Melbourne Surfs to Victory on the Gold Coast

March 31, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 

AFLM – Round 2 – Gold Coast V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Queensland seems to have a special kind of humidity. As soon as you cross the border, you start to sweat. The Dees would have to contend with the weather as well as dealing with a Gold Coast team that had already seen off the Eagles. The Suns are a talented side so it would be a good test for Melbourne.

Gold Coast are infamous for peaking at the start of the season but with one win under their belt, they would be eager for the top scalp. True to form, the Suns got the first major when Jeremy Sharp had a set shot directly in front. They also got the second when the marking machine Levi Casboult took a contested grab inches from the line. With only half the term gone, the Dees could have been further behind but the home side’s accuracy in front of goal let them down. Once they sort out how to kick more efficiently they’ll be really dangerous.

Even as Melbourne battled to get the ball into their forward fifty, they still looked calm and collected if not overly cool. It was only a matter of time before the Dees got a break and as is so often the case, it was Max Gawn who stepped up when he marked from 30m out. A couple of minutes later, Ben Brown marked deep in the pocket. His perfect kick, under difficult circumstances, was enough to make the footy gods weep.

I’m not sure if Goody asked that only players two metres or over kick goals in the first quarter but Luke Jackson scored a blinder with thirty seconds to go. When he grabbed the ball out of the ruck and ran on to score, he was the epitome of thinking on your feet.

Melbourne’s fourth goal showcased both their individual and team strengths. As Christian Petracca crumbed the ball from a dropped mark, he went on to break away from two sets of tackles before hand passing to Jack Viney. The midfielder wasted no time in snapping the ball through the posts.

Gold Coast struck back immediately when Mabior Chol took a contested mark and kicked cleanly to restore the margin. Twenty seconds later and Melbourne were ten points in front again. With some clever hand passing, the Dees were able to weave through the Sun’s defence, allowing Kysaiah Pickett to kick around the body and score number five. Another twenty seconds and Melbourne had a sixth when Clayton Oliver broke out of a tackle to one handedly drop the ball onto his left boot and launch the sherrin goalwards where he watched it bounce across the line. 

Gold Coast eventually arrested the one way traffic when Alex Davies marked in front of goal and converted to score their fourth. Now it was the Suns turn to score in rapid succession as Noah Anderson received a handpass on the 50m line, before running on, dodging Angus Brayshaw, lining up the kick and hitting the target.

Gold Coast continued to exert some impressive pressure on the Dees, getting players around the ball. Again their lack of accuracy meant they were unable to take full advantage of their chances. The margin remained at three points deep into the quarter following the initial flurry by both sides in the opening minutes. It looked like the Suns could make it to half time neck and neck with Melbourne. Then Ben Brown was deemed held just outside the 50m line and the big forward kicked his second.

A few minutes later, and it was back to a cigarette paper between the teams when Jack Lukosius marked ten metres away from goal. The rejoicing didn’t last long at Metricon though as the ball sailed over the heads of the waiting pack in Melbourne’s goal square. Luke Jackson saw his chance to follow the ball, collect it on the bounce and kick from point blank range. When is his contract being renew again?

With Petracca notching up so many brilliant kicks during the game, it’s difficult to pick a favourite. However his weave through traffic and subsequent kick from outside 50 to perfectly pick out Tom McDonald has to be a contender. T Mac doesn’t miss from that range and the advantage was back to three goals.

Melbourne was caught napping at the start of the second half when the Suns made a dash for inside 50 where Levi Casboult was waiting to take the mark.

Bayley Fritsch was having a quiet night but he only needs one chance and he took it. After being awarded a free kick 45m from goal, he went back and kicked beautifully to score Melbourne’s tenth.

Frustratingly, Gold Coast were proving difficult for the Dees to leave in their wake as Brayden Fiorini was able to bend the perfect kick and watch it sail through. Melbourne was also struggling to breakdown the Sun’s defence but ultimately James Harmes found enough space to snap one through and it was back to the half time margin.

Fatigue was setting in on both sides with some players feeling the effects of the heat more than others. Each team kept forging ahead though, with Melbourne missing a couple of possibilities. Then Kysaiah Pickett got goal of the match when he danced around three GC defenders and kicked sideways while managing to remain upright. Brilliant!

The heat was on both literally and figuratively as Melbourne endeavored to land the fatal blow. The conditions obviously favoured the hosts and they used their energy in a last ditch drive to overcome the Dees. Despite continuing to mount their onslaught, it took to the halfway mark of the last quarter for the Suns to finally take advantage with Noah Anderson managing to get a kick away from a stoppage and give Gold Coast a glimmer of hope.

Whereas the Suns had struggled with accuracy in the first half, now Melbourne were peppering without scoring a major. Then with only a minute remaining, Charlie Ballard marked from 35m out and converted.

It was a tight game in the end but Gold Coast were worthy opponents and look a possibility to make the top eight this year. Round 3 we play Essendon. Again, a side with lots of potential but sitting near the bottom of the table. We won’t be underestimating them though.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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