Carlton Aims To Extend Demons' Blues

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Marc Murphy could dominate Melbourne's midfield if let loose. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Last Five Meetings

Round 9, 2012 – Carlton Blues 107 d Melbourne Demons 49 (MCG)
Round 20, 2011 – Carlton Blues 134 d Melbourne Demons 58 (MCG)
Round 10, 2011 – Carlton Blues 93 d Melbourne Demons 46 (MCG)
Round 11, 2010 – Carlton Blues 101 d Melbourne Demons 60 (MCG)
Round 21, 2009 – Carlton Blues 153 d Melbourne Demons 96 (Etihad)


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3       Rd 4       Rd 5   
Carlton   L  L  L  W  W
Melbourne   L  L  L  W  L

Melbourne’s 12-goal game-winning final quarter against GWS two weeks back didn’t exactly springboard them to greater things, but at least they played out the entire game against Brisbane. In the grand scheme of things in 2013, the 28-point loss on the road wasn’t that bad, but the Lions aren’t in much better form than Melbourne so it was nothing more than an admirable defeat.

The Blues , on the other hand, are looking good after three narrow losses to start the season. West Coast and Adelaide are playing nothing like the sides that finished in the top five last season, but Mick Malthouse’s team won comfortably on both occasions. The nippy forward line is looking good and key forward Jarrad Waite makes his long-awaited comeback from a calf strain. Silky-skilled utility Bryce Gibbs won’t play this weekend after being subbed out against the Crows due to a hamstring injury.

Melbourne’s injury loss will probably affect them far more with key forward Mitch Clark sidelined for the next 6-8 weeks after undergoing further surgery on the same foot which caused him to miss the back half of last season. The Demons are also without enigmatic backman Jack Watts (hamstring) and ruckman Mark Jamar (groin).


Key Men

(Blues) Brock McLean – He’s hardly the quickest or most spectacular player going around in the AFL, but after wallowing in the seconds with Carlton for his first couple of seasons, Brock McLean has proven to be a more than handy ball-winner since midway through last year. He’s a quality inside midfielder and after a slow start to the season, he has hit his straps the last three weeks averaging 27 possessions. McLean has also joined the rest of Carlton’s midfield in chipping in on the scoreboard kicking five goals in his past three games, which is pretty good for a player who averages a goal every two games across his career. He was close to best-on-ground against Adelaide last weekend in the 32-point win .

(Demons) Jeremy Howe – There is a difference between being a human highlight reel and an effective AFL player. Jeremy Howe is now both. In just his third season, the Tasmanian high-flyer plays the game in a similar way to another Demon from the Apple Isle, Russell Robertson. The latter was Melbourne’s leading goalkicker four times and Howe certainly has a nose for goal, kicking four in the win over GWS. He has the ability to find open space, as well, and could be a real weapon on a decent team.


Prediction

Not since 2007 has Melbourne beaten Carlton, and to tell the truth, they haven’t even really gotten close. 33 points was the smallest winning margin in the Blues’ six-game run over the Dees in that time. Carlton was there and thereabouts at the start of the year, and its 2-3 record probably reflects where it is as a team right now and you can expect further improvement from this group as it continues to get more hands on deck. The only way is up for Melbourne, as well, but they’ll remain around the basement for some time to come. It really is a case of Carlton by how many. Blues by 55 points

Click here to bet on AFL Round 6 Matches