A little less nonsense and a bit more footy: WC v. Melb match report
The Easter Round, and possibly the most chaotic round of the year in terms of fixturing, is upon us, and both West Coast and Melbourne will be hoping that the Easter Bunny is on their side to deliver them the chocolates. Let’s see what transpired.
Nice intent, class lacking: The Eagles don’t shy away from the contest in the slightest and look up for the challenge. But their obvious endeavour is hampered by consistent skill errors.
Tim ‘The Hose’ Kelly (I definitely didn’t make that nickname up just then) is probably the best example, winning a ton of hard ball and then consistently spraying his kicks in uncontested situations.
Structuring slightly off: On a couple of occasions, the Eagles are left red-faced as Melbourne players outnumber them inside the Melbourne forward 50. It’s possible that the Eagles defenders are mesmerised by the half corn cob on fellow backman Sam Petrevski-Seton’s head (I know I was)
McDonald: He’s loving it: Upon his return from the magoos, Tom McDonald is getting good bang for his buck up forward, kicking two for the quarter and taking up the challenge to injured Ben Brown.
The Collingwood influence: The keen intelligence of the Melbourne unit is on display. Knock ons, taps, shepherds and clever use of the body are all employed to good effect when required, with Steven May having a particularly impressive moment, locking the ball inside defensive 50 in an outnumbered contest but managing not to give the free kick away. If BT were commentating, I’m sure he’d find a way to link these moments to Collingwood’s style of play.
Disposal: The Eagles’ disposal continues to be appalling, and continues to mar their good work in the contest. Jamaine Jones and Connor West are the two most egregious offenders, both kicking out on the full under no pressure at all as their team mounted an attack. If I were Adam Simpson, I’d be enforcing a half time swap from guernseys to butcher smocks.
Undersized defence holds up: Elliot Yeo is playing as a makeshift second tall in the absence of Jeremy McGovern, and helps the defence repel several dangerous looking attacks. The fact that the Melbourne key forwards only have one scoring shot for the term (a behind) between them will be greatly pleasing for Adam Simpson despite the four goal half time deficit.
Oliver stamps his influence: Clayton Oliver shakes off a slow start to play a huge role in the quarter, gathering twelve touches, six contested possessions, and making his opponents look silly on a couple of occasions. I reckon the only player you could make a case for interms of which player has a more complete game than him at the moment would be his compatriot Petracca. Petracca’s also slightly better looking, so maybe that gets him over the line in the comparison. Either way, Melbourne are blessed to have them both
Is Selwood in the coaches’ box?: Jack Viney and Lachie Hunter both pull some sneaky moves to try and draw high contact. Hunter seems to favour the arm lift, whilst Viney opts for the shoulder drop. I’m delighted to see the umpires refusing to reward these tactics, but it worries me enough that I begin scanning for the Cats’ great, and greatest exponent of such shenanigans, in the Dees’ box.
A stockpile of frustration: The Eagles haven’t given up trying, but so many little things aren’t going their way. Handballs are ever so slightly off, bounces aren’t going their way, and fumbles are abundant. It reaches a climax when Jayden Hunt spurns a glorious opportunity at goal and Adam Simpson looks utterly dejected in the coaches’ box. In fairness to Jayden, maybe he was just trying to emulate the kicking prowess of his coach.
Oscar rewards (say it quickly ): The yips don’t affect Oscar Allen, who nails his team’s only two goals for the term, one from a difficult shot after the siren. He’s a classy player and amongst all the crap that the team’s fans have experienced recently, he’s really someone to get excited about.
Anyone for skewered Eagle?: The Demons have pulled out their pitchforks and are getting to work in punishing their opponents. They’re breaking tackles, running in numbers, hitting targets, and seem to always have a player in the right spot to receive the next ball. Six goals to two for the term flatters the Eagles.
Test Viney for steroids: Jack Viney is once again demonstrating his obscene strength, disposing of the ball whilst being gang tackled as if his opponents aren’t there and evading tackles with brute force. He deserves every bit of success he gets as someone who experienced the infamous Neeld era, but gee whiz, could we nerf him just a bit? Make him play with a finger up his nose whilst towing a small automobile, perhaps? I personally think this would make for a much fairer competition.
No more flight in the wings: Their effort can’t be faulted, but the Eagles are very clearly out of gas in the final term. They’re parked in their back half for long periods and look in urgent need of some carbohydrates. I only hope for their sake that the concept of carbs has reached the savage wasteland of WA. (All in good fun WA fans, you appreciate footy so that automatically puts you above two eastern states).
Darling’s dirty day: It’s fair to say that Jack Darling hasn’t been the darling of the footy gods today, as he misses from 25m out straight in front to cap off a wholly ineffectual display. Melbourne: The Grundy of old: Brodie Grundy is showing signs of the All-Australian calibre that he showed at the Pies, knocking the pill down his teammates’ throats (no not that sort of pill) almost on command. Not only that, he seems to be moving better as the game goes on. The only explanation I have for this remarkable endurance is that he had a large double espresso delivered by air from his overpriced hipster coffee shop in Brunswick.
Training session: Most of the final term is, as the commentators said approximately fifteen billion times, a procession. Melbourne switch from gameday mode into training session mode, carrying out some ball transition drills and light clearance work. It’s an outcome that most ultimately expected against a pretty undermanned Eagles outfit.
Final siren: A nice symmetrical result: 19.12.126-9.9.63. The Eagles didn’t lose any admirers, and thankfully also didn’t lose any more players to injury, though it wouldn’t surprise me if I heard that Shannon Hurn broke his toe whilst getting in the post match ice bath. For the Demons, it was an ok-win for Goodwin, and they look primed to challenge their saintly nemeses for top spot in the greatest religious conflict since the Crusades.