The master takes on the apprentice in Sunday's showdown at the MCG. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Last Five Meetings
Round 15, 2012 – Carlton Blues 85 d Colingwood Magpies 62
Round 3, 2012 – Carlton Blues 122 d Collingwood Magpies 62
Round 17, 2011 – Collingwood Magpies 98 d Carlton Blues 79
Round 3, 2011 – Collingwood Magpies 102 d Carlton Blues 74
Round 18, 2010 – Collingwood Magpies 105 d Carlton Blues 57
If you’ve been living on a different planet this week, you may not be aware that Carlton coach Mick Malthouse is coming up against his former club Collingwood this week. For the rest of us, we’ve had to endure a build-up which has almost overtaken grand final week for its general hysteria and media hyperbole.
In the Mick vs Eddie McGuire/Nathan Buckley psuedo battle, one thing that has been overlooked is that Carlton, a team which missed out on the top eight last season, somehow managed to beat Collingwood twice in 2012. The victories came by 60 and 23 points, so they weren’t tight affairs, either. The Blues hopes of repeating that success on Sunday have been severely dented by the loss of goalsneak Eddie Betts (jaw) and Shaun Hampson (appendix). Until Mick the Messiah threw caution to the wind last week and sent players forward of the ball, the Blues really, really struggled to kick goals, so where they’re going to come from this week is anyone’s guess.
As seems to be the norm, Collingwood managed to overcome injuries to key players last week to record a hard-fought 16-point win over North Melbourne. Dale Thomas and Dayne Beams will both sit out for a second week in a row, but Heath Shaw returns to give the ‘Pies a bit more punch from the halfback line.
(Magpies) Travis Cloke – There was one forward who was head and shoulders above everyone else at Etihad Stadium last Sunday, and that was Travis Cloke . After contract negotiations seemed to ruin a fair chunk of last season, the big unit stepped up with four goals and eight marks, with seven of those grabs importantly coming inside the Magpies’ forward 50. In the two defeats to the Blues last year, he managed a total of three goals, so if he gets the better of Michael Jamison this weekend then the Blues are in strife.
(Blues) Matthew Kreuzer – Has never really set the world on fire for a NO. 1 draft pick, but the Blues still have one of the better ruckmen going around in Matthew Kreuzer. He was good around the ground against the Tigers finishing with 18 disposals and 6 marks. At 23, Kreuzer is eight years younger than Darren Jolly, so if he can make his opponent do as much running as possible then he might be able to wear him down in the ruck and give his midfield weapons first use of the ball.
Carlton was hard to get a read on last week. Did they come back against Richmond because something clicked, or did it have more to do with the Tigers hitting the wall both physically and mentally. Regardless, it was a good sign for Mick Malthouse that his side ran the game out, and they could have snuck a win if Chris Yarran had been more accurate in front of goal in the dying stages. Even playing three first-gamers last week, Collingwood looked like it hadn’t missed a beat and if the ‘Pies can keep winning without Thomas and Beams then it sets them up well for bigger challenges ahead. Magpies by 22 points
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