Rivals Try To Find Winning Formula

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
The Master and the Apprentice meet for a second time on Friday night. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Last Five Matches

Round 2, 2013 – Collingwood 117 d Carlton 100 at MCG
Round 15, 2012 – Carlton 85 d Collingwood 62 at MCG W
Round 3, 2012 – Carlton 122 d Collingwood 62 at MCG
Round 17, 2011 – Collingwood 98 d Carlton 79 at MCG
Round 3, 2011 – Collingwood 102 d Carlton 74 at MCG


Form

     Rd 10       Rd 11       Rd 12       Rd 13       Rd 14   
Carlton  

 W

 L

 L

 B

 L

Collingwood  

 W

 W

 W

 B

 L


You normally associate Collingwood with putting teams under finals-like pressure in the regular season, but on Saturday it was Port Adelaide throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at the ‘Pies as they were bullied in to submission. The 35-point defeat has thrown the Magpies to the bottom of the top eight, and with the likes of last year’s finalists Adelaide and West Coast lurking, they need to keep winning games to confirm September action.

Another side sitting just outside the finals spots is Collingwood’s arch enemy, Carlton . The Blues are close enough if they’re good enough, but in isolated games this season, they’ve shown they’re just off the mark. Seven losses in 13 games doesn’t look good, but the Blues have been in each and every one of those matches at some stage. The 22-point margin in the loss to Sydney in the slosh on Friday night was another example; after letting the home side get out to a lead of 27 points at quarter time , Carlton got within seven in the final term before wilting on the run home.

Carlton has received a massive boost with skipper Mark Murphy returning ahead of schedule from a cheekbone fracture, while tagger Andrew Carrazzo is another important inclusion. Defensive playmaker Heath Scotland is out with an adductor injury. The Magpies will lose some drive on the wing with Harry O’Brien missing due to an ankle problem, but Andrew Krakouer and Ben Reid are both back. Former Hawk Clinton Young makes his long-awaited debut in the black and white.


Key Men

(Blues) Bryce Gibbs – For most of his time with the Blues, Bryce Gibbs has been used to fill gaps in the backline, rather than having the chance to unleash his silky skills in the middle of the ground. So many of the good things Carlton does go through Gibbs, and he was at it again on Friday night with a topline effort on the waterlogged SCG pitch. The past month he has lifted his numbers considerably averaging 27 touches per game whilst still applying an average of seven tackles. The more he gets his hands on the footy in the run to the final, the better off the Blues will be.

(Magpies) Jamie Elliott – There wasn’t much to write home about for the ‘Pies on Saturday, but young forward Jamie Elliott did produce an undoubted contender for mark of the year. He has shown plenty both in the air and at ground level this season. Against Carlton earlier this season he led the Magpies with a career high five majors, and in only his second season at AFL level he has been more than serviceable with 20 goals to his name so far.


Prediction

Collingwood went down to Carlton twice in 2012 which was Nathan Buckley’s first season as coach, but the Magpie champion got the one that really mattered earlier this season snatching victory from the claws of Mick Malthouse when his team came from 10 points down at the final change to win by 17 . The Magpies have plenty of youth going around (but so did Port on Saturday) and the Blues look have the advantage in the experience stakes. The Power midfielders did a great job helping out in defence to nullify Travis Cloke and keep him to just two goals. Can Carlton put in the same effort across the ground? Four times this season the Magpies have followed a loss with a win. They might just avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season on Friday night. Carlton still has to prove it can win the tight ones.

Collingwood by 10 points

Click here to bet on AFL Round 15 matches