With both clubs winless after two matches, Richmond and Melbourne will be hoping to finally open their win tally for 2012 this afternoon. We’ll have live scores from 1.45pm AEST.
While the win-loss column looks identical, it’s telling that Richmond’s percentage is at 69 despite games against Carlton and Collingwood, while Melbourne’s is at 47 – only six more than the Gold Coast Suns.
The Dees have had a rough start and are clearly adjusting to the game plan and benchmarks of new coach Mark Neeld.
That said, this week they are back at the MCG, up against an easier opponent than West Coast, and coming off a week far less tumultuous than the last. It may be the platform for a surprise performance.
The Tigers will be confident of the opposite occurring. After opening the season with a difficult draw, their first genuine shot at victory has presented itself and they’ll be keen to take it.
Unlike the Demons, they still appear as though they are a team on the rise.
The Tiger forward line will be interesting to watch this week after Jack Riewoldt and Tyrone Vickery were held goalless last week against the Pies. Riewoldt has been playing up the ground more to create more options, but surely that stat won’t happen two weeks in a row.
The midfield battle on paper goes to the Tiges. Whether the form of mature-age recruit James Magner can continue will be something Melbourne fans will look out for, but Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio have looked good in recent weeks while Dustin Martin will be looking to arrest a slide in his form.
In the Dees’ forward line, Mitch Clark went some way to silencing his critics by kicking five of his side’s nine goals last week. Meanwhile, the Tiger back line will hope to silence critics of their own by showing they can provide run out of defence after Deledio’s move to the midfield.
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B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Chris Newman
HB: Bachar Houli, Dylan Grimes, Brandon Ellis
C: Shaun Grigg, Dustin Martin, Daniel Jackson
HF: Brett Deledio, Tyrone Vickery, Shane Edwards
F: Brad Miller, Jack Riewoldt, Robin Nahas
Foll: Ivan Maric, Trent Cotchin, Nathan Foley
I/C: Shane Tuck, Reece Conca, Jake Batchelor, Addam Maric
Emg: Angus Graham, Matthew White, Matt Dea
In: Addam Maric
Out: Jake King (knee)
Milestone: Brad Miller (150 games)
B: James Frawley, James Sellar, Clint Bartram
HB: Tom McDonald, Jared Rivers, Colin Garland
C: Rohan Bail, Jack Grimes, Nathan Jones
HF: Cale Morton, Jack Watts, Jeremy Howe
F: Matthew Bate, Mitchell Clark, Aaron Davey
Foll: Mark Jamar, James Magner, Jack Trengove
I/C: Lynden Dunn, Stefan Martin, Jordie McKenzie, Luke Tapscott
Emg: Brad Green, Jack Fitzpatrick, Joel Macdonald
In: Aaron Davey, Cale Morton, Stefan Martin, Luke Tapscott
Out: Brad Green, Ricky Petterd, Jamie Bennell, Joel Macdonald
First bounce: 1.45pm (AEST) Venue: MCG Last time: Melbourne 17.16 (118) d Richmond 13.13 (91), round 14, 2011 Betting: Richmond $1.20, Melbourne $4.60 TV: Channel Seven (Delayed), Fox Footy (LIVE)