On The Canvas But The Ref’s Still Counting

September 11, 2020 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 16 – Melbourne Vs Fremantle – On The Canvas But The Ref’s Still Counting

Liam Chambers

Melbourne rarely performs well in the rain. So when the heavens opened after the first three minutes of play, it didn’t bode well for the Dees. If there is going to be a pre season boot camp next year, may I make a suggestion. How about two weeks in the top end where it rains practically every day from October to March. If the Demons can train in those conditions, they need never worry about water again.

Initially we needed to win this game to have a fighting chance. However, sometimes fate has a way of intervening and changing the course of events. Thank you Adelaide Crows!

Currently there are five teams fighting for the last three spots if you discount Carlton (97% and in 11th position) then any combination of two teams from the Pies, GWS and the Dogs need to lose their final two games. I’ve also discounted the Saints as they play GWS in their final game and we play the Giants in Round 17.

Our best chance, should we beat both GWS and Essendon, would be Collingwood/Giants losing both of their games. Collingwood face Port Adelaide in Round 18 but Round 17 is against the Suns. With Gold Coast just playing for pride, I’m hoping for an upset. Anyway, it’s all in the lap of the gods now.

Fremantle were able to handle the conditions better in the first term but their accuracy in front of goal let them down. Only leading by six points with two minutes to go, it looked like being a goalless term for both teams. Then Freo’s Michael Walters had a set shot just inside 50 to the left of goal. He succeeded where his team mates failed previously, slotting through the first major score of the night. Jayden Hunt almost did the same for Melbourne a minute later but the ball went wide for a behind.

At the start of the second, the Dees looked more determined but the Dockers also went hard, playing against the breeze. One highlight for Melbourne was the sight of Braydon Pruess chasing down Nathan Wilson, finally catching him by the collar and flinging him to the ground. It was touch and go whether he would be awarded a free kick or penalised for a high tackle. Luckily it was the former. However Pruess decided to try his luck and made an attempt at goal. At almost fifty metres out and at a difficult angle, it was always going to be an optimistic kick for the big man.

While the Dees continued to mis-kick and turn the ball over, Fremantle looked more disciplined and focused. Melbourne were lucky not to concede more goals but our back line defended desperately. Finally with three minutes to go, Jayden Hunt kicked the first goal for the Dees. His set shot from twenty five metres in front of goal narrowly sailed past the inside of the right hand post. Just on the siren Trent Rivers had a chance to score his first goal but was unable to convert.

With the score at 9-15 it was anyone’s game. Worryingly for Melbourne though was the number of uncontested marks; 46 to 10 in Freemantle’s favour.
The Dockers remained disciplined, forcing the Dees to react. Jayden Hunt got another chance to add to the scoreboard but the accurate shot was too low and the ball was marked on the goal line.

Freo’s ruckman Sean Darcy got an opportunistic goal when he grabbed the ball in the square after a throw in, then turned and kicked it straight into the open goal. When Bailey Fritsch targeted Sam Weiderman twenty metres from goal, the talented forward converted to put Melbourne back in contention.

As the Dees looked to make some progress, they hesitated going forward allowing Fremantle a way back up the field. The run caught Melbourne off guard in defence and Michael Walters picked up the loose ball, kicking his second goal. A camera shot of Simon Goodwin in the box shows he knew that play was costly. After the goal, the Dockers raise the intensity, even marking well in the wet conditions.

Max Gawn makes some important marks himself in defence, keeping Melbourne in touch with Freo. The pressure proves too much eventually and Walters was again able pick up the ball and score after some fumbling from the Dees.

Trailing by seventeen points going into the final quarter, it was now or never for Melbourne. The Dees got inside 50 but couldn’t press home their advantage. At times it seems like not all the players were on the same page. Bailey Fritsch took a brilliant mark but was unable to convert. As the seconds tick down, it was looking more and more ominous for Melbourne. Then Adam Cherra sneaks one in from a difficult angle and the Dockers looked to have it all sewn up.

However the fans were given a glimmer of hope when Aaron vandenBerg took a great mark thirty in front of goal and converted. Toby Bedford almost had another but put it behind. Still, for the first time in the match, the momentum was with the Dees. When Fritsch took a handball from Ed Langdon, after some great pressure, the subsequent shot from twenty metres out gave the trailing Demons a shot in the arm. As Christian Petracca shot on goal was touched, it left fans lamenting what could have been the match winner. Behind by only eight points, the Dees were unable to land the killer blow.

With only seconds on the clock, it was all over for Melbourne. We didn’t need Michael Frederick’s kick for another on the siren, it only served to deepen the loss. Fans were left wondering why, if we could play the way we did in the last ten minutes, we couldn’t have been more intense throughout all four terms.

While we won’t necessarily qualify for the finals if we win our last two games, we definitely won’t be in the eight if we lose them. The Giants are just as keen to qualify and will be stinging from their loss to Adelaide. There are no more second chances.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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