The Blues won’t have the cattle to hang with Fremantle on Saturday at Marvel Stadium.
Carlton just can’t be backed against quality opposition given the absurd length of their injury list.
The Blues are currently missing up to eight best 22 players, including most of their backline. Jacob Weitering, Mitch McGovern, Oscar McDonald, Caleb Marchbank and now Sam Durdin are all missing from their key defensive stocks, leaving Lewis Young as the only recognised tall backman on their list. Adam Cerra, Zac Williams and Marc Pittonet are all missing as well.
There’s only so much a team can take and the Blues are well beyond breaking point.
Fremantle continue to establish themselves as a genuine premiership threat, recording the equal most wins with Melbourne and Brisbane through 14 rounds. They’ve been great on the road this year, winning and covering the line in five of six games away from Optus.
Most crucially for their chances this week, Matt Taberner is likely to return from injury. He and Rory Lobb will be keeping Michael Voss up at night all week.
The banged-up Blues couldn’t stop Richmond last week and will have even more trouble with Freo on Saturday.
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Sam Docherty has been filling up on the stat sheet lately, notching 30+ touches in three straight games. Matthew Kennedy has recorded 20+ touches in 14 of his last 15 games.
One of Freo’s key forwards should fill up against the Blues’ defence. Matt Taberner is the most likely if he plays, but look to Rory Lobb or swingman Griffin Logue if he doesn’t.
Matt Taberner has struggled with consistency on and off the field, only playing six games so far in 2022, but he proved with a seven-goal haul against Essendon in Round 5 that he can go large on his day. He won’t get a better opportunity than against this Carlton defence.