WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Sunday May 20, 3.15pm
LAST TIME: Carlton 11.19 (85) d Adelaide 12.7 (79), round five, 2011 at Etihad Stadium
When you have even the most hardened and passionate Carlton supporters call for the head of Brett Ratten, something awful must have transpired. Last Monday Night, Carlton played arguably it’s worst game for the season against a revitalized St.Kilda outfit and came away looking second rate.
Since destroying Collingwood a month ago, the Blues have failed to show or recapture the buzz they had at the beginning of the season.
The Crows sit nowhere near where everyone had pegged them at the start of the year. Have played some hardened, scintillating football which has seen dramatic development over the pre-season and Brendon Sanderson has bought a hard-nosed edge to the club.
The Crows record at Etihad is less than inspiring, losing the last 8 and the last time they traveled there they had a 100 point loss to the Saints which ended the coaching career of Neil Craig.
Again, another 8 point game, and another indicator of where this season will head.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN?
The common theme in the Blues’ two losses for the season – to Essendon and St Kilda – has been the physical approach of the opposition. They were knocked off the footy and harrassed by the Saints, with both a brilliant forward press, but always being out numbered around the footy at the contests. That has been a trademark of the Crows under Brent Sanderson, so Carlton’s onballers will need to set the tone early or risk being second to the ball for most of the day.
Chris Yarran will be put back into a side that yearns to have a forward drive once again from half-back. Since the absence of Andrew Carrazzo and Jeremy Laidler, Carlton’s structure has been extraordinarily diminished. Most of Carlton’s scoring chains up to round three, when at it’s most dominant, based itself from the spreading from the contest at stoppages in it’s back line. The skilful, hard-rebounding defender has been missing since round four, when he suffered a toe injury, and the Blues have missed his poise off half-back
Against Carlton’s midfield boasting such stars Chris Judd, Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs, Adelaide’s engine room will need to run at full speed if it is to make it three impressive wins in as many weeks. They also must remain hardened at every contest; corral, hassle and haste the Blues midfield out of the contest. The Crows managed 10 more clearances than Geelong last week and a similar performance will be needed to overcome this Carlton outfit that will come out firing.
Some of Adelaide’s second-tier players have emerged in 2012 and are on the right track to evolve into elite members of the squad. Jared Petrenko is one such player. Petrenko was brilliant against Geelong and is finally starting to live up to the No. 23 jumper: his attack on the ball and x-factor around goals can offer the Crows a huge advantage if he can perform. Considering the Saints smalls annihilated Carlton on Monday night, and Petrenko’s place in the side becomes critical.
The absence of Walker up forward for the Crows is massive, considering of the impact he’s had this season. The Blues must not lose the contested footy and regain the hunger they had against the Pies. Massive game, Top 4 and maybe Premiership aspirations for the winner.
Blues by 6.
B: Christopher Yarran, Michael Jamison, Lachlan Henderson
HB: Nick Duigan, Paul Bower, Zach Tuohy
C: Kade Simpson, Chris Judd, Heath Scotland
HF: Eddie Betts, Bret Thornton, Jordan Russell
F: Andrew Walker, Shaun Hampson, Jeffrey Garlett
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs
I/C: Dennis Armfield, David Ellard, Mitch Robinson, Edward Curnow
Emg: Aaron Joseph, Brock McLean, Andrew Collins
In: Bret Thornton, Christopher Yarran
Out: Jarrad Waite (Back), Aaron Joseph
Milestones: Christopher Yarran – 50 games
B: Michael Doughty, Ben Rutten, Graham Johncock
HB: Matthew Jaensch, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: David Mackay, Scott Thompson, Nathan van Berlo
HF: Jared Petrenko, Josh Jenkins, Ian Callinan
F: Matthew Wright, Kurt Tippett, Jason Porplyzia
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Patrick Dangerfield, Rory Sloane
I/C: Bernie Vince, Ricky Henderson, Brodie Smith, Tom Lynch
Emg: Brad Symes, Brodie Martin, Luke Thompson
In: Bernie Vince, Tom Lynch
Out: Taylor Walker (Suspension), Jarryd Lyons