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Essendon: Essendon struggled against Sydney in wet conditions, going in with one too many key position players in most people’s opinions, but there were a few positives like Stanton’s 36 possession games, Jake Carlisle’s influence at both ends of the ground and Heath Hocking’s job on Daniel Hannebery, but a lack of forward structure was evident
Carlton: Thrashed a hapless GWS outfit but let a Callan Ward off the leash with no Andrew Carrazzo, and that may concern Mick Malthouse with Essendon having 4 or 5 players at a similar quality or higher than Ward. Lachie Henderson is showing promise as a key forward for the blues as well, but the fact that they’re playing 3 small forwards, none of whom push up into the midfield, may hamper the blues
Previous encounters: Essendon 1-3 Carlton (1 draw)
Past 5 matches
Essendon forward line vs Carlton defence
Interesting duel. Carlton have generally struggled with sides that have gone in with three tall forwards as one for the most part has gotten away from them with Vickery against Richmond, Hawkins against Geelong, Otten against Adelaide spring to mind, but Essendon’s forward line hasn’t, well, functioned. It’ll be important for Essendon to shut down the run and carry from Walker, who is probably leading Carlton’s B+F count right now.
midfield battle (rucks included)
Where the game is won and lost. Both boast an impressive midfield group on paper, but it’s how they work that’s important. Essendon have the big bodies in Watson, Howlett, Myers, Hocking, Goddard and co, but Carlton have the speed on the outside with Armfield, Lucas, Gibbs and Simpson, so it’s interesting if Essendon try to win the game like they did last year by trying to “beat up” the Carlton midfield
Carlton forward line vs Essendon defence
Carlton are interesting in the way that they play 5 “pure” forwards as well as their second ruckmen, and this could make things easier for the bombers as they thoroughly smashed a side with similar sort of structure in St. Kilda. Baguley and Hibberd will be important in shutting Betts and Garlett down, and either Hardingham or Browne on Yarran. If a side can contain those three to 4 goals or less they’re half way to beating Carlton
Essendon’s X-Factor for this week is David Zaharakis. He’s fast, smart and has been in career best form so far this season. This guy can break open a game and is just playing pure football at the moment, and has been as good a recruit as Goddard from the second half of 2012.
Levi Casboult is my pick as the X-Factor for the blues. He’s a big lump of a lad, entering his 4th season at Carlton and should really be starting to hit his straps as a player. He could be the key forward Carlton are hoping for to really get them into contention
Key stats for each side
Contested Possessions. Carlton are 1st in CP differential for 2013 and Essendon 3rd, but Essendon can’t let Carlton get it on the outside to Gibbs and Simpson
Effective disposals. Essendon average the highest Effective disposals differential in the AFL. Can’t let the small forwards of Carlton to pressure them too much
Disposal efficiency. Essendon have been the #1 scoring side in the AFL from turnovers so Carlton can’t let them do that
Contested Marks. Carlton average the second fewest Contested marks in the AFL and strong contested marks are crucial to a side
Thanks to eth-dog
Our rivalry was born when Sheedy moved from Richmond to Essendon in 1981, taking his renowned hatred of all things Navy Blue along with him. Sheedy was the architect of many rivalries, notably Richmond with the Dreamtime at the ‘G game, and Collingwood with the ANZAC Day clash. But no other rivalry has ended up playing out on the big Finals stage like this rivalry has.
His ‘Baby Bombers’ stole the precious from us on the last Saturday in September 1993. And after that, we vowed to hates them forever.
We returned the favour in 1999, by 1! One glorious point. No small thanks to the face of Souvlaki Hut, and one supremely ferocious tackle courtesy of one Mr Fraser ‘Leroy’ Brown. “You’d wanna be on the Blues now!”
Proving the gargantuan stature of this rivalry are the historical results. This is no manufactured seat filler. This is the real deal.
32 Premierships won: 16 Carlton, 16 Essendon.
6 Grand Finals contested between the two clubs: 3 wins Carlton, 3 wins Essendon.
20 Finals contested: 10 wins Carlton, 10 wins Essendon.
217 clashes during the regular season. 111 wins Carlton, 101 wins Essendon, 5 draws.
116 years of sheer unadulterated VFL/AFL rivalry.
And so, after our brief trip in the Delorean, we arrive back to the future – and the future, ladies and gentlemen, is football.
Pound for pound, and as much as it pains me to say it, the teams are evenly matched in many areas.
The Goddard effect is in play – he has improved the quality of this side immensely, relegating players like Melksham to being part of the depth chart rather than central cogs in the team. Gumbleton is finally taking strides to becoming a reliable and effective forward target. Bellchambers has taken his ruck work to a new level over the last year and a half. Carlisle is in AA contention after taking some huge scalps and most importantly has rarely had his colours lowered this season. As for Jobe – nothing more to say here. He’s a bona fide champion of the game now.
For the Blues, Walker is in career best form creating drive of half back and influencing the play. Waite is in and back to his damaging best, allowing the Triumvirate of Awesome in Betts, Garlett and Yarran to wreak havoc on opposition defensive lines. Garlett has taken great strides this year, and has become one of our most consistent performers.
Key inclusions, or players I feel might be important
Carrazzo is a must for this game – Carlton are a significantly better side with him in the engine room. Hocking will blanket Murphy, rotating to Judd if he threatens to influence the game. Carrots is an essential inclusion to return the favour and limit the effectiveness of Watson or Zaharakis. But at this stage it is highly doubtful he will be fit enough to play, denting our chances of winning the crucial midfield battle.
Hurley will likely be included should he prove his fitness, but if Gumbleton has a day out against Sydney it will be a difficult decision for the Essendon match committee. Essendon’s list management team will struggle to keep Gumbleton, Hurley, Ryder and Daniher on the same playing roster in the long term.
How it will play out, or what I reckon will happen
Without Carrazzo, the result will rest on the shoulders of an inexperienced engine room. Look for Curnow to go with Stanton and Cachia to sit on Watson or Zaharakis. Both teams are guaranteed to lift for this clash, and literally anything is possible.
Essendon’s drive off half back must be nullified, and of all teams in the competition we have the ability to not only restrict them but to score a significant victory in this area. Eddie will be cherry ripe and hungry, Yarran will have some run in his legs, and Jeff will relish having the band back together.
Essendon’s tall targets will need to contribute significantly to a winning score. Crameri poses a big threat to us and White will have his work cut out for him to contain his influence on the outcome.
Thanks to Azzurro
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B: Mark Baguley, Dustin Fletcher, Michael Hibberd
HB: Brendon Goddard, Cale Hooker, Dyson Heppell
C: Brent Stanton, Jobe Watson, Ben Howlett
HF: Jake Melksham, Michael Hurley, Alwyn Davey
F: David Zaharaki, Joe Daniher, Nick Kommer
Foll: Patrick Ryder, David Myers, Heath Hocking
Int: Will Hams, Jake Carlisle, Stewart Crameri, Jason Winderlich
Emerg: Tom Bellchambers, Leroy Jetta, Kyle Hardingham
In: A.Davey, B.Howlett, M.Hurley, J.Daniher
Out: C.Dempsey (ribs), L.Jetta, S.Gumbleton (ankle), T.Bellchambers
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B: Mitch Robinson, Michael Jamison, Lachie Henderson
HB: Zach Tuohy, Dennis Armfield, Simon White
C: Chris Yarran, Chris Judd, Kade Simpson
HF: Ed Curnow, Andrew Walker, Jeff Garlett
F: Brock McLean, Jarrad Waite, Matthew Kreuzer
Foll: Levi Casboult, Marc Murphy, Heath Scotland
Int: Bryce Gibbs, Kane Lucas, Eddie Betts, Jaryd Cachia
Emerg: Josh Bootsma, Troy Menzel, Sam Rowe
In: C.Judd, E.Betts, K.Lucas
Out: T.Menzel, T.Bell, J.Bootsma