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A little known fact for Victorians is that Queenslanders don’t celebrate the Queen's Birthday in June but rather in October. The scheduled date on this year’s calendar is 5 October, 2020. However, I have a suggestion for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and that is to move the date forward a month and a half to this Saturday so that the coming clash of traditional rivals, Melbourne and Collingwood, continues a longstanding tradition of our game — the Queen’s Birthday Blockbuster.

Her Majesty was actually born on April 21, 1926 which is nowhere near October so moving the official date a bit closer to her real birthday in a year that’s an aberration in historical terms would be a perfect way to demonstrate flexible leadership in hard times. Annastacia is a canny politician who’s been around long enough to know that if she does Victoria a favour there’s an obvious quid pro quo in it for her. The prize is the 2020 grand final, a concession that’s available because time has Victoria beaten in terms of staging the grand final. Even if your premier Dan Andrews was able to deliver a knock out blow to Covid19 you don’t have enough security guards in Melbourne to run hotel quarantine for the interstate visitors who normally come there for the grand final. Any event that keeps the Magpies in the limelight will get Eddie McGuire’s approval and the AFL is too busy dealing with gropers and WAGs to get involved so, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a done deal.

And who do I think is going to win the big Queen’s Birthday Blockbuster in the Sunshine State? Why, the Demons of course!

The team has rallied tremendously in the short space of time since it copped a whacking at the hands of Port Adelaide, Chairperson Glen Bartlett, Coach Simon Goodwin and most of football’s commentariat. The players are standing tall, happy with their hub life and playing with confidence. Sure, they’ve played two of the bottom three teams and they’re up against a top eight side in Collingwood which usually means they’re heading for a fall, but not this time.

In direct comparison to the last time they met, Melbourne is the in-form team with a healthy list (bar for their latest ruck woes) and Collingwood, with a long injury list, has to back up after a four day break and a long trip from Adelaide to Brisbane.

The Demons’ only problems appear to be how to fit injured or rested players from their last game into the side and how to straighten up their kicking for goal which has been problematic in games against the Magpies over the last two or three years.

The Melbourne midfield was captivating against North Melbourne and though I’m not suggesting that Collingwood’s on ball division will be as easy to take apart than were the Kangaroos, the addition of Max Gawn and Jack Viney can only help the cause. Queen’s Birthday or not, the Demons should win this Blockbuster.

Melbourne by 12 points.

THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at the Gabba Saturday 15 August, 2020 at 5.10pm


Overall Melbourne 83 wins, Collingwood 150 wins, 5 drawn
At the Gabba Melbourne 0 wins, Collingwood 0 wins
Last Five Meetings Melbourne 1 win, Collingwood 4 wins
The Coaches Goodwin 1 win, Buckley 4 wins


TV - Fox Footy Live at 5.00pm


Collingwood 10.10.70 defeated Melbourne 7.11.53 at the MCG in Round 21, 2019

An injury depleted Melbourne parlayed a 5 point quarter time lead into a 6 goal deficit at the final break before drawing the Magpies’ lead back to 17 points at the final siren. Brodie Grundy overshadowed Max Gawn in the ruck battle but the battle in the midfield was close all day. For the second time this season, the Demons paid for their inaccuracy in front of goal.



FB Michael Hibberd Steven May Jay Lockhart
HB Christian Salem Jake Lever Nathan Jones
C Ed Langdon Clayton Oliver Adam Tomlinson
HF Jake Melksham Tom McDonald Bayley Fritsch
FF Christian Petracca Sam Weideman Kysaiah Pickett
FOL Braydon Preuss Angus Brayshaw Jack Viney
I/C James Harmes Charlie Spargo Tom Sparrow Aaron vandenBerg
EMG Mitch Brown Mitch Hannan Jayden Hunt Joel Smith

IN Jay Lockhart Braydon Preuss Jack Viney 

OUT Mitch Hannan (omitted) Luke Jackson (hamstring) Trent Rivers (omitted)


FB Jack Crisp Darcy Moore Jack Madgen
HB Brayden Maynard Lynden Dunn John Noble
C Tom Phillips Steele Sidebottom Josh Daicos
HF Brody Mihocek Ben Reid Will Hoskin-Elliott
FF Callum L Brown Darcy Cameron Jamie Elliott
FOL Brodie Grundy Taylor Adams Scott Pendlebury
IC Trey Ruscoe Josh Thomas Travis Varcoe Rupert Wills
EMG Tim Broomhead Mark Keane Chris Mayne Matthew Scharenberg

IN Jamie Elliott Will Hoskin-Elliott Darcy Moore Scott Pendlebury Ben Reid 

OUT Tim Broomhead (omitted) Chris Mayne (omitted) Jordan Roughead (concussion) Brayden Sier (quad) Jaidyn Stephenson (omitted)

Injury/Suspension List: Round 12

Corey Wagner (wrist) – available 
Max Gawn (knee) – test 
Alex Neal-Bullen (suspension) – 3 matches
Luke Jackson (hamstring) –  4-6 weeks
Marty Hore (toe and quad) – indefinite
Harry Petty (groin) – indefinite
Kade Kolodjashnij (head) – indefinite
Aaron Nietschke (knee) – season


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