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Melbourne Football Club

JLT2 Recap: The final hit-out

Summary

MELBOURNE fell seven points short of Brisbane in its second and final JLT pre-season match on Saturday and faced a few challenges throughout the afternoon at Casey Fields.

The Demons got off to a slow start, handing the Lions a 20-point buffer and the first change, but slowly clawed their way back into the contest to be within a kick at the main break.

Although the red and blue didn’t play their best footy throughout the game, they managed to remain in the contest and came storming home with five of the last six goals of the match.

It wasn’t the perfect four-quarter performance, but it was an important game leading into Round 1 nonetheless.

Recap the JLT2 clash below.

The numbers

DISPOSALS: Oliver 32, Brayshaw 26, Lewis, Hibberd 24, Gawn, Salem 22, Petracca 20

GOALS: J.Smith 4, Brayshaw 3, Hunt 2, Fritsch, T.McDonald, Neal-Bullen, Petracca, Spargo, Weideman

The standouts

Max Gawn faced former Demon Stefan Martin in an exciting duel and came out on top. Gawn won the aerial battle with 32 hit-outs and was also influential around the ground with 22 touches.

Angus Brayshaw was again prolific in the midfield with 26 disposals and pushed forward to hit the scoreboard with three goals, while Joel Smith proved his worth as a forward after making the switch over the summer, staying deep inside 50 to slot four majors.

Injury trouble

It was an unfortunate day for Melbourne on the injury front, with multiple Demons coming off worse for wear throughout the afternoon.

Jay Kennedy Harris appears to have done the most damage after being stretchered off with a knee injury, but looks to have avoided rupturing his ACL which is a positive sign for the forward.

James Harmes also left the field in the second term after his finger was nastily dislodged, but he should recover in time for Round 1 after having it operated on immediately.

Joel Smith and Bayley Fritsch were also limping at stages but aren’t in any doubt for the home and away season.

Important hit-out

Although the injuries weren’t ideal, the remainder of the Melbourne players had the chance to get some good minutes of match practice in prior to Round 1.

The Demons came home strong in the final term, braving the heat and showing no signs of slowing down despite a two-man interchange bench.

It appears the boys have had a strong pre-season and should be ready to attack the early part of the season.

Around the stoppages

Brisbane got on top in the centre early and as a result, kicked away in the first term.

Throughout the game the Lions won the clearances 40-29 and the inside 50’s 63-52, giving their forwards more of a chance to kick a winning score.

Despite Brisbane’s dominance around the stoppages, the Demons won the tackle count by 15, with Aaron vandenBerg hunting his opposition and laying a whopping 16 tackles himself.

May’s bump

Demon recruit Steven May made a positive start to his career in the red and blue, growing in defence as the game wore on, but he will face some match review scrutiny after laying a bump on Lion Jarrod Berry.

In the reserves

It was a double-header at Casey Fields on Saturday, with Nathan Jones, Jake Melksham and Jack Viney having their first run around for 2019 in a practice match for the Casey Demons.

The trio were in fine form in the VFL, while youngsters Tom Sparrow and Kade Chandler were among a number of Demons to impress.

Looking ahead

Round 1 v Port Adelaide @ MCG – Saturday, 23 March, 1:45pm AEDT

The Demons have now completed the JLT Series and will turn their focus to Round 1 at the MCG.

Despite going down in both JLT clashes, there were some important moments in the two games and the boys should be ready to face Port Adelaide in less than two weeks’ time.