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HAMSTRUNG by JVM

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Demonland    5,231

The way things are panning out, it would appear that Melbourne's season started and ended when Max Gawn's hamstring gave way at Etihad Stadium against Geelong in Round 3. That loss was compounded a little over a fortnight later when his understudy Jake Spencer suffered his shoulder injury during the game against the Tigers leaving the club with only two young ruck talls on its list, both of them a long way away from being ready to take on the AFL's giants. 

In place of a big ruckman, the 193cm Cam Pedersen has battled manfully against taller opposition and the Demons have conscripted key players away from their normal positions to give him the chop out when he needs a rest but the result has really been a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. 

Nothing was more obvious than last week in the heat of battle when the game was there to be lost and won and Hawthorn's 200cm Ben McEvoy amassed 53 hit outs to Pedersen's 16 and took some telling marks virtually uncontested up forward and kicked two goals. That would never have happened had Max Gawn been playing.

So this week, with the Melbourne selectors as hamstrung as their big ruckman who won't be back for another six to eight weeks, the team will travel across to Adelaide to face a home side that had the perfect start to its season until it ran into an ill wind in the first quarter against North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. 

The pride of the Crows was well and truly dented but they are not badly wounded as are the Demons. They have the likes of Sloane, Betts, Walker and a bevy of others, not to mention their tall timber in Jacobs and Jenkins intact.

On top of that, their style of play is positive, attacking and direct and if Adelaide can force Melbourne into a pattern whereby it overuses the football as badly as it did for most of last week's game, then the Demons' season could unravel even further than it has to date. 

THE GAME

Adelaide v Melbourne at Adelaide Oval Saturday 13 May, 2017 at 7.40 pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Adelaide 23 wins Melbourne 12 wins 

At Adelaide Oval Adelaide 1 win Melbourne 1 win

Past five meetings Adelaide 4 wins Melbourne 1 win 

The Coaches Don Pyke 0 wins Simon Goodwin 0 wins 

MEDIA

TV -  Fox Sports 3 Live at 7.30pm

RADIO -  SEN

THE BETTING

Adelaide to win - $1.12 Melbourne to win - $6.50

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Adelaide 18.12.120 defeated Melbourne 15.8.98 Round 15, 2016 at the MCG

At half time Melbourne led by 11 points after a sensational second quarter inspired by Max Gawn's dominance in the ruck and a typical hard nosed effort from skipper Nathan Jones. The Crows came out fighting in the third quarter with a four goal burst in the opening six minutes and controlled the game from then on to finally run out 22 point winners.

THE TEAMS

ADELAIDE

B: Jake Kelly, Daniel Talia, Luke Brown 
HB: Rory Laird, Kyle Hartigan, David Mackay 
C: Rory Sloane, Richard Douglas, Brodie Smith 
HF: Tom Lynch, Josh Jenkins, Wayne Milera 
F: Andy Otten, Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts 
FOLL: Sam Jacobs, Rory Atkins, Matt Crouch 
I/C: Charlie Cameron, Brad Crouch, Curtly Hampton, Troy Menzel 
EMG: Jordan Gallucci, Hugh Greenwood, Reilly O'Brien 

IN: Wayne Milera Troy Menzel 

OUT: Riley Knight (corked gluts) Jake Lever (hamstring), 

MELBOURNE

B: Michael Hibberd, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta 
HB: Jayden Hunt, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince 
C: Nathan Jones, Jack Viney, Christian Salem 
HF: Christian Petracca, Jack Watts, Clayton Oliver 
F: Jeff Garlett, Sam Weideman, Mitch Hannan 
FOLL: Cameron Pedersen, Jordan Lewis, Dom Tyson 
I/C: Tomas Bugg, Dean Kent, Oscar McDonald, Josh Wagner 
EMG: Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch, Sam Weideman

IN: Dean Kent Sam Weideman 

OUT: Jesse Hogan (ill) Jay Kennedy-Harris (omitted)

The Demons decided to take two emergencies over to Adelaide which was a good idea, especially after word filtered out on Friday at mid-afternoon that Jesse Hogan was not on the team flight and had been ruled out of the game due to illness. 

More bad luck and the worst of it all is that it's happening when the team is up against a Crows side that is expected to be on the rampage after losing to North Melbourne in such emphatic fashion just last week. Adelaide has been virtually unstoppable all season to date and unless the Demons can conjure up a 10 goal breeze for the home team to kick into first up, they will be in big trouble in the City of Churches.

At least they are in the right place for them to hope and to pray but I fear that it will do them very little good this week.

Adelaide by 45 points

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