Where and when: MCG, Friday April 5, 7.50pm AEDT
Last time they met: Marvel Stadium, round six, 2018: Essendon 10.12 (72) lost to Melbourne 16.12 (108)
Bayley Fritsch, Charlie Spargo and Mitch Hannan combined for eight goals as Max Gawn ran riot in the ruck. Both sides were coming off short breaks after Anzac Day and Anzac Eve fixtures, but Melbourne got the upper hand early with seven goals to one in the opening term.
What it means for Melbourne: At 0-2, Melbourne’s slow start to the season is worrying. The Demons need to find form and quickly before the season slips away from their grasp.
What it means for Essendon: After a calamitous beginning to the season, the Bombers’ confidence has been severely dented. The pressure is well and truly on coach John Worsfold and his team to deliver. There are no more excuses.
How Melbourne wins: Convert 72 inside 50s into more than six goals. Efficiency going inside 50 will be a key focus area for Melbourne on the training track this week after the drubbing in Geelong.
How Essendon wins: Match Melbourne for contested possessions and limit their effectiveness going inside 50 from a defensive point of view. Their small forwards also need to lift their own rate and start trapping the ball inside 50.
The stat: Melbourne has started the season with a win-loss record of 0-2 36 times in club history. The Demons have only made the finals once (2006) from that position.
The match-up: Max Gawn v Tom Bellchambers
Gawn is ranked at No.7 in the Schick AFL Player Ratings based on his form across the past two seasons, although his latest form is nowhere near comparable to that. Bellchambers, the 10th-ranked ruckman in the AFL, has also struggled in Essendon’s first two games.
It’s a big week for: John Worsfold
The Bombers coach is under a great deal of pressure after his side’s horrendous start to the 2019 season. Getting a win on the board is vital, but rediscovering the brand of football they played at the back-end of last season is the starting point.
Big call: Three goals apiece to Tom McDonald and Sam Weideman to lead the Demons to their first victory of the season.
Mottsy’s Tip: Melbourne by 40
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