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MAGICAL POWER by Whispering Jack


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After Melbourne beat Carlton in an MCG snore fest on the first Friday night of winter, most of those who witnessed this insipid event would have been hard put to believe that the return match nine weeks hence would gain billing as a showcase encounter between the two in-form teams of the AFL competition. 

The Blues started the season strongly, but they had hit a wall. Struck by injuries and form lapses, they were behaving as nervous wrecks, botching their targets, making poor decisions and appearing like deer standing frozen in an approaching car’s headlights. Sensing their team was heading for football’s scrap heap to fight for choice draft picks in the second half of the season, the fans were not happy  they were baying for blood. Anyone’s blood.

Meanwhile, the Demons, who started the year positively, were also in a rut having lost their last two games: both winnable. Faced with the prospect of having to live for a while without the driving force of champion on baller Clayton Oliver as well as with a dysfunctional forward line that had forgotten how to score goals, they managed to prevail in this forgettable clash against the lamentable Blues but it was clear that both clubs were in need of an infusion of some magical power to get them to move forward.

It was surely by magic then, that Michael Voss was able to uncover the right chemistry to turn his club on its head with seven straight wins, many of them by large amounts with their closest opponent being the ladder leader Collingwood where the margin was seventeen points. Last week, the Blues faltered in the first half against the Saints, but they blasted their way into fifth position on the ladder in the face a typically ultra negative defence from Ross Lyon whose charges managed a single goal in the last half.

Melbourne also found a winning trajectory, albeit without the same huge margins but it endured a similarly slow last start against the lowly Kangaroos before a ten-goal turnaround saw them move into second place on the table.

Suddenly, it’s second versus fifth in what promises to be an intriguing matchup between two teams that have key personnel missing from their line ups. At least there can be no more perfect venue for such an encounter with the Blues coming off the soulless Marvel Stadium contrasting with the Demons’ last venue in a suburban setting at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. On Saturday night, it will be a full-throated reception from 80,000 fans at the magical MCG.

A fortnight ago, Melbourne thought it had discovered the perfect forward line formula after a search that lasted almost two years. Harrison Petty, Jacob van Rooyen and Jake Melksham were deadly in hitting the target fourteen times in a score of 130 points but the loss of Petty through injury will cause a rethink and a reshuffle. The outcome will be crucial in this match as Carlton’s brilliant defender Jacob Weitering awaits his next prey.

At the other end of the ground, Carlton’s attack has discovered the magic formula for a newfound potency since the last encounter between these teams. Charlie Curnow has blossomed in the absence of Harry McKay, assisted by a bevy of dangerous small to medium forwards ever-ready to swoop on ground balls set up when aerial contests are smothered.

At the time of writing, before team selection, it’s not known exactly who will line up in the respective teams’ midfields. The expected return of Clayton Oliver could be decisive but who knows how he will fare after being on the missing list since a rainy night in Adelaide in the middle of May.

In his absence, the Demons’ changed midfield structure has served the team well and allowed Christian Petracca to go forward at times with great success while Jack Viney lifted several notches, Angus Brayshaw added his delicate touch and others came to the aid of the party. Clarrie’s return will add a touch of spice to this game as will the possible change to the forward line resulting from Harrison Petty’s absence. Will Simon Goodwin find some more magical powers in his chemistry set to influence the outcome of this game?

This week Melbourne has claimed top place on the Musashi Power Rankings ahead of Collingwood who have been leading the pack for most of the year. Carlton have climbed into fourth place. This is the pointer that swayed my decision about who wins — I’m tipping a magical 5-point victory for the Demons.



Melbourne v Carlton at the MCG Saturday 12 August 2023 at 7.30pm


Overall Carlton 117 wins Melbourne 97 wins Drawn 2
At the MCG Carlton 50 wins Melbourne 56 wins
Past five meetings Carlton 0 wins Melbourne 5
The Coaches Voss 0 wins Goodwin 2 wins


Melbourne 8.13.61 defeated Carlton 6.8.44 at the MCG Round 12, 2023

It was a dour struggle between two teams intent on defence. Christian Petracca with thirty-two touches and six marks was outstanding as the Demons returned to the winner’s list after a couple of close defeats.



B A. Cincotta J. Weitering A. Saad
HB N. Newman C. Marchbank B. Kemp
C B. Acres P. Cripps O. Hollands
HF J. Martin T. De Koning D. Cuningham
F L. Fogarty C. Curnow M. Owies
FOLL M. Pittonet S. Docherty G. Hewett
I/C M. Cottrell P. Dow Z. Fisher J. Motlop SUB E. Curnow 
EMG J. Boyd S. Durdin J. Honey



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

IN B. Grundy C. Oliver

OUT J. Harmes (omitted) H. Petty (foot)

Injury List: Round 22

Tom McDonald - Ankle | Test
Clayton Oliver - Hamstring | Test
Kye Turner - Groin | Test
Ben Brown - Knee  | 1 Week 
Daniel Turner - Hand | 1 - 2 Weeks
Bayley Fritsch - Foot | 2 - 3 Weeks
Blake Howes - Hand | Season
Harrison Petty - Foot | Season 
Oliver Sestan - Elbow | Season


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3 minutes ago, Freddy Fuschia said:

For the Freo death riders, it’s worth noting that they are ranked higher than their ladder position. Let’s hope the keep losing.

Except maybe for their match against Port.

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