AFL Round 17 – Melbourne v Brisbane Lions: Brisbane Mid Strength v Melbourne Light

Going to the Footy in Melbourne involves certain rituals: putting on beanies, jumpers and scarves. It’s different in Darwin where the crowd wears thongs and t-shirts. You can tell the locals from the Mexicans quite easily. The locals have brown arms and the Mexicans are white.
A few other things caught my eye. Nearly all the attendants at the ground are volunteers from local sporting clubs who donate their wages for the night to their clubs. I was shown to my seat by Fred, whose grandchildren play hockey for Darwin and served a hot dog by a lass from the Darwin Buffalos. The AFL has invaded for the night but the NT spirit is there. Fred and I shared a beer at half time, something you would not see at the MCG. It was only mid strength so no harm was done.
The match opened with Leuenberger dominating the match, winning all the hit outs and marking around the ground. Brisbane was miles in front in all the stats; more contested and uncontested disposals, more clearances and loose ball gets. However, Melbourne was nine points up at quarter time because the Brisbane defence was providing as much resistance as the top order of the Australian Cricket Team. Every time Melbourne went forward they scored as their forwards won all the crucial one on one contests. Fitzpatrick, playing his tenth game, had three goals to half time and had four for the game. Why Merret was not playing down back…..????
The game evened up in the second quarter as Melbourne started to win more of the ball but Green, up forward, was proving a handful for the Melbourne defence. The crowd was waiting for a “Howe Hanger” and he attempted one, up forward. He couldn’t hand on but Davey gathered the spillage and snapped truly. The scores were level at the twenty five minute mark; red time coming up and once again a bottom team leaked goals. Two late goals gave the Lions a two goal buffer at half time.
The less said about the second half the better. This was a game that pitted Brisbane (a side firmly entrenched in the lower third of the ladder) against Melbourne and we all know where they are at. It was a game of Brisbane Mid Strength against Melbourne Light. The standard of the game after half time was woeful. Brisbane was wasteful kicking five goals eleven behinds which at least kept the scores close. Brisbane finished up with nearly 50 % more shots at goal.
In the last quarter the high number of skill errors, forced and unforced, made the game resemble a game of Rugby League. We did not have a streaker at the end of the game (unlike the Origin game) but finally, Staker iced the game with a late goal. The Melbourne supporters started to leave. They showed some judgement as the players from here on simply went through the motions until the final siren.
Both these teams have to improve. For Melbourne, young Jack Viney showed some promise and Jack Fitzpatrick had his best game for the club. Brisbane won a game without Black and Brown (I wonder if that has happened in the last ten years) and Maloney and Golbie. The Brisbane future was on display when Yeo won a loose ball, went to Clarke, who passed it to Mayes. These blokes are all nineteen and may be the next wave of great Brisbane players.
The better players were Leuenberger, who was clearly the best man afield. Rockcliff dominated the stat sheet but he is an on-baller who does not “hurt sides”. Hanley had a wonderful first half but a tight tag reduced his influence later in the game. Staker, with three goals, and “Moose” Maguire were good players for the Lions.
For the Demons Sylvia got a lot of possessions, but like Rockcliff, made little use of them. Jack Fitzpatrick was instrumental in keeping Melbourne in the game early. Frawley was a tower of strength down back all night.
Brisbane travels to Adelaide to play Port and if Black, Brown, Maloney and Golbie come back in they have a chance. They are still a mathematical chance of playing finals. Melbourne lost again and played poorly to boot. They have a few hard years in front of them.

Brisbane 3.4 8.5 11.12 13.16 (94)
Melbourne 5.1 8.5 10.7 11.9 (75)
Brisbane: Staker 3, Green 3, Merrett 2 , Redden 2, Zorko 1, Lisle1
Melbourne Fitzpatrick 4, Davey 2, Blease 1, Dawes 1, Jones 1, Byrnes 1
Brisbane: Leuenberger, Rockciff, Maguire Staker Green
Melbourne: Frawley, Sylvia, Fitzpatrick Viney
Umpires: Findlay, Ryan, Filia
Official Crowd 7615
Our Votes 3 Leuenberger (Bris) 2 Rockciff (Bris) 1 Frawley (Melb)


  1. Leon Kay says

    Seven of Brisbane’s behinds were rushed and Melbourne were down a rotation for the last 40 minutes of the game after losing one of their better players in Garland, who had provided real dash in the first half.
    I actually thought Rockcliff set up many attacks and was quite effective, whereas Sylvia, apart from his 9 clearances, was largely ineffective.
    A very scrappy game with both sides out on their feet for the last 20 munutes.
    Melbourne desperately need a midfield. The Lions need more KPP’s.

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