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Match preview: Gold Coast v Melbourne

Pick a Winner: GC v Melb Duck and Browny preview the Suns v Demons

SUMMARY
This will be just the second time in eight matches Gold Coast won't have to get on a plane as they 'host' Melbourne at the Gabba. After losing narrowly to the Western Bulldogs last week, the Suns are clinging to a 3-4 record and are desperate to even the ledger ahead of their trip to China to play Port Adelaide. Co-captain Steven May is expected back from his finger injury, and just in time too, as Melbourne tall forwards Jesse Hogan and Tom McDonald have had an excellent fortnight in tandem. The Demons have been up-and-down so far in 2018, but fresh off wins against the struggling Essendon and St Kilda, enter this match with some confidence. The midfield battle looms as a fascinating one with David Swallow, Jarryd Lyons (who was down last week against the Bulldogs) and Touk Miller a good inside match for the likes of Clayton Oliver, Nathan Jones and in-form Angus Brayshaw. Gold Coast can make this tight if its pressure is high, but hard to see the Demons losing here.

WHERE AND WHEN: The Gabba, Saturday, May 12, 4.35pm AEST 

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

LAST FIVE MEETINGS
R10, 2017: Melbourne 18.14 (122) d Gold Coast 13.9 (87) at TIO Traeger Park
R19, 2016: Melbourne 9.12 (66) d Gold Coast 9.10 (64) at the MCG
R7, 2016: Melbourne 24.16 (160) d Gold Coast 14.3 (87) at Metricon Stadium
R1, 2015: Melbourne 17.13 (115) d Gold Coast 13.11 (89) at the MCG
R5, 2014: Gold Coast 11.20 (86) d Melbourne 11.12 (78) at the MCG

THE SIX POINTS
1. Gold Coast led by 17 points when the teams played in 2017 before Melbourne kicked 14 goals to six in the second half. Jeff Garlett starred with 24 disposals, eight marks and five goals.

2. Melbourne has scored well this season, ranked seventh compared to Gold Coast's 16th. The Demons generate plenty of opportunities though, ranked second for inside 50s as opposed to the Suns, ranked 13th.

3. Melbourne has dominated this match-up recently, winning the past four contests. Gold Coast hasn't defeated the Demons at home since 2013.

4. The Demons are the highest-ranked team for centre clearances after seven games averaging 14.1 a game. A big reason for this is ruckman Max Gawn, who tops the AFL with 343 hit-outs, 49 a game.

5. This is the second match at the Gabba this season for both teams. Gold Coast won a thriller over Brisbane in round five by five points, while Melbourne used a strong last quarter to defeat the Lions in round two.

6. Fresh off 36 disposals against St Kilda, Clayton Oliver continues his rise up the Schick AFL Player Ratings. The third-year midfielder has now climbed to a career-high 32nd overall.

IT’S A BIG WEEK FOR …
Max Gawn is widely considered the best ruckman in the game at the moment, and if Gold Coast has any hope of upsetting the Demons, Jarrod Witts must nullify his impact. The Suns were hammered by the Western Bulldogs at stoppages last week – who expertly roved Witts' hit-outs – and must reverse this or risk Melbourne's midfielders having a field day.

PREDICTION: Melbourne by 25 points

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