Round 1 – Melbourne v GWS: Trusted to take the Game Defining Shots and Misses

I honestly don’t know who coined the phrase “Bad kicking is Bad football”, and I’m not about to lose any sleep or waste my time trying to find the person who created it. I’m sure he’d be richer and more respected than Donald Trump if he were here today, and based on the events of Saturday Afternoon (leg 1 of my Easter Triple Header) his pockets would be lined thanks to the newest kids on the block.

Encouragingly for Melbourne, their fans and members actually realised that pre-season form does actually count for something. I expected it to be so easy to get a seat officials may actually pay me to turn up to watch. While it was still easy to get in (even accounting for the additional security measure) the crowd of over 28,000 was a pleasing sign that Demon fans actually do care about the team. For the record there would have been about 300 Giants fans and 2 Cats fans obviously still having Steve Johnson withdrawals.

Pre-Match was basic, yet better than most other displays I’ve seen in recent years. Melbourne players chose some music to play over the PA, and whilst a few old gems were played unfortunately 2 stood out for the wrong reasons. I’m no lover of modern music, heck I have more songs from 1964 on my iPod than I have from 2014-2016 combined, so it comes as no shock that Bernie Vince’s choice of some nightclub inspired vomit matched some of his skill level when he was in defence (GARBAGE!). Even worse was the next song chosen by former Giant Tom Bugg. I’m certain he’s copped plenty of flack for choosing Taylor Swift from within the clubhouse, so I’ve come to 2 conclusions over his choice. Either he’s angling for Taylor to write a break up song about him like she’s done for many others, or he’s desperate to find a girl. Somehow I suspect it’s the former!

Let’s be honest, the Giants should have won this game, but the conversion rate in front of the sticks was as accurate as I would be in front of a dart board (haven’t played for yonks). So many of the misses were set shots from easy distances for professional footballers. A couple were shots on the run with little more than token pressure. In essence there weren’t too many of the 16 behinds directly credited to players that shouldn’t have been missed. It’s not quite a replication of Michael Jordan’s “26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot…and missed” (heck I wouldn’t be stunned if many of the Giants hadn’t even heard of Jordan) but there aren’t too many examples of teams frittering away a winning position through their own inaccuracy this early in a season.

With the lead at only 21 going into the last change, you had the feeling that just one early Melbourne goal would turn the tide. Sensing this the “retiring” Paul Roos did something coaches seemingly have little concept of these days, revert to a plan B when the situation arises. Too often coaches tend to stick with their patterns thinking their formulaic approach to winning football will get them out of trouble all of the time so long as the 22 selected on game day buy into the plans. So rather than load up to stretch the Giant defence which had been largely untroubled, a number of mid sized and smaller players were pushed forward rather than into the midfield leaving 2 talls (the maligned Jack Watts and the out of sorts Jesse Hogan) to be the main targets.

Melbourne kicked the first 4 goals of the last quarter, three of them to Hogan who benefited from having Watts being a lead up forward to attract Phil Davis. Teams surely now have to realise that in order to render the zoning defender useless, it’s now all about lowering the eyes and using the hit up target who should be leading no further than 65m out from goal. Despite Watts doing his best Anthony Koutoufides impersonation and Hogan freed up, the Giants still had several chances to win the game, but by the time they managed to finally hit the target, time was too close to expiring for them to realistically rescue the game.

This was the first AFL game I saw with the new interpretations of several rules. The interchange I felt didn’t really have an impact, for both coaches were awake to keeping several changes for the last quarter, although there were still times where Melbourne used 4 changes at once. There were a few 50 metre penalties for being inside the 10 so to speak, but the frustration to me was that several decisions on long standing rules were either not paid or paid incorrectly. Umpire bashers would love to think it was Razor Ray at fault, but this time most of the clangers in my opinion were made by the experienced Chris Donlon. Perhaps the game has passed him by just like it passes by players.

Having seen a fair few Melbourne games as a neutral over the years, it’s actually good to see a few smiles on faces outside the ground. All too often I’ve seen Melbourne games where their level would struggle to beat a Primary School team. They at least have enough midfield weapons now to give their forwards a fighting chance, and if it wasn’t for the number 1 draft pick hogging the headlines from the Thursday Night, perhaps Clayton Oliver may be attracting the headlines. Sadly couldn’t fit him into the votes (I felt a few others had a better impact), but with kids like him fitting in nicely perhaps the rebuild may finally be complete. As for the visitors, finding the accuracy has to come quickly, particularly as they head to the Nation’s Capital a week before I hit town.

 

MATCH DETAILS

MELBOURNE 12.8.80
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 10.18.78

SCORERS
MELB: Hogan 3.0, Garlett 2.0, Vandenberg 2.0, Kennedy 1.1, Watts 1.1, Harmes 1.0, Kent 1.0, Vince 1.0, Frost 0.1, Gawn 0.1, N.Jones 0.1, RUSHED 0.3
GWS: Lobb 2.3, Johnson 2.2, Ward 2.2, Smith 1.2, Greene 1.1, Scully 1.1, Steele 1.0, Griffen 0.1, Marchbank 0.1, Stewart 0.1, Tomlinson 0.1, Whitfield 0.1, RUSHED 0.2

BEST
MELB: Viney, Watts, Oliver, Gawn, Garlett, T.McDonald
GWS: Ward, Davis, Lobb, Shiel, Scully, Johnson

VOTES
3: Jack VINEY (Melb)
2: Callan WARD (GWS)
1: Jack WATTS (Melb)

OFFICIALS
FIELD: Chris DONLON, Ray CHAMBERLAIN, Brent WALLACE (EM: Jack EDWARDS)
BOUNDARY: Lachlan RAYNER, Ian BURROWS, John MORRIS, Robert HAALA
GOAL: Steven PIPERNO, Michael PALM

CROWD: 28505

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Mick, In SA that phrase was forever associated with the great Wally May (Essendon then Sturt).

    Thanks for filling the Almanac Deemons match reporting gap.

  2. Richard Webber says

    Interesting take on things, Mick. Can’t help think that the more relevant stat was the fact that Melbourne went inside 50 more than the Giants, but managed to butcher their opportunities to set up scoring shots. As such, the overwhelming feeling was that the Dees shouldn’t have been 21 points down going into the last. Justice was had in the end, but the Giants inaccuracy didn’t truly reflect the power struggle.

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