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Melbourne Football Club

First quarter best I’ve seen: Stinear

Anyone can win on any given day, but it was just [about] the importance of what was in front of us and bringing our best today, so I was really pleased with the group after that performance
Mick Stinear

COACH Mick Stinear says he hasn’t seen his side produce a better quarter of football than its first term against Carlton at Ikon Park on Sunday.

Melbourne booted 6.3 to 0.1 to claim a 38-point lead at quarter-time, with the dominant period setting up the red and blue’s 35-point win to keep it right in the Grand Final hunt. Stinear said “I have not seen us play a better quarter of football” when he assessed his side post-match. 

“It was really pleasing,” he said.

“There were some positive results for us, with the two games yesterday (Saturday) and it just gave us an opportunity to have control back in our hands, so that was the message to the group – the importance of bringing our best.

“What we’ve seen with the competition is that if you get comfortable with where you’re at – other teams just come back, because they’ve got the hunger and competitiveness.

“Anyone can win on any given day, but it was just [about] the importance of what was in front of us and bringing our best today (Sunday), so I was really pleased with the group after that performance.”

Although Melbourne added just two more goals after half-time, Stinear said it was difficult to keep the type of form it showed early on throughout the match. 

“Carlton’s pressure and intensity lifted – certainly in that second quarter, when they had a period of dominance. Then, whether it was fatigue or our communication fell away, our ball use dropped away,” he said.

“Ideally as a coach, you want to see that first quarter look like that for four quarters, but in reality, when you’ve got a competitive competition like this, you just take the advantages when you can get them.

“There is certainly room for improvement, which is good and what we’ll work towards that, but there are a lot of positives to come out of today.”

Looking ahead to next Saturday night’s clash against the Western Bulldogs at VU Whitten Oval, Stinear said the rest of its 2018 campaign was in its own hands. 

“If we’re good enough and we bring our best next week – that’ll land us in a Grand Final, and that’s if we play to our best and can compete against the Bulldogs,” he said.

“But if we underperform, we miss out and don’t deserve to be there, so it’s a really good equation for us.

“If you look back on last year, we didn’t get that opportunity – we slipped up and missed out, because the two at the top were too good. But this year, the way the comp has worked out, we’ve slipped up, but we’ve now got an opportunity to get into a Grand Final, by bringing our best next week.

“It’s the perfect scenario for our group and if they’re good enough – they’ll find a way.”