Melbourne has won its fourth game of the season, beating the GWS Giants by 25 points in a scrappy clash at Manuka Oval.
With allegations of tanking hanging over their heads, the Demons attempted some misplaced champagne football but never really looked in doubt on a cold Saturday in the country’s capital.
In a game where the highlights for spectators were few and far between, a couple of Melbourne players were looking to plead their case to Mark Neeld, with a cull to the playing list looking likely at the end of 2012.
Lynden Dunn was one; he salvaged 27 possessions and was typically aggressive – despite lacking the trademark blight on his upper lip. Neville Jetta, in contrast, managed 5 touches all game and was lucky to not be subbed off.
The game wasn’t off limits for the Giants throughout the contest in Luke Power’s 300th; despite James Sellar booting the first of the game and Jeremy Howe looking lively early, they went into the first bell behind by 9 points.
They were behind by 3 goals at half time, before the Dees kicked away, or rather attempted to, in the third term.
The strong Canberra winds were a problem for Melbourne as they tried to convert; it snowed in the capital on Friday and it peaked at 5 degrees during the game, despite the sun emerging at the beginning.
Jeremy Howe missed 3 kickable goals, but also put 3 through, while the retiring dead-eye dick Brad Green walked away with 1 goal 3 and a petty 6 disposals.
Melbourne went into the break with a 38 point lead, but they couldn’t kick on and a few junktime goals from the Giants saw them win by an unimpressive 25 points.
Toby Greene was sensational for GWS. 38 touches, 2 goals and 4 tackles were added to the tally of the highest polling first year player since the introduction of Champion Data. One feels a sense of pride writing about him in his first year, with the future star capable of absolutely anything wherever he ends up playing the bulk of his career.
Power himself managed 25 touches, as did Taylor Adams; while Jon Giles accumulated 21 touches despite breaking even in the hit outs with Jake Spencer.
Meanwhle, for the Dees, Sellar kicked his second bag of two in a fortnight with Jared Rivers and captain Jack Trengove both managing two.
Trengove getting his first after a high fend off and than a 50 metre penalty against Tom Scully, who himself only managed 16 touches in another frustrating game.
Jack Watts got 15 touches off half back on his return after 5 weeks out with an ankle injury; subbed on for Tom Couch midway through the third quarter.
The other boom recruit for GWS, Izzy Folau, endured yet another shocking day at the office. Three touches and one kick all that he could manage.
When the final siren rang, the Demons were given a talking to in the rooms behind closed doors by their coach before being allowed to sing the song on the back of a less than convincing win.
GWS, meanwhile, now look nailed on to receive the first pick of the NAB AFL Draft. Midfielder Lachie Whitfield and ruckman Brodie Grundy the likely culprits to be considered.
3 go to Toby Greene who racked it up all day.
2 go to Lynden Dunn who was effective and intense
1 goes to Jeremy Howe, who was innaccurate, but booted 3.
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY: Greene (2), Giles, Power, Adams, Phillips, McDonald, Smith, Davis
MELBOURNE: Howe (3), Sellar (2), Trengove (2), Rivers (2), Green, Grimes
Greater Western Sydney: TBC
Melbourne: Jack Watts replaced Tom Couch in the third quarter
Greater Western Sydney: Steve Clifton replaced Will Hoskin-Elliott at three quarter-time
Umpires: Ryan, Armstrong, Harris
Official crowd: 7,561 at Manuka Oval