WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Sunday, April 29, 1.10pm AEST
SUMMARY: Crunch time has arrived early for Essendon and Melbourne. One of these two much-hyped sides will have a 2-4 record by the end of Sunday’s match – and it’s a long way back from there. They’ve had a series of close matches in recent years, and the Bombers led at half-time in their most recent clash in round six last year before Joe Daniher’s one goal from seven scoring shots came back to haunt them. A year on and Daniher’s ascension to stardom has hit a road block, so he will have plenty of motivation against the Demons. Oscar McDonald, who has been in good form for the past fortnight, looms as the big Don’s opponent. The short turnaround for both teams means we will likely see multiple changes, but the midfield battle – as usual – is where this will be won. Tom Bellchambers’ ability to dull Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn’s influence will go a long way to deciding it.
LAST FIVE TIMES:
R6, 2017: Melbourne 17.10 (112) d Essendon 10.14 (74) at Etihad Stadium
R2, 2016: Essendon 11.14 (80) d Melbourne 10.7 (67) at the MCG
R15, 2015: Essendon 10.9 (69) d Melbourne 7.18 (60) at the MCG
R13, 2014: Melbourne 12.6 (78) d Essendon 10.17 (77) at the MCG
R2, 2013: Essendon 28.16 (184) d Melbourne 5.6 (36) at the MCG
Father Dougal’s Tip: I have no logical reason to prefer the Demons, so I admit my gut is making this pick. Melbourne by 8
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