If taking into account our recent encounters, it won't bode well for Carlton. Unfortunately this type of analysis is flawed, as only recent form is more of an appropriate indicator, the last 4-6 weeks. Carlton is rising, evident in performances against the Lions, Dockers, Dogs and to some degree Swans and Demons. Apart from GC, Crows are struggling to compete and or overcome sides around or above them, yet on their day are a strong proposition
Even from our last encounter, the sides are very different:
Out: Byrne, Rowe, Mullet, Lamb, Wright, De Konning, Lobbe, Polson, Kerridge. Injuries: C Curnow, Marchbank
In: Jones, Plowman, Newman, Setterfield, Kreuzer, Fisher, Kennedy, Gibbons, Walsh, Deluca, Casboult
Out: Ottens, Douglas, Himmelberg, Gallucci, McGovern, Jacobs, Gibbs, Ellis-Yolmen
In: B. Crouch, Smith, Walker, O'Brien, Murphy, Sloane, Talia, Hartigan
I am sure the masses on both sides will debate which changes are better for team strength and balance.
I will say that this has been entertaining, dating back to how poorly Carlton managed their list in regards to Jacobs and Betts, but perhaps that has changed somewhat with Gibbs, McGovern and now the Stocker trade. Enough has been said about the current and long term outcomes, but it will certainly spice up this and future games. What has been more interesting is the so called predictions of how each side will progress in the the future, which certainly increased friendly hostilities before the start of the season
This was taken back in January this year, predictions as to the number of wins Carlton would notch up. I guess it has eliminated a fair few contenders as AFL analysts, including some of our own supporters. Another win or two and it will eliminate over 92% of the predictions, staggering really
Countering this, many/most predicted that the Crows should sneak a finals berth (I too was in this group). That prediction could still go either way. But perhaps we should use the so called experts, which many Crow supporters used as vindication in early debates. Carlton - Seems to be meeting expectations. Adelaide falling well and truly short
Who has the AFL's best list heading into 2019?
Even read countless posts, that we will fade in the 2nd half of the year, wondering what they think now
Enough fun for now, back to the game.
Jones v Walker, Weitering v Jenkins, Thomas v Lynch, Setterfield v Smith, Ed v Sloane, Walsh v Seedman, Deluca v Laird, Hartigan v Casboult, Talia v McKay
Apart from Ed v Sloane, I believe the rest of both midfields will take the closest opponent, although Greenwood might still take Cripps. On Cripps, I would use him a little more as the deepest forward given his ankle and play Jack in the middle for that period
I suspect Keath will try and take Kennedy so he can impact other contests. Plowman might do similar if Greenwood is pushed forward
How it will be won and lost:
Adelaide, are still a strong side on their day. Crouch boys along with Sloane and Greenwood are elite as a unit, at winning the clearances and distributing to more dangerous players, who are quicker and better ball users such as Milera, Smith and Seedsman. If Adelaide get it on the outside and are willing to run hard to create options, they can carve up any side in the competition. Carlton still needs to fight hard at the stoppages, but controlling the outside could be the key to this game.
Keath has had an AA year, McKay will need to continue to work hard to have an impact. O'Brien has come on after finally getting his chance and admire has natural aggression for a contest. Our rucks need to play with a similar aggression to combat him, as he will work hard to find his own ball. Adelaide's forward line does not concern me, apart from Jenkins who I believe is currently their best forward. Not on overall quality, but on his movement and positioning and also due to the decline of Betts and Walker. Lynch seems to be underdone, perhaps he needed the run last week. Adelaide's backline is solid, but apart from Keath, I believe it can be exposed.
Carlton are now playing with more freedom under Teague and that bravery in ball movement needs to continue. Cripps seems like he is struggling with that ankle injury, but will still be hitting the contest hard. Ed and Murphy have been handed back the keys to their midfield roles and are playing the football we all know they are capable of, together with a relentless Walsh (truly amazing the year he is having). Our forward line is looking more dangerous with greater opportunities, which was only a matter of time. Our backline is still our best and most cohesive unit, despite the loss of Marchbank recently. If they can stem the tide of the occasional surging Adelaide, it will go a long way to winning the game.
I believe this will be a 20 point game either way, if Adelaide continue to start well, but can maintain their run and carry, they could have a solid win. Countering this, is our improved starts in recent weeks and or our strong finishers over the last 6 weeks. If we are within 4 goals at half time, I think we win
Blues by 19 (Stocker) points
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