Where Eagles Fear

April 15, 2023 by
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons, Sponsoring James 

Round 4 – West Coast Eagles V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

The Eagles’ home ground is less Colosseum like these days. The baying crowds are still there but they are now significantly less intimidating for visiting teams. In fact Optus Stadium evokes pleasant memories of our 2021 Premiership.

Bailey Fritsch opened the scoring after marking an Ed Langdon specialty; the pocket to centre kick.

The Demons looked in control for the first few minutes but after that West Coast started to increase the pressure on Melbourne’s defence. However the young side struggled to make the most of their opportunities whereas the Dees were clinical when presented with a target. Kysaiah Pickett announced his return by collecting the bouncing ball in the centre and snapping a kick to Tom McDonald inside 50. The forward plucked the sherrin from the air and converted easily from 40m.

The Eagles regrouped and finally got into a scoring position when Jack Darling centered the ball to Noah Long 30m to the left of the uprights. The goal inspired the hosts and they threw themselves at Melbourne with renewed vigor. When Oscar Allen was awarded a free kick on the edge of the goal square, his around the corner kick meant the Eagles drew level on the scoreboard.

They tried but were unable to build on their momentum before T Mac marked a Jack Viney kick 25m out and went back to kick his second of the quarter. Melbourne had now scored three goals from six inside 50s; a stat to gladden the hearts of the faithful.

The Eagles continued to worry the Dees in their defensive 50 but rarely looked dangerous in attack. Up the other end, the Demons were causing sorts of bother for the home side. Bailey Fritsch’s kick from the 50m arc had Tom McDonald and Charlie Spargo running for the ball with only one Eagle for company. McDonald was unable to mark but Spargo collected the ground ball and snapped from the top of the goal square.

Tom McDonald was involved again when his inside 50 delivery was marked by Bailey Fritsch, 35m to the right of goal. Fritsch’s set shot after the siren gave the Dees a seventeen point quarter time lead.

After the break, the Eagles resumed the pressure on Melbourne. There was little reward though as West Coast made mistakes, frequently turning the ball over. They also scrambled to contain the Demons when they threatened to score. Eventually Bailey Fritsch had a half chance as he turned and snapped to notch up his hat trick.

Both sides were tackling hard but Melbourne was seeing much more of the ball, with the Eagles struggling to get into their forward 50. Even though the Dees had chances to extend their lead, they were unable to convert.

Then Tim Kelly was awarded a 50m penalty and he scored from the 50m line for a much needed West Coast goal, reducing the margin to nineteen points. Alex Neal-Bullen extended it out again when he trapped and snapped form 25m in front, after a convoluted run of play from Melbourne.

A minute later and Connor West was awarded a high tackle free. He converted from 40m to again bring it back to nineteen. Then with forty seconds to go in the half, Jack Viney was able to kick to the hot spot in front of goal where Charlie Spargo collect the mark. He decided to run quickly turning and snapping for his second.

West Coast was still in the game at the start of the third quarter and they had a few chances early on but were unable to make them count. Melbourne also had opportunities go begging until Christian Petracca took a mark 40m from home, then played on and snapped the first of the term.

After that goal, the Dees moved up a gear. Bailey Fritsch delivered a well weighted kick to Jack Viney who went back and hit the target.

West Coast wasn’t quite ready to raise the white flag yet though and Oscar Allen took a contested mark 30m out. His conversion restored some optimism to the fans. That optimism seemed premature however, as a minute later Kade Chandler sent a hand ball over the top to an unguarded T Mac standing near the goal square. The big forward was able to steer it through for a goal, much to the disappointment of the blue and yellow crowd seated in the stand behind the uprights.

Melbourne won the next clearance and ran for goal, fumbling back and forth along the way before Kade Chandler was able to run and snap, giving the Dees a forty one point lead. Then it was a case of McDonald goes fourth when he received a handpass from Pickett and launched a kick from 55m. The ball sailed over the top and bounced just over the line, shepherded along by Fritsch.

Jacob van Rooyen continued to build on his impressive debut in Round 3, marking the contested ball in front of goal. His set shot went through cleanly and the lead was out to fifty four points. Melbourne had completely dominated the quarter both on the ground and on the scoreboard. However it was West Coast who had the last word when Oscar Allen kicked his third from a set shot after the siren.

With a forty nine point lead, it looked like the Dees had it all wrapped up at the start of the final term. No rest for the Demons though. They piled on the pressure in their forward half and it finally paid off when Christian Petracca took a mark and slotted a 50m set shot for his second goal.

Whether you’re a Dee or an ex Dee it didn’t matter; the goals just kept coming, with Jayden Hunt marking in front and kicking it through for his new club.

When Tracca is playing well, it’s pure poetry. His pinpoint accurate kick to pick out van Rooyen in the square was perfect. The young gun then kicked around the corner to claim his second. There is much to admire about van Rooyen but his ability to instinctively know what he needs to do is hugely impressive. You can’t teach that.

Kozzy Pickett finally got his first major after a few false starts earlier in the game. His pick up of the ground ball and casual tap in make it look so easy. Sam Petrevski-Seton got one back with his set shot in front of goal before Tim Kelly added another following the bounce. Pickett got the last with his 30m set shot. He would have wanted more but I’m sure he’s saving it for the Bombers in Adelaide on Saturday.

Essendon will be tough. They’re playing very well this year and they always raise their game when fronting up to the Demons. Expect an entertaining fast paced game.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


Comments are closed.

Click here join NSW Demons now.

follow us on twitter Follow us on twitter

join our facebook group Join our facebook group

Sign up to our newsletter: