A huge game fittingly being held on the Queen’s birthday.
The final game of Round 12 is the most important with traditional rivals Melbourne and Collingwood both chasing a sixth victory that will keep their finals chances alive.
Both these teams come into the match full of confidence with Melbourne overcoming a big deficit to defeat Gold Coast by 35 points.
Inspirational skipper Nathan Jones was the key in that win, racking up 27 disposals and three goals and will again play a big part for Melbourne. The Pies have won three straight games and in doing so they have not only taken away the pressure from coach Nathan Buckley but kept their finals dream alive too.
Both Melbourne and Collingwood are capable of beating any team in the competition and if they can get hot at the right time there is no telling how deep they could run into September. You only need to look at the Western Bulldogs as an example of this after they won the premiership after squeezing into the finals in eight spot.
If you want to be ambitious about the fortunes of either side going all the way, Melbourne is $34 with Collingwood at $51.
Melbourne though should get the win in this game and score a fifth consecutive win over the Pies who have been severely knocked around by injury.
When these teams played last, Melbourne won by 46 points with Bernie Vince having a day out collecting 42 touches.
The unfortunate thing for Collingwood is that just when they were getting their momentum back they have had horrible luck with injuries and will lose three players from the win over Fremantle heading into the Melbourne clash.
As brave as the Pies have been in the face of adversity, eventually having so many players sidelined has to take its toll and we fear for their legion of supporters this will be a game where the pendulum swings against them due to their depleted manpower.
In what shapes as a close and fascinating game, we have a slight leaning towards Melbourne.
Bernie Vince had 42 touches when these teams played last and is a good roughie for most disposal markets.
DRAW AT THE END OF ANY QUARTER