Where and when: MCG, Sunday June 2, 3.20pm AEST
Last time they met: MCG, round 8, 2018: Carlton 14.7 (91) defeated Essendon 10.18 (78)
Carlton registered its first win of the season against its arch rival in a dogged display at the MCG. The loss was Essendon’s lowest ebb of 2018 before it made a late, albeit unsuccessful, rally to try and make the finals.
What it means for Essendon: A loss here will all but end the Bombers’ finals hopes if they fall to 4-7 before their round 12 bye. Essendon is injury hit but must find a way to overcome the 18th-placed Blues, however, its history against sides it is expected to beat is poor in recent years (it has lost to the wooden spooners the past two seasons and the 18th-placed Swans in round eight this year).
What it means for Carlton: The Blues should see this as a real opportunity to win. They have been up and down the past month, with more respectable defeats to Collingwood and St Kilda in between shockers to North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney. Carlton will enter the clash knowing it has had Essendon’s measure at times in recent years.
How Essendon wins: The Bombers need to keep this a low-scoring affair because they have lost a lot of their firepower around goal. Also, somehow finding a way to limit Patrick Cripps would go a long way to Essendon claiming victory. That’s much easier said than done.
How Carlton wins: Essendon will give its opposition chances to score, the Blues just have to be good enough to make the most of them. If they can pressure the Bombers as they try to move the ball out of half-back the Blues will be a big sniff to claim their second win of the year.
The stat: Since the clubs’ draw in round 23, 2014, neither of Essendon or Carlton have been able to string together consecutive wins against each other. A Bombers victory would continue the back-and-forth trend.
The match-up: The AFL Player Ratings ranks Andrew McGrath at No.210 overall, with Carlton counterpart Sam Walsh at No.483. Walsh is in his first season and McGrath in his third, but the No.1 draft choices could square-off at some stage in the midfield.
It’s a big week for: Mitch McGovern. The Blues recruit managed only five disposals and three marks against St Kilda last week.
Father Dougal’s Tip: Call me mad, but I think this time the Blues will take hang on and win. Carlton by 10 points.
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