Enjoying probably the last sleep in for quite a while, I woke up to the realisation that the previous night’s events weren’t a nightmare. Essendon really did beat North Melbourne by three points, and it was the topic of the Sunday Footy Show. If Daniel Wells had of played, I dare say North would have prevailed. Nathan Thompson said on the SFS that the Roos were wrong to bring David Hale into the side, as they were too top-heavy against a fast Essendon unit. It’s not like we had speedy midfielders to choose from Thommo.
It was soon 3:00pm and the footy started from the MCG. Melbourne and Sydney. Two of the most populated cities in Australia battling it out at the home of football. I tipped the Swans, and felt comfortable with that as Brent Moloney was a late withdrawal, Austin Wonaeamirri coming into the team.
The match began and Jamie Bennell drove the ball long inside 50 where Lynden Dunn got his boot to ball in the goalsquare, giving Melbourne the first goal of the afternoon. Brad Green marked on the lead and just grazed the post, but the goal umpire put two fingers up and the footy Gods seemed to be barracking for Melbourne. Jesse White quickly reminded those Gods that there was another team on display, marking and goaling, before Melbourne embarked on a goalkicking spree. Jack Watts and Wonaeamirri showed admirable attack on the ball, with Green kicking his second in the end, and then marking on the lead to boot his third. Cam Bruce kicked a big goal from outside 50, Liam Jurrah marked on the lead and converted and Nathan Jones impressed all with a running goal from outside 50 on a tight angle, the Demons led by 36 points. Adam Goodes kicked a goal late in the quarter, before Dunn got his second from 45m out. Lewis Jetta kicked his 16th behind of the year, hitting the post from point-blank range as Melbourne went into quarter time with a 37-point advantage, 8.2 to 2.1.
The second quarter got underway and Green kicked his fourth after a great mark. He was on Mark LeCras pace! Even James Frawley got amongst the cheers, kicking a long goal from outside 50, with the ball taking a wicked bounce to find the opening of the big sticks. Tom Scully received after a great transition from the backline and kicked the major on the run from 40m out, taking the margin out to a massive 55 points. White got his second before Jarrad McVeigh got onto the end of a clever Ryan O’Keefe kick to get his first and the Swans seemed to have the upperhand. Melbourne needed another goal before half time, and they turned to their most improved player of the team and of the whole competition. Mark Jamar took a big pack mark in the goalsquare and snagged it, giving Melbourne a 48-point lead at the main break, 12.4 to 4.4.
An impressive first quarter from the Dees seemed hard to beat, but some things are possible in football. Dunn snapped his third after missing an earlier shot, Jones replicated his goal from outside 50 in the first quarter to take the lead beyond 10 goals. Cale Morton marked at the 50m arc, played on, wheeled around and landed the goal, causing a weird, sexual sound to come from Bruce McAvaney. Don’t do that again Bruce. Jurrah received in the forward pocket and slotted it through, before Goodes took a good mark over Morton to kick his second. Wonaeamirri gathered the ball five metres from goal but on a tight angle, cooly dribbling the ball along the ground for his first of the day, then even Paul Johnson marked on the lead and split the middle. It was a red and blue day. Ted Richards split in between two Melbourne players and kicked a long goal, before Brett Meredith ran too far deep in defence, gifting the ball to Aaron Davey who converted. Finally, Jurrah handballed to Green running into an open goal, extending the lead out to a huge 86 points at the final change, 20.8 to 6.6.
The last quarter was a non-event. White booted his third as I switched between Channel 10 and Channel 7, trying to catch a glimpse of Sports Tonight while trying not to miss a goal. Jack Watts capped off a good day with his first goal, and Jamar again put an exclamation mark on a solid performance with his second goal. Mike Pyke was given a questionable free kick and kicked his second goal, his second at the MCG, and Sydney again charged with Goodes kicking his 300th goal in his career. Late in the game, Goodes pushed Morton under the ball and ran into an open goal, slamming the ball through to the delight of the remaining Sydney fans. The siren sounded with Bennell chasing a Sydney player to the ground, the perfect way to end a day that belonged to Melbourne.
Dean Bailey was smiling, the players were smiling, the fans where smiling, but most importantly, Jimmy was smiling.
Melbourne-Green 5, Dunn 3, Jamar 2, Jurrah 2, Jones 2, Scully, Frawley, Wonaeamirri, Bruce, Johnson, Davey, Watts, Morton
Sydney-Goodes 4, White 3, Richards, Pyke, McVeigh
Melbourne-Sylvia, Bartram, Frawley, Davey, Green, Watts, Jamar, Dunn, Wonaeamirri, Jones, Scully, Morton, Bruce
Sydney-Goodes, Malceski, McGlynn
29,374 at the MCG
3: Colin Sylvia (M)
2: Clint Bartram (M)
1: James Frawley (M)