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BREAK A LEG by The Oracle


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You wouldn’t believe it but the phrase “break a leg” is actually a term of encouragement, usually said to one who is about to perform before an audience, but in the case of the Melbourne Football Club, it’s gone a step further and taken the expression literally.

The Demons are about to step out onto the MCG in a big semi final match up with one of its finest carrying a broken fibula, albeit of the hairline variety. The stunt is all about bringing "good luck" to the team and let’s face it — after the game against the Swans last week, they need some good luck!

And not only do they need luck but in the words of coach Simon Goodwin speaking after Melbourne’s Qualifying Final loss …

"We've got to be clear as a club that we need to learn from what we did tonight."

It was only two games ago that Melbourne completed its second decisive win for the year over the Brisbane Lions, the fourth in two seasons. On that basis, you would think that this week’s Second Semi Final on Friday night at the MCG against the same opponent minus its number one ruckman is a lay down mizere but it’s not!

That would be because of the Demons’ demise under the pressure to the Sydney Swans after quarter time in last week’s Qualifying Final. The team was terrible in leaking goals after turnovers even though it could be argued they were the victims of some cruel momentum turning decisions by the umpires at crucial points in the game.

They also had some bad breaks like Christian Petracca injuring his calf muscle and fracturing that fibula as well as a few other assorted ailments but there really are no excuses for the almost complete shutdown of the forward line — Ben Brown kicked a solitary goal, Jake Melksham and Kozzy Pickett only touched the ball five and four times respectively, yet they missed at least four none too difficult chances between them. Alex Neal-Bullen was ineffective and Charlie Spargo could have done better before he got it in the neck. And not for the first time this year, the team failed at the finish with no goals in the final term.

With all that said, a 22 point loss doesn’t sound all that bad but the look of it was awful at the end and, without Steven May and Clayton Oliver, it would have been a true bloodbath.

So can they turn it around this week against the Brisbane Lions who would be approaching this game with the incentive of overturning two major humiliations heaped on them this year and the bonus of a Preliminary Final berth for doing so?

This brings me to the above Simon Goodwin quote about learnings. Melbourne’s forward woes that have underlined its second half of the season (six wins, seven defeats) have been well documented. They recur about once in every two weeks in the form of predictable ball movement into the forward line, dropped marks, turnovers, fumbling and poor kicking for goal. You have to ask yourself why, if the coach says that we have to learn from what we did, that we keep repeating the same mistakes every few weeks with our entries into the forward 50?

Why we don’t mix things up a bit more and why we don’t employ different players in the goal front?

Well, part of the riddle might be answered on Friday night because it’s quite within the realms of possibility that the decision might be forced. The brains trust could well depart from tradition and play Trac at full forward because it has no choice.

Anyway, I’m tipping the Demons to win because, as I mentioned earlier, those forward yips happen every second week and this one’s not one of those second weeks. But watch out the next time they play!!!

Melbourne to win by 48 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Brisbane Lions at The MCG, Friday 9 September, 2022 at 7:50pm

HEAD TO HEAD *

Overall: Melbourne 29 wins, Brisbane Lions 22 wins

At The MCG: Melbourne 15 wins, Brisbane 3 wins

Last Five Meetings: Melbourne 4 wins, Brisbane Lions 1 win

The Coaches: Goodwin 7 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 18.7.115 defeated Brisbane Lions 8.9.57 at The Gabba, Round 23, 2022

Everything went well for the Demons from the opening bounce and the Lions were driven to distraction in front of their home crowd. How do you think they’ll go in front of a hostile crowd of fanatical Demon fans?

THE TEAMS

MELBOURNE 

B: C.Salem 3 S.May 1 H.Petty 35
HB: A.Brayshaw 10 J.Lever 8 M.Hibberd 14 
C:  T.Sparrow 32 C.Oliver 13 E.Langdon 15
HF: J.Melksham 18 M.Gawn 11 J.Harmes 4
F:  A.Neal-Bullen 30 B.Fritsch 31 C.Spargo 9 
Foll: L.Jackson 6 J.Viney 7 C.Petracca 5
I/C: B.Brown 50 J.Hunt 29 K.Pickett 36 T.Rivers 24
Emerg: T.Bedford 12 J.Bowey 17 J.Smith 44 J.Van Rooyen 21

In: 

Out:

BRISBANE LIONS

B:  D.Gardiner 27 D.McStay 25 D.Rich 10
HB: B.Starcevich 37 H.Andrews 31 K.Coleman 18
C: Z.Bailey 33 J.Berry 7 C.Ah Chee 4
HF: D.Zorko 15  E.Hipwood 30 L.McCarthy 11
F: J.Payne 40 T.Fullarton 21 3 C.Cameron 23
Foll: D.Fort 32 46 L.Neale 9 H.McCluggage 6
I/C: N.Answerth 43 C.Rayner 16 D.Robertson 2 D.Wilmot 44
Emerg: K.Lohmann 1Emerg: R.Lester 35 K.Lohmann 1 R.Mathieson 36 J.Prior 20

In: N.Answerth D.Fort T.Fullarton C.Rayner

Out: J.Daniher (personal reasons) O.McInerney (ill) R.Mathieson (omitted) J. Prior (omitted) M.Robinson (omitted)

Injury List: First Semi Final

Christian Petracca - Calf | Available
Clayton Oliver - Face | Available
Bayley Fritsch - Knee | Available
Andy Moniz-Wakefield - Groin | Available
Charlie Spargo - Throat | Test
James Jordon - Foot | 2 Weeks

PreviewSF2022.png

Edited by Whispering_Jack
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