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SLEEP OUT AT THE MCG by The Oracle

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Around about 12 months ago Melbourne and Sydney fought out an epic battle between two top eight teams fighting for the best possible ladder position in the lead up to the finals. The Swans triumphed by 9 points at the MCG after the Demons came back from five goals down at three quarter time. But for its poor kicking for goal, Melbourne might well have won the game and finished in the top four. Who knows what might then have happened for the club in September?

As a consequence, the person responsible for arranging the AFL fixture chose these teams to meet on a Friday night under the moonlight at the home of football late in the 2019 season. Surely, this strategy was the perfect prescription for a crowd pleasing game to kick off the year’s penultimate round? The problem with this is that the Dees and the Swans have both fallen into a hole so the Friday night prime time television football market is instead about to be treated to a snore fest between 17th and 15th in a round where 1st plays 2nd and 3rd plays 4th. 

Go figure?

The Swans can finish only one place higher than where they sit at the moment and could fall a spot or two while the Demons look stuck on 17th unless something unbelievable occurs. They might consider playing the kids and start looking forward to 2020 but, in doing so, could also find themselves accused of tanking by some nuff nuff in the media who has suffered a mental block about the circumstances that brought them to this place after promising so much at the end of 2018.

The result is that the AFL has provided the Melbourne Football Club with the perfect opportunity to combine the game with its annual sleep out at the MCG night (which seems to have escaped my attention this year).

When previewing most games at this level, there are a number of indicators that one can look at, most notably current form and team composition but these teams are so significantly below their best on a team and individual level that they defy all normal principles of prediction. 

For instance, Melbourne has had one constant this year in the form of Max Gawn who has been heroic in the ruck. On Queens Birthday, he beat Collingwood big man Brodie Grundy but last week, he lowered his colors to the same player. The Demons still won the clearances on the day by 36 to 31 and managed only one less visit inside their 50 metre arc but inability to convert and their poor turnovers saw the Magpies hold sway. 

This week the Demon ruck division faces a far less potent opposition and should not have much trouble overpowering the Swans at the stoppages. The problem is that everywhere else on the ground, they’ve been awful and in these circumstances, I can see them struggling to cobble out a winning score in the absence of a key forward capable of kicking multiple goals.

Expect a dour struggle with neither team scoring above 60 points and a small crowd enjoying a night’s sleep at the MCG.

My prediction is that fans of one or other of the sides will awaken to see their team bring home the four premiership points on offer.

THE GAME     

Melbourne v Sydney Swans at the MCG Friday 16 August 2019 at 7.50pm        

HEAD TO HEAD       

Overall Melbourne 93 wins Sydney Swans 113 wins 2 drawn      

At MCG Melbourne 49 wins Sydney Swans 44 wins 2 drawn    

Last 5 meetings Melbourne 1 wins Sydney Swans 4 wins   

The Coaches Goodwin 1 win Longmire 2 wins   

MEDIA        

TV -  Channel 7 Fox Footy Channel Live at 7.30pm

RADIO -  SEN 3AW ABC

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 15.10.100 defeated Sydney Swans 11.12.78 in Round 4 2019 at the MCG           

After struggling in the first half, the Demons found their mojo just before the main break and comprehensively beat the Swans on their hoodoo ground - the SCG. Max Gawn was in devastating form with 55 hit outs while Clayton Oliver dominated the possession count. Christian Salem was also good. Those three are among the very few at the club who can hang their heads high over their efforts throughout the season.

THE TEAMS

Screenshot_2019-08-15 AFL Team Line Ups - AFL com au.png

MELBOURNE

B Michael Hibberd Sam Frost Jake Lever

HB Nathan Jones Marty Hore Christian Salem

C Kyle Dunkley Jack Viney Billy Stretch

HF Corey Wagner Bayley Fritsch James Harmes

F Jordan Lewis Jake Melksham Christian Petracca

FOLL Max Gawn Angus Brayshaw Clayton Oliver

I/C Kade ChandlerJay Kennedy Harris Alex Neal-Bullen Charlie Spargo

EMG Jayden Hunt Declan Keilty Jay Lockhart Braydon Preuss

 

IN Kade Chandler Marty Hore Alex Neal-Bullen Charlie Spargo

Billy Stretch

OUT Oskar Baker (omitted) Jayden Hunt (omitted) Oscar McDonald (ankle) Steven May (hamstring) Harrison Petty (groin) 

NEW Kade Chandler

SYDNEY SWANS

B Callum Mills Dane Rampe Aliir Aliir

HB Jake Lloyd Tom McCartin Jordan Dawson

C Isaac Heeney George Hewett Oliver Florent

HF Ben Ronke Nick Blakey Tom Papley

F Kieren Jack Sam Reid Daniel Menzel

FOLL Hayden McLean Josh P. Kennedy Luke Parker

I/C James Bell Ryan Clarke Robbie Fox James Rowbottom

EMG Joel Amartey Lewis Melican James Rose Ryley Stoddart

 

IN Kieren Jack

 

OUT Zak Jones (Injured)

Injury List - Round 22

Oskar Baker (knee) – available 

Corey Maynard (hip) – test 

Tom Sparrow (knee) – 2 weeks

Jeff Garlett (shoulder) – season

Mitch Hannan (groin) – season

Neville Jetta (knee) - season

Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – season

Steven May (hamstring) – season

Tom McDonald (knee) – season

Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

Joel Smith (groin) – season

Tim Smith (foot) – season

Aaron vandenBerg (foot) – season

Sam Weideman (jaw) – season

Guy Walker (shoulder) – indefinite

PreviewRd222019.png

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