Melbourne Demons picked up where they left off as they started their pre-season campaign with a thumping 88-point victory over North Melbourne. It was a typically thunderous performance from the Demons who are looking good to become AFL premiers once more.
While it has been over five months since the Demons took to the pitch, they trounced their rivals 20.12 (132) to just 6.8 (44). The game at Casey Fields showcased the fact that the AFL premiers have lost none of their firepower and precision.
Given the fact that the Demons had just picked up their first premiership in nearly 60 years, you could have forgiven the team for having some kind of hangover. However, the AFL premiers looked every bit as good as the team that pummelled the Western Bulldogs in the grand final last September.
It was hard to pick out an individual star from the Demons line-up. Obviously the captain Max Gawn was in commanding form as usual and he inspired his team to continue the form that led them to such great heights in 2021. However, there were also impressive performances from forwards like Ben Brown, while Christian Petracca once again showed why he picked up the Norm Smith medal.
This was also the game where Adam Tomlinson came back into the Melbourne team after a long period on the sidelines. The 28-year old has been suffering from a brutal injury to his anterior cruciate ligament that took him out of much of last year’s campaign. However, he looked back to his best against North Melbourne with a typically controlled and aggressive defensive performance.
While Thursday night’s performance was impressive, there remain a few questions about what kinds of Demons team we’ll see in the upcoming AFL season. Star defenders like Harrison Petty and Jake Lever were absent, while other important players such as Bayley Fritsch and Jack Viney were also missing from the Demons line-up. The game also provided a brief warning for Demons supporters as Clayton Oliver was briefly taken from the field when it was revealed that he had dislocated his finger.
The Demon’s next game comes against Carlton on Thursday night. The only confirmed absences so far include the fact that Harry Petty will be missing as he’ll be undergoing surgery on an injured calf.
It should prove to be yet another big opportunity for Ben Brown to show why he is the key forward in the Demons team. He showed some of his best form in the game against North Melbourne and it is hard to believe that he is the same player as the one who struggled to get started in 2021.
But now Brown is looking like he can continue where he left off in the grand final where he scored 3.2 and helped the Demons to that famous victory. All of which sets up the Demons nicely to hope to be the fifth side to win back to back titles in over 30 years.
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