Round 5 – Melbourne V Brisbane

Liam Chambers

The hordes from the North attack

Brisbane’s recent appearances at the MCG have left a lot to be desired and with a poor start to the season, they would have been keen to address that particular Achilles Heel. They had a lot riding on their match against Melbourne and would be anxious to prove themselves worthy contenders in 2024.

The Demons have been travelling well so far this season and their opening goal courtesy of Alex Neal-Bullen would have gladdened the hearts of the faithful. The midfielder works extremely hard and his 45m running kick, under pressure, landed in the goal square before bouncing across the line.

It didn’t take long for Brisbane to get on the scoreboard, with Eric Hipwood marking the in front of goal, then slotting his 40m set shot. Joe Daniher took a similar mark five minutes later but steered it left. However his next set shot from inside the square sailed through and Brisbane was a goal up.

Unfortunately Christian Salem was subbed off early with a suspected hamstring injury. Taj Woewodin took to the field as replacement. Bailey Fritsch proved his class yet again with his flawless 48m set shot from the pocket, shrinking the margin back to one point.

Before long though, Melbourne’s defence was under siege with Brisbane launching wave after wave of attack, basically keeping the ball hostage inside their forward 50. The pressure paid off with Hipwood again marking in front of goal. The 40m set shot was a simple conversion for the key forward. Joe Daniher shot from the 50m arc was a little more difficult, but he too kicked cleanly, and the visitors were up by thirteen points.

It was beginning to look like one of those nights, when Melbourne just couldn’t get the ball to behave, whereas Brisbane’s handling was clean and effective. Luckily for us though, the margin remained at a respectable fourteen points when the sides went in at quarter time.

Brisbane consolidate their advantage

The Lions would have been encourage with their performance during the first term and the fans would have been very encourage with their start to the second, when Jaspa Fletcher snapped a 35m goal, resulting from of a clearance. Brisbane continued to dominate, with the Dees struggling to get a grip on the game.

The Lions kicked four in a row after Hugh MacLuggage drew a free kick and a Logie nomination, when his head was lightly brushed as he jumped for the ball in the pocket. His 40m set shot was on target. Everything was going Brisbane’s way, with Melbourne missing contested and uncontested marks in equal measure. Their opponents, on the other hand, couldn’t miss. There was no let up to Melbourne’s misery.

As if to further compound our predicament, just before half time, Charlie Cameron took a contested mark 25m directly. He split the middle with set shot.

No relief in sight

With their season on the line, Brisbane was not about to up their thirty point half time lead. The onus was well and truly on the Dees to step up and reclaim the momentum.

Melbourne got the start they so desperately needed when Kade Chandler kicked a difficult set shot from deep in the pocket.

Unfortunately five minutes later Kai Lohmann dribbled the ball through traffic, on the edge of the square, stretching the lead back out to thirty two points in the process.

The Demons couldn’t get a break, with all decisions seemingly going Brisbane’s way. In addition, the Lions had set up their base camp in Melbourne’s defensive 50 and showed no signs of moving on. The gap grew to thirty nine points after Hugh MacLuggage tapped in a second from inside the goal square.

Up the other end, nothing was working for the Dees. There was an abundance of missteps and miskicks.

It only got more painful for fans of the red and the blue when Charlie Cameron stole a handpass on the edge of the square, before running around to the front and snapping from 10m.

Melbourne manages to stem the carnage

With a game high margin of forty three points, only the most fanatically optimistic Demon fan expected Melbourne to prevail. Still, you have to hope. Ben Brown gave us a fighting chance with his impressive contested mark and accurate set shot.

However Brisbane douse the flames of fans’ enthusiasm when they quickly took possession after the hitout and got the ball to Zac Bailey, who then snapped a goal from 15m in front. Charlie Cameron put the result beyond doubt when he marked inside 50 and out ran Jake Lever, before tapping in the ball from the edge of the square.

Max Gawn helped soothe the blow for Melbourne fans when he marked in the pocket and converted the set shot. The Dees then won the bounce and Jacob van Rooyen took a contested mark inside 50. His 30m set shot reduced the margin to thirty six points. Bailey Fritsch further eased the pain when he kicked his second from a 40m set shot, but with only three minutes left on the clock, it provided only the faintest of hopes.

In a bonus for traumatised spectators and viewers, Jake Lever scored a very rare goal after he was awarded a 50m penalty, allowing him to kick from point blank range

We played Richmond in our Anzac Eve game. We were victorious in the same clash last season but with both teams returning from a bye, anything could happen. However, if I was a betting man, I’d put the farm on Melbourne.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!