Melbourne v Brisbane : Desperation successfully recaptured

July 2, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 
Jack Viney at his best

Round 15

Liam Chambers

Unfortunately I didn’t have any internet connection on Thursday night so was unable to watch the Melbourne v Brisbane game live. Fortunately, I was able to successfully record the game the next day and have since watched it twice.

I woke up around 3am Friday morning and found the internet had returned, so first up I checked the previous night’s score on my phone. Initially I thought I was still dreaming or possibly hallucinating but no, we had basically annihilated Brisbane at the MCG.

I had expected a close game but this was the Dees at their premiership winning best. Jack Viney led from the front and the usual suspects, Angus Brayshaw and James Harmes etc played like their life depended on it. Luke Jackson filled Gawny’s big shoes without a bother. Steven May didn’t have a classic game but Jake Lever goes to another level when he has the big key defender alongside him. In fact all the back line were impressive.

The midfield was incredible and the forwards took their cues from what was happening behind them. Brisbane were not at their best but arguably Melbourne’s pressure really affected their game. Also, why is Toby Bedford not in the side every week? Great result lads!

The pre game pep talk looked promising, with an animated Jack Viney rallying the troops in the huddle. Melbourne was slow off the mark though, allowing Eric Hipwood to score the first goal from close quarters after the ball was turned over on the 50m line. After the bounce, Brisbane also looked impressive in defence, denying Bayley Fritsch a certain goal when he was run down on the edge of the square.

The Lions had the upper hand contesting marks early on. However they squandered chances, as first Joe Daniher and then Oscar McInerney missed relatively straightforward set shots. In the interest of fairness, Ben Brown also missed a set shot at the other end.

Melbourne finally got on the board after a messy build up in front of goal. Tom Sparrow slipped and slid but then found the target to make it a one point game. The Lions hit back immediately when Joe Daniher was awarded a free kick 30m from goal. Then Lincoln McCarthy made it three for Brisbane when his kick from 40m bounced across the line. Just before quarter time, James Harmes launched a high ball goalwards. A defensive error saw the mark taken just after it crossed the line and the goal stood.

With the Demons giving up big first quarter leads in their last three games, it was quietly reassuring to be trailing by six points; especially as the margin should have been greater in Brisbane’s favour. However, I did know the result as I was watched, so my hunch is/was irrelevant.

James Jordon scored another spectacular goal when he collected from a tap down to fire a missile round the corner. Now it was even steven and Melbourne was starting to turn the game to their advantage, while still absorbing the Lions’ pressure. The Dees eventually broke out of their defensive 50 and headed down the ground. Alex Neal-Bullen took delivery of a hand ball on the 50m line and ran on before kicking off the outside of right boot. The ball bounced favourably and crossed the line.

As the quarter progressed, the Demons were scaling heights unseen in well over a month. They were making multiple incursions into their forward 50 and it was only a matter of time before they scored again. That came when Toby Bedford pounced on the loose ball and kicked a pinpoint accurate banana from the boundary line.

Then James Jordon was gifted his second when awarded a 50m penalty and took his set shot 10m from goal. Melbourne were dominating with four goals from four attempts, while keeping the Lions scoreless for the quarter.

Jack Viney continued to impress with his sheer will power and ferocious tackling. He was leading from the front and pushed the Dees to compete ever harder. Brisbane did get one back against the run of play when Mitch Robinson took a mark 45m out and converted, to give the visitors something to hang onto.

The goal proved to be an aberration though, as after the bounce James Harmes collected the ball inside 50 and kicked another from 35m out. Then in the dying seconds of the half, Luke Jackson’s perfectly weighted short kick was marked by Ben Brown. The key forward kicked his first goal and Melbourne was thirty points ahead.

After half time, the Dees continued to chase every loose ball and tackle hard, forcing Brisbane to make uncharacteristic errors. The Lions were in danger of being locked in their defensive half but were managing to hang on and prevent further hemorrhaging. That was until Bayley Fritsch took a contested mark 30m out and found the bullseye with his set shot.

Deep into the third quarter, with a six goal lead, the match was well and truly under the Dees’ control. It seemed everything was coming up Melbourne as Kysaiah Pickett tapped the ball down to himself in the pocket. Then he was spun around in a tackle and somehow managed to remain standing. When he stopped he was facing the goal and booted the ball from point blank range.

Leading by forty two points at the halfway mark of the term, the Demons were mainly having it their own way. There was the odd glimmer for the Lions though. One such moment came when Mitch Robinson’s kick from 50m sailed through to claw back the margin to thirty nine points. After that goal, Brisbane tried to rally but the Dees continued to defend well before Cam Rayner snuck one through the uprights with one minute to go.

It didn’t dent Melbourne’s confidence and thirty seconds later Bayley Fritsch collected a tap down, turned and snapped into the open goal. Then Christian Petracca marked on the siren and went back to take the kick. Goalless in the last four games, his set shot hit the post to continue the drought.

With a forty point lead, it seemed that the Lions had an insurmountable task in the last quarter. Brisbane desperately needed the first goal but it was not to be. In fact the first goal wasn’t scored until the ten minute mark. Then it was Luke Jackson who found some space in the pack to hook it round the corner and home. That put paid to any Brisbane ambition for a comeback.

Just to be sure though, Kysaiah Pickett decided to put it beyond any doubt with his mark and kick from 25m. Next it was Charlie Spargo’s turn when his snap from 30m went through. All the small forwards were having a go as Toby Bedford got his second with a superb running kick from 40m.

Finally, Brisbane got a consolation when Eric Hipwood kicked from the 50m line to record his second and book-ended the Lions’ haul for the game. Fittingly, Melbourne’s last goal of the night came from Fritsch, who notched up his 150th in the process.

All in all a very satisfactory result and a gesture to the critics that the Demons aren’t dead, buried and cremated quite yet.

The game against the Crows at Adelaide Oval will present it’s own challenges and we won’t take them lightly. They’ve shown this season that they’re capable of causing an upset and we certainly haven’t forgotten the last second, one point loss at the same venue in Round 10 last year. Tex Walker is polishing his best goal kicking boots as I write this line.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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