A STUNNING third-quarter blitz has propelled Melbourne to an emphatic 50-point win over the Western Bulldogs at the MCG.
But the Demons’ delight at Saturday’s 18.11 (119) to 10.9 (69) win was tempered by the late withdrawal of co-captain Jack Viney, who’s suffered a recurrence of a toe injury.
Viney’s start to the season was delayed until round nine by a stress fracture and he’s reported soreness in the same area.
Scans haven’t discovered a new fracture but Melbourne are unable to say when he will return to the field.
The tough onballer was sorely missed in the first half at the MCG.
But after leading by just three points at halftime, the Demons set up their 10th win of the season with a blistering burst of seven unanswered goals.
Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver picked up the slack in Viney’s absence with 39 and 34 possessions respectively.
Max Gawn was the dominant ruckman on the ground with 41 hitouts and Jesse Hogan led the way in attack with four goals.
For the Dogs, Jack Macrae had 33 touches in his first game back from a hamstring injury, with Mitch Wallis (29 disposals and three goals) and Lachie Hunter (35 possessions) also prominent for Luke Beveridge’s side.
Wallis kicked two goals in a bright opening term by the Dogs that saw them lead by three points at the first break.
Both sides were guilty of inaccuracy in front of goal in the second quarter but the Demons were able to edge their noses in front by three points at halftime.
The Bulldogs, out of the finals race in 14th spot on the ladder heading into the game, have been the worst third-quarter performer in the competition this season and they went missing after the restart once again.
Patrick Lipinski actually gave the Dogs back the lead with the first goal of the second half but the Demons replied, with the next seven majors coming in a devastating 12-minute burst.
The margin was 30 points at three-quarter time and the Demons cruised to the finish line for an important win as they chase their first finals appearance since 2006.
© AAP 2018
MELBOURNE 3.4 6.9 14.9 18.11 (119)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.1 6.6 9.9 10.9 (69)
Goals: Melbourne: J Hogan 4 T McDonald 3 A Neal-Bullen 2 C Spargo 2 J Garlett 2 C Oliver C Petracca J Lewis J Melksham M Hannan. Western Bulldogs: M Wallis 3 J Johannissen 2 J Schache 2 L Hunter P Lipinski T McLean.
Umpires: Scott Jeffery, Ray Chamberlain, Nathan Williamson.
Official Crowd: 30,305 at MCG.