North Back To Their Best

Brent Harvey - North Melbourne Kangaroos
The ageless Brent Harvey continues to inspire the Roos. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis

AFL Carlton Football Club Logo


Carlton v North Melbourne


Etihad Stadium

Friday July 18 – 7:50 PM (AEST)

Form:

LLLWL

LWLWW



AFL North Melbourne Kangaroos Logo


The Roos can build on a pair of impressive wins on Friday night when they clash with the Blues  at Etihad Stadium.

Mick Malthouse’s men capitulated in the third quarter last week against the Swans to fall to their second biggest defeat of the season. The Blues went into half-time trailing by just seven points, but their hard work in the opening two terms was undone in devastating fashion, with Sydney booting ten goals to Carlton’s one behind in the third term. When you take that quarter out of the game, the Blues were actually quite competitive. They had the ticker from the get-go and looked a real threat, but a number of unforced errors mixed with the brilliance of Buddy Franklin in the third term saw them ripped to shreds. You would expect Malthouse to make a host of changes following Saturday’s defeat, and he’ll start by replacing Andrew Walker, who will miss the rest of the season after requiring surgery on his knee. Young Forward Troy Menzel should return from a shoulder injury which sidelined him for the Swans clash, while the energetic Mitch Robinson will be a welcome return into the Blues midfield after serving a two-match suspension.

After their shock round 15 loss to the struggling Lions in Brisbane, North have bounced back – and stylishly. The Roos were too good for Hawthorn a fortnight ago, and managed a 59-point victory over the Saints on Saturday in the wet and cold conditions in Tasmania. The Roos put in one of their best performances of the year last week, restricting the Saints both on the field and on the scoreboard. St Kilda didn’t register a goal until the last minute of the second term, and by then, the contest was well and truly over. Sam Wright was the stand out for the Roos, while captain Brent Harvey was also handy for North. The pair combined well to control the in the middle of the park, and the Roos midfield should be bolstered with vice-captain Jack Ziebell expected to return from a knee injury. Dual best and fairest winner Daniel Wells is edging closer and closer to a long-awaited comeback from a foot problem, although it seems as though he’s still a week or two away.

The Roos are clear-cut favourites ahead of Friday night’s clash and if they’re the top six team they seem to be, they should win this comfortably. Victory over the Blues would bring added confidence for the Kangas heading into the final five matches, but they’ll be made to work hard. If the Blues can play to their potential for the full four quarters, the Roos will have a fight on their hands. This will be a lot closer than people expect, and although winning the match would be a big call to make, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Carlton comes close to nicking it.

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Nick's Tip: Carlton + 27.5 

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