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Match report: Dees do it with ease against Blues

JLT Highlights: Melbourne v Carlton The Demons and Blues clash in Week 2 of the JLT Community series
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 25: Christian Petracca of the Demons celebrates a goal during the AFL 2017 JLT Community Series match between the Melbourne Demons and the Carlton Blues at Casey Fields on February 25, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Christian Petracca celebrates a goal against the Blues

MELBOURNE's ruthless pre-season has continued, with the Demons motoring towards round one with a 54-point win over a disappointing Carlton at Casey Fields on Saturday.

Excitement about the Demons' prospects under new coach Simon Goodwin only grew, with young stars Jesse Hogan and Christian Petracca both prominent in the 0.17.14 (116) to 0.9.8 (62) win.    

Full match coverage and stats 

Hogan booted three goals despite spells in the midfield at centre bounces, while Petracca was lethal around half-forward, using the ball faultlessly to kick four goals from his 19 possessions.  

After opening the JLT Community Series with a six-point win over the Western Bulldogs, the Demons made another statement against the Blues.

"We're starting to see a brand emerge and some of the team-first acts today, I thought, were outstanding," Goodwin said after the match.  

"Our competitiveness around the ball was on show again, so it was a building point from last week.  

"We understand it was Carlton's first hit-out as well, so we're probably one week ahead (of them) in terms of that stuff."

Their big win on Saturday – and the depth of their performers in a 26-man line-up – could make it more difficult for out-of-favour forward Jack Watts to break into the team ahead of round one. 

A versatile forward line worked well for the Demons, with midfielder Jack Viney and ruckman Max Gawn spending significant time forward to each kick two goals.

Half-back Christian Salem, slated for more midfield time in 2017, also drifted forward effectively to kick two goals in a bright sign as he looks to rebound from an interrupted 2016. 

While the Demons attacked Saturday's clash at full-strength with the allotted 26 players, Carlton chose to use only 22 in the first half to replicate regular season conditions.   

Zac Fisher, Daniel Gorringe and Simon White all sat out the first half, Harry McKay, Dylan Buckley and Jarrod Pickett had their game time managed.

The Blues' loss was further soured by an Achilles tendon injury to Gorringe in the third quarter, while a lack of organisation in defence saw them concede five goals in a one-sided first quarter.

Carlton's best quarter was the third when they settled to kick 4.1, including a pair to recruit Pickett. 

Brendon Bolton's team included seven new players after an aggressive off-season, with former Greater Western Sydney defender Caleb Marchbank the pick of them in a hard-working performance.

Captain Marc Murphy also opened his campaign after a serious ankle injury ruined his 2016, getting through unscathed with 20 possessions.  

The Blues managed exciting young forward McKay's game time, with the rangy goalkicker finishing with just three possessions and one mark. 

"We had some inconsistencies in the game but it was a really good opportunity to try some different things," Bolton said after the match.

"We gave some first-years an opportunity today – young (Zac) Fisher and (Kym) Lebois got an opportunity.

"We moved (Jacob) Weitering up forward for a quarter and put Marc Murphy on a wing … that's what the JLT Series is about."

WHAT WE LEARNED
Melbourne: The Demons mean business in 2017 and will be an aggressive opposition. Their competitiveness around stoppages stood out, winning the clearances (35-30) and contested ball (127-119), and it was youngsters like Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw leading the way there. Goodwin is also likely to keep Hogan's opponents guessing, with the burly forward attending a number of centre bounces.  

Carlton: The Blues will benefit from the addition of former GWS defender Caleb Marchbank, but there are structural deficiencies in defence that need fixing before the team can flourish. Too often the Demons were able to work the ball around half-forward before pinpointing a forward entry, taking 21 marks inside 50 to Carlton's six. Jacob Weitering was played forward at times but surely must settle back in defence before round one.

NEW FACES
Melbourne: Former Bomber Michael Hibberd was nervous ahead of his first game since 2015, but slotted in quietly at half-back with 13 mostly clean possessions. Exciting second-year rookie Joel Smith, the son of former Dees high-flyer Shaun, was eye-catching and showed his athleticism at times. Recruits Jordan Lewis kicked on with a solid midfield game, while new draftee Dion Johnstone played limited minutes and was quiet.

Carlton: Defender Caleb Marchbank rebounded well and flew for his marks in defence after a scratchy start. Harry McKay played limited minutes and was starved of opportunities as a deep forward, with his marks not sticking. Explosive small Jarrod Pickett played a half and was at the forefront of the Blues' third-quarter run with back-to-back goals. Midfield draftee Zac Fisher played one half and looked comfortable, while rookie recruit Kym Lebois bobbed up for a magnificent snap in the first quarter. Billie Smedts and Rhys Palmer were quiet in their Carlton debuts.  

Jayden Hunt tackles Jarrod Pickett during the Demons' big win. Picture: AFL Photos

NEXT UP
Melbourne has a week off before travelling to Domain Stadium on March 9 to face West Coast, where both teams appear likely to field close to their strongest line-ups. The Blues will continue to experiment in their second pre-season hit-out, against St Kilda next Saturday at Ikon Park. 

MELBOURNE        0.5.4   0.9.5   0.12.10   0.17.14 (116)   
CARLTON             0.1.2   0.3.5   0.7.6   0.9.8 (62) 

SUPERGOALS
Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Nil 

GOALS
Melbourne: Hogan 3, Petracca 3, vandenBerg 2, Viney 2, Gawn 2, Salem 2, Neal-Bullen, Kennedy-Harris
Carlton: Casboult 2, Pickett 2, Weitering, Thomas, Lebois, Curnow, Cunningham 

BEST 
Melbourne: Petracca, Hogan, Viney, Jones, Gawn, Salem, Vince   
Carlton: Simpson, Gibbs, Marchbank, Kreuzer, Docherty, Curnow   

INJURIES
Melbourne: Nil
Carlton: Gorringe (Achilles)  

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Schmitt, Ryan, McInerny, Glouftsis