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Match Preview: Cats vs Tigers

The Geelong defence will be looking to shut down a former Cat - Geelong Cats
The Geelong defence will be looking to shut down a former Cat

Prepare for an arm wrestle. The competition's two stingiest sides lock horns in a standout clash, both having plenty to prove. Geelong will be looking to make amends from the previous meeting between the sides in last year's qualifying final, when they were suffocated by the Tigers' pressure. The Cats have taken a leaf out of the Tigers' book from that night when they managed just five goals, conceding an average of 66.7 points per game this season. However, the ability to do it against the Tigers and defend the MCG is another challenge in itself. In round eight, the Cats held Collingwood to five goals; six days later they were caught napping against the Bombers, who piled on 12 majors. The Tigers return from their third interstate trip this season with their third loss, and will be keen to show their midfield is deep enough to contend with the Cats. Last week, Port Adelaide's Ollie Wines, Sam Powell-Pepper, Tom Rockliff and Chad Wingard got the better of the clearance battle, while the ruck division was stretched beyond Toby Nankervis.

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Sunday, June 17, 3.20pm AEST

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

QF, 2017: Richmond 13.13 (91) d Geelong 5.10 (40) at the MCG
R21, 2017: Geelong 11.14 (80) d Richmond 9.12 (66) at GMHBA Stadium
R21, 2016: Geelong 10.22 (82) d Richmond 12.6 (78) at the MCG
R5, 2015: Geelong 12.13 (85) d Richmond 11.10 (76) at the MCG
R7, 2014: Geelong 11.15 (81) d Richmond 12.4 (76) at the MCG

1. Gary Ablett wound back the clock last week with 34 disposals (16 contested), eight tackles and a goal in the Cats' win over North Melbourne. Ablett has hit the scoreboard in all nine of his matches against the Tigers as a Cat. 

2. Richmond's win in last year's qualifying final was the club's first over Geelong since 2006; the Cats had won 13 straight contests from 2007-17. The Tigers haven't won consecutive clashes with the Cats since 1999-2000.

3. Richmond will be looking to gain an advantage in the centre clearance battle, with a clear discrepancy between the two sides. A big difference could be in the middle; the Tigers are third in centre clearances averaging 13.3, while the Cats are last with an average of 9.6.

4. These two sides have met 42 times at the MCG, with Geelong winning 23 games to 19, including eight of the last nine. The Cats are two wins from four games at the venue this season.

5. A win for the Tigers would see them move to within one game of Melbourne's all-time record of consecutive wins at the MCG. The Demons notched 17 victories from 1955-1956. The Tigers have won their past 15 encounters at the ground, dating back to round 14 last year. 

6. Shane Edwards' rise up the Schick AFL Player Ratings continues, with the midfielder/forward now ranked 38th in the competition and fourth at Richmond behind Dustin Martin, Alex Rance and Trent Cotchin. This time last year, he sat at 101.

A streak of nine games with a goal came to an end last week for Josh Caddy. The former Cat was used in the ruck to start the final term against the Power, and will be hoping for more time in attack against his former side to continue a start to the year that has netted 27 majors.

PREDICTION: Richmond by 13 points.

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