AFL: In his return game from another concussion issue, Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw has been involved in a head clash. Thankfully the Demon appeared to be OK.
Simon Goodwin enjoys Melbourne’s win against St Kilda.
SIMON Goodwin has urged his side to “step up” and break an 11-year finals drought with a pair of wins that will seal a September berth.
The Demons won a virtual final against fellow contender St Kilda and will play in September if they beat Brisbane and Collingwood.
LIVE BLOG: MAX WHACKS UMPS AFTER DEES WIN
LIVE LADDER: CAN DONS, DOGS STILL MAKE IT?
Down by 39 points 20 minutes into the second term, St Kilda closed to within four points before Melbourne steadied with four last-quarter goals.
Melbourne’s Max Gawn battles with Billy Longer. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia
The Demons forward line thrived with multiple targets and the tackling pressure, and strong aerial work of Sam Weideman will likely keep Jack Watts out again.
The star of the show was Angus Brayshaw, who survived a serious head clash that concussed Koby Steven to thrive on the MCG stage.
But Goodwin plans to speak to umpires coach Hayden Kennedy after Max Gawn was frustrated to give away five free kicks, many in ruck contests against Billy Longer.
Gawn was well beaten by Longer and told ABC radio after the game: “I gave away free kicks that I’ve never given away in my life. I don’t know why they were free kicks but they kept on blowing the whistle, so I was getting a bit frustrated. I ended up having to let Billy Longer just win them (ruck contests) in the end because I didn’t know what to do.”
Goodwin said he would have to clarify the reasons for the spate of free kicks.
“It was a really interesting duel. Billy played a really good game against Max but we will have to go through each of those free kicks and have a look.
“That’s a lot in a game of footy so we will have to speak to Hayden about how that rule looks.
“He is clearly doing something wrong so whether that’s coming from us or we will have to have a look at how the rule is written.”
Jack Watts in action for Casey after being dropped to the VFL.Source:Getty Images
Jack Billings played most of the game with one eye closed after an early poke. Pic: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia
In seventh spot, the Demons have their finals hopes resting in their own hands and Goodwin says the challenge is to follow through with two more wins.
“We won today and we know we have important matches ahead. Brisbane are playing great footy and the competition is as ruthless as it has ever been,” he said.
“We will prepare as best as we can for each game and want to play our best footy as often as we can.
“As a club we wanted to be in this position where we had an opportunity. We have got that and now the challenge now is to really step up as a footy club.”
Watts was serviceable in the VFL with one goal but the Demons had four multiple goalscorers as Cam Pedersen (two goals), James Harmes (three) and Mitch Hannan (two) stood up.
Goodwin lauded Weideman’s performance and said Watts’ selection would be judged on his performances like any other player on the list.
Angus Brayshaw leaves Mav Weller in his wake. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia
Brayshaw not only withstood that head knock, he put in one of his best all-round performances (26 possessions) for the club after four concussions in 15 months.
“I was pretty excited when he popped back up. I thought it was terrific. I thought today there were some critical contests he won but also he linked up and we found a new asset,’’ Goodwin said.
“You know how much he’s been through, we have a real empathy for the Brayshaw family, and to see him come through that.
“He’s got extreme talent. He is a really high draft pick and he can create off half-back and has genuine speed so he can be a really important player for us.”
Originally published as Coach questions Gawn free kick count