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GIANT HEADACHE by The Oracle

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It seems so long ago that Melbourne took an unchanged line up into a game on the MCG against the Greater Western Sydney Giants and cleaned them up to the tune of 45 points. 

In truth, the event occurred literally half a season ago in the final home and away round of the 2018 season and marked the Demons’ return to the finals with more triumphs to come in the weeks ahead. Of course, back then, it was the Giants who were wracked with injuries as they stumbled into the finals series facing their hoodoo on a ground where they rarely play well.

This time, it’s GWS that’s flying while Melbourne is not only licking its injury wounds but seems to be struggling for form at both ends of the ground. 

That super attack of last year is simply not performing and, despite having far more opportunities than its opponents virtually on a weekly basis, the team is beating itself by its failure to convert. 

At the other end of the ground, the defence is leaking to many goals - the opposition is finding the goals to easily, especially at the business end of things. The last three weeks have seen a total Melbourne score for of 6.10 in the final quarters of its matches against 14.1!

It seems that it’s always left to Max Gawn to dominate the rucks and afford his midfielders like Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones and James Harmes to get the first use of the ball to even stay close in the tussle - this will naturally be of paramount importance against the Giants on Sunday.

Last week, Melbourne came close to bringing its season back on track but it faltered when the game was on the line. While the Demons showed signs against West Coast they were returning to their exciting 2018 form they couldn’t do it for the full four quarters and their wastefulness in front of goal prevented them from having a big enough lead at the final half to enable them to control matters in the final term.

The dilemma has given Simon Goodwin a giant headache and he has obviously been worrying himself sick trying to work out that something different to give his team the winning edge back. He’s also waiting for that long injury list to go down to manageable levels but relief still appears a few weeks away.

In the meantime, I’m tipping a 9 point win to the Giants.

THE GAME 
 
Melbourne v GWS Giants at the MCG, Sunday 26 May, 2019 at 1.10pm 
 
HEAD TO HEAD 
 
Overall – GWS Giants 5 wins Melbourne 6 wins 

At The MCG – Melbourne 4 wins GWS Giants 1 win 

Past five meetings – Melbourne 3 wins GWS Giants 2 wins 

The Coaches – Goodwin 1 win Cameron 1 win
 
THE MEDIA 
 
TV - Fox  Footy Channel, Live at 1.00pm 

RADIO - SEN ABC  
 
THE LAST TIME THEY MET 

Melbourne 15.12.102 defeated GWS Giants 8.9.57 at the MCG, Round 23, 2018
 
Melbourne had to win to secure its place in the finals in 12 years thanks to Max Gawn’s ruck dominance and the strong work of the midfield headed by Angus Brayshaw and James Harmes, the Demons broke away with a five goal to zip  third term to romp home by 45 points.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE 

B Jay Lockhart Sam Frost Josh Wagner
HB Matt Hore Oscar McDonald Jayden Hunt
C Angus Brayshaw Jack Viney Oskar Baker
HF Nathan Jones Tom McDonald Harry Petty
F Jeff Garlett Tim Smith Christian Petracca
FOLL Max Gawn Christian Salem Clayton Oliver 
I/C Bayley Fritsch James Harmes Billy Stretch Corey Wagner
EMG Jordan Lewis Braydon Preuss Charlie Spargo Sam Weideman
 
IN Corey Wagner 
 
OUT Alex Neal-Bullen (concussion)
 
GWS GIANTS 
 
B Adam Kennedy Phil Davis Nick Haynes
HB Heath Shaw Sam Taylor Brett Delidio 
C Brent Daniels Harry Perryman Lachie Whitfield 
HF Matt de Boer Harry Himmelberg Toby Greene 
F Jeremy Finlayson Jeremy Cameron Sam J Reid
FOLL Shane Mumford Tim Taranto Josh Kelly
I/C Stephen Coniglio Isaac Cumming Jacob Hopper Adam Tomlinson 
EMG Jackson Hately Lachlan Keeffe Daniel Lloyd Dawson Simpson
 
IN Stephen Coniglio Isaac Cumming 
 
OUT Daniel Lloyd (omitted) Zac Williams (hamstring)

Injury List - Round 10

Mitch Hannan (knee) – available
Jay Kennedy Harris (knee) – available
Alex Neal-Bullen (concussion) – test
Christian Salem (concussion) – test
Tim Smith (concussion) – test
Charlie Spargo (foot) – test
Sam Weideman (hips) – test
Michael Hibberd (collarbone) – 1-2 weeks
Steven May (groin) – 1-2 weeks
Kade Kolodjashnij (concussion) – 1-2 weeks
Jake Melksham (foot) – 3-4 weeks
Joel Smith (groin) – 4-6 weeks
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – 4-6 weeks
Neville Jetta (knee) – 7-9 weeks
Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

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