Dees Top Dogs

June 4, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 11 – Western Bulldogs V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

When you’re playing the favourites in the competition then you need to do something spectacular early on. I’m not sure if there’s been many goals scored in the first twenty seconds historically but the Dees couldn’t have asked for a better start. From Max Gawn’s grab and boot off the centre bounce, to Kysaiah Pickett and Clayton Oliver’s desperate hand passes into the path of James Harmes, who then collected and launched the perfect finish to put Melbourne on the board.

The Dees were frustrating the Bulldogs and blocking off their pathways. The pressure paid off with Christian Petracca taking the ball inside 50 and whacking it through the uprights from 40m out.  The Dogs got the advantage from the centre bounce and made their way down the field where they found Cory Weightman waiting inside 50 to receive and score. Melbourne replied quickly when Tom McDonald spotted Bailey Fritsch in the goal square and launched a textbook kick from the 50m line.

The Dogs seemed to be allowed an eternity to dispose of the ball when tackled but the rules appear to be reinterpreted every week; if the Dees were frustrated, they didn’t show it. Aaron Naughton marked and kicked from 40m to claim the Bulldogs second. Melbourne was forcing errors from their opponents and Fritsch was able to intercept the ball as it crossed the face of goal, then punished the Dogs for their carelessness.

Charlie Spargo kicked a set shot towards the goal square but Sam Weideman dropped the mark. Fortunately, James Jordan picked it up and snapped it high through the posts. The Dees clearly had the Bulldogs rattled and were forcing them into making defensive errors. Max was back to his best marking ways and grabbed the ball about 25m from goal before kicking number six for Melbourne.

The Dogs got off to a good start in the second term when Josh Bruce converted from 40m out before Tim English scored from 25m for back to back goals. Max Gawn again grabbed and kicked the ball from the centre bounce, this time finding Petracca who targeted a 60m kick to the left of goal, enabling Tom McDonald to run forward and mark. Tom then just snapped one home. Next Alex Neal-Bullen’s kick found McDonald on the 50m line. Tom hit it beautifully to score his second in less than two minutes, bringing the tally back to the quarter time margin.

Melbourne were making great use of the ball and were set up so well that the Dogs were finding it very difficult to break through. The Dees continued the fight to get the ball into their forward 50. Clayton Oliver and Jake Melksham slipping but still managing to pass the ball to each other. With Melksham almost tilting, he got a kick away towards goal where Pickett marked and converted from the set shot.

The Bulldogs fought back, desperate to score. Caleb Daniel was finally able to power inside 50 and launch a kick from 45m to give the Dogs a much need goal and boost. Then Tim English got his second when he marked and kicked from 35m out. It was a good end to the half for the Dogs who went in only trailing by 19 points.

The Bulldogs started the second half with more purpose but still found themselves under pressure in defence. As they tried to go forward, they found the Dees had all the avenues blocked off. Melbourne did come under some sustained pressure themselves but were eventually able to make their way back up to the Dogs defensive 50. Fritsch got his hat trick when he was taken high and awarded a free kick to the side of the goal.

Sam Weideman was having a quiet night but after taking a mark from Neal-Bullen, he was able to convert nicely and extended the Dees’ lead to 29 points. Suddenly Weideman looked a lot busier as he took another mark and kicked his second from 30m in front of goal.

With the Dogs 36 points in arrears at the start of the final term, they were going to have to do something very special to win. However Melbourne continued to keep tabs on them and when Gawn was able to collect a loose ball and find Tom McDonald, who scored lucky thirteen, the game was all but out of reach. The Bulldogs pulled a couple back but basically the night belonged to the Dees.

Melbourne now seemed have accepted their roles in the side and are embracing what they need to do to secure the wins. Each player now knows what’s required of them within the team and when that happens to a side, they become very difficult to beat.

Brisbane have built themselves a reputation after their shaky start to the season but both teams will be playing on neutral turf and my money will be on Melbourne.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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