Sport Melbourne breaks 17-game losing streak against Kangaroos

23:51  07 april  2018
23:51  07 april  2018 Source:   The Age

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Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin still had four years left in his playing career when the Demons last beat North Melbourne . Saturday's clash at the MCG is massive for Melbourne , given their 17 - game losing streak to the Kangaroos .

Read 4 hours ago, The Age, Melbourne Demons, North Melbourne Kangaroos . North Melbourne Kangaroos . Port Adelaide Power. Richmond Tigers.

Jordan Lewis was busy for the Demons.© AAP Jordan Lewis was busy for the Demons.

Melbourne skipper Nathan Jones has experienced eight coaches, played 237 games and won three best and fairests in the 12 years that have elapsed since the Demons last beat North Melbourne.

But finally, on a sunbathed MCG with Max Gawn leading the way, he helped the Demons defeat the Kangaroos for the first time in 18 attempts, bringing North Melbourne's biggest winning streak over any opposition club to an end at 17 with a 37-point victory.

The record ascendancy is not one to lose either because Melbourne's three biggest winning streaks over another club are all against North Melbourne, with the 20 consecutive wins between 1953-1965 their biggest run of wins.

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Saturday's clash at the MCG is massive for Melbourne , given their 17 - game losing streak to the Kangaroos . They have not beaten North since round 20, 2006 - coincidentally the last season the Demons made the finals.

The win ended Melbourne 's seven- game losing streak to Port since round 17 , 2011, and adds to the many dubious records they have finally broken this season.

The plucky Jones must have feared history was about to repeat when the Kangaroos kicked the first four goals of the game with two spectacular marks to Majak Daw – who replaced Robbie Tarant who withdrew late with hamstring tightness – and a screamer from Jed Anderson the highlights in an impressive opening ceremony.

At that stage Ben Jacobs had the measure of Demons' reigning best and fairest Clayton Oliver – who was aged nine when the Demons last defeated the Roos – and speedster Billy Hartung was running up and down the outer wing like a relay runner.

Max Gawn took control of the ruck contests from Todd Goldstein.© AAP Max Gawn took control of the ruck contests from Todd Goldstein. Enter big Gawn who began to take control in the ruck, pushing Todd Goldstein around and hitting the ball to his teammates' advantage.

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Christian Salem was the main beneficiary as the Demons began to dominate the centre clearances and work their way back into the game with Tomas Bugg kicking three goals as Melbourne's mid-sized forwards went to work.

By the time the raging bull that is Christian Petracca kicked his first goal at the 21-minute mark of the second quarter the Demons had turned the four-goal deficit into a 19-point lead and looked as though the drought would break with a flood of goals.

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However, North Melbourne was not about to give up the title easily and dragged themselves from the canvas to kick two goals just before half-time to remain in touch, despite trailing centre clearances by 12.

The third quarter was a dogfight with Melbourne's territory dominance not translating to the scoreboard until late in the term when Demons' inclusion Dean Kent kicked their second goal for the quarter from 19 inside 50s to stretch the lead out to 19 points.

Oscar McDonald battles North's Ben Brown.© AAP Oscar McDonald battles North's Ben Brown. By three-quarter time Melbourne forward Jesse Hogan had collected more disposals than any other player on the ground with 22, while at the other end North Melbourne's Ben Brown had kicked four majors.

Someone from the Demons needed to step forward to ice the game and it was the old reliable in Jones who centred the ball at the two-minute mark to veteran teammate Jordan Lewis who did.

Lewis went back and calmly kicked the 151st goal of his glittering career to push the lead out to 25 points.

Again North Melbourne threatened and again Jones responded with a bullet-like pass to Jeff Garlett who kicked his third goal to take his own career tally of goals to 302. While it may only be round three, Garlett looks nicely on track to record more than 40 goals in a season for the fifth time.

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Jones then made sure everyone knew he was still going with a long goal at the 23-minute mark before he ran to the bench and enjoyed a standing ovation on the way, the Demon fans' appreciating his loyalty and consistency over the long, lean patch.

The win sets Melbourne on the path to their first finals appearance since 2006, with improvement still to come when Jake Lever settles and Jack Viney and Tom McDonald return mid-year.

They face Hawthorn at the MCG next Sunday.

A gallant North Melbourne heads to Hobart to see if they can keep Carlton winless.

MELBOURNE 3.2 9.7 12.13 18.15 (123)NORTH MELBOURNE 5.3 8.4 10.6 13.8 (86)

GOALSMelbourne: Bugg 4, Kent, Garlett 3, Oliver 2, Hogan, Petracca, Vince, Fritsch, Lewis, JonesNorth Melbourne: Brown 4, Waite 3, Cunnington 2, Goldstein, Hartung, Simpkin, Ziebell

BESTMelbourne: Gawn, Jones, Hogan, Petracca, Salem, Lewis, BuggNorth Melbourne: Cunnington, Jacobs, McDonald, Brown

INJURIESMelbourne: Melksham (cut head), Vince (groin)North Melbourne: Tarrant (hamstring) late withdrawal, replaced in the selected side by Daw

CROWD35,518 at the MCG

VOTES8: Max Gawn (Melbourne)7: Jesse Hogan (Melbourne)6: Nathan Jones (Melbourne)6: Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne)6: Christian Petracca (Melbourne)

NRL unites to hit back at critics .
A fed-up NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has started a social media campaign to talk up the game of rugby league, with Cameron Smith showing his support.Using the hashtag ‘Talk the Game Up’, Greenberg has already been backed by Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith while other existing and former NRL players have also shown support.

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