WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Friday July 6, 7.50pm
LAST TIME: Carlton 18.14 (122) d Collingwood 9.8 (62), round three, 2012, at the MCG
How quickly times can change. Twelve weeks ago, Carlton dominated Collingwood at the MCG, putting the Pies under serious external pressure and claiming the outright favouritism for the 2012 premiership.
Now, as sides are preparing for the final onslaught towards the finals, Collingwood have not lost since and Carlton have barely won – only beating Fremantle and wooden spoon contenders GWS and Melbourne.
Injuries have played a factor, but it hasn’t been pretty at all at Carlton, and tonight presents a last chance at redeeming a 2012 season that is quickly becoming disastrous.
Collingwood’s year however, could not present a starker contrast. They have been challenged on several occasions, yet they have always responded. They’ve suffered injuries to stars, had their defensive depth severely strained yet they continually come off as vastly superior to all opponents.
They may not hold a grudge over their loss to the Blues earlier in the year, but they will probably remember how powerless they felt as Carlton stormed away, and will be aiming to completely reverse the tables.
Darren Jolly - Jolly produced what is arguably his worst performance in the black and white in round three, and he will be keen to make amends. The Carlton rucks – who have faced criticism in recent weeks – completely dominated Jolly, and it appeared that the body of a two time premiership player had finally had enough. Now it appears as though Jolly completely holds the advantage.
Eddie Betts - Carlton will need goals – and lots of them – if they want to even have a chance of beating the in form Pies. Betts kicked five and was ultimately the major difference between the clubs earlier in the year, and it will naturally result in Collingwood emphasising better defensive work on the elusive small forward. Life can be tough as a small, but Betts needs to be at his brilliant best tonight.
Carlton looked like world beaters earlier in the year, and that form has completely vanished. It may sound obvious, but when one side is in dominant form, and the other is in a complete rut, the form side has to take the points.
Tonight, it’s as simple as that.
Collingwood by 57
B: Heritier O’Brien, Nathan Brown, Marley Williams
HB: Nick Maxwell, Ben Reid, Alan Toovey
C: Simon Buckley, Dale Thomas, Jarryd Blair
HF: Ben Sinclair, Chris Dawes, Heath Shaw
F: Dayne Beams, Travis Cloke, Tyson Goldsack
Foll: Darren Jolly, Dane Swan, Steele Sidebottom
I/C: Sharrod Wellingham, Alex Fasolo, Jamie Elliott, Jackson Paine
Emg: Martin Clarke, Paul Seedsman, Caolan Mooney
In: Ben Sinclair
Out: Caolan Mooney
B: Matthew Watson, Michael Jamison, Aaron Joseph
HB: Bryce Gibbs, Nick Duigan, Zach Tuohy
C: Heath Scotland, Mitch Robinson, Dennis Armfield
HF: Kade Simpson, Andrew Walker, Andrew Collins
F: Jeffrey Garlett, Shaun Hampson, Eddie Betts
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Chris Judd, Andrew Carrazzo
I/C: Christopher Yarran, Brock McLean, Andrew McInnes, Edward Curnow
Emg: Paul Bower, David Ellard, Robert Warnock
In: Andrew Collins, Andrew McInnes, Edward Curnow
Out: David Ellard, Robert Warnock, Joshua Bootsma
New: Andrew McInnes (Dandenong Stingrays / Devon Meadows)