Where: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Thursday March 29, 7.45pm
TV: Channel 7 and Fox Footy from 7.30pm
Radio: SEN, ABC774, 3AW, MMM
Odds: Richmond $2.88, Carlton $1.55, Line Richmond +13.5
The normal season opener has been interfered with in 2012 thanks to the Sydney Derby, but nevertheless we have football back in Melbourne.
And unlike previous years, this match has a chance to not be a blow-out. Richmond have been up and about, with good NAB Cup wins, low injuries and that typical Richmond pre-season excitement.
Not only that, but the Carlton side they come up against has had problems. The Blues are yet to win in 2012, have injuries to key personnel such as Michael Jamison and are not in good form.
The stage is set for a shoot-out. Carlton’s back-line have problems.
With Nick Duigan and Jamison missing, there is a huge opening for Richmond’s rather dangerous forward-line. While Lachlan Henderson will still play, Jack Riewoldt, Tyrone Vickery and Brad Miller will seriously test their talls while the small skills of Addam Maric and Robin Nahas may very well give Carlton the blues.
At the other end, Richmond’s back-line is still a significant obstacle for them heading to the next level.
The Tigers will be forced to try and restrain Eddie Betts, Jeff Garlett and Jarrad Waite as well as the midfield goals of the like of Mitch Robinson and Marc Murphy.
Although Dylan Grimes and Alex Rance are showing promise, whether those around them are good enough remains to be seen.
Of course, both sides will need their respective star midfields to deliver in pursuit of victory.
The Carlton midfield of Chris Judd, Murphy and Bryce Gibbs up against Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin and Brett Deledio is always a mouth-watering contest.
The Richmond trio will be looking to seize the upper hand, but Carlton’s extra depth in midfield is probably the biggest threat.
Jack Riewoldt: The 2010 Coleman medallist has had a strong pre-season and has an early chance to dominate. He likes playing against Carlton and will surely do well.
Dustin Martin: The midfielder’s line-breaking ability and ball-winning skills will be crucial up against the Carlton midfield.
Ivan Maric: It’s been a while since Richmond have had a ruck of any quality. Maric has his chance up against Matthew Kreuzer.
Chris Judd: Judd’s pre-season was noticeably quiet. Champions, however, can afford to have a quiet pre-season.
Lachlan Henderson: Henderson will be forced to neuter one of Vickery or Riewoldt, and needs to perform if Richmond are to be contained.
Brett Deledio: He’s got his contract. Now it’s time for Deledio to show the Tiger faithful why.
The Place to Watch:
Jack Riewoldt v whoever: The Tigers’ power forward is a good chance for the Coleman. Whether he can be controlled by the makeshift Carlton back-line is yet to be seen.
Despite injury problems in other areas, Carlton’s midfield will run over Richmond’s and provide better service.
Carlton by 14