Carlton, following an impressive display against Richmond last week, will take on Collingwood in Thursday night’s blockbuster at the MCG.
Collingwood come into this clash after what many may consider a better than expected performance against the Dogs last Friday night. But this game no doubt will be about how Carlton can respond following last week’s late fade out.
For the 11th time in a row Carlton went down to Richmond, the premiers three of the last four seasons. But they put in a very exciting performance while missing some key players in Jack Martin, Zac Williams, Charlie Curnow and Mitch McGovern.
Despite the loss, there were a fair few players to like for the Blues, who put up the best fight they could with what they had.
Sam Walsh had an unbelievable game for the Blues, he gathered 31 disposals, 12 kicks, seven score involvements, and six clearances.
Jack Newnes was in best career-best form, with 27 disposals, 10 marks, 13 kicks and seven score involvements.
Blues fans were super excited to see what Adam Saad could do in his first game in Navy Blue and he did not disappoint. Gaining 25 disposals, 16 kicks and nine handballs. All Carlton fans were buoyed by his performance.
This is what Carlton fans can be excited about this year, with a lot more talent due to return in the coming weeks and there is certainly more depth with young and upcoming players.
The players that stood out for the Magpies last week against the Western Bulldogs included:
Scott Pendlebury with 25 disposals, 15 kicks, 10 handballs, seven score involvements and seven inside 50’s.
Brody Mihocek, Mason Cox and Jamie Elliott each kicked two goals down forward for the Pies, kicking six of their seven goals between them.
Collingwood have had the wood over the Blues in recent times. Since 2012, Carlton has only beaten Collingwood twice, with both victories coming over consecutive years, in 2016 and 2017. Collingwood has won their previous four clashes against the Blues.
Last time they met, it was a tight first quarter with the Collingwood leading by two points at the first change. In the second quarter eight goals were kicked between the teams, five going Carlton’s way, as they led by eight points at the half.
Carlton completely ran out of legs in the second half, as Collingwood kicked the only goal of the third term. Then completely overran the Blues in the last quarter, kicking the only four goals to run out 24-point winners. Holding Carlton goalless in the second half.
Tomorrow night’s game is expected to be a close, tight encounter, with a lot on the line for both teams. Collingwood made the semi-finals last year and a 0-2 start would not be ideal for Buckley’s men.
Carlton are a side expected to challenge and even make the finals in 2021 and a lot is expected of Teague’s men, especially after the way they played in their opening encounter. Tomorrow night looms as a must win and an expected win for Carlton.
David Teague has his sights set on getting the four points tomorrow night. He spoke of the importance of the midfield battle and the territory battle.
“From centre bounces, we got beat, so we need to make sure we improve in that area. We gave up too many inside 50s and it’s as simple as that,” he said.
David Teague, coach of the Blues. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
“It’s not just our midfield, it’s our team defence. We need to reduce that number, in the past we’ve been quite strong in that area. We need to get back to getting the ball in our front half and defending it in our front half.”
Teague spoke highly about Collingwood’s midfield.
“Around the contest and their midfielders is probably their biggest strength,” he said. “We need to make sure we compete in that area and give our forwards as much opportunity as we can.”
As mentioned, many players stood out in last weeks close loss. This week, the Blues will have even more talent available in their best 22. Williams will make his senior debut in Navy Blue, replacing Lochie O’Brien. Along with the return of Martin up forward, who will replace the injured Jack Silvagni.
With these players available, it is high time for Carlton to break the Collingwood hoodoo, show last weeks effort was no fluke, play a consistent four quarters and show the fans some reward for their patience.
A win will set the Blues season up nicely, with a number of winnable opportunities to follow this game and show some actions for the much-hyped talk about Carlton in 2021.
Prediction: Carlton by 10 points.