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Melbourne Football Club

Round 4 Recap: Success in Sydney

After the Siren | Round 4 Watch Simon Goodwin's message to the red and blue faithful after the club's first win of 2019.

Summary

MELBOURNE finally got its season rolling on Thursday night with a crucial 22-point victory over Sydney at the SCG.

The Dees were slightly off the pace early, trailing the disposal count by 47 at quarter time – a massive discrepancy which handed the Swans a 14-point lead.

But the Demons were able to get the game back on their terms with 13 clearances to five in the third quarter, braving some brutal hits to storm home in the second half and claim the four points.

The numbers

DISPOSALS: Oliver 33, Salem 27, Jones 21, Hore 20, Brayshaw, Gawn, Harmes 19

GOALS: Jones 3, Hunt, Petracca, Preuss 2, Brayshaw, Harmes, McDonald, Melksham, Viney, Weideman

Two late changes

While all the speculation during the week surrounded the fitness of milestone man Tom McDonald, Melbourne was forced to make two other late changes to its side.

Neville Jetta (knee) and Jay Lockhart (back) were both withdrawn at the last minute, replaced by Marty Hore and Charlie Spargo for their second games of the season.

Preuss on debut

Braydon Preuss had his teammates in stitches pre-game as he offered his partner a handshake instead of a hug at his jumper presentation.

But when the 206cm joker took to the field, it was strictly business as he gave Dees fans plenty to cheer about.

The 23-year-old slotted two ripping first-quarter goals and provided a contest inside 50 all night for his side.

Turning the contested game around

It’s no secret the Demons have been down in the contested game to start 2019, and a similar theme occurred in the first half on Thursday night as they were minus 11 to the main break.

But the red and blue came out with a ferocious attack on the ball in the third term and won the contested possessions by 31 in the second half.

These numbers directly correlated into inside 50s, with the Swans plus 13 in the first half and the Dees plus 19 in the second.

With the game on the line in the final term, Melbourne denied Sydney a chance of pinching victory with 20 forward entries to eight.

Inexperienced Dees deliver

A major factor in the Demons’ win on Thursday night was the performances of their inexperienced players.

The youngsters all contributed to the result, with Hore stepping in and impressing at half-back, along with Bayley Fritsch and Josh Wagner.

Up forward the likes of Jayden Hunt, Christian Petracca and Corey Wagner all stood up when required and helped guide their side home.

Gawn in the ruck

Max Gawn showed his prowess in the ruck against the Swans, dominating in the air all night.

The big man had a monstrous 55 hit-outs, with the Dees winning that category 73 to 13.

Gawn well and truly had the better of the talented Callum Sinclair and also played an important role behind the ball at stages, racking up 19 touches.

Jones shows up the brother

Nathan Jones rose to the occasion against his younger brother Zak Jones on Thursday and let him know all about it as he goaled prior to half-time.

Jones’ two majors in the second term kept the Demons alive, before he capped off the night with a sealer in the latter stages of the match.

The standouts

Melbourne’s even spread of contributors was the difference in its Round 4 performance and a major factor in securing the win.

Individually, Gawn’s brilliance in the ruck stood out, Hore’s contributions in defence were first-class and Jones’ three majors helped lead the Demons to victory.

Clayton Oliver also had a massive second half to end up with 33 disposals and 20 contested possessions as the midfielders took control.

Injury update

The Dees failed to stay clear of injury again this week, with Oscar McDonald suffering a concussion which sidelined him for the final term.

Preuss also hurt his shoulder on the quarter-time siren but played out the match to good effect.

Roaming Brian

While enjoying the victory in the rooms post-game, the Demons had their first experience with ‘Roaming Brian’, as Brian Taylor run amuck with his iconic Channel Seven segment.

‘BT’ spent 12 minutes chatting to the boys after the game as he provided insight and banter following the big win.

A word from Goody

“It’s been a long few weeks but to the players credit, they got enormous reward for their effort,” Simon Goodwin told Melbourne Media post-game.

“It was a really pleasing night for the club … we’ve stuck together, we’ve really bought back into the team and I think you saw that tonight (Thursday).

“That’s just the start for us, we’ve got a lot of improvement left in us.”

Looking ahead

Round 5 v St Kilda @ MCG – Saturday, 20 April, 4:35pm AEST

Melbourne will now have a nine-day break ahead of its clash with the Saints next Saturday afternoon.

After an impressive second half against Sydney, the Demons should enter the game full of confidence, but will be under no illusions with plenty of challenges laying ahead.