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MOGGIES MASTERED by George on the Outer



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They say that herding cats is an impossible task but not for the Melbourne Demons who through relentless pressure, scored a commanding 25 point victory in Round 4 over Geelong at the MCG.

The team that missed the AFL finals only once in the past dozen years were shown up by the new Demons of 2021 who have recorded their first 4-0 opening to the season in 21 years!

Melbourne knew what was coming, and it was Geelong who were shown up for their inability to adapt to the 2021 style of football. Time and time again they tried to revert to the “rope a dope” method which has served them so well over the past years. But that has all now changed. The Demons forced them and pressured them which denied them access to their forward line.

They even tried the same tactics on Clayton Oliver, which proved so successful against Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell last week but it didn’t work with Oliver accumulating 34 touches and 6 tackles. They depend so much upon Selwood, Duncan and Guthrie to get the ball, but not while Petracca with 36 touches, and Viney with 21 are around the Sherrin. Even Max Gawn got in on the clearance caper with seven of his own, and the end result was a Melbourne dominance both in the middle and around the packs.

It certainly helped this week with some forward accuracy, although 6.8 to half time kept opening the door for the Cats. In contrast, those misses weren’t from set-shots, but rather general play. Bayley Fritsch had his good kicking boot on this week with 4 goals straight before he blotted his sheet with a solitary behind late in the game. He had three majors against his name by half-time, and in the slippery conditions made sure that Melbourne took a nearly four goal lead into the main break.

The inevitable comeback from Geelong came in the third term when they managed to kick five straight goals to draw within 12 points. But that was the end of the challenge with the Demons putting them to the sword in the final term with a definitive three goal to one statement. Once again this 2021 side doesn’t fold like previous sides.

Melbourne lost Stephen May early in the first quarter, courtesy of yet another Hawkins errant elbow. The sub was activated very swiftly with May headed for hospital with a suspected broken eye socket. The loss of the important May so early would have spelt trouble for the Melbourne of the past, but Adam Tomlinson was moved back onto Hawkins and kept him quiet for the remainder of the game. Helped out by Jake Lever with 11 intercepts, and Christian Salem playing probably his best game for the Red and Blue with 11 intercepts from his 23 touches, the defence held true. With further backing from Trent Rivers and Jayden Hunt who both put in when required, the structure looks assured. Sadly, Nev Jetta could only manage five touches for the game, and his position will be under review for coming games.

On the wings, it can only be assumed that Ed Langdon has a form of invisibility cloak, as the opposition don’t seem to know that he exists, until he has the ball in his possession. 26 touches and nearly 500 metres gain, just destroys the opposition, but like previous games this season, he is always the outlet safety valve for the defenders. On the other wing Angus Brayshaw is adapting to his new role, and with 19 touches, he is providing that outlet for the mids that we have lacked to date.

We have spoken before of Max, and his performance around the ground is becoming more compelling, since he now has the freedom to roam, courtesy of Luke Jackson. Jackson holds his own in the ruck role, and then doubles as a serious target up forward. He is a work in progress, but the progress is exemplary. The other target up forward in Tom McDonald looked more at home this week. Playing further up the ground he seemed to be moving freely and it was surprising to see him with 21 disposals and importantly nine marks. He didn’t bother the goal umpire, but ensured the ball finished in the forward 50 or brought to ground to advantage Kysaiah Pickett, Nathan Jones, Alex Neal-Bullen and Bayley Fritsch in particular who finished the work.

We were fortunate that Geelong were unable to expose the forwards with their strong defenders, and if reports from Casey are true, then Ben Brown is primed for his first game for the side. Melksham will be an easy replacement and was seen trotting along at the back of the play, same as 2020, with only 2 tackles for the game. Charlie Spargo and Tom Sparrow (with a quarter less on the ground) managed 6 & 5 respectively to provide that forward pressure, so essential to the way the game is played today.

Geelong have been the icon team for the past 12 years with three premierships and multiple appearances in finals. Hawthorn have been their companions with similar successes over that period. They are the Demons’ opponents next week.

Not since 1994 have Melbourne opened the season with 4 wins. Same year as for five opening wins to start the season. This side has the chance to equal that record, and consign Hawthorn to the past as well as it did to Geelong in this match.

MELBOURNE 2.4.16 6.8.44 9.9.63 12.13.85

GEELONG 1.1.7 3.3.21 8.3.51 9.6.60

GOALS

Melbourne Fritsch 4 Petracca 2 Gawn Jones Langdon Melksham Neal-Bullen Pickett

Geelong Hawkins Henry Smith 2 Clark Miers Stanley

BEST

Melbourne Petracca Langdon Lever Viney Oliver Gawn Fritsch

Geelong Selwood, Stewart, C. Guthrie, Smith


INJURIES

Melbourne S. May (concussion)

Geelong B. Parfitt (hip) replaced in selected side by Q. Narkle

REPORTS

Melbourne Nil

Geelong Nil

SUBSTITUTES

Melbourne T. Sparrow (replaced S. May)

Geelong M. Holmes (unused)

UMPIRES Williamson O'Gorman Findlay

CROWD 33,728 at the MCG at the MCG

ReportRd042021.png

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