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Match preview: Essendon v Melbourne

Pick a Winner: Ess v Melb Duck and Browny preview the Bombers v Demons

Round one was a stark contrast for these two sides, with Melbourne's optimism and hope a far cry from the Bombers' opening-round thrashing. The Dees overcame an inaccurate Greater Western Sydney by two points thanks to a brilliant final term, while the Bombers were outplayed by Gold Coast and lost by 61 points. The challenges that Essendon will face throughout the season without 12 of their best players became more clear against the Suns, and Melbourne should enter this clash confident of backing up its season-opening win. 

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Saturday, April 2, 2.10pm AEDT

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

R15, 2015, Essendon 10.9 (69) d Melbourne 7.18 (60) at the MCG
R13, 2014, Melbourne 12.6 (78) d Essendon 10.17 (77) at the MCG
R2, 2013, Essendon 28.16 (184) d Melbourne 5.6 (36) at the MCG
R10, 2012, Melbourne 8.10 (58) d Essendon 6.16 (52) at the MCG
R11, 2011, Melbourne 15.11 (101) d Essendon 10.8 (68) at the MCG

Jack Watts has a chance to silence critics after a strong showing last week. Picture: AFL Media

1. Joe Daniher was the difference between the sides when they met in 2015, kicking five goals with four in the second half. Melbourne dominated inside-50s, however, leading 58 to 45.

2. Top-five draft picks Clayton Oliver and Darcy Parish could go head-to-head in the midfield this weekend. The Dees chose Oliver with pick No.4 instead of Parish, who was taken the next selection by the Bombers.

3. Melbourne hasn't started the season with two wins since 2005, when the Demons won four of the first five games of the year and made the finals.

4. Two of the Bombers' top-up players were among their best in round one. Former Cats Mathew Stokes and James Kelly combined for 43 disposals, three goals, eight tackles and six inside-50s.

5. Melbourne and Essendon have clashed 211 times and the Bombers hold a clear advantage winning 128 games, the Demons winning 81 and the clubs sharing two draws. 

6. Max Gawn's drastic improvement in the ruck has many excited, and should see the big Demon jump up in the Schick AFL Player Ratings. He is presently ranked 295th.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Jack Watts
The Melbourne forward put in a terrific showing against GWS last week, and has a good opportunity against the Bombers to continue his strong start to 2016. 

PREDICTION: Melbourne by 35 points.