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Carlton is a team under the pump. They sit outside of the top eight, haven’t won in the month of June and coach Brett Ratten is beginning to feel the heat. Can they regain form against a hot Hawthorn outfit at the MCG? Join us from 7:30pm AEST for AFL live scores and blog.
The Blues entered season 2012 with the internal expectation of making Preliminary Final weekend.
After a blistering start to the year they’ve lost five of their last six matches to sit in ninth position – with a six-six record – on the ladder. Right now just making the finals is far from a fait accompli for the one-time Premiership favourites.
Because if Carlton don’t win tonight, they will find themselves at least a game outside of eighth position with little more than two months remaining in the home and away season.
And to make their task more difficult, it’s been a tough week for the Blues.
On Tuesday, Brock McLean embroiled himself in a highly-publicised twitter scandal that saw Carlton suspend a one-week ban and order the midfielder to donate $5000 to charity.
McLean has been named on the interchange for this match. There will be plenty of interest in his performance.
Last week, we saw the Western Bulldogs lose by 58 points in a game they were expected to win after ruckman Will Minson was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the week leading up to their match against Brisbane. Even though Minson didn’t play (he was suspended by the club) the Dogs, for whatever reason, were well below par.
I wonder if Carlton will be perturbed tonight. Like opponents Hawthorn, they enjoyed the bye last week.
After their embarrassing nine-goal loss to Port Adelaide three weeks ago, the Blues battled admirably in loses to Geelong (12 points) and West Coast at Subiaco (ten points) in their two matches since.
Carlton has their backs to the wall. Victory would be sweet tonight.
But Hawthorn is a highly-talented team that’s beginning to hit their straps. And I’m sure they will smell blood in the air.
I thought the Hawks were fantastic against the Lions two weeks ago on the MCG. Brisbane came into the match in hot form and began better than Hawthorn but the class of the 2008 Premiers shone through in the middle quarters. The Hawks earned every bit of their 65-point victory.
It was their third win in a row. But the Hawks haven’t beaten a team in the top ten since they ran over the top of St Kilda in the last quarter in early May.
This is their toughest test for some time and in 2012 particularly, the Hawks have struggled against quality opposition.
They’ve lost to Geelong, West Coast, Sydney and Richmond – all decent teams in their own right.
On the form Hawthorn has shown through the course of the year, a victory over an out-of-sorts Carlton isn’t a foregone conclusion.
The Blues are undermanned tonight. They are without key defender Lachlan Henderson; while Marc Murphy, Jarad Waite and Jeremy Laidler remain sidelined.
The Hawks will again be without Norm Smith medallist and captain Luke Hodge but will benefit from the return of key midfield duo Jordan Lewis and Brendan Whitecross.
The Hawks have won the last eight against Carlton and play the MCG as well as anyone.
They’re beginning to make their play at a top-four spot. I expect Hawthorn to defeat Carlton by five goals tonight.
Hawks by 30 points.