Melbourne v GWS - The Good, Bad and Ugly

After GWS showed some very early promise, the Demons took control of the game half way through the first quarter and didn’t let go; comfortably defeating the Giants by 45 points.

Here’s the Good, Bad and Ugly.


THE GOOD

Stephen Coniglio

Ok, it seems strange to start the ‘Good’ with GWS but stick with me; much like the game itself, this review will quickly swing in dramatic favour of the Dees.

If I was Leon Cameron, I’d be giving a pass mark to one player today; Stephen Coniglio. Callan Ward was probably their next best but didn’t quite do enough for my liking as a Captain of a side trying to take some form into finals; though he did a whole lot more than co-captain, Davis.

But enough about the others, Cogs was bloody brilliant in this game.  I love watching this guy play.  When he set up the Giants first goal by shaking and baking his way around the hungry Demons and perfectly hitting up Lobb on his non-prefered, I thought to myself ‘if Coniglio plays like this all day, the Dees will struggle to win this one’.  I didn’t take into account the possibility of every one of his teammates being dreadful but he did play like that all day.

I was watching Coniglio for the whole game and I noticed one blemish in the fourth quarter, which was a rare skill error; but for the most part his use by foot was exquised and his intent never ceased.

Coniglio led the Giants for disposals (32, at 78%), marks (9), tackles (8) and goals (2).  I’m gonna back over that in case you missed it.  He led his team in DISPOSALS, MARKS, TACKLES AND GOALS.  I’m not talking “equal first” in any of those categories by the way.

It was the Demons' day but make no mistake, but Stephen Coniglio had a brilliant game.  Unfortunately, as Patrick Cripps can tell you, one man can not win the game on his own.

Big Max Gawn

I don’t know which of Gawn’s 37 hit-outs got him to the total of 1000 hit-outs in a home and away season, however, odds are that the 1000th hit was pretty good-looking because as usual, Maxy was on fire today.  Gawn’s tap work to Oliver, Jones and Brayshaw left the Giants playing catch-up all game.

Despite complete dominance in the middle, it wasn’t Gawn’s ruck-work that impressed me the most.  As mentioned above, Lobb got on the end of a brilliant forward 50 entry by Coniglio and converted for a goal. Lobb kept pushing forward all day but never exposed Gawn again.  Later that quarter, Max took a brilliant contested, intercept mark as the Giants attempted to push the ball to Lobb in the forward 50. The champion was not to be beaten twice.

Late in the third quarter, Gawn summed up his ferocity and intent with back-to-back chase-downs of much smaller and faster opponents.  He didn’t make much of a huge impact on either play but importantly, he didn’t give up when most big men in the competition probably would.

Lastly, going into a final against the Cats in a couple of weeks, I’m sure Melbourne fans were very happy to see big Maxy brush off the critics to slot a set shot later in the game.

Melbourne Confidence

Wow.  does this team play with a lot of belief.

“Richmondy” used to be one of my favourite phrases in football. The fact that one team kept persistently missing out in ways too comicle to be fake, gave me endless joy. Then, of course, the Tigers established themselves as the strong, dominant leader of the pack and the phrase stopped meaning what it used to.

Then, as the question was asked of Melbourne, if they could compete with a top eight side, we wondered if a new near-misser was upon us.  Could this team really stuff up this season?   Apprently, no. Melbourne have now beaten two top eight teams in a row and will be taking a confidence into September that is nothing short of… well… Richmondy.

The Dees were bold with their decisions today. They always took the game on and were not afraid to kick the most difficult option. They usually hit their intended target but if they didn’t, or if they ran in to trouble before then, they knew there were plenty of teammates to pick up behind them.

Melbourne’s willingness to take the game on is what allowed them to smash the struggling teams by 100+ points.  If they keep this up, they won’t win by 100+ points, but they may just win, and that’s all you need in finals.

 

THE BAD

Christian Petracca

This may not be a popular opinion but I was not impressed one bit by Petracca today. He got his hands on the ball a bit and kicked 3.2 but none of his possessions or goals were even remotely important or well-deserved.  He was waiting out the back for cheapies in every sense, all day.  Sometimes it came to him, sometimes it didn’t, but he never got it himself. 

With Hogan out, Petracca could have made a real impact on this game and he didn’t.  He was soft, his decision making was poor and his skill was low.  He had just as many clangers as he did marks. Demons fans may defend him because it was a great win but it worth noting, the GWS backline, even when operational, has nothing on the defence of the Cats. If I was a Melbourne supporter, I would want a hell of a lot more from the Petracca. He was not a tractor today.

Josh Kelly?

I understand that I’m the one writing the review here, but can anyone tell me where the hell Josh Kelly was today?!?!

I know Jetta (and to a lesser extent, Harmes) put a fair bit of time in to him, but usually if there’s a hard tag on the field, the commentators won’t stop talking about it. I heard nothing. He got his hands on the ball a little and his disposal efficiency was pretty good, but actually watching the game, I could hardly find him.

I won’t go on and on about it, but seriously, when he’s on, Josh Kelly is probably one of the top three players in the competition, and if I were the other finals-bound coaches, I’d be looking at exactly what the Dees did to completely negate his impact.


THE UGLY

Kent - Shouler  &  Tyson - Arm/Wrist

If this game was mid season, you might say it was good to see Melbourne dominate a game, even after being down two rotations.  But in Round 23, all you can think about is whether or not either of these two guys will be right for finals. I hope so. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

Jeremy Cameron

I won’t beat around the bush. Jeremy Cameron was absolutely terrible today. I had a go at Petracca, because I want more from him, but if I were a Giants fan, I wouldn’t want Cameron to be named against the Swans. I recognise how big that call is for an elimination final with the injury list they have but that was one of the worst performances I’ve seen in a very long time.

Let’s have a look at some stats

Disposals - 13 (at 30%), Marks - 7 (but only 1 contested), Tackles - 0, Score - 1.4, Goal Assists - 0.

He was lazy all day. He was rarely near the ball and when he was he was giving away a cheap free kick or getting in the way of his team mates. His failed handball to Langdon in the goal-square was one of the worst individual plays of the year.

Young Finlayson spent 5-10 minutes of the game playing forward and had a much stronger impact than Cameron had the whole game. And it wasn't like he was being defended particularly well; he was just terrible.

I CANNOT believe I’m saying this, but, for the sake of football, I want Toby Greene back.

GWS Pressure and Intent

There was none. That was the problem.

I don’t know why Leon Cameron’s boys drew such inspiration from the roadworks they spotted en route to the airport but I’m sure the Dees relished the opportunity to play against the Greater Western Sydney Witches Hats.

No one wanted to defend today. No one was willing to run away from their own goals. I think, even at their best, GWS sacrifice a little contested ball to destroy a team on the outside, but they gave Melbourne the whole ground to play with! No one looked like winning the contested ball for the Giants. Every player looked like they were waiting for a teammate to get it and hit them up as they streaked towards goal, but of course, that was not to be.

They cannot afford to give Sydney that much time and space or they will quickly find themselves out of finals.

There was not a more apt picture in the game then Himmelberg letting Gawn jog straight past him late in the second before easily hitting up a teammate. Himmelberg made no effort to tackle or even harass Gawn in any way. I would imagine, over the next couple of weeks, the GWS coaching staff will find plenty more vision like it to show the group.


OTHER BITS

Spargo finding space and time in first quarter and hitting up VenderBerg was almost Pendlebury-like from the youngster.

Harmes was really very good. Probably stiff not to make it into the ‘Good’ category.  Competed all day and used the ball very well for his team.

I really love footy, and I’m really looking forward to the finals but geez, BT makes it hard to listen to.  Everyone else on the Fox Footy coverage was good but BT just kept talking absolute rubbish. Please, please, please just call the game.

Jones’ handball to start 4th quarter. Are we certain he fully intended to do exactly that? Brilliant if he did.

Bonar looked to keep trying his best which (as thoroughly stated above) was very rare for the Giants, however, on his first outing at the G, the young gun looked a bit out of place. He has a lot of promise and clearly incredible athleticism but needs plenty more games under his belt before he looks like a consistent, quality player.  

I just went to write a note on my phone just now and ‘Melksham’ autocorrected to ‘Milkshake’.  I found it so funny, I forgot my point. It was probably positive though, I quite like Melksham.

I thought Neal-Bullen was extremely lucky to get free kick last quarter to give him a shot at goal.  He was engaging a loose defender instead of going for the ball and I don’t think the free was there at all.

Ohh, I just remembered the Milkshake thing. I reckon even though they gave away a free kick for high contact, Goody would be pretty happy with Melksham and Weiderman’s gang-tackle on Whitfield late in the game.  That’s the sort of hunger you want to take into finals.

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