What’s at stake for the blues?
A lot. The Blues finally ended a decade-long first-round losing streak against the Tigers last year and need to back this up if they are to avoid a knee-jerk revisit of their finals ambitions. Remember this is a club that has not been alive since September 2013 Age Chief football reporter Jake Niall says the Blues are poised to secure a place in the grand final. The absence of Sam Walsh (back) hurts.
The Blues were found wanting late last year, losing their last four games (three of which Walsh played, including the game against Adelaide when he amassed 40 touches). One more win would have been enough to secure a spot in the finals, but the game plan and decision making were inadequate.
Manager Michael Voss spoke this week about the club’s new mantra of respect and humility, but the 80,000 or so members want just one reason to spend their money on finals tickets.
Where do the Tigers stand in preseason expectations?
The tigers are a fascinating debate. There are these, including Age columnist Kane Cornes who advised them to miss the top 8 but many of us have Damien Hardwick’s men in contention for the Premier League. Former Giants stars Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto are slotted squarely into midfield, allowing Dustin Martin to spend more time up front. A fit Dion Prestia and Tom Lynch have been crucial to plans for a fourth flag since the 2017 breakthrough, keeping an eye on rookie Tylar Young at a ripe old age.
Will the 2017-20 Dustin Martin return?
Those close to Martin say he’s fresh and ready to bounce back after an indifferent 2022, when the death of his father and possible loss of motivation meant he was limited to nine games and wasn’t yesterday’s superstar . Martin, who is signed until the end of 2024, turns 32 in June so it may be unreasonable to expect the consistent dynamite form of recent years. However, when he’s fit, ball in hand, he remains one of the AFL’s most damaging players in front of center. We’ve been keeping an eye on Martin all summer and are backing him with a strong campaign.
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/burning-questions-can-curnow-rise-or-is-it-dusty-time-20230314-p5crzy.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Richmond Tigers vs. Carlton Blues, can Charlie Curnow move up, or is it time for Dustin Martin, round one, MCG