Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (2024)

Melbourne have put doubts over their form to rest temporarily at the MCG on Sunday afternoon, winning 16.10 (106) over West Coast 8.9 (57).

The Demons were extremely hard to catch after a blistering first quarter that saw them early 37-point leaders at quarter time.

And while the Eagles showed some honourable fightback in the second half, the Demons kept them at bay well enough.

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Round 18

AFLJul 12 7:40pm AESTCollingwoodGeelongMATCH CENTRE
Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (2)

$2.05

$1.75

*Odds are current as of 9th July 2024, 4:54pm AEST

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AFLJul 13 1:45pm AESTSydneyNorth MelbourneMATCH CENTRE
Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (3)

$1.05

$10.00

*Odds are current as of 9th July 2024, 4:54pm AEST

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AFLJul 13 1:45pm AESTHawthornFremantleMATCH CENTRE
Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (4)

$2.10

$1.73

*Odds are current as of 9th July 2024, 4:54pm AEST

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AFLJul 13 7:30pm AESTAdelaideSt KildaMATCH CENTRE
Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (6)

$1.50

$2.60

*Odds are current as of 9th July 2024, 4:54pm AEST

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AFLJul 13 7:30pm AESTMelbourneEssendonMATCH CENTRE
Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (7)

$2.50

$1.53

*Odds are current as of 9th July 2024, 4:54pm AEST

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AFLJul 14 1:10pm AESTGold CoastPort AdelaideMATCH CENTRE
Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (8)

$1.60

$2.35

*Odds are current as of 9th July 2024, 4:54pm AEST

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AFLJul 14 3:20pm AESTRichmondGreater Western SydneyMATCH CENTRE

*Odds are current as of 9th July 2024, 4:54pm AEST

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AFLJul 14 4:40pm AESTWest CoastBrisbaneMATCH CENTRE
Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (10)

$4.50

$1.20

*Odds are current as of 9th July 2024, 4:54pm AEST

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A Kozzie Pickett shot on goal after the siren would have put Simon Goodwin’s side into the top eight (likely only temporarily), but nonetheless would have been a nice finish to a win Melbourne so desperately needed to win.

Jacob van Rooyen stood out in the first half with a four-goal showing heading into the main break, while Trent Rivers filled the midfield void left by Christian Petracca very well with 29 disposals, nine score involvements and seven clearances.

For the Eagles, Oscar Allen kicked 4.3 from his 10 disposals in a promising showing from the key forward who only recently returned from injury.

MELBOURNE v WEST COAST — AS IT HAPPENED

Final teams are in for this afternoon’s clash at the home of football, with neither team making any late changes. The substitutes are Taj Woewodin (MEL) and Jack Williams (WCE).

Fourth-gamer Koltyn Tholstrup snagged his first-ever AFL goal before promptly adding another to instil a quick 12-0 lead for the Dees!

Jake Waterman, who was in some doubt to play after suffering a nasty cut last Sunday, kicked West Coast’s first major of the afternoon with a skillful snap.

It was the Eagles’ only goal for the term, though, as the Dees piled on seven goals to one to lead by 37 points at the first change.

A stellar Oscar Allen banana gave the Eagles some life in the second quarter as they reduced their deficit to 30 points. However, that was short-lived as Jacob van Rooyen slammed through his third goal of the day.

It was van Rooyen who stole the show for the Demons however, kicking three goals in the second term to take his match tally to an equal-career high of four goals in a match - still with a half to play.

At half time, the scoreboard read: Melbourne 11.5 (71) leading West Coast 3.4 (22).

Defender-turned-midfielder Trent Rivers has replaced the injured Christian Petracca’s midfield role very well in the first half, accumulating 16 disposals, six clearances and six score involvements.

Jake Waterman kicked his second from a mark just outside the goal square to kick off proceedings in the last half.

Fritsch found himself alone deep inside forward 50 for a mark out the back not long after, converting truly.

Midfielder-forward Kozzy Pickett flew extraordinarily high with a mark for the highlights reel, but unfortunately couldn’t convert after choosing to snap around the body from close range.

It was one highlight after another for the Demons, with Jake Melksham kicking his first goal back from his ACL injury - as teammates came from everywhere to celebrate the moment with him.

Skipper Max Gawn thumped home his first for the day also, pushing the margin out to 53 points at the MCG with a quarter and a half to play.

Jack Darling stabbed through a set shot close to home with just over a minute to go before the final break in a small win for Eagles fans.

At three-quarter time, the scoreboard read: Melbourne 14.9 (93) to West Coast’s 6.8 (44).

Melksham and Ed Langon kicked two early goals to put Melbourne’s lead out beyond 10 goals, before Oscar Allen and Liam Ryan dragged the margin back to what it was at both half time and three-quarter time - 49 points.

Bayley Fritch kicked his third goal for the match with another loose ball out the back, providing the Demons with their 17th and final goal for the match.

Pickett had a shot on goal after the siren that if converted, would have put the Demons back into the eight on percentage - but it wasn’t to be.

The3-2-1...

3. ‘I WAS NAGGING HIM’: DEES’ TRAC REPLACEMENT ‘LOOKS LIKE HE BELONGS’ IN DEMOLITION

The Demons’ ninth win keeps them in touch with the top eight — now tied with Collingwood and GWS on 36 premiership points.

It also places them in ninth spot on the ladder, pending Brisbane’s result against Adelaide, with their finals dreams still well and truly alive.

Melbourne sought to move the ball with blistering pace from the get-go against West Coast, fuelling its early and sustained dominance.

“That play that we’ve just seen in that first quarter — it’s fast play. We’ve gotten so used to seeing the Demons chipping the ball up the field, but they’ve really gone away from that,” Dual AFLW All-Australian Ruby Schleicher told Fox Footy’s coverage at quarter-time.

The Demons’ ambition and urgency with ball in hand were key to their ascendancy as they carried a game-high 49-point lead into the main change.

“I wonder if they (Melbourne) watched Hawthorn against the Eagles last week and saw that on the open side of the ground they had a lot of space, and that the Eagles would allow you that first kick to allow you to access that space,” Fox Footy’s Jordan Lewis said at half-time.

“So, transition’s been really easy for the Melbourne Football Club at the moment. They only took 60 marks last time against the West Coast Eagles over there — they’ve already taken 57, so this is a mode that they want to get going.

“That’s probably a part of their game they didn’t have to work on — we knew they knew they could build the ball up nicely, we’ve seen it in previous games, it’s kind of been their trademark for the past few weeks is that slow build up.”

Schleicher added: “But adding that fast dimension, it’s putting West Coast Eagles defenders in two minds and making them really (make) a decision.”

At the main break, Trent Rivers (16 disposals) had four more possessions than the next-best ball-winner on the ground as he continued to flourish between the arcs in Christian Petracca’s absence.

“Him stepping into that role while missing Petracca; he’s been so impressive, he really does it all — he patrols the outside really well … he’s getting involved in all facets of the game, and he really is filling that role beautifully,” Schleicher observed.

Added Lewis: “He looks like he belongs. He’s plied his trade in defence, he’s always shown the ability to take ground when needed, but certainly with the absence of Petracca out there, he has filled that role nicely.”

As the Dees concluded their demolition of the Eagles, Rivers had accumulated career-highs in disposals (29 — also a game-high), clearances (seven) and score involvements (nine).

Speaking post-game to Fox Footy, Rivers called his fruitful shift into the midfield “a bit of a change-up”.

“Goody (Simon Goodwin) threw me in there for a little bit last year, but to be (in there) full-time, I’m loving it,” he said with a smile.

“I was nagging at him a little bit, but I’m grateful that he’s given (me) the opportunity, and hopefully (I can) repay him for the favour.”

In their next month, the Demons face Essendon (MCG), Fremantle (Optus Stadium), GWS (MCG) and the Western Bulldogs (Marvel Stadium). And, while tough, those are all winnable fixtures.

2. EAGLES’ FREEFALL CONTINUES DESPITE SKIPPER’S EXCELLENCE

The scrutinisation of the Eagles and coach Adam Simpson won’t lessen after an uncompetitive showing at the MCG — slumping to 3-13 on the season.

West Coast was killed at stoppage and around the ball by Melbourne in the first half — recording seven fewer clearances — and while it fought back in the second half to win the count, it was largely for naught in terms of reversing the scoreboard discrepancy.

It took four-time Hawthorn premiership player Lewis one quarter of play to raise the issue.

“I think they need to get their stoppage stuff right,” he noted on Fox Footy at the first change.

“Melbourne has dominated in that particular part of the ground and had really good field position — four goals coming from stoppages as well.”

At half-time, Schleicher urged West Coast to better utilise its pace.

“I think they need to use their speed,” she said. “The Eagles look the best when they’re hitting the corridor, getting their runners running on the outside shoulders of the ball-carrier with speed, and getting it over the back.

“We know how good the Dees defenders are in setting up — and if it’s not the Dees defenders, it’s Maxy Gawn sitting down the line — so, they have to get it over that bubble.”

Co-captain Oscar Allen stood tall on what panned out in another grim day for the Eagles, booting four goals from seven scoring shots, taking six marks and getting involved in seven scores.

“Oscar Allen, the skipper, has done so well,” Schleicher told Fox Footy.

“We know he was quiet last week, just the six disposals and no scoreboard pressure, but today he’s brought them into the game, he’s hit the scoreboard twice.

“They’ve got two big targets down there (including Jake Waterman) that are their avenues to goals, now they just need to get that supply going through fast ball movement.”

Former St Kilda and North Melbourne midfielder Nick Dal Santo added: “It starts at clearances — you’ve got to control the clearances which allows you to get field position off the back of that.”

And, positively, the Eagles were able to make amends in that facet of the game, winning 12 more clearances than the Demons to claim the count 35-30 by full time. The sides were also tied for inside-50s.

However, Melbourne still kicked six majors to West Coast’s five in the third and fourth quarters, with Simpson’s Eagles shunted back to the drawing board — with more external heat to come.

West Coast is now 8-52 since the start of the 2022 season.

1. ‘ULTIMATE ENTERTAINER’ LODGES MARK OF THE YEAR BID

Joining Collingwood forward pair Jamie Elliott and Bobby Hill, Demons livewire Kysaiah Pickett now has a contender for the Mark of the Year award.

In the third quarter, the 23-year-old launched at a Jacob van Rooyen inside-50 entry, using West Coast defender Josh Rotham as a launching pad to mark spectacularly.

“We’re always ready for Kozzie Pickett!” exclaimed Fox Footy caller Anthony Hudson.

“The ultimate entertainer in the air or on the ground! And the crowd gets to watch the replay and enjoy it one more time.”

However, Pickett’s snap at goal fell just short, with Hudson adding: “It deserves a goal … (But) you don’t always get what you deserve in footy.”

Jordan Lewis added: “Like it was in slow-motion, you could just see him set himself, take a couple of short steps and then propel — that’s good athleticism.

“Liam Ryan just came over and showed a bit of respect — he understands what it’s like to be up that high.”

Pickett’s mark might not have *reached the heights* of Elliot or Hill — with Hudson and Dal Santo remarking post-match that it probably wasn’t quite on the same level — but a thrilling leap it was.

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Trac replacement ‘looks like he belongs’ as Dees consign lowly Eagles to more pain — 3-2-1 (2024)
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