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Demons Jesse Hogan and Jack Watts celebrate a goal in Darwin. Photo: Robert CianfloneMELBOURNE  6.5      9.8      11.11      12.15     (87)FREMANTLE  2.0      3.1      7.4      8.7     (55)GOALS Melbourne:  Hogan 4,  Kent 3,  Watts 3,  vandenBerg, Jones.  Fremantle:  Pavlich 3,  Mayne 2,  Ballantyne, Taberner, Suban.BEST Melbourne: Tyson, N Jones, Viney, T McDonald, Gawn, Grimes, Hogan, Watts, Kent. Fremantle: Neale, Sutcliffe, Hill, Crozier, Blakely.UMPIRES Ryan, Margetts, Mitchell.CROWD 8163 at TIO Stadium.
Nanjing Night Net

Melbourne’s recent battles with Fremantle haven’t produced much success. Nor, for that matter, have their annual ventures to Darwin. Which made Saturday’s win significant, the Demons able to kill two birds with one stone.

It had been 2011 since they’d been able to beat the Dockers, seven consecutive losses the sorry tale. Likewise, notch a win in the top end, the last four trips ending in defeat.

But the Demons’ 32-point win in this match was never really in doubt from shortly after quarter-time, by then they led by seven goals, and after which the tropical heat began to take an obvious toll on the basic skills of both teams, let alone their capacity to score.

They’d dominated Fremantle to that point even more in general play than they had on the scoreboard, which at one stage told of a 50-point lead to Melbourne. And while the Dockers were at least able to claw their way back to an eventual losing margin less embarrassing, this result was inevitable a long way from home.

It hadn’t taken Fremantle long to get on the board at the start, Matt Taberner getting the Dockers underway a minute in with a superb left-foot dribbler from the tightest of forward-pocket angles.

Their second goal was even better, Nick Suban spinning out of a pack on to his left foot and dobbing one, again from a tight angle.

But Melbourne had scored the two intervening goals with far more ease. The first was a snap from Dean Kent after a long kick to the teeth of goal from Jesse Hogan and a sharp handball from Aaron Vandenberg. The second, to Jack Watts, capped off a lovely transfer of the ball by the Demons from end to end.

And that would be the first of three for Watts in the first term as Melbourne piled on 6.5, Freo scoreless after Suban’s effort. Fellow small forward Kent was just as sharp near goal, and Jesse Hogan, working a long way up the ground, managed to make it back far enough to convert a free kick.

It was a 29-point lead to Melbourne by quarter-time, and it could have been even more, given their dominance around the ground.

By the first break, the Demons had enjoyed 55 more disposals, doubled the Dockers for forward entries (18-9) and thanks to Max Gawn, were completely dominant in the ruck, winning seven of eight centre bounce clearances for the quarter.

Fremantle’s haplessness was perhaps best summed up by the moment when Hayden Ballantyne chipped a little pass to skipper Matthew Pavlich only 25 metres out. The “Pav” of old would have just turned around and steered it through. This more hesitant, faltering version instead tried to handball over the top, and the Demons cleaned it up with no damage done.

Melbourne’s on-ballers had a picnic, Jack Viney and Dom Tyson especially, the Joneses Nathan and Matt both busy, and Jayden Hunt continuing to impress with his speed and flair off half-back, key defender Tom McDonald easily mopping up what few attacks the Dockers were able to mount.

A break and a new quarter did little to stop the procession, and by the time Aaron Vandenberg snapped truly and Kent posted his third goal to join Watts, the margin had ballooned out to 43 points, in the steamy conditions, a gap that felt closer to 70 or 80.

Which means Fremantle deserve some credit at least for fighting things out. Their third term saw them outscore Melbourne four goals to two.

Pavlich, perhaps chastened by his earlier blunder, booted two of them and looked a lot more competitive.

Chris Mayne chipped in for a couple, and even last year, a five-goal gap at the final change would have had Demon fans still anxious.

But both sides’ energy by now was spent. Just one goal to either team came in the last term, the siren a relief for the victors, losers, and to be frank, spectators.

With it, however, came Melbourne’s seventh win of the season, as many as the Demons could manage in the whole of 2015.

And seven games still to go, Melbourne are on target for their best season in 10 years.

That year, 2006, came with a finals appearance attached. That won’t be happening in 2016, but perhaps another isn’t all that far around the corner.

Votes MELBOURNE v FREMANTLE (Rohan Connolly)

Dom Tyson (Melb) ……………8 Nathan Jones (Melb)…………8 Jack Viney (Melb)……………..8 Tom McDonald (Melb)……….7 Max Gawn (Melb)……………..7

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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