Dees lead at­tack but radar off

NT News - - SPORT - JAY CLARK

MEL­BOURNE has the most well-fed for­ward line in al­most 18 years as the club steams to­wards a record num­ber of in­side-50s this sea­son.

The Demons’ huge in­vest­ment in their mid­field in re­cent drafts has paid rich div­i­dends this year, with the club av­er­ag­ing a league-high 62 in­side 50m en­tries per game.

Ac­cord­ing to Cham­pion Data, it is the most num­ber of looks in­side the at­tack­ing arc since Essendon won the 2000 flag with an av­er­age 64 en­tries.

And the curve is trend­ing north, as the club des­per­ately bat­tles to lock-in its first fi­nals ap­pear­ance in 12 years. The Dees have upped the ante over the mid-part of the sea­son, av­er­ag­ing a whop­ping 66 en­tries per match over the past nine weeks.

It en­sured the Demons have racked up the most num­ber of dis­pos­als in­side 50m in the league, un­der­lin­ing coach Simon Goodwin’s plans to lock the ball in its scor­ing zone.

The Dees are also ranked No.1 for goals (229), scor­ing and goal as­sists, and con­tested pos­ses­sions in 2018.

But de­spite this incredible amount of for­ward sup­ply, a ques­tion mark hangs over their ca­pac­ity to turn these op­por­tu­ni­ties into goals.

Mel­bourne has also booted the most num­ber of be­hinds (168) this sea­son.

Against Fre­man­tle last week­end, Mel­bourne racked up 50 more en­tries than the Dock­ers but blew their chance to in­flict a pun­ish­ing de­feat, slot­ting a waste­ful 13.24.

And it could cost the club dearly, with the Demons set to fall out of the top eight if they can­not top­ple the up-and­down Western Bull­dogs at the MCG to­day.

Goodwin said he was pleased with his for­wards’ per­for­mance this year, but ad­mit­ted it was a huge challenge to score when the for­ward line was flooded with play­ers.

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