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RAINING CATS & DOGS by Whispering Jack


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Despite winning their game in the Red Centre at the weekend, the consensus among the pundits is that Melbourne’s days in the sun are over. Ten rounds into the season, they were the competition’s top dogs and regarded virtually unbeatable but their recent form (three wins from the last seven games) has put them well below par, perilously clinging onto second spot on the ladder with storm clouds on the horizon.

The air of invincibility that once surrounded them is gone and the Demons face a tough road to the finals. On the other hand, Chris Scott has reinvented his crotchety, old Cats into flag favouritism and thanks to their soft draw, they are near certainties to hold #1 spot coming to the business end of the season. If you listen to the football media, Geelong are football’s new gods. They  can’t be beaten — it all sounds so familiar.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs who entered the season on equal favouritism with the Demons, aren’t even in the top eight although that might well change if they manage to win Saturday night’s encounter at Marvel Stadium. They are certainly primed to do so with an injury list that threatened to derail their 2022 campaign now dwindling. They smashed the Saints last week and coach Luke Beveridge reckons they’re up for the fight against the team that humiliated them in last year’s premiership decider.

Back in the Red Centre, Melbourne struggled without the injured Clayton Oliver, a Covid19 affected Harry Petty and Jake Lever winged early with a shoulder injury that could see him miss this week. They say that Ben Brown’s hobbling around as well. The team managed to get out of gaol thanks to Kozzy's six-goal masterclass in front of his adoring fans but not every town’s like Alice.

Luckily, they got Port Adelaide in a tizz about defending against the Demon whiz kid small man while their taller timber in Max Gawn and Luke Jackson were unable to hit their straps after coming back from injury. The experts seem to enjoy picking on Bayley Fritsch for doing what he’s been good at doing for some time. But like Kozzy, he’s due to explode with a big of goals at any time soon.

There’s one advantage in all of this. The Melbourne brains trust have the opportunity to return to the drawing board and make the small adjustments necessary to get them back on track. For the first time in a while, they are flying under the radar in much the same way as they were this time twelve months ago when the Cats and Dogs held sway on the ladder. And when the going got tough back then, it was the Demons who came through and the rest was history.

Saturday night’s game should be a beauty. A big lifter for the winner anḏ in my estimation, the winner will be Melbourne who are ready to make their run for glory. Tipping them to win by 29 points.

THE GAME



Western Bulldogs v Melbourne at Marvel Stadium Saturday 23 July, 2022 at 7.25 pm 

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Western Bulldogs 78 wins Melbourne 90 wins 1 draw
At Marvel Stadium Western Bulldogs 10 wins Melbourne 9 wins
Last Five Meetings Western Bulldogs 2 wins Melbourne 3 wins
The Coaches Beveridge 3 wins Goodwin 6 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.


THE LAST TIME THEY MET



Melbourne 14.13.97 Western Bulldogs 11.5.71 at The MCG in Round 1, 2022


We all wondered how a brooding Bulldog team would react after six months of agonizing over their grand final loss. The result was a repeat of history with Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver leading another great comeback to glory victory over the hapless dogs.


THE TEAMS


WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: E.Richards 20 C.Gardner 43 B.Khamis 24 
HB: M.Hannan 29 A.Keath 42 B.Dale 31
C: B.Williams 34 T.Liberatore 21 J.Macrae 11
HF: J.Johannisen 39 J.Bruce 17 B.Smith 6
F: J.Dunkley 5 A.Naughton 33 J.Ugle-Hagan 2
Foll: T.English 44 M.Bontempelli 4 A.Treloar 1
I/C: R.Garcia 38 L.McNeil 30  C.Weightman 19 R.West 14
Sub: R.McComb 27 Emerg: Z.Cordy 12 L.Vandermeer 23 J.Sweet 41

In: A.Naughton 

Out: J.Sweet (omitted)

MELBOURNE

B: T.Rivers 24 S.May 1 H.Petty 35
HB:  T.Sparrow 32 A.Tomlinson 20 J.Jordon 23 
C: A.Brayshaw 10 C.Oliver 13 E.Langdon 15 
HF: B.Fritsch 31 M.Gawn 11 J.Harmes 4
F: K.Pickett 36 S.Weideman 26 C.Petracca 5
Foll: L.Jackson 6 J.Viney 7 A.Neal-Bullen 30
I/C: M.Hibberd 14  J.Melksham 18 C.Salem 3 C.Spargo 9
Sub: T.Bedford Emerg: 12 L.Dunstan 27 J.Hunt 29

In: C.Oliver H.Petty A.Tomlinson  S.Weideman 

Out: 
B.Brown (knee soreness) L.Dunstan (omitted) J.Hunt (omitted) J.Lever (shoulder) 

Injury List: Round 19

Jake Lever - Shoulder | Test

Clayton Oliver - Finger | Test

Joel Smith - Ankle | 1 Week

Deakyn Smith - Jaw | 3 Weeks

Tom McDonald - Foot | 6-8 Weeks

PreviewRd192022.png

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