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SWITCHING ON by The Oracle


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We can’t take anything for granted, can we?

After all, the Melbourne that took Port Adelaide for a long ride around the Adelaide Oval in early April of this year and switched off late in the game is finding it difficult of late to switch back on. Apart from a stellar display against the Brisbane Lions a fortnight ago, the Demons have laboured during the middle part of the season and, with a tough draw ahead of them, have reached a critical stage of the season after their first flag in decades.

The wheels haven’t exactly fallen off but there have been chinks exposed in the armour. The first of those chinks were seen with a series of injuries among their much vaunted defensive structures which saw a falling off in their pressure levels across the board and which manifested in a lack of connection up forward. While the backline has steadied and come together again, the magic up forward has remained absent.

Against Geelong last week at GMHBA Stadium, the old confidence that was symbolic of the 2021 Demon attack was gone. The talls weren’t marking, the smalls weren’t crumbing and the team relied to a large extent on Christian Petracca to play the role of Mr In Between. His three goals simply weren’t enough and perhaps it’s time for a bit of change to the way in which the team approaches goal.

The critics certainly think so because they’re saying that the opposition have worked Melbourne out.

So the club finds itself coming back to the Northern Territory for a crucial home match in the red heart of the continent in what should be a spiritual home against Port Adelaide which has historically found TIO Traeger Park a happy hunting ground — a home of its own away from home.

Indeed, for Melbourne to get out of its current little rut it will have to do something it has never done before and that is beat the Power on this land. Port’s record against it is 3 - 0 in Alice Springs and given its recent form, there’s every chance of an upset that nobody would have predicted a couple of months ago when they were languishing near the bottom of the table.

If there is to be a circuit breaker between the teams then I would go for the rucks which is not Port’s main strength and was a bit of a blind spot for Melbourne last week with both Max Gawn and Luke Jackson returning from injury. Maxy was underdone while Dogga didn’t appear to be 100% and couldn’t replicate his magnificent solo ruck effort pre injury against the Lions. I expect both to be fully switched on and back to their very best. Their example will help the team rise again and turn on a clinic for the Demons fans away from their traditional home.

Melbourne by 15 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Port Adelaide on Sunday 17 July, 2022 at 3.20pm at TIO Traeger Park

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Port Adelaide 21 wins Melbourne 15 wins

At TIO Traeger Park Melbourne 0 wins Port Adelaide 3 wins

Past five meetings Melbourne 3 wins Port Adelaide 2 wins

The Coaches Goodwin 3 wins Hinkley 3 wins

MEDIA

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

Radio — check your local guides.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 10.8.68 defeated Port Adelaide 4.12.36 in Round 4, 2022 at the Adelaide Oval

The game at Adelaide Oval earlier this year was a walk in the park for the Demons. Port remained goalless until 22 minutes 18 seconds into the third quarter when Melbourne released its grip.

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE

B: M.Hibberd 14 S.May 1 A.Tomlinson 20
HB:  J.Harmes 4 J.Lever 8 C.Salem 3
C: A.Brayshaw 10 C.Petracca 5 E.Langdon 15
HF: T.Sparrow 32 M.Gawn 11 A.Neal-Bullen 30
F: B.Fritsch 31 B.Brown 50 C.Spargo 9
Foll: L.Jackson 6 J.Viney 7 K.Pickett 36
I/C: T.Bedford 12 J.Jordon 23 J.Melksham 18 T.Rivers 24 
Sub: L.Dunstan 27 Emerg: K.Chandler 37 J.Hunt 29 S.Weideman 26

In: L.Dunstan J.Melksham T.Rivers A.Tomlinson 

Out: J.Bowey (omitted) J.Hunt (omitted) C.Oliver (thumb)  H.Petty (H&S Protocols)

PORT ADELAIDE 

B: R.Burton 3 T.Jonas 1 T.Clurey 17
HB: D.Byrne-Jones 33 A.Aliir 21 D.Houston 5
C: K.Amon 15 W.Drew 28 K.Farrell 24
HF: Z.Butters T.Marshall 4 C.Rozee 20
F: R.Gray 9 C.Dixon 22 S.Powell-Pepper 2
Foll: J.Finlayson 11 O.Wines 16 T.Boak 10
I/C: M.Bergman 14 R.Bonner 26 M. Georgiades 19 J.Mead 44
Sub: J.Burgoyne 36 Emerg: X.Duursma 7 S.Motlop 6 T.McKenzie 12 

In: R.Bonner 

Out: J.Burgoyne (omitted) J. McEntee (omitted)

Injury List: Round 18

Blake Howes - Foot | Available
Andy Moniz-Wakefield - Groin | Available
Daniel Turner - Face | Available
Clayton Oliver - Finger | Test
Joel Smith - Ankle | 1-2 Weeks
Deakyn Smith - Jaw | 4 Weeks
Tom McDonald - Foot | 7-9 Weeks

PreviewRd182022.png

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