Where and when: SCG, Thursday April 11, 7.20pm AEST
Last time they met: SCG, round 21, 2018: Sydney 13.9 (87) defeated Melbourne 10.18 (78)
The visitors got home in a thrilling contest thanks to some outstanding work behind the ball from Isaac Heeney, who was awarded the three Brownlow votes and dragged in what was later judged to be the mark of the year. It was also a horrible day for Alex Johnson, who suffered another ACL tear in what turned out to be his last game in the AFL.
What it means for Sydney: A win over Carlton was a much-needed one and the home side must continue to build some momentum against the under-fire Dees, especially after dropping their first home game to Adelaide.
What it means for Melbourne: Tipped as premiership contenders before the season, the Demons have looked anything but and a fourth-straight loss would just about put a line through their season.
How Melbourne wins: Players like Jack Viney, Max Gawn, Christian Petracca and Nathan Jones led the Demons revival last season and must do it again by getting back to their brand of hard-nosed footy.
The stat: The Dees are ranked third in the competition with an average of 60.3 inside 50s per game, compared to Sydney (52) who are 13th, but they can’t turn that advantage into a winning score.
The match-up: Callum Sinclair v Max Gawn
The star Demon will have the advantage with his ruck work, but the Swan is more mobile and will push forward as hard and as often as he can to make Gawn accountable. If Sinclair can kick a couple of goals and break even around the ground, he’ll be extremely influential for his team.
It’s a big week for: Zak Jones (Sydney)
The younger brother of the Melbourne co-captain announced himself with a career-high 31 possessions and seven clearances against Carlton last week. With his speed and willingness to carry the footy, and the Dees likely to focus on Zak’s high-profile teammates, he could be a dangerous weapon for Sydney.
Big call: After a solid start to the season, Parker will assert himself on this contest, especially forward, and be a match-winner with four goals.
Prediction: Sydney by 25 points
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