Dane Swan has been in great form for Collingwood. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
When these sides last met, in round two, Carlton handed Collingwood a 60 point belting and were declared the team to beat for the premiership, while the Magpies were written off as finals contenders by many shrewd judges. Things could hardly be more different now and with Collingwood unbeaten since that match, they are now riding on the back ten straight wins and sit at the top of the table.
Going into this match, Carlton’s form could hardly be worse. Last week’s 120-70 defeat to Hawthorn was the Blues sixth in seven matches and they now find themselves outside the top eight. Already without last year’s best and fairest Marc Murphy and strong marking forward Jarrad Waite, the Blues could be dealt another blow with key defender Michael Jamison doubtful for Friday blockbuster with a shoulder injury, although he will probably play.
Where It Will be Won
– When Carlton beat the Magpies by 60 points in round three, they completely dominated the midfield, with Chris Judd, Marc Murphy and Andrew Carazzo combining for 30 clearances and over 100 possessions. With Judd not at his best and Murphy still out with a shoulder injury, the Blues could struggle to match it with Collingwood this time around. Dane Swan has been in sublime touch, collecting 43 possessions against Fremantle last weekend, while Dayne Beams, Steele Sidebottom and Jarryd Blair have also been in fine form. If the Blues cannot limit their influence, it could be a long night for them.
– Collingwood are without a doubt the form side in the AFL at the moment and it is hard to see how Carlton can match them with Judd out of sorts and Murphy missing. The Magpies will still be smarting from their heavy defeat at the start of the season and will be keen to show the Blues that they are the top dog in Melbourne. Collingwood 1-39
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