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Match preview: North Melbourne v Richmond

Pick a Winner: NM v Rich Duck and Browny preview the Kangaroos v Tigers
Robbie Tarrant will get a chance to renew acquaintances with Jack Riewoldt - AFL,North Melbourne Kangaroos,Richmond Tigers
Robbie Tarrant will get a chance to renew acquaintances with Jack Riewoldt

Just how good are the Kangaroos? It's been a media love-in for Brad Scott and his men since Saturday night's successful SCG siege against the Swans. That win gave North extra credibility after wins over St Kilda and Carlton preceded an impressive defeat of Hawthorn. But there is no greater test right now than reigning premier Richmond, which has barely missed a beat since its glorious September run last year. The game brings together the competition's stingiest defences and how the Roos contend with the Alex Rance-led Tigers backline could determine their competitiveness. Jarrad Waite will return after a rest to join a Roos forward line that could include Coleman Medal contender Ben Brown, last week's four-goal hero Mason Wood and skipper Jack Ziebell for the first time in 2018. It's a tough week to road test it, with Rance, David Astbury, Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin waiting for them. 

WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Sunday, May 13, 1.10pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide  

R11, 2017, Richmond 14.17 (101) d North Melbourne 9.12 (66) at Etihad Stadium
R11, 2016, North Melbourne 18.16 (124) d Richmond 7.12 (54) at Blundstone Arena
1EF, 2015, North Melbourne 15.15 (105) d Richmond 14.4 (88) at the MCG
R23, 2015, Richmond 16.12 (108) d North Melbourne 10.7 (67) at Etihad Stadium
R6, 2015, North Melbourne 16.13 (109) d Richmond 10.14 (74) at Blundstone Arena 

1. North Melbourne led by two points at half-time in the 2017 contest between the sides before the Tigers kicked eight goals to two in the second half. Dustin Martin picked up the three Brownlow votes with 38 disposals, two goals and six tackles.

2. The Tigers have dominated their opposition in final quarters this season, kicking 253 total points to 130. In the last three games, they've booted 148 points and conceded only 38 in the same period.

3. The clubs have shared the honours with two wins each since late in 2015, but the Roos have been better over a longer period, winning five of seven games since 2013. Richmond hasn't won two in a row against them since 2001.

4. This will be a contest between the two best defences in the competition. Richmond is ranked first, conceding an average of 68 points per game, just ahead of North, which is giving up an average of 69.

5. Another win and the Tigers will be on top of the ladder for four consecutive weeks for the first time since rounds 9-12 in 1995.

6. Mason Wood vaulted 10 spots to a career-high No.411 in the Schick AFL Player Ratings this week thanks to his four-goal haul on Saturday night against Sydney. 

Robbie Tarrant will either get the job on Tigers spearhead Jack Riewoldt or play a key supporting role for Scott Thompson. This will be the Roos' litmus test against Richmond's frenetic forward line – and Tarrant, arguably in All Australian form, is the backline leader.

PREDICTION: Richmond by 25 points