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Match preview: Melbourne v North Melbourne

Pick a Winner: Melb v NM Duck and Browny preview the Demons v Kangaroos
Jesse Hogan and his North counterpart Ben Brown will have a big say in the result - AFL,North Melbourne Kangaroos,Melbourne Demons,MCG
Jesse Hogan and his North counterpart Ben Brown will have a big say in the result

SUMMARY

Seventeen straight losses. That is the reality that will playing out in the backs of the Melbourne players' minds as they go to face North Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday. The Roos' run of 17 straight victories against Melbourne, dating back to 2006, is the second longest losing streak in club history. And, as much as the coaching staff and players will try to downplay the losing streak, it will be a factor in the game. However, the Demons are undoubtedly a team on the rise and up against a youthful North Melbourne squad they will fancy their chances. The Roos, however, are coming off an impressive 52-point win over St Kilda and will be no easy beats, particularly if they can match it in the midfield with the Demons' onballers.

WHERE AND WHEN:  MCG, Saturday, April 7, 2.10pm AEST 
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide 

LAST FIVE TIMES

R19, 2017, North Melbourne 11.10 (76) d Melbourne 10.12 (72) at Blundstone Arena
R9, 2017, North Melbourne 15.14 (104) d Melbourne 13.12 (90) at the MCG
R3, 2016, North Melbourne 21.10 (136) d Melbourne 20.11 (131) at Blundstone Arena
R19, 2015, North Melbourne 19.13 (127) d Melbourne 14.8 (92) at the MCG
R23, 2014, North Melbourne 19.9 (123) d Melbourne 14.9 (93) at Etihad Stadium

THE SIX POINTS

1. In two close finishes between the sides in 2017, in-form North spearhead Ben Brown was the difference – kicking five goals in the first win and four in the second. Demons midfielder Clayton Oliver starred for the Demons in the second contest with 33 disposals, 12 tackles and the three Brownlow votes.

2. The Kangaroos have been strong for contested possessions in the first two rounds, ranked second in the AFL and averaging 169 per game. Melbourne has also been good in this area, ranked fifth at 161.5.

3. North Melbourne has dominated Melbourne over a long stretch of time, winning the last 17 matches, including four by more than 50 points. The Demons' last victory against the Roos occurred in round 20, 2006.

4. Accuracy has been a problem for the Kangaroos in the first two weeks, kicking 18.26 at 34.6 per cent accuracy. North Melbourne is averaging 56.5 inside 50s and 9.5 marks inside 50 so far this year.

5. Melbourne's existing losing streak against the Kangaroos is the longest losing sequence against another team and its second longest losing streak in club history.

6. Demons midfielder Clayton Oliver has had a superb start to 2017 and is sixth in the competition for average Schick AFL Player Ratings scores (21.4 ppg).

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … 

North Melbourne's Ben Brown and Melbourne's Jesse Hogan hold the key to victory for their respective sides. You would think Brown, fresh from a six-goal haul from St Kilda, needs to kick at least that many for the Roos to cause an upset. Hogan, who has eight goals in two games, is a damaging force and his ability to push up the ground and spend time in the midfield adds more versatility to his game.

PREDICTION: Melbourne by 19 points