JUST as Melbourne’s season appeared to be back on track, it faced a St Kilda side full of belief and crashed to a 40-point defeat.
In warm conditions at the MCG, the Demons lacked run and polish on Saturday afternoon, suffering a loss which sees them tumble to 17th on the ladder.
DISPOSALS: Oliver 31, Salem 29, Brayshaw 27, Harmes 25, Jones, Viney 23, Petracca 21
GOALS: Melksham, Preuss 2, Brayshaw, Harmes, Petracca
The Demons created plenty of opportunities to put themselves ahead of the game early but couldn’t convert in front of goal.
Some wayward kicking and sloppy entries kept the Saints in the hunt, and they capitalised with a late second quarter flourish to take a 15-point lead into half-time.
Saints with speed
St Kilda enjoyed the wide wings of the MCG, running all over the Dees on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints’ pacey young midfielders were able to find space out the back and regularly overlap the ball going forward.
While most of the stats were even throughout the game, there was a massive discrepancy in uncontested possessions inside forward 50.
St Kilda were plus 50 in that category, using their run to find time with the ball and create open looks on goal – converting accurately with 15.5 on the scoreboard.
Winning the inside 50s, again
For the fourth game on the trot, the Demons have won the inside 50 count, but that stat fails to reflect the result.
Melbourne had 55 inside 50s to St Kilda’s 47, but went at an efficiency of just 35 percent, showing an inability to put it on the scoreboard.
The Dees also proved too easy to score against, allowing the Saints to score five times from six forward entries in the opening term.
A worrying trend
From the midway point of the second term to late in the third, the Saints went on a run of eight unanswered goals, blowing Melbourne out of the game.
And this isn’t the first time the Dees have conceded scores in mass this season.
In all four losses to start 2019, the Demons have allowed their opposition to slot at least five goals in a row at some point throughout the game, with little resistance.
A rare highlight
It wasn't a great day for the red and blue, but this final quarter grab from Jake Melksham was pretty special.
The Demons were unable to find as many contributors as the week prior against the Swans, with St Kilda proving too much to handle in Round 5.
Despite conceding a winning score, defensive duo Marty Hore (13 marks) and Sam Frost (19 disposals) couldn’t be faulted for their efforts.
Max Gawn controlled the aerial space against the in-form Rowan Marshall with 32 hit-outs, as well as 20 disposals, while Braydon Preuss got his side off to a strong start with two goals and 11 touches in the opening half.
A word from Goody
“We’re just not connecting, we’re too easy to play against with the way we’re playing and we’re getting beaten in a similar way,” Simon Goodwin told Melbourne Media post-game.
“We’re trying to rectify the problem but our ability to connect with the ball forward of centre is really hurting us.
“We are disappointed, there’s no question about that.”
Round 6 v Richmond @ MCG – Wednesday, 24 April, 7:35pm AEST
The Demons don’t have long to dwell on Saturday’s loss, with a blockbuster ANZAC Day Eve clash waiting for them on Wednesday night.
Although the short turn around will test Melbourne, it provides a good opportunity to get back out on the MCG and bounce back against a quality opposition.