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A SCRAPPY, SLOPPY SUCCESS by George on the Outer



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After what seemed like an eternity without Footy in Melbourne, the Demons and their fans produced a scrappy, sloppy yet successful return to the MCG.

Yet is was against an interstate team from the furthest reaches of the country, but the 21K fans who made it through the gates, was way below expectations for numbers.  Sure it can’t have helped with all the difficulty that Ticketek imposed just to get a ticket, and since you just couldn’t walk up, perhaps the number wasn’t that surprising.

For those that turned up, all their efforts were hardly cause for excitement, as the Demons, while running out eventual winners by 22 points, had put on a display which simply lacked polish and execution of some basic skills. 

This wasn’t the showpiece of AFL football at its best, as Fremantle matched the sloppiness themselves, and watched on as the Demons had kicked 6 majors in the first quarter and a bit, before they troubled the goal-umpires two fingers.

This continued for the remainder of the game, with Melbourne increasing their lead, only to see it whittled back again, then increased again.  Both sides could only register kicking percentages of 44% in front of goal making for an ordinary outcome for work up the field. The Demons always seemed in control of the game, but just didn’t show the “anger” which they claimed to have and emphatically put away the opposition.

Still Melbourne were able to bank the points, to record their first Round 1 win in 4 years, and Fremantle is one of the sides that they will have to beat and stay ahead of in the Premiership and Finals race.

Down back, supporters should be grateful to the recruitment team who had brought Steven May and Jake Lever to the club.  May would have to have been BOG with his 24 possessions, 8 marks and 8 intercepts.  Ably backed up by Lever with 18 touches and 5 rebound 50’s the pair repelled the Fremantle attacks time and time again. With Tomlinson showing much more confidence and reading of the play than previously seen, and Nev Jetta and Christian Salem producing their usual gritty performances, the backline really held their own.

In the middle it was a mixed bag.  Rotations were hard to fathom, as we saw Jordon, Sparrow, Oliver, Petracca, ANB, Pickett and Harmes all in there at some stage, yet Brayshaw was never given time, and Jones only got the last 5 minutes of the game.
 
Perhaps the coach was trying to give the young ones exposure, but it was really sloppy all-round, especially since Gawn was emphatically delivering the ball with 30 hitouts while his opponent barely managed 13.

The forward line was notable for not being a forward line.  The absence of Ben Brown and Weidemann left us with Jackson and McDonald as the only two talls. Then we did the old rob Peter to pay Paul, when Jackson doubled in the ruck. Tom McDonald did well and provided the target necessary, but he can’t run the whole show, and we look forward to when we have more than the one big up forward, and the rucks can rest on the bench.

Fritsch chimed in with his usual two goals, but still had a number of easy set shots not converted. He wasn’t alone and as stated before, when the conversion rate from set shots is 44%, it doesn’t make for a pretty spectacle. And those shots weren’t difficult ones, rather a majority inside 40m and very gettable. Those chances will have to be successfully converted against better sides.

With the next game against the Saints, there were a number of players who left question marks against their performances.  Jayden Hunt looked all at sea again as a defender, and if he can’t produce his run and carry, then he is of little value. ANB and Harmes were good at times, and then shocking, with both unable to hit targets at critical times.  They will get another chance, but cannot continue with that sort of inconsistency.

Without injury from this game, and with Viney, Hibberd, Melksham and Daw all putting in claims following the Casey practice match, there could be a number of changes to come. 

MELBOURNE 4.4.28 7.6.48 9.8.68 11.14.80

FREMANTLE 0.4.4 3.8.26 6.9.45 8.10.58
 
GOALS
 
Melbourne Fritsch McDonald Petracca 2 Harmes Jordon Langdon Pickett Spargo
 
Fremantle Taberner 3 Blakely Brayshaw Henry Schultz Switkowski
 
BEST
 
Melbourne May Langdon Lever Petracca Oliver McDonald
 
Fremantle Brayshaw Cerra Serong Ryan Aish
 
INJURIES
 
Melbourne Nil
 
Fremantle Pearce knee Hamling ankle

REPORTS

Melbourne Nil
 
Fremantle Nil
 
SUBSTITUTES
 
Melbourne Chandler unused
 
Fremantle Giro replaced Pearce
 
UMPIRES DeBoy Stephens Harris
 
CROWD 21,365 at the MCG

ReportRd012021.png

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