DAVID will stare down Goliath at ANZ Stadium when a North Melbourne side that finished sixth on the ladder travels to Sydney to take on the Swans, the minor premiers and flag favourites. All of that will mean little to the Kangaroos, who were the only team to beat the Swans at the SCG in 2014 and have defied history just to make it this far. The Roos tend to lift when they face the higher-ranked sides and they will need to against a well-rested Swans line-up that has won eight of its nine finals at the Sydney Olympic Park ground.

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.

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.

Sydney Swans
Unlike this time last year, the Swans are in excellent health for a preliminary final. Josh Kennedy, Ben McGlynn and Craig Bird were among those who returned in week one of the finals, leaving the only concern as Nick Malceski's hamstring, but the All Australian defender was named in the side on Thursday night.

North Melbourne
The Roos have been lifted by the successful Tribunal appeal of Brent Harvey, after the star veteran, in his first game back from a three-game suspension, avoided a one-match ban for his bump on Geelong skipper Joel Selwood in last Friday night's second semi-final. Jamie Macmillan (hamstring) was the only casualty from the win over the Cats and Lachie Hansen (hip) still remains sidelined. 

Sydney Swans
They will do what's been expected of them for some months and qualify for a second Grand Final in three years.

North Melbourne
By contrast, a Kangaroos victory will give them a Grand Final berth that no one predicted, where they would take on Hawthorn or Port Adelaide.

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.

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

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