Are Melbourne the only team that can make a win feel like a loss?
Melbourne supporters need to be made of stern stuff. For the first forty minutes of Saturday’s game, there team were irrepressible. With just three minutes of play remaining in the first half, they were 42-points up and had held Carlton goalless. What followed, this moment could hardly have been any more different.
Rather than run away with a percentage boosting victory, the Demons fell over the line thanks in large part to their opposition failing to take their opportunities late in the match. All of which meant that, the Demons third win from 15 games was greeted with a sense of defeat rather than excitement.
A tale of two halves
As is often the case for Melbourne, Max Gawn was at the centre of everything early. Dominating the brave, but outmatched Marc Pittonet, Gawn delivered his midfield the ball on a silver platter. With Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca taking full toll of the opportunities he was giving them, the Demons dominated clearances in the first term 10-5 and kicked seven goals before Carlton had time to blink.
So dominant was the Demons opening, that there was barely a murmur when Carlton kicked two goals in the final three minutes of the first half. Little did those watching know, but this was the beginning of a remarkable turnaround. Like a snowball slowly gathering momentum, the Blues worked their way back into the contest kicking seven of the last eight goals of the match to level the scores late. In the end, their wastefulness in front of goal proved costly when Bailey Fritsch kicked a behind in the final minutes to give the Dees their match-winning lead.
What the coaches said.
Simon Goodwin was keen to speak of the positives after the match. “We’ll take the victory,” he said.”There are some great learnings in it for us as a club about how good we can be and then the things we’ve got to keep working at. I loved our contest early. I thought it was as hot as it has been for a long time and as dynamic as it has been.”
Understandably, David Teague was a little more conflicted. “[I am] torn between disappointment, to recognising the effort the boys put in. We tried hard but we didn’t turn up to start the game again and it’s become a pattern,” he said. “We ran over them [Melbourne]. I thought we had the run, we started changing angles late … the guys were fit so they were prepared well. But, at the moment, we are giving the opposition too much of a start and it’s unacceptable.”
CARLTON 0.0 2.5 4.6 7.11 (53)
MELBOURNE 5.2 7.4 8.5 8.6 (54)
Carlton: Cuningham, Lang, Casboult, McGovern, Gibbons, Betts, Cripps
Melbourne: Hunt 3, Neal-Bullen 2, Petracca 2, Fritsch
Carlton: Murphy, Docherty, Weitering, Petrevski-Seton, McGovern, Curnow
Melbourne: Gawn, Petracca, Oliver, Salem, Langdon, Viney
Carlton: Newman (knee)