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There are two ways that things can go for the Melbourne Football Club in the wake of last Friday’s embarrassing loss to Sydney, the Tomas Bugg punch and suspension, the continuing injury crisis and revelations about sanctions against four players after they ignored a directive not to drink alcohol after a Casey match.

Up or down.

The club was on a ten year high less than a week ago and then it hit the wall against the Swans with its insipid performance. Simon Goodwin's job of orchestrating the club's fifth winning game on end and thereby securing it a top four position was made so much more difficult for being hamstrung by the unavailability of the four players suspended from playing in the AFL on Friday night. Three of them had strong credentials for selection in team that was obviously weary in the face of their fourth game in 18 days.

Dean Kent would have made the perfect fill-in for the injured Jeff Garlett but in his absence, the decision was made to replace him up forward with Jayden Hunt. Although Hunt managed to mark and goal in the first quarter, his game tally of   seven possessions was the lowest of his 33-game career and only the second time he has failed to reach double figures. His presence in the backline was sorely missed.

Jay Kennedy-Harris and Ben Kennedy were both in scintillating form for Casey and the presence of at least one of them would have been a boon for a team labouring under the strain of a succession of six day breaks and an interstate trip. 

And one cannot estimate the effect of all this on the psyche of the remaining players knowing that the stupidity of their teammates had left them in a position where the best team could not be selected for an important game.

So now Melbourne faces Carlton for the second time this year - the third if you count JLT pre season games. If the team had available to it the personnel of those earlier games, my prediction about the outcome of this match would have been a no-brainer. The Demons by the length of Bourke Street.

Now I'm not so sure.

In truth, even the 22-point victory scored by Melbourne when the two sides met in Round 2 this season unimpressive. The young Blues have been inconsistent but have acquitted themselves admirably at times. They beat Adelaide and GWS Giants earlier in the season and gave Adelaide a run for their money last week. On that basis, their current form is much better than that of the embattled Demons who are moving in a retrograde motion for what is the Retro Round.

I'll give them one chance and once chance only.

Melbourne by 1 point.


Melbourne v Carlton at MCG Sunday 9th July, 2017 at 3.20pm
Overall Carlton 117 wins Melbourne 90 wins Drawn 2
At MCG Carlton 50 wins Melbourne 50 wins
Past five meetings Carlton 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins
The Coaches Bolton 0 wins Goodwin 1 win 
TV - Channel 7, Fox Sports 503 live at 3.00pm

Carlton $2.30 to win - Melbourne to win $1.63


Melbourne 13.10.88 defeated Carlton 9.12.66 at the MCG Round 2, 2017

The Demons looked in control early but seemed to stop midway through the second quarter and some undisciplined acts and poor play saw them hand the lead over during the third quarter. The team regrouped in the last but the 22 point win flattered them. Clayton Oliver and Dom Tyson were the team's best.



B: Sam Docherty, Liam Jones,  Lachie Plowman 
HB: Simon White, Jacob Weitering, Dale Thomas 
C: Kade Simpson,  Patrick Cripps, David Cuningham 
HF: Jack Silvagni, Levi Casboult, Sam Kerridge 
F: Zac Fisher, Charlie Curnow, Matthew Wright 
FOLL: Matthew Kreuzer, Bryce Gibbs, Marc Murphy 
I/C: Jed Lamb, Harrison Macreadie, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Ciaran Sheehan
EMG: Ciaran Byrne, Nick Graham, Harry McKay        

IN: Jed Lamb, Harrison Macreadie, Sam Petrevski-Seton

OUT: Ciaran Byrne (omitted), Caleb Marchbank (shoulder), Liam Sumner (omitted) 


B:  Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta 
HB: Jordan Lewis, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince 
C: Jayden Hunt, Christian Petracca, Mitch Hannan 
HF: James Harmes, Cameron Pedersen,  Alex Neal-Bullen 
F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Tom McDonald 
FOLL: Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Jake Melksham 
I/C: Dean Kent, Joel Smith, Billy Stretch, Josh Wagner, 
EMG: Jay Kennedy-Harris, Jack Trengove, Sam Weideman  

IN: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Dean Kent, Joel Smith

OUT: Tomas Bugg (suspended), Dom Tyson (knee), Jack Viney (foot), Mitch White (omitted)

I HAVE YOUR NUMBER by Sam the Stats Man

They talk about lies and damn statistics but the analysis below tells us that the Demons have been hit hard to both key and depth players this season.

1. Jesse Hogan MFC games 4, goals 9 This hasn't been his year. Suspended for two matches in Round 2, then missed a week mourning the loss of his father  and then diagnosed with cancer. 

2. Nathan Jones MFC games 12, goals 10 The tough skipper led from the front but is now out for a month with a groin. 

3. Christian Salem MFC games 12, goals 5 Has raised his game a level whether playing in midfield or defence but is currently out with a hamstring injury. 

4. Jack Watts MFC games 12, goals 20 After a less than encouraging pre season period, Watts hardly put a foot wrong as a forward or back up ruckman until he injured his hamstring against the Bulldogs. 

5. Christian Petracca MFC games 14, goals 20 Has made good progress and is living up to his high draft selection. 

6. Jordan Lewis MFC games 11, goals 4 A great acquisition for the club, providing inspiration and leadership but with one major blemish being his suspension for 3 matches  after a brain fade in Round 2.  

7. Jack Viney MFC games 15, goals 5 Made a slow start to the season and was coming back to his damaging best when injured against the Swans. Now expected to be out for a month. 

8. Heritier Lumumba Retired without making a start to the pre season. 

9. Jack Trengove CD games 11, goals 2 The question all year has been whether he will ever get another opportunity to play at the highest level? 

10. Angus Brayshaw MFC games 2, goals 1, CD games 3, goals 1 Troubled by concussion issues and his short term future remains in doubt. 

11. Max Gawn MFC games 5, goals 1 Injured in Round 3 and underwent hamstring surgery after the game, the All Australian ruckman's presence in the ruck was sorely missed. Will be an important player now that he's back. 

12. Dom Tyson MFC games 7, goals 1 Form was a little inconsistent but he's been really important when up and running. Another of the currently injured brigade. 

13. Clayton Oliver MFC games 14, goals 2 The young midfielder is having an outstanding second season. Is probably leading the club's best and fairest and even spoken of as a possible All Australian but super important now that the midfield has been decimated. 

14. Michael Hibberd MFC games 10, goals 1, CD games 2, goals 0 A prolific ball winner with great delivery skills and a good stopper in defence. Already an important player with the Demons after missing the early games with injury.                   

15. Billy Stretch MFC games 7, goals 3, CD games 6, goals 2 After a good start, his form dropped off ever so slightly and he found himself out of the side. Seems to be struggling at the moment. 

16. Dean Kent MFC games 4, goals 6, CD games 8, goals 6 Has paid the price for poor form and an off field misdemeanour and must now wait for his next chance.

17. Sam Frost MFC games 11, goals 1 Came back from some pre season injury worries as a much improved player in defence. 

18. Jake Melksham MFC games 11, goals 4, CD games 2, goals 4 Had some good moments and has shaken off a suspension incurred at Casey to become a regular in the AFL team. 

19. Mitch Hannan MFC games 13, goals 18 Has been good in his debut year at the club and well and truly earned his spot in the side.       

20. Colin Garland Suffered an ACL injury before the start of the season. Sidelined for 2017.

21. Cameron Pedersen MFC games 9, goals 9, CD games 2, goals 3 Has worked hard against tough odds and taller opposition as a fill in ruckman/forward.

22. Aaron Vandenberg Yet to take the field during the regular season due to a heel injury. 

23. Bernie Vince MFC games 13, goals 1 Played some great tagging roles and was terrific on Rory Sloane. Needs to take a further step up this week.

24. Jay Kennedy-Harris MFC games 3, goals 0, CD games 8, goals 4 Had an unimpressive three match stint after a long period out through injuries and found himself back at Casey where he's starred. Drinks with the boys cost him a return last week.

25. Tom McDonald MFC games 14, goals 14 Strong leader in defence who has also gone forward and played on the ball during the club's ruck crisis. Kicked a match winning 5 goals at Domain Stadium recently against the Eagles. 

26. Sam Weideman MFC games 6, goals 3, CD games 6, goals 9 Dropped from the team after the club's loss to North Melbourne and has been unable to fight back in despite a six goal haul at Box Hill a fortnight ago. 

27. Liam Hulett CD games 9, goals 5, CD DL game 1, goals 0 Struggling in the Development League at the moment - sure sign that his future at the club is doubtful. 

28. Oscar McDonald MFC games 12, goals 0, CD games 2, goals 0 His form was patchy early but has shown great improvement after a brief stint in the VFL. 

29. Jayden Hunt MFC games 14, goals 5 Having a wonderful season highlighted by his blistering pace, adventurous running and athleticism. 

30. Alex Neal-Bullen MFC games 11, goals 7, CD games 2, goals 2 Had is moments this year and starting to establish his place in the team. 

32. Tomas Bugg MFC games 10, goals 7, CD games 1, goals 5 His career is on the brink after a reckless punch against the Swans saw him suspended for 6 matches. 

33. Jake Spencer MFC games 2, goals 0, CD games 4, goals 0 Waited a long time to get an opportunity at AFL level but suffered a shoulder injury in just his second game. Now back at Casey. 

34. Mitch King CD games 8, goals 0, CD DL games 1, goals 1  King is a developing player coming back from an ACL and is being given time at Casey. 

35. Ben Kennedy CD games 10, goals 6 Struggling to gain a spot at Melbourne, Kennedy has been working on his game down at Casey and was close to MFC selection before his involvement in the after-game drinks.

36. Jeff Garlett MFC games 13, goals 29 Dangerous forward having a terrific season and finally gaining recognition for the value of his role to the team. 

37. Dion Johnstone CD games 11, goals 3 Speedy forward who can lay a tackle is learning the trade in the VFL.

38. Tim Smith ® MFC games 2, goals 1, CD games 3 goals 1 Unlucky to suffer a broken rib in his second game which was followed by a navicular bone injury just as he returned.

39. Neville Jetta MFC games 14, goals 3 Steady as a rock playing the small defender's role. 

40. Patrick McKenna A hamstring tear has prevented him from playing at either AFL or VFL level. 

41. Mitchell White ® MFC game 1, goals 0 CD games 9, goals 2 Rewarded for his hard work as a defender at Casey with promotion off the rookie list and a game v the Swans. 

42. Josh Wagner MFC games 5, goals 0, CD games 3, goals 1 Had some injury woes in the pre season and his form has been up and down ever since. 

43. James Harmes MFC games 9, goals 9, CD games 3, goals 0 Lost his place in the Melbourne team but bounced back with a strong performance at Casey last week. 

44. Joel Smith ® MFC games 1, goals 0 CD games 1, goals 0 Was going along nicely in defence on debut when he suffered an injured shoulder and missed most of the first half of the season. Made a strong first up return at Casey last week. 

45. Declan Keilty ® CD games 11, goals 3 Rookie spare parts man getting experience as a back up ruckman with key position roles in the VFL. 

47. Lachlan Filipovic ® CD DL games 5, goals 0 Project ruckman was getting game time in the Development League with the Casey Demons but has been out recently with a hip flexor injury. 

48. Corey Maynard ® CD games 9, goals 2 Apart from a fortnight off after concussion has been doing well and performing better than expected in the Casey midfield. 


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