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Melbourne Football Club

Inside Melbourne: round seven

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MAY 7:  Max Gawn of the Demons celebrates kicking a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 07 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Melbourne Demons at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast on May 7, 2016. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MAY 7: Max Gawn of the Demons celebrates kicking a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 07 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Melbourne Demons at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast on May 7, 2016. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)
He allows you to be more aggressive with your setups around stoppages, so his season has been good and his game was very, very good
Paul Roos on Max Gawn

MATT Burgan looks at the talking points, facts and moments from Melbourne’s 73-point win against the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium on Saturday …

1 – Best season start since 2006

A crucial statistic emerged after Melbourne thumped Gold Coast – it achieved its best start to a season in 10 years. That’s right, not since 2006 – when Melbourne made its most recent finals series – has it notched up four wins from its opening seven rounds.

2 – It was almost 26 years today!

Melbourne’s win also saw the end of a quirky stat, when it registered its first win at Carrara since 1990. It must be noted that it hasn’t been a regular AFL venue for Melbourne – let alone the competition – until the Suns entered the competition. The red and blue has now played at the venue eight times. The other occasions were against the Brisbane Bears (1987, 1989, 1990 and 1992), Adelaide (2006), St Kilda (2009) and Gold Coast (2013). It was Melbourne’s third win after it defeated the Bears in 1989 and on April 28, 1990 (round five) and now the Suns … some 26 years later!

3 – What a second half!

Melbourne’s score of 16.9 (105) in the second half was one of its greatest halves in 120 VFL/AFL seasons. For the record, Melbourne has only kicked more than 105 points six times in a half since 1897.  It was also the most points Melbourne has scored in a third quarter since round 10, 1987 against Essendon at Windy Hill. Back then, it scored 9.3 (57). Melbourne’s second half was its best since round four, 2000 against St Kilda at the MCG, when it also booted 16.9 (105).

4 – Highest score since in 12 years

Melbourne booted its highest score since round six, 2004, when it booted 25.10 (160) against Carlton at the MCG. The red and blue also achieved its highest score against the Gold Coast Suns, eclipsing its 23.21 (159) score in its inaugural match against the Suns.

5 – Spreading the goals

Melbourne had a remarkable 13 individual goalscorers, which was one shy of its best in a match: 14 against Richmond at the MCG in round 19, 1992. Jeff Garlett, James Harmes and Cameron Pedersen kicked three goals each; Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Ben Kennedy, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney booted two each and singles came via Jesse Hogan, Dean Kent, Billy Stretch, Dom Tyson and Bernie Vince. Tomas Bugg and Jack Watts came close to joining the goalkickers, but managed a behind each.

6 – Average keeps rising …

Like Adam Voges’ Bradmanesque test batting average last summer, Melbourne’s points per game is rising. In its past five outings, it has averaged 123.6 points per match – with 100 points or more coming in four of those five matches. It has also booted 15 goals or more in each of those games.

7 – 40 more inside 50s!

Melbourne not only dominated most statistics, such as disposals (412 to 317), contested possessions (169 to 133), uncontested possessions (240 to 179), tackles (87 to 78) and clearances (48 to 30) … it also smashed the Suns in inside 50s with 75 to 35 – a significant number in the wash-up.

8 – Five PBs for youngsters

Five emerging Melbourne players recorded their most disposals against the Suns, with James Harmes notching up 26 disposals, Josh Wagner (25), Christian Petracca (24), Jayden Hunt (19) and Billy Stretch (16).

9 – Roos lauds Gawn’s game

Max Gawn continued his outstanding season with 17 disposals, 46 hit outs and two goals. He was arguably best-on-ground, with his performance earning strong praise from coach Paul Roos. “His tap work was really first class. He really troubles teams when he pushes forward. He kicked 2.3, so he had five shots at goal and around the contest, he was really good. He gives our mids real confidence when he gets his hand on the ball. He allows you to be more aggressive with your setups around stoppages, so his season has been good and his game was very, very good.”

10 – Skipper back to best

Nathan Jones endured a tough off-season, undergoing a serious neck operation. Courageously, he fought back and has not missed a beat, playing every game so far this season. His past two performances have been very good. He had 31 touches against the Saints in round six and 33 against the Suns, which was a game-high and season-best. Jones said: “I thought my form had been reasonable and I was building towards some of my best, and I’m just glad I could contribute but that’s off the back of some of the performances.  You only need to look at blokes like Jack Viney, Clayton Oliver, Dom Tyson even Tracc (Christian Petracca) … so we got some super talent and its exciting for me as a more senior player to be able to lead that.”