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Five talking points: Melbourne v Greater Western Sydney

Highlights: Melbourne v GWS The Demons and Giants clash in round one
Jesse Hogan celebrates one of his three goals - ${keywords}
Jesse Hogan celebrates one of his three goals

1. Phil Davis v Jesse Hogan
Jesse Hogan was silenced in the first half by an experienced defender who has battled terrible injuries throughout his time at the Giants. The 20-year-old headed into the long break with just four touches while Phil Davis was brilliant, with four contested marks. However Hogan stuck at it, drifting up the ground late in the third quarter to win some touches and confidence. It paid off and he kicked three final-term goals to tip the game Melbourne's way. 

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2. Clayton Oliver is a clearance machine
Normally Paul Roos likes to ease his youngsters into the fray but Oliver came off the bench and went into the middle for a centre bounce immediately. He didn't disappoint, pushing off Toby Greene and kicking the ball forward with the clearance. By half-time Oliver had 17 disposals and three centre clearances, but amazingly had more contested possessions (11) than any other player on the ground. He tired slightly (and played just 58 per cent of game time) but still finished with 15 contested possessions and seven clearances in one of the more impressive midfield debuts in recent times. 

3. Stevie J in new colours
Johnson may have changed jumpers but his watchable style remains the same. There were the familiar low percentage shots at goal (two snaps in the second quarter went wide) and the occasional stretching out of arms demanding the ball. Johnson kicked his first goal for the Giants early in the second quarter when he received a 'Joe the Goose' handball from Rory Lobb and he launched the Sherrin into the third tier. He also came out after half-time with defensive intent and then managed to reclaim the lead for the Giants midway through the last quarter when his team desperately needed a goal. Still smart, he will be a valuable asset for the Giants throughout 2016. 

 

4. Rory Lobb is an X-factor
The 206-centimetre forward was a revelation up forward, taking five marks inside 50 and four of his seven grabs being contested. When he put the hands up he took the ball at its highest point and his timing was exceptional for a player with a basketball background. He still has some work to do on his set shot kicking (and in the end his inaccuracy with two goals, three behinds was costly) but he presents as a dangerous proposition for opponents trying to wrangle with Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton once they return to the team.


5. Dangerous tackle rule has an impact
In the second quarter Melbourne midfielder Jack Viney laid the type of strong tackle we have become used to in his 50 games. He grabbed young Giant Jack Steele and flung him to the ground in one slinging motion. The umpire immediately paid a free kick against Viney under the stricter interpretation applied to dangerous tackles. Steele's shoulder hit the ground hard but he suffered no ill effects and was able to kick a long goal. Viney was frustrated but he may have to adapt his vigorous style to ensure he doesn't give away free kicks in the future.