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Preview: Blues v Dees

Blues' manic pressure Watch Carlton's best tackles from its 13-point win over Essendon at the MCG.

AFL Media's Howard Kotton previews Sunday's home game against Melbourne at the MCG:

After winning its past three games, sixth-placed Melbourne is one of six teams with a 5-3 win-loss record, and will be looking for another victory to consolidate its position. The Demons were impressive in demolishing Gold Coast late last week, and the other two victories in this streak were against strugglers Essendon and St Kilda. Melbourne's midfield is looking solid and creating plenty of scoring opportunities for an attack boosted by the return of Tom McDonald from injury. In contrast, Carlton has not kicked 100 points for almost two years. But the Blues would be buoyed by finally breaking through for their first win last week, and should play with much more confidence and flair as a result on Sunday. While the battle between ruckmen Max Gawn and Matthew Kreuzer will be intriguing, Melbourne's bigger bodies in midfield and attack should prove too much for a plucky Carlton. 

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Sunday May 20, 1.10pm AEST

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

R16, 2017: Melbourne 14.6 (90) d Carlton 12.10 (82) at the MCG
R2, 2017: Melbourne 13.8 (86) d Carlton 9.10 (64) at the MCG
R22, 2016: Carlton 11.12 (78) d Melbourne 7.16 (58) at the MCG
R21, 2015: Carlton 12.6 (78) d Melbourne 7.13 (55) at the MCG
R4, 2014: Melbourne 12.9 (81) d Carlton 7.16 (58) at the MCG


1. When these clubs last played in round 16 last season, the Blues should have won. They had more disposals (406-365), took more marks (116-69), had more scoring shots, won the clearances by eight and the inside 50s by three. Veteran Kade Simpson picked up the three Brownlow votes with 35 disposals and 10 marks.

2. Melbourne is one of the highest-scoring teams this season. The Demons are ranked third for points a game (97) and have been strong in third quarters (+79). Carlton is 17th for scoring and has not managed to kick 100 points in a game since round 11, 2016.

3. Melbourne should have an advantage in contested marking, ranked third averaging 13 a game. That is a long way ahead of Carlton, ranked 12th with an average of 9.6. 

4. This is the 102nd MCG clash between the clubs, and they have 51 wins each. Both are one win and three losses at the MCG this season.

5. No team has taken the ball inside 50 this season more than Melbourne with 60.9 a game. In contrast Carlton is 16th, averaging 48.8.

6. Young Demon Bayley Fritsch has been impressive in his debut season as reflected by the Schick AFL Player Ratings. Fritsch is third in that category after eight rounds with 69.4 points (overall No. 511). Blue Paddy Dow is eighth with 53.1 (overall No. 543). 

When these clubs last met, Patrick Cripps suffered a season-ending injury and the Blues lost momentum in that game and for the remainder of the season. He has filled in admirably as acting skipper in Marc Murphy's absence and starred last week.