Friday night blockbuster between Carlton and Geelong looms as a classic eight point game. Both sides sit 6-4 with indifferent form and are seventh and eighth on the ladder respectively.
The Blues' only win in the past month was against the Demons with poor showings against Adelaide
and St Kilda, but most significantly against Port Adelaide
on the weekend.
on the other hand were comfortable winners against the Giants, but the final scoreline flattered Geelong with a young Giants level at half-time.
With losses to Adelaide and Collingwood, followed by wins to the lowly ranked Bulldogs and Giants, it's difficult to get a good formline on how the Cats are travelling.
Carlton have gone from premiership favourites to battling to make the eight in a matter of weeks. The easy answer is to point to injuries. The losses of Marc Murphy and Carrazzo in particular have been damaging. However their absence has highlighted a much greater problem.
In the past month in particular, the Blues have struggled to win the football. From rounds 7 to 10, Carlton are ranked 17th in both effective short kicks and marks per game.
Carlton at their very best win the ball on both in the inside and on the outside, however their outside ball-winning capabilities are no longer there. Case in point, Kade Simpson uncontested possession count has halved.
The Blues also have been murdered on turnovers having been outscored by 99 points in the last month.
Unless you've been living under a rock, the problem associated with the Cats this year is all about contested possession. On average, Geelong lose the contested possession count by 11 per game.
The tried and true champions of Geelong, namely Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, James Kelly and Joel Corey, have been doing their bit but they need support.
2012 in my view, the key to success in AFL football has never been clearer. Win the ball on the inside, spread with method on the outside, kick the ball long into your forward 50, take a mark and kick a goal. It's pretty basic footy.
The side that can do this better on Friday night will win the game.
On paper, Geelong have more potent options up forward - namely Tom Hawkins, James Podsiadly and Steve Johnson and as of last week have unearthed a swing in Harry Taylor.
The Carlton defence will need to be at their frugal best to man up on Geelong's forwards.
Join Channel 7 commentator Tom Harley and the rest of the team for the big Friday night game.
Melbourne LIVE at 7.30pm on 7
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Adelaide LIVE at 7pm on 7
Hobart LIVE at 7.30pm on Southern Cross
Darwin LIVE at 7pm on Southern Cross
Perth at 7pm on 7
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