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MELBOURNE BUSINESS by The Oracle



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In days of old, this week’s Thursday night AFL match up between the Demons and the Blues would be framed on the basis of the need to redress the fact that Carlton “stole” last year’s semi final away from Melbourne and with it, their hopes for the premiership. 

A hot gospelling coach might point out to his charges that they were the better team on the night in all facets and that poor kicking for goal and a couple of lapses at the death cost them what was rightfully theirs. Moreover, now was the time for revenge.

Those days are over and cooler heads will prevail. What happened last September is history and besides, it’s actually a different team with some new faces, a team that’s travelling nicely with five players having less than 10 AFL games under their belts.

It’s time to take care of business in a raw, unemotional way, much the same as how the club has been going about things since the beginning of the year. Just as it did on its recent business trip to Adelaide when the assignment was to win two matches against the local clubs on the same ground and with only five days separating the games. 

In Adelaide, much ado was made about the belief that by the end of the second game, the Demons would be sapped of energy and that this factor could cost them the win. In the end, the tempo of the game slowed down and their pressure levels were lower but the win was never in doubt. The club’s fitness levels were modified by less intense training in the lead up to the game to ensure that fatigue was kept to a minimum. 

The Blues will also be looking at their own training schedule in their approach to the week and their second six day break on end is also not ideal.

Melbourne has other advantages in the lead up to Thursday night. It has the momentum of two consecutive wins, albeit that neither of them was pretty but one of them at least was against the then form team of the competition, the undefeated Cats. Moreover, they were able to select an unchanged line up for that encounter and suffered no new injuries. At this point in time, the Demons’ selectors have the benefit of picking the best team for the job at hand from a group of in form players.

This is in distinct contrast to their opponents in Carlton. While the Blues started the 2024 season in ripping form, they have lost the past two games and three of their last four. Coming up against stronger sides, they have wilted and reverted to a one-dimensional style which depends on their twin towers firing on all cylinders. 

Their problem is that, as good as they are, Curnow and McKay are coming up against the best of the best defences in the competition. As strong as their midfield might be, the Demons have the wherewithal in the middle to counter them plus plenty of outside run with Ed Langdon and this week’s rising star Caleb Windsor taking care of business in that department. And let’s not forget that it’s a department headed by the player acclaimed as the best ruckman in the business. So much so, that he only needs to be called by his first name — Max!

There have been questions raised about Melbourne’s attack in the past, and rightly so. However, as demonstrated to the football world as late as last week in its game against Geelong, Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett are two of the competition’s most dangerous forwards. And while Harry Petty and Jacob van Rooyen are not at the same level as the Carlton pairing, they have shown a capacity to get among the goals while Alex Neal-Bullen is also very capable and regarded as the epitome of the high half forward of football.

So, there’s no need to get up in arms and enraged about losing those contests last year or to lose our heads over the revenge factor. The Melbourne Business Plan will take care of things. Demons by 19 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Carlton at the MCG Thursday 9 May 2024 at 7.30pm

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Carlton 119 wins Melbourne 97 wins Drawn 2
At the MCG Carlton 52 wins Melbourne 56 wins
Past five meetings Carlton 2 wins Melbourne 3 wins
The Coaches Voss 2 wins Goodwin 2 wins

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Carlton 11.7.73 defeated Melbourne 9.17.71 at the MCG Semi Final 2024

The Demons dominated the general play for most of the night but their inability to trouble the scoreboard and some panicky decision making in the game’s final moments proved fatal to their chances of advancing to the preliminary final stage of the season. It was truly the stuff of frustration and dare we say it, very unbusinesslike!

THE TEAMS

CARLTON 

B B. Kemp, J. Weitering, L. Cowan
HB A. Cincotta, M. McGovern, N. Newman
C O. Hollands, P. Cripps, B. Acres
HF J. Martin, H. McKay, E. Hollands
F M. Owies, C. Curnow, T. De Koning
FOLL M, Pittonet, S. Walsh, M. Kennedy
I/C J. Boyd, A. Cerra, M. Cottrell, C. Durdin, G. Hewett
EMG D. Cuningham, O. Fantasia, L. Young

IN B. Kemp, O. Hollands, M. McGovern, J. Martin

OUT D. Cuningham (omitted), O. Fantasia (omitted), Z.Williams (glute soreness), L. Young (omitted)

MELBOURNE 

B B. Howes, S. May, T. Rivers 
HB J. McVee, J. Lever, T. McDonald 
C J. Billings, C. Oliver, C. Windsor 
HF E. Langdon, H. Petty, K Pickett 
JF J. van Rooyen, B. Fritsch, D. Turner 
FOLL M. Gawn, J. Viney, C. Petracca 
I/C J. Bowey, K. Chandler, A. Neal-Bullen, T. Sparrow, T. Woewodin 
EMG B. Brown M. Hore, B. Laurie

IN J. Bowey

OUT B. Laurie (omitted)

Injury List: Round 9


Jake Bowey — shoulder / Available
Josh Schache — Achilles/ Test
Christian Salem — hamstring / 1 - 2 weeks 
Charlie Spargo — Achilles / 2 - 3 weeks
Jake Melksham  — knee / 5 - 7 weeks  

 

PreviewRd092024.png

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