West Coast Fly High

By Steve Healy

I was back at the MCG on another glorious afternoon. This time, it was a little different, we were playing West Coast. Based on recent form, we should’ve smashed them. I met up with a large group of people from school (James, Tim, Miles, Nathan, Matt, Anthony, Josh and Danny) and we all sat in the front row of the Olympic stand pocket. The talk was all about Jack Watts V Nic Naitanui, who would be facing off for the first time.

The game got underway with a couple of goals in a row from the in-form Josh Kennedy. Then my months of defending Watts paid off as the fourth-gamer cleanly handpassed to Green who goaled on the run. The rest of the quarter was a bit of a crap, Scully and Trengove looked in great knack again, the latter almost kicked goal of the year, but it was Lynch who kicked the Eagles third straight goal to put them in front by nine points at quarter time in a low scoring quarter.

The Eagles continued to dominate in the second with a couple of missed shots followed by a brilliant mark and a clever goal from Adam Selwood, who previously missed everything from a good mark late in the first.  Finally the tide turned as it was always going to do. McDonald converted a set shot, second-gamer Hughes kicked one from a fifty, and Bennell got on the end of a beautiful link-up play to put us in front. I was now off my seat and cheering. LeCras put the Eagles back in front with a goal from 40, after he already kicked three behinds in the term. Just as I was commenting on how badly Naitanui was playing, I swallowed my words as he flew high over Bruce and took a spectacular mark, his first of two for the day. I was reminded of Ashley Sampi’s amazing mark against us at the same ground six years ago. Green kicked his second after pinging Scott Selwood at the tip of the goal square and the scores were level as the half time siren sounded, 5.5 35 apiece. I observed and chuckled at the Auskick kids.

The third quarter began with a brilliant goal from Cox, who was clearly the dominant ruckman on the ground all day. Despite the efforts of McDonald, Grimes, Moloney and McKenzie who were racking up possession after possession, Ebert, who has taken his game to a new level at West Coast this season, put one through and the Demons were in trouble. Our relief came when Scully snapped a superb goal on the run, giving the 19-year-old a birthday present. Watts took a fantastic contested mark to prove the football world otherwise, but just as we looked like we had all the momentum Rosa put one through the middle on the run. It was the Eagles by 12 at the last change.

We were still right in the game, but with a couple of injury worries and not much heart the game slowly slipped away. The Eagles dominated the whole quarter, but just didn’t blow us away right until the end. LeCras backed into the pack and took a one-handed mark before driving home his second, before an array of behinds followed, five in a row for the Eagles, one which came after Kennedy took a magnificent grab in the forward line, this was just after Naitanui had taken another spectacular grab over Jamar and Bate earlier in the quarter. I felt like I was seeing more spectacular marks than you’d see on your average year’s highlight reel. McKinley, of all people, finally put the Dees away, extending the margin to 28 points with a little while to go. The siren sounded, our third straight loss, this time embarrassingly to the Eagles by 29 points. Things don’t always work out.

We spent a bit longer outside the ground for a bit of kick to kick. After that, I parted ways with my friends and headed off to Docklands.

Now the question, who won the Watts V Naitanui battle? It was close, both of them didn’t trouble the scorers, Watts had 15 possessions and five marks (two of which were contested), but made a blunder on the goal line, while Naitanui had 10 possessions, had little impact, but both of his two marks were so high up his dreadlocks almost went into orbit.

I’d say Watts, just.

Melbourne 1.3 5.5 6.8 6.10 (46)

West Coast 3.0 5.5 8.8 10.15 (75)


Melbourne: Green 2, Scully, Bennell, McDonald, Hughes.

West Coast: Kennedy 2, LeCras 2, McKinley, Lynch, A Selwood, Rosa, Ebert, Cox.


Melbourne: McDonald, Scully, Grimes, McKenzie, Moloney, Bruce, Frawley.

West Coast: Cox, Priddis, A Selwood, LeCras, Kennedy, Ebert, Sheppard, Waters.

My Votes: 3. Dean Cox, 2. Matt Priddis, 1. Adam Selwood.

Umpires: Meredith, Wenn, Mollison.               Crowd: 28,592 at the MCG.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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