Thursday night footy continues with a mouth-watering clash between two old rivals Richmond and Carlton under the lights at the MCG in what is being billed as a classic “eight-point” game.
There is plenty on the line at the G as the business end of the season fast approaches. The Tigers sit in ninth place on the AFL ladder just outside of finals with a 7-5 win-loss ratio and there is work to be done if they are to make the top eight and return to finals this season.
Carlton on the other hand are flying after a number of seasons in the wilderness with new coach Michael Voss guiding them to fourth spot on the ladder. The Blues have won nine games from 12 so far this season and have lost just one in the last six.
What: Richmond v Carlton
Where: MCG, Melbourne
When: 19.20 (AEST), Thursday 16th June, 2022
How to watch: Channel 7, Fox Sports
Odds: Richmond 17/20, Carlton 97/100
Richmond have been hit by the news there will be no Dustin Martin for the clash against the Blues after being struck down by a bad bout of flu.
Coach Damien Hardwick has confirmed the gun midfielder picked up the sickness at the weekend and has been unable to train all week.
Martin will watch on from home as his teammates look to give their finals hopes a boost with a win over the Blues.
The Tigers are in good form and head into the game on the back of a narrow victory over Port Adelaide last weekend.
They have lost just one game in the last six and that was a narrow 106-100 loss over the Sydney Swans, that on another day could have gone their way.
The clash against Carlton will however be their biggest test yet. The Blues came out on top in a close encounter back in round one.
On that occasion star Tigers forwards Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch kicked just three goals between them as they were kept quiet by a sound Carlton defence.
However Jacob Weitering, Oscar McDonald and Mitch McGovern who did a job on them that night, with not be in the Carlton side on Thursday night.
Team news. The Tigers may be missing Martin but they are boosted by the return of star forward Lynch who has been missing since 9th May with a hamstring injury. Hardwick has confirmed he is certain to start.
Elsewhere ruckman Ivan Soldo has been dropped with Kane Lambert coming in to make up Richmond’s final 22.
Carlton head into the game on the back of a 26-point win over Essendon last Friday night. Despite the win coach Voss was seen delivering a spray to his players at the three-quarter time break.
He was far from happy with the way they let their standards slip in that third quarter and believed they needed an ear-bashing to regain their focus.
It did the trick as they saw off the struggling Bombers but there can be no repeat against the Tigers who will be quick to jump on any similar dips in performance.
The blast from Voss is a true sign of why Carlton are going so well this season. The standards have been set and Voss will come down hard if the Blues players do not match them week in, week out.
A weakened Carlton defence could be the main problem for Voss this week and they could struggle to cope with the aerial power of both Lynch and Riewoldt.
The Blues will have to be strong at the other end of the field also with Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow needed to get among the goals.
Carlton now face a big few weeks. After the game against Richmond they have to face Fremantle, St Kilda and Geelong. All three clubs also have premiership aspirations.
So it is even more important they get a positive result against the Tigers.
Just four points separate Carlton from Brisbane, Fremantle and Melbourne who are all joint top with 40 points. It could not be tighter making every game a big one.
Team news. Luckless defender Caleb Marchbank misses out after suffering a knee injury and will be replaced by Sam Durdin, who has only just been recruited in the mid-season draft.
Adam Cerra also misses out through injury along with Weitering, who has a shoulder issue. Tom de Koning is named to start in the ruck.