That Old Familiar Feeling

September 7, 2020 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 15 – Swans Vs Melbourne

Liam Chambers

First post game thought. Did we just press the self destruct button? I’m sure Demon fans would have been disappointed with the result but there was also something vaguely familiar about the situation. The next morning, on the way to work, I had an epiphany. I decided to check it out that night and pulled the report I’d written after Round 21 in 2018.

Sure enough we’d played the Swans in a must win game. We’d had twelve wins and Sydney was considered our best chance of the remaining three matches. We lost and the critics were out in force. With games against West Coast and GWS to play Melbourne was basically written off for another year. As you know though we got the results and made the finals for the first time since 2006. The challenge now is to do the same again. We need to win all three of our remaining fixtures but we won’t do it if we play like we did against Sydney.

The question now is who really wants to play finals. Fremantle has no chance mathematically but that won’t stop them trying to ruin Melbourne’s party. The Giants have the best chance of taking eight spot and will throw everything at us to that end. The Bombers are still an outside chance so it may come down to that final match if we’re still in contention.

I may be a wide eyed optimist but I truly believe we can do it. I missed most of the first half so I re-watched the game on Sunday. It didn’t make pleasant viewing unless you’re a Swans’ fan. After conceding the first goal early, the Dees needed to use the breeze to their advantage. Mitch Brown came close after some clever play and marking. His shot missed, as did Adam Tomlinson’s attempt soon after. Melbourne were kicking long but not to advantage. It all felt a bit aimless.

Playing against the wind, Sydney was storming the Dees’ defence but not getting the results. Eventually we got the ball back up the field and had some good runs. Then Angus Brayshaw kicked the first from inside 50. However, Melbourne was looking hesitant and uncertain whereas the Swans looked more confident and in control. We did get a boost when a well targeted kick from Jake Melksham found Charlie Spargo to the left of goal. His subsequent snap kick hit the target. Melksham was involved again near the end of the term when another targeted kick found Brayshaw thirty metres in front of goal. Unfortunately Gus was unable to convert but we finished the quarter with a slim margin.

Goody would have had a few choice words at the break but our lads didn’t appear to be listening. Melbourne continued to look sluggish with sloppy kicking and ball turnovers; the Swans catching them napping on occasion. Sydney learned quickly from the Dees first quarter performance and used the breeze beautifully to their advantage. With their kicks well targeted they notched up the goals. They were also more aware of the ball’s direction when attempting marks.

We continued to mis-kick and turn the ball over to our disadvantage. This unfortunate aspect of our game was present last week but we were much more competitive and got away with it. Sydney continued to hammer out the best scoring opportunities leaving Melbourne conceding five unanswered goals for the quarter.

With Goody providing even choicer words at the half time break, the Dees needed to adapt quickly if they were to take control of the game. It started well with prodigal son Alex Neal-Bullen redeeming himself with a brilliant set shot kick from outside 50. Though inspirational, Melbourne were unable to capitalise on their opportunities in front of goal. The Swans defended their lead well without any further goals in the term. Unfortunately Bailey Fritsch hit the post with thirty seconds to go. A goal at that point would have been a big morale boost for the Dees.

We needed to pull out all the stops if we were to recover but the Swans struck early to regain their five goal advantage. Then James Harmes gave reason to believe with his superb running goal from forty metres. Fritsch had another chance from thirty metres but it just wasn’t happening on the day. With nothing left to lose, Steven May was sent up the field to rally the troops. His brilliant mark taken twenty five metres in front of goal was rousing. Then that kick, which just squeezed in by the slimmest of margins, had the fans shouting for more.

Electrified, the players started piling on the forward pressure. When Ed Langdon was awarded a 50m penalty and took his shot just fifteen metres out from the left of goal, we held our breath. Unfortunately he kicked wide. When Max Gawn marked the ball in the same spot a couple of minutes later, he also kicked wide. I had to check that they hadn’t replayed Langdon’s shot.

The last couple of minutes summed up the worst and best of our brand of play. First we turned the ball over to Ryan Clarke so he had the gift of a shot only twenty metres out from goal. If there was such an award, then that would be a contender for turnover of the year. However, in a last gasp, Mitch Brown took a great mark and snap kicked a goal to make the last quarter an even scoring affair.

I’m sure the players will get to watch a replay of their Round 15 game. I hope they use it to motivate themselves when we play Fremantle.

Go the mighty Dees!


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