SATURDAY afternoon saw Bayley Fritsch light up the MCG.

The dynamic forward was an instrumental cog in the Melbourne machine that defeated Hawthorn by 55 points during Round 2.

Fritsch booted a whopping five goals, with the Dees putting together an impressive performance of impeccable contest work.

Following the match, Fritsch was humble in his review of the game, explaining the opportunities that came with playing a defensive role inside the forward 50.

“I actually really enjoy it,” Fritsch told Melbourne Media.

“You play on good players and they take you to the ball and I think I’m playing my best when I’m around the ball and putting myself in a contest.

“So, playing on a quality player like James Sicily, he’s going to go where the ball goes and I was happy to get on the end of a few today and he got a few touches too, but to try and negate his aerial presence and then work off that, it was really good.”


Despite having a number of injury concerns within their backline during the Saturday game, with both Steven May and Jake Lever subbed out, Melbourne managed to keep Hawthorn to just five goals for the duration of the match.

Fritsch discussed the team’s priority of connection heading into the game and his appreciation of the adaptability within the group.  

“We wanted to have a focus on how we could help each other,” Fritsch told Melbourne Media.

“It was really pleasing to be able to see, guys step into new roles and play really well.”

A contributing factor to Melbourne’s emphatic win was its contest work at stoppages, with nine of its 14 goals scored from clearances.

The Demons’ efficiency entering their forward half has been a talking point in recent years, but Saturday’s game proved otherwise.

“It’s something that we’ve been working on for a really long time, we trained really hard over the pre-season to build that connection forward of centre,” Fritsch said.

“So, to get some reward from that was really pleasing and hopefully gives us some confidence moving forward.”


In addition to the building of connection, Fritsch said the group was constantly striving to improve their core pillars of contest and defence, something that was particularly strong during Saturday’s win.

“It’s been the backbone of our game since I’ve been at the club,” Fritsch said.

“It’s a work in progress all the time, we’ve always got to evolve it. 

“I think that was at the forefront today and we get our offensive opportunities off the back of that.”