The business end of the regular AFL season has arrived and this week features two teams fighting for a spot in the finals. Essendon are just hanging on to eighth spot while Carlton are just four points away in 11th. Carlton secured a confidence boosting victory last weekend while the Bombers will have to bounce back from a tough 24-point loss at the hands of the Kangaroos.
The Bombers have relied far too heavily on skipper Jobe Watson of late and more of the team are going to have to step up and help the leader if they are to get the chocolates this weekend. After getting off to a flyer earlier in the season, many players’ form has dropped off but there is no better time than now to bounce back. One man who performed strongly last weekend and will be looked to a again is Tom Bellchambers who had 14 disposals against the Kangaroos.
The Blues have been winning without star skipper Chris Judd of late so get a boost this weekend with their leader returning from suspension. Whether or not a number of players who stepped up in his absence can continue to have an impact will be a crucial factor in their success for the rest of the season. One area Carlton will have to tighten up is their defence and they will again look to Simon White to perform after he did a stellar job keeping Lions star Jonathan Brown quiet last weekend.
Carlton have recent form on the board and will be boosted by the return of Judd who comes back at the right time to lead them into a finals tilt.
Carlton by 10
Carlton Line (-4.5) – $1.90.