The post-mortem has already begun for the Melbourne Demons who appear almost certain of missing the finals after a 16-point loss to Fremantle.
The 6.11 (47) to 4.9 (33) scoreline was essentially a domination for Fremantle, who led from beginning to end, surviving a late scare to take out the victory.
Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Watch every match of every round Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
In wet conditions, it was another night marked by poor goal kicking and low scoring, but a goal by the Dockers’ Adam Cerra has essentially closed out the Demons season.
Getting the ball in the forward pocket, 20-year-old Cerra curved a banana perfectly between the sticks for a major to open up a 22-point lead.
Fox Footy commentator Dwayne Russell called it “one of the goals of the season”.
“That’s off the scale,” he continued.
WATCH THE GOAL IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE
While the Dockers are already out of the finals picture with a 6-9 record in 2020, the side has been praised for its new-found consistency, with Brisbane great Jonathan Brown even suggesting coach Justin Longmuir could be in the conversation for coach of the year.
“You can make an argument for Longmuir as being coach of the year while finishing outside the top eight. He’s been fantastic.”
But on the other side, Melbourne were once again savaged for their performance.
While there is a mathematical hope of making the finals, there is a lot that has to go Melbourne’s way and by former Demons skipper Garry Lyon’s assessment, the club don’t deserve to play finals footy.
With high hopes of ending a 56-year premiership drought as of the 2018 preliminary final, Simon Goodwin’s Demons have won just 12 of 37 games.
Five games — and just over three weeks — ago, the Demons thrashed the Magpies by 56 but it was a false dawn, dropping the last two matches against the already eliminated Swans and Dockers, and winning just one of the last four.
“The heat will come and understandably and rightfully so because the urgency even tonight didn’t come until late,” Lyon said on Fox Footy’s On The Couch. “It didn’t come until the final quarter.
“It’s a reflection on the group, maybe they’re just an average group, maybe they’re just an average group. I can arrive at no other conclusion. You can’t just bob up and put in a performance that has us saying ‘I think they’re going to get there’.
“The good sides don’t do that (win by 10 goals and then lose three from four against sides lower on the ladder). Average sides do that. Average players do that, aren’t able to maintain a consistency of effort.”
Former Brownlow Medalist Gerard Healy asked if the Demons were “average going north or just average and they’re going nowhere?”
Brown also asked if “2018 was an aberration” and Lyon was unequivocal.
“That’s the exact word I used and I copped a heap of heat for it at the time, but it is clearly what we’re looking at,” he said. “(Joel) Smith and (Braydon) Preuss and (Toby) Bedford and (Alex) Neal-Bullen and (Oskar) Baker, they’re just average players. They are average players in what now must be seen as an average footy club.”
Healy said he would call it an under performing team but Lyon reframed it as saying “they have very good individuals, but they’re an average team”.
Lyon continued to ponder if the Demons have the key piece to bring all the side’s individual stars into a team that can fight for the flag.
“We talk about Viney, (Christian) Petracca and Oliver – they just go and try harder. Oliver busts his guts and tries harder and gets another five possessions, but is it part of a collective? Or do they all just go ‘I’ll try and win it?’,” he said
“I’m not saying they’re after individual glory. I think half the trouble is they go ‘I’m going to individually try and win it’, instead of saying ‘there’s a collective in this’.”
Demons fans were equally disappointed by the performance.
Unfortunately for the club’s long suffering fans, it appears to be at least another season before the side can taste success.