Western Bulldogs 91* - 85 Melbourne Demons
Mistakes. Mistakes everywhere.
As soon as the umps gifted the Doggies their traditional two free goals for turning up, most memorably one for an under-pressure Bail finding the boundary, the Demons flicked the self-destruct button for the second week in a row.
Decisions will go against you. That's a fact of footy. When it happens to the Dees, the standard response isn't to fire up in adversity, but to have a bit of a sook.
After the umpire had his say, all rational Dees decision-making was thrown out the window for a quarter. The wobbles contagious through the kicking normally reliable Tyson and Watts. The aimless handballs. The eternal waiting to get the ball out of the defensive 50.
Even Nathan Jones was outplayed by his opposite number in the 2nd quarter.
It was a bad enough sign by itself, but when his appeared his opposing player was Napoleon Dynamite, we knew we were in trouble.
Even if the second half was an improvement, that second quarter was a massive step backwards.
2. Frawley - Stay or Go?
Please go. For everyone.
There has been much talk about Melbourne's key defender extending his contract at the start of the season.
Fortunately, Lynden Dunn signed for a few more years.
Frawley is not the same player he was. Displaced by McDonald and Dunn at the back and not entirely convincing as a forward, understanding the case Chip is making for the big bucks is becoming very difficult work
Bad decision making riddled his performance today, practically gifting Bontempelli his second and winning goal.
Demons should expect more from a leader.
Other teams would expect a fair amount of change if he's a $700k player.
3. Jack Watts
Things The Red and Blue will never understand #3407:
Why, in a minority of Demons' fans, is it always Watts' fault?
One dodgy kick forward and a simple miss apparently was the cause of the 30 minute schoolboy football the Dees served up.
Watts is an accurate kick, a touch of class amongst the clogging-style of Nicholson and Matt Jones. His intensity, the easy stick people always use against him, has lifted without question.
Quite simply, it wouldn't matter if he kicked 8, made the pies and bought everyone a beer, if the Demons lose, there are people look straight at Watts.
I really don't get it.
4. Chris Dawes
There is a point in every game where something kicks Dawes into action. Almost every game, he'll contribute a lead or two and a couple of fumbles in the first half, and you'll wonder why he's a cult hero.
Then something happens. A reserved state of mind snaps, and the nearest opposition player is tackled with the momentum of a bull spearing a matador.
And then he's alive, and the team picks up. Dawes will kick a couple and become a major factor towards the end of the game.
Why can't we have that all game? He's second only to N.Jones as a leader by example.
His effect on the team, the crowd is huge. If he realised this, and fired up quicker we could even see an unthinkable first half lead.
5. We Need Depth
Bernie Vince, apart from scoring an incredible left-foot curling effort, wasn't at his best today. Neither were the tired looking Dom Tyson and Nathan Jones
Take those three out of the team, and it all becomes very ordinary.
Jack Viney was his tenacious, scrapping self, keeping the Dogs honest. But Matt Jones, Nicholson, Bail and Terlich were all behind the levels needed.
Even with the miraculous recovery of the careers Pedersen and Dunn, this list is still way below the standard required below our top 10.
Clever recruiting is an absolute necessity to hit the next steps on the ladder.