Round 15 – Melbourne V North Melbourne

Liam Chambers

The Demons out of the blocks and charging

Having lost four of our last five games, fans sat down to watch Round 15’s contest against North Melbourne with a sense of trepidation. Although the Roos are currently cellar dwellers, their form has noticeably improved in recent weeks.

We needed an early confidence boosting statement to settle the doubts that come with being in a slump. That statement came from game changer Kysaiah Pickett; the small forward snapping from 20m in front of goal.

Two minutes later, Harry Sheezel opened the scoring from North chipping the ball through from the edge of the square.

Tom McDonald was reliving his former footy life as a forward when he launched from the 50m arc and watched his effort sail through the uprights.  It feels like the ball is in safe hands when Daniel Turner takes a contested mark. This time he didn’t miss with his 25m set shot in front of goal.

Kade Chandler was successful from a similar position when he took advantage of a high tackle to play on and snap Melbourne’s fourth of the quarter. The Dees won the centre clearance and headed straight back to goal, where Harrison Petty ran out to take the mark. His subsequent set shot split the middle and extended his side’s lead to twenty four points.

Roos start to reclaim some momentum

After the first quarter goal fest, both sides struggled to hit the target in term two. There were near misses and almost theres, but it wasn’t until the fifteenth minute when Cameron Zurhaar ran in from the side of the pack near goal and stole the mark, that the first major was recorded. His 30m set shot went through and cut the margin to seventeen points.

Trent Rivers hasn’t scored all season but his effort, three minutes from half time, was a thing of beauty. After collecting the ground ball, he ran around the Roos before launching from 50m to score Melbourne’s first of the term.

When Harry Sheezel was tackled just inside 50, the umpire called play on inside of ruling against the defender for incorrect disposal. Then North got the ball back towards goal where Jy Simpkin took an uncontested mark. He then cleanly kicked the set shot.

Melbourne reassert their authority

North had come back strongly in the second quarter and the Dees needed to respond in kind to prevent their opponents from gaining any further traction after half time.

The opening goal was well executed with Kozzie Pickett tearing through the corridor before launching the ball inside 50 where Daniel Turner ran across to take the mark. He then converted to push Melbourne’s lead back out to twenty one points.

The Roos replied quickly with an end to end run through the middle culminating in Luke Davies-Uniacke’s running kick from 35m.

As the quarter proceeded and despite the best efforts of both sides, the margin remained stubbornly at fifteen points.

Then at the twenty minute mark of the term, Alex Neal-Bullen took a mark 35m to the left of goal and converted to give the Demons some breathing space. When Tom Sparrow was awarded a free kick for being held, he made sure that his 20m set shot found the target and Melbourne had a twenty seven point buffer.

After Jack Viney pounded a long ball deep inside 50, Jacob van Rooyen leapt high to take the mark, before going back and slotting the set shot. Even Max Gawn was getting in on the scoring act, after he took an uncontested mark at the top of the goal square.

It wasn’t all one way traffic though and when Cameron Zurhaar took an inside 50 running mark, he kicked his second of the game.

North Melbourne launch nail biting comeback

Zurhaar started the fourth quarter the same way he finished the third, by slotting another set shot. The Roos cut the margin to twenty seven points, and by doing so, planted some seeds of doubt in the minds of the Demon faithful.

Those seeds began to germinate and take root when Eddie Ford feigned a hand pass, forcing Caleb Windsor off his mark, thus allowing the North Melbourne forward to claim a 50m penalty. The 25m set shot sailed through and the deficit was cut to twenty one.

Harry Sheezel made it a fifteen point contest when he took a contested mark in the pocket and kicked an around the corner to notched up his second of the night. Eddie Ford also got his second when playing on to advantage after Zurhaar was fouled at the top of the goal square.

Now North only trailed by nine points with nine minutes to play and the Dees hadn’t yet managed a score of any kind in the quarter. In fact any time Melbourne look close to getting near goal, North would throw themselves into danger zone.

Then with just under four minutes remaining, Cameron Zurhaar kicked his fourth from a 40m running snap.

Somehow Melbourne hung on to win by three points but there will be questions asked how we managed to give up five goals without scoring a single point in return.

We travel to Brisbane for Round 16 and the Lions are in terrific form so the Dees will be considered the underdogs. We need to use that to our advantage.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!