1. Prophetic pre-game tunes
It’s unclear if someone in the MCG audio box was being cheeky with the music during the pre-game warm up but David Bowie and Queen’s Under Pressure turned out to be an inspired choice. With the Demons fielding a team sans co-captains Jack Grimes and Jack Trengove, forward Mitch Clark, ruckman Mark Jamar and defender Tom McDonald – a late withdrawal with a shoulder injury – the Suns had few excuses not to claim their third win for the season. As the game unfolded and the win slipped away from the Demons, the pressure on coach Mark Neeld increased and the pre-game song choice was increasingly appropriate.
2. Rolling records
While Melbourne-related headlines will likely dominate in the fallout from this match, there is plenty to say about the Suns too. Their win broke a few records and reached some milestones for the club, which is nearly halfway through its third AFL season. In short, it was:
• Their first win at the MCG from five starts;
• Their first win in Melbourne, with previous victories coming at Metricon Stadium, Cazaly’s Stadium, the Gabba, AAMI Stadium and Manuka Oval;
• Their biggest winning margin, with their previous 44 points against Greater Western Sydney in round five;
• Their largest margin at three-quarter time (was 62 points; previously 29 against the Giants last year), and;
• Just their ninth victory in their AFL history.
The Suns have also won three more quarters of football than Collingwood this season.
3. Frightful first half
The Demons have had trouble this season with third quarters but it was their disastrous opening stanza that set the tone. They failed to score a goal as the Suns piled on five to lead by 33 points at the first break, but it was their endeavour that was most disappointing. The Suns had 44 more disposals but were so much better than their opposition when they didn’t have the ball, racking up 17 tackles to eight. David Swallow led the charge with four. It prompted Triple M commentator and AFL great Wayne Carey to declare it was the worst quarter he’d ever seen Melbourne play. The Kangaroos champion wasn’t inspired by the second quarter either – after Zac Smith kicked his third goal to put the Suns 43 points clear at the 26-minute mark, Carey quipped: “Melbourne supporters would have been better off staying home and watching Gossip Girl today”.
4. When it rains, it pours
It seemed like the Demons couldn’t do anything to arrest the slide into their sixth loss for the season, even trying some half-time training in an attempt to jolt the team into action. The players emerged from the rooms six minutes before they were supposed to for a quick handball drill and extended warm up. But their optimism was short-lived with Dan Nicholson giving away an off-the-ball free kick against Campbell Brown before the ball was bounced that resulted in a goal. In a further blow, experienced midfielder Colin Sylvia ended the quarter on report for a high blow to Jared Brennan. Sylvia elbowed Brennan in the side of the head after the Suns’ midfielder disposed of the ball, which floored him and saw his head bounce off the turf. Brennan was unresponsive initially but awake as he was loaded on to the cart. It was a nasty-looking incident that will leave him with an awful headache – and Sylvia with a likely break from football.
5. Press red for Gazza
Fox Footy offered viewers the opportunity to watch a special broadcast of Gary Ablett‘s game by pressing the red button on their remote control. Given the performance of the Suns’ skipper – who is the No.1 ranked player overall in the Official AFL Player Ratings – there wouldn’t have been time to make a cup of tea in between possessions with the Brownlow medallist racking up 38. He started with a bang, shaking Lynden Dunn to collect 12 disposals in the opening term before adding another 10 before half-time. There were an additional 10 in the third, leaving him with a comfortable 32 with a quarter to go. The vision would have also captured the slap to the side of the head he copped in the last quarter, which looked to be accidental contact by Nathan Jones in an attempt to tackle.