Fri, Sep 6, 3:42pm by Clarinda Campbell
Who: Richmond Tigers ($1.50) vs Carlton Blues ($2.65)
When/Where: 3:20pm, Sunday 8 September 2013 at the MCG
The last three matches between these two teams have been close. Carlton have won two of them and Richmond one. In each game though, the margin never exceeded 10 points.
The Tigers have not played finals football since 2001. Interestingly, Carlton have won 10 of the last 11 contests, but Richmond have opened as favourites in this match.
Richmond are vastly inexperienced in finals, with only a combined 17 games of experience amongst the team. Meanwhile, the Blues have 92 combined games finals experience. However, these two teams have met in finals 23 times, with Richmond winning 16 to the Blues 5.
Just like the first elimination final, the loser of this second elimination final will have the curtains closed on their season.
Jack Riewoldt will be returning this week after missing last weeks clash against Essendon due to bone bruising to his knee. Chris Newman returns from an ankle injury and Shane Edwards returns from suspension. The return of Edwards will boost the Tigers midfield depth as well as their half forward line. The last time the Tigers met the Blues this year, they were missing most of their half forward line.
Richmond plays exciting football when they are allowed to run and spread and get out into space. Carlton will need to close down this space to get on top of the Tigers. Carlton beat the Tigers in Round 21. They came from 30 points down at quarter time to eventually beat the Tigers by 10 points. Being exposed by the Blues in defence was the “kick up the backside” that Richmond needed according to their coach.
The Tigers have won 15 games this year and are on a two game winning streak coming into this match.
Trent Cotchin will be the target for Blues players as he is key to a Tigers win. The Tigers also have plenty of options with players. If midfielder Brett Deledio is targeted, he can be moved to half back and if Dustin Martin is being effectively contained by the Blues Zach Tuohy, Martin can be moved up forward.
For the Blues, Chris Judd returns after hurting the medial ligament in his knee in Round 20. He was spotted training this week but many believe he won’t be 100%.
The Blues fell to the Bombers in Round 22 but came from behind in a remarkable one point victory over Port Adelaide last week.
The Blues have won 11 games this year and lost just as many in a season that has been marred by inconsistency.
Eddie Betts, Chris Yarran and Jeff Garlett will be important up front for the Blues. However, it’s how their defensive plays shape up that is important as they need to stop the fast running Tigers midfield.
The Tigers midfield and half forward line has been beefed up for this clash and as a result they are a better side than what Carlton met in Round 21. The Tigers are virtually full strength. The Blues aren’t in as happy a position. Whilst they will see Judd return, he won’t be at his best and will be restricted by his knee.
I believe the Tigers will win. Given the recent close history between the sides look to the 1-39 margin betting market and consider Richmond at the 14.5 handicap in the line market.
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