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LITTLE RAY OF SUNSHINE by Whispering Jack

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There would be very few among us who would have thought realistically at the start of the season that by the time Melbourne’s Round 8 trip to the Gold Coast came around, the visitors would not only be languishing in 16th place on the ladder, but also be sitting a game behind their hosts. In fact, had the Suns managed to goal late in their opening game against the Saints which they lost by a mere point, the gap between the two sides would have been even wider.

Such has been the humiliation of the Melbourne Football Club in the season to date with its injuries, fitness issues, loss of form and embarrassing efforts both on and off the field that its season is facing oblivion against a side that it beat comprehensively by 16 goals less than half a season ago.

Things looked a lot worse for the Demons a week ago but they managed to plug a hole in the dyke with victory against the Hawks who seem to be in the same boat as fellow 2018 finalists Melbourne and Sydney - sinking out in mid-ocean. And those three teams aren’t the only ones in a spot of bother at this point in time with Richmond and West Coast also currently sitting outside the top eight.

And that’s where that little ray of sunshine comes into play for the beleaguered Demons. There have been enough upsets and form reversals among the clubs in the first one third of the season to leave a general expectation that if a team like Melbourne can hit its straps for a few weeks in a row then it could re-emerge as a contender.

The flip side is that Gold Coast should not be taken lightly. The Suns, who could easily have been sitting on 4 zip a few weeks ago, have been going through a trough recently but showed with their second half against West Coast that they are a much improved side and won’t be a pushover on their home turf.

One of the reasons for that has been the form of ruckman Jarrod Witts who presents a real challenge to Melbourne’s ace Max Gawn who leads all comers in the competition for hit outs. With the possible return of Braydon Preuss, big Max will relish conditions on the Gold Coast. If the club’s much vaunted hard at it midfield can show similar progression to the last few weeks, then it should go a long way to winning this game.

The other encouraging sign from the last week or so was that Tom McDonald appears to be emerging from his early season atrophy and Michael Hibberd and a few others are playing with much greater confidence than they were earlier in the season.

Over the last few weeks, the club has been under the pump and attacked from all sides for a diverse list of sins ranging from poor behaviour from spectators, the obligatory uncovering of a player drinking while in rehab and criticism of the club’s treatment of injured players - all that on top of recent, supposedly new revelations from the long past “tanking” controversy. We might be bad boys at the moment but we are at least, taking some small steps in a forward direction. The time has now come for some long strides.

Melbourne to win but it won’t be as easy as last time. The Demons to keep their interstate record intact with a 20 point victory.

THE GAME

Gold Coast Suns v Melbourne at Metricon Stadium Saturday 11 May, 2019 at 4.35pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall - Gold Coast Suns 3 wins Melbourne 9 wins

At Metricon Stadium - Gold Coast Suns 1 win Melbourne 1 win

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

The Coaches - Dew 0 wins Goodwin 2 wins

MEDIA

TV - Fox Footy Channel - Live at 4.30pm

RADIO - SEN Triple M ABC News Radio

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 21.17.143 defeated Gold Coast Suns  7.5.47 at The MCG Round 20, 2018

The Demons had a eye on a finals berth and stormed their way to a 96 point win on the back of a nine goal final quarter. Jesse Hogan (4 goals) and James Harmes (3) were on fire up forward and the Demons had winners in nearly every position on the ground.

THE TEAMS 

Screenshot_2019-05-09 AFL Team Line Ups - AFL com au.png

GOLD COAST SUNS

B Jarrod Harbrow Sam Collins Charlie Ballard
HB Pearce Hanley Jack Hombsch Lachie Weller
C Ben Ainsworth Nick Holman Wil Powell
HF Alex Sexton Peter Wright Sean Lemmens
F Darcy MacPherson Josh Corbett Jack Bowes
FOLL  Jarrod Witts Jack Martin David Swallow
I/C Jack Lukosius Touk Miller Anthony Miles Jordan Murdoch
EMG Will Brodie George Horlin-Smith Jesse Joyce Ben King

IN Pearce Hanley Sean Lemmens Jack Lukosius Lachie Weller 

OUT Brayden Fiorini (injured) George Horlin-Smith (omitted) Jesse Joyce (omitted) Aaron Young (injured) 

MELBOURNE

B Jordan Lewis Sam Frost Michael Hibberd
HB Nathan Jones Oscar McDonald Christian Salem
C Bayley Fritsch Jack Viney Billy Stretch
HF James Harmes Tom McDonald Jay Lockhart
F Jeff Garlett Declan Keilty Jake Melksham
FOLL Max Gawn Angus Brayshaw Clayton Oliver
I/C Marty Hore Jayden Hunt Christian Petracca Josh Wagner
EMG Alex Neal-Bullen Harrison Petty Tim Smith Corey Wagner

IN Jack Viney

OUT Alex Neal-Bullen (omitted)

Injury List: Round 8

Jeff Garlett (hamstring) – Available
Tim Smith (back) – Available
Braydon Preuss (shoulder) – Test
Corey Maynard (hip) – 1 week
Jack Viney (shoulder) – 1 week
Sam Weideman (soreness) – 1 week
Steven May (groin) – 3-4 weeks
Jake Lever (knee) – 1 week
Mitch Hannan (knee) – 2 weeks
Jay Kennedy Harris (knee) – 2 weeks
Joel Smith (groin) – 6-8 weeks
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – 6-8 weeks
Neville Jetta (knee) – 10-12 weeks
Kade Kolodjashnij (concussion) – TBA
Guy Walker (shoulder) – Indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – Season

CHAT IN THE PREGAME THREAD

PreviewRd082019.png

 

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