Fri, Jun 3, 8:42am by Kevin Pitstock
When and Where:
7.40pm at MCG
Essendon – 126
Melbourne – 78
Draws – 2
Last Time They Met:
Melbourne 19.8 (122) d Essendon 14.19 (103), round 15, 2010 at the MCG
Essendon – WWWLB
Melbourne – LWLLL
Current Ladder Positions:
Essendon – 5th (5-1-2)
Melbourne – 10th (3-1-5)
In an ever improving midfield, Sam Lonergan has gone somewhat under the radar. The 24-year-old, who had been in and out of the Essendon side over the first three seasons of his career, has played all nine games this season and is now an important member of the centre line. Lonergan is averaging a career-high 17 disposals per game this season and is kicking the ball much more compared to previous seasons. With fellow inside midfielders Jobe Watson and Heath Hocking still on the sidelines, Lonergan’s ability to win the contested ball will be crucial tonight.
In one of the worst performances by a team this season, Joel Macdonald was a rare standout for the Demons last round. The 26-year-old stood tall in defence, accumulating 23 disposals and 11 marks in Melbourne’s 47-point loss to Carlton. It was only Macdonald’s third game for the season after injury and inconsistent form saw him dropped from the senior side. However his ability to rebound and shut down a third key forward is crucial to the Demons’ success. Hopefully, for Macdonald and Melbourne’s sake, he can return to his 2002009 form, where he averaged 21 disposals a game.
Essendon Team Changes:
IN – Alex Browne and Travis Colyer
OUT – Alwyn Davey and Kyle Reimers
Melbourne Team Changes:
IN – Max Gawn, Jeremy Howe, James Strauss, Jack Trengove and Tom Scully
OUT – Michael Newton (foot), Ricky Petterd, Matthew Bate, Matthew Warnock and Addam Maric
ESSENDON – Alex Browne (18, Oakleigh)
MELBOURNE – Max Gawn (19, Sandringham) and Jeremy Howe (20, Hobart)
Last Friday night’s game was like watching grown men play Auskick. Let’s see if this round’s version is an improvement.
The bye couldn’t have come at a better time for Essendon last weekend, as it had started to show signs of fatigue in previous rounds. Despite winning by 36 points, the Bombers were far from convincing against Brisbane in Round 8 and then they suffered a shock loss to Richmond the weekend after. A stat that works against them here too is only four teams have gone on to win a match the week after a bye. However the Bombers are a united unit this season, so expect them to be fresh and raring to go on Friday night.
Ouch – that one hurt. Melbourne was smashed in the media during the week for its performance against Carlton last round. It was cringe worthy stuff as the Demons missed target after target and failed to apply any defensive pressure to the Blues, who basically did what they wanted. They lost all the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), with 15 less inside 50’s, 25 less contested possessions and 13 less tackles. More importantly, they had 47 less points. Yes injuries have played a massive part in the Demons’ fall from grace, but there’s no excuse for a lack of intent. Action needs to be taken on the field – fast.
The Demons will be out for redemption after such a poor performance last weekend. They’ll be boosted by the return Tom Scully and Jack Trengove, but are still without ruckman Mark Jamar – their most important player. Despite coming off the bye and being without its two best clearance players in Jobe Watson and Heath Hocking, Essendon will win and win well.
Best Head-To-Head Bet:
Essendon by 1-39 points ($2.25 – Sportingbet)
Also Sportingbet Australia is doing a first goal scorer special on the AFL, on top of the usual first goal scorer payout. If your first goal scorer bet scores the second goal, the guys at Sportingbet will pay you out as well! If he kicks the first two, they will pay you double! Get on!
Other Suggested Bets:
First Goal Scorer – Liam Jurrah or Stewart Crameri on Sportingbet
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