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EATING CROW by The Oracle


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The last round clearly demonstrated how unpredictable season 2023 has become. Port Adelaide crashed to Carlton who were considered a basket case last month. The Swans got up against the Bulldogs who looked a top four proposition a fortnight ago, the red hot Bombers were disposed of in less than 20 minutes by the Cats who were recently facing a calamitous fall out of finals contention. And the Giants have come from nowhere to become finals challengers after delivering a huge hit on the Crows on their own turf in Adelaide where they were considered almost invincible.

 

It’s hard to figure out the Crows. They were looking finals bound after beating the Lions and coming close (twice) to beating the Magpies but their recent form has been very ordinary. But all things considered, you can’t entirely write them off in this topsy turvy season, even in this week’s match up with the Demons at the MCG. 

 

After all, despite their twelfth place on the ladder, Adelaide’s best form in 2023 has been pretty good. In fact, its percentage is the fifth highest in the competition, slightly higher than cross-town rivals in second-on-the-ladder, Port Adelaide who they beat early in the season. They were unlucky to lose to top placed Collingwood when they last ventured onto the MCG so their season’s record against top sides is excellent. And they are desperate for a win to stay in the finals race.

 

Melbourne hasn’t been a picture of consistency either, having dropped games to teams like Freo and the Giants who are out of the eight — games they should have won. It has however, shown some admirable traits over the past couple of matches. Simon Goodwin has covered the loss through injury of midfield superstar Clayton Oliver and leading medium forward Bayley Fritsch, strengthened its defence and rejigged its rucks by reverting to Max Gawn’s almost solo ruck status with occasional chop outs from young key forward Jacob van Rooyen. His willingness to experiment and boldness in team selection is bearing fruit. The omission of Brodie Grundy and sending him to the VFL to hone his forward play. Much the same as the way Ben Brown was given the opportunity to get his body right at Casey for the team  assault on the flag in 2021.

 

The compelling aspect of last week’s win over Brisbane is the way the players rallied together late in the game and the camaraderie and energy that was in evidence among the team. Within a fortnight they have transformed their mindset from the hunted to the hunter again, reminiscent of the Melbourne of two years ago as the club commenced its run towards the finals and a premiership.
 

Adelaide’s cause has not been assisted by the loss through injury of Rory Laird and the suspension of Josh Rachele. They can barely afford to lose players of such calibre to a prospective top four side and whilst Melbourne also has key players missing, it has the depth to cover such loss. The Crows don’t and for this reason, they will be eaten alive.

 

The Demons to win by 49 points.

 

THE GAME

Adelaide v Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday 23 July, 2023 at 3.20pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall - Melbourne 18 wins Adelaide 26 wins 
At MCG - Melbourne 8 wins Adelaide 7 wins
Past five meetings - Melbourne 3 wins Adelaide 2 wins
The Coaches - Simon Goodwin 3 wins Matthew Nicks 1 win

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

 

Melbourne 14.10.94 defeated Adelaide 10.5.65 at Adelaide Oval, Round 16, 2022

 

With both Max Gawn and Luke Jackson missing through injury, this was a danger game  for Melbourne. The Crows were tenacious and things were tight at half time before the Demons established their authority on the game through the dominance of the midfield combination of Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver, a brilliant performance from Ed Langdon on a wing and a powerful defence. 

 

THE TEAMS 

 

MELBOURNE

 

B C Salem S. May J. Lever
HB J. Bowey A. Tomlinson J. McVee
C L. Hunter J. Viney E. Langdon
HF K. Pickett J. Van Rooyen T. Sparrow
F A. Neal-Bullen B. Brown T. Woewodin
FOLL M. Gawn A. Brayshaw C. Petracca
I/C K. Chandler J. Jordon J. Melksham T. Rivers SUB J. Smith EMG B. Grundy M. Hibberd B. Laurie 
 
IN K. Chandler A. Tomlinson  
 
OUT H. Petty (ribs) C. Spargo (omitted)

 

ADELAIDE 


B B. Smith N. Murray J. Butts
HB M. Hinge J. Worrell W. Milera
C C. Jones J. Dawson B. Cook
HF B. Keays D. Fogarty S. McAdam
F L. Pedlar T. Walker I. Rankine
FOLL R. O'Brien H. Schoenberg M. Crouch
I/C L. Murphy L. Nankervis R. Sloane R. Thilthorpe SUB J. Hately EMG E. Himmelberg
 
IN B. Cook M. Crouch L. Murphy L. Nankervis H. Schoenberg 
 
OUT R. Laird (shoulder) N. McHenry (illness) M. Michalanney (managed) J. Rachele (suspension) L. Sholl (omitted)

 

Injury List: Round 19 

 


Harry Petty - Ribs  | Test
Clayton Oliver - Hamstring | 3 - 4 Weeks 
Tom McDonald - Ankle | 3 - 4 Weeks 
Bayley Fritsch - Foot | 5 - 6 Weeks
Daniel Turner - Hand | 5 - 6 Weeks
Kye Turner - Groin | TBC 

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