Two of Melbourne’s big four meet this afternoon when an undermanned Essendon try and halt a red-hot Carlton outfit. Live scores and commentary from the MCG will be here from 1.45pm AEST.
We know they’re coming.
Not only did last Friday night’s 60-point demolition of Collingwood send their bitter rivals’ season into an early tailspin, but it well and truly stamped Carlton as a top-four outfit that will almost certainly be around in the latter stages of September.
While it is no surprise that Chris Judd is up and firing for the Blues, the real story has been the performance of Carlton’s number one draft picks, namely Marc Murphy.
The 24-year-old midfielder is averaging nearly 34 disposals over the first three rounds and although being well-regarded at VISY Park for a long time, looks finally set to establish himself as one of the best midfielders in the AFL.
This afternoon Carlton come up against another unbeaten side in Essendon but while Carlton are flying, the same can’t really be said about Essendon.
James Hird’s outfit have been crucified by injuries with the likes of David Hille, Jason Winderlich, Scott Gumbleton, Mark McVeigh, Nathan Lovett-Murray and David Myers all set to miss.
The problem is doubled when Essendon’s next fixture is considered: Collingwood in the ANZAC Day blockbuster on a three-day backup.
There can be no implication that Essendon will be playing soft this afternoon but if the tide turns in Carlton’s favour early, it is hard to see Essendon going full-throttle knowing who is up next.
Contests between these two storied rivals are often close and have a habit of throwing up surprise results so it would be foolish to dismiss Essendon’s chances completely.
But against a hungry Carlton side who after a decade look finally ready to rejoin the competition’s elite, it’s hard to see them getting the four points today.
It’s a classic Saturday afternoon matchup at the MCG between two of Melbourne’s powerhouses. Will it follow the script, or are we in for another cliffhanger? Action gets underway from 1.45pm AEST and we’ll cover all of it, siren-to-siren. Leave us your thoughts in the space below.
For every AFL game of 2014 on demand on your tablet and mobile, there's only one app: the official AFL Live app.
Sign up here for your free trial of the official app, brought to you by Telstra.
While you're at it, check out the video!
Video brought to you by The Roar
B: Jeremy Laidler, Michael Jamison, Christopher Yarran
HB: Nick Duigan, Lachlan Henderson, Zach Tuohy
C: Marc Murphy, Chris Judd, Kade Simpson
HF: Jeffrey Garlett, Jarrad Waite, Kane Lucas
F: Shaun Hampson, Mitch Robinson, Eddie Betts
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Bryce Gibbs, Andrew Carrazzo
IC: Paul Bower, Heath Scotland, Brock McLean, Edward Curnow
Emg: Jordan Russell, Bret Thornton, Andrew Collins
In: Brock McLean
Out: Dennis Armfield (Knee)
B: Dustin Fletcher, Tayte Pears, Courtenay Dempsey
HB: Kyle Hardingham, Cale Hooker, Dyson Heppell
C: Michael Hibberd, Jobe Watson, Jake Melksham
HF: Stewart Crameri, Tom Bellchambers, Sam Lonergan
F: Leroy Jetta, Michael Hurley, Alwyn Davey
Foll: Patrick Ryder, Heath Hocking, Brent Stanton
IC: Angus Monfries, David Zaharakis, Ben Howlett, Cory Dell'Olio
Emg: Ricky Dyson, Henry Slattery, Luke Davis
In: Sam Lonergan, Cale Hooker, Cory Dell'Olio
Out: Ricky Dyson, Kyle Reimers, Jake Carlisle (Soreness)
First Bounce: 1.45pm AEST Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Head to Head: Carlton 120, Essendon 110, Draws 5 Last Time: Carlton 21.23 (149) defeated Essendon 13.9 (87) Betting: $1.13 Carlton, $6 Essendon TV: Fox Footy (LIVE), Channel Seven (Delayed)