Melbourne’s horror AFL season has reached a new low, Sydney embarrassing the Demons in a 53-point thrashing on the big stage of Friday night football in front of their long-suffering fans at the MCG.
The few of them who turned up, that is, with just 23,700 fans braving the inclement Melbourne weather.
The Demons have been beaten by greater margins in a disastrous campaign but their listless display in a 15.5 (95) to 5.12 (42) defeat is indicative of a team who have lost their way – again.
Simon Goodwin’s men couldn’t muster a goal in the second or third quarters against a side who had just one more win than them heading into round 22.
But as bad as Melbourne were, the Swans, with their own struggles this year, deserved plenty of praise for their workman-like performance.
Oliver Florent led the way with 28 possessions, Sam Reid booted three goals and Josh Kennedy gained 10 clearances in his 21-disposal effort in an even team performance.
Clayton Oliver gathered 30 possessions to be one of his side’s few winners and Max Gawn had 52 hitouts, but his midfielders rarely made the most of that dominance.
Nearing the end of forgettable seasons for both sides, it was perhaps unsurprising that the contest wasn’t an instant classic.
That’s not to say there weren’t occasional highlights in among the dropped marks, missed targets and poor decisions, but they were mostly supplied by the men in red and white.
“We’re getting enough of the ball – we are just a bit boring,” Goodwin told the Seven Network at halftime, and he wasn’t wrong.
Reid had the Swans off to a flyer with two of his side’s first three goals, but Jake Melksham managed to get the ball rolling for the Demons with two of his own to cut the margin to six points at the first break.
Reid added his third just seconds after the restart and, while Sydney weren’t dominant, they blew the lead out to 24 points at halftime as Melbourne’s attack sputtered to a halt.
The Swans booted the only three goals of the third quarter to make it seven unanswered majors and a 38-point lead at three-quarter time.
Melbourne at least managed some sort of response with successive goals in the final term, but Sydney kicked the last three majors of the contest to improve their season record to 7-14.