Former Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson has broken down how he thinks Carlton should attack their Semi Final against Melbourne at the MCG.
The last time they met it was the Blues that saluted 60-56 with a late Christian Petracca shot at goal controversially being deemed a behind.
In that game, the Blues held the Demons to just 60 marks, well below their average of 93 that they take in wins and Sanderson believes that has to be at the top of their to-do list again.
“If I’m Carlton preparing to play against Melbourne, one thing for me stands out,” Sanderson said on SEN Whateley.
“Melbourne have lost eight games this year, in those games they averaged 62 marks. In their 16 wins, they averaged 93 marks in offence. There’s a 31-mark difference.
“Quite simply, Carlton have to take the ball off of Melbourne and prevent any mark chains whatsoever.
“Picture this tomorrow night, if a Melbourne player has the ball and they’re looking for a marking target to control the game.
“They (Carlton) have to take all of them away. They have to be so good defensively.”
As well as stopping Melbourne from controlling the air, Sanderson says the Blues have to ensure Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca don’t hold sway on-ball.
Given that Carlton is a strong contested side, he believes Michael Voss should try and turn the game into a slog by throwing additional numbers at stoppage so Melbourne can’t get out in transition.
“You have to eliminate those three key personnel from having a significant influence on the game,” Sanderson said.
“You need your good players to play well and you rely on those bottom five or bottom 10 almost to have a significant influence.
“I just think if you’re Carlton tomorrow night, you have to limit Gawn’s influence.
“You have to find a way to take Petracca and Oliver out of the game around contest.
“If I’m Carlton tomorrow night and we’ve got the edge around contest and clearance, you’ve got to pack it up.
“Every time that there is a clearance or a stoppage, you put extra numbers around it. You want to make sure that this game doesn’t get in a running race because I think that’s when Melbourne have the advantage. If it gets down to work rate and outside run.”
If Carlton can’t stop Melbourne from linking up and using their run, Sanderson is giving the edge to the Demons.
Despite those fears, he thinks the Blues might be good enough to impose their style of game on the contest and because of that he’s giving Carlton a slight edge and is tipping them to send Melbourne out in straight sets for the second-straight year.
“If this game becomes transitional, I’m going to give the edge to Melbourne,” Sanderson said.
“But as we’ve discussed, efficiency going forward is so important in this game and that’s where I give the edge to Carlton.
“I think Carlton have got more depth in the midfield despite Petracca, Oliver, Viney, Gawn and as good as that is, I just think Carlton have got more options through there.
“I’m leaning towards a small win of less than a goal to the Blues. But if I’m picking a margin, that’s going to be less than a goal.
“This game could go either way, it’s going be an absolute ripper.
“I just like Carlton.”
Friday’s Semi Final is set for 7:50pm (AEST) at the MCG.
The winner will face Brisbane in a Preliminary Final next weekend at the Gabba.