Carlton has been touted as the team best placed to take down undefeated reigning premier Melbourne after another impressive performance.
Michael Voss’ side recorded his fourth straight win on the weekend, moving into third on the ladder behind the Demons and the Brisbane Lions with an 8-2 record after 10 games.
While Melbourne is yet to drop a game this season, having won 17 consecutive games dating back to last season, Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes believes the Blues have what it takes to match it with the AFL’s top dog.
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“I just wonder whether they’re the team most likely to challenge Melbourne from a personnel point of view,” Cornes told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“The talls, they’ve got to keep (Jake) Lever, (Steven) May and (Harrison) Petty busy. I think Jack Silvagni would be a great one to tag Jake Lever. Then you’ve got (Charlie) Curnow, (Harry) McKay and (Tom) De Koning to keep them accountable.
“The smalls that they’ve got – (Matthew) Owies, (Zac) Fisher, (Corey) Durdin, (Jesse) Motlop when he plays, are the ones that are bringing the ferocity that no other small forwards in the game are playing Provided you get the ball on the ground in your forward line, they’re the best ground-level team in their forward 50 in the competition.
“Yes, they’re vulnerable in defense and it’s clearly a reliance on either McGovern coming back… because right now if (Jacob) Weitering goes down they are in all sorts of trouble, so I’m understanding of that. I certainly don’t trust Lachie Plowman in a big final against a good opposition.
“They’ve got the bulls in the midfield to match it with Melbourne, I think they’re the midfield that matches up best against them with (Patrick) Cripps, (Matthew) Kennedy, (Adam) Cerra and (George) Hewett.
“Then you’ve got Walsh on the outside. Langdon’s going to have to really think about playing on Sam Walsh if you play him on the wing. He’s not going to be able to run his own race when a gun like Sam Walsh is playing wing.
“I don’t think they’re as well drilled and clearly they’re not as hardened in the big game, but from a personnel point of a view and a structural point of view, I think they can really challenge them.”
However, Essendon great Matthew Lloyd wasn’t entirely convinced by the Blues’ premiership credentials, pointing to the team’s repeated second-half fadeouts.
“For me, the lid is still on because of their second halves. It’s such a taxing game style and that’s why they fall apart a little bit,” Lloyd told Footy Classified.
“Inside-50 (differential) drop from second to eighth, tackles drop form first to 11th. It’s hard to maintain.
“What Melbourne are amazing at is they have an ability to have pressure but at the same time they can move the ball around and take the energy and the ping out of the game.
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“Whereas with Carlton it’s helter-skelter all the time and then it’s hard to sustain. That’s the area where they’ve got to adjust a little bit.”
The Blues will face Melbourne just once this season, with fans forced to wait until round 22 for the blockbuster match-up.
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