Melbourne key forward Jesse Hogan arrived on the AFL’s big stage on Sunday, helping the Demons to an impressive 39-point victory over the Western Bulldogs.
With Hogan impressing the most, the Demons won 15.13 (103) to 9.10 (64) on an afternoon when coach Paul Roos said his team didn’t have a bad player,
The victory, the largest of Roos’ time at the club, was earned by tough tackling and a sharper attack.
Hogan and Cam Pedersen kicked three goals each as Aaron VandenBerg, Nathan Jones and Bernie Vince – who tagged Marcus Bontempelli out of the contest – set the tone.
Melbourne out-tackled the league’s No.1 tacklers, wresting control of the match either side of half-time by kicking six unanswered goals.
Roos was understandably delighted by Hogan’s 21 disposals and goalkicking but said he was most pleased by his huge workrate.
“He was on the wing and he ended up running all the way across the ground to get a mark,” he said.
“It’s great when you have young kids that have really good instincts and they’re really good competitors.”
Demons skipper Jones broke open the contest in the second term with 11 touches and four clearances.
His work was key in propelling the Demons forward, where Hogan loomed large.
In contrast, the Bulldogs’ teenage target man Tom Boyd was substituted out of the match in the third quarter with just one handball and one hit-out to his name.
The Demons increased their lead to 33 points early in the third term, which included two Jeremy Howe marks for the highlight reel.
But the Bulldogs fought back, finding space to stretch their legs.
Jake Stringer kicked two third-quarter goals and when Liam Picken goalled early in the last, their deficit was just seven.
From there, Melbourne took over.
Hogan turned provider for the impressive Pedersen, who kicked his third early in the final term to begin a Demon rout.
Vince added to his fine day with two goals of his own, while Jeff Garlett’s checkside snap from the boundary brought cheers from the 29,381-strong crowd.
Beaten coach Luke Beveridge was understandably upset by the performance, which included the ugly half-time scoreline of 3.9 after long periods of dominance.
“We probably didn’t see today coming,” Beveridge said.
“We were shabby in a lot of areas today.
“This game is always one of energy and commitment to everything in the game and the opposition had a little bit more than us today and they got us.”