The Melbourne Demons find their groove in round one but Kysaiah Pickett is likely to face suspension

Brodie Grundy fights with Rory Lobb.

Brodie Grundy fights with Rory Lobb.Credit:Getty Images

The Ruck combination of Gawn and Brodie Grundy passed their first test with flying colours. Grundy improved as the game progressed, signing his debut in the Red-Blues with a goal last season while Gawn was influential in the ruck and up front.

The Dogs won the hard-fought game but could not move the ball fluently, their game lacked Melbourne’s fizz.

The much-discussed four-pointed, tall wooden front line morphed into triple towers with Aaron Naughton, Rory Lobb, Sam Darcy and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan rarely standing together in the front half. The quartet only scored two goals between them.

The Dogs’ inability to stop the Demons’ ball movement raises questions about whether Luke Beveridge’s men have solved the problems that have hampered their campaign over the last year.

Kysaiah Pickett faces a likely ban for his high hit on Bailey Smith.Credit:Fox Footy / Twitter

After a year out of play for failing to comply with league vaccination guidelines, Liam Jones’ first game back in the Red-White-Blues was short-lived. The former Blue suffered a blow to the neck in the second quarter and was clearly feeling uneasy as he was helped off the field and appeared to favor his left flank. He was substituted at half-time. It capped an unforgettable return for Jones, whose only disposal was a klanger.

It seems that being part of a drought-breaking flag is not enough to protect a player from being booed when changing clubs. Lachie Hunter, a member of the Dogs 2016 Premiership team, found out when his first touch was loudly mocked by Dogs faithful. Fans in the red and blue backed him up a minute later by theatrically cheering his next touch, then took it a step further by booing Dogs recruit Oskar Baker, though his move was forced by his delisting from the Dees . Despite being quiet with 12 possessions on a wing, Hunter is shaping up to be a key acquisition for Melbourne.

Melbourne: Petracca, Oliver, Gawn, Pickett, Lever, Brown, Petty. Western Bulldogs: Liberatore, Daniel, Richards, Treloar. The Melbourne Demons find their groove in round one but Kysaiah Pickett is likely to face suspension

Ryan Sederquist

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