WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Saturday July 17, 7.40pm
LAST TIME: Western Bulldogs 14.12 (96) d Carlton 9.15 (69), round 16, 2011 at the MCG
Although the Western Bulldogs have struggled this season, they will present a tough ask for a Carlton side which has had a tumultuous year – to say the least.
They will bring back the experience of Jordan Russell and Bret Thornton, but the losses they have suffered far outweigh the gains. The Blues have this week lost skipper Chris Judd along with Andrew Walker, Lachie Henderson and Matthew Kreuzer.
Based off this, and their recent form, a match against a Dogs will not be a walk in the park.
The Bulldogs have relied upon their veterans this season, with their young stars all showing signs but struggling to produce consistently. This can be a severe problem when your forward line is filled with youth, and as we’ve seen the Dogs have suffered with forward efficiency at time, but the play from Mitch Wallis, Tom Liberatore and Luke Dahlhous has been the highlight of the year.
Matthew Boyd, Ryan Griffin, Robert Murphy and Daniel Cross have been brilliant in the midfield, but the Dogs suffer through the hole left from the exit of Barry Hall last year.
A loss here would signal the end of Carlton’s plans for a finals campaign – plans which are already starting to look highly unlikely.
The Blues would have every right to have had this match marked down as a victory in their preseason predictions, but their form of the past few months has seen them in a freefall down the ladder.
They still should win, but it will be a close contest.
Blues by 7
B: Patrick Veszpremi, Brian Lake, Robert Murphy
HB: Lindsay Gilbee, Mark Austin, Christian Howard
C: Daniel Cross, Matthew Boyd, Mitchell Wallis
HF: Ryan Griffen, Ayce Cordy, Daniel Giansiracusa
F: Luke Dahlhaus, Tom L. Williams, Shaun Higgins
Foll: William Minson, Thomas Liberatore, Liam Picken
I/C: Jarrad Grant, Jason Tutt, Nathan Djerrkura, Daniel Pearce
Emg: Ryan Hargrave, Jordan Roughead, Zephaniah Skinner
In: Daniel Giansiracusa, Jarrad Grant, Patrick Veszpremi, Daniel Pearce, Mark Austin
Out: Ryan Hargrave, Lukas Markovic (Hamstring), Justin Sherman, Clay Smith (Calf), Tory Dickson (Adductor)
B: Paul Bower, Michael Jamison, Aaron Joseph
HB: Andrew McInnes, Nick Duigan, Christopher Yarran
C: Bryce Gibbs, Mitch Robinson, Heath Scotland
HF: Jeffrey Garlett, Matthew Watson, Eddie Betts
F: Dennis Armfield, Bret Thornton, Andrew Collins
Foll: Levi Casboult, Marc Murphy, Andrew Carrazzo
I/C: Jordan Russell, Brock McLean, Edward Curnow, Tom Bell
Emg: David Ellard, Simon White, Frazer Dale
In: Paul Bower, Jordan Russell, Bret Thornton, Levi Casboult, Tom Bell
Out: Andrew Walker (Calf), Chris Judd (Suspension), Matthew Kreuzer (Hip), Lachlan Henderson (Groin), Kane Lucas (Hamstring)
New: Levi Casboult (Dandenong Stingrays), Tom Bell (Morningside)