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THE 2020 EQUATION by Whispering Jack


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The 2020 equation is simple for the Melbourne Football Club – it must keep winning and it must take some big scalps during the second half of the season without dropping games against the lesser lights.

The Demons have gone down this season to the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th teams on the ladder including twice by less than a goal in games that could easily have gone the other way. Against that, they have beaten 11th, 13th, 14th and 18th and though they thumped the Crows during the week, the game was still in the balance until early in the final quarter. The fact that this week’s opponent, North Melbourne outclassed them for a full four quarters makes the encounter all the more problematic for the Melbourne Football Club.

The Kangaroos have been the hoodoo club for the Demons who arrested a 17 game losing streak against them early in 2018 at the MCG. However, that was in the club’s glory season and it lost their only encounter in 2019 to make it 18 defeats in their last 19 meetings.

Melbourne struggled with low energy levels coming off a four day break a couple of weeks ago and are being asked to perform in the same circumstances again making it the third game in 14 days. A few players including its most important player, skipper Max Gawn, who has now been ruled out, are showing some signs of wear and tear but North are in almost the same boat so the outcome could well be down to a question of the survival of the fittest.

Even with Gawn in the side and doing well, the Demon midfield was struggling of late to dominate clearances and, while you always take things one game at a time, there’s an important one looming against Collingwood so team selection for this week is going to be fascinating. They overran a young Crows team a few days ago which could be a sign that fitness guru Darren Burgess’ experience in strength and conditioning is going to be significant in the era of compacted fixtures.

Melbourne’s defence has continued to stand strong with Steven May and Jake Lever developing a good understanding with the likes of Michael Hibberd and Christian Salem. The fact that Ben Brown is a likely out with injury will assist their cause because Brown is usually a thorn in the side of the team — even last year when he was slightly off target kicking 2.3 he picked up 17 possessions, nine of them contested.

There will be no excuses for the Demons in this game which was moved from the Kangaroos’ home away from home in Tasmania to the more friendly Adelaide Oval where they have some very recent winning experience on a ground that suits their style.

When all things are factored into the equation, it spells a Melbourne victory by 21 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v North Melbourne on Sunday 9 August, 2020 at the Adelaide Oval at 6.10pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Melbourne 84 wins North Melbourne 82 wins 1 draw

At the Adelaide Oval Melbourne 0 wins North Melbourne 0 wins

Last five times Melbourne 1 win North Melbourne 4 wins

The Coaches Goodwin 0 wins Shaw 1 win

MEDIA

TV -
Fox Footy Channel Live at 6:00pm

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

North Melbourne 13.10.88 defeated Melbourne 12.11.83 at Blundstone Arena, Round 23, 2019

Both sides had little to play for but they produced a close contest that could have gone either way. In the end, it was a fairly good send off for the season with the Kangaroos holding steady in a close finish. Max Gawn had a blinder in the ruck with 26 disposals, 41 hit outs and three goals to shade Todd Goldstein in the battle of the big men.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE

FB Jake Lever Steven May Christian Salem
HB Michael Hibberd Trent Rivers Nathan Jones
C Ed Langdon Clayton Oliver Adam Tomlinson
HF Mitch Hannan Sam Weideman Aaron vandenBerg
FF Bayley Fritsch Luke Jackson Jake Melksham
FOL Tom McDonald Christian Petracca Angus Brayshaw
I/C James Harmes Kysaiah Pickett Charlie Spargo Tom Sparrow
EMG Neville Jetta James Jordon Oscar McDonald Braydon Preuss

IN Mitch Hannan Tom McDonald Kysaiah Pickett Trent Rivers Charlie Spargo

OUT Harley Bennell (omitted) Max Gawn (managed) Jay Lockhart (managed) Alex Neal-Bullen (suspended) Jack Viney (concussion)

NORTH MELBOURNE 

FB Ben McKay Robbie Tarrant Luke McDonald
HB Shaun Atley Josh Walker Aiden Bonar
C Jamie Macmillan Jy Simpkin Jared Polec
HF Cameron Zurhaar Nick Larkey Shaun Higgins
FF Aaron Hall Majak Daw Bailey Scott
FOL Todd Goldstein Luke Davies-Uniacke Trent Dumont
I/C Jed Anderson Sam Durdin Jack Mahony Jasper Pittard
EMG Tom Campbell Lachlan Hosie Tom Murphy Will Walker

IN Luke Davies-Uniacke Sam Durdin Nick Larkey

OUT Ben Brown (knee) Lachlan Hosie (omitted) Will Walker (omitted)

Injury/Suspension List: Round 11

Jack Viney (concussion) – 1 week
Alex Neal-Bullen (suspension) – 4 matches
Marty Hore (toe and quad) – indefinite
Harry Petty (groin) – indefinite
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season

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