From Slump To Pumped

July 16, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 17 – Port Adelaide V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Our last trip to Adelaide Oval ended in a one point loss; with a little help from the Umpire. That time we were the firm favourite, this time, thanks to a recent slump in form, we were the underdogs.

The early signs were good for Melbourne. They were winning more of the stoppages and the players looked determined to take the game to the opposition. With more inside 50s, the Dees were setting themselves up to score but their first major proved elusive until Luke Jackson took a great grab from a Christian Salem kick. Ben Brown, back after a stint in the VFL, used his body effectively to assist with the mark. Jackson lined up and scored from 45m out.

The good omens continued with Steven May and Tom McDonald showing improvement. In fact both sides were playing well but it was Port Adelaide who scored next when Karl Amon found a way to turn in a tight space and snap a kick. Good finish. So far it was a close game with Melbourne’s back six looking very impressive and keeping Port at bay. Eventually though Ollie Wines found a way through when he collected the ball 25m in front of goal and kicked for home.

Charlie Spargo then evened up the score again after he was taken high and scored from a difficult angel. Following Spargo’s goal, Melbourne got the advantage from the centre bounce and Christian Petracca launched a bullet to inside 50 before Tom McDonald took a handpass from Luke Jackson to score from just outside the goal square.

After the Demons best first quarter in recent weeks, the players were looking motivated and inspired. However, Port was mounting some serious pressure and storming into the Dees’ defensive 50. There were chaotic scenes all round until Connor Rozee took control and kicked the ball cleanly to score the Power’s second.

Then the tide turned in Melbourne’s favour as the ball came out of their defensive 50 with Michael Hibbert getting it from the ground up to Angus Brayshaw who handed it on to Jackson. The ruckman’s controlled kick targeted McDonald who quickly spotted Petracca speeding towards goal. The kick was perfectly timed and fell into the midfielder’s hands. Tracca just kept going, with Aliir Aliir hot on his heels, before tapping it through for the finish.

Next goal came as Port tried to make a break but were cut off by Dees’ ring of steel on the 50m line. Bailey Fritsch lost the ball initially but got it back and passed it to Kysaiah Pickett. The small forward then showed why he’s so dangerous as he ran on, turned and kicked from 45m, watching the ball sail through the uprights. Petracca got another one when his brilliant pick up and follow on kick from the pocket bounced kindly across the line.

Suddenly the Dees were 20 points to the good. Tom McDonald showed he’s back to his focused best as he collected the bouncing ball and calmly kicked it towards Bailey Fritsch, even as several Port players were closing in behind him. Fritsch marked and played on, kicking towards goal. Another series of friendly bounces saw the ball crossed the line for the Dees’ seventh of the night.

Now Port Adelaide was ladling on the pressure, desperate to reduce the margin before half time. Melbourne were penned in but found a way our via Clayton Oliver who’s kick was superbly marked with one hand by McDonald. In turn, he picked out Fritsch who was running towards inside 50 but Aliir got to the mark first. All the pressure was bound to pay off for Port eventually and the goal finally came when Trent McKenzie launched a massive kick from 55m.

The home crowd’s joy was short lived as Pickett was awarded a 50m penalty and scored from point blank range inside the goal square. However in the interest fairness, Charlie Dixon was awarded a free kick when Steven May held on too long. Dixon scored from the set shot after the siren sounded.

After the break, Mitch Georgiades scored the opening goal of the second half with his set shot from the pocket. The goal fired up the Port fans and players but Melbourne held back the incursions into their territory and finally found a way out and up the pitch.

Ben Brown was putting in a workmanlike performance and making a valuable contribution. Even though Port was having the better part of the play, they couldn’t make it count and still trailed by 15 points at the three quarter point of the term. Then Georgiades got his second and the margin was down to single figures.

Melbourne’s response was immediate when they won the advantage from the centre bounce clearance. Alex Neal-Bullen’s kick to McDonald was perfect and the big forward converted impressively. T Mac has clearly been practicing keeping the ball in play as he again ran outside the boundary while holding the sherrin one handed on the inside. As he ran he launched the kick, bending it like Beckham. The ball curled and curled before finally slipping just inside the upright. Suddenly Tom was Port’s enemy number one with wanted posters going up all around Adelaide town.

With a 22 point lead, the Dees were looking good with Port needing the first goal of the last quarter to regain some momentum. It took some time but it was the Demons who got the first major when Petracca kicked his third. Melbourne was firing on all cylinders.

Tracca was also involved in the next goal when his long ball kick to the 50m line was slapped on by Fritsch to Pickett. The young gun launched the perfect kick from 50m and watched it float sublimely through the posts, effectively snuffing out Ports’ last hope of a comeback. In a carbon copy of his second quarter goal, Charlie Dixon again kicked after the siren but it was purely consolatory.

When the Dees start well, they’re pretty much unstoppable. Since the brilliant performance against the Dogs, Melbourne’s starts have been relatively disappointing. Round 17 showed that the Dees are back in town.

Next up Hawthorn. All three of Melbourne’s losses have been to teams outside the top eight. I don’t think we’ll be underestimating the Hawks though. Should be a good game.
Also, congratulations to Max Gawn on his 150th game as a Demon!

Go the Mighty Dee!!!


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