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  • Podcast: Mid-Season Review 2022  

  • Podcast: Mid-Season Review 2022  

A STEP FORWARD? by The Oracle


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The winds of change have blown through the Melbourne Football Club over the past month or so as the team previously known for applying relentless pressure on opponents dramatically fell from its pedestal to a low not seen for some three years.

This is a team that had the luxury of going through last season with one of the healthiest lists in the competition. And that health was not only reflected in a weekly injury list that revealed very few key players missing, but importantly, even fewer injuries during games. As a consequence, the Demons of 2021 were mostly able to retain their structure and to apply high levels of pressure whenever needed. It got them through a few games that ultimately made the difference between a top two placing and a more difficult series of battles in the finals.

However, things have been different in recent times with injuries suffered during the course of matches becoming one of the main factors behind the Demons’ current woes. With a team that relies so heavily on its strong defensive game, it simply can’t afford to have two or three key defenders out of the game or missing large slabs of the action by half time as it has over its past three matches. With limited rotations as a result, we’ve witnessed a disturbing fall off in pressure in each final half. If the pattern continues, it will spell disaster for the team’s aspirations in going for back to back flags.

This week the team takes one step forward regaining Steven May, fresh from his experiences with concussion and some fisticuffs with Jake Melksham at the Entrecôte Restaurant in Grenville Street and one step back with the loss of skipper Max Gawn.

The loss of Maxy will be huge but his absence opens up other prospects and adds some unpredictability to the team makeup which might not be such a bad thing. Hopefully, the worst case scenario is that the two will balance each other out and as long as the team can stay on their feet throughout the game, their prospects for a return to winning form are good.

A number of Demons who have been out of sorts and down on form will relish the brief break and should be supercharged to return to their best form. In particular Ed Langdon, Christian Salem and Ben Brown who are all due to stand up and take responsibility as they did at this juncture and then later in the finals of last year.

There’s an ongoing debate about whether the Demons are loading for the run home to the finals but it has to be said that the Lions weren’t traveling all that well before the break either. They’ve lost two of their last four games, looked out of sorts against the Giants and appeared to be blowing hard against the Saints in their last game.

The MCG hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for them in recent years - they haven’t won a game there since 2014. Melbourne last won there on 8 May so I’m going for the Demons to win on the basis of home ground advantage which against this opponent has historically been strong.

Melbourne to win by 10 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Brisbane Lions at The MCG, Thursday 23 June, 2022 at 7.20pm

HEAD TO HEAD *

Overall: Melbourne 27 wins Brisbane Lions 22 wins

At MCG: Melbourne 14 wins, Brisbane 3 wins

Last Five Meetings: Melbourne 3 wins Brisbane Lions 2 wins

The Coaches: Goodwin 4 wins Fagan 2 wins

* does not include Brisbane Bears or Fitzroy games

MEDIA

TV live and on demand on Kayo and live on Foxtel. Check your local guides.

Radio - check your local guides.

LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 13.15.93 defeated Brisbane Lions 9.6.60 at Adelaide Oval, Qualifying Final, 2021

A superhuman effort by Lachie Neale (46 touches) and 5 goals from Charlie Cameron weren’t enough to keep the accurate Lions from being any more than pests as the Demons ploughed their way into the finals series. Mind you, it was the skipper who dominated with 37 hit outs but the Demon stars were shining brightly at Adelaide Oval in the first week of the final series.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE 

B: .Harmes 4 H.Petty 35 S.May 1
HB: J.Jordon 23 J.Lever 8 C.Salem 3 
C: A.Brayshaw 10 C.Petracca 5 E.Langdon 15
HF: B.Brown 50 B.Fritsch 31 T.Sparrow 32
F: A.Neal-Bullen 30 S.Weideman 26 C.Spargo 9 
Foll:  L.Jackson 6 C.Oliver 13 J.Viney 7
I/C: T.Bedford 12 J.Bowey 17 M.Hibberd 14 K.Pickett 36
Sub: J.Hunt 29 Emerg: M.Brown 38 L.Dunstan 27 A.Tomlinson 20 

In: T.Bedford J.Hunt S.May S.Weideman 


Out: M.Brown (omitted) K.Chandler (omitted) M.Gawn (ankle)  D.Turner (face)

BRISBANE

B: J.Payne 40 H.Andrews 31 M.Adams 24
HB: B.Starcevich 37 D.Rich 10 N.Answerth 43
C: J.Berry 7 T.Berry 13 H.McCluggage 6
HF: C.Rayner 16 E.Hipwood 30 L.McCarthy 11
F: D.McStay 25 J.Daniher 3 C.Cameron 23
Foll: O.McInerney 46 J.Lyons 17 L.Neale 9
I/C: K.Coleman 18 D.Robertson 2 M.Robinson 5 J.Tunstill 29
Sub: C.Ah Chee 4 Emerg: D.Fort 32 R.Lester 35 J.Madden 14

In: C.Ah Chee T.Berry J.Payne D.Tunstill

Out: Z.Bailey (H&S Protocol) D.Fort (omitted) D.Gardiner (lungs) D.Zorko (hamstring)

Injury List: Round 15

Max Gawn - Ankle | 2-4 Weeks
Daniel Turner - Face | 3-4 Weeks
Blake Howes - Foot | 3-5 Weeks
Joel Smith - Ankle | 3-5 Weeks
Majak Daw - Pectoral | 4 Weeks
Tom McDonald - Foot | 10-12 Weeks

PreviewRd152022.png

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