Does Melbourne finally have a defence to build its season around?
After much deliberation and tinkering Melbourne finally has a defence that doesn’t leak scores. The much maligned recruitment of Lever and May looks to finally be paying dividends for the Demons. Adding Oscar McDonald as a genuine key back has allowed Lever to play as that drop off defender while May has hit top form. May has the added bonus of being a very good kick in a side that doesn’t have many. Hibberd has returned to good form this season and although Jetta has had big issues with small forwards as a whole they are functioning a lot better
How the Game Was Won
Quite simply Brisbane had more polish and a ability to execute particularly by foot. Both sides displayed great endeavour and a willingness to attack the contest with vigour but it was the Lions who took their opportunities when the big moments arose. Wayward kicking at goal for the demons extinguished any chance they had of winning the game, in what was in the end, a very winnable game.
What the Coaches Said
Simon Goodwin believed that discipline proved the difference in a quality contest. “I thought it was a good game of footy,” he said in his post-match press conference. “We were up against a good side and we gave ourselves good opportunities, but we didn’t execute. When you don’t execute against the best, you generally don’t win.”
“Brisbane executed the basics better,” Goodwin said. “They were a little bit better at clearance, they were a little bit better in the way they defended and hunted in contest areas. They were more disciplined and critical moments were theirs. They are a very good side for a reason.”
Chris Fagan bristled at suggestions that his team had gotten lucky. “I didn’t think it was get out of jail win,” he told reporters post match. “You know, we had more shots than them in the last quarter and didn’t take our chances,” he said.
He explained that his team were prepared for the Demons best. “They were always going to come at us. It was a big game for Melbourne tonight, they’ve been on a bit of a roll and they wanted to keep that going. They threw everything at us.”
“It was really important for us to win the clearances and contested possessions, against a team I rate as the best at it in the AFL, and we were able to get a tick on both of those.”
“Our pressure was really good. So we did a lot of things right. I just thought for about 10 minutes there in the middle of the last quarter we lost our composure. We got the ball out in the open, just needed to stop and hit up an uncontested mark and slow the game down a little bit. But we kept playing fast and they wanted to play fast because they had to chase us down. I thought the last two minutes we did well but it took us that whole quarter to get it to happen.”
“We’ll learn from it. We are grateful for the win, we did a lot of things right, and we’ll move on to next week which will be here pretty quickly.”
MELBOURNE 2.2 3.3 4.6 7.7 (49)
BRISBANE 2.2 5.5 7.6 7.11 (53)
Melbourne: Melksham 3, Fritsch 2, Jones, Viney
Brisbane: Cameron 2, Bailey, Hipwood, McCarthy, Rayner, Zorko
Melbourne: Oliver, Gawn, Viney, Melksham, Petracca, Lever
Brisbane: Neale, Lyons, McCluggage, Bailey, Zorko, Starcevich
Brisbane: Rich (hamstring)