Geelong will take on Melbourne at GMHBA stadium, in what could be the match of the year, and could potentially decide the minor premiership.
These two teams have been two of the most in-form sides of the competition this year. Entering Round 23, they sit first and second on the ladder. Melbourne first, with 16 wins, four losses and a draw. Geelong with 16 wins and five losses.
Geelong enter this clash coming off a real tough challenge against St Kilda.
After they conceded the first five goals, they played well enough over the next three quarters to eventually scrape over the line by 14 points.
The Demons took care of the Crows, despite the Crows’ efforts to kick four of the first five goals, Melbourne were good enough to run away by 41 points in the end.
The players who could make a difference to either side, based on last weeks performances include:
Jeremy Cameron, with 13 disposals, nine kicks, seven marks and four goals.
Tom Hawkins, with 14 disposals, ten kicks four handballs, four marks and three goals.
Sam Manegola, with 35 disposals, 23 kicks, 11 handballs, nine marks and a goal.
Patrick Dangerfield, with 31 disposals, 18 kicks and 13 handballs.
Cameron Guthrie, with 36 disposals, 20 kicks and 16 handballs.
Joel Selwood, with 26 disposals, 17 kicks and nine handballs.
Issac Smith, with 22 disposals, 16 kicks, six handballs, seven marks and a goal.
These are players Melbourne will need to stop, if they are a chance of winning their first minor premiership since 1964.
From Melbourne, these are the players that are in form and need to stand up:
Bayley Fritsch, with 16 disposals, 12 kicks, four handballs, five marks and most importantly, seven goals.
Christian Petracca, with 23 disposals, 15 kicks, eight handballs, eight marks and two goals.
Luke Jackson, with 16 disposals, five kicks, 11 handballs and two goals.
Kysaiah Pickett, with 12 disposals, ten kicks, four marks and a goal.
Clayton Oliver, with 28 disposals, 15 kicks and 13 handballs.
Christian Salem, with 29 disposals, 20 kicks and nine handballs.
Ed Langdon, with 27 disposals, 21 kicks and six handballs.
Last time these two met, it was Melbourne who got the job done by 25 points at the MCG, in Round 4. It was the Dees’ fourth consecutive victory of the year. They will need a similar performance, if they are to win their first minor premiership in 57 years.
Both sides have incredible firepower.
But if Melbourne can stop Hawkins and Cameron having a massive influence down forward and Dangerfield having a massive influence through the centre, what could make the difference is if they can look to Fritsch to have a similar performance to last week, and maybe try and get more of an impact from Ben Brown, and the returning Jack Viney and Tom McDonald.
If they can do this, it is Melbourne’s minor premiership for the taking.
They have had their best season in many decades and this is an opportunity that Melbourne fans would be desperate to see their team take.
They should not fear it being in Geelong – they have the skill and the talent to get it done. It is the real ‘finals match’ for Melbourne now and it begins tomorrow in Geelong, not a week later.
Prediction: Melbourne by 18 points.