GEOFF HARRIS examines the fortunes of the Bombers and Blues on the eve of their MCG clash:
ESSENDON and Carlton, two of Melbourne’s e traditional big AFL clubs, meet at the MCG at the very traditional time of 2.10pm on Saturday afternoon, with a lot in common.
The Bombers and Blues have 12 wins each in seasons 2016 and ’17 under coaches now nearing the end of their second year with these clubs.
But which is going where? Are they on the up? One or both? Or neither?
The Bombers have won nine games this year, three times as many as last, when they were without most of their best players through one-year suspensions.
At 9-9 they’re a chance for this year’s finals, but – a game outside the eight in 10th, although with a good percentage – they’re far from a certainty.
Is John Worsfold – a coach of vast experience before he came to the Bombers but who chose not to lock down or even rough up the player who ultimately carved up his side last round, Western Bulldog Jason Johannisen – the man to take what is the basis of a very good list, and with the towering talent of Joe Daniher blossoming , to great things?
Carlton is optimistic, even boastful, as Carlton is wont to be, about its young list, especially as it has had five Rising Star nominations this season.
But the Blues have won only five games this year, against seven last, and are second last in an 18-team competition, ahead of only the Brisbane Lions – who comfortably beat them recently.
With only three games remaining after they play Essendon, they may well end up with fewer wins than last year.
As much as the Blues are buoyant about what they see brewing for coming years, would this seriously be progress under Brendon Bolton?
The pressure will be on Bolton next year to prove that the foundations he’s put in place indeed are solid for a long overdue rebirth of the Blues on the ladder.
As impressively as Bolton presents, when the dogs start barking about coaches they bark loudest about those who haven’t played at the top level.
Motor racing – of all sorts – and Australian Football are the sporting passions, even obsessions, of GEOFF HARRIS, the journo known to family, friends and Sun News-Pictorial, Herald Sun and sportshounds.com.au colleagues as Harry.