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CENTIMETRES by Whispering Jack



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Our game is one where the result is often decided by centimetres; the touch of a fingernail, a split-second decision made by a player or official, the angle of vision or the random movement of an oblong ball in flight or in its bounce and trajectory.

There is one habit that Melbourne seems to have developed of late in its games against Carlton which is that the Demons keep finding themselves on the wrong end of the stick in terms of the fine line in close games at times when centimetres make the difference. 
 
Ironically, the match was lost yesterday when they allowed the Blues to avoid a close contest scenario until the very end when it was just about too late. After Ed Langdon failed to score with the first shot at goal for the game, Carlton added five goals to nothing for the remainder of the opening stanza, leaving the gap of a bridge that was literally less than a centimetre too far for a Melbourne victory.

Supporters of the Bluebaggers were pinching themselves with delight as their team piled on the goals, many of them scored by Demon errors such as the simple failure to cover spaces from which the opposition could score easily. The failure to apply sufficient pressure was palpable. Melbourne had equal opportunities, even early to hit the scoreboard. They went into attack often enough but the entry was poor, the forwards were sluggish and the Carlton defence stood firm against a forward line in disarray. Was it the curse of the five day break - or something else?

It took until ten minutes into the second quarter when they were trailing by six goals to nothing, for Melbourne to register its first score for the night through the man who was it’s “almost” hero in Christian Petracca who had been sent forward to enable a change in the mix. It was one change that worked although it also meant that for a large part of the game, the Carlton midfield, led by Cripps and Walsh had the upper hand. 
 
When you have that upper hand - in this case thanks to a head start and efficiency in front of the big sticks, then you force the other side into pushing it uphill in an arm wrestle, particularly when the rain comes down making a comeback even more difficult. Petracca persisted, Alex Neal-Bullen worked his butt off, Steven May was a tower of strength in defence but most of the side battled and, in the final analysis they just failed to reel in a deficit which, at one stage in the third quarter was as substantial as 38 points.
 
But they never gave up. In the final term, they dug deep and their superior fitness, notwithstanding the shorter break between games, saw them fall short by a single point, making it the third time in as many games against Carlton that Melbourne lost a game, despite having more scoring shots. 
 
After the game, coach Simon Goodwin reflected:
 
"We gave a really good side a 6-goal start but our responsibility as a footy club is to rock up and compete in a way that keeps you in the game."
 
All of that is true. The team can take some solace from the fact that they refused to lie down and supporters should take that away from the game instead of lamenting about the general run of the umpiring, dodgy score reviews, a deliberate out of bounds not picked up, a late shot that hit the behind post and even the Petracca surge forward that resulted in him being brought down when a few centimetres could have made all the difference and allowed one last move forward to at least tie the score (important in an 8-point game).
 
None of those things matter when you concede so much in the opening third part of a game against a team that’s more effective in front of the goals. What does matter is that you fight it out to the last second and the very last centimetre.

MELBOURNE 0.0.0 3.1.19 7.6.48 11.10.76

CARLTON 5.0.30 8.2.50 11.4.70 12.5.77

GOALS

MELBOURNE Petracca 5 Fritsch Gawn Pickett Turner van Rooyen Windsor

CARLTON Owies 3 Curnow 2 Cripps De Koning Hewett McKay Martin Pittonet Walsh

BEST

MELBOURNE
 Petracca May Neal-Bullen Viney Gawn  Langdon

CARLTON Cripps Walsh Weitering Kennedy O Hollands Curnow

REPORTS

MELBOURNE 
Nil

CARLTON Nil

INJURIES

MELBOURNE 
Nil

CARLTON Pittonet (finger) Cerra (hamstring)

SUBSTITUTIONS

MELBOURNE
 Taj Woewodin (replaced Bowey in the fourth quarter)

CARLTON George Hewett (replaced Cerra in the third quarter)

UMPIRES Matt Stevic Curtis Deboy Nathan Williamson Jacob Mollison

CROWD 58,472 at the MCG
ReportRd092024.png
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    CENTIMETRES by Whispering Jack

    Our game is one where the result is often decided by centimetres; the touch of a fingernail, a split-second decision made by a player or official, the angle of vision or the random movement of an oblong ball in flight or in its bounce and trajectory. There is one habit that Melbourne seems to have developed of late in its games against Carlton which is that the Demons keep finding themselves on the wrong end of the stick in terms of the fine line in close games at times when centimetres mak

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