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For the second Friday night in a row, there’s a game with huge September implications as Carlton host Geelong. We’ll have live AFL scores and updates from 7.50pm AEST.
Both teams aren’t quite where they’d like to be and finding form has proved tough. At seventh and eighth on the ladder respectively, this is understandably a big game.
The Blues last week were embarrassed by Port Adelaide, who ran home 54-point winners.
Losses to St Kilda and Adelaide in the past month have also heaped pressure on the club and in particular its coach, Brett Ratten.
They are currently without Marc Murphy and Andrew Carrazzo, who are key players, and Matthew Kreuzer returns to the team this week, but all is not right at Visy Park.
The Cats have also been down in patches this season, however with fixtures against the Western Bulldogs and GWS the past two weeks, concerns over them have eased.
Still, they need to show that they still have what it takes. A loss tonight, just as it would for the Blues, should instigate huge questions about their ability to play finals football in 2012.
Some big names return for them this week, and the more youthful make-up of their side to date is one reason they haven’t been at their best, but tonight is a chance to make a statement.
While there were few shining lights for the Blues last week, David Ellard did impress with 27 touches.
For the Cats, an experimental forward role for Harry Taylor returned six goals. He’ll probably head back to defence this week.
Along with Kreuzer, Lachie Henderson and Nick Duigan return for Carlton. Heath Scotland is the big out with a calf injury.
Joel Corey, Corey Enright, David Wojcinski, Tom Hawkins and Steven Motlop are all ins for Geelong. Five of the kids move aside.
So who wins?
You could mount an argument for Carlton needing it more. Their recent form has been less positive.
Another thing to remember is that in the corresponding fixture last year at Etihad, the Blues very nearly pinched it.
Still, the Cats’ list of ins looks promising and should not be underestimated. The pace of Wojcinski and Motlop, and the experience of Corey and Enright, should help immensely given their opponent tonight.
How much either team wants it will be a huge factor, but I’ll lean towards Geelong with my tip.