Pete Roberts from Behind The Footy is sharing some of his great content with us for the 2021 AFL season. Pete spent fifteen years in AFL coaching boxes as an analyst. He now shares those insights with footy fans. Here’s his AFL Monday Preview: Melbourne vs Collingwood.

Melbourne v Collingwood

As if the game hasn’t had enough twists and turns already, we get to see Nathan Buckley in charge of the Pies for the final time. The traditional Queen’s Birthday slot headlined by the Fight MND cause has moved to Sydney, with Melbourne starting favourite for the first time since 2018 – a game they subsequently lost by 42 points.

We haven’t seen such a strong favourite in this matchup since the Pies in 2015. This time it’s Melbourne’s turn to be the hunted, something they seem to be enjoying. Knocking off the Bulldogs and Lions in successive weeks is an impressive lead-up, so the only query on them might be a bit of a let down after two solid hitouts before the bye next weekend.

Do we read anything into the Buckley resignation that might lift the Pies to play with a bit more freedom? Quite possibly. But it still might not be enough against such an honest side with the best defence in the competition. We can’t forget Collingwood’s struggles up forward – it would take another six-goal haul from the likes of Elliott, De Goey or Mihocek to get close to pinching this one.

On the tighter SCG it arguably becomes even easier for the Demons to defend. And a shorter way home for their fitter, more organised midfielders and forwards. The SCG hasn’t seen this much footy traffic before, so it will be interesting to see the state of the surface after so many games in succession. Does that make it a little more scrappy than normal? Time will tell.

Melbourne to win. Pies’ only chance is to turn this into a low-scoring grind. But you get the feeling the shackles might be off for them and we see them throw caution to the wind and attack with a bit more flair. Against a lot of other sides that could work. Against this Melbourne defence it could easily backfire.

Pick Melbourne by 29
Tri-bet at $1.51 with TopSport
(Melbourne -19.5 points)

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