Dees’ Lead Almost Disappears in A Last Quarter Flash

August 14, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 21 – West Coast Eagles V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

With storm clouds gathering, the Dees got ready to face their old enemy from the West. It had been a roller coast fortnight for Melbourne. First, the shenanigans of Round 20, then the trek to Perth encompassing a 7 day stay in quarantine. The Eagles were always going to rise to the occasion at home, after racking up some disappointing away results recently.

However, the first goal was a gift to Ben Brown; awarded a 50m penalty and kicking from point blank range. West Coast hit back though when Jamie Cripps showed what he could do by accurately placing his set shot from outside the 50m line. Almost immediately, Christian Petracca took advantage of the space offer after a stoppage to launch a massive kick from 45m. Both sides were making mistakes but both sides were also applying enormous pressure.

Alex Neal-Bullen was able to collect an easy ball from ground level and tap it in for the Dees’ third. As the rains came down, it was going to be a lot more difficult to be accurate with the ball. Ben Brown made it look easy though as he gathered a thumping effort from Max Gawn and snapped his second. Josh Kennedy showed he’s still a force to be reckoned with when his mark and curling set shot helped his side stay competitive.

At the start of the second quarter, Jack Darling got a free kick when he fell over. I reckon it was a dubious call, but it gave West Coast their third goal. The Eagles looked like a different side from the first term, imposing themselves more and limiting Melbourne’s scoring opportunities. Jamie Cripps made it a 1 point game when his set shot from 40m in front of goal continued West Coast’s comeback.

It looked like the home side would go into the main break with a 2 point lead. Finally though, after having been outplayed for a lot of the quarter, Kysaiah Pickett slotted one through right on the siren and Melbourne finished with a slim lead themselves.

The rain returned with a vengeance in the third term but it didn’t prevent Alex Neal-Bullen from kicking around the corner after picking up the ball from a stoppage in front of goal. Jack Redden responded with a perfectly placed set shot kick from the pocket to keep things interesting. West Coast kept piling on the pressure but were unable to kick any more majors before James Harmes found some space on the 50m line to hit the bullseye.

With a two goal buffer, the Dees looked more in control and started to play their preferred game. Jake Melksham extended the lead when he bent a banana, showing how good he can be on those difficult set shots. Max Gawn kicked high towards the goal square and Melksham was able to get hold of the bouncing sherrin to tap in his second.

The Dees were on a roll and won the centre bounce clearance with Max again getting a kick in towards goal. Ben Brown marked and converted to push the advantage out to 32 points. West Coast were in all sorts of trouble, but nothing was working for them. They needed an intervention or some kind circuit breaker but that looked highly unlikely.

With the final term underway, everything was going well for the visitors until play was halted with sixteen minutes still left on the clock. There was a lightning scare, and all players were ordered off the field until the threat had passed. When play resumed after half an hour, another dubious free was awarded; this time to Josh Kennedy and he didn’t waste the opportunity in giving the Eagles a glimmer of hope.

When Nic Naitanui marked and scored from 30m in front, he typified how much West Coast had turned the game to their advantage. Suddenly the lead was down to 24 points and the Eagles sensed a chance to consolidate their spot for a finals berth. It only got worse for Melbourne as Connor West kick another from advantage in front of goal. The Dees valiantly held on to their 15 point lead until the last 90 seconds when Jack Darling took a mark just outside the goal square and reduced the margin to single figures.

In the end it was a 9 point win for Melbourne but a win nonetheless and we resumed our place at the head of the table. Max Gawn’s post game interviewed showed a relieved Captain who conceded that his team relaxed a little too much after the enforced break. He believes that Melbourne will learn from the experience though hopefully lightning won’t strike twice.

With only two games to go, the Dees are looking like the real deal. Next, we take on the Crows and hopefully a big win to wipe out the memory of that one point loss.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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