Honour in defeat for Melbourne - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Honour in defeat for Melbourne

By Adam Cooper 06/04/2008 06:17:21 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne took some honour in AFL defeat, as the massacre many expected was averted despite the Demons not being good enough to match Geelong at Skilled Stadium.

The Cats posted a comfortable 30-point win on the day they unfurled their 2007 premiership flag, despite only producing glimpses of the play that took them to last year's triumph.

Tom Hawkins booted five goals in the Cats' 16.16 (112) to 12.10 (82) victory, and Joel Corey, Gary Ablett, Jimmy Bartel and Paul Chapman all had an over-abundance of the ball yet never quite used it sharply.

Melbourne booted the first three goals of the game and got within five points in the third quarter, but just as pigs were beginning to grow wings, the Cats pulled away.

Collingwood also posted a comfortable win, as they set up a 44-point victory of Richmond with a dominant first-half performance at the MCG.

The Magpies led by as many as 56 points in the first half before they won 18.14 (122) to 11.12 (78), with Anthony Rocca, Dale Thomas and Paul Medhurst all booting three goals.

But the star was defender Heath Shaw, who produced a superb game at half-back in thrashing the Tigers' Nathan Brown.

The Demons could again blame some atrocious skills and an inability to get the basics right for their third successive defeat, but coming after losses of 104 points to Hawthorn and 95 to the Western Bulldogs, this one was not too hard to swallow.

Coach Dean Bailey made it clear he was not satisfied with a smaller defeat, but at least found something to praise after the two opening drubbings.

"The competitive nature is what we've been after and that's what they delivered today," Bailey said.

"So they can sit there today and say 'At least we were competitive', and say 'We actually played OK'.

"We didn't play well enough for long enough but ... you look at the last two weeks we've played we've actually moved forward a step today.

"But we're still getting beaten, it's still a loss."

Although Geelong coach Mark Thompson might have wanted a bigger win over the struggling Demons, he too acknowledged Melbourne fought hard.

"They were good, really good, and we weren't at the top of our game," he said.

"Melbourne came pretty determined to play good football and they did, so good on 'em."

Geelong are one of three sides unbeaten after round three.

The Hawks topped the ladder for the third successive week after coming from behind to beat North Melbourne 15.12 (102) to 13.8 (86) at Telstra Dome on Saturday, with Lance Franklin booting five goals and Jarryd Roughead four.

The Bulldogs are the other unbeaten side, having charged over the top of St Kilda on Friday night, winning 19.11 (125) to 13.9 (87) after trailing by 37 points early in the game.

Fremantle posted their first win of the season, after downing West Coast 12.15 (87) to 10.13 (73) at Subiaco Oval on Saturday.

Sydney continued their good form in beating the Brisbane Lions 13.10 (88) to 10.11 (71) at the Gabba on Saturday night despite Lion Daniel Bradshaw's five goals.

Essendon outgunned Carlton 23.12 (150) to 21.8 (134) at the MCG on Saturday night, which condemned their old foe to a 14th successive defeat.

The Blues are now amid their equal record-losing streak, and frustratingly for coach Brett Ratten, they went down despite Brendan Fevola booting eight goals, Chris Judd and Nick Stevens starring in the midfield and No.1 draft pick Matthew Kreuzer impressing in his debut.

Port Adelaide and Adelaide will complete the round at AAMI Stadium on Sunday night.

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