Demons Fight Fatigue

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis/News Limited
Aaron Davey was back to his best against Brisbane. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis/News Limited
Last Five Matches

Round 18, 2012 – North Melbourne 127 d Melbourne 73 at Etihad Stadium
Round 8, 2011 – North Melbourne 124 d Melbourne 83 at Etihad Stadium
Round 22, 2010 – North Melbourne 113 d Melbourne 103 at MCG
Round 6, 2010 – North Melbourne 104 d Melbourne 78 at Etihad Stadium
Round 19, 2009 – North Melbourne 123 d Melbourne 61 at Etihad Stadium


Form

     Rd 13       Rd 14       Rd 15       Rd 16       Rd 17   
Melbourne    L  W  L  L  L
North Melbourne    L  W  W  L  L

In stark contrast to the rest of their season, North Melbourne decided to sit off the speed against Carlton before delivering a withering finishing burst to take the chocolates. Only problem was the Kangaroos left their run too late finishing one point short of the Blues. Most teams have a couple of games they let slip every season; the Kangas have now lost five matches by four points or less and eight by under three goals. The Roos’ season is now a write off as they’re three games outside the eight, and have matches against Geelong, Essendon, Hawthorn and Collingwood to come.

Their task is somewhat easier this weekend, taking on Melbourne at North’s favoured Etihad Stadium. As has been the case since Neil Craig took over, the Demons showed plenty of fight against Brisbane but ran out of gas before Brisbane ever really had the chance to feel seriously under threat, with the final margin a respectable 19 points . It was the Dees’ fourth loss in five games since Mark Neeld’s departure, but three of those defeats were by less than six goals; a remarkable achievement for a squad which was beaten by 10 goals-plus in eight of its first 11 games.

Melbourne has lost in-form backman Colin Garland who injured his ankle against Brisbane last week, with former Kangaroo Cameron Pedersen his replacement. Brad Scott has dropped experienced defender Scott McMahon with Cameron Delaney coming in to the side.


Key Men

(Kangaroos) Lindsay Thomas – He probably won’t be forgiven by North for getting a pointless two-game suspension, but Lindsay Thomas showed what his team was missing when he booted six goals in the heartbreaking loss to Carlton last week. In 14 games he has collected a stunning 45 goals from just 120 kicks. Importantly, 33 of those majors have come in eight games under the roof at Etihad Stadium.

(Demons) Aaron Davey – With the Demons playing an open forward line against Brisbane and his side hitting the Lions on the rebound with regularity in the first half in Darwin, Aaron Davey was able to show his full repertoire of skills at TIO Stadium. He finished with two goals but showed his ability to read the game and make the difficult look simple. If only he could do it with more consistency.


Prediction

Last season the Demons went down in Darwin to Port Adelaide and played North Melbourne the following week suffered a 54-point hammering . Say what you will about the Demons copping almost ritual floggings, but it remains a difficult task backing up a week after playing in Darwin. In 2011, Melbourne also lost by 54 to Hawthorn after beating Port in the Top End, and in 2010, you guessed it, the Dees fell short by 54 against Geelong following a win over the Power in the NT. With the pressure off, the Kangas could kick a cricket score in what’s likely to be their 11th straight win over the Demons. North Melbourne by 55 points .

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