Melbourne vs Collingwood: Live AFL scores, blog
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It’s the annual Queen’s Birthday clash between Melbourne and Collingwood, the Demons coming off a morale-boosting victory against the Bombers, while the Pies are flying high on a seven game winning streak. Join us for live scores and commentary from the first bounce at 3.15pm AEST.
It’s been a wretched year for the Melbourne Football Club, and the long list of reasons why this is so don’t need to be documented again here. The one truth during all of the upheaval amid critics lining up to take their shot was this – winning is the only respite.
A win gives supporters hope, and provides evidence of things promised but not yet seen. A win means that you are not one of the nine losing teams of the week for the media to demand answers from. The let-up from media heat will last longer than a week if the Dees can be competitive today, enjoy their bye and then record a win over GWS the following round.
The main problem for Melbourne has been an inability to win their share of the ball, a problem exacerbated by poor efficiency when they do. They have also on occasions lacked the desire to win it back, but all of this was improved against an Essendon admittedly well short of their best.
The Demons had more kicks, marks, handballs and tackles than their opposition last week, and once again it was Nathan Jones and Jack Grimes leading the way, two of only three players who have averaged more than 20 disposals a game in 2012. Jack Watts was composed in his new role down back, and while Mitch Clark provided the early target inside forward fifty, he was later joined by Colin Garland who inspired the victory with his last quarter heroics.
Melbourne will need all of that and more today in looking to defeat the rampant Collingwood outfit.
You know you’re a good team when the loss of Brownlow medal favourite Scott Pendlebury barely raises a ripple of concern due to being offset by the return of previous years winner, Dane Swan. Darren Jolly and Chris Tarrant also return from injury, replacing Cameron Wood and Kirk Ugle, so the Pies are indisputably stronger.
Much has been made of Steele Sidebottom and Dayne Beams fulfilling their potential in the absence of Luke Ball, and rightly so. Less heralded has been Marty Clarke seamlessly slipping into the back six after a 2 and a half year absence, and young forwards Alex Fasolo and Ben Sinclair only missing one match between them, averaging six tackles and a couple of goals a game together.
Alan Didak looks to have rediscovered his mojo after taking a leave of absence in 2011, niggling injuries notwithstanding, and Dale Thomas ignited his season with a match-winning last quarter against Adelaide, and continued on in the same vein to take best-on-ground honours against the Suns last week. Once Daisy gets into a groove, he generally holds his devastating form, so look for another big showing today.
There aren’t any secrets about this Queen’s Birthday match. The Pies will dominate the midfield battle from the outset due to greater talent and depth in this area. Frawley is back for the Demons, which is just as well because Travis Cloke appears back in form and will be getting a great deal of supply.
Melbourne’s best chance is that Collingwood have already mentally relaxed due to facing inferior opposition leading into next week’s bye, and if this is the case the Dee’s will need to capitalize with a frenzied attack on the ball and man.
This match last year saw an 88 point victory to satisfy the black and white army, and while victory will again be comfortable, it may not stretch out to a fifteen goal margin.
Collingwood by 50+ points.
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Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for in his mind there is nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.