Melbourne Deflect Bombers’ Missiles To Claim Victory

April 7, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons, Sponsoring James 

AFLM – Round 3 – Melbourne v Essendon

Liam Chambers

It’s a cliché but no less true for that; great teams always find a way to win. While challenged for most of of the second and third quarters, Melbourne were well and truly tested in the last term but they finished strongly to make it 3-0 for the season so far.

It started off so well. Melbourne were dominating play and making it look like a practice match. Sam Weiderman was back, filling in for Ben Brown and kicked a beauty on his second attempt. Simon Goodwin has an embarrassment of riches at the moment with Jake Lever set to return next week. The fact that there are so many potentials waiting in the wings means the regulars are focused on keeping their spot.

No such worries for Tom McDonald at present as he proved himself again with his bending shot to score the Dees’ second. With Jack Viney’s round the corner kick just before the siren, it was a very comfortable looking Demons side running off at the break.

As Lao Tzu said “There is great danger in underestimating your opponent” Wise words and I’m afraid I was guilty as accused when I sat back to watch the second quarter, believing the game was in the bag. I was quickly brought down to earth when Tex Wanganeen’s set shot looked like sailing through before fortunately connecting with the post.

The Bombers were inspired though and started to bring the game to Melbourne. When Tom Cutler kicked Essendon’s first, things got serious. Straight after the bounce they were back in Melbourne’s defensive 50 and Peter Wright had marked the ball. His kick from 45m slotted perfectly and the gap was closing.

Tom Sparrow’s set shot from 40m stayed on it’s trajectory to clear the right hand upright, easing the pressure but only momentarily. Just before half time, Andrew McGrath snapped from just outside the goal square and the margin was back to nine points.

Tex Wanganeen had hit the post at the start of the previous term but didn’t miss with his second attempt; the snap kick off his left boot curled through to bring the Bombers to within three points. Essendon took the lead when their key forward Peter Wright kicked his second from a set shot and now Dees fans were sitting up and taking notice. Wright did it again a few minutes later to score his third and the lead stretched out to ten points.

James Harmes has scored some crucial goals so far this season. His shot from 40m in front was a definite ship steadier and just what Melbourne needed. Harmes scored again less than two minutes later when he launched a 45m kick that never looked like missing. The Demons were back in front. Almost immediately, Sam Weiderman was on the receiving end of an Angus Brayshaw perfectly placed kick. Sam’s kick from the pocket was also perfectly placed and it was out to a two goal margin.

Unfortunately Essendon refused to stick to the script and Jake Stringer took a mark almost on the goal line. He couldn’t have missed no matter how hard he tried. Stringer then took another mark. This time from 40m out but the result was the same and the Bombers were back in front.

The goal fired up the Dees and they won the clearance before Bayley Fritsch was deem held on the 50m line. Advantage was paid and Clayton Oliver ran on, launching a kick goalwards where Sam Weiderman was waiting to collect. Weiderman kicked his third from 25m and Melbourne was ahead again. Christian Petracca was having a quiet night and allegedly suffering some knee swelling but it didn’t prevent him kicking a rocket from edge of 50m and curling it through beautifully. Tracca actually signaled that the ball may have been touched but he seemed to be the only one who thought so and the goal stood.

It looked like a case of normal service restored when Charlie Spargo put Melbourne ahead by three goals halfway through the final term. A few minutes later and Bayley Fritsch made a four goal margin when he snuck around the defence and placed the ball directly between the posts.

Essendon weren’t going anywhere though and won the clearance before making another run towards inside 50 where Archie Perkins kept Bomber’s hopes alive with his snap on goal. Then they underlined their revival with another Peter Wright mark in front of goal. With five minutes to go the margin was only eleven points and still anyone’s game.

Angus Brayshaw had been stellar all night and he again launched a long kick to the waiting pack just outside 50. After some crumbing and gathering, the ball found it’s way to Ed Langdon. His kick from the pocket should never have crossed the goal line but somehow he managed to spin it in the right direction. Nobody was more surprised than Langdon when the major was awarded.

It was definitely game over when Bayley Fritsch marked one handed five metres from goal and snapped it through. Melbourne still had one final trick up their sleeve when Clayton Oliver had a chance to score from 30m. Instead he placed it in Sam Weiderman’s hands, who was in the exact spot where Fritsch had just scored previously. Weiderman calmly turned and tapped it in for his fourth.

It was a good result in the end with the Dees’ total just shy of the ton. We’re only one of three teams to be 3-0 and are sitting comfortable in second spot on the ladder.

Tonight we travel to Adelaide to take on Port, who have yet to register a win. Nobody is going to take Port Adelaide for granted. They finished in second spot last season and they’re notoriously difficult to beat at home. It’s going to be a tight game.

Go the mighty Dees!!!


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