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BREAKING THROUGH by JVM

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Carlton’s breakthrough win last Saturday breathed new life into a club that’s been struggling for quite a while but their down time has been nowhere near as long as that of Melbourne and even of late, they have caused the Demons plenty of headaches.

In Round 21 2015, they were rank outsiders but stormed to an eight goal half time lead on the way to a 23-point win. Twelve months later, they led all day to dash the Dees’ faint hopes of a finals berth and won by 20 points. In their first meeting early last year, the dogged Blues led into the final quarter in a bitter game that saw the costly loss for some weeks of two Demon players through suspension and later in the year, their encounter was tense and close until the final siren saw Melbourne win by just 8 points after a goal on the siren. A finals aspirant would, in the normal course, be expected a combined winning margin in two games against the team that finishes 16th of more than 30 points (not to mention that it should not lose twice to the team that finishes 15th).

Therein lies the dilemma for the Melbourne Football Club. The past three weeks suggest that those days are behind it but Sunday will be the litmus test. If the Demons want to make the finals, this is a must win. 

And why not?

They are, after all, the leading team in terms of winning the contested ball at stoppages, they lead the competition in forward thrusts and have one of the toughest small men in the game coming back this week. 

There will be no excuses this week – the Bombers have been pilloried for their ineptitude against Carlton and yet they lost only because of their inaccuracy with 28 scoring shots to 21 and finishing with more inside 50s. On the strength of that, the Demons have them well covered and should win and win well. It’s their turn to break through.

Melbourne by 55 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Carlton at MCG Sunday 20th May 2018 at 1.10pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Carlton 117 wins Melbourne 91 wins Drawn 2

 At MCG Carlton 50 wins Melbourne 51 wins

Past five meetings Carlton 2 wins Melbourne 3 wins

The Coaches Bolton 0 wins Goodwin 2 wins

MEDIA

TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 1.00pm

RADIO - TBA

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 14.6.90 defeated Carlton 12.10.82 at the MCG Round 16, 2017

The Demons came into the game with several key players missing due to injury, particularly its co-captains Jack Viney and Nathan Jones but also Jack Watts and Dom Tyson. They were strongly tested by the lowly Blues who had injury problems of their own. The Demons led into the final term but quickly lost the lead before regrouping with the last three goals of the match to win by 8 points.

THE TEAMS 

CARLTON

B: Lachie Plowman, Sam Rowe, Dale Thomas
HB: Cameron O'Shea, Liam Jones, Kade Simpson
? Lochie O'Brien, Marc Murphy, Sam Kerridge
HF: Jarrod Garlett, Pat Kerr, Darcy Lang
F: Sam Petrevski-Seton, Harry McKay, Paddy Dow
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Patrick Cripps, Zac Fisher
I/C: Nick Graham, Jed Lamb, Aaron Mullett, Matthew Wright
Emg: Matt Shaw, Jack Silvagni, Jacob Weitering

In: Pat Kerr, Marc Murphy

Out: Charlie Curnow (quad), Ed Curnow (suspended)

MELBOURNE 

B: Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta
HB: Angus Brayshaw, Jake Lever, Mitch Hannan
? Jordan Lewis, Nathan Jones, Christian Salem
HF: Clayton Oliver, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham
F: James Harmes, Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca
Foll: Max Gawn, Bernie Vince, Jack Viney
I/C (from): Bayley Fritsch, Alex Neal-Bullen, Tim Smith, Charlie Spargo, 
Emg: Jeff Garlett, Jayden Hunt, Cameron Pedersen, Dom Tyson

In: Tim Smith, Jack Viney

Out: Dom Tyson (omitted), Sam Weideman (calf)

WHAT’S MY NUMBER? by Sam the Stats Man

The club is tracking towards a finals appearance and the numbers confirm this to be the case. One statistic that stands out in comparison with last year is that (touch wood) to date, the Demons have not been hit as hard by injuries to key and depth players as they were last season.

1. Jesse Hogan MFC games 8, goals 20. Has shrugged of the blues of last year coming back better than ever with his strength, endurance and sublime presence around the ground and up forward.

2. Nathan Jones MFC games 8, goals 4. Still leading from the front with his hardness in the middle of the ground.

3. Christian Salem MFC games 7, goals 2. Coming on nicely both as defender with stints in the midfield. Precision kicking is a great asset.

4. James Harmes MFC games 8, goals 2. The change of number seems to have suited him. He’s one of the club’s big improvers and is spending more and more time in the midfield.

5. Christian Petracca MFC games 7, goals 5. Playing some significant football as he continues to develop although his progress was hampered recently when his dog almost bit his finger off.

6. Jordan Lewis MFC games 7, goals 1. Continues to provide inspiration and leadership and sets up many damaging plays from the defensive half of the ground.

7. Jack Viney CD games 1, goals 0. The co-captain should be back this week after foot issues have kept him out since Round 21 last season.

8. Jake Lever MFC games 8, goals 0. It took him a while to settle in, but the former Crow is just starting to show his class and skill in defence.

9. Charlie Spargo MFC games 3, goals 5, CD games 2, goals 4. The pocket-sized dynamo has been a revelation with his hard work and maturity. Dangerous around goals.

10. Angus Brayshaw MFC games 5, goals 2, CD games 1, goals 1. Brayshaw is proving he’s over his concussion issues of recent years and is now on track to show why he was so highly regarded in his draft year.

11. Max Gawn MFC games 8, goals 5. Back to his All Australian best.

12. Dom Tyson MFC games 6, goals 1. Remains important when up and running but needs to improve on his execution at times.

13. Clayton Oliver MFC games 8, goals 4. Last year’s club champion has continued where he left off and is rapidly becoming one of the competition’s best midfielders.

14. Michael Hibberd MFC games 8, goals 1. After a slow start, the All-Australian defender has outlined his importance to the Demons’ defence.

15. Billy Stretch MFC games 1, goals 0, CD games 4, goals 2. Down on form and confidence but played very well in his last outing at Casey.

16. Dean Kent MFC games 3, goals 6. Started off strongly but another hamstring injury has put him back on the sidelines.

17. Sam Frost MFC games 2, goals 0, CD games 2, goals 0. A very handy tall defender to have as depth at the club.

18. Jake Melksham MFC games 8, goals 7. Has become an important player after reinventing himself as a medium forward with a damaging long kick.

19. Mitch Hannan MFC games 4, goals 7, CD games 2, goals 4. Had to work hard to reclaim his spot in the side after a quiet start. Good in recent weeks.

20. Corey Maynard ® MFC games 1, goals 0, CD games 3, goals 2. The hard-nosed midfielder had a torrid time in his only AFL appearance in Round 1 and, after a few games at Casey, will be out for a while with a hip injury.

21. Cameron Pedersen MFC games 2, goals 2, CD games 5, goals 10. The work horse who has been used as a fill in ruckman/forward has a few others ahead of him at AFL level but remains a handy back up.

22. Aaron Vandenberg. Still awaiting his return from the heel and ankle injuries that have kept him out for almost two years.

23. Bernie Vince MFC games 8, goals 1. Played every game, can tag and at times goes forward. He remains one of the important cogs in the team wheel.

24. Jay Kennedy Harris CD games 5, goals 4. Battling hard at Casey but looks a fair way off senior selection.

25. Tom McDonald MFC games 3, goals 9. Came straight back in after injury and has added strength and goal scoring potency in the forward line with a great 5 goal performance in his last start.

26. Sam Weideman MFC games 4, goals 2, CD games 2, goals 6. The selectors are showing faith in the youngster ahead of veteran Pedersen. It’s a decision that could well reap dividends in the medium to long term.    

27. Harley Balic CD games 3, goals 8. Had a sensational start in his first game with Casey but an injury held him back. Was solid on return last Sunday.

28. Oscar McDonald MFC games 8, goals 0. A great improver who has beaten most opponents so far this year.

29. Jayden Hunt MFC games 5, goals 0, CD games 3, goals 1. Has lost a bit of his edge and is not enjoying a good season. Dropped to Casey twice to regain some form.

30. Alex Neal-Bullen MFC games 8, goals 7.  Hard working small man who runs all day.

31. Bayley Fritsch MFC games 7, goals 7. Has played all bar one game when rested. The colt from Coldstream has exceeded all expectations as a medium sized forward with some time in the midfield.

32. Tomas Bugg MFC games 3, goals 4, CD games 3, goals 5. Working hard to revive his career after last year’s brain fade against the Swans but so far had only one good game and then struggled to hold his place with Melbourne.

33. Harrison Petty CD games 5, goals 0. This promising young key defender is highly thought of at the club and is learning the ropes at Casey.

34. Mitch King CD games 3, goals 1. Was just beginning to show some good form in the ruck with the Casey Demons when struck by an elbow injury that has set him back a month. 

35. Oskar Baker CD games 5, goals 4. The cheeky red-headed speedster has impressed at Casey.

36. Jeff Garlett MFC games 5, goals 9, 1, CD games 2 goals 1. Been more cold than hot which has landed him in the VFL this year.

37. Dion Johnstone CD games 5, goals 1. Speedy forward who lays a mean tackle but hasn’t done enough in almost 1½ years in the VFL.

38. Tim Smith ® CD games 4 goals 6. His form at Casey has been outstanding but who can he replace at AFL level.

39. Neville Jetta MFC games 8, goals 0. Continues to be the team glue in defence. He might be small but he’s also strong, hard and important.

40. Patrick McKenna. Yet to play a game due to a hamstring injury after being recruited from the Giants at the end of 2016.

42. Josh Wagner MFC games 5, goals 0, CD games 1, goals 0. Held his place for a while but sent to Casey a couple of weeks ago.

 44. Joel Smith CD games 4, goals 1. Spring-heeled and athletic but faces a tough battle to break into the MFC defence.

45. Declan Keilty ® CD games 5, goals 0. A solid contributor down back at Casey but his problem is that he’s almost at the back of the queue of a deep list of tall defenders.

47. Lachlan Filipovic ® CD games 5, goals 1 Project ruckman being nursed through his games at Casey while he hones his big man skills.

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