May (neck/head)

Western Bulldogs Naughton (forearm) Vandermeer (corked hip)

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Western Bulldogs Nil

Crowd 7,931 at Marvel Stadium

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