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ON THE FLY by George On The Outer


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After spending most of the previous day in the air, flying between Queensland and Victoria, it was hard to imagine the Demons would be at their best.
 
But this team was on the fly on the field as well and produced a clinical display which saw them record a 98 point win to put aside any questions about the side being out of form.
 
Certainly, the Suns who have fallen away badly in the second half of the season were their opponents, but with the Demons looking for a confidence booster, this was the one. Not only was a form reversal essential, but Melbourne and its coaches had to find solutions to their inaccuracy in front of goal and indeed to find better methods when entering the forward 50.  
 
More output from the mids was needed in front of goal as well.  Those answers were there to be seen before half -time with 80 points on the scoreboard, Ben Brown with four goals for the game, the same as Luke Jackson.  
 
Christian Petracca was involved with scoring 15 times, and an inside 50 count differential which exceeded the league record.  Other mids in Clayton Oliver, Max Gawn and Jackson simply put the icing on the cake, and exactly what the coaches would have wanted to see.
 
 At ¾ time the scoreline had blown out to 95 points, the 4th largest ¾ time score the club had recorded in its history.
 
The final quarter saw the pace drop away, not unexpectedly as the Demons started putting the cue in the rack. Still they had multiple opportunities but could only manage 1.6, but the inaccuracy wasn’t from the same players who had put the side so far in front in the first half of the game.
 
In the final quarter, Petracca was rested up forward, Oliver spent a good amount of time on the bench, Tom McDonald was subbed out with a back complaint and given he had spent 7 hours in an aeroplane the previous day that was not surprising.
 
What would have particularly pleased the coaches was the change in the pressure that was being brought to bear.  Inside 50 tackles was “off the charts”, at 29 to 6.  A bit needs to be explained by the fact the ball was rarely in the Suns 50m arc, but the 29 total was first class, and what the players need to do coming into the pressure cooker of finals.
 
The backs, once again, were simply a wall led by May and Lever with 7 and 8 intercepts respectively.  They have found another brick in that wall in Jake Bowey in his first game with four of his own, while naturally Christian Salem, Jayden Hunt and Trent Rivers rounded out the cement job with 2 and a pair of 5’s.  
 
Importantly, Bowey had 93% disposal efficiency, so with a half back line of Rivers, Salem and now Bowey we now have the skill set and kicking abilities which we have so long sought.
 
The mids had a party day, with Oliver again leading the charge with 35 touches, to partner Petracca’s 32.  Max and Luke had an equal day out in the ruck, but that was not surprising with the Suns only able to bring in Zac Clarke since they could not field anyone else. Around the stoppages, this engine room simply bullied the Suns with a one sided count of 30 to 17.  It wasn’t surprising that the forwards were licking their lips with the delivery coming from upfield.
 
We now have the answer in front of goal, and the results from the main players in that area would have given them plenty of confidence.  
 
Ben Brown was back to his straight as a die best, the same for Bayley Fritsch.  In fact the first 6 shots at goal from set shots yielded 6 majors.  
 
There is still room for improvement with some selfish Hollywood style play happening when simple team orientated play was required.  
 
Jack Viney needs to re-assess his style and just get the ball on the boot as first option.  He was caught holding the ball 3 times in the first half alone. He probably received a coaching message at half-time to stop it, and he did.
 
James Harmes playing in a side which won by 98 points was as ordinary as could be possible. Six critical errors in the 2nd quarter alone resulted in turnovers, combined with multiple brain fades throughout the game, same as last week. Was he tagging anyone? Hopefully not Touk Miller who had 34 touches.  Nathan Jones will surely provide more to the side after a high possession game for the Casey Demons on Saturday.
 
After this flying both on and off the field this week, the Demons now face the prospect of more time in the air flying to Perth and back this coming weekend. Let’s hope they don’t get there only to find the W.A. government calls a snap lockdown as its Queensland counterpart did on Saturday. The game is a vital one for Melbourne so they must keep flying on the field.
           
MELBOURNE  6.4.40 12.8.80 17.14.116 18.20.128
 
GOLD COAST 3.2.20 3.3.21 3.3.21 4.6.30
 
GOALS
 
Melbourne Brown Jackson 4 Fritsch Gawn Pickett 2 McDonald Oliver Petracca Spargo
 
Gold Coast Suns Burgess Corbett Flanders Sexton
 
BEST
 
Melbourne Oliver Petracca Harmes May Jackson Brown Viney   
 
Gold Coast Miller Ballard Rowell Swallow
 
INJURIES
 
Melbourne T. McDonald (sore back)
 
Gold Coast Suns Nil
 
REPORTS
 
Melbourne Nil
 
Gold Coast Suns Nil
 
SUBSTITUTES
 
Melbourne J. Jordon (replaced T. McDonald)
 
Gold Coast Suns  Will Brodie (unused)
 
UMPIRES Mathew Nicholl John Howorth Cameron Dore
 
Official Crowd 0 at Marvel Stadium
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