Dees served duck for dinner

August 12, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 

Round 21 – Melbourne V Collingwood

Liam Chambers

When Ed Langdon made his “all duck and no dinner” jibe, he may have been thinking of Tzu Sun’s quote “continue to find ways to anger and irritate your opponent, for decisions made out of anger are often petulant and rash, which can lead to advantages for you”.

Unfortunately, rather than being petulant and rash, the Magpies instead looked more focused and ruthless. Langdon was brutally targeted within the first thirty seconds and a minute later Collingwood had their first goal courtesy of Jordan De Goey.

Melbourne’s response was instantaneous. Having won the hitout, Jack Viney secured a free and kicked inside 50 where Christian Petracca caught the loose ball in the air, spun around and snapped the goal. The other Christian (Salem) then won a free for his run down tackle inside the 50m line. His set shot from 48m sailed through. It was three in a row when Jack Viney took a handball from Luke Jackson, then chipped it across the line.

150th gamer Jamie Elliot got one back for the Pies with his mark and set shot score from 35m out. Jake Melksham restored the Demon’s two goal advantage after he was tackled high, half a metre inside the goal line.

Later in the quarter, Mason Cox took a contested mark 30m to the left of goal, scoring the Pies’ third from his set shot. Less than a minute later, Bayley Fritsch took a brilliant contested mark himself when Luke Jackson’s long kick from 70m found the high scoring forward in front of goal. His conversion racked up the Dees’ fifth goal and a combined eight overall for the quarter. That total increased to nine when Ash Johnson marked and scored from 50m.

It was a one point game when Jamie Elliot was awarded a free kick directly in front of goal. Then with a minute to go Christian Petracca kicked to the space in front of Bayley Fritsch. The ball was tapped down and controlled. Unfortunately Fritsch ran out of room to score but cleverly hand passed back to Kysaiah Pickett who had positioned himself at the top of the square. The small forward then ran a couple of metres and kicked into the open goal.

The drama wasn’t over yet though. Right on the siren, Chris Salem marked and was awarded a 50m penalty for an incursion. The penalty brought him to within scoring range but his set shot veered wide of the target.

Melbourne had a few opportunities to extend their lead at the start of the second term but the chances went begging. Then Ed Langdon took a contested mark 20m in front and kicked cleanly to give the Demons a sixteen point lead. Tom Sparrow followed up with a steely nerved 50m set shot and we were twenty three points ahead. The advantage didn’t last long as Jamie Elliot claimed his hat trick from a 25m set shot.

Melbourne had dominated the inside 50 tally all game but the Pies’ efficiency once they got close to goal was better. It happened again when Brody Mihocek found some space 25m from goal to snap and close the gap to ten points. The momentum had swung Collingwood’s way and the Dees were struggling to turn back the tide.

Finally they found a way to stem the black and white tsunami when Ben Brown marked deep in the pocket. He bent his run around kick perfectly and stretched the lead back to sixteen points. Melbourne now knew that they were in a real fight and would have to scramble for every advantage as well as defend desperately in face of Collingwood’s forward pressure.

The Dees was playing well though and when Bayley Fritsch secured a free, then a 50m penalty, he kicked superbly from just outside 50. We couldn’t afford to relax however, as Collingwood again showed their efficiency inside 50 when Ash Johnson was able to snap the loose ball from 25m to the left of goal.

No doubt the Demons would have been ruing those missed opportunities after having controlled the play so convincingly in the first half. Melbourne had prevented the Pies from intercepting marks and also dominated inside 50s and contested marks. We hadn’t done a lot wrong but Collingwood had defended well and as previously noted was hugely efficient when they got to within scoring range.

It was all Dees for the first ten minutes of the second half, but we had little to show for that effort. Then the Pies broke through and Brody Mihocek was able to kick from the 50m line to Beau McCreery who marked the ball at the top of the square.

Melbourne fans were getting understandable nervous as Collingwood was holding the margin to two goals and threatening to make it an even tighter contest. Charlie Spargo finally provided some relief for the pent up faithful with his brilliant dribble 10m from the right of goal.

The Pies dragged it back again after the ARC deemed Brody Mihocek’s set shot had scrapped through, despite the Umpire’s behind call. It was twelve points and now becoming more of a psychological battle. Having won so many close games, Collingwood had to fancy themselves to prevail. The Dees would be thinking what do we have to do now to ram home our advantage?

Then the mind games became even more intense when Patrick Lipinski picked up the ball just inside 50 and found enough room to launch a bullet and make it a one goal game.

The Pies had pulled out a large number of tricks from their bag in the third quarter. The question now was how many surprises had they left? Melbourne would have to get seriously desperate to prevent the serial comeback kings from pulling off another unlikely victory.

The tension was unbearable. There were near misses and howlers on both sides. Then Jamie Elliot was awarded a free kick for a tackle 15m to the right of goal. Now it was a one point match. Collingwood was fighting tooth and nail when Ash Johnson took a mark and scored from 40m to take the lead. The Dees were behind for the first time since the opening minutes.

Ben Brown had missed a couple on the night but he didn’t miss a set shot from 35m and Melbourne was back in front. The lead change again when Josh Daicos scored from 45m. After the bounce, it was a case of blink and you miss it as Gawn, Oliver, Petracca and Viney combined to get the ball inside 50 where Alex Neal-Bullen kicked from 40m to again restore the lead.

By now Demon fans all over the country were being revived by concerned friends. The outcome was impossible to predict with just over eight minutes left on the clock. Then, in what initially looked like a dubious call, Ash Johnson was awarded a free in front of goal for an illegal push. He went back to kick his fourth and the lead changed for the fifth time in the quarter.

Ultimately Melbourne couldn’t find a way to score another major and Collingwood, yet again, found a way to win in the fourth quarter.

We will have learned a lot from this last game but it would have been the sweetest taste if we could just have hung on to beat our arch nemesis. Still that’s footy. Even the most optimistic Demon would have to concede that we’re extremely unlikely to secure a top two spot now. However a top four place is very much alive.

Carlton have been having their own problems lately but they’ve already beaten us pre season and we would underestimate them at our peril. Then of course there’s our last game against the Lions who will be out for revenge after being thrashed in Round 15.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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