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Match report: Demons' high five sees finals in prospect

Highlights: Melbourne v Brisbane Lions The Demons and Lions clash in round nine
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 22: Alex Neal-Bullen of the Demons  is tackled by Nick Robertson of the Lions during the 2016 AFL Round 09 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 22, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Nick Robertson lays a strong tackle on Demon Alex Neal-Bullen

MELBOURNE double-act Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett have kicked the Demons to a 63-point dismissal of the Brisbane Lions.

The tall-and-small duo shared seven goals in the 19.17 (131) to 9.14 (68) romp at the MCG on Sunday.

While at times the football was far from fluent, the win was Melbourne's biggest home success in four years.

Hogan's five goals were spread across all four quarters, while Garlett nabbed two and assisted three others in the first half when the match was on the line.

James Harmes also bagged four goals, three in time-on in the fourth quarter as the Demons blew the margin out.

The Demons' dominance was built in the second term, growing a buffer in the second quarter with four unanswered goals in seven minutes.

That included Viv Michie's first goal of his career, which had Demons running from every corner of the ground in congratulations.

Tomas Bugg also impressed, while young Dees Billy Stretch and Clayton Oliver showed signs of development.

Coach Paul Roos even had the luxury of playing senior midfielders such as Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince across half-back, given the glut of young on-ballers feasting on the football.

"Billy Stretch's game was fantastic, so those efforts from those players enabled us to get back into the contest and score goals," the coach said.

"There's no doubt the depth and our ability to put more players through that area has really pleased us … sharing the load with guys bobbing up at times.

"There were times we were really challenged as a group, but our ability to respond was really pleasing."  

Melbourne won both the disposal and the tackle count but for most of the afternoon, this was no Lions horror show.

They took almost 45 minutes to hit the scoreboard in their heavy loss to Collingwood last week, but did so within 45 seconds against the Demons.

Justin Leppitsch's undermanned side was outclassed but showed an improved intent and had its moments.

The Lions were on top during the third term but didn't take their opportunities, kicking 1.5 to let the Demons off the hook.

Bernie Vince's kick after a string of Melbourne handballs in the congestion was given Bronx cheers from the 26,892-strong crowd.

 

The Lions lowered their colours late, allowing Melbourne to kick nine of the last 12 goals to run out strong winners.

Leppitsch said his players had at least brought increased effort to the contest, but their skills prevented a more competitive showing. 

"You've got to be willing and able in this game and I thought we were willing today," the coach said. 

"It was only a small part towards the end where we needed to rev the boys up.

"The mistake rate was too high, probably in all facets, but at least it's a starting point." 

Melbourne improved their win-loss to 5-4 with the result, while the Lions have now lost five straight.

MEDICAL ROOM
Melbourne
The Demons' only concern out of the match was a corked thigh for Clayton Oliver, who battled on manfully, finishing with 21 possessions and seven clearances. Already rested once this season, he could be given another week off as the Demons travel on a six-day break.
Brisbane Lions
Already bursting in the medical department, the Lions would have been grateful to get through unscathed. They are likely to regain Rohan Bewick and Tom Cutler next week, but captain Tom Rockliff remains another week away, Leppitsch said.

NEXT UP
The Lions return home to the Gabba to face Hawthorn in what will be unfamiliar territory for the Hawks, who haven't played at the Brisbane venue since 2008. Melbourne travels to Alice Springs to face Port Adelaide next Saturday. 

MELBOURNE                 5.6   10.7   13.10   19.17 (131)
BRISBANE LIONS          2.3   5.5   6.10   9.14 (68)   

GOALS

Melbourne: Hogan 5, Harmes 4, Garlett 2, Michie, Kent, Kennedy, Newton, Jones, Watts, Viney, Stretch
Brisbane Lions: Bell 3, Lester 2, Zorko, Taylor, Keays, Freeman

BEST
Melbourne:
Hogan, Bugg, Stretch, Petracca, Garlett, Oliver, Watts
Brisbane Lions: Zorko, Robinson, Bell, Rich

INJURIES
Melbourne:
Oliver (corked thigh)
Brisbane Lions: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpies: Deboy, Findlay, Harris

Official crowd: 26,892