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Demons beat Cats, keep perfect start

Demons beat Cats, keep perfect start

A STAR turn from Christian Petracca has helped Melbourne see off Geelong by 25 points and record their best start to the AFL season in 27 years.

The Demons overcame a wasteful start – and the loss of Steven May to injury in the second quarter – to beat the Cats 12.13 (85) to 9.6 (60) in front of 33,728 fans at the MCG and go 4-0 for the first time since 1994.

Petracca dominated with 36 disposals, nine clearances and two goals, while Bayley Fritsch (four goals), Max Gawn (41 hitouts and 23 touches), Ed Langdon and Jake Lever were excellent.

Cats skipper Joel Selwood (30 disposals) did a mountain of work at the stoppages, while Tom Stewart and Cam Guthrie were also influential.

Geelong lost Brandan Parfitt (hip) before the game, with Quinton Narkle a late inclusion.

As expected, Cats tagger Mark O’Connor gravitated towards Clayton Oliver, who fought through the game to finish with 34 touches – but it was Petracca who proved the main event.

The 25-year-old drew first blood when he burst forward to crumb Luke Jackson’s marking effort but from there the Demons were largely wasteful throughout the first and second terms, despite dominating possession.

May was substituted off in the second quarter for Tom Sparrow after he was left bleeding profusely above his right eye when Geelong’s Tom Hawkins threw his elbow back in a bid to break a tackle.

The defender was later taken to hospital for further assessment, with concerns over a potential eye socket injury.

Fritsch booted three goals in the second quarter alone, while Petracca snapped his second with the last kick of the first half to nudge Melbourne’s lead out to 23 points.

The Demons got out to a 30-point lead in the third term before consecutive goals from Hawkins, Jack Henry and Isaac Smith ate away at Melbourne’s lead.

Smith’s second snap late in the quarter cut the deficit to 12 points at the final change – setting up a blockbuster finish.

But Langdon and Fritsch both quickly snared goals from tough angles to give the Demons some breathing room – then Jake Melksham sealed the result late, ensuring the Cats slipped to 2-2.

(C) AAP 2021

MELBOURNE 2.4 6.8 9.9 12.13 (85)

GEELONG 1.1 3.3 8.3 9.6 (60)

Goals: Melbourne: B Fritsch 4 C Petracca 2 A Neal-Bullen E Langdon J Melksham K Pickett M Gawn N Jones. Geelong: I Smith 2 J Henry 2 T Hawkins 2 G Miers J Clark R Stanley. Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Dan Johanson, Justin Power.

Official Crowd: 33,728 at MCG.