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THE KOZZY SHOW by George On The Outer


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Q: Melbourne is playing Port Adelaide at Traeger Park, Alice Springs and once again, it doesn’t have a properly functioning forward line — so from where were the goals going to come?
 
A: Kysaiah Pickett.  
 
In a one man show in front of his adoring fans, he racked up six majors to give the Demons the edge in the game and to finally run out winners by 14 points.  
 
The result could well have been very different without his efforts with Melbourne failing to score a major in the first term, despite many opportunities. The Demons were however, putting in the effort required during that term and led the tackle count 18:6.  This denied Port any ascendancy on the scoreboard, and the Demons  remained only nine points in arrears at the first bell. 

In that opening quarter both sides looked like they were checking each other out, and there seemed little in the way of forward thrusts. Port as usual went for their switching style of play, which sent the ball all over the ground to little effect. Someone should tell Ken Hinkley that this doesn’t work against top of the table sides any more.  

Still they persisted with it all game, only helping to tire their players in the warm Alice Springs weather, on a really wide ground.  

The second quarter saw Melbourne kick five majors, while Port could only manage three themselves giving them a four point lead into the main break. In the middle Luke Jackson was taking a heavy load in the ruck, with Port throwing Dixon and Finlayson against him.  
 
This left Max Gawn down forward for long periods of time, but without any real outcome. Why the coaches persist with this tactic is flummoxing, as it hasn’t worked for ages. They keep blocking the true forwards with lumbering ruckmen who are failing to impact the scoreboard and fortunately, in this instance the likes of Pickett and Bayley Fritsch were able to put timely majors on the board although most of these came from out the back type scenarios or snaps on goal. It was a good thing they went through when most needed.

In the middle, the absence of Clayton Oliver was sorely felt. Christian Petracca and Jack  Viney walked away with 30 and 28 disposals respectively, and while the former took away ten clearances, the next best were Viney, Harmes and Gawn with only three each. That won’t be enough when the finals come around and not even against the quality opponent the Demons face in the run home.
 
The third term was again a bit of a slog, with the margin at three quarter time being only ten points in Melbourne’s favour.  Nothing to give those Demon fans facing a resurgence of their MFCSS with any confidence approaching the final quarter.

Players simply were not at their best. All except Kysaiah who saved his best for the final thrust. Ben Brown by this stage was able to collect a couple of forward marks, as he had been forced up the ground by the presence of the rucks, and he slotted telling goals to steady the ship.  
 
Kozzy chipped in for more and the Demons had now kicked six in a row, scoring his sixth in ridiculous fashion. The game was as good as over.  

Port of course, came back with a couple of junk time goals, just to make sure the MFCSS still bubbled along nicely, and the lead was whittled back to 13 points with three minutes to go.  The cooler heads of Melbourne prevailed, and a final margin of 14 points saw off the challenge.

This was a must win game for the Demons.  It has now established them on equal footing with Geelong at the top of the table, both being a game clear of third and importantly, four games and percentage clear of eighth place . They must now seek to cement that vital top four and top two position.  

Concerns still abound as Melbourne are not at their best level, execution is not clean and precise, and better players are not on the field. Chances have been afforded to the likes of Toby Bedford and Jake Melksham, but only five touches to the former after three last week will surely see his return to Casey. Melk might have kicked a goal out the back, but only six touches and a failure to cover and provide that defensive forward pressure similar to Pickett, doesn’t guarantee a place next week —particularly with Oliver and Harry Petty available for next week. 
 
There’s still a major problem with the second tall in front of goal in the absence of Tom McDonald and with the resting rucks playing there with kicking goals or getting rest. We just can’t depend on Pickett and Fritsch kicking ¾ of the teams score to win games.  
 
On the plus side, another win was recorded, and next week another contender in the Dogs has to be put in their place.  And the Bulldogs certainly don’t have any answers should Kysaiah put on another show like this one.

MELBOURNE 0.4.4 5.7.37 8.10.58 12.11.83

PORT ADELAIDE
2.1.13 5.3.33 7.6.48 10.9.69

GOALS

MELBOURNE
Pickett 6 Brown Fritsch 2 Jackson Melksham

PORT ADELAIDE Bergman Boak Marshall 2 Dixon Drew Finlayson Rozee

BEST

MELBOURNE
Pickett Petracca Viney Langdon Jordon Harmes Brayshaw

PORT ADELAIDE  Rozee Boak Houston Wines Dixon Finlayson Byrne-Jones

INJURIES

MELBOURNE
Jake Lever (shoulder)

PORT ADELAIDE Nil

REPORTS

MELBOURNE
Nil

PORT ADELAIDE Nil

SUBSTITUTES

MELBOURNE Luke Dunstan (unused)

PORT ADELAIDE Jase Burgoyne (unused)

UMPIRES Brendan Hosking John Howorth Leigh Haussen

CROWD 6,312 at TIO Traeger Park
ReportRd182022.png
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