Melbourne Titans Tower Over Giants

April 22, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 

Round 5 – Melbourne V GWS

Liam Chambers

The Dees were back on home soil after last week’s trip down south. Looking to maintain their clean sheet, Melbourne would have been only too aware that the Giants were capable of causing an upset.

Having said that, the Dees looked very comfortable from the start. When Bayley Fritsch marked on the 50m line, he showed great vision in spotting Christian Petracca running into clear space. Fritsch’s kick was perfectly timed to reach Tracca as he approach the goal square. It was then just a matter of collecting the ball and tapping it across the line.

Kysaiah Pickett hasn’t seen a lot of the footy in his last two outings but he easily marked Clayton Oliver’s kick. The ensuing set shot from the pocket was flawlessly executed and the Dees were two up.

With the Dees’ defence set up so well, GWS’s kicks to inside 50 were continually intercepted. When the Giants tried to run it in, Melbourne out tackled them. Finally ex Dee Jesse Hogan had a chance with a free kick from the pocket. His shot ricocheted off the post. After that kick, the Giants kept coming back but Melbourne was content to defend, conserving their energy and waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

It didn’t take long long as Kozzie Pickett got his second after marking a Fritsch kick. His 30m set shot hit the spot. Melbourne won the clearance and the ball was back in their forward 50 where Fritsch was awarded a free when deemed clipped as he went for a mark. The set shot from a tight angle favoured his left foot and it was four in a row for the Dees.

After Port Adelaide was held goalless for the first half last week, GWS would have been keen to avoid the same fate. They wanted the opening goal of the quarter but it was Melbourne who struck first. The increasingly reliable Max Gawn kicked a set shot from the 50m line. Goal a game Gawny seems to have left his days of near misses behind him.

Much to the relief of the travelling fans, the Giants finally got their first goal. Harry Himmelberg gathered up the ground ball near the square, spun on his axis, kicked round the corner and watch it fly through the uprights. Having claimed their first major, GWS was eager for more.

Melbourne had other ideas and Ed Langdon had two set shots in quick succession. The first, from a difficult angle, sailed behind. The second was more straightforward but bizarrely the Umpire called “play on” as he was running up to take the kick. Langdon’s kick veered widely to the left, missing everything. The equivalent of coughing loudly when your opponent is taking a golf putt?

Then it was back to back goals for the Giants when Stephen Coniglio kicked a 50m set shot, reducing the margin to fourteen points.

When Christian Petracca launched an impossibly high kick from the 50m line, he put the perfect bend on the ball to ensure it sailed beautifully through the uprights. It should have been a contender for goal of the year but was disallowed due to a push in the back by Ed Langdon on a Giant’s player.

I’ve watched the footage several times and the push was at best a finger tips contact. Also, it made no difference in assisting the goal. Still rules are rules and you could convincingly argue that the intent was there. I would add though that Ed Langdon could also argue that the Umpire has a grudge against him. Allegedly.

A few minutes later and the Dees showed why they work so well as a team when the ball was passed twice between potential goal scorers, before Luke Jackson basically walked it in and the advantage was stretched to nineteen points.

Just before half time, Jesse Hogan got one back against his old team when he slotted GWS’s third of the quarter. The second half was looming as a tight competition.

Appearances can be deceptive though and the Dees were on the scoreboard within of the first minute of the bounce. James Jordan’s kick from 40m deep in the pocket looked effortless. Christian Petracca added to the advantage when he collected a dropped mark and kicked for goal while being tackled.

The Giants then had an easy goal. Bobby Hill was taken high just inside 50; he was also awarded a 50m penalty when the Umpire’s decision was questioned. Rules are rules. After the bounce, GWS gained some territory but Melbourne’s defence deflected it back.

Pickett marked before going for a run. He kicked it to Alex Neal-Bullen and kept running, collecting the dropped mark on his way through. He launched a kick form 40m and sealed the deal while notching up his hat trick.

It was two in ten seconds when Charlie Spargo crumbed the ball from a tap down, then passed it to Neal-Bullen who snapped it through. Another minute and Max Gawn took clean possession in a stoppage before turning and kicking his second. Gawny rose up from the ground like a footy messiah to receive the high fives of his teammates.

It wasn’t all one way traffic though and GWS hit back when Matt Flynn took a mark and scored from 40m out. The Giants went in hard again after the bounce but Melbourne were able to wriggle clear and were away up the field. Fritsch marked just inside 50 and went back to convert. Jack Viney made it a forty nine point game when his tap in from 10m just missed being touched.

Jake Bowey took it to greater heights with his intercept mark and run on kick from 50m, which also hit the bullseye. Just before the end of the term, Sam Weiderman took a mark 25m from goal. His set shot right on the siren brought up the century for Melbourne.

With a lead of sixty two points, the Dees had the game in the bag but they still played like a team protecting a much tighter margin. Their work rate was epitomised by Tom Sparrow’s chase down of the ball as it was rolling towards the line. His last second contact directed the sherrin to Bayley Fritsch which allowed the forward to pick up the ball and tap a goal.

The Giants pushed on, desperate to get more majors on the board but their efforts were continually frustrated. Instead it was the Demons again when Fritsch took another mark 30m from goal. Another bounce, another clearance and another incursion inside 50 where Charlie Spargo received a hand pass and kicked number nineteen for Melbourne.

Belatedly, Bobby Hill clawed one back for GWS when he snapped from 35m. Then, fittingly the first gamer Finn Callaghan made the most of his chance after receiving a hand pass with ninety seconds to go.

Next it’s Richmond, who’ve had a mixed season so far. They’ve yet to roar like the Tigers of recent years but it would be imprudent to take them lightly.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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