MELBOURNE and the Western Bulldogs will clash for a third time this season when they meet in the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final, with both teams so far winning one outing each.

The Demons had the more settled side in the two previous meetings and were able to dominate the contested ball (+41) and hit-outs (+61).

The Bulldogs will be much closer to full-strength this time but were still better around the clearances (+12) and with inside 50 entries (+10) earlier in the year.

Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli in action against Melbourne in round 19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

ROUND 11

WHAT HAPPENED?
When and where: Friday May 28 at Marvel Stadium
Final score: Western Bulldogs 8.11 (59) lost to Melbourne 13.9 (87)

The top two teams at the time both entered the match with a 9-1 record but the much-anticipated clash had to be played without fans in the stadium.

Max Gawn won the first clearance and the Demons kicked a goal after 21 seconds to set the tone for a dominant performance that included a 27-point lead at quarter-time.

The Bulldogs failed to match the intensity of their opponents and were fortunate to add some respectability to the scoreboard with the final two goals of the match.

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Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch each kicked three goals, while Clayton Oliver (33 disposals) and Christian Petracca (24 and a goal) controlled the midfield. Jack Macrae (36) was best for the Dogs.

07:11 Mins
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Highlights: Western Bulldogs v Melbourne

The Bulldogs and Demons clash in round 11

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WHO WAS MISSING?

Melbourne

Jack Viney was sidelined due to a hotspot on his toe. Ben Brown was back on the outer after three initial appearances at his second club, while draftee Jake Bowey was yet to debut. Adam Tomlinson had already been ruled out for the season.

Christian Salem returned for the Demons in place of Neville Jetta. Tom Sparrow was the medical sub.

Western Bulldogs

This was the first match Adam Treloar missed with an ankle syndesmosis injury, while Josh Dunkley, Easton Wood, Stefan Martin and Mitch Hannan were also sidelined. Ryan Gardner, Josh Schache, Anthony Scott and Laitham Vandermeer were also watching on.

GRAND FINAL PREVIEW Demons v Bulldogs, stats that matter, who wins and why

Tim English returned after being concussed, Riley Garcia made his debut and Patrick Lipinski was also recalled. Louis Butler was the sub for the Dogs.

The Western Bulldogs' Josh Bruce competes for a mark with Melbourne's Steven May during round 11, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

ROUND 19

WHAT HAPPENED?
When and where: Saturday July 24 at the MCG
Final score: Melbourne 9.11 (65) lost to Western Bulldogs 13.7 (85)

Both teams still sat atop the ladder, but the starting positions were flipped from the previous meeting with the Demons entering this match as ladder-leaders.

The Bulldogs kept their opponents on a tighter leash this time, restricting the Dees to an early four-point lead then pushing in front halfway through the first term and holding on for the rest of the match.

Max Gawn (56 hit-outs, nine clearances) ruled the ruck against Tim English (14, three) but the Dogs midfield led by Marcus Bontempelli (31 disposals, nine clearances, two goals) and Jack Macrae (38, nine) was decisive in the wet. Clayton Oliver (38, eight) was best for the Demons.

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Mitch Hannan played an important role limiting the impact of the Dees' defender Steven May. Alex Keath strained a hamstring early in the win that put the Dogs back on top.

07:31 Mins
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Highlights: Melbourne v Western Bulldogs

The Dees and Dogs clash in round 19

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WHO WAS MISSING?

Melbourne

Jake Bowey was still a week away from making his debut but has held his place in the side since then. Adam Tomlinson was sidelined and Nathan Jones, Jake Melksham and Sam Weideman were losing their battle for selection.

James Harmes returned for the Demons in place of Aaron vandenBerg, while Tom Sparrow was the sub for a second time against the Bulldogs this year.

Western Bulldogs

Adam Treloar and Easton Wood were yet to return from long-term injuries, while Stefan Martin, Ryan Gardner and Laitham Vandermeer were also sidelined. Josh Dunkley had come back the week before from a lengthy layoff but was forced to isolate at the time of this match.

Tom Liberatore and Mitch Hannan both returned after a week on the sidelines, while Josh Schache was recalled for his second game of the year. Anthony Scott started as medical sub. 

Melbourne's James Harmes wrestles with Western Bulldogs players during round 19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

WHO WILL BE BACK FOR THE GRAND FINAL?

Melbourne

The Demons have added 19-year-old Jake Bowey to their defence since the round 19 meeting with the Dogs but have mostly been able to stick with the same team. Jayden Hunt is unlucky after a late-season ankle injury.

Steven May was substituted out of the Dees' preliminary final win but after benefiting from the pre-Grand Final bye is ready to play this week.

Western Bulldogs

Adam Treloar, Josh Dunkley, Easton Wood and Stefan Martin missed both home and away clashes with the Demons but will be part of their most important meeting. Josh Bruce tore an ACL since taking on the Dees in round 19 so will miss this time.

Alex Keath and Cody Weightman were sidelined for the Dogs' preliminary final victory but both will play in the Grand Final.