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Match Preview: Cats vs Dockers

Last time we met: Dockers Relive our come from behind win against the Dockers in round 14, 2017.
Sam Menegola is ranked the third best midfielder/forward in the AFL - Geelong Cats
Sam Menegola is ranked the third best midfielder/forward in the AFL

Everything goes on the line for Geelong, which needs a win to keep its season alive. Forced to fight back and chase games in recent weeks, the Cats will be looking to control the match early to avoid another heart-stopper late. While the Dockers have little to play for in the context of their season, Ross Lyon will be keen to see his young side exposed again on the road, having won just a single match away this season with an average losing margin of 51. They have blooded eight debutants this season, while the Cats have introduced seven fresh faces. The Dockers will hold no fears playing at the Cattery. Despite winning just one of their past three at the venue, the other two games were decided by late misses. In those three matches, Cats spearhead Tom Hawkins has been held to just four goals, however his 2018 form will be of concern. In seven games at home he has 26 majors, including 14 in his past two outings.

WHERE AND WHEN: GMHBA Stadium, Saturday August 18, 2.10pm
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

LAST FIVE TIMES
R14, 2017, Geelong 10.14 (74) d Fremantle 11.6 (72) at GMHBA Stadium
R1, 2017, Geelong 18.7 (115) d Fremantle 10.13 (73) at Subiaco Oval
R17, 2016, Geelong 11.12 (78) d Fremantle 9.7 (61) at Subiaco Oval
R2, 2015, Fremantle 15.14 (104) d Geelong 9.6 (60) at GMHBA Stadium
R20, 2014, Geelong 12.9 (81) d Fremantle 11.13 (79) at GMHBA Stadium

THE SIX POINTS

1. Ladder positions meant nothing last year when the 11th-placed Dockers led the third-placed Cats by 19 points at the final break. Led by Patrick Dangerfield, the Cats stormed home, with a Michael Walters miss in the dying stages costing the Dockers victory.

2. The Dockers will need to improve their contested possession count if they are to be any chance of causing an upset. They sit equal last in the competition with 135.1 per game, a long way behind the fifth-ranked Cats with 150.4.

3. The Cats have won their past six consecutive final terms, often chasing late with matches on the line. They're ranked third in the competition for final terms, winning 14 of 20, while the Dockers have won just four to rank 16th.

4. No team has rotated more players through its centre bounces than the Dockers this season, using 28 players in total. They sit eighth for centre-clearance differential this season, ahead of the 13th-placed Cats.

5. The Cats have used the equal-most players in the competition this year with 40, the Dockers ranked equal sixth with 37 players.

6. In game 50 last week, Geelong's Sam Menegola moved further up the Schick AFL Player Ratings into 26th position overall. The former Docker, who never played a game with the club, is ranked the third best midfielder/forward in the competition behind Shane Edwards and Robbie Gray. Docker David Mundy (48th overall) is fifth.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …

Sean Darcy returns to the scene of his debut, again carrying the ruck load in the absence of Aaron Sandilands. The 20-year-old will be buoyed by the injury to Geelong's No.1 Rhys Stanley, holding hope he can deliver like he did on debut last season with an impressive 40 hit-outs and 14 disposals.

PREDICTION: Geelong by 47 points.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs