Port Extract Power From Dees’ Batteries

August 4, 2020 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 9 – Port Adelaide Vs Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Melbourne is clearly struggling with the new condensed season. You can speculate that an extra day’s rest can be a big advantage when you’re playing to such a tight schedule. You could also argue that the Dees have traveled less than some other teams in the competition; notably Port Adelaide. It was always a big ask for Melbourne to defeat possibly the best team in the competition but I think Demon fans were at least hoping that we would be more competitive.

Apart from a reasonable attempt in the opening term and a few inspirational minutes at the end of each of the subsequent quarters, the Dees struggled against a side not firing on all cylinders. Port Adelaide were always going to bounce back from last week’s defeat at the hands of St Kilda but Melbourne made it all too easy. Mitch Georgiades caught the Dees’ defence watching the ball not the man and scored the opening goal from the set shot.

Then for a few minutes, Melbourne exerted some good forward pressure but were held back by the Power’s disciplined defence. Some of our players were solid but overall we were deficient in momentum. Jay Lockhart was an exception but the team appeared to lack the energy that made the last three games so exciting. They were winning the ball at times but not seeing other team members who were in good scoring positions. Port’s pressure was also having an affect and making the Dees look indecisive.

We were giving them too much space inside 50 to mark and score. Despite having more free kicks, inside 50s and time in the forward half, we couldn’t convert any opportunities. Clayton Oliver almost scored the first for Melbourne after the siren but unfortunately struck the post.

Even though we went into the second quarter down by three goals, there was still hope, we just needed to adjust our game plan to turn it around. However, it didn’t get any better and almost immediately Charlie Dixon got the ball to Justin Westhoff to mark and score his second. Then Max Gawn pushed Charlie Dixon in the back during a hit out, giving away a free kick. Dixon isn’t missing many from that position at the moment. Melbourne’s quarter got worse with players not getting into positions to take advantage when we won the ball. At one stage, Jake Melksham was left scrambling against three Port Adelaide players with no other Demon in sight.

I was concerned that some of our players might sustain injuries especially after last season’s game when Max was deliberately targeted by Port. This time they didn’t need to target anyone.  Unfortunately, Clayton Oliver was reported for a high elbow. Hopefully he will get off with a warning. There were moments of clarity for Melbourne. Kysaiah Pickett’s excellent kick to find Tom McDonald just to the right of goal was promising. Unfortunately Tom was unable to convert and the Dees remained goalless.

Port continued to apply pressure but Melbourne’s response was sloppy. We were miskicking, turning the ball over too often and giving away fifty metre penalties. Finally, the Dees got their first goal in the dying minutes of the first half. Tracca was able to get boot to ball after a stoppage to snap a six pointer and save some blushes. That glimmer of hope was almost snuffed out a minute later but Steven May just got a finger to the goal ward bound sherrin and luckily ARC agreed. Overall verdict on the Demons’ first half performance. Well below par and lacking determination and vision.

Melbourne needed to start playing smarter in the second half but again they became rattled when the opposition applied some heat. Even in their most convincing performance so far this year, against Hawthorn, they noticeably stumbled when the Hawks briefly fought back in the second term. This is an aspect that the coaching staff were seemingly addressing in recent times but as the match went on, the Dees game was regressing.

While Port Adelaide continued to notch up the goals, Melbourne was unable to capitalise when they won possession. Lack of players in forward positions when it counted was frustrating. When we did have players inside 50, Port defended desperately, denying Melbourne any scoring opportunities. Then Luke Jackson’s set shot chance from thirty metres out sailed across the front of goal. With the margin out to nine goals, the Dees continued to turn the ball over with monotonous regularity.

Then with the final minutes ticking away, Jake Melksham got a second for Melbourne. I’ll give credit where it’s due, Melksham has nerves of steel. If the AFL ever has the equivalent of a penalty shoot out, I want Jake kicking the first ball. That Melksham goal proved inspirational as, with less than thirty seconds to go, the Dees put together their best run of play all evening. First Angus Brayshaw hand balled to Oscar McDonald who passed to Tom Sparrow onto Tracca onto Michael Hibberd onto Nathan Jones and then to Jake Melksham who placed the perfect kick to the lone figure of Sam Weiderman in front of goal. Weiderman didn’t miss. Back to back goals for Melbourne four seconds before the siren.

In the break, the cameras found Alan Richardson on the sidelines and asked him for a three quarter sum up. “We were beaten on the inside, beaten on the outside” Nothing more to say really.

With only the last term to go, Melbourne was now only playing for pride. In the words of Olivia Newton John, they just needed to get “Physical”
I wish I could say the lads redeemed themselves but unfortunately Port spent the first five minutes in their forward 50. The Dees tried their best to defend but first Mitch Georgiades kicked one home, then Travis Boak weaved through Melbourne’s back line to tap in number twelve. Even then, Port pounced on any foray the Dees made towards goal. A late consolation was a Sam Weiderman’s kick from forty five metres out which sailed through perfectly. Jake Melksham’s attempt after the final siren was accurate but not high enough to reduce the margin to under fifty.

We play the Adelaide Crows in Round 10 but after the display against Port Adelaide, the Dees have zero room for complacency. Adelaide may have lost twelve on the trot but they came very close to beating Essendon in Round 8. Our opponent in Round 11 is North Melbourne who won convincingly against Adelaide this weekend. Those two games looked like foregone conclusions a couple of weeks ago but the bookies may now be reassessing those odds.

I don’t know what happened against Port. It was like the last three weeks never happened and we were again the team least likely to fulfill our potential.
There is obviously something wrong somewhere within the Club. Lack of confidence, belief? Unable to handle opposing pressure? Whatever it is, the critics are out in force again and having a field day.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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