HomeAustraliaThe Demons find their rhythm in the first round, but Pickett faces...

The Demons find their rhythm in the first round, but Pickett faces a probable suspension

Melbourne midfield wizards Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver have repeated an old trick to sink a familiar foe who should have known better.

After paying the ultimate price on the final big day two years ago, the Western Bulldogs were punished again on Saturday night when the Demons ran away in the second half to open their season with a sinister 50-point victory at the MCG.

The Dees’ win was marred by the booking of Livewire Kysaiah Pickett, who is facing suspension after picking up Bulldog star Bailey Smith with a bib he left the ground on. Although Smith was not injured by the blow, the designation of an intentional high blow with low impact would result in a one-game suspension for Pickett.

Kysaiah Pickett was all smiles after kicking a goal.Credit:fake images

Pickett was among the best players on the field after playing a pivotal role with four goals and 19 possessions near the best performance of his career.

Petracca and Oliver answered the call when the Demons were under pressure in the second quarter and challenged in the third.

Aided by the sublime touch work of Max Gawn, his ability to break the stoppage front in center infield was instrumental to the Demons’ six-game winning streak coming either side of halftime.

When the Dogs cut the margin to 14 points midway through the third period, it was Petracca and Oliver who again combined to carry the ball down offense, setting up a goal for Ben Brown.

The star duo’s dominance in the middle presents a conundrum for the Demons, who want to spread the midfield load more evenly to avoid going into September battered like last year, but have a central one-two square that the envy of the competition.

Not coincidentally, the Dogs’ best period of the game, in the second period, came when Petracca and Oliver, who combined for nine of the 15 punts to the Demons’ center, weren’t together.

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