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Early this month, the Melbourne Football Club walked away from sponsorships with sports betting companies by committing to a responsible betting charter. At the time, the club's CEO Peter Jackson said it was “an important day for the club”.

I was thinking about that comment when I saw the early betting for Sunday night's Anzac Eve clash between Melbourne and Richmond which had the match up listed as an even money battle. I immediately asked myself the question, "how is this so"? How is it possible that betting agencies which live or die by framing odds for sporting contests could even think of putting a team with Richmond's recent form which has been putrid, on a par with Melbourne after its last two matches?

Just when I reach the point where I have decided that these people have completely taken leave of their own senses, I come to the realisation that it's the Demons we're talking about - that flakey team which hasn't won two consecutive games in a season since 2011 when they beat the Tigers in Round 14. I remember it well because about a month later it was Armageddon for the club, the coach was sacked and the team hit a brick wall causing near irreparable damage from which it is still recovering.

It's not as if the opportunity to win two games on end hasn't presented itself in recent times. After beating Brisbane in Round 16 last year, the team started as favourite to beat St Kilda at the MCG the following week and they put in a stinker to lose by 37 points. They were never really in the hunt.

And starting a game as favourite doesn't help the club very much at all. Take the club's last two matches against the down and almost out Bombers ... (three if you want to include the last NAB Challenge game of 2015) yes, please take them because I can barely bring myself to think of the humiliation each of those non efforts brought down on those of us who support the Dees.

So I look around trying to find reasons why things will be different this time. Why Melbourne will defy history and win two in a row and why it should start as favourite? Is it the fact that the Demons have an in form ruckman capable of turning a game on its head or that they have added to their playing stocks so that they now have greater strength, skill and discipline at the stoppages? Is it a better and more cohesive forward line with more depth in terms of players who can hit the scoreboard? A tighter defence? A more attacking game plan?

As much as I wrack my brain, I find myself entirely conflicted about how Melbourne will fare on Sunday night. Their recent form is better and my judgement is that the team that's in form should win but I'm afraid to place a wager on that eventuality. I therefore am left with no choice but to get with the club's responsible betting charter and decline the opportunity to gamble on the outcome of this match.

In other words, as far as I'm concerned, anything can and will happen - you can bet on it!

THE GAME

Richmond v Melbourne on Sunday 24 April 2016 at 7.10pm at the MCG

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Richmond 103 wins Melbourne 74 wins Drawn 2

At MCG Richmond 68 wins Melbourne 62 wins Drawn 1

Past five meetings Richmond 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins

The Coaches Hardwick 0 wins Roos 2 wins

MEDIA

TV - Fox Footy Channel Channel 7 live at 7.00pm

Radio - Triple M 3AW SEN ABC ABC Grandstand  

THE BETTING

Richmond to win - $1.92 Melbourne to win - $1.92

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 12.11.83 defeated Richmond 6.15.51 in Round 5, 2015 at the MCG

After an even first half, Melbourne took control of the game kicking six goals to one with Nathan Jones the star and Jesse Hogan playing his break out game by giving a quality opponent in Rance an absolute bath.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE

B: Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Tomas Bugg
HB: Lynden Dunn, Heritier Lumumba, Christian Salem
C: Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson, Josh Wagner
HF: Jack Watts, Sam Frost, James Harmes
F: Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Angus Brayshaw
FOLL: Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney
I/C: Jeff Garlett, Jayden Hunt, Ben Kennedy, Cameron Pedersen                              
EMG: Colin Garland, Alex Neal-Bullen Christian Petracca

IN: Jeff Garlett, Bernie Vince

OUT: Matt Jones (soreness) Clayton Oliver (rested)

RICHMOND

B: David Astbury, Alex Rance, Brett Deledio
HB: Corey Ellis, Bachar Houli, Kamdyn McIntosh
C: Brandon Ellis, Shaun Grigg, Daniel Rioli
HF: Kane Lambert, Dustin Martin, Ty Vickery
F: Jack Riewoldt, Sam Lloyd, Connor Menadue
FOLL: Ivan Maric, Shane Edwards, Trent Cotchin
I/C: Jake Batchelor, Troy Chaplin, Anthony Miles, Steven Morris                                               
EMG: Taylor Hunt, Ben Lennon, Jacob Townsend

IN: Jake Batchelor, Brett Deledio, Ivan Maric, Anthony Miles, Steven Morris

OUT: Shaun Hampson (leg), Taylor Hunt (omitted), Ben Lennon (omitted), Andrew Moore (omitted), Nick Vlastuin (leg)

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