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SOUTH OF THE BORDER by the Oracle



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Thankfully they moved this week’s game from Sydney where the sun shines and the virus breeds ever so slowly and almost nobody returns a positive test. The change of fixture comes at precisely the right time to allow everyone in town to head to the MCG on Sunday at around 3:30pm, not to catch up with what’s going on inside the ground but rather, to do what’s fashionable for woke folk in 2020 — pulling down statues. It’s time for Kevin Bartlett and Leigh Matthews to go but you can’t touch Norm Smith, Ron Barassi or Jimmy Stynes.

Of course, the same people showing interest in scrapping old statues are also looking at the name of the State which they reckon has to be changed because our old queen was somehow associated with colonialist types somewhere back in history. After this week, a possible name for the state is New Mexico because the people ruling the roost want to keep us all south of the border.

So they shunted an out of form Tigers away from a northern sojourn on the Gold Coast where they had an assignment with the equally ailing Eagles to the home of football for a match up with the Demons.

Richmond is playing like a club in trouble, without the intensity that marked its recent successful premiership campaigns. Their skipper is even suggesting that some of his teammates might opt against moving to an interstate hub if required to relocate. How very, very soft is that?

St Kilda had them figured right out last week. The Saints applied persistent pressure on the Tigers and blunted their usually relentlessly quick movement by hand and by foot. There’s no reason why the Demons can’t do likewise against a Richmond defence that no longer contains the retired Alex Rance and with key defender David Astbury out with a knee injury. It’s about time that Melbourne’s forward line started firing and, this week, it’s their time.

The Demons had a tough gig last week coming off their enforced bye which saw them struggling to score in the opening term. I anticipate some more changes to the line up especially given that the team is free from injury. Rotating players is what will get clubs through the season and Melbourne is well placed to do all of this. The team has Max Gawn building up after a slowish start and plenty of midfield talent to challenge the reigning premiers.

I’m tipping the Demons by 25 points.

THE GAME 

Melbourne v Richmond on Sunday 5 July, 2020 at 3.35pm at the MCG 

HEAD TO HEAD 

Overall Melbourne 75 wins Richmond 106 wins Drawn 2 At MCG Melbourne 63 wins Richmond 71 wins Drawn 1 Past five meetings Melbourne 1 win Richmond 4 wins The Coaches Hardwick 3 wins Goodwin 0 wins 

MEDIA 

TV - Channel 7, Fox Footy Channel Live at 3.30pm

Radio -  TBA

THE LAST TIME THEY MET 

Richmond 12.13.85 defeated Melbourne 6.6.42 in Round 6, 2019 at the MCG 

Melbourne put in a competitive first half and even led at quarter time but after the main break the team looked incapable of scoring as it slumped to a 1-5 record on Anzac Eve. The writing was on the wall when Sydney Stack took out co-captain Jack Viney.

THE TEAMS 

MELBOURNE

FB Joel Smith Steven May Michael Hibberd
HB James Harmes Jake Lever Christian Salem
C Ed Langdon Clayton Oliver Adam Tomlinson
HF Mitch Hannan Tom McDonald Angus Brayshaw
FF Kysaiah Pickett Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch
FOL Max Gawn Jake Melksham Jack Viney
I/C Jayden Hunt Jay Lockhart Trent Rivers Aaron vandenBerg
EM Mitch Brown Luke Jackson Oscar McDonald Charlie Spargo 

NO CHANGE

RICHMOND 

FB Nick Vlastuin Dylan Grimes Noah Balta
HB Bachar Houli Nathan Broad Jayden Short
C Kamdyn McIntosh Dion Prestia Josh Caddy
HF Jack Higgins Shane Edwards Jason Castagna
FF Dustin Martin Tom J Lynch Jack Riewoldt
FOL Toby Nankervis Trent Cotchin Kane Lambert
IC (from) Jake Aarts Liam Baker Mabior Chol Ryan Garthwaite Jack Graham Marlion Pickett Daniel Rioli

IN Jake Aarts Noah Balta Mabior Chol Daniel Rioli

OUT David Astbury (injured) Shai Bolton (omitted) Jack Ross (omitted) Sydney Stack (omitted) 

Injury List: Round 5

Marty Hore (toe and quad) – indefinite
Harry Petty (groin) – indefinite
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

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