Marvel Stadium will look very different on Sunday afternoon as it hosts a world title fight between George Kambosos Jr and Deven Haney, but there’s more than a bit of a main event feel about the Cats clash with the Western Bulldogs tonight under the same roof.
The Dogs have begun to find form after a shaky start to their season, while Geelong comes into the game with two wins on the trot and the look and feel of a side building into something.
Both sides will be very keen to go into the bye weekend with the four points, for the Cats, 8-4 with big names on the comeback trail, looks a lot better than 7-5.
Here are a couple of things to look out for once the ball is bounced at 7.50:
The Bulldogs are the number one clearance side in the AFL, and the number side for scoring from clearances, so the challenge is formidable. But if the Cats can win that battle, or at least break even, the Bulldogs defence doesn’t have an obvious match-up for Jeremy Cameron who is in scintillating form, assuming Keith goes to Hawkins. In short, get the ball into Jez and Hawk and the heat is on.
De King vs The Astronaut
The game won’t be won or lost on this match up, but there’ll be a lot of people coming to the ground tonight to watch the first of what could be many, many tussles over the next decade between rising star nominee Sam De Koning, and high flying Bulldog Aaron Naughton.
Naughton’s aerial work is what makes him so watchable but he also does a lot of damage once the ball hits the deck, even at 195cm. But you know who else is pretty good when the ball hits the ground? The Cats’ very own Dutch King.
The hair, the headbands, the stage, whatever the result, this battle will be a treat.
The Stew-perman Factor
Both teams are in the top 5 for time spent in the forward half this year so the defenders will be made to earn their dollars tonight.
The Dogs midfield depth will mean there’ll almost always be a ‘resting’ mid playing in front of goal, so expect the Cats to make them work and be accountable once they rotate forward.
In the other coaches' box, the Bulldogs will have spent the week figuring out what to do with the sublime Tom Stewart who has been bringing his own footy to games this year, picking up 40 touches twice already this season.
His ability to repel opposition advances with his intercept marking is second to none, but his 874 metres gained last week shows how important he is setting up his Cats the other way.