Four narratives ahead of this weekend’s sport

12 April 2019

Written by: Kristian Bouboukis

An AFL premiership player faces his old side, a club champion retires in the A-League, Melbourne City faces a crucial clash, and Melbourne Storm looks to remain unbeaten.

Western Bulldogs in for a rough time

Collingwood’s Jordan Roughead comes face-to-face against his old side for the first time in tonight’s AFL Round 4 match at the MCG. Roughead featured in the Dogs’ 2016 Grand Final win, but was traded to the Pies at the end of last season.

The Bulldogs have had two seasons outside of the top eight since winning the flag three years ago, but look to be back to their best with Jack Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli fit and firing, along with the return of Tom Liberatore from injury. The club enjoyed wins over Sydney and Hawthorn before a shock five-point loss to Gold Coast.

Meanwhile, Collingwood sits in 11th after a rough start to the season, losing to league leaders Geelong in the opening round and last year’s premiers West Coast in Round 3.

The Bulldogs also have a decent record against the Pies, winning four of the past five including the two matches at the MCG.

Both sides have made one change to their lineups ahead of tonight’s match. Travis Varcoe returns for Collingwood, with Levi Greenwood making way, while the Bulldogs have brought Jason Johannisen in for Lewis Young.

The opening bounce for tonight’s match is at 7:50pm. You can follow the action on social media with the hashtag #AFLPiesDogs.

One last shot at the title for Victory captain Valeri

Melbourne Victory captain Carl Valeri has announced he will walk away from his playing career at the end of the 2018–19 A-League season, capping off a stellar career for club and country.

Valeri spent five seasons at Victory, ending up with an A-League Premiership-Championship double in the 2014–15 season, the 2017–18 Championship, and the 2015 FFA Cup among his honours. Valeri was also awarded the Victory Medal for the club’s best player in the 2016–17 season.

The 34-year-old said it was the right time to walk away, leaving behind a legacy of success at both domestic and international level.

“I am excited and committed to play out the rest of the current season, and hopefully achieve success with the group, knowing this will be my last with the football club,” Valeri said.

“It has been an incredible journey for myself and my family, spanning my time at Victory and previously to that with the Socceroos and abroad.”

“When I do play my last game, it will be a time of celebration and reflection on a special career and five wonderful seasons with Melbourne Victory.”

The club has yet to decide how it would like to give Valeri a farewell, with its last regular season match this weekend against Central Coast Mariners.

Melbourne Victory sits in third place on the table, four points behind Sydney FC.

Victory’s match against the Mariners kicks off this Sunday at 5:00pm. You can follow the action on social media with the hashtag #MVCvCCM.

Melbourne City face Adelaide in huge six-pointer

Melbourne City’s chances at a home final remain in the balance, with this weekend’s home fixture against Adelaide United sure to decide if they can make it.

City will go into the game full of confidence following last week’s dismantling of lowly Brisbane Roar, resulting in a dominant 4–1 win which included a goal of the season contender by Ritchie De Laet.

As a result, the side goes unchanged into this weekend’s match, with Iacopo La Rocca returning to the extended squad after missing last week’s match with a hamstring injury. Captain Scott Jamieson stil continues his rehabilitation from a broken toe.

With Melbourne Victory taking one home final spot, City, Adelaide and Wellington Phoenix are all in a three-way tussle for fourth place. Wellington is currently on 37 points, leading Adelaide by goal difference, while City sits in sixth on 36 points.

City face Adelaide at home tonight and Wellington on the road next week, so both matches will have a significant impact on the final positioning of the three sides.

The game gets underway on Saturday at 5:35pm. You can follow the action on social media with the hashtag #MCYvADL.

Melbourne Storm takes on cellar dwellars North Queensland Cowboys

These two teams have had drastically different successes since they met in the 2017 NRL Grand Final.

Melbourne Storm won the Premiership after beating North Queensland 34–6, before finishing as runners-up to Sydney Roosters in the 2018 season. They also come into this Round 5 clash unbeaten, winning each of their first four matches to remain the only unbeaten side in the competition.

However, the Cowboys dropped to 13th place last year and only have one win in 2019, despite playing three of their first four at home. They return there for tonight’s fixture again but with the Storm looking the team to beat in 2019, it won’t be an easy task for Paul Green’s men.

For Storm, Craig Bellamy has made a number of changes to the side, with Suliasi Vunivalu missing through suspension and Curtis Scott picking up a shoulder injury. Josh Addo-Carr is back after missing last week’s game for personal reasons, with Marion Seve coming in for Scott. Green has brought in Ben Hampton into the Cowboys side, at the expense of Javid Bowen.

Melbourne Storm comes into tonight’s fixture with the most points scored and least points conceded, so expect it to be a blowout.

The game kicks off at 7:55pm. You can follow the action on social media with the hashtag #NRLCowboysStorm.

 

Photo: AFL MCG by Andrew Simmons available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.