Dees Weather the Swan’s Storm

May 14, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 8 Melbourne V Sydney

Liam Chambers

As the Dees weathered the Swan’s storm footy fans knew not to underestimate the Swans. This season’s Sydneysiders don’t scare easily and they’re definitely not intimidated by the MCG. Richmond expected a comfortable win in Round 3 but came away licking their wounds.

Sydney also had Lance Franklin back in the squad and he was oiled up and ready to go. Steven May had the job guarding Buddy and ensuring he didn’t cause too much mischief. The start was almost a carbon copy of last week’s game when Justin McInerney scored after the Swans got the advantage from the centre bounce. A few minutes later Will Hayward double Sydney’s advantage when he kicked from a set shot on the 50m line.

Melbourne fought back and Jayden Hunt managed a clear run through the middle kicking the ball to Alex Neal-Bullen on their forward 50m line. Neal-Bullen spotted Tom McDonald 35m in front of goal tapped to to the key forward. Tom kicked it straight through the uprights for the Dees first.

The Swans were playing high pressure football but Jake Melksham managed to take a mark 40m from goal after a perfectly timed jump to grab the ball. His ensuing kick was precise and Melbourne was back within a point. The game continued at a frenetic pace and Sydney was kicking well but they were unable to break through. The Dees’ third came after a run through the corridor where Charlie Spargo managed to get a kick to Ben Brown as he was just on the verge of being run down. Brown marked it 25m out and converted to give Melbourne the lead. Tom Hickey got one back just before quarter when the ruckman’s round the corner kick from 35m out sailed through the posts.

The second quarter started well for the Dees. They looked comfortably in control and started to create more chances. Tom McDonald has been improving steadily since the start of the season and his movement around the ball has become more fluid. He’s creating chances for himself and his fellow players. His targeted kick to Ben Brown inside 50 was taken one handed, enabling the big forward to kick his second from 35m out. He was also influential in Melbourne’s next goal when Jake Melksham’s running kick to inside 50 was tapped by McDonald to Christian Petracca who snapped it straight through the uprights.

While the Swans continued streaming into Melbourne’s defensive 50, the Dees’ back line was holding up well. At the other end Sydney was fending off attacks as well but Melbourne’s shots kept missing the target in the wet conditions, allowing the Swans to stay in the game.

Only trailing by eleven points, Sydney started the second half applying major forward pressure. Wave after wave of Swans threatened Melbourne’s defence. Finally, Will Hayward broke through for the first goal of the quarter and Sydney’s first since the opening term. Swans’ joy was short lived however. After a chaotic passage of play, a brilliant kick by Christian Salem to Ben Brown gave the new recruit his hat trick.

Then Tom McDonald showed his versatility and mobility by running around and through Sydney’s defence to kick his second. Melbourne’s game had gone up a notch and they seemed to be pulling further away from the Swans, playing more flowing football. McDonald was really stamping his mark and his 45m set shot form the pocket stretched the Dees lead to twenty two points.  Of course you never write off the Swans too early and true to form, they hit back with two late goals. First Jake Lloyd kicked one from 40m out before a great goal on the run from the Tom Papley clawed the margin back to ten points.

Starting the last quarter leading by less than two goals and with the Swans breathing down their neck, the Dees needed an early break. Instead they got off to the worst possible start with Callum Sinclair scoring after the centre bounce went Sydney’s way.

Demon fans often hold their breath at the start of a quarter or after their team scores knowing an immediate response is possible and sometimes the opposition gets two goals in quick succession. Those pesky centre bounces are the one chink in Melbourne’s armour. Though struggling at times, Melbourne managed to hold off the onslaught from Sydney and maintain their slim lead.

Though the Swans were determined to win, they couldn’t get the contested mark inside 50 and score from a set shot. The Dees’ defence was too good. When Charlie Spargo was able to kick through traffic to score a vital goal, it gave Melbourne some much needed breathing space. Unfortunately Callum Mills spoiled the early celebrations by marking and converting to bring the margin back to under a single goal.

James Harmes, who was having a brilliant game on his return from injury, tipped the balance back in Melbourne’s favour when his kick to Tom McDonald was beautifully marked 15m in front of goal. The key forward got his fourth of the night and probably cemented his place up front for the foreseeable future. With literally seconds to go, the recently renewed star midfielder Christian Petracca went down with what initially looked like a knee injury. Demon fans held their collective breath but it appears it was simply a corked thigh, very painful initially but manageable.

We face Carlton in Round 9. The Blues may have only won three games so far this season but Simon Goodwin’s players won’t be underestimating any side in the competition. What matters is how we’re playing as a team and how we can change our game to suit the circumstances. That’s been the difference this year. A loss will come eventually but I’ll happily take a few losses on the way to the Grand Final, as long as we take home the big prize. Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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