Other clubs will dissect the role played by Essendon’s Andy McGrath in limiting the match’s best ball player Christian Petracca to 21 possessions and one goal after the Bombers decided to send the No. 1 pick to his side on Friday night.
Melbourne won but they had to work hard to get the four points when their comeback for the third quarter coincided with McGrath effectively closing out Petracca, who dominated the opposition in the first two rounds, out of the game.
Last year’s Norm Smith medalist did not manage to get his first disposal after half time until after 27 minutes of the third quarter, but he had to count on kicking a brilliant goal from the border to get the demons back.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said the Petracca tag gave them some advantages in other parts of the field, but Bomber’s coach Ben Rutten was pleased with how McGrath – who was under pressure before the match – played his role and the effect it had on the game. match.
“Andy McGrath did a really good job at Petracca for most of the night. He had a bit of a role to give him a little more attention and I thought he did really well,” Rutten said.
Limiting Petracca to just two clearances helped Essendon gain territory, and they looked at their most threatening when they started winning center clearances after half time.
Although his knee was heavily bandaged, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said that Petracca was not limited at all and that his contribution was stable when he followed up from a 38-possession match in round one and 40 touches against Gold Coast in round two.
“He might have had a slightly calmer night with ball possession, but he really had a big impact on the team. We were able to manipulate a few things with him and gain an advantage in certain areas for the team. His team role, his selfless role for the team was outstanding.” , in Goodwin.