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Rd 14: Simon's Selection

6:19pm  Jun 21, 2018

Inside Melbourne: Episode 14

8:50am  Jun 21, 2018

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4:11pm  Jun 19, 2018

Simon Goodwin: Media Conference

3:23pm  Jun 19, 2018

The team review: round 13

Matt Burgan  June 19, 2017 4:33 PM

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Melbourne notched up its seventh win for the season and made it three in a row, when it produced a 57-point win over the Bulldogs – its greatest winning margin so far in 2017. The Demons also won all four quarters – something they haven’t achieved in a match this year. After holding the Bulldogs goalless in the first term, and leading by 25 points at quarter-time, Melbourne ran away with the match. The Dees led by 33 points at half-time and 50 points at three quarter-time, before they recorded their biggest victory over the Bulldogs since Garry Lyon kicked 10 goals in the 1994 first semi-final. It was also Melbourne’s first win over the Dogs at Etihad Stadium since round 19, 2007, when Mark Riley was coach.

The stat

Melbourne sits fifth on the ladder after 13 rounds. The most recent time the Demons were this high on the ladder after 13 rounds was 2006, when they were fourth. For the record, Melbourne has been inside the top eight, at the end of respective rounds, seven times this year. Incredibly, that’s more than the entire period from 2007-16, when Melbourne sat in the top eight at the end of each round just six times. They were: round four, 2011 (seventh on the ladder), round five, 2011 (seventh), round six, 2011 (eighth), round seven, 2011 (seventh), round 14, 2011 (eighth) and round one, 2015 (fourth).

Leather poisoning

Jordan Lewis had a game-high 31 disposals and Bulldog Tom Liberatore had 29 possessions.   

The number

30 quarters have now been won by Melbourne this season – equal third best in the competition, along with GWS Giants. Adelaide and Port Adelaide have won the most with 33 each. Essendon is behind the Demons and Giants with 25 quarters won.

Experience differential

Games: Melbourne (2050) v Western Bulldogs (1877)

Goals: Melbourne (1175) v Western Bulldogs (955)

Average age: Melbourne (25 years, 6 days) v Western Bulldogs (24 years, 291 days)

Did you know …

33,667 was the biggest attendance for a Bulldogs and Melbourne clash at Etihad Stadium in 16 matches. This eclipsed the previous best between the two sides of 30,789 in round five, 2002.

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3 votes: Michael Hibberd

Hibberd was again outstanding from defence, attacking with vigour and purpose. He finished with 27 disposals and 11 marks, and reinforced what a fantastic recruit he has been for the club. Despite an interrupted start through injury, Hibberd has been a highly-consistent performer since making his debut for Melbourne and coming into the side in round five.

2 votes: Oscar McDonald

If last round against Collingwood was arguably McDonald’s best game for the season, then he definitely played it against the Bulldogs on the weekend. He collected 23 disposals and had game-highs in marks (12) and rebound 50s (eight). He was rated Melbourne’s best player, according to Champion Data.

1 vote: Cam Pedersen 

Pedersen continued his outstanding form as a mobile ruckman. Again, he didn’t win the hit outs, but he played a critical team game around the ground, helping Melbourne win the clearances (40 to 34). He was involved in three scoring assists and finished with a career-best 24 disposals. His disposal efficiency was an equal team-best (92 per cent). 

Submit your 3-2-1 votes to the Hertz Fans’ MVP

Apologies to …

Jack Watts, Clayton Oliver, Christian Salem, Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, and Jeff Garlett who all could’ve gained a vote.

Good to see …

The Etihad Stadium hoodoo is finally gone. Entering this year, Melbourne was locked in to play four matches at the venue – all within the opening 13 rounds. The Demons have finished with three wins from four matches, beating St Kilda, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs. The only loss was against Geelong, which remains Melbourne’s biggest loss for the year, by 29 points. But on that occasion, the Demons had six more scoring shots and wasted several in front of goal. It’s been a big tick adapting and impacting at the venue.

Oppo’s best: Mitch Wallis

Having missed out on last year’s premiership due to a nasty broken leg, Wallis has bounced back with some fine form in recent weeks and was arguably his side’s best against Melbourne. He finished with 23 disposals, a match-best 16 contested possessions and equal game highs in inside 50s (six) and tackles (nine).

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Matty Goodrope’s pic of the day

Sam Frost writes some instructions on his wrist pre-match

Video of the round:

Tweet of the round:

Instagram of the round:

Rock-paper-scissors ✂️ #RaiseHell #AFLDogsDees

A post shared by Melbourne Football Club (@melbournefc) on

In the mix

Despite being unchanged last round, Melbourne will make changes for its trip across the Nullarbor. Max Gawn is set to make his much-anticipated return, after being sidelined since round four with a hamstring injury. Co-captain Nathan Jones and forward Jack Watts will be assessed after copping injuries against the Bulldogs. Jay Kennedy-Harris had 33 disposals and kicked a goal and will be in the mix. Josh Wagner (27 disposals and seven marks) and Billy Stretch (24 possessions and nine tackles) have also put their name in contention, after strong performances with Casey. Ben Kennedy, who was a carryover player against the Dogs, could also be around the mark.  

Next round

The challenges keep coming for Melbourne – and they are ones the club is willing and waiting to take on. Overcoming the West Coast Eagles at Domain Stadium remains a massive task for any opposition team and it has been for Melbourne in recent history. The Demons haven’t beaten the Eagles since 2009 and haven’t overcome them in the west since round 19, 2002. Melbourne came agonisingly close in round 18, last year, when it lost by six points in the west. It would be one of the club’s best wins in recent history, if Melbourne can overcome the seventh placed Eagles, given they have won 30 of their past 35 matches at Domain Stadium.

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In the press box …

A little bit of chatter among the journos about Tom Bugg’s pre-match “you ready” Instragram post to 2016 Norm Smith Medal winner, Bulldog Jason Johannisen. Jade Rawlings addressed the issue pre-match on Triple M; some of the journos thought it was a bit of banter – although, enough for it to be highlighted in the media. It certainly added to some talk throughout the day.

In the rooms ...

There was great energy, buzz and noise in the Etihad Stadium changerooms post-match. Plenty of media interviewed players – Tom Bugg was a hit – as the Demons celebrated their third equal highest win at Docklands. Little Freddie Lewis was again there to see his Dad, Jordan, who played another fine game for the club. The atmosphere infectious after a strong win.

Song to sum up match

Bugg-a-boo – Destiny’s Child

Simon Says …

"In terms of total team buy-in … I thought it was our best game from that perspective." – Simon Goodwin