Saints Cast Demons Aside (Not a Good Friday)

April 23, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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Round 5 – Melbourne Vs St Kilda – Saints Cast Demons Aside (Not a Good Friday)

Liam Chambers

After last week’s triumph over the Swans, it seemed like Melbourne had finally got their season belatedly on track. Though not perfect, there was much in that game to inspire Dees’ fans.

So what went wrong in Round 5? There has been speculation of tension between some coaching staff and some players. If correct, this obviously doesn’t help anyone in the team and adds to the overall stress levels within the club.

Simon Goodwin has helped Melbourne achieve a lot over the last couple of years, slowly building up the strength and confidence after so many years struggling to be competitive. As Max Gawn pointed out in his Bluey Medal speech last year, the support and co-operation of all the staff had been pivotal to how much was achieved in 2018.

There may need to be a bit of re-jiggling and reshaping if the Dees are to recapture that level of performance. Other teams have been through times where the practical outcomes don’t match the intentions. We need to get through this spell of bad results.

We can still make finals and that should be our only focus when the Dees run onto the ground. No one is unbeatable and we can beat anyone.

There were times when the lads played well but we were behind St Kilda at the end of every quarter. I wrote after Round 3 that we often under estimate our opponents in games we should win.

The Saints have improved with every match they’ve played. They only lost by 5 points to Fremantle at home in Round 3 and last week’s effort against Hawthorn was impressive. I really believe we didn’t give them enough respect and we paid the price.

At the start of the first quarter when Preuss opened the scoring with his first touch, it looked like the Dees meant business. However, within minutes we were being out marked and struggling in defence. Preuss again book ended the first quarter with another great goal to raise the fans spirits.

Preuss’ goal may have proved inspirational as we dominated play for most of the second quarter. The midfield played well again, assisted by Gawn’s accuracy in the ruck. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a way through the Saints back line.

Then St Kilda returned serve, dominating contested possession and kicking three goals to be 15 points ahead at half time. Unfortunately the worst was yet to come with St Kilda kicking five unanswered goals in the third quarter.

Melbourne rallied in the fourth to reduce the margin to 28 points but never looked like reigning in the Saints, who iced the cake with two goals in the last minute of play.

We face Richmond in Round 6. The Tigers have had their own set backs this year but are now looking formidable and will be very hard to beat. It will be interesting to see how we react after all the slings and arrows from the media and commentators in general.

If Melbourne are true to form, we should win simply because no one now expects us to prevail.

Go the Dees!!!

MELBOURNE 3.3 4.5 4.8 7.13 (55)
ST KILDA 4.1 7.2 12.5 15.5 (95)
GOALS
Melbourne: Preuss 2, Melksham 2, Petracca, Brayshaw, Harmes
St Kilda: Membrey 4, Kent 3, Bruce 2, Billings 2, Acres, Lonie, Long, Parker
BEST
Melbourne: Brayshaw, Oliver, Gawn, Harmes, Salem
St Kilda: Billings, Kent, Membrey, Newnes, Acres, Steele, Geary

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Dees Derail Doubters

April 18, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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Round 4 – Sydney Vs Melbourne – Dees Derail Doubters

Liam Chambers

Finally something to smile about. As Simon Goodwin strolled onto the ground after the final siren sounded, his face was a open book of emotions. Happiness, satisfaction, pride and no small amount of relief was writ large across the features of the normally poker faced coach. The result was also Melbourne’s first win against the Swans at the SCG since 2006.

The Dees got the first six pointer against the run of play; Petracca converted from 50m out for Melbourne’s first shot on goal. Debutante Braydon Preuss quickly followed up with a nice mark and quick turn to kick the second. The Swans grabbed a couple back before Preuss impressed again with his second of the night. Three late goals for the Swans took the shine off the quarter for Melbourne.

At the start of Q2, the legendary Lance Franklin, having a low impact game, kicked wide for his second minor score. James Harmes got his first and Melbourne’s fourth which was balanced out by Sydney a few minutes later when Jordan Dawson kicked another. The momentum appeared to be going the Swans’ way when Isaac Heeney found the back of the net.

However the advantage was clawed back by Captain Nathan Jones who inspired the troops with his brilliant back to back goals. With the margin reduced to ten points, Jake Melksham then took the Dees to within one goal of their opponents. However, Buddy quickly restored the Swans’ edge, converting from his first contested mark of the night against Sam Frost. Then Jack Viney got Melbourne’s fifth of the quarter and the Dees finished the half trailing by just two points.

A perfect start to the second half with Tom McDonald kicking only his second goal of the season to even up the scoreboard at 58 apiece. Christian Petracca show why he is so dangerous when he fought his way through the Swans’ defence and managed to turn and kick a goal while being pulled to the ground by Sydney’s Kieren Jack. When Jayden Hunt got back to back goals, the Demon faithful really started to believe that we could win the game.

The Swans opened the scoring in the last quarter with a goal from Ben Ronke. When Sam Weideman’s effort was answered by Kieren Jack, Sydney still looked competitive but Nathan Jones then slotted his third to extend the Dees’ lead. Angus Brayshaw finally sealed the deal with a superb kick 40m out from goal with three minutes to go.

As Max Gawn pointed out in a post match interview, Melbourne performed in Round 4 like they were expected to play in the first three rounds. Not a subtle statement but accurate.

Next week’s clash with St Kilda at the MCG will be tough. The Saints have been competitive and beat a complacent Melbourne last season in a major upset for the Dees. We will give them a lot more respect on Saturday night. They played well against the Hawks in Round 3.

SYDNEY 5.4 8.10 9.11 11.12 (78)
MELBOURNE 3.2 8.4 12.7 15.10 (100)
GOALS
Sydney: Florent 2, Dawson 2, Jack 2, Sinclair, Z. Jones, Heeney, Franklin, Ronke
Melbourne: N. Jones 3, Preuss 2, Petracca 2, Hunt 2, Harmes, Melksham, T. McDonald, Weideman, Brayshaw, Viney
BEST
Sydney: Cunningham, Lloyd, Florent, Rampe, Jones, Heeney
Melbourne: Gawn, Oliver, N. Jones, Salem, Hore, Harmes

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No Gong At Geelong

April 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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Match Report – Melbourne v Geelong

Liam Chambers

What can you say. It’s been a nightmare start to Melbourne’s 2019 campaign. I hate to write it but Geelong played brilliantly. We had some moments where our huge potential was on show but we just couldn’t put the points on the score board. There will be many questions raised about the Dees but there are a lot of players who’ve had pre season surgery and obviously they are struggling with a team not yet fully fit.

One of the those players is Clayton Oliver but he was in great form against the Cats with 44 disposals. Christian Salem was a stand out performer again and Angus Brayshaw’s work rate was unquestionable especially considering he was playing with a corked thigh. Max Gawn was better with 18 hitouts. Another positive were the young guns in Lockhart & Sparrow.

There were moments where we fought hard against a Geelong side that were definitely under estimated by the commentariat. The old warriors were there in Dangerfield, Hawkins and Selwood leading the charge.

We tried to make a game of it in the second quarter but we couldn’t convert our advantage. An interesting statistic shows Melbourne had 25 more inside 50s than Geelong but the Cats found a way to score the goals. The third quarter sealed the deal for Geelong and our three goals in the final quarter was way too little way too late.

Where to from here? It looks like May’s injury will keep him out for a few games when we desperately need him in defence. However, the Dees need to rediscover that brilliance they displayed in the last four games of 2018. Fans could be forgiven for asking if the Demons really want it enough, if they’re hungry enough and if they’re passionate enough to turn their season around.

They have to ignore the commentary both positive and negative. The expectation has been sky high and now we’ve crashing back to earth with the harsh reality of the week to week footy.

On paper we should be unbeatable but whether it’s a tendency to under estimate the opposition or lack of self belief, we keep getting beaten. In the JLT pre season games we had issues that we’d hoped would be ironed out by now but it looks like we need to go back to the drawing board and look again at our strategy; how can we adjust our game when the opposition keeps outmaneuvering us.

I’m an optimist and if we play to our potential we should have the first win under our belt when we play the Bombers on Friday night.

GEELONG 6.1 7.4 13.4 20.6 (126)
MELBOURNE 2.2 3.4 3.9 6.10 (46)
GOALS
Geelong: Rohan 3, Selwood 2, Dahlhaus 2, Hawkins 2, Dangerfield 2, Miers, Kelly, O’Connor, Duncan, Ratugolea, Parfitt, Menegola, Clark, Constable
Melbourne: Melksham 2, Weideman, Lockhart, Viney, Brayshaw
BEST
Geelong: Dangerfield, Kelly, Duncan, Dahlhaus, Selwood, Stewart, Constable
Melbourne: Oliver, Brayshaw, Viney, Harmes

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Still Some Demons To Conquer

March 30, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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Round 1 – Melbourne Vs Port Adelaide – Still Some Demons To Conquer

 

First game of the season and expectations were high amongst fans and footballing commentators alike. This could be Melbourne’s year with a berth in the Grand Final a distinct possibility.

It started well with the Dees dominating earlier. A good run and pick up from Sam Weideman who kicked to Jake Melksham collecting the mark just outside Port’s inside 50m. Melksham’s kick towards goal was marked by Tom McDonald who slotted in Melbourne’s first.

This was quickly followed up by a goal from Tom Sparrow, making his Dee’s debut. A one handed mark by Angus Brayshaw 30m out from goal added to Port Adelaide’s woes.

With the Demons leading 19-1 after ten minutes, it looked like it was going to be a walkover by Melbourne, especially when Jake Melksham made it 26 for the Dees. However Port fought back to finish the quarter trailing 27-16.

Port opened the scoring three minutes into the second quarter with Justin Westhoff kicking his first goal. Max Gawn wasn’t having a good game, being dominated in clearances.

Bayley Fritsch marked a difficult ball in front of goal to stretch the Dee’s lead to 11 points but Zak Butters’ shot two minutes later pulled it back to 3. Port Adelaide kicked another two goals before Christian Petracca’s effort improved the score line. Melbourne finished the half trailing by three points.

A much needed goal from Captain Nathan Jones inspired the troops. Two minutes later Jayden Hunt started a run of play by Melbourne culminating in a great goal by Melksham to regain the lead. This was followed up by Sam Weideman to stretch our advantage to nine points.

It looked like Melbourne was starting to take back control of the game. Port Adelaide begged to differ though and another from Westhoff subdued the Demon faithful. Port added two more unanswered goals to finish the quarter ahead 61-69.

The Dees went into the last quarter still in a competitive position but it wasn’t to be our afternoon. Two further goals from the veteran Westhoff sealed Melbourne’s fate. There were moments of brilliance, especially from Christian Salem but the Dees failed to score and the game ended 61-87 in favour of Adelaide.

Port fought hard and were able to neutralise Max Gawn. Missing Stephen May at the back didn’t help and Jack Watts played one of his best games against his former team mates.

It’s only Round 1 but we’ll all feel better when we get our first win. Lots of teams under estimate Melbourne and we like being the underdog. Let’s hope the Cat’s are feeling over confident on Saturday after last week’s victory against the Pies.

MELBOURNE 4.3 6.5 9.7 9.7 (61)
PORT ADELAIDE 2.4 6.8 10.9 12.15 (87)
GOALS
Melbourne: Melksham 2, T.McDonald, Brayshaw, Fritsch, Sparrow, Weideman, Petracca, Jones
Port Adelaide: Westhoff 5, Butters 2, Marshall, Duursma, Ebert, Gray, Boak
BEST
Melbourne: Salem, Harmes, Melksham, Hibberd, Brayshaw, Oliver
Port Adelaide: Westhoff, Rockliff, Gray, Boak, Burton, Ebert

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Dogs Bite But Demons Deliver 

March 16, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
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Dogs Bite But Demons Deliver 

Match Report – Melbourne v Footscray

Liam Chambers

The Western Bulldogs had nothing to lose. Melbourne wanted revenge for last year’s final game when the Dog’s broke the Dees’ hearts.

Aliesha Newman got away early; seizing the ball and running to kick towards goal. Unfortunately only picking up one point. The Dees applied some good pressure but the Dogs fought back driving play into Melbourne’s half.

The Dees were dominant though and a good mark from Tegan Cunningham set up Kate Hore to have a shot on goal. However Melbourne was denied their first goal.

Again and again the Dees made good runs into the Dogs’ inside 50 but they couldn’t find that sweet spot between the uprights. Finally a great kick by Elise O’Dea (revelling in her new role as co-captain) was marked by Cunningham directly in front of goal. Tegan slotted through for Melbourne’s first six pointer.

The score of 0-11 at the end of the first quarter didn’t reflect the Dees’ superior effort over the Dogs. The Dogs opened the scoring at the start of the second quarter courtesy of a Katie Brennan free kick. Again Melbourne dominated the Dogs’ inside 50 but were unable to convert.

A free kick and a 50m penalty saw Naomi Ferris get the Dogs’ second. Tyla Hanks had a good opportunity but her turn and snap was marked by a Dogs’ player to thwart a great effort.

Melbourne continued to push forward and was rewarded with a quality goal from Karen Paxman (after a team spirited pass from Newman). The Dogs were determined though and a good mark by Patterson prevented a further goal.

Then Isabel Hunnington’s kick to goal was marked on the line by Aisling Utri who converted for the Dogs to make it 18-18 even. The Bulldogs took all their chances in the quarter with Aisling McCarthy getting their fourth to lead 24-18 at half time.   It only got worse at the start of the second half. Kristy McLeod struck with her first and the Dogs’ sixth. The Melbourne faithful were given something to cheer when Maddi Gay slotted home after a good run of play; especially from Kate Hore with some fancy footwork  and passing.

Tyla Hanks almost reached the ball as it was bouncing towards goal. She just missed grabbing it before the ball bounced awkwardly for a behind. Melbourne was in dire need of a hero.

Then the most inspirational moment of the game came when Eden Zanker marked well and converted beautifully from a difficult angle approximately 20m from goal. It was now a very tight game at 32-31 going into the final quarter.

The Dees needed to dig deep if they were going to win and keep their finals hopes alive. This would be a huge test of character. That test suddenly got a little more difficult when Isabel Huntington kicked the opening goal to give the Dogs a seven point lead.

A real nail biter was compounded when Tegan Cunningham missed a shot on goal. Then it was pressure and counter pressure as Melbourne was tackling for it’s very survival. The Dogs were determined to push the Dees as hard as they could and Melbourne couldn’t make any inroads into Doggie territory.

Then with 2 minutes to go and reminiscent of a cheesy Hollywood screenplay, Tegan Cunningham marked the ball 30m out from the Bulldogs’ goal. Under enormous pressure, the set shot Queen made no mistakes and put the Dees ahead 38-39.

For the next 90 seconds, Melbourne defended and tackled like their lives depended on it. When the siren sounded the sense of elation and relief from players and fans alike was palatable. The Dees were one step closer to their first finals appearance.

Next week’s game against Adelaide will the toughest yet. Melbourne has lost only two games this season. Both have been at Casey Fields. Both have been by only four points. We can definitely beat the Crows but the girls will need all their ingenuity and skill to be triumphant.

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