Demons Reality Falls Short of Great Expectations.
Great expectations were held by both sides ahead of the Round 13 clash between the Bulldogs and Demons. Unfortunately weather conditions and a third quarter to forget by Melbourne went a long way to reducing the spectacle of the match. By the time the final siren sounded, the Demons failed to live up to the renewed expectations after three straight wins. In the end a deeper list of quality users was a decisive factor in the Bulldogs winning an old fashioned eight point game. A
How the Game was Won
It is too simplistic to say the game was won in the midfield, it was won there but it was how it was won there that impacted the game. Bontempelli, Hunter, McCrae all had big numbers but it was their ability to hit targets by foot that proved the difference.
With Naughton totally nullified by May, the Dogs crisp ball movement allowed Wallis to kick a career high four goals as a small/medium forward. No goals come from key targets Bruce or Naughton but a host of smaller forwards all hit the scoreboard for the Doggies.
The dominance of Pruess in the ruck was not beneficial to the Demons midfield. How this couldn’t be used as an avenue to exploit the Dogs is mystifying. An interesting month faves both clubs as the battle for the 8 intensifies.
What the Coaches Said
Luke Beveridge was happy with how is team responded to a raft of changes at half time. “There’s no doubt they got some momentum right at the end of that second quarter,” he said after the game. “I felt like we lost some control in the stoppage and in the ruck, and they scored off the back of that. We mixed the roles up, and I thought ‘Brucey’ was really instrumental in the second half, probably as our first ruck.”
“He works hard for us, and it’s not always going to go your way as a forward. He really persisted and was willing to take on that new role. He really influenced the game after that, and our midfield helped us take over. We had 25 uncontested marks in that third quarter. We probably had a little bit more composure and held the ball up a fraction more,” Beveridge said.
“The balance of the ball movement helped us defend a little bit better. Across all three lines, they just really stepped up their work. It was terrific to see some of the lads take control. Right across the board, I think it was a really important team performance.”
Simon Goodwin believed his team was beaten in all areas but their defence efforts was of particular concern. “We defended as poorly as we have all year for that [third term] 20 minutes,” he said. “Most of the day it [defence] was looking vulnerable and in the third quarter it just broke open.
“We got beaten in most areas to be frank.
“As the game went on we let ourselves down in turnover. There wasn’t a lot to like in the way we played today. I thought we got beaten in all phases of the game and the most disappointing thing was our defence.”
“They [Western Bulldogs] were very good at getting the ball to the open side of the ground and producing very good things, from kick ins and also from the back half,” he said.
“That’s very unlike the way we have been playing.
“It’s disappointing for our footy club. We worked hard to get ourselves into this position, we knew the importance of the match.”
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.4 4.4 10.5 12.8 (80)
MELBOURNE 1.3 5.5 5.8 7.10 (52)
Western Bulldogs: Wallis 4, McLean, Vandermeer, Liberatore, Bontempelli, Smith, Williams, English, Cavarra
Melbourne: Weideman 2, Melksham, Oliver, Fritsch, McDonald, Spargo
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Liberatore, Smith, Wallis, Macrae, Hunter
Melbourne: May, Viney, Petracca, Weideman, Oliver
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Melbourne: Sparrow (shoulder), Jones (quad) replaced in selected side by Hannan