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“If Melbourne are to finish top four, they have to beat Collingwood next week” — David King (First Crack 4 June 2023)

 

Monday’s Kings Birthday blockbuster will mark the first of its kind after a seven decade reign by Queen Elizabeth II and, if David King is to be believed, it will be a season-defining game for Melbourne. 

 

Even though the the Demons seem to be well ensconced in the top four, this situation is in many ways a mirage given the number of teams yapping at their heels a rung or two below them ready to pounce. With a bye and a game against the resurgent Cats to follow, it’s clear how critical the game is for the club which currently only has only one top eight scalp under its belt. 

 

To make matters even more dire, the team’s form has been in apparent decline over the past few weeks. The inaccuracy in kicking for goal highlighted further by a seemingly sudden surge of impotency in attack has some supporters up in arms but you don’t lose skills overnight. This is an issue that historically can vary from week to week among teams and there’s no reason why  Melbourne can’t revert back to that early season deadly form in front of goal. And if they do, then watch out because the word is out that they were inspired this week by former coach and MND sufferer Neale Daniher’s moving address ahead of Monday’s Big Freeze. 

 

Speaking of reverting back, it’s worth freezing the frame and looking at where Melbourne stood last year when it came up against Collingwood in Round 21 last year. The Demons were coming off a series of interstate trips combined with six day breaks and absolutely blitzed the Magpies in the first half. Absent the latter’s accuracy in front of goal (8 goals from 10 shots), it would have been all over by half time. As it was, the Pies’ accuracy persisted (3.2 to 1.4) as they pegged the Dees back in the third term before they overcame them in the final quarter. It will be interesting to see how differently Melbourne comes up this week with the benefit of a ten day break against a team that’s had a run of easy wins against lowly sides over the past month or so.

 

In fact, it would be fair to say that the last month for Collingwood has a similar feel to the Melbourne experience of 2022 including games against the likes of North Melbourne and the West Coast Eagles where they each won easily in cruise mode and came out with some important personnel unavailable. Sure, the Magpies work hard, play for each other and are a tough running side but it’s been a while since they’ve been tested and are coming into Monday’s blockbuster game without some handy playmakers in De Goey and Sidebottom out of the side and others under a cloud. 

 

Luckily for Collingwood, Melbourne’s hand could not be strengthened by the return of Clayton Oliver, hospitalized with blisters on his feet after recovering from a hammy. I was hoping to see him recover on the morning of the game and turn up still connected to a saline drip and still pick up 40 touches in the afternoon. Still, the Demon midfield did okay against Carlton without Clarrie so it’s not the end of the world.

 

There’s also been a noticeable lift in the form of Melbourne’s defence which is returning to the high standards it achieved in 2021. They will miss Jake Bowey but with the tall backs in good form, Christian Salem hitting his straps and Michael Hibberd back after resting his Achilles, expect to see Collingwood tested to the limit and frozen out of the game.

 

Melbourne to ice a game for the ages by two points.

 
Donate to fight MND here


THE GAME

 

Melbourne v Collingwood at the MCG, Monday 12 June, 2023 at 3.20pm

 

HEAD TO HEAD

 

Overall Melbourne 84 wins Collingwood 153 wins 5 drawn 

 

At the MCG Melbourne 63 wins Collingwood 85 wins 3 drawn 

 

Last five meetings Melbourne 1 win Collingwood 4 wins 

 

The Coaches Goodwin 0 wins McCrae 2 wins

 

LAST TIME THEY MET

 

Collingwood 15.6.96 defeated Melbourne 13.11.89 at the MCG in Round 21, 2022

 

Melbourne led by a point at 23½ minutes into the final term when Ash Johnson kicked the goal that put a remarkably accurate Collingwood in front. The Demons had almost 100 more disposals, won the clearances 52-32 and went inside 50 on 65-41 occasions but couldn’t match the Magpies’ shooting accuracy for goal which finished at 71% but was in the 80s for most of the game.

 

THE TEAMS 

 

MELBOURNE
 

B T. Rivers  S. May  J. Lever
HB M. Hibberd A. Tomlinson J. Smith
C L. Hunter J. Viney T. Sparrow
HF C. Spargo B. Fritsch A. Neal-Bullen
F J. van Rooyen B. Grundy K. Chandler
FOLL M. Gawn C. Petracca K. Pickett
I/C A. Brayshaw E. Langdon J. McVee C. Salem
 

SUB J. Jordon EMG J. Melksham J. Schache T. Woewodin 

IN M. Hibberd 

OUT J. Bowey (concussion) J. Harmes (suspended) 

COLLINGWOOD

 

B I. Quaynor D. Moore B. Maynard
HB B. Frampton N. Murphy S. Pendlebury
C W. Hoskin-Elliott J. Crisp J. Daicos
HF A. Johnson B. Mihocek P. Lipinski
F R. McInnes D. Cameron B. Hill
FOLL M. Cox N. Daicos T. Mitchell
I/C T. Adams H. Harrison J. Noble B. McCreery 
SUB O. Markov EMG T. Bianco F. Macrae 

 

IN P. Lipinski

 

OUT J. De Goey (suspended)
 

Injury and Suspension List: Round 13

 

Clayton Oliver - Hamstring | Test
Luke Dunstan - Knee | Test
James Harmes - Suspension | 1 Week
Jake Bowey - Concussion | 1 Week
Harry Petty - Foot | 1 - 2 Weeks
Will Verrall - Pelvis | 1 - 2 Weeks
Kye Turner - Groin | 3 - 4 Weeks
Tom McDonald - Foot | 6 - 8 Weeks

PreviewRd132023.png

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