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Melbourne Football Club

Round 18 Recap: The trip to Alice Springs

RD 18 | After the Siren | Simon Goodwin Listen to Simon Goodwin's important message to the members after a disappointing loss to West Coast in Alice Springs

A chance goes begging

FOR THE SECOND time this season, Melbourne has let a golden opportunity go begging against the reigning premiers.

West Coast ran out 13-point victors in Round 18, but it certainly wasn’t all one-way traffic.

The Demons won the contested battle against a star-studded Eagles midfield, but couldn’t claim the four points despite leading at the final change.

The numbers

DISPOSALS: Oliver 34, Harmes 29, Salem 26, Jones 23, Fritsch 22, J.Wagner 21, Hibberd 20

GOALS: Fritsch 4, Lewis, C.Wagner 2, Oliver, Petty, Viney

Local footy feel

Alice Springs is a long way from the Dees’ traditional home, the MCG, but it was certainly a welcoming environment on Sunday afternoon.

With trees shadowing the ground and mountains in the background, TIO Traeger Park was a marvellous sight.

The small change rooms and lack of seating was much like that of local footy, making for an enjoyable experience once again in Central Australia.


A warm reception

The local community flocked into the footy on the weekend, desperate to catch a glimpse of their heroes at full flight.

There was a vibrant atmosphere from the first bounce to the final siren, and the fans waited around post-game to meet the boys upon departure.

Missed chances

While there was plenty to like off the field, the Demons’ goal kicking was yet again the letdown of the afternoon.

The Dees found themselves trailing by as much as 32 points in the second term, but that wasn’t through a lack of opportunity.

Melbourne wasted too many chances in front of goal, booting five behinds in the first quarter alone, failing to put its work on the scoreboard.

Defensive roles

When you line up against a team as damaging as West Coast, the match ups are crucial in order to minimise the impact of some key players.

Jordan Lewis, who has spent the past two weeks tagging Marc Murphy and Marcus Bontempelli, went forward on Sunday to stop Eagles star Jeremy McGovern.

In an intriguing battle, Lewis successfully restricted the intercept defender to just 11 disposals and five marks, while booting two goals himself.

Running through the midfield, Angus Brayshaw also played an important lock down role on Elliot Yeo and kept him to just 16 touches.


The standouts

While Lewis and Brayshaw both did exceptional jobs, Clayton Oliver and Bayley Fritsch were the standouts.

Oliver ran rampant through the midfield with 34 disposals and a goal, while Fritsch played out of the goal square, filling a void inside 50 for the Dees and starring with 14 marks and four majors.

Injury woes

Jack Viney spent the second half on the bench after suffering concussion, leaving the Dees one man down for the remainder of the game.

The co-captain was the only significant casualty for Melbourne, although Harry Petty (ankle) and Steven May (leg) both spent time on the sidelines during the third term with general soreness.


A word from Goody

“Our playing group and our coaches and everyone involved, we’ve had enough,” Simon Goodwin told Melbourne Media post-game.

“Too often we’re getting into situations where we can win games, and we’re not taking our opportunities.”

Looking ahead

Round 19 v St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium – Saturday, 27 July, 7:25pm AEST

Melbourne will need to bounce back quickly next weekend, as it takes on St Kilda off a six-day break.

For a second time in three weeks, the Dees will be heading to Marvel Stadium, desperate to record a sixth win of the season.