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Cats v Eagles match preview

Gary Ablett was the star performer last time the two sides met with 28 touches and two goals. - Geelong Cats,West Coast Eagles
Gary Ablett was the star performer last time the two sides met with 28 touches and two goals.

Where and when: MCG, Friday September 13, 7.50pm AEST 

TV, radio and online: Click here for broadcast guide

What it means for Geelong: Avoiding the dreaded 'straight sets' exit. After yet another poor first quarter last week against Collingwood, the Cats managed their lowest score (51) of the season. Finding more avenues to goal is the only way they can keep their season alive against and outfit that has.

What it means for West Coast: Winning the chance to get another crack at Richmond. The Eagles will still be smarting over the six-point loss to the Tigers in round 22 and beating the Cats will earn them a re-match in a preliminary final. Once holding fears at the MCG, the Eagles have now won five of their past six at the venue.

The stat: 124. The amount of contested possessions the Eagles collected against the Cats in their 58-point loss in round six – their heaviest of the season. It was the Eagles' third lowest contested-possession count of 2019.

The match-up: Gary Ablett v Brad Sheppard
Ablett torched the Eagles with 28 disposals and two goals to be best on ground in their previous meeting. The No.5 ranked midfielder/forward in the Official AFL Player Ratings won't be afforded the same space on Friday night, with the Eagles expected to send their best defensive stopper to the Little Master. Sheppard will be studying the job Brayden Maynard did on Ablett last week, limiting him to his least effective output of the season.

It's a big week for: Chris Scott  
While senior players have leapt to his defence this week, Scott won't be able to avoid the criticism should the Cats lose on Friday night. All eyes will be on whether he can find a plan B (other than sending Harry Taylor forward) should the Eagles get on top.

Big call: Tom Hawkins to hold a crucial mark in the dying stages to sink the Eagles.

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