Go Dees

April 23, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 
Captain leads the way

Round 5 – Hawthorn V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

You underestimate the Hawks at your peril and for the first three quarters they kept Melbourne well within their sights before the favourites exploded in the final term, with a goal fest to gladden the hearts of Demon fans.

From the start, Hawthorn applied some good pressure but the Dees responded well in defence, especially Jake Lever. Critics have argued that Melbourne need to win without Steven May in order to prove their credentials. Lever, along with Adam Tomlinson and the return of Michael Hibberd show the Dees well placed at the back. Hawthorns inroads inside 50 finally paid dividends when Oliver Hanrahan scored from a set shot 30m in front of goal. Ed Langdon got Melbourne’s first when ex Demon Sam Frost was pinged for holding Lever.

The Dees improved their kicking accuracy in the second part of the quarter but their set shots in front of goal continued to be a concern. Luke Breust added to the Hawks score sheet before the Dees excitement machine Kysaiah Pickett marked a Tom McDonald kick before converting beautifully from 35m out. Hawthorn piled on the pressure in the final two minutes of the first term with another goal to Hanrahan, who got a toe to a bouncing ball right on the line; then Breust also got his second as the clock ticked down to the siren.

Melbourne responded in the second quarter with an interesting goal. Christian Petracca made a run near the pocket and side stepped a kick to Jake Melksham who finished brilliantly. Most of the pressure was coming from the Hawks and eventually they were rewarded when Tim O’Brien was given enough space to mark in front of goal. Everything seemed to be working for the Hawthorn and they continued to control the play.

Melbourne managed to weather the storm and make some headway towards their own goal end. When Ed Langdon had his arm chopped by a Hawthorn defender, he had a set shot from point blank range. The Dees continued to waste some of their kicks which was disappointing when some of their build up play was spectacular. Trent Rivers went on a superb run up the middle bouncing the ball before spotting Pickett and launching a kick which Kysaiah cleverly picked out. His set shot just missed the target.

Though Melbourne made some impressive incursions into the Hawks defensive inside 50, they couldn’t make them pay. The Dees did get under Sam Frost’s skin though and Clayton Oliver found himself looking up from ground level after a cheeky aside to the big key defender.

Melbourne would have been a little concerned that after all their pressure in the last five minutes of the second half, they still trailed by two points. Mitch Brown almost did an Eddie Betts when a powerful long kick from Alex Neal-Bullen landed at his feet inside 50. Unfortunately the sherrin bounced the wrong way. Again Hawthorn piled on the pressure which Melbourne fended off well but it was beginning to look like the third quarter was going to be another low scoring affair.

Then Petracca was awarded a free and scored his hundredth goal for the club from a set shot in front of goal. The Dees then started to take control of the game more and their kicking became more accurate. Tom McDonald marked well 35m out from the left of goal. This time he didn’t miss and increased the margin to eleven points. Melbourne’s momentum was reigned in by Tim O’Brien when he scored his second of the afternoon.

With the Dees looking well placed at the start of the final term, Hawthorn upset the apple cart with a goal after only fifteen seconds. That pesky centre bounce again. Melbourne needed a reset and fortunately their stellar captain Max Gawn provided the inspiration. The famous ruckman is infamous for missing the easy ones and scoring the impossibly difficult ones. Luckily, his set shot was from 55m out and big Max sat back and watched his mighty kick sail through the uprights. Then he encouraged the faithful to acknowledge his brilliance and they were more than happy to oblige.

Max’s goal opened the floodgates and first through was journeyman Mitch Brown with back to back marks and conversions. Thank you Mitch. Langdon got his hat trick from a great kick taken from 45m out on the run. While not quite the unsung hero, he tends to fly under the radar but he certainly made his presence felt to the Hawthorn players. Jake Melksham made it five in a row after a centre bounce clearance allowed Gawn to launch a kick into inside where the forward was waiting.

The Hawks were now clearly rattled and making defensive errors, kicking the ball to Jake Melksham in front of goal and making it seven in fifteen minutes for the Dees. Hawthorn finally got one back when Max Gawn was deemed to have touched Ben McEvoy’s shoulder in the ruck. I think the Umpire just felt sorry for the Hawks. Finally Pickett got a fifteenth from a set shot to push Melbourne’s score to over one hundred. 

We face Richmond in Round 6 and though they’ve had their usual mixed start to the season, they remain the benchmark club in AFL and will be the real test for the Demons. If we beat them then we will start to be taken seriously as challengers for the flag this year. We’ll go into the match as underdogs but may come out of it as genuine contenders.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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