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MATCH PREVIEW AND TEAM SELECTION - Round 13

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BEST ON SHOW by the Oracle

Once the dramatic events of the AFL's sensational Round 12 were done and dusted, all the talk of the town was about the dogs. The question as to whether the Western Bulldogs were experiencing a premiership hangover was one of the biggest discussion points in football. The young side that captured the hearts and the imagination of the football public with their fantastic exploits in 2016 were said to no longer be as hungry or as ruthless as they were back then. Some even suggested they were in danger of possibility dropping out of the top eight altogether.
 
Which inevitably makes the encounter between Melbourne and the Bullies at Etihad Stadium this weekend a truly intriguing contest. 
 
For starters, despite the close scrutiny and the handwringing over some of their recent displays, Luke Beveridge's charges are starting as strong favourite, perhaps largely due to the gravitas generated from being the reigning premier or simply because of the expected return from injury of a trio of stars from last year's finals campaign - Tom Boyd, Dale Morris and Clay Smith along with the likely promotion of Tom Liberatore who starred when the teams met last year.
 
For the Demons' part, they're coming into this game on a high after the pulsating come from behind victory over the Magpies, a win that was remarkable because they managed to overcome the fact that they lost the hit out count by a massive 14 to 65 and were out marked by 62 to 112. That sort of discrepancy suggests in simple terms that in order to win the game a massive effort was required at ground level and this in turn, creates another dilemma for coach Simon Goodwin who potentially has both of his twin 200cm towers available for selection. Will he change what has been an effective structure over the past few weeks to bring in one of those big men and what will he do to cater for the string of six day breaks and interstate trips coming up in the immediate future?
 
In a season of topsy turvy results and unpredictability, it's hard to discern what team from either club will be on show at the weekend, or even from quarter to quarter within the match. Will the Demons continue the momentum of their push up the ladder, will the Bulldogs bite as they did last September or merely bark without impacting the result of the game.
 
Which team will put its best on show?
 
THE GAME 
 
Western Bulldogs v Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, Sunday 18 June, 2017 at 3.20pm
 
HEAD TO HEAD
 
Overall: Western Bulldogs 76 wins Melbourne 85 wins 1 draw
 
At Etihad Stadium: Western Bulldogs 9 wins Melbourne 6 wins
 
Last Five Meetings: Western Bulldogs 4 wins Melbourne 1 win
 
The Coaches: Beveridge 0 wins Goodwin 0 wins
 
MEDIA
 
TV - Fox Footy Channel live at 3.00pm
 
Radio - Triple M, 3AW, SEN, ABC, ABC Grandstand
 
THE BETTING
 
Western Bulldogs $1.50 to win Melbourne $2.60 to win
 
THE LAST TIME THEY MET
Western Bulldogs 17.12.114 defeated Melbourne 12.10.82 at Etihad Stadium, Round 8, 2016 The Bulldogs were at the top of their game while the young Demons were coming off a 73 point win away from home against the Suns and were momentarily in the top eight. However, they failed to match the relentless tackling of their opponents with the currently unloved Bulldog, Tom Liberatore, ironically leading the tackle count with 19. Jack Viney was the Demons' best.

THE TEAMS

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: Dale Morris, Zaine Cordy, Jason Johannisen 
HB: Shane Biggs, Easton Wood, Matthew Suckling 
C: Lachie Hunter, Jack Macrae, Tory Dickson 
HF: Caleb Daniel, Tom Boyd, Toby McLean 
F: Lin Jong, Jake Stringer, Liam Picken 
FOLL: Jordan Roughead, Marcus Bontempelli, Mitch Wallis 
I/C: Luke Dahlhaus, Bailey Dale, Mitch Honeychurch, Tom Liberatore
EMG: Tom Campbell, Lukas Webb, Bailey Williams 

IN: Tom Boyd, Zaine Cordy, Mitch Honeychurch, Tom Liberatore, Dale Morris

OUT: Marcus Adams (foot), Matthew Boyd (omitted), Travis Cloke (soreness), Tim English (omitted) Fletcher Roberts (omitted)

MELBOURNE 

B: Oscar McDonald, Tom McDonald, Neville Jetta
HB: Michael Hibberd, Sam Frost, Bernie Vince
C: Jayden Hunt, Jordan Lewis, Nathan Jones
HF: Clayton Oliver, Jack Watts, Mitch Hannan
F: Tom Bugg, Christian Petracca, Jeff Garlett
FOLL: Cam Pedersen, Dom Tyson, Jack Viney
I/C: James Harmes, Jake Melksham, Alex Neal-Bullen, Christian Salem                  
EMG: Ben Kennedy, Jake Spencer, Sam Weideman 

NO CHANGE

There's one thing you can't rely upon these days when trying to predict the outcome of AFL games and that's current form. If you could, then Melbourne would be an odds on favourite, having lost only once in the last month and a half while the Western Bulldogs have won only once since round 8 and are coming off a 46-point loss against Sydney.

Their lacklustre form, an unsettled line up and their inability to match the pressure and intensity of 2016 are certainly worrying for their coach and supporters and yet, they remain well fancied to win this match against the Demons who go into the game with an unchanged team from Monday's Queens Birthday blockbuster win.

Melbourne is seemingly on the up and up while the Dogs are likely to drop out of the top eight after this round if they lose this game - an extraordinary state of affairs for a reigning premier.

The factor that turns everything on its head is ironically the one that is often used as a pointer to why a given team will lose and that's team stability. The Bulldogs go into the game with five changes which many suggest is counterproductive to winning especially against a team with "no change" posted against its name following team selection. However, in the unstable football climate of 2017, this doesn't quite stand up.

Former skipper and 290 gamer, Matthew Boyd may well be the eighth Bulldog premiership player to be dropped this year, but they have some handy players coming back and primed to add the intensity the team's performances have been lacking during the past month or so. Young Libba was their match winner when the teams last met and the other inclusions add solidity to the side. And their young stars like Bontempelli, Stringer and McCrae are all due for big games. 

The Demons won't be easy to beat - they are a tough proposition this year - ranked in the top four for contested possessions and tackles and seventh for clearances. They do however, have a tendency towards inconsistency both during and between games and their slow starts are a worry. 

One theory concerning this trend is the lack of a tall ruckman which has hounded the club after early-season injuries to Max Gawn and Jake Spencer but the decision to shun the latter now that he's fit and available, suggests the Melbourne selectors disagree. They will be banking on the no ruck policy but I'm not sure that strategy works often enough in these unpredictable times.

Western Bulldogs by 3 points.

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Think this is a bridge too far, Dogs will be smarting, 6 day vs 10 day turnaround at Etihad...

 

 

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Glad to see we are going to keep the frisky terrier, JJ on a leash! 

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/melbourne-demons-set-to-target-western-bulldog-jason-johannisen-20170613-gwqmjp.html

He certainly didn't like being jostled, coralled and tagged vs Sydney last week.  Lots of fair bumps anytime a Sydney player went near him.  Didn't put up a fight and gave up without a wimper looking more like a wounded puppy than a raging bulldog!. 

The bulldogs game plan isn't working so well, key players are out of form and others are vulnerable.  Importantly, they are not getting such an easy run with the umpires which inhibits their free flowing game. 

They are nowhere near their best.  They can bark but have lost their bite! 

We can win this if we don't give them a 5 goal head start. 

 

(Apologies for all the dog metaphors - it is so easy to apply to WBD!)

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Thought you said free throwing game there for a min LH :rolleyes:

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See, its this kind of stuff that worries me. We shouldn't be worrying about this carp, but rather how hard at the contest we are for four quarters. We've been a team with a soft-underbelly for years, so aren't we getting a little bit ahead of ourselves?

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37 minutes ago, The Stigga said:

Think this is a bridge too far, Dogs will be smarting, 6 day vs 10 day turnaround at Etihad...

 

 

Hard to ignore this and I think it will have a massive impact on the game. QB was a bit of an epic and it was very fast at times. Players were absolutely spent towards the end. Dogs are struggling yes but I can see them smarting from the criticism they've copped and we might still be celebrating one of the great wins this millennium.

Would be a massive win if we get up.

 

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I would have preferred the article to be entitled 'Melbourne demons set to target playing four quarters of consistent football and not worry about a half-back flanker that had a poor game last week'.

 

 

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Classic case of contriving a headline to suit an agenda. I listened to the presser and he gave no indication that this was a focus, simply that he was a good player and would be considered as a part of their usual planning.

Having said that, I would tag him and tag him hard.

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17 minutes ago, The Stigga said:

I would have preferred the article to be entitled 'Melbourne demons set to target playing four quarters of consistent football and not worry about a half-back flanker that had a poor game last week'.

 

 

Goodwin was asked the question, does he ignore it?  He was asked the same thing about Sloane and answered the same way, which worked out ok for us 

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26 minutes ago, The Stigga said:

I would have preferred the article to be entitled 'Melbourne demons set to target playing four quarters of consistent football and not worry about a half-back flanker that had a poor game last week'.

Oh, you mean ignore the Norm Smith medalist who is their chief play maker and tears teams apart with blistering speed...

We can do both...bring the 4 qtr effort (motivation/attitude) and exploit opposition weaknesses (tactics/strategy).

Edited by Lucifer's Hero

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I reckon this game's all above the shoulders. Depends whether the young Dees are inspired to consolidate on a sniff of finals action, or are still celebrating the high of QB. Tending toward the latter, based on history, but the odds seem out of whack despite this. 

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1 hour ago, The Stigga said:

I would have preferred the article to be entitled 'Melbourne demons set to target playing four quarters of consistent football and not worry about a half-back flanker that had a poor game last week'.

 

 

Whinging for the sake of it.  He was asked the question, so he answered it.  Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have worked that out by now.

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2 hours ago, The Stigga said:

Dogs will be smarting

Like Adelaide were???

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1 minute ago, rjay said:

Like Adelaide were???

This aspect , i'd agree, doesn't concern me so much, as possibly your inference.

That they are fresher does.

Very likely another break neck speed game  ahead.

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2 minutes ago, beelzebub said:

This aspect , i'd agree, doesn't concern me so much, as possibly your inference.

That they are fresher does.

Very likely another break neck speed game  ahead.

This doesn't concern me too much this year, as I think we've proven that we have the capacity to run out games very well.  I think we are very fit and, if we come to play, then we can knock the Dogs off without too many worries.

The turning up to play from the opening minute is just the stumbling block at the minute.

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One thing i think tgat might be in our favour is that teams have generally stuggled after a bye thus year

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1 minute ago, binman said:

One thing i think tgat might be in our favour is that teams have generally stuggled after a bye thus year

Um, Dogs got pantsed by Sydney last Thursday...

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21 minutes ago, Wiseblood said:

Whinging for the sake of it.  He was asked the question, so he answered it.  Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have worked that out by now.

No need to get personal,  just in my view we should be concentrating on playing four quarters rather than softening up an opposition player. The narrative is just playing into their hands 

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1 hour ago, Webber said:

I reckon this game's all above the shoulders. Depends whether the young Dees are inspired to consolidate on a sniff of finals action, or are still celebrating the high of QB. Tending toward the latter, based on history, but the odds seem out of whack despite this. 

Similar to your sentiment, I'm hoping that the fact we're in the top 8 now will be a major driving factor in the continued pursuit of wins for the fear of dropping outside given the closeness of the competition.. 

I'm confident we'll go into this game with the right mindset.

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35 minutes ago, beelzebub said:

This aspect , i'd agree, doesn't concern me so much, as possibly your inference.

That they are fresher does.

Very likely another break neck speed game  ahead.

We came off the bye on Monday so I don't think it will be a factor this week.

The next 2 will be a bit tougher though...particularly flying to Perth and back.

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Reckon we're a real chance to get 42,000 members this year if we win this week. Massive game. 

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Just now, DemonOX said:

Does anyone know how Spencer went last week?

ok, not great

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9 minutes ago, A F said:

Reckon we're a real chance to get 42,000 members this year if we win this week. Massive game. 

Could not agree more

Adelaide was an anomaly by comparison to the rest of the season.

QB was a lucky win against a middle to lower side  which given we have had a few unlucky losses I will take

Sunday is our real chance to make a statement and then drive through the remaining rounds as an increasing force. Lose and we are just one of many trying to string a few wins together..

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Just put Gawn in the side. We badly need a ruckman.

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