Is Simon Goodwin right? Is Melbourne’s Season Alive?
Simon Goodwin was at pains to explain that his team’s season was alive and well after their victory over Adelaide on Wednesday night. After a topsy-turvy season they find themselves outside the eight by six-points, in 12th position, with a game in hand after Round Ten.
With just three games to play against Top Eight opposition there is some cause for optimism but their form against Adelaide is reason for concern. While a seven goal final term saw the final margin a convincing one, it wasn’t until this point that they were able to finally shake off the winless Crows.
Already needing other results to go their way with eight rounds to go, Goodwin’s assessment of the season is definitely on the optimistic side. While it is definitely his job to sell hope to his team and their supporters, the more accurate description is that it is in intensive care with life support standing by.
They have two big tests of their improving health against teams in the top eight mix over the next three rounds. It’s only after these results come through that we will know if they are indeed alive and well.
How the Game Was Won
It took until the final quarter of this match for the Demons to prove themselves a class above the winless Crows. Locked in a gripping arm-wrestle for three quarters they produced a goal-scoring frenzy in the final term to run out 51-point winners.
With Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney producing football near their 2018 form, they were instrumental in the Demons victory. So too, Sam Weideman and Luke Jackson up forward. Their work inside attacking 50, seeing the connectivity between the front six and midfield at a level Simon Goodwin has only been able to dream about for the last 18-months.
There much maligned defensive recruits Steven May and Jake Lever were also prominent. Lever especially so, given everyone of his possessions was accompanied by a hearty Adelaide Oval boo.
What the Coaches Said
Matthew Nicks was bullish despite his team falling to their tenth consecutive defeat to start the season. “It was an arm-wrestle and we put out three high-quality quarters of contested ball against a very good contested ball team, and we ran out of gas,” he told reporters post match. “We’re off a four-day break but that’s challenging for all teams and we made nine changes, so we had nine fresh guys in.
“When you’re 12 points down at three-quarter time and feel like you’ve had a fair bit of the play – up to that point statistics were reasonably balanced … and it was a good battle. There’s no doubt when they got one or two quick goals and bust out of centre bounce and bust out of stoppage, there’s a mental side to that for both teams – they get a lift … and, if anything, we maybe dropped off a percent or two, and that’s too much against a good side.
“Credit where it’s due, they were very good in that last quarter and got clearance going,” Nicks conceded.
Simon Goodwin was pleased with his teams response after their Round Nine defeat to Brisbane. “As a club, we were disappointed and as a coach post last week I was pretty clear what I thought of the performance … and we wanted to launch into this week and do it our way and bring our strengths, and I thought tonight we did,” Goodwin said. “It was important we got back in a frame of mind to where we were and we came to Adelaide to try to win two games, we’re one down and got another (against North Melbourne) in four days’ time (on Sunday).
“Our season is alive, it’s well and we’re right in it like every other team.”
ADELAIDE 2.4 4.5 4.7 5.7 (37)
MELBOURNE 3.2 5.4 6.7 13.10 (88)
Adelaide: Seedsman 2, Fogarty, Himmelberg, Crocker
Melbourne: Weideman 3, Jackson 2, Melksham 2, Viney 2, Fritsch 2, Bennell, Oliver
Adelaide: M.Crouch, Brown, Keays, Laird, Seedsman
Melbourne: Oliver, Viney, May, Petracca, Salem, Lever
Adelaide: Hamill (concussion), Brodie Smith replaced in selected side by Ben Crocker