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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT by George on the Outer



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A 34-point win in the nation’s capital has seen the Demons kill the Giants hopes early in the 2021 season. It wasn’t only the scoreboard, but a succession of injuries to major players for GWS that has put paid to their aspirations.

The winning result wasn’t just due to the opposition losing players, but also to the relentless pressure from this 2021 Melbourne side that put them in the winners circle. In past years, a 16 point deficit at the first change combined with a rampant Toby Greene with two majors to his name would have foretold a far different result for the Demons.

But not for this side as they tightened up in the second quarter, shut Greene down temporarily, and started to kick straight in front of goal. Tom McDonald and Bailey Fritsch hadn’t touched ball in the first quarter, but finally Kysaiah Pickett showed the others where the big sticks lay. Clayton Oliver had taken a beating from Matt DeBoer and others, and had yet to shake the tag, but that caused others in the mid-field to take up the responsibility. 

The Demons’ situation was made easier when GWS lost Coniglio and Davis before ½ time and they went into the major break just two points adrift. That minor scoreboard deficiency was removed within seconds in the third quarter, and Pickett put in another contender for Goal of the Year to lift team spirits even further. Oliver was sent forward to break the tags, and unfortunately couldn’t kick straight to drive the dagger into the GWS hearts. But worse came for them when DeBoer left the field with yet another injury, and the pressure was off. 

The Demons should have put the Giants to the sword, but continued to give them opportunities with a couple of silly errors. Still, they took an 18 point lead into the final quarter to continue the turn-around. The injuries continued for GWS with Keefe and Daniels playing out the game, but barely able to put up more than a trot. 

The dam wall broke, and Pickett continued his startling form to finish with 4 goals for the game, and certainly being the reason for a couple more attributed to team-mates.  A 34 point victory continue the winning start to the season to put the Demons at 3-0, something not achieved since 2005. 

Around the ground, Max Gawn showed the way as captain with 24 disposals, but importantly 6 contested marks out of 9 total, and then two goals to his name. A different game plan sees him roaming the backline and now forward line, because Luke Jackson is proving to be more than capable in the rucking role, with 10 hitouts and 15 touches as a back-up to Max.  This will become more critical in future games, since two mobile ruckmen creates huge nightmares for opposition. 

The forwards still struggle, particularly Tom McDonald, who looked injured similar to last year. Unable to accelerate and jump off the ground he could only manage 3 marks and 8 disposals for the game. Fortunately, Fritsch came back from a slow start to finish with 3 majors, and the mids finally made some contributions with Christian Petracca, Alex Neal-Bullen, Jackson, Angus Brayshaw, James Jordon and of course Gawn all making the goal umpire do some work. 

Like many other teams this round, the backline wasn’t as strong as we have come to expect. There were dropped marks and too many easy “out the back” goals to the Giants. Are we seeing the exposure of the zone defence, as teams are able to move the ball into the forward line more quickly and are able to change up options in front of them? 

Now after three rounds, there are only three undefeated teams, Melbourne being one of them. The importance of putting wins ”in the bank” should be well known to this club, and to date they have achieved that. 

They may have killed the Giants, a team with regular final appearances in recent history, but it is a long season.  There will be no better KPI for the team when they face Geelong in the next round. They also have been regulars at the pointy end of the season, and have loaded up with veterans from other clubs in an attempt to continue that. 

Do the Demons have the capital to continue their successful run, and in doing so gain the interest of their supporters and critics? 

MELBOURNE 2.3.15 6.5.41 10.7.67 15.12.102

GWS GIANTS 5.1.31 7.1.43 8.1.49 11.2.68

GOALS

Melbourne Pickett 4 Fritsch 3 Gawn 2 Brayshaw Jackson Jordan Neal-Bullen Petracca Spargo

GWS Giants Greene 5 Kelly 2 Green Himmelberg Hopper O’Halloran

BEST

Melbourne Gawn Viney Hunt Brayshaw Pickett Langdon

GWS Giants Taranto Greene Kelly Ash Haynes Hopper

INJURIES

Melbourne Nil

GWS Giants Davis (ankle), Coniglio (ankle), de Boer (hamstring)

REPORTS

Melbourne Nil

GWS Giants Nil

SUBSTITUTES

Melbourne Melksham (unused)

GWS Giants Shipley (replaced Davis)

UMPIRES O'Gorman Williamson Findlay

CROWD 9,563 at the Manuka Oval

ReportRd032021.png

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