Round 4

Liam Chambers

Low scoring first quarter

After last week’s nailbiter, the Dees opted to extend their stay in SA, in order to prepare for the Round 4 clash with the Crows. Although winless in 2024, Adelaide have caused more than a few nervous moments for Demon fans over the years. That last minute one point loss in our premiership winning year anyone?

Harrison Petty is slowly returning to form and proved how dangerous he can be in front of goal by almost taking a one handed mark. He was awarded a free kick anyway, as he was deemed to have been held. His successful set shot was the opening goal of Gather Round.

The next major was a long time coming, but when it did, it was brilliant in its simplicity. Izac Rankine scooped up the low ball, zig zagged around the Dees’ defence, then snapped from point blank.
If Rankine made his goal look easy, up the other end Kysaiah Pickett’s banana bend off the outside of his right boot was simply genius.

In a term of few goals, the Crows took the lead with ten seconds left on the clock, after Darcy Fogarty marked the ball on the edge of the goal square.

Playing see saw with the scoreboard

Melbourne had the wind advantage going into the second quarter but was unable to add to its goal tally; notching up five consecutive minor scores in the opening ten minutes. Then Christian Petracca broke the drought by collecting the ball in the pocket, spinning around and snapping the goal; giving his side back the lead.

Rory Laird redressed the balance when he marked in the pocket and converted.

Kade Chandler has been in good form so far this year, taking on the challenge when faced with difficult kicks. His 50m set shot from close to the boundary line was pitch perfect and Melbourne was ahead again.

When Kozzie Pickett’s in the mix, it’s never boring, as he proved yet again when he ran into the pack, collected the ground ball, turned, then snapped. The result was never in doubt. Back to back goals for the Demons.

Jacob van Rooyen made it three in a row for Melbourne when he marked 30m in front. Adelaide’s Mark Keane made sure the goal was a certainty by giving away a 50m penalty for Umpire dissent.

Fritsch picks up the tempo

Bailey Fritsch was having a quiet night before he opened his account, and the second half scoring, when his 30m set shot, directly in front, sailed through. After that goal, Melbourne had the chance to potentially put the game further out of Adelaide’s reach but squandered some good chances.

At some point during most Crows’ games, Taylor (Tex) Walker makes his presence felt and this match was no exception. His contested mark and subsequent 25m set shot, put the hosts back within three goals of the Demons.

Fritsch stretch the lead out to twenty six points when he marked 60m from goal, then ran on and launched from the 50m arc. The ball landed in the square and bounced across the line. He wasn’t done yet though, and the high scoring Demon racked up his hat trick for the quarter when his 45m set shot hit the target.

With a buffer of thirty two points, Melbourne appeared to be cruising.

Then, when the Crows looked to be on the canvas, they kicked a goal against the run of play, after Tex Walker marked 20m out, then hand passed to Ben Keays, allowing the forward to run in the goal. Suddenly the Crows were fired up and the fans were on their feet.

They sat down again when van Rooyen took a mark on the edge of the square and kicked the set shot.

Darcy Fogarty had them up again with his outstanding set shot from deep in the pocket.

Max Gawn had a chance with his own set shot but sent it slightly wide. The Dees were again notching up the minor scores as Jack Billings hit the upright. Overall though, Melbourne would have been happy with a twenty eight point lead at three quarter time.

Crows’ revival comes late in the game

The Crows needed to move quickly if they intended to run down the Dees in the final term. Conversely, Melbourne couldn’t rest on their laurels if they wanted to put the contest beyond doubt early in the quarter.

Despite, or perhaps because both sides were fighting so hard for supremacy, the first goal wasn’t kicked until mid-way through the term. Much to the delight of the home crowd, it was Adelaide’s captain Jordan Dawson who took the contested mark on the edge of the square. He didn’t miss and the margin was cut to twenty two points. Though Adelaide was still in contention, it would take a very impressive comeback to kick another four unanswered goals.

There was some concerned looking faces amongst the Demon faithful however, when a mistake in defence allowed Josh Rachelle to snap an around the corner set shot, closing the gap to fifteen points.

Adelaide almost had a second in quick succession, but a case of friendly fire between team mates meant Melbourne dodged a bullet and was able to rush behind the ball, conceding a minor point. Still the Crows kept attacking. Fortunately the Dees were up to the challenge.

In an interesting twist, Kysaiah Pickett was stranded on the sidelines, unable to participate, for over six minutes. When he eventually made it back on ground, he had a half chance which failed to hit the target. It seemed like everything that Melbourne threw at their opponents was missing the mark.

In the end, the Dees prevailed, and the win meant a return to the top of the table, albeit temporarily.

Next week we’re back at the MCG to take on the Brisbane Lions. Last’s years runners up in the Grand Final have only had one win so far in 2024, though that statistic doesn’t mean Melbourne won’t have to work hard for victory.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!