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Match preview: Geelong v Melbourne

Pick a Winner: Geel v Melb Duck and Browny preview the Cats v Demons

SUMMARY
It looms as the ultimate tug of war between attack and defence. While Melbourne's front half is flourishing with 105 points per game, Geelong's defence is holding up – particularly at home – where they've conceded just 56 points on average from five matches. If their round one encounter is anything to go by, it should prove to be a cracker under lights. This time around, there's far more on the line with both clubs fighting for survival in the top eight. With an easier fixture ahead, the Cats can go a long way to booking September action with a win. Lose, and they could be as low as 10th come Sunday night. For the Demons, a win on the road would have them knocking on the door of the top four, while a loss will rekindle memories of last year's fadeout. While Max Gawn's last-minute miss was the difference 17 weeks ago, he could prove the defining factor again, with first use to the respective midfields set to go a long way to deciding this 'eight-point' match.

WHERE AND WHEN: GMHBA Stadium, Saturday, July 21, 7.25PM AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

LAST FIVE TIMES
R1, 2018, Geelong 14.13 (97) d Melbourne 13.16 (94) at the MCG
R3, 2017, Geelong 20.6 (126) d Melbourne 13.19 (97) at Etihad Stadium
R23, 2016, Geelong 24.11 (155) d Melbourne 6.8 (44) at GMHBA Stadium
R12, 2015, Melbourne 18.5 (113) d Geelong 13.11 (89) at GMHBA Stadium
R17, 2014, Geelong 14.18 (102) d Melbourne 5.6 (36) at the MCG

THE SIX POINTS
1. Melbourne has split its past two matches at GMHBA Stadium, but in the six matches at the venue prior, the Demons lost all matches by an average of 71 points.

2. It could be an aerial battle on Saturday night. The Demons are No.1 in the competition for contested marks with 13.4 per game, ahead of the third-ranked Cats with 12.1.

3. If Melbourne can replicate its form as the No.1 attacking side of the competition, it will be too strong for the Cats. Averaging 105 points for the season, the Demons' scoring power exceeds Geelong's by 19 points.

4. Ranked the No.3 defensive team in the competition, the Cats conceded their second-highest score of the year last week against Adelaide (112). Since 2015, Geelong is 1-18 when conceding more than 100 points.

5. Geelong will need to match it with the Demons on the inside, averaging 14 fewer contested possessions than its opponent with 162 per game.

6. After a starring performance against Western Bulldogs, Max Gawn moved up the Schick AFL Player Ratings to sit No.18 in the competition and the third-ranked ruckman behind Brodie Grundy and Ben McEvoy.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR… 
After being left out of the side for Max Gawn's demolition of Geelong in round one, Rhys Stanley faces his biggest test following his best month of the season.  

PREDICTION: Geelong by eight points