So Close You Could Rue It

May 22, 2019 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Melbourne v West Coast Round 9 2019

Round 9 – Melbourne vs West Coast Eagles – So close you could rue it

Liam Chambers

So many times we’ve read the line “Melbourne left ruing missed opportunities”. Friday night in Perth look like a certain upset until the last minutes of the third quarter. Even then you felt that the Dees would prevail.

Unfortunately some dubious decisions in the fourth quarter against Melbourne gave the Eagles the momentum to gain a late advantage. I know the umpires have a difficult job and an individual fan will have a subjective view of events on the field. However Demon supporters can feel vindicated regarding Q4 decisions now the AFL has admitted the decision to award Lewis Jedda a free kick for an incident that left Tim Smith concussed was incorrect. The furiously righteous indignation in my friend’s lounge room on Friday night was therefore completely justified.

Anyway, that’s all in the past now and we need to refocus for the next game.

I have to start by saying that for most of the game I felt like I was watching a different Melbourne team to the one that had played in the previous eight rounds.

The skill level went up several notches on occasion and the Eagles looked stunned that Melbourne was dominating them on their hallowed home turf. In particular, a wonderful run of play by Clayton Oliver and Jayden Hunt was a highlight of Q1.

On the subject of missed opportunities, we are letting ourselves down when it comes to set shots. So many times in the past couple of years when Melbourne have been playing well, they stumble when favourable circumstances present themselves in front of goal. Brilliant marks are taken only for a player to miss kick what looks like a certain six points. I don’t know what the answer to that particular dilemma is; however I am certain now that we will struggle to win the big prize if we are unable to drastically improve in that area.

Nathan Jones is always inspirational and his opening goal in Perth fired up the players and fans. Gawn was our best asset again and Petracca is so impressive when he puts everything into his game. Jeff Garlett was notable, not only for his tally of three goals but for his determination to break through the Eagle’s defence. An image for the ages was Sam Frost’s chase down of Jack Petrucelle to claim the ball and most of Petrucelle’s shirt.

Video: Sam Frost’s inspirational chase

The most encouraging Dees’ tactic for me was their willingness to tackle the opposition. Their tackle rate was almost double that of the Eagles’ at half time. We’ve also improved our defence and we’re not leaking goals like we did in the earlier rounds.

We were dominating inside 50s in Q3 and looked like we could create one of the upsets of the season. We were leading by nineteen points with only a few minutes to go at the end of the quarter but unfortunately we allowed Josh Kennedy a chance to have a shot at goal which he obligingly converted.

Once Luke Shuey score early in the final quarter for the Eagles, the home crowd really got behind their team. When you have an overwhelmingly hostile crowd roaring for your defeat, it can be a tad unsettling. Suddenly the Eagles were kicking at a much higher efficiency rate and they were stacking up goals with alarming frequency. Jayden Hunt’s goal in the twelfth minute was both brilliant and inspiring but unfortunately was not enough to snatch back the momentum from West Coast.

I’d like to mention that Oskar Baker made his debut for the Demons on Friday night. He has performed very well for Casey over the last few season and though he was a little overawed by the enormity of the occasion, he did enough to ensure he will be selected again.

Video: Oskar Baker’s special debut. I’m not crying, you are.

Next week we face the Giants and if we play as well like we did in Perth, then I believe we will definitely win. Go the Dees!!!

WEST COAST   3.2   5.4   7.6    13.7 (85)
MELBOURNE    3.4   5.8   8.12   9.15 (69)

West Coast:
Kennedy 4, Rioli 2, Shuey 2, Cripps 2, Ryan, Darling, Sheed
Melbourne: Garlett 3, Petracca 2, Hunt 2, Jones, T.Smith

West Coast:
Yeo, Hurn, Kennedy, Sheed, Shuey, Gaff
Melbourne: Gawn, Harmes, Hunt, Frost, Garlett, Petracca

West Coast:
Venables (concussion), Hickey (ankle), Schofield (general soreness) replaced in selected side by Tom Hickey
Melbourne: Neal-Bullen (concussion), T.Smith (concussion), Salem (concussion)


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