The Bombers will unleash much-hyped teenager Joe Daniher on the Blues on Friday night. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au
Last Five Meetings
Round 21, 2012 – Carlton 156 d Essendon 60 at MCG
Round 4, 2012 – Essendon 109 d Carlton 79 at MCG
Elimination Final, 2011 – Carlton 149 d Essendon 87 at MCG
Round 18, 2011 – Carlton 153 d Essendon 79 at MCG
Round 4, 2011 - Carlton 79 drew Essendon 79 at MCG
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Essendon had 61 inside 50s against the Swans last week, five more than its opponent, yet the Bombers managed to go down by 44 points . It’s a worrying sign and an issue that has affected the Bombers for much of the past month, and it’s no coincidence that it is happening with key forward Michael Hurley on the injured list. Jake Carlisle is a super-talented fullback, and the fact he spent time up forward and kicked two goals last week says much about James Hird’s limited options.
In an attempt to solve the problem, James Hird has turned to boom Father-Son draft selection Joe Daniher, who will make his AFL debut. The 19-year-old has been in stellar form at VFL level, with Scott Gumbleton making way for the teenage sensation. Ruckman Tom Bellchambers has been omitted.
A functioning forward line is no issue for Mick Malthouse and Carlton at the moment. Since losing three straight at the start of the year, the Blues have been averaging 107 points per game thanks to their collection of nippy small forwards and a fit and firing Jarrad Waite. They are an even scarier proposition now with gun goalsneak Eddie Betts coming back from suspension. Chris Judd returns after being rested from last week’s win over GWS with hamstring soreness.
(Bombers) David Zaharakis – With opposition teams clamping down on Jobe Watson of late, the Bombers need a couple of his midfield mates to step up. Brent Stanton has racked up 35-plus disposals the past two games, and now they need David Zaharakis to pick up his output. He was best-on-ground in the ANZAC Day clash against Collingwood with 34 touches and four goals, but in the six games since, he has kicked just two majors; not surprisingly both came in the win over Richmond. With the ‘Dons struggling to find scoring avenues, some goals from the attacking midfielder wouldn’t go astray.
(Blues) Jeff Garlett – With Eddie Betts playing just four games so far this season due to injury and suspension, Jeff Garlett has well and truly picked up the slack. He slotted four goals against GWS to equal his season high also achieved against Port, Melbourne and Adelaide. He has posted 20 majors in his past six games, and, as usual, his tackle numbers have been outstanding. Essendon doesn’t exactly have a defence stocked with fleet-flooted troops, especially with Courtenay Dempsey out, and they’ll be in trouble if Garlett and Co. are allowed any space.
The Blues have dominated the recent record between these teams, having won four of the past six with a draw also thrown in. When Carlton has won, it has won well; the Blues’ average victory margin in those four games was 77 points . Don’t expect any blowouts of epic proportions in this match, despite the Bombers’ run of three losses in their past four starts. Jobe Watson led Essendon’s possession count in three of its first four matches, all of which were wins. He hasn’t managed it since, and in that time the Bombers are 3-3. Essendon has had a much tougher lead-in to this match, but if it can find some goalkickers across the park, it might just sneak home. Blues by 8 points
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