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Home / AFL / As it happened: Melbourne Demons pip GWS Giants to stay alive, Port Adelaide Power smash Essendon Bombers in the wet, Fremantle Dockers flog North Melbourne Kangaroos

As it happened: Melbourne Demons pip GWS Giants to stay alive, Port Adelaide Power smash Essendon Bombers in the wet, Fremantle Dockers flog North Melbourne Kangaroos

This was the goal that put the result beyond the Giants’ reach

GWS coach Leon Cameron spoke to the media after the Giants’ gutwrenching loss and here’s some of what he had to say…

Q: You fought your way back. You just didn’t quite cross the line.
A: Yes. Yes, the first quarter was clearly [bad], four goals to one. We were on the back-burner again. Just kills you. I mean, second quarter pleasing. Third quarter pleasing. And in the end we weren’t good enough when it mattered I suppose in the last quarter. You go down by five points. And we just lacked composure. Composure when it mattered. It wasn’t just the last quarter. They scored easy goals on the back of our just fundamentals that cost us dearly. It is a game of inches and if you make a poor choice or a call for the ball in the wrong area or should have blocked when we needed to, or just so many things add up in the game and that’s what has happened. We lacked composure. We ground our way back, we played the better football for the middle half but we just weren’t good enough right there at the end and that’s the disappointing part.

Q: It is sort of out of your hands now but how do you approach the next week. How do you go into that last game?
A: We will play to the end. The game, we have had a jammed up four weeks – sorry, 14 days and
I can’t question some of the effort out there today. No doubt we are out on our feet in the last quarter. It is pointless having efforts and then lack composure. It is pointless having effort and then lack of fundamentals. So in terms of this week, we are on again in six days’ time against St Kilda and we will play to the end and where that leads to, that is out of our hands. There will be opportunities again. Because some players really stood up today, really stood up. Now I was really proud of some of our young fellows that came in. Tom Green outstanding. Jack Buckley in his debut was terrific. But there have also been players who have been down so there will be opportunities next Friday night.

Q: Does the skipper come straight back in or what is the situation?
A: We will look at that. I understand it was a huge decision for our football club but myself and Steve and our match committee understand that he has been out of form. It has been for a few weeks. And we made that really tough call, a really tough call. But if there has to be more tough calls next week, there will be. Because our season has been like that. We haven’t turned up all the time. It is obviously – I don’t know whether it is a message to Stephen but it is a home truth for him in terms of where he is at. But is it a message to other players as well that nobody is safe. Yes, you don’t go
out there and deliberately do it. You look at the cold, hard facts. He has been terrific. I know there is always going to be lots of speculation. He puts his hand up. He understand areas of his game he wants to get better at. I have got no doubt with his character he will and he will train well this week
and he will want to put his hand up, absolutely. But you are right. I mean, when you sort of have been good for two weeks and bad for two weeks, you can’t have anyone who is safe because it is not consistent enough. We are nowhere near Port Adelaide, Richmond, West Coast, Brisbane. They have been terrific. That’s been us the last few years even though we had have had some ups an downs. But for most of this year we have been inconsistent and the individuals add up to that team performance. So we need to pick our best team for next Friday night against St Kilda. And if that means there are players there that have been out of form for the last two or three weeks, it doesn’t matter who you are. That’s why I said I was rapt with the kids that came in. Connor Idun I thought did a really good defensive role as well. So you don’t play kids for the sake of it, you pick your best team every week that deserves to play.

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin spoke to the media after the game…

Star defender Steven May was one of Melbourne’s best again and he spoke to Channel Seven after the game as well…

Q: Not only are you winning plenty of the ball but you are hard to play on at the moment. You look fit and strong. You must be enjoying your footy.
A: I certainly am. This week is sort of bringing it back to role-playing. As you said a couple of weeks ago, I played well and I was back in my role. Not only me but a lot of senior players we sort of went away from that in the last few games. Sounds simple, boys play your role and we should win the game but I was proud of executing that tonight.

Q: What about when you win the ball deep in defence as you said tonight, you look out on the fat side of the ground and Ed Langdon is always there presenting with his run. You must be thrilled to have a player on the wing that presents like he does for you?
A: Bloody oath man. He runs all day. He is extremely fit. That one we worked in the pre-season trying to intercept the ball. I told him if I wheel and mark I want to get it to you as soon as possible as long as you give me an option. We are both holding up our end of the bargain at the moment but it makes other teams defend. The last two weeks we were down with our ball use. It went a long way to winning.

Q: Trent Rivers came into your club as a rebounding defender and kicked two goals.
A: He has kicked a couple of goals. No doubt I will have to get on his back about tightening up and letting him know those goals came on the back of defending. It is hard to teach a young fellow that. He is buying into the program. He is like a sponge at the moment. He wants to learn as much as he can. He has brilliant halfback flanks to learn from. We probably won’t hear the end of it.

Q: We saw great emotion on the final siren, Simon Goodwin embracing almost every player on the list. There is always pressure on the senior coach. Tell us about your relationship with him. He was pretty happy tonight.
A: He is really a relationships-based coach. We have been hurting the last couple of weeks but certainly we can see that he has been hurting. He loves the club so much. He can’t do everything for us. He can’t kick goals or he can’t win a contested ball. He can give us a game plan to execute. Unfortunately as a playing group we didn’t do that in the last couple of weeks. He cops a fair bit of that. He never waivers and backs us in. You can tell the emotion between the players and ‘Goody’ himself he is super invested and we love him. This week has been tough but certainly we wanted to get the win not only for us but we know he is under the pump a bit.

Q: You are back inside the eight as we speak. You have to beat Essendon next week. Will you keep a sneaky eye on Hawks and Dogs tomorrow?
A: Yes, we need the Hawks to win I believe. It was our fault for not winning the last two games to sort of give ourselves a final eight spot. We knew if we beat the Giants we will have to rely on a few other results. We need to win next week. Whatever happens, happens. The league especially this time of the year everyone is winning. The underdogs are winning. With only 17 games, it
is tough. Really, you have to win every game.

This was the goal that put the result beyond the Giants’ reach

Christian Petracca was one of Melbourne’s best players once again and he also spoke to Channel Seven after the game…

Q: As we know every game at the pointy end of the season is a virtual elimination. What did you make of this performance tonight?
A: It was a tough game. We were both eyeing off a spot in the finals so to get that win against a quality opposition it is a special feeling. It has been frustrating for our fans. Frustrating for us as a club. We stuck by it tonight and we won out.

Q: Both you and Oliver were sensational in the middle but I thought your defenders were brilliant tonight. [Steven] May and [Jake] Lever seem to be building on the connection every single week.
A: Yes, they are. It is probably their first full season of playing together. People don’t realise it does take a lot of time to adjust. One player was out with the hamstring injury. ‘Snake’ [Lever] coming out from an ACL a couple of years ago. It takes time. It is not just defenders. We have to help them out. Our defensive running the last couple of weeks has been poor for midfielders. To get a good win against a quality opposition is awesome.

Q: ‘Goody’ [Simon Goodwin] coaching from downstairs in that final term. Very emotional at that final siren. How much does it mean to him obviously for you guys to have a really strong performance following what happened in Cairns [against Sydney and Fremantle]?
A: Well, it means a lot. You want to play finals. You know, he has been coaching his arse off. We have been trying as hard as we can. I can assure the fans we will do everything we can to get a win and play finals. It is frustrating for us as well but it is a step in the right direction.

Melbourne youngster Trent Rivers kicked two crucial goals and he spoke to Channel Seven after the game…

Q: Congratulations. Keeping your team alive.
A: Full team effort. Came down at three-quarter time, played the role and got the result in the end. It is awesome.

Q: You debuted earlier this year. 2020 as we know has been a really tricky time for everyone but you seem to be enjoying your footy. What have you made of your first year of senior AFL.
A: I am loving it. Older boys have been getting around us an teaching us all the spoiling and stuff. My defence has not been the best but I have great coaches so we can improve that.

Q: We saw a sensational spoil for you late in the game. I know a fair bit has to go right for the Dees in terms of making the eight and firming up a top eight finish. How much belief does this group have that you can make the finals and perform well.
A: We come out every week thinking we are going to be able to make the finals. We have to have a few results go our way. We do what we need to do. If we go home with two wins we finish the season on a high.

The Melbourne boys sing the song loud and proud!

Here is some of the social media reaction to Melbourne’s thrilling win…

What a game! What a finish! The Demons are still alive in season 2020!

They ended up winning the disposals 288-286, clearances 36-32, marks 78-49, free kicks 16-15, hitouts 45-20.

Jack Viney and Sam Reid.

Jack Viney and Sam Reid.Credit:Getty Images

GW Sydney 2.3, 7.5, 10.7, 11.8 (74)
Melbourne 5.2, 7.5, 9.6, 12.7 (79)

GOALS
GW Sydney: Daniels 3, Lloyd 2, Williams 2, Perryman, Finlayson, De Boer, Cameron
Melbourne: Baker 2, Spargo 2, Rivers 2, Neal-Bullen, Hunt, Petracca, Pickett, Salem, Fritsch

DISPOSALS
GW Sydney: Green 29, Kelly 24, Whitfield 22
Melbourne: Langdon 23, Oliver 22, Petracca 22

REPORTS
Brett Daniels (GWS) for making head-high contact with Christian Petracca (Melbourne) in the second quarter

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