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WRITING ON THE WALL by Whispering Jack

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The Narrm Football Club found a second way in the space of 12 months less a day to unexpectedly lose a home game against Walyalup on Saturday afternoon.

The equivalent match of last year has been described as Melbourne’s “ground zero” of 2022 where things went wrong for the club after a long run of wins that included its 57 year drought-breaking premiership triumph. Unfortunately for the Demons, the 2023 version was a case of deja vu with the Dockers overcoming a half time deficit and running over the home team in the decisive third quarter. During that term last year, the visitors won the centre clearances 7-0 to shock the reigning premiers and end their 17-game winning sequence.

This time our Norm Smith medallist Christian Petracca was healthy enough to hold up his end and Tom Sparrow did as good a job as any human can do in filling the cavernous hole left by the absence of Clayton Oliver but the Demons still fell apart badly in the middle of the ground.

This was especially so even after Walyalup’s Sean Darcy was subbed off the ground with a hamstring injury leaving Narrm’s All Australian ruck duo Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy to contend with previously out of form former Demon premiership ruckman Luke Jackson. 

It should have been a ruck mauling to lead the team to a big massacre but, once again, there was a major deficiency in the engine room that led to an anomalous statistic in take always from stoppages. How does a side that dominates the ruck hit outs by 56 to 28 lose the clearance battle by 37 to 39?

Simple answer (for the second week in a row). The Walyalup midfield had enough talent and was prepared to work a damn sight harder than its counterpart to get their hands on the football. The consequence was that like Butters and Rozee of last week, Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong busted the Demons open and won the day for the Dockers. 

It wasn’t all the fault of the Demon defence which battled manfully to stem the tide in the first half but the dam wall broke in the third term, ironically when Jackson split the middle to put his team ahead by more than a goal, after which they were never headed. 

The problem was that the attack was horrible, bordering on dysfunctional once again. The powerful defensive pressure that this line once applied was missing and Walyalup’s defenders were able to out position their small foes, outmark the talls, worry them with their own persistence and eventually get out of their backline methodically where, in the past, the ball would have been retrieved and returned without much trouble. 

The writing was on the wall last week when Narrm succumbed to Yartapuulti. The selectors ignored the signs and the team lost.

NARRM 3.2.20 4.5.29 6.8.44 10.12.72

WALYALUP 2.0.12 4.3.27 9.5.59 12.7.79


NARRM Fritsch Pickett 2 Grundy Harmes McDonald Sparrow van Rooyen Viney 

WALYALUP Amiss 3 Banfield Treacy 2 Aish Frederick Jackson Schultz  Serong


NARRM Petracca Gawn Brayshaw Pickett Sparrow Grundy

WALYALUP Jackson Brayshaw Serong O'Meara Young 



WALYALUP Sean Darcy (hamstring)





NARRM James Jordon (replaced Kade Chandler in fourth quarter)

WALYALUP Sam Sturt (replaced Sean Darcy in second quarter)

UMPIRES Chris Donlon Leigh Haussen Mathew Nicholls Andre Gianfagna 

CROWD 29,154 at the MCG


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