Demons reach scary point in their ride - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demons reach scary point in their ride

By Roger Vaughan 20/05/2011 03:42:23 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne's rollercoaster of an AFL season has reached a doubly-scary feature of the ride - St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.

The Demons have lost their last five games against the Saints and are 0-9 at Etihad since Dean Bailey took over as coach four years ago.

After a bad loss to West Coast in round six, Melbourne smashed Adelaide by 96 points and then took control early in last weekend's match against North Melbourne.

But the Kangaroos rallied and won, again raising questions about Melbourne's ability to maintain good form.

It's also a massive game for the Saints, who squandered an early lead against Hawthorn last Sunday to continue their poor form this year.

"Both clubs have a lot to fight for this weekend and the effort that's going to be needed from us and the effort during the game has got to be better than what we've shown," said Bailey on Friday.

"We're in this rollercoaster ride at the moment - we were really poor against West Coast, we got ourselves up against Adelaide and showed what we could do when we're committed to 120 minutes.

"Last week we weren't committed to 120 minutes, so we have to get some consistency with (ourselves) before we worry about St Kilda.

"It's a cop-out to suggest anything other than the week before against Adelaide - we can do it."

Bailey said the Demons had been tackling more at training in the last few weeks and trying to lift their intensity.

Now they come up against a team who set a benchmark in the last two years for squeezing the life out of their opponents.

"The game on Saturday, we'll be looking at how often we can tackle and how much pressure we can bring for the whole game," Bailey said.

"One thing about pressure, you can have a lot of inferred pressure if you like, where you're building pressure on the opposition.

"We're not building enough pressure on the opposition to force enough turnovers for us to score from."

Bailey also wants his players to take more risks when they the ball.

"We have to be bolder and braver with some of our ball movement," he said.

"We've certainly been practising that way over the last two or three weeks, to try and generate that.

"At times we know we won't be able to use the corridor and we know at times, from a slow, held-up ball, we've got to have another tactic.

"But we need to take the game on - sitting back and not taking the game on, I don't think is a brave or bold way to play."

Melbourne made five changes for the match, losing Rohan Bail and Austin Wonaeamirri to knee injuries, while Colin Garland has an ankle problem, Lynden Dunn is suspended and Jamie Bennell was dropped.

Michael Evans will make his senior debut and Jared Rivers, Joel MacDonald, Matthew Bate and Jordie McKenzie return to the team.

The Saints were also busy at selection with four changes, losing Steven Baker to suspension and dropping Jason Gram, Andrew McQualter and Ben McEvoy.

Nick Winmar will make his senior debut as Jason Blake, Leigh Montagna and Brett Peake return.

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