A FASTER and more focused Melton team has burst Darley’s bubble with a surprise 29-point victory on Saturday.
Despite losing their newly-appointed captain, Jake Gleeson, to a serious shoulder injury just before quarter time, the Bloods ran all over the inconsistent, and at times lacklustre Devils at Darley Park.
In the crowded and jubilant visitors rooms after the game, new coach, Bob Heaney praised his team and the club’s fitness staff.
“All 22 players played their roles, competing for each other as a close knit team,” Heaney said.
“The whole club is a lot fitter than they have been in the past.”
Five goals in the first half from Metricon Blood debutant Josh Carmen plus a pair of handy first term majors from returning Blood James Aquilina, helped kick start the youthful Melton outfit towards an imposing six-goal lead at half-time. Instrumental for the visitors was another recruit, ex-Sunbury midfielder Dillon Sharp.
Melton tightened its grip on the game in the third term courtesy of a great pack mark in the goal square and subsequent six pointer by Blood centre half back Darren Haby, who was also impressive.
Facing a 42-point deficit, Darley responded by significantly ramping up its work ethic and commitment around the ground, and much needed goals to Devil midfielders Dane Grenfell and Leigh Sobotnicki resulted in Melton experiencing some genuine scoreboard pressure for the first time in the match.
However a blend of skills errors at either end of the ground combined with a poor conversion rate in front of the big sticks saw the Devils still 26 points in arrears at three quarter time.
During the break, Darley coach Rod McPherson praised his players for getting themselves back into the game and implored to his Devil brigade to dig deep for each other and the four points on offer.
An early last quarter goal from Darley’s new power forward Marty Pask gave his team more than a glimmer of hope until a controversial holding the man decision against Sobotncki in the goal square appeared to knock the psychological stuffing out of the new look Devils.
That allowed Melton to secure its first premiership points for the 2012 season.
After the game, disappointed Darley coach Rod McPherson refused to blame Darley’s rebuilding process for its onfield inconsistency.
He said he would challenge his players to do the hard yards on the training track during the bye week in readiness for the Devils’ traditional derby game against Bacchus Marsh on May 5.
Melton 14.9 (93)
Darley 8.16 (64)