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BY THE BYE by The Oracle


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According to an article on the AFL website, there’s a new reason for supporters to panic at this time of year and that’s the post bye let down. 

The trend of dropping the first game on return from a bye has gone to a new level this season with teams now a collective 1-5 in 2023 when playing after their mid-season break (and the only win was the Saints’ Round 13 triumph over the Swans, also fresh from a spell).

This puts the Demons at risk in their clash with the Cats at the half-completed taxpayer funded you beaut stadium on Corio Bay, the home side having already suffered the let down last weekend. Thankfully, the Demons are the best coached organization in the country and Simon Goodwin and his coaching cohort have everything under control. 

Firstly, the team is heading down the highway to Geelong to train at GMHBA Stadium rather than on game day, aiming to really "treat it like a game away from home." They are already used to the long-haul travel and if this isn’t enough, they’ve been training on a scaled down track at Casey Fields that matches the exact dimensions of the Cattery. And while they were training out there, I noticed vision of players practicing their set shots for goal - that is sheer genius of Einstein dimensions!

Melbourne was exceptional in almost every aspect of the game in their pre bye match against ladder leaders Collingwood but for the fact that they could not hit the side of the proverbial barn door. The club comes up against the normally highly accurate Geelong who were on target but otherwise performed abysmally against Port Adelaide last week. This will test my swings and roundabouts theory about shooting for goal. The Dees are due to kick straight this week and it’s time for the Cats to have the yips. This factor could be decisive in nullifying Geelong’s home ground advantage and swing things in Melbourne’s favour. 

If that doesn’t do it, then how about Melbourne’s midfield advantage even without the return of Clayton Oliver who jumped out of a hospital bed on Kings Birthday Monday to run laps of the G until the early hours of the following morning. He will miss again but what a fantastic example to set for the rest of the team? 

Geelong’s equivalent of Oliver is Paddy Dangerfield who suffered a partially collapsed lung and a cracked rib after their last game and is probably still on the Princes Highway driving home from the City of Churches. He won’t be playing, nor will Cam Guthrie (toe-joint injury) or Joel Selwood (retired). That trio were all instrumental in the Cats’ victory the last time these teams met at this venue. They are virtually irreplaceable in the context of this game so we can expect Christian Petracca, Jack Viney, Clarrie, Tom Sparrow and anyone else placed in the game’s boiler room to have a big night out.

And that leaves Melbourne with one major obstacle to victory - the need to suppress Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins and prevent them from kicking too many goals. Well let me introduce that pair and Gary Rohan and the rest of the Cat’s attack to Steven May, Jake Lever and their merry backmen who are ready to be mean, miserly and miserable in their treatment of opposing forwards. They will stop at nothing - not even the roadblocks at the entry to Sleepy Hollow - to prevent Geelong from going through the gateway into the eight so say bye, bye to the Cats. Maintaining a grip on the top four after their truncated bye weekend off will be an added bonus that victory will bring for the Dees!

Melbourne to win by 17 points.

THE GAME

Geelong v Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday 22 June 2023 at 7.20pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Geelong 133 wins Melbourne 88 wins 2 draws
At  GMHBA Stadium Geelong 41 wins Melbourne 19 wins 1 draw
The last five meetings Geelong 3 wins Melbourne 2 wins
The Coaches Scott 6 wins Goodwin 4 wins

LAST TIME THEY MET

Geelong 12.19.91 defeated Melbourne 9.9.63 at GMHBA Stadium in Round 17 2022

Both sides were coming off a five-day break, but the Cats were back-to-back at home after a 112 point win over an insipid North while the Demons were coming back from a game in Adelaide. They were neck and neck at the final break, but it was not unexpected that Melbourne faded badly in the final term to be beaten by 28 points.

THE TEAMS

GEELONG

B Z. Guthrie S. De Koning Z. Tuohy
HB J. Henry T. Stewart T. Atkins
C I. Smith M. Duncan M. Holmes
HF O. Henry J. Cameron T. Stengle
F G. Rohan T. Hawkins B. Close
FOLL R. Stanley M. Blicavs T. Bruhn
I/C J. Bews J. Kolodjashnij G. Miers M. O'Connor SUB J. Bowes EMG O. Dempsey M. Knevitt O. Mullin

IN R. Stanley 

OUT P. Dangerfield

MELBOURNE 

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

IN H. Petty 

OUT A. Tomlinson 

Injury List: Round 15

Jake Bowey - Concussion | Available 
Will Verrall - Pelvis | Available 
Clayton Oliver - Hamstring | Test
Harry Petty - Foot | Test
Kye Turner - Groin | TBC
Tom McDonald - Foot | 5 - 7 Weeks

PreviewRd152023.png

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