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I can vividly remember when the Demons ventured onto Blundstone Arena for the first time in early 2016 only to lose to the Kangaroos by 20.11.131 to 21.10.136.   

Melbourne was then a team on the up and up: young, enthusiastic and bold. It gave up a huge quarter time deficit after kicking against a strong wind but made that up by half time and fell dramatically short after an exciting high scoring affair. 

The team lost no fans that day - they were willing to take the game on and attack the football and the goals as if their lives depended on performing to the best of their abilities. It was the sort of display that would ultimately lead them to a preliminary final in two and a half year’s time.   

In the meantime, they would suffer yet another narrow defeat (4 points) at Blundstone in 2017. This time, the loss was costly because it left them tantalisingly short of a finals berth but they persevered and improved in the following year and gave their long-suffering supporters great hopes for 2019.  

Now, after a year of sheer agony for the Melbourne Football Club and its supporters, the team returns to the same venue but the indications are that this time, the result will not be close. The circumstances have made North  the biggest certainties of the final round. 

That’s a strange thing to say given that two weeks ago the Kangaroos were held to a solitary goal by Geelong but the truth is that we know the Dees are done for the year. I attribute this to a poor preseason and a diabolical run of injuries that has sapped every ounce of confidence out of the playing group. We know that the on field and off field team that represents the club at the start of the 2020 season will be significantly different in its makeup to the one we have now.

It’s obvious that 5.00pm on Saturday can’t come quickly enough for a team that’s bereft of a functioning forward line that can’t kick straight (most of its tall key position forwards were out for the season several weeks ago) and a defence that was hacked apart much earlier in the year. The constant drain on resources has exposed the club’s player depth and ability. They fought a tough battle but in recent weeks they gradually slowed and began to stop chasing as they hit the wall.

They’re cooked.  

There’s nothing more that can be said for a team that played like a rabble on the Friday night stage last week other than that by playing outside the state down in Hobart, hopefully not many people will take notice as to how they are performing.

The most positive spin that I can put on things at the moment is this -> bring on 2020!

THE GAME

North Melbourne v Melbourne on Saturday 24 August, 2019 at Blundstone Arena, Hobart at 2.10pm   

HEAD TO HEAD    

Overall North Melbourne 81 wins Melbourne 84 wins 1 draw     

At the Blundstone Arena North Melbourne 2 wins Melbourne 0 wins    

Last five times North Melbourne 4 wins Melbourne 1 win   

The Coaches Shaw 0 wins Goodwin 0 wins  

MEDIA     

TV - Fox Footy Channel Live at 2.00pm  

RADIO -  TBA   

THE LAST TIME THEY MET 

Melbourne 18.15.123 defeated North Melbourne 13.8.86 at the MCG, Round 3, 2018   

Melbourne started slowly and gave North a handy start before reeling the opposition in and pushing away to a handy 37-point win that broke a string of 17 successive losses to the Kangaroos. Max Gawn was dominant with 50 hit outs to Todd Goldstein’s 15. The Demon goal kickers were Tom Bugg 4, Jeff Garlett and Dean Kent with 3 each - none of them will be playing this week.   

THE TEAMS     

Screenshot_2019-08-22 AFL Team Line Ups - AFL com au.png

NORTH MELBOURNE 

B Marley Williams Scott D. Thompson Jasper Pittard
HB Jamie Macmillan Robbie Tarrant Shaun Atley
C Trent Dumont Shaun Higgins Jared Polec
HF Kayne Turner Nick Larkey Jack Ziebell
F Tarryn Thomas Ben Brown Cameron Zurhaar
FOLL Todd Goldstein Jy Simpkin Ben Cunnington
I/C Sam Durdin Taylor Garner Nathan Mason Wood
EMG Tom Campbell Lachlan Hosie Ben McKay Tom Murphy 

IN Mason Wood

OUT Jed Anderson (hamstring)

MELBOURNE

B Jayden Hunt Sam Frost Christian Salem
HB Jordan Lewis Jake Lever Nathan Jones
C James Harmes Angus Brayshaw Billy Stretch
HF Jay Kennedy Harris Bayley Fritsch Jake Melksham
F Corey Wagner Braydon Preuss Christian Petracca
FOLL Max Gawn Jack Viney Clayton Oliver
I/C Michael Hibberd  Marty Hore Alex Neal-Bullen Charlie Spargo
EMG Kyle Dunkley Declan Keilty Jay Lockhart Josh Wagner

IN Jayden Hunt Braydon Preuss

OUT Kade Chandler (finger) Kyle Dunkley (omitted) 

Injury List - Round 23  

 

Max Gawn (hamstring) – available  
Jordan Lewis (shin) – available  
Oscar McDonald (ankle) – we’ll get back to you soon 
Harrison Petty (groin) – my people will call your people  
Tom Sparrow (knee) – 1 week 
Kade Chandler (finger) – season 
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    

PreviewRd232019.png

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