Where and when: Metricon Stadium, Saturday, May 11, 4.35pm AEST
Last time they met: MCG, round 20, 2018: Melbourne 21.17 (143) d Gold Coast 7.5 (47).
It was one-way traffic from the first bounce with the finals-bound Demons kicking nine goals to one in the opening quarter and never being challenged. Jesse Hogan kicked four goals and Clayton Oliver had 31 touches and two goals for the winners, while Alex Sexton kicked five goals for a Suns team missing leaders Tom Lynch, Steven May and David Swallow among many others.
What it means for Gold Coast: The warm and fuzzy feeling around the Suns after three straight wins earlier in the season is starting to wear off. After being soundly beaten by Adelaide and Brisbane they showed plenty of spirit to scare West Coast at the weekend and will want a similar showing in front of the home fans on Saturday.
What it means for Melbourne: Following a horror start to the year the Demons stopped the rot with a narrow win over Hawthorn and would see this match as an opportunity to build on that and continue reviving their season.
How Gold Coast wins: At their best – like the second half against West Coast – the Suns have been a hard team to beat at the contest and one that rebounds well from half-back. Beat Melbourne in tight and then be prepared to take the game on and play more directly.
How Melbourne wins: Even though they’ve been well below their 2018 form, the Demons have to win the ball in tight. These teams play a similar contested game, but Melbourne have bigger and stronger bodies around the contest. Gold Coast can also be pressured into errors if the intensity is up.
The stat: Melbourne generates the third most inside 50s of any team in the competition – trailing only Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs – yet is ranked 17th for total points scored. The team sitting on the bottom for points scored? Gold Coast.
The match-up: Max Gawn v Jarrod Witts
The battle of the ruck giants is an obvious one for teams that play such a contested game. Gawn (112) has the most hitouts to advantage of any ruckman in the competition, but Witts is also having a terrific under-the-radar season, ranked second in that category with 82.
It’s a big week for: Simon Goodwin. The relief in defeating the Hawks last Saturday was there for all to see, but a loss against the Suns would heap the scrutiny back on Melbourne’s coach
Thommo’s Tip: Melbourne by 10 points
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