Where and when: Metricon Stadium, Saturday, May 25, 7.25pm AEST
Last time they met: GMHBA Stadium, round 23, 2018: Geelong 22.10 (142) defeated Gold Coast 5.10 (40)
The final round of the season resembled a training run for Geelong. With their spot in the top eight already secure, the Cats ran riot against a Suns outfit that was depleted, dispirited and looking for the season to finish. Patrick Dangerfield was best afield with 34 disposals and four goals.
What it means for Gold Coast: The Suns are hoping to continue their strong form in front of their home fans. Despite losing five straight matches overall, Gold Coast has been more than feisty at Metricon Stadium, winning two from four and losing in the final second to Melbourne last time at home.
What it means for Geelong: The Cats are rolling, sitting a game plus significant percentage clear at the top of the ladder. They’ve won five straight – and are undefeated away from home – and will be out to maintain that buffer in first place with another victory here.
How Gold Coast wins: With some luck. The Suns have proved to be scrappy and largely outplayed most pre-season predictions to date, but to win they’ll need the Cats to be below their best. Nothing short of four quarters at their top intensity will do.
How Geelong wins: As long as the Cats don’t treat the trip north like a holiday, they should have too much class. If they can match the hard-at-it Gold Coast midfield, the outside class should provide the multi-faceted forward line plenty of chances to kick a winning score.
The stat: Geelong is the most free-scoring team in the competition and the only one to average more than 100 points a game. Conversely, Gold Coast is stuck at the bottom of the scoring table, averaging 61 points a game – eight fewer than the next lowest, Melbourne.
The match-up: Mitch Duncan v Ben Ainsworth
While some bigger-name teammates often get the headlines, Duncan is having another super season for the Cats. Meanwhile, Ainsworth is quickly emerging as the most skilled Sun from their batch of high-end draft picks. Both spend plenty of time on the wing, while also moving onball, and can cause havoc for the respective teams forward of centre.
It’s a big week for: Chris Scott
Milestones often fly under the radar for coaches, but Scott will coach his 200th match for Geelong, third on the club’s list behind Reg Hickey (304) and Mark Thompson (260).
Thommo’s Tip: Geelong by 35 points.
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