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Garry Lyon’s key standouts from Melbourne’s impressive win over Carlton


Melbourne looked impressive in their 38-point AAMI Community Series win over Carlton on Wednesday night.

The Demons, with captain Max Gawn dominant in the ruck, produced a massive 65 inside 50s to Carlton’s 43 and appeared much more connected from a forward line point of view.

Simon Goodwin’s side took 20 marks inside forward 50 to the Blues’ eight which allowed them to kick 15 goals.

That was a refreshing thing to see in Garry Lyon’s mind.


“That’s what I had written down here,” Lyon said on SEN Breakfast.

“Hallelujah, thank the Lord. So for the first time in a long time there was a genuine connection between blokes with the footy and what was going on inside 50.

“It’s a practice match, I get all that, but there’s a definite change in the way they went in.”

Lyon was thrilled to see an improvement in the forward connection issues that have plagued the Demons in recent times.

“So when you've called Melbourne, or other teams that have similar problems, you bemoan the fact that they keep kicking to the predictable spot, always,” he added.

“‘Oh, there’s nothing (there), I’ll just kick it where everyone expects me to kick it’. And that is including the opposition who then go and set up.

“So don't kick to the obvious spot and they didn't last night. They took 20 marks inside 50 which they had done maybe once last year.”

The Dees found targets in dangerous areas by using the ball cleverly which was another feature of their game which stood out to former club captain Lyon.

“The other thing is if you're a Melbourne supporter, you want kickers and the kickers (played well),” he added.

(Christian) Salem all of a sudden he is back and played in the midfield. He was terrific as a midfielder, which was interesting.

(Jake) Bowey is an excellent kick of the footy. (Jack) Billings can kick the footy, Bailey Laurie I thought was really good. One of their draft picks from a few years ago who can kick the footy.

“You know who else is a is a beautiful kick? Josh Schache. I know it sounds funny but he's one of the best users of the ball in the team.

“That was the big standout.”

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In particular it was the performance of Salem, who was moved from half-back into the midfield, and finished with 23 disposals, nine tackles and seven score involvements which jumped out at Lyon.

He liked what he saw from the 28-year-old who could potentially be the replacement for the recently retired Angus Brayshaw.

“The Salem move into the middle was really interesting,” Lyon continued.

“He’s such a talented player, but he's been playing off half-back and we did see him, I thought, add a few things to his game that I wondered whether or not I would see.

“I knew how good he was from a half-back point of view, but he's really polished and clever and with no Angus Brayshaw, maybe he's the one that goes in there.”

Salem getting midfield minutes and youngster Bailey Laurie playing 73 per cent of game time were two key indicators that Melbourne’s depth is in good shape after the likes of James Harmes (Western Bulldogs) and James Jordon (Sydney) left in the trade period.

“The other one which was interesting is that there’s conversations about Melbourne’s depth is going to be tested because they’ve let good depth players like Harmes go and Jordon,” Lyon continued.

“They had to let them go because if they had stayed on the list you probably play Harmes through the middle and you play Jordon through the middle and you don't get to see Salem as a midfielder and you don't get to see Bailey Laurie play the minutes that he did.

“So I think it was a great move and good luck. Hopefully they (Harmes and Jordon) play some really good footy elsewhere, but then you expose some other players on your list.”

The depth was bolstered further by the performance of No.7 draft pick Caleb Windsor who kicked two goals from 11 disposals, doing his chances of debuting in Opening Round no harm at all.

“He kicked a couple of goals and looked really likely,” was Lyon’s assessment of Windsor.

“So he'll probably play first-up, you'd think, and that is exciting.”

The Demons will now look ahead to the 2023 season opener against Sydney at the SCG on March 7.


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