Commiserations & celebrations in the Brayshaw household

June 4, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 

Round 11 – Narrm V Fremantle

Liam Chambers

It had to happen eventually. To paraphrase Paul Keating, it was the loss we had to have. Much better to lose now and win every game in September. Fremantle are a quality side and having lost their two previous games, they were out to prove their credentials.

With Ed Langdon injured, Toby Bedford was back in the side and had a good chance early on, as he sprinted and bounced before kicking from 40m. Unfortunately his shot hit the post.

The Dockers were looking impressive as they pressured Narrm’s defence. After a few minor scores, they eventually found the target when Rory Lobb marked in the pocket and converted from 35m.

After the clearance, Jack Viney collected the tapped down ball and kicked a bullet to inside 50 where Bayley Fritsch reached skywards and took the mark. His set shot from 40m was classic Fritsch. After the goal, the Dees came out in force, pushing for their second, which they got when James Jordan nailed a shot from 45m out.

At the start of the second quarter, it was confirmed that Steven May had been medically subbed out of the game after coming off worst in a marking clash with Jake Lever near the end of the first term. It was the second week in a row that the Demons had suffered the same fate. With both May and Langdon out, the side would be severely tested.

Narrm continued to put their opponents under enormous strain and the efforts paid off as they strung together a stirring end to end display. Christian Petracca’s kick from the middle of the field, landed in front of Toby Bedford. Reminiscent of his goal from Round 10, Bedford gathered and ran on. This time he kicked from the 50m line and floated the ball over the head of the Freo defender; landing it in the goal square, where it bounced across the line.

It was back to back for Bedford when he was again the beneficiary of a Petracca pass. His run into clear space, before turning and snapping was successful. The Demons were looking impressive and when Kysaiah Pickett found himself in possession of the ball with just enough room, he didn’t hesitate and Narrm were twenty two points to the good.

Then it was a case of blink and you miss it as Max Gawn won the hitout and kicked to Jake Melksham, who got it to Bayley Fritsch inside 50. Fritsch took aim and fired and the Dees had six in a row.

Freo clearly looked to be struggling but as half time loomed, Rory Lobb marked 25m from goal. The key forward kicked both the Dockers and his second major to keep the game alive.

With a twenty five point lead after the big break, there was no hint of the storm to come. The comeback started simply enough with Matt Taberner’s set shot hitting the mark. Then Rory Lobb had a kick from outside the 50m line to make it three in a row for the visitors.

Suddenly, Fremantle were right back in it. It took awhile for Narrm to respond but when it came, it was as perfect a shot as you could hope for. Bayley Fritsch’s kick from the boundary line went through from the tightest of angles and the margin was back to twenty points.

The Dockers were undeterred though and Matt Taberner had another chance when he was awarded a free kick in the goal square. Freo had moved up a gear and kept pushing, forcing errors from the Dees’ defence. Lachie Schultz was able to take advantage of a loose ball and snapped another for Fremantle. When Michael Frederick had a set shot from 50m, he ran around and launched goalward, reducing the gap to a single point.

Following the bounce, it only got worse for Narrm when Sean Darcy marked inside 50 and put the visitors in front. Then with the clock ticking down to three quarter time, Michael Walters snapped from 30m in the pocket to extend the lead to ten points. The pain increased again when Lachie Schultz drove one home with a minute to go.

Trailing by seventeen points, the Dees looked shell shocked going into the final quarter. There was no doubt that the back line was missing Steven May’s leadership but the Dockers were also playing their best football of the season. It remained to be seen whether Narrm could stem the tide and win back the momentum.

Unfortunately, it looked like it wasn’t going to be the Demon’s night when the ball connected with the upright for the third time in the match. As the minutes ebbed away, the belief only grew in the Dockers’ camp that this was their game and the Dees appeared unable to wrest back any control.

At the halfway mark, Fremantle looked to have landed the potential winner when Michael Frederick snapped his second from 20m. A few minutes later and Lachie Schultz was able to collect the ball in the square and kick his hat trick.

Narrm had their chances but the shots kept missing. Conversely, it seemed the Dockers couldn’t miss as Travis Colyer launched from outside 50 and connected. Then with three minutes to go, Lachie Schultz had four and Freo put the other contenders on notice.

It was the Demons first loss after a run of seventeen wins and there’ll be plenty of analysis of the game and our performance. Unfortunately, Steven May will miss the Swans game, but Ed Langdon is back along with Adam Tomlinson who has been playing well in the VFL. Christian Salem, Tom McDonald, James Harmes are also  all returning for the game against Sydney.

There’s been lots of discussion amongst the critics this year about the Demons infallibility so the loss may be no bad thing and it takes some pressure off us to keep winning.

The coaches will look carefully at Freo’s decision to tag Clayton Oliver with James Aish in the second half, which obviously paid dividends. They’ll look for ways around that tactic if the Swans try something similar.

The Round 11 game against Sydney will be tough but I’m backing Melbourne to bounce back in style.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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