WHERE AND WHEN: ANZ Stadium, Friday September 19, 7.50pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for the broadcast guide
THIS YEAR – R4, 2014, North Melbourne 13.13 (91) d Sydney Swans 6.12 (48) at the SCG
On a cold, wet day, Ben Cunnington showed his class with 30 disposals, 11 clearances and 10 tackles in a comprehensive 43-point Kangaroo triumph. It was the Swans' biggest loss of the year and lowest score, with defender Jeremy Laidler their only multiple goalkicker with two. They were without Kurt Tippett, Adam Goodes and Sam Reid.
PREVIOUS FIVE ENCOUNTERS
R4, 2014, North Melbourne 13.13 (91) d Sydney Swans 6.12 (48) at the SCG
R3, 2013, Sydney Swans 20.11 (131) d North Melbourne 13.14 (92) at Blundstone Arena
R4, 2012, Sydney Swans 17.11 (113) d North Melbourne 10.17 (77) at the SCG
R10, 2011, Sydney Swans 10.12 (72) d North Melbourne 9.17 (71) at Etihad Stadium
R15, 2010, Sydney Swans 12.13 (85) d North Melbourne 7.13 (55) at the SCG
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Luke Parker v Ben Cunnington
They may not necessarily go head to head, but the midfielders are barometers for their respective sides and will spend plenty of time in the same vicinity. Whether it's diving into packs to secure a clearance, landing a big tackle or kicking a crucial goal, whoever has the bigger influence could well lead his team to victory.
Lance Franklin v Scott Thompson
Back in round four, Thompson produced 24 touches, nine rebound 50s and seven marks. He regularly cut off supply to Franklin, who kicked just one behind. It was Buddy's first SCG home game and it's fair to say he'll be a little more accustomed to his teammates this time around.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY WIN?
WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY LOSE?
For both teams a loss means it's time for a post-season refreshment, a possible overseas holiday and then another crack at it all next year.
THE SIX POINTS
1. Before their victory in round four this year, the Roos had a dreadful record against the Swans, losing seven consecutive games dating back to round six, 2007. Their previous victory in Sydney came in round 19, 2004.
2. This match will mark only the third time the two clubs have met in a final. North can boast of the 1996 Grand Final, which it won by 43 points, while the Swans won an elimination final back in 2008 by 35 points.
3. Overall the Swans have played in 13 preliminary finals for seven wins and six losses. This is the third consecutive year they have reached this stage of the season. The Kangaroos have a 9-9 record in prelims, but have lost their past two (2000, 2007) and haven't won one since 1999.
4. There is a significant difference in finals experience between the two teams. The Swans enjoy a combined 281 games and 202 goals from finals action, compared to North's 124 games and 67 goals.
5. If North can get over the line, it will be the first team outside the top four to reach a Grand Final under the current finals format, which was adopted in 2000. The Roos would also be the first traveling side to win a prelim since West Coast knocked off Adelaide en route to the 2006 flag.
6. Franklin not only won the Coleman Medal in his first year in Sydney with 67 goals, he also finished second in the AFL for pressure acts inside 50. Brent Harvey's importance to the Roos also can't go unnoticed. He was third in the AFL for goals by midfielders with 27 and second for score assists.
PREDICTION: Sydney Swans by six points