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BARKING MAD by The Oracle

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There was so much hype proliferating about Melbourne’s prospects for season 2019 a mere four months ago, that one could be forgiven for thinking anyone contemplating the prospect of a bottom four finish for the Demons at the time was barking mad. That however, is the prospect that they face at the moment and a loss to the Bulldogs on Sunday would make it a virtual certainty. 

The club’s downward spiral after several years of moving steadily on an upward trajectory has been well documented if not well understood. The factors leading to its demise have also been discussed and debated ever since the opening round debacle on the MCG at the hands of Port Adelaide. I don’t propose to go into them here except to bring up the element of continuity.

One of the main ingredients in successful teams in our competition is the ability to achieve coherence in play from week to week meaning that teams that have changes forced upon them on a regular basis both between and within games will ultimately fail. This has been the lot of the Melbourne Football Club in 2019 and when we look at that injury list we can get an understanding of the disaster of a season that has confronted the team. The silver lining in the future may well be that a number of individuals who might not otherwise have received their opportunity as early as they have done this year but the fact remains that the continuity that can ensure that teams play well to their game plan has not been in place this season.

And so on to Marvel Stadium against the Western Bulldogs who have been almost as flakey as the Demons this year.

The two sides look evenly matched on the ground that Melbourne is visiting for the first time this year. It’s also a ground at which they have enjoyed recent success against their opposition and though the Dogs have struck a rare vein of form beating ladder leaders Geelong and finals aspirant Port Adelaide in Adelaide after coming close to victory over Collingwood, I’m not convinced about them. 

The tightness of the stadium strikes me as suiting Melbourne’s style of play far better than the MCG these days. Who knows, they might even discover ways of kicking goals from 35 metres out on a ground of this configuration given that they still have the ability to win the midfield clearances and get the ball inside their forward fifty metre arc. They simply need to finish things off.

I’ve been clamouring all year for more of the Maxy/Preuss combination but my pleas have, until now, fallen on deaf ears. It might now be forced heavily upon the selectors by virtue to injuries to the likes of Tom McDonald and Tim Smith (strangely, the latter isn’t even on the club’s injury list but he missed last week and was with the rehab group at training this week) which, together with Preuss’ form against the Blues, makes him a big chance to play up forward on Maxy’s return. In his previous games in that role he kicked two goals in both matches. When he’s up there in the forward line, his teammates stand taller.

So you can call me barking mad but I can see an upset brewing and accordingly, I’m tipping the Demons to get the better of the Bulldogs on Sunday and win by 25 points.

THE GAME  

Western Bulldogs v Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, Sunday 14 July, 2019 at 3.20pm  

HEAD TO HEAD  

Overall Western Bulldogs 76 wins Melbourne 88 wins 1 draw   

At Marvel Stadium Western Bulldogs 9 wins Melbourne 8 wins  

Last Five Meetings Western Bulldogs 2 wins Melbourne 3 wins  

The Coaches Beveridge 0 wins Goodwin 3 wins   

MEDIA  

TV – Channel 7 Fox Sports3 live at 3.00pm

Radio –  TBA

THE LAST TIME THEY MET  Melbourne 18.11.119 defeated Western Bulldogs 10.9.69   at the MCG, Round 17, 2018      

The Doggies provided tough opposition until the main break but in the last half, Max Gawn put on a clinic in the ruck and gave his midfield an armchair ride as the team coasted to a 50 point victory. The Bulldogs however, did badly miss their hero, Marcus Bontempelli.

THE TEAMS    

WESTERN BULLDOGS   

B Jason Johannisen Jackson Trengove Hayden Crozier
HB Taylor Duryea Zaine Cordy Easton Wood
C Lachie Hunter Bailey Smith Patrick Lipinski
HF Matthew Suckling Josh Schache Sam Lloyd
F Aaron Naughton Marcus Bontempelli Tory Dickson
FOLL Tim English Josh Dunkley Jack Macrae
I/C Toby McLean Ed Richards Roarke Smith Bailey Williams 
EMG Bailey Dale Dale Morris Rhylee West Lachie Young 

NO CHANGE

MELBOURNE

B Jake Lever Steven May Neville Jetta
HB Michael Hibberd Sam Frost Christian Salem
C Jayden Hunt Jordan Lewis Nathan Jones
HF James Harmes Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch
F Mitch Hannan Braydon Preuss Angus Brayshaw
FOLL Max Gawn Jack Viney Clayton Oliver
I/C Kyle Dunkley Jay Lockhart Alex Neal-Bullen Harrison Petty  
EMG: Jay Kennedy Harris Oscar McDonald Corey Wagner Josh Wagner

IN Max Gawn Neville Jetta Jake Lever Oscar McDonald Corey Wagner Josh Wagner

OUT Marty Hore (collarbone) Tom McDonald (knee) Sam Weideman (calf)

Injury List: Round 17

Jake Lever (knee) – available
Neville Jetta (knee) – available
Max Gawn (ankle) – test
Harry Petty (concussion) – test
Marty Hore (collarbone) – 2-4 weeks
Billy Stretch (foot) – 3-4 weeks
Jake Melksham (foot) – 4-5 weeks
Tom Sparrow (knee) – 4-5 weeks
Tom McDonald (knee) – TBC 
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – TBC
Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – TBC
Jeff Garlett (shoulder) – season 
Joel Smith (groin) – season
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season
Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite

PreviewRd172019.png

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