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THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES by Whispering Jack



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Please don’t talk to me about Melbourne’s lack of ruckmen last week at the Adelaide Oval. Or the discrepancy in the free kick numbers. Those things might have played a role in the way that the game unfolded but if you focus on them, then you are missing some truly significant pointers as to how the rest of the season is going to pan out for the Melbourne Football Club and in particular, on what happens on Thursday night when the team plays against Geelong at the Cattery.

Here are some of the things that happened at the Adelaide Oval that should send shivers down the spines of opposing coaches.

Clayton Oliver — after inking a playing contract to set up his career, he might have been forgiven for slacking off a little against a team in the bottom third of the competition but that was the furthest thing from his mind as he continued to amass a 36 possession game (a game high) with 13 tackles (equal game high) and plenty of score involvements. Clarrie is playing at a different level to the rest of the competition.

Christian Petracca — after several weeks playing well below 100% fitness and spraying his shots at goal, Tracc produced the best ratings game of his career, kicking three goals, causing havoc with 11 score involvements and amassing bundles of contested possession. He’s back in town.

Jack Viney — he might have trailed Oliver and Petracca (and Ed Langdon for that matter) in the number of touches but he’s been in good form of late and never drops his intensity and aggression at the football. When the game was still in the balance, he bustled his way through for the goal that finally settled the issue.

Collectively, Oliver, Petracca and Viney are the toughest starting midfield at the elite level of the game. They're not just back in town — they are brutal as a combination of players. The stuff of nightmares for opposing coaches.

Speaking of being back in town, Ed Langdon, who was almost lost in the bush after being subbed out with broken ribs against North Melbourne a month or so ago, has finally found his way back to the Bourke Street Mall after his 33 touches against the Crows.

The modern day Demons have been good defensively but experienced a few shaky weeks in the absence of Steven May. Now that he’s settled back into the side and the rest of the key defenders are spending more of their time on the ground than in the hands of the trainers, they’re playing with that purpose again. Last Saturday’s effort in breaking the club’s intercept record was outstanding.

There’s been some criticism of the Demon forwards but the two Browns contributed two goals each and the small forwards continued to bring their low possession, high pressure system to the game.

With the likelihood of at least one, if not both of the club’s tall giants returning to the team for the Cats on Thursday night, the side is regaining the look and feel of September. The question therefore is whether we can gauge if the home side has improved enough to recover from the “wave of illness” that covered them when they were comprehensively smashed by the rampant Demons as they headed towards a premiership flag late last year.

I’m not convinced by the Cats. They somehow have managed to score a sensational fixture given they finished top four last year. They have two major additions to the side that capitulated in the Preliminary Final, namely Tyson Stengle and Sam De Koning but the balance of the side are still old men who are going to be put under immense pressure. This should be even more so given that their most recent game wasn’t particularly challenging and therefore not much preparation for a top-of-the-ladder tussle against the reigning premiers.

As long as Melbourne’s defenders can stay out of the way of the odd errant elbow, I think they have the strength and ability to hold the Geelong twin towers of Hawkins and Cameron to manageable levels of scoring.

And if they do that, the Demons should beat the Cats by 27 points at at GMHBA Stadium.

THE GAME



Geelong v Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday 7 July 2022 at 7.20pm

HEAD TO HEAD



Overall Geelong 132 wins Melbourne 88 wins 2 draws


At  GMHBA Stadium Geelong 40 wins Melbourne 19 wins 1 draw

The last five meetings Geelong 2 wins Melbourne 3 wins


The Coaches Scott 5 wins Goodwin 4 wins



MEDIA



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



Radio - check your local guides.



LAST TIME THEY MET



Melbourne 19.11.125 defeated Geelong 6.6.42 at Optus Stadium in the 2021 Preliminary Final

You couldn’t ask for more than a 14 goal win in a Preliminary Final, could you?

Chris Scott sooked about his players being sick which demonstrated as much, if not more, poor form from the coach than from the Geelong players on the night.

THE TEAMS




GEELONG

 B: Z. Guthrie 39 S.De Koning 16 J. Bews 24
HB: J. Henry 38 M. Blicavs 46 Z. Tuohy 2
C:  M. Duncan 22 J.Cameron 5 I. Smith 7    
HF:  T. Atkins 30 T. Hawkins 6  P. Dangerfield 35 
F: B.Close 45 G.Rohan 23 T.Stengle 18
Foll: R. Stanley 1 C. Guthrie 29 J. Selwood 14     
I/C: M. Holmes 9 S. Menegola 27 G. Miers 32 M.O'Connor 42
Sub: Q.Narkle 19 Emerg: F.Evans 31 M.Knevitt 10 S.Neale 33

In S.De Koning J. Selwood

Out S.Higgins (omitted) J.Kolodjashnij (concussion) 

MELBOURNE

B: H.Petty 35 J.Lever 8 S.May 1
HB: C.Salem 3 M.Hibberd 14 J.Bowey 17 
C: A.Brayshaw 10 C.Oliver 13 E.Langdon 15
HF: K.Pickett 36 L.Jackson 6 T.Bedford 12
F: A.Neal-Bullen 30 B.Brown 50 C.Spargo 9 
Foll: M.Gawn 11 C.Petracca 5 J.Viney 7
I/C: B.Fritsch 31 J.Jordon 23 J.Harmes 4 T.Sparrow 32
Sub: J.Hunt 29 Emerg: J.Melksham 18 A.Tomlinson 20 S.Weideman 26

In: M.Gawn J.Hunt L.Jackson 

Out: M.Brown (omitted) A.Tomlinson S.Weideman (omitted)

Injury List: Round 17

Max Gawn - Ankle | Test
Luke Jackson - Knee | Test
Blake Howes - Foot | 1-2 Weeks
Andy Moniz-Wakefield - Groin |  1-2 Weeks
Daniel Turner - Face | 1-2 Weeks
Joel Smith - Ankle | 2-4 Weeks
Tom McDonald - Foot | 8-10 Weeks

PreviewRd172022.png

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