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AFL: Demons out to stop in-form Blues

Melbourne and Carlton will go head-to-head in the first semi-final on Friday night, with a preliminary final against Brisbane the reward for the winner.

Melbourne get a second bite of the cherry after losing to Collingwood in week one of finals, while Carlton kept their premiership hopes alive with a win over Sydney.

There are no second chances for anyone now, lose and your season is over. But win and you are in a prelim and one step away from the grand final.

Melbourne are 7.50 to win the big dance, while Carlton can be backed at 13.00.

The clash between the Demons and Blues is very tough to call as there was just four points between the two sides when they met back in August.

The MCG will be packed to the rafters and there is a very good chance it will come down to who can handle the occasion the best.

But it does not get much better than a semi-final under the lights at the MCG on a Friday night.

WhatMelbourne v Carlton
WhereMCG, Melbourne
When19:50 (AEST) Friday 15th September, 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Kayo, Foxtel 
OddsMelbourne 1.68, Carlton 2.20

Demons need to bounce back

Melbourne will need to bounce back strongly after being edged out by Collingwood in the qualifying final.

After finishing in the top four, the Demons will get a second chance against an in-form Carlton and a number of players will need to raise their game.

Max Gawn was once again the stand-out performer for Melbourne, while Clayton Oliver and gun midfielder Christian Petracca also did well.

But unfortunately for Melbourne, a number of their team-mates failed to hit their usual standards and will need to do better against Carlton.

Melbourne had been in decent form heading into finals, with a four-point loss against Carlton the only blemish on their run-in.

We look set for another close one on Friday night and Melbourne can be backed at 5.50 to win by 1-12 points. Carlton can be backed at 5.00 to win within the same margin of points.

Melbourne’s finals record has not been great since they won the flag in 2021. They crashed out in straight sets in 2022 when losing a qualifying final and a semi-final, and then lost to Collingwood last week.

With that in mind, the pressure is on Melbourne not to crash out again.

Carlton on a high

The Blues are the form team heading into the semi-final after finishing the regular season in fine style, before beating Sydney in the elimination final.

They beat the likes of Collingwood and Melbourne during that run of games and their confidence should be sky high.

Charlie Curnow has been the star forward for Carlton this season when winning back-to-back Coleman medals and he can be backed at 5.50 to boot the first goal.

However against Sydney they showed they have threats all over the park. They booted 11 goals from nine different players and the Demons could be in for a torrid time.

Carlton are sweating on the fitness of another star forward, Harry McKay, ahead of the game.

McKay had a bruising night against the Swans after being involved in a fierce battle with the Sydney forwards, and was forced to leave the field and watch the final quarter from the sidelines.

Carlton now face an anxious wait to discover the extent of the damage. McKay took a blow to the ribs but is also suspected to have suffered concussion, which could rule him out.

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