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Melbourne versus Richmond could be the game of the year so far

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23rd April, 2021
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Melbourne will take on Richmond on Saturday night at the MCG in the annual Anzac Day eve clash, in what is shaping up as quite possibly the match of the year so far.

They are two sides in the top four. Melbourne are unbeaten in five games and are sitting in second place. They take on the reigning back-to-back premiers in Richmond, who sit in fifth place with a 3-2 record.

After winning their opening two games, Richmond were stunned by Sydney at the MCG by 45 points, before Robbie Gray denied them victory in Adelaide with a match-winning set shot to get Port home by two points. But they rediscovered their premiership-winning form last week in a thrashing of St Kilda by 86 points.

Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers celebrates

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

This has been the Demons’ best start to a season since 1994, winning their opening five games, with wins coming against Fremantle, St Kilda, the GWS Giants in Sydney, Geelong and Hawthorn.

But this week against Richmond is Melbourne’s biggest test yet and if they can beat this side, they can really establish themselves as one of the premiership favourites.

It is a special night for two players: Melbourne’s Nathan Jones will play game 300, and the star player of the AFL in this day and age, Dustin Martin, will play game 250.

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Down forward, these are some scary names that dominated against St Kilda: Jack Riewoldt, with 17 disposals, 12 kicks and five goals, Tom Lynch, with nine disposals, five kicks and three goals, Jack Graham, with 17 disposals, eight kicks and three goals, and Jason Castagna, with 16 disposals, eight kicks, eight handballs and two goals.

Melbourne should be wary of Martin ahead of his 250th game. Last week he gathered 34 disposals, 15 kicks, 19 handballs and a goal.

At the Demons, these are some of the players who were outstanding last week and could match up to Richmond: Ed Langdon, with 17 disposals, ten kicks and three goals, Jake Melksham, with 11 disposals, seven kicks and three goals, Kysaiah Pickett, with 18 disposals, 11 kicks and two goals, Tom McDonald, with 22 disposals, 18 kicks and two goals, Christian Petracca, with 23 disposals, 17 kicks and two goals, Max Gawn, with 26 disposals, 20 kicks and a goal, Clayton Oliver, with 30 disposals, 13 kicks and 17 handballs, Christian Salem, with 30 disposals, 22 kicks and seven marks.

Max Gawn of the Demons celebrates a goal

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

For the last five years, Richmond have had the wood over Melbourne. They have won the last five clashes, with four of those clashes coming on Anzac Day eve.

However, against some top teams this year, Richmond have been beaten.

Melbourne were able to maintain their 100 per cent start to the new AFL season with a big win over Hawthorn last week. Ahead of their biggest test yet, they will be full of confidence.

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It promises to be one of the matches of the year so far. I back Melbourne to continue their winning form and breaking the Richmond hoodoo. They have enough quality in their side and could stamp themselves as a genuine premiership threat.

Prediction: Melbourne by 15 points.

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