Demons stun Bombers for Neeld’s first win
Melbourne have produced the upset of the AFL season, taking advantage of a wasteful Essendon at the MCG on Saturday night to give coach Mark Neeld the first victory of his reign.
The Demons, who had endured a nightmare start to their season and faced an avalanche of criticism after copping a 101-point hiding from Sydney just two weeks ago, won 8.10 (58) to 6.16 (52) in front of 42,987 fans.
The win lifted them off the bottom of the ladder, leaving winless Gold Coast in the wooden spoon berth.
Melbourne players literally jumped for joy and gathered in groups to hug each other as the siren sounded.
They had trailed for much of the night, but surged clear with three goals to one in the final quarter to hand the second-placed Bombers just their second defeat of the season.
The much-maligned Jack Watts continued his strong recent form in defence, leading a valiant Demons’ defensive set-up, which kept the Bombers to a meagre score despite their constant attacking thrusts.
Jared Rivers, Daniel Nicholson and Tom McDonald were also good in defence, while Brent Moloney, Nathan Jones and Jack Grimes provided drive from the midfield, with Moloney and Jones also kicking a goal each.
Essendon captain Jobe Watson was clearly his side’s best with 32 disposals and two goals.
His work helped the Bombers have the lion’s share of attacking moves for most of the game.
But, while Melbourne defended desperately to stay in touch throughout the night, Essendon were largely to blame for their own defeat.
Their kicking for goal was atrocious.
Key forwards Stewart Crameri, with 0.3, Paddy Ryder, with 0.2, and Michael Hurley, with 0.3 and another shot out on the full, all wasted straightforward chances, but were not the only culprits.
The Bombers also produced sloppy disposals and fumbled to ruin many promising attacking moves, with Hurley heading towards an open goal in the last term but over-running a ground ball, when a goal would have put his side ahead.
After Melbourne moved 11 points clear through a Colin Garland goal, Watson produced a nice snap to cut the margin to less than a kick and pumped his fist to try to rev up his team, but to no avail as the Demons closed out the game.© AAP 2013
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