Where and when: GMHBA Stadium, Saturday May 18, 4.35pm AEST
Last time they met: Marvel Stadium, round 15, 2018: Western Bulldogs 16.7 (103) defeated Geelong 15.11 (101).
After a see-sawing affair all night, a Gary Ablett major put Geelong within three points with only seconds on the clock in the final term. After another centre clearance, Harry Taylor had the chance to win the game with a kick after the siren from 40m but missed.
What it means for Geelong: Maintaining the ascendancy at the top. This looms as a danger game, but it’s a match the Cats must simply bank at home to ensure they’re on track for a top-four finish.
What it means for the Western Bulldogs: A chance to claim a big scalp. After back-to-back wins placing them 4-4, a win on the road against the Cats would provide a massive springboard for the rest of the season.
How Geelong wins: By matching the Dogs on the inside. In the past two weeks Josh Dunkley, Jack Macrae and Tom Liberatore’s work around the contest has led the Dogs to victory. If the Cats can split that, they should have enough class on the outside.
How the Western Bulldogs win: By moving Geelong’s defence. It’s easier said than done, but if the Dogs can create one-on-one contests for Aaron Naughton without players such as Tom Stewart and Jake Kolodjasnij intercepting, then it will go a long way to kicking a winning score.
The stat: Before last year’s loss to the Dogs, the Cats had won the past 11 straight between the pair dating back to a qualifying final in 2009.
The match-up: Cameron Guthrie v Marcus Bontempelli
Guthrie has stood alongside the opposition’s No.1 midfielder in large periods in matches this season and the Cats will be well aware of the dangers Bontempelli presents. When he pushes forward, expect Tom Stewart or Jake Kolodjashnij to get the job.
It’s a big week for: Luke Dahlhaus (Geelong)
Comes up against his premiership teammates for the first time at his new home. Has provided immense forward pressure in his first eight matches, and will have circled this encounter on the fixture from the start of the season.
Thommo’s Tip: Geelong by 20 points
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