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Preview: Blues v Tigers

Trent Cotchin will lead the Tigers into battle against Carlton - ${keywords}
Trent Cotchin will lead the Tigers into battle against Carlton

Enormous hype surrounds both of these arch-enemies, who are hellbent on returning to the finals this year after disappointing 2012 seasons. Both know a first-up victory against a fellow top-eight hopeful will boost belief among their ranks and potentially inflict great damage to their opponent. A huge midfield battle beckons between the Blues' experienced runners in Marc Murphy, Chris Judd and Kade Simpson and the Tigers' more youthful crew led by Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio and Dustin Martin. Murphy and Cotchin cross swords as skippers for the first time, in what might also develop into an enduring rivalry.

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Thursday March 28, 7.45pm

TV, RADIO AND BETTING: Click here for broadcast guide

R18, 2012, Carlton 14.11 (95) d Richmond 13.13 (91) at the MCG
R1, 2012, Carlton 18.17 (125) d Richmond 12.9 (81) at the MCG
R15, 2011, Carlton 28.16 (184) d Richmond 12.9 (81) at the MCG
R1, 2011, Carlton 14.20 (104) d Richmond 13.6 (84) at the MCG
R20, 2010, Carlton 23.18 (156) d Richmond 10.7 (67) at the MCG

1. This will be the seventh consecutive season the clubs have clashed in round one. Their previous six season-openers have resulted in five Carlton wins and just one to Richmond.

2. The Blues have dominated the Tigers in recent times, winning their past nine contests overall, including three wins by more than 80 points.

3. Since 2007, when the Blues and Tigers have opened the season on a Thursday or Friday night, the average attendance has been 74,108. The best was 87,043 in 2009.

4. If Carlton wins again, it will be the first time since 1917 that it will have won 10 games in a row against Richmond.

5. Despite a poor 2012, Carlton remained a top clearance team, ranking fourth in the AFL. Richmond was ninth.

6. The result might come down to the one-percenters. Last year Carlton ranked second in the AFL in this category, while Richmond was 11th.
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs