Melbourne Face their Demons

Where and When: Simonds Stadium, Saturday May 5th, 1:45pm

Last Time: Geelong 37.11.233 def. Melbourne 7.5.47

TV : Fox Footy (live, 1:30pm), Channel  7 (delayed, 3pm)

Radio: SEN, Triple M

Betting: Geelong $1.03, Melbourne $14. Line Geelong -55.5 points

Weather: Min 8, Max 17 – Shower or two.

Local morning fog. Partly cloudy with isolated showers mainly during the afternoon. Winds west to southwesterly up to 20 km/h.

If there’s a game in recent history that the Melbourne Football Club would like to forget, it is unquestionably the last time they met Geelong. The trip down the highway to Kardinia Park resulted in a humiliating 186 point loss to the Cats, and former coach Dean Bailey getting the sack.

Eight months on and we’d all like to think that a lot has changed… although it’s hard to see where. Melbourne remains winless with a 0-5 record, and up until last week against the Saints, have largely been insipid in their efforts. Geelong however continues to beat up on the lower ranked sides, and has beaten Melbourne by an average of 75 points with a head to head streak of seven straight victories

Mitch Brown is back for the Cats after kicking a bag of nine goals against Bendigo last week, and automatic selection James Kelly is also welcomed back. On the flip side speedster Matthew Stokes will miss with an ankle injury, and Taylor Hunt will miss with soreness after an impressive game tagging Simon Black in the wet.

Melbourne have two bookends returning with defender James Frawley and key forward Mitch Clark back on the park, squeezing Jack Watts and Joel McDonald back to the VFL for the time being.

Match ups and Tactics

Geelong won their premiership last year in no small part due to their key forward set up of Tom Hawkins and James Podsiadly. Steve Johnson’s results have been well documented, and we all know the goal kicking capabilities of Paul Chapman. It seems however the Cats are looking to experiment with a taller set up ala West Coast, with the inclusion of in form 196cm forward Mitch Brown.

Melbourne will probably sent James Frawley to Hawkins, leaving the Jared Rivers and Colin Garland to match up with Podsiadly and Brown. Rivers will most likely play on whichever of the two start closer to goal.

For Melbourne to be competitive they’ll be relying on Mark Jamar to use his stronger frame and deliver his midfielders first use from the stoppages. Brent Moloney, James Magner and Jack Trengove need to win their fair share of the clearances for quick entry to Mitch Clark and Jeremy Howe inside the 50.

As we know however, this is far more easily sad than done against Geelong’s champion midfield. If Chapman, Joel Selwood and Jimmy Bartel are in the mood to tear it up, the reality is that the Demons may struggle to keep in the contest.

Prediction

Geelong on their home turf are hard enough for the top sides to compete with. Melbourne fans won’t be holding out much hope for a win under the current circumstances, however they will be demanding a far more spirited effort than last year.

Geelong by 60 points.

Geelong

B: Matthew Scarlett, Harry Taylor, Josh Hunt
HB: Corey Enright, Tom Lonergan, Andrew Mackie
C: James Kelly, Allen Christensen, Joel Corey
HF: Mitch Duncan, James Podsiadly, Steven Motlop
F: Steve Johnson, Tom Hawkins, Mitch Brown
Foll: Trent West, Jimmy Bartel, Paul Chapman
I/C: Joel Selwood, Jesse Stringer, Billie Smedts, Cameron Guthrie
Emg: Shannon Byrnes, Tom Gillies, George Horlin-Smith
In: James Kelly, Mitch Brown
Out: Mathew Stokes (Ankle), Taylor Hunt (Soreness)

Melbourne

B: James Frawley, Jared Rivers, Clint Bartram
HB: Tom McDonald, Colin Garland, Jack Grimes
C: Cale Morton, Brent Moloney, Jordie McKenzie
HF: Nathan Jones, James Sellar, Jeremy Howe
F: Colin Sylvia, Mitchell Clark, Aaron Davey
Foll: Mark Jamar, James Magner, Jack Trengove
I/C: Matthew Bate, Lynden Dunn, Rohan Bail, Luke Tapscott
Emg: Ricky Petterd, Jamie Bennell, Joel Macdonald
In: James Frawley, Mitchell Clark
Out: Jack Watts, Joel Macdonald

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