Demons dominant in visit to Gabba

September 2, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 

AFLM – Round 23  – Brisbane V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

The Dees had beaten Brisbane in their last three encounters. Our performances since the bye have been mixed though and the Gabba is always an intimidating venue for visitors. We could take inspiration from our last gasp victory against the Blues in Round 22 as we continue to build on our sense of self belief.

Fittingly it was the match winning hero of the Carlton game who kicked the opener against the Lions. It took all of eighteen seconds for Kysaiah Pickett to put Melbourne on the scoreboard.

The Demons dominated Brisbane early on, restricting them to their defensive half. Every time the Lions made progress, they were quickly driven back. When Jake Lever took a defensive mark and was deemed to have been push in the back, he was awarded a 50m penalty. His kick from the 50m line was accurate and had just enough distance to cross untouched. It was his first goal as a Demon and the look on his face was priceless.

After the bounce, it was straight back to work for Melbourne. Within a minute, Bayley Fritsch had marked the ball 40m out. His set shot split the middle and it was 0-20 to the Dees.

We knew it would be difficult to restrict Brisbane to no score for the entire first quarter and that proved true when Joe Daniher marked and kicked from the 50m line. The Gabba crowd was ecstatic but the mood returned to sombre when Ben Brown ran into space and marked the ball 45m out in the pocket, then kicked to claim his first of the evening.

Ed Langdon does a lot of running but doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to score. His contested mark on the square was impressive and he had no bother slotting his quickly taken set shot.

When Melbourne went to Perth in Round 20, they proved that they could play as well as they did at anytime in 2021. However, the big question being asked, was could they sustain the level of determination required to win another flag. Well, they certainly played like champions for the remainder of the quarter. Then when Pickett bookended the term with his second goal from two disposals, it looked like being the Dees’ night.

Brisbane came out looking determined to get on the board early. Their forward pressure was intense and Melbourne was under siege. The Lions were rewarded eventually when Daniel McStay marked the ball inside 50 and scored from the set shot.

After the bounce, Brisbane surged again. Joe Daniher got boot to ball in front of goal, but Michael Hibberd’s cat like athleticism ensured the ball was touched prior to crossing the line. Those sort of reactions can be the difference in a tight game and Hibberd was roundly applauded for his quick reflexes.

Brisbane looked to have settled into a comfortable rhythm, controlling the footy and dominating territory with Melbourne unable to break out of their defensive half. Then against the run of play, the Demons got the ball up the ground and inside 50 thanks to a driving kick from Jake Melksham. Ed Langdon grabbed the ball as it was thumped away from the pack and somehow got a hand pass to Kysaiah Pickett, who turned and launched off his left boot to claim his hat trick.

After Pickett’s goal the Lions seemed to lose some of their drive and Melbourne slowly resumed control of the game. The next major came via a superb banana kick from the in form Ben Brown. By now the Dees were looking comfortable with a thirty six point lead.

Pickett’s fourth goal was classic Kozzie. He casually collected the tapped down ball, then ran forward before changing direction, spinning around and kicking the ball; watching it float to the very top of the uprights, then passing through for the goal.

They say when you’re in the zone, you can kick a goal blindfolded. That’s sort of what happened when Christian Petracca picked up the ball 30m out and chipped it over the pack. The ball landed on the edge of the square, then bounced high over Jarrod Berry’s head and across the goal line. I have a feeling that Petracca was slightly bemused by it all.

The complete domination continued after the centre bounce when Clayton Oliver’s streaming kick to inside 50 was knocked down, then collected by Jake Melksham. The forward then added his name to the scoreboard when his shot also bounced over.

Brisbane was still trying valiantly but nothing was working for them. Even when they had spells of playing in their forward half, the Demons found a way to thwart their efforts before counterattacking. It happened again when Trent Rivers’ long kick was collected by Petracca who hand passed to Bayley Fritsch giving him plenty of time and space to snap his second from the edge of the goal square.

The margin was now sixty points and there was still two minutes left in the half. Then with five seconds to go, Ben Brown took a heavily contested mark 25m out from goal. Kicking after the siren, Brown kicked his third to close out the term.

Trailing by sixty six points, Brisbane needed to be perfect for the remainder of the match if they were to have a snowball’s chance of launching one of the most unlikeliest comebacks of all time. They started well with Hugh McCluggage slotting a set shot from the pocket. Then a minute later, Joe Daniher marked from 20m out and reduced the margin to fifty four points.

That was about as good as it got for the Lions. The next goal went to Melbourne via a Bayley Fritsch mark and an around the corner snap for his hat trick. When Christian Petracca got his second unorthodox goal after somehow finding a clear path to dribble through, it was undeniably the night of the Demons.

Lincoln McCarthy restored Brisbane’s deficit to ten goals when his running kick from 35m sailed through. The hosts were unable to back it up though and their subsequent efforts only resulted in minor scores.

When Alex Neal-Bullen brought up the ton for Melbourne with his 25m set shot, the home fans could see the coveted top four spot slipping irretrievably from their grasp. As if to emphasis the impossibility of the task, Bayley Fritsch kicked his fourth after being on the end a chain that totally opened up the Lions’ defence.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Brisbane was now only playing for pride. Whether they could make a dent in Melbourne’s seventy point lead remained to be seen. The Dees would want to hang on to as much of the advantage as possible. The superior percentage meant that the Sydney Swans would need to defeat St Kilda by somewhere in the region of forty points. Second place on the ladder meant having a home game advantage which could prove crucial to the team who secured that result.

The Lions again got the first goal of the term thanks to a Hugh McCluggage snap from 20m out. After that the goals dried up for each side until Luke Jackson took an uncontested mark 20m directly in front of goal.

With two minutes to go, Mitch Robinson marked just inside the 50m line before going back to cleanly kick his set shot. Then right before the siren, Cam Rayner was awarded a free kick in front of goal and went back to reduce the final margin to fifty eight points.

The Swans won their game against St Kilda but not by enough to knock the Dees off second position. We face Sydney in our qualifier and if we continue with our current form, I like our chances.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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