Details: MCG Sunday 2 May, 3.20pm (AEST)
Broadcast: Channel 7 from 3pm, Fox Footy, AFL app, Kayo
THE GAME IN FOCUS:
Carlton will be looking for a big response this weekend against its arch rival in Essendon.
This will be the 250th time that Carlton and Essendon have played in VFL/AFL history, with Carlton topping the ledger with 124 wins to Essendon's 118 wins along with six draws.
Carlton has had a few disappointing results in the last fortnight that it will be looking to overturn beginning on Sunday at the home of football.
Carlton will have to minimise turnovers and have a water-tight structure behind the ball to stop the fast-flowing Essendon outfit which enjoyed a win on Anzac Day last weekend.
Fact: it is THE closest fixture in VFL/AFL history.— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) April 30, 2021
Ahead of the 250th instalment between us and Essendon, look at some of the key historical numbers against our arch rivals.
LAST TIME WE MET:
The last time the Blues faced the Bombers was in Round 4 in a crowd-less MCG.
Carlton took home a one-point victory, where Liam Jones’ head saved the day when Essendon had the chance to steal the win just before the siren.
Levi Casboult kicked three goals for the Blues while David Cuningham had a breakout performance with 28 disposals, six inside 50s and three Brownlow Medal votes.
Sam Docherty topped the disposal count with 32 possessions, producing an assured showing in defence as the Blues hung on for their first one-point win over the Bombers since the 1999 preliminary final.
Getting the ball straight from the centre clearance will be a must for the Blues.
With the likes of Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett floating around the centre bounce, Sam Walsh, Ed Curnow and Patrick Cripps will be under the pump to get the ball into their forward half.
While Carlton has been able to lock the ball in their forward 50 in recent weeks, they haven’t been able to reap full reward on the scoreboard.
The forward line - led by Harry McKay - will need to capitalise in front of goal, as well as bringing the ball to ground to allow the small forwards to collect the crumbs.
The defensive group will have to keep Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti under wraps after his five-goal performance last week, as well as negating the Bombers' tackling pressure inside their forward 50: the Bombers ranked sixth in the competition.
GET EXCITED ABOUT:
The Blues are ranked third for clearances in the competition, with their ability to win the ball at the source shining through so far this season.
Patrick Cripps has the third most total centre clearances while Sam Walsh is third in the competition for effective disposals per game.
In the absence of Zac Williams, the likes of David Cuningham and Lachie Fogarty could get some key midfield minutes to combat Essendon's on-ball brigade.
Jacob Weitering will play his 100th game for the Carlton Football Club this weekend.
The 2020 John Nicholls Medalist has had another brilliant start to his 2021 campaign, making tracks for his first All-Australian selection.
Weitering is currently ranked number one in the competition for total one percenters per game, highlighting the impact that Weitering has on Carlton’s performances week in and week out.
With Liam Jones, Lachie Plowman and the returning Luke Parks surrounding Weitering in the back line, Weitering has solid support to enhance his already outstanding game.