AAP AFL

Demons down Dogs but concerns for Viney

By AAP Newswire

Max Gawn has strengthened his case for the Brownlow Medal and Melbourne have enhanced their claims on a top-four spot in an emphatic 50-point AFL win over the Western Bulldogs at the MCG.

The Demons led by three points at halftime on Saturday, before setting up the 18.11 (119) to 10.9 (69) win with a blistering burst of seven unanswered goals in the third quarter.

But their delight at the 10th win of their season was tempered by the late withdrawal of co-captain Jack Viney, who suffered a recurrence of a toe injury.

Viney's start to the season was delayed until round nine by a stress fracture and he's reported soreness in the same area.

Scans haven't discovered a new fracture but Melbourne are unable to say when he will return to the field.

The tough onballer was sorely missed in the first half at the MCG.

But Gawn was the catalyst for the third-quarter onslaught that settled the contest.

The star ruckman had 15 of his 41 hitouts in the pivotal term and gave his midfielders silver service as they carved up the hapless Dogs.

"It's really great to see when a ruckman can produce what Max produced in that quarter ... it was exciting," coach Simon Goodwin said.

"He's having an outstanding year.

"He's been unbelievable for us in terms of his work, not only his ruck craft but his ability to help us around the ground with his marking and his desire to lead and win.

"He's having a brilliant season and it's credit to the preparation he puts into his game."

Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver picked up the slack in Viney's absence with 39 and 34 possessions respectively.

Melbourne had 10 goal kickers, with Jesse Hogan leading the way with four goals.

For the Dogs, Jack Macrae had 33 touches in his first game back from a hamstring injury, with Mitch Wallis (29 disposals and three goals) and Lachie Hunter (35 possessions) also prominent for Luke Beveridge's side.

But as has been the case all too often in a disappointing season, the Dogs went missing after halftime.

"We're trying to look for solutions ... that's probably about seven or eight games where we've been in it at halftime then virtually been blown away in the second half," Beveridge said.

"Ultimately it's an example of where we haven't been able to steady the ship and we haven't had enough (players) who have been able to play a consistent four quarters.

"So that's something that is burning in everyone's belly."