CARLTON will meet West Coast at Marvel Stadium as it looks to test the limits of its recent run of impressive form.
With their most complete victory over Adelaide behind them, the Blues will go into the clash with more confidence than the ladder position suggests.
But the reigning premiers are not to be underestimated as they build towards what could be another successful finals campaign, entering the clash with 10 wins from their last 12 games..
THE GAME IN FOCUS:
On paper, the Round 20 clash looks like a mismatch, with second coming up against 16th. However, recent form suggests it could be a tighter clash particularly given Carlton’s last month.
The Blues have won five of their last seven matches, presenting as a far more confident and efficient side than what was on show in the first half of the season.
On the other side, West Coast has barely set a foot wrong in the hunt for back-to-back premierships.
The second-placed Eagles will no doubt be keen to send a message away from home: ‘we’re the team to beat in 2019’.
"Physical specimen"— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) 2 August 2019
Assistant coach Cameron Bruce with an extremely accurate description of Crippa. #BoundByBlue
LAST TIME WE MET:
It was a low-scoring slog last time these two sides met in Round 5 last year, with the eventual premier recording a 10-point win.
Carlton matched it with the high-flying Eagles in the first half, stifling West Coast’s scoring opportunities before levelling the scores midway through the third quarter.
However, the Eagles kicked away with a dominant patch at the end of the quarter: despite a spirited fightback, the Blues could only whittle down to 10 points come the final siren.
Patrick Cripps was in outstanding form at the MCG, collecting 34 disposals (19 contested) and 11 tackles, while Harry McKay broke through for four goals in his first game of the year.
Bluebaggers will be eager to see the return of Hugh Goddard to the line-up after his debut for the Blues in Round 17 against Sydney.
His maiden performance in Navy Blue was cut short, after a fractured cheekbone ended his day at the SCG early in the second quarter.
However, now back in business, the rookie recruit will have the chance to prove what he’s capable of over four quarters at AFL level. The 22-year-old has been the standout for the Northern Blues in 2019.
✌️changes for West Coast.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) 2 August 2019
Full team selection out now.#BoundByBlue
GET EXCITED ABOUT:
When the West travels to Marvel Stadium today, they’ll have a significant WA contingent greeting them.
Back in the side after missing last week through illness, Zac Fisher - who had 27 disposals and a goal the last time these sides met - will join three others from across the Nullarbor in Navy Blue.
Fisher joins captain Cripps, Josh Deluca and Sam Petrevski-Seton to take on the Eagles.
The Blues continue to go from strength-to-strength as the season draws to a close, but the real test will be an upset over the 2018 premiers.
A lot has changed since these two sides met over a year ago: a lot has changed for the Blues in recent months.
Their desire to keep growing and improving won’t cease in the face of a formidable opponent like West Coast.