WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Sunday May 27, 3.15pm
LAST TIME: Carlton 21.8 (134) d Melbourne 7.16 (58), round 20, 2011 at the MCG

The irony of today’s contest comes from the post match controversy after Carlton’s 47 point victory over Melbourne last season in which Mitch Robinson and Dennis Armfield told the media that they believed Melbourne were reluctant to get their hands dirty at the MCG.

After the last fortnight, the accusation wouldn’t go astray if it were targeted at the inconsistent Blues.

Carlton possesses a premium outside running game, but they often leave the inside contested work to too few. Mostly, it’s on Chris Judd’s shoulders to dish out the hard ball to the runners waiting out on the wings.

Although Melbourne have been poor this season, it is clear that coach Mark Neeld has inherited a list that needs a lot of work and discipline – things that will take time. Carlton however appeared primed for a premiership tilt until things turned pear shaped in the past month.

They were cut apart by Essendon, looked sluggish against GWS whilst winning in tough conditions in Perth against Fremantle, but it is the past fortnight that has really damaged the Blues credentials. Carlton were made to look simply slow and soft against  against St Kilda and Adelaide and despite Judd’s best efforts, they were blown off the park by sides wanting the ball more.

The irony of course coming because Armfield and Robinson are two who have shown an ability to win the contested ball, and it’s something that has to return today if Carlton have any hope of landing a top four spot.

Unfortunately the loss was not the only bad news coming from the Carlton camp last week, with star midfielder Marc Murphy set to miss at least eight weeks after fracturing his shoulder in two places.

It leaves a lot of pressure on a midfield which can appear content to allow Judd and Murphy to do the hard work – it can not be accepted today, no matter who they’re playing

If Carlton were poor last week, Melbourne can only be described as pathetic.

Melbourne find themselves an opportunity to take on an opponent bereft of form, and whilst fans should not be expecting four points, a bit of effort from the 22 selected would be enough to relieve concerns over the Demons progress in 2012.

Final Say

Carlton have been the more disappointing of the two sides the past two weeks, but only because the expectations for them are so high. The match against Melbourne has come at the perfect time, as it should allow those who are struggling to gain some form against a side which has yet to win in 2012.

Carlton by 49


B: Zach Tuohy, Michael Jamison, Aaron Joseph
HB: Bryce Gibbs, Lachlan Henderson, Christopher Yarran
C: Kade Simpson, Chris Judd, Heath Scotland
HF: Dennis Armfield, Matthew Kreuzer, Andrew Walker
F: Eddie Betts, Shaun Hampson, Jeffrey Garlett
Foll: Robert Warnock, Mitch Robinson, Brock McLean
I/C: David Ellard, Andrew Collins, Edward Curnow, Joshua Bootsma
Emg: Paul Bower, Kane Lucas, Matthew Watson
In: Aaron Joseph, Robert Warnock, Brock McLean, Andrew Collins, Joshua Bootsma

Out: Marc Murphy (shoulder), Jordan Russell, Bret Thornton, Nick Duigan (calf), Paul Bower

B: James Frawley, Jared Rivers, Clint Bartram
HB: Jack Grimes, Colin Garland, Tom McDonald
C: Rohan Bail, Brent Moloney, Sam Blease
HF: Jack Trengove, Jack Watts, Brad Green
F: Jeremy Howe, Mitchell Clark, James Sellar
Foll: Mark Jamar, Lynden Dunn, Nathan Jones
I/C: Jamie Bennell, Jordie McKenzie, Daniel Nicholson, James Magner
Emg: Luke Tapscott, Joel Macdonald, Troy Davis
In: Lynden Dunn, Rohan Bail, Daniel Nicholson, James Sellar

Out: Aaron Davey, Colin Sylvia, Cale Morton, Liam Jurrah (ankle)