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Match Preview and Team Selection - Round 20

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ONE GAME AT A TIME by Whispering Jack

The perceived wisdom for fans of our code of football is that when you approach the pointy end of the season, it's not proper to discuss anything other than your team’s next game. The unwritten rule is that you must take things one game at a time.

I really would have liked to engage in speculation about what might happen beyond next Sunday and even dared to dream, as was suggested in a newspaper article earlier this week, of a rollicking finish to the season involving action deep into the month of September after a single important win that would engender the necessary self-belief into Melbourne’s team just as one such win did with Richmond last year. The possibilities of such thoughts and dreams are endless but it can’t be done – you must take things one game at a time.

And rightly so when the Demons are part of the conversation. One of their more recent defeats came at the hands of St Kilda, a team with a disappointing record of 4½ wins and a percentage of 75.7 this season. But it was last year that they turned losing games when hot favourite to win into an art form, going down to the lowly Dockers, Hawks, Kangaroos (twice) and Collingwood at the death in the final round of 2017. All that in a season where they missed a finals berth by the narrowest margin in the history of the competition.

And so ... despite the fact that highest and lowest-scoring sides are pitted against each other, one being sixth-placed and the other second from bottom of the ladder, it is with trepidation that I take on the task of previewing Sunday’s game at the MCG between Melbourne, fresh from a strong victory in Adelaide and the Gold Coast Suns who are coming off a shattering defeat at the hands of likely wooden spooners in Carlton.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Gold Coast Suns at The MCG Sunday 5 August, 2018 at 3.20pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall - Melbourne 8 wins Gold Coast Suns 3 wins

At The MCG - Melbourne 4 wins Gold Coast Suns 2 wins

Past five matches - Melbourne 5 wins Gold Coast Suns 0 wins  

The Coaches - Goodwin 1 win Dew 0 wins

MEDIA

TV - Channel 7 Fox Sports 3 - Live at 3.00pm

RADIO - Triple M (Regional) 3AW ABC ABC Grandstand

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 21.20.146 defeated Gold Coast Suns 11.11.77 at The Gabba Round 8, 2018

Melbourne started slowly but the foot went on the accelerator during the third term and finished up winning by 69 points, kicking 13 second-half goals to six. Tom McDonald booted five goals in his third game back after an injury lay-off.

THE TEAMS   

MELBOURNE

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

In:  Aaron vandenBerg

Out: Jake Melksham (hamstring)

GOLD COAST SUNS 

B: Callum Ah Chee, Max Spencer, Jarrod Harbrow 
HB: Pearce Hanley, Jack Leslie, Kade Kolodjashnij 
😄 Lachie Weller, Jesse Lonergan, Jack Bowes 
HF: Nick Holman, Peter Wright, Alex Sexton 
F: Wil Powell, Aaron Young, Sean Lemmens 
Foll: Jarrod Witts, Will Brodie, Touk Miller 
I/C (from): Jacob Dawson, Brayden Fiorini, Jacob Heron, Michael Rischitelli
Emg: Ben Ainsworth, Michael Barlow, Jesse Joyce, Jarryd Lyons

In: Callum Ah Chee, Jacob Dawson, Pearce Hanley, Jack Leslie, Max Spencer  

Out: Jesse Joyce (omitted) Jarryd Lyons (omitted) Steven May (suspension), David Swallow (concussion) Rory Thompson (hamstring) 

After two weeks of high pressure games in hostile territory, the Demons return home and while, the Gold Coast Suns might not be considered capable of applying the sort of pressure experienced against opposition teams at GMHBA or at the Adelaide Oval, they can’t be taken lightly. The AFL is a competition that throws up at least one upset result in almost every round and the Demons can ill-afford another outcome such as the one they experienced early last month against the Saints.

I also harboured some concerns that the Gold Coast Suns players might react aggressively to the revelations about Tom Lynch not being at the club next season and the decision to strip him of the captaincy but upon looking at their “outs” and their injury list, I wonder if any of those left in the team even know their deposed skipper at all.
 
The Suns are one of the strongest tackling sides in the competition, a feature that came to the fore when they defeated the Swans recently on the SCG.  That’s exactly why Melbourne should be going into the game with a mindset intent on winning first and then worrying about the opportunity for as percentage booster.
 
The Demons have dominated Gold Coast in their last five outings at various venues around the country and their style of play should give them the edge again this week. They are the competition’s strongest side in midfield contests, in high scoring and going inside 50. They have experienced few problems getting the ball into scoring range but their efficiency near goal has left something to be desired. There have been a few occasions this year when they dominated the inside 50s and lost games. This is the area where they should be improving their game if they want to play finals.
 
With the likes of Jesse Hogan and Tom McDonald and a bevy of small to medium players capable of scoring goals, they should be taking advantage of the midfield dominance of the competition’s leading tap ruckman and the young midfield led by Clarrie Oliver, Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw. 
 
Gold Coast is also struggling for leadership and without co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May and their most talented player in Jack Martin who starred earlier in the season with four goals in a losing team, I can’t see them kicking anything near to a winning score.
 
Melbourne by 50 points.

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Ha, the line with the TAB is -64.5. Is that one of the biggest in recent memory for us?

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9 minutes ago, Dee Zephyr said:

Ha, the line with the TAB is -64.5. Is that one of the biggest in recent memory for us?

You know what they say. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

I don't care what the line says ... I want us to be in front at the end of the game and hopefully, a few of our competitors fall down this weekend as well.

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We have the second best percentage in the league, we have to make sure it stays that way, beat the Suns by 20goals and we effectively have an extra game in hand on those chasing a spot in the finals.

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This should be an at least 80 point win.

B: Lewis, Frost, Jetta

HB: Vince, O.McDonald, Salem

C : Fritsch, Oliver, Jones

HF: Neal-Bullen, T.McDonald, Petracca

F: Melksham, Hogan, Garlett

FOLL: Gawn, Brayshaw, Harmes

IC: J.Smith, Spargo, Kennedy Harris, Tyson

EMERG: Weideman

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Where’s J. Hunt at? I heard he might’ve been up for selection last week. Could be a good match to ease him back in. 

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Must hit hard from the start. 8 day break so no excuses, this is not a shoe in by any stretch. 

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Gold Coast have arguably their 7 BEST players out! including both captains.

this is not about talent or skill but about application and learning to get yourself up for a game that should be easy. I expect a few hairy moments in the first half until we click and pile on 15 goals in the second half

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All I have to say is DON'T LOSE.

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I expect a 3 digit win here. Seems like a good opportunity for hogan to kick a bag and gain some confidence back before the last 3 big games. 

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Its amazing how teams like GC get themselves up for their one and only game at the MCG...I sadly remember Sydney beating us at the G after losing 26 games in a row..........

 

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I like the confidence on here about the prospect of a large percentage booster, but I hope the players don't take that attitude into the game.  Just stick fat to our game plan and structures, and the margin will take care of itself.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, layzie said:

Must hit hard from the start. 8 day break so no excuses, this is not a shoe in by any stretch. 

There are no guarantees in sport.

However, the Suns are on four wins and a dismal 64%, we belted them by 69 points last time, and they have at least 12 of their squad unavailable, including their two captains...

If this game isn't a 'shoe-in', then no games are.

 

Edited by Rogue

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Time to get ruthless!

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I'm predicting an inefficient 45 point win , where we blow them away in 1 qtr.

Still haven't played a 4 quarter game at the G. Hopefully that changes this week.

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Should be minimum 10 goal win, anything less will be ho hum.

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I came down from the forest to the Gabba to watch these two a while back and the Suns only had two good afl players in May and Martin and all 159 people at the ground, not including the hundreds of cardboard effigies of a red headed politician, saw Harmes come of age that day and they witnessed TMac become our main man.

This is the last chance to test our depth and give some second tier guys a senior game before the next 6 or 7 games start.

So here’s a team that should still be way too hard for the Suns while resting some sore bodies

Backs... Vince OMac Salem, Wagner Frost Smith

Forwards.. Petracca TMac Bugg, Garlett Weed Kent

Middies.. Gawn Brayshaw Oliver, Harmes Tyson Jones

Inter... JKH ANB Lewis Bull

Managed.. Spargo Fritsch Jetta Hogan Melksham

Ins... Weed Bugg Kent Wagner Bull

Sorry WJ but can’t abide the one week at a time now is the moment to look toward the prize.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Rogue said:

There are no guarantees in sport.

However, the Suns are on four wins and a dismal 64%, we belted them by 69 points last time, and they have at least 12 of their squad unavailable, including their two captains...

If this game isn't a 'shoe-in', then no games are.

 

As close as you'll get to a shoe in but we must still be professional about it.

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I know we are taking things one game at a time but given that 3 out of our last 4 games are to be played at the MCG (and hopefully a few more after that at the same venue), I think we need to use this game to reassert our influence on our home soil. We did that a bit against the Bullies at our last outing but now it's time to take control of that ground and make it a fortress against any other club that enters.

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1 hour ago, loges said:

Should be minimum 10 goal win, anything less will be ho hum.

Won't be ho hum for me.  Another win is another step closer to finals and I'll take that any day of the week.

Theoretically, we should account for them with relative ease as our form over the last month has been excellent, and that includes how we played against Geelong.  They will be missing Lynch, May, Swallow and Martin, who are easily their best players, so even if they are up and about early we should be able to throttle them and put them away.

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Not many big (15 goal-ish) margins this season -

Rnd 4 - Richmond over Brisbane by 93 and North over Carlton by 86.

Rn 9  - Melbourne over Carlton by 109 points

Rnd 10 - Melbourne over Adelaide by 91 points

It would be good to clock up a third win on that scale, and really reinforce the idea that we can score rapidly and ruthlessly. I think it would freshen our players a bit, and also make a few opponents a bit more nervous, maybe a bit more reactive, which would work in our favour.

Other than a win though, I think the best single thing that could come out of this is Hogan playing himself back into form. Given their depleted set of defenders, a quick back of 12  (11 from clean marks and one from a dropped mark that he crumbs himself late in the final quarter) would really help his confidence.

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73 points

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