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TOOTH AND NAIL by The Oracle

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Two months ago when Melbourne comprehensively demolished Adelaide in the heart of the country, the club was seemingly on its way to a top four berth and regarded in many quarters as a genuine premiership contender.

Since that game, the Demons have won three times and lost once against lowly sides in the competition and dropped all three games against fellow finals contenders in Collingwood, Port Adelaide and Geelong. Three of their losses in this period have been by ten points or less. It is arguable therefore that with a little more application on their part, they would have been a lock in to make the finals.

The reality however, is otherwise. 

The losses are mounting and with four of the remaining five games against finals contenders, Melbourne has a major fight on its hands to gain a place in the eight at the end of the home and away season. 

Despite the last gasp defeat when they ventured to the Cattery last Saturday night, the Demons at least proved that they can hold their own in hostile territory. The home team needed everything to go right to win in those dying moments and with a 100% conversion rate in the last quarter (80% for the game), the blood rule and a few very lucky breaks to get them home - and they did just that with a kick for goal after the siren. Melbourne has to overcome that heartbreak.

When the Demons venture to an equally hostile ground at Adelaide Oval this Saturday night, they will be under no illusions as to the task ahead of them. The Crows will not be the easy pickings they were back in May in Alice Springs and they will have to fight tooth and nail if they want to keep its finals aspirations alive.

**** Scroll for Prediction ****

THE GAME

Adelaide v Melbourne at Adelaide Oval  Saturday 28 July, 2018 at 7.40pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall - Adelaide 24 wins Melbourne 14 wins

At Adelaide Oval - Adelaide 1 win Melbourne 2 wins

Past five meetings - Adelaide 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins 

The Coaches - Don Pyke 1 win Simon Goodwin 2 wins

MEDIA

TV - Channel 7 Live at 7.30pm Fox Football Channel Live at 7.20pm

RADIO - Triple M (regional) 3AW ABC ABC Grandstand 
 
THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 23.8.146  defeated Adelaide 8.7.55 Round 10, 2018 at Treager Park, Alice Springs

Melbourne stamped itself as a premiership contender when it ruthlessly demolished an injury hit Adelaide in Alice Springs. The knockout blows were delivered early and the Demons kept up the pressure for a full four quarters to record a comprehensive 91 point victory.

THE TEAMS

ADELAIDE 
 
B: Alex Keath, Daniel Talia, Luke Brown 
HB: Paul Seedsman, Kyle Cheney, Rory Laird 
😄 Wayne Milera, Bryce Gibbs, Rory Atkins 
HF: Tom Lynch, Josh Jenkins, Lachlan Murphy 
F:  Mitch McGovern, Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts 
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Matt Crouch, Rory Sloane 
I/C: Jordan Gallucci, Hugh Greenwood, Jake Kelly, Riley Knight  
Emg: Cameron Ellis-Yolmen, Paul Hunter, Andy Otten, Myles Poholke   

In: Taylor Walker

Out: Tom Doedee (concussion)

MELBOURNE 

B: Joel Smith, Sam Frost, Neville Jetta
HB: Christian Salem, Oscar McDonald, Jordan Lewis
😄 Tom McDonald, Clayton Oliver, Angus Brayshaw
HF: Jake Melksham, Jesse Hogan, Bayley Fritsch
F: Jay Kennedy Harris, Christian Petracca, Charlie Spargo
Foll: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Bernie Vince
I/C: Jeff Garlett, James Harmes, Alex Neal-Bullen, Dom Tyson
Emg: Cam Pedersen, Aaron vandenBerg, Josh Wagner, Sam Weideman 

NO CHANGE

The last time the two sides met, Melbourne announced an unchanged line up from its previous game and proceeded to massacre an injury-depleted Adelaide to the tune of 91 points. Ten weeks later, it has also come up with no change to the side but the difference is that last time it was coming off an overwhelming victory while this time, it is following up a heartbreaking result, losing by dint of a goal kicked after the siren.

The question is how will the Demons react in the face of the the disappointment of the outcome at GMHBA Stadium in what is a massive game for their finals aspirations. 

You can’t dismiss the fact that they capitulated in the face of the great pressure applied by the Cats in their run towards victory but it should also be recognised that they succumbed against a team with far superior experience in tight finishes and one for which everything went right in those spine-tingling final few minutes. 

Despite that result, the fundamentals don’t change. Melbourne has the competition’s leading ruckman who this week will not be coming off a head cold as he was last week and who hopefully, won’t be missing vital moments as a result of the blood rule. Working with him is a fine young midfield that matched it last week with one of the competition’s best and will be steeled to atone for last week’s disappointing result. They have the psychological advantage of overwhelming this opposition just ten weeks ago and won’t be deterred by the fact that they are in enemy territory.

The Demons have Angus Brayshaw fresh from signing off on a new deal, playing against the team that kick-started his stellar run of this season in Alice Springs earlier this year. They lead the pack in scoring, inside 50s and marks inside 50 and are not likely to come up against an opponent that goals with 80% of its shots at goal as it did last week.

Melbourne by 25 points

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