The 10th placed Melbourne will host 11th placed Collingwood in the yearly Queen’s Birthday game at the MCG today, with the winner sure to finish Round 12 inside the top 8.
The Dees & the Pies have a couple of things similar, especially when it comes to the ability of their respective midfields to be stronger than their opposition.
Both of them have good numbers when it comes to being victorious in the hard stuff. Melbourne has an average of 3.4 more clearances & 6.8 more contested possessions than their opponents this season where Collingwood has 4.6 & 6.5 in those same categories.
Both convert that into a constructive inside 50 differential, but Collingwood do it better, averaging 8.7 more inside 50s than their opposition this year. Melbourne still averages a strong +5.4 inside 50s each game.
The numbers recommend this comes from Collingwood playing a more direct, higher-risk game with their ball movement, 1 that results in an average of 3 more changes per game than their opponents, on the other hand Melbourne break even there with (-0.1).
Melbourne do a much better in the marks-inside 50 stakes & also average +2.1 on their opposition in comparison to Collingwood’s +1.9, showing the value of taking the more considered approach.
The major difference between the 2 midfields though comes in terms of tackling pressure.
Even though both sides get more of the ball than their opponents, Melbourne average 5more tackles than their opponents, while Collingwood average 5.5 less. The Dees put close to 1.4 more tackles per 100 opposition disposals than Collingwood.
Further comparison shows that the difference between the midfields is also quite close even though both have different strengths.
The Magpies seem more comfortable at willing the ball forward though not with perfect precision, on the other side Melbourne work harder when the opposition has the ball & are classier going ahead.
Up for the challenge
Nonetheless, these 2 sides could come close to breaking even in the mid-field and it is at the respective ends of the ground that there is noteworthy difference.
Melbourne in actual fact is squaring or slightly ahead in the battle between offence & defense.
They clear their opposition’s forward 50 at a rate of 67% & allow their opposition to return the favor to them at a rate of 66%.
They record 1.78 points per inside 50 while conceding 1.76.
Essentially, their forward & back sixes are neither a boon nor bane because if they can win in the middle they normally win the game.
Collingwood, on the contrary seem very unbalanced & not in the right way.
They clear their opposition’s forward zone 64% of the time, but allow their own to be cleared 71.5% of the time which is a -7.5 gap, as compared to Melbourne’s +1.
At times when they manage to get scoring shots off, they lose the opportunity in as they are not accurate. 51.5% of their scoring shots are goals, in contrast to Melbourne’s 62.3%.
The result is that they average only 1.56 points per inside 50 & concede 1.8 & only score 21.7 points per 100 disposals while conceding 23.28.
Melbourne key players
Melbourne is missing arguably their 2 most important players structurally in Jesse Hogan & Max Gawn.
Collingwood key players
Collingwood are missing 2 of their most dynamic & creative players in Jamie Elliott & Daniel Wells.
The numbers point that the Demons have dealt much better with those key absences than Collingwood has. —
Finally, we think Collingwood must better Melbourne’s midfield output by about 25% in order to account for the combination of their backdrops at either end of the ground & the unavailability of Elliott & Wells.
The road to victory for Melbourne could become simple. By preventing Collingwood from dominating in the midfield & taking advantage of their forward-line struggles.
Put the brakes on Scott Pendlebury & Adam Treloarby using Michael Hibberd’s rebounding ability to your advantage & keep Alex Fasolo in close check.
For Collingwood, he will have to tighten all aspect of their game to show the required results.
We predict Melbourne to win by a margin of 4 goals.
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