1. Smart, Max
Footy’s missed big Max Gawn. And it’s not just his wicked taps to advantage which ignited Melbourne’s charge, it’s just him. Maybe the Max highlight came when he ‘munged’ a kick forward during the second term which fortuitously landed in the arms of Mitch Hannan. His smile towards the crowd as if to say ‘how good was that’ summed up the way the lovable big fella goes about it. Speaking of lovable big fellas, how good was Drew ‘The Dish’ Petrie for the Eagles? It’s been a while between drinks but the 34-year-old reminded us what a fabulous key forward he’s been for 321 games now. In just his fifth game for West Coast, and in the absence of Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy, The Dish nailed four goals and even took a few of his trademark plucks. It was a crucial contribution with Jack Darling being held goalless.
2. What’s your decision?
Did Will Schofield really clock Clayton Oliver in the mouth? Didn’t look like it on the first look but after a couple of different angles, he just might have. Jeremy McGovern’s hard tackle on Jayden Hunt right on half-time set the scene for a bit of a melee in the forward pocket at the Subiaco end. The end result was Schofield swinging an elbow at Oliver, who went down like a poisoned Russian agent, and the Eagle’s name went in the book. After watching the incident post-match Oliver agreed it didn’t look "too bad" but said it had caught him by surprise. "I wasn’t expecting it … it shook me little bit," he told Channel Seven. Oliver added that he didn’t want to be known as a "faker" but said the hit had "rocked" him. Keen to see how the Match Review Panel treats this one.
3. Clash of the Hawthorn rejects
We’ve had to wait until round 14 to see the Hawthorn ‘discards’ face each other. Sam Mitchell, traded to the Eagles for draft pick No.88 last year by the Hawks, started in the centre square while Jordan Lewis, let go for an exchange of slightly higher lower-round draft picks with Melbourne, charged in off the back of the square to clog up the centre bounce area. While both had 16 possessions at half-time, Lewis was the more effective. But Mitchell set up a snapped goal to Malcolm Karpany with a sublime handball to get back in the mix. At the final siren, the victor Lewis held the ball aloft after marking deep in defence. However, both ex-Hawks were superb, Lewis with 29 possessions and Mitchell with 24 often hard-won disposals.
The Demons celebrate their historic win in Perth. Picture: AFL Photos
4. Captain courageous
With Nathan Jones and Jack Watts out someone had to stand up for the Demons and co-captain Jack Viney sure did that. Viney was unbeatable in tight against a highly credentialed West Coast midfield which included two Brownlow medallists. By half-time Viney had 23 possessions, 16 of them contested, plus five clearances. He was on track for one of the great games seen in Perth. His tandem work with Dom Tyson was a highlight while both were grateful for the silver service of Gawn. However, Viney went down to the rooms with a shoulder injury just after the long break which meant he virtually missed the third quarter as the Eagles booted six goals to take back the lead. But his last term was the stuff of legend, 13 possessions, nine contested and he also cleaned up the opposition captain Shannon Hurn for good measure as his side surged home.
5. Demons breakthrough
The last time Melbourne won in Perth (2004 against Fremantle) the ground was still called Subiaco Oval. It stayed that way for another six years until it changed to Patersons Stadium, still no Demons wins though in those five years. And the past few years as Domain Stadium haven’t been any kinder to the red and the blue. The streak had blown out to 17 straight Perth losses before Saturday night’s encounter and the Demons had lost nine in a row to the Eagles. Well you can scratch all those ugly numbers now after that three-point triumph.