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Match preview: Collingwood v Geelong

Pick a Winner: Coll v Geel Duck and Browny preview the Magpies v Cats
Gary Ablett has dined out on the Pies in recent times - AFL,Geelong Cats,Collingwood Magpies
Gary Ablett has dined out on the Pies in recent times

Collingwood has a good recent record against Geelong, and this time the Magpies are far better placed to knock of the more-fancied Cats. After a slow start, the Pies have won four of their past five games, and they have done it with a more attacking style with an emphasis on fast chains of handball, while generally squeezing the opposition (although in the past five-and-a-bit quarters they have conceded 28 goals to their own 22). The ninth-placed Magpies are expected to be without skipper Scott Pendlebury (ankle), while sixth-placed Geelong will be boosted by the return of Gary Ablett. The Cats have won three of their past four games and are fresh from belting the Giants at home, with Mitch Duncan finding touch and Tim Kelly enhancing his standing as one of the season's best recruits.

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Sunday May 13, 3.20pm AEST

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

R22, 2017: Geelong 10.10 (70) d Collingwood 9.5 (59) at the MCG
R6, 2017: Collingwood 15.17 (107) d Geelong 11.12 (78) at the MCG
R9, 2016: Collingwood 16.8 (104) d Geelong 11.14 (80) at the MCG
R22, 2015: Collingwood 17.8 (110) d Geelong 9.8 (62) at the MCG
R6, 2015: Geelong 15.10 (100) d Collingwood 8.11 (59) at the MCG 

1. Collingwood has won three of the past four clashes between the clubs. Geelong's 11-point win late last year was the closest finish between them since early in 2014.

2. Collingwood has won two of their five games at the MCG this year, while Geelong has one win from two games. The Cats have won four of their past six games on the hallowed turf since the second half of last season.

3. The Magpies' scoring has improved dramatically. In the opening two rounds they averaged just 73 points, but have since lifted it to 99 a game. They have reached 100 points in four of their past five outings. 

4. The Cats' midfield was the difference when the sides last met in round 22 last year, with Patrick Dangerfield and Mitch Duncan each having 32 possessions and Sam Menegola 28 in Geelong's 11-point victory. Dangerfield and Menegola also kicked two goals apiece.

5. Collingwood remains the highest possession team and is one of only two teams to average more than 400 a game. The Cats are equal-eighth with 374.

6. Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy has climbed to a career-best ranking of No. 14 in the Schick AFL Player Ratings. He is the third-ranked Magpie and is first among ruckmen.

After overcoming his second hamstring injury since February, Gary Ablett is back, but doubts remain over whether the Cats' decision to recruit a now injury-prone veteran will ultimately prove a success. A vintage performance would at least allay some concerns, and he is odds-on to do just that given he has averaged 40 possessions in his past four games against the Pies. 

PREDICTION: Geelong by 15 points

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs