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REDEMPTION? by the Oracle

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How much should we be making out of Melbourne’s opening round loss on its home ground against an unfancied team from interstate in Port Adelaide? 

The game was barely over before the excuses were coming out that about the lack of preparation of the team, the fact that some players were playing injured or unfit and unable to handle the humidity and the heat, the team’s lack of run and spread, the lack of experience and having too many key players injured or (in the case of Steven May) suspended. The resort to excuses or reasons for failure should not sit well in light of the fact that it was not that long ago when Melbourne was being strongly touted as a top four team, if not a strong contender for the flag.

There really will be no excuses this week with the game played at night (17 degrees and possible showers predicted), players returning from injury and big Maxy over the after effects of his minor skin surgery and the challenge of winning in Sleepy Hollow awaiting a team that will benefit from having the run of last week’s game out of its legs.

In many ways this will be a game of redemption for both sides. The Cats will be looking to redeem themselves for their humiliating exit from last year’s final series when they were overpowered early by the enthusiastic Demons while Melbourne will be looking to redeem itself for last week’s crushing loss where it was made to look slow and without any focus up forward. In fact, it has been horrific in front of goal in its last two matches - no goals in the entire first half of the Preliminary Final and none in more than a quarter and a half at the end of last week’s game. The club will also be looking to redeem itself for that nightmare after-the-siren defeat late last year at at GMHBA Stadium which put paid to its efforts to finish in the top four before the finals.

This week will be different with the long anticipated debut of Steven May who will no doubt be called upon to stop Tom Hawkins who was the match winner booting seven straight when the teams last met at this ground. The strength and aggression of the former Gold Coast skipper should certainly be significant after the limp efforts of the Demons’ key backs last week on the MCG.

And speaking of skippers, one would hope that Melbourne co-captains Nathan Jones and Jack Viney will provide the sort of leadership that was sorely lacking last week and led to a diminished output from the rest of the midfield. I expect Max Gawn to stand up strong and proud and for a much better midfield which faces the quality of Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Gary Ablett and Tim Kelly.

In the end however, the team is coming from a long way back on the basis of its lethargic performance against Port Adelaide and I fear that they aren’t ready yet to redeem themselves in the hostile territory of GMHBA Stadium.

Geelong by 10 points.

THE GAME

Geelong v Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday 30 March 2019 at 7.25pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Geelong 130 wins Melbourne 85 wins 2 draws
 
At  GMHBA Stadium Geelong 39 wins Melbourne 18 wins 1 draw
 
The last five meetings Geelong 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins
 
The Coaches Scott 3 wins Goodwin 1 win

MEDIA

TV -  Fox Footy Channel 7 live
 
RADIO -  ABC Triple M 3AW
 
LAST TIME THEY MET 

Melbourne 10.15.75 defeated Geelong 6.10.46 Elimination Final 2018 at the MCG

It was happy days for the Demons as they booted the first five goals for the game to hammer home an advantage through Max Gawn’s ruck dominance over the inexperienced Ryan Abbo tt provided silver service to the midfield led by Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw and full forward Sam Weideman delivered with three goals. Two quarters of inaccuracy in front of goal prevented a complete slaughter.

THE TEAMS

Screenshot_2019-03-28 Geelong Cats Vs Melbourne - Match Centre - AFL com au.png

Round 2 Injury List:

Harry Petty (foot) – Test
Tim Smith (calf) – Test
Jeff Garlett (shoulder) – 1 - 2 weeks
Jordan Lewis (hamstring) – 2 - 3 weeks
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – 4 - 6 weeks 
Joel Smith (groin) – TBA 
Mitch Hannan (knee) – 6-10 weeks
Jake Lever  (knee) – 6-10 weeks
Jay Kennedy Harris (knee) – 10-12 weeks
Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite 
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

PreviewRd022019.jpg

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