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Preview: Round 17, 2019

Essendon v North Melbourne
Saturday, July 13 - 4:35pm
Marvel Stadium


North Melbourne (7-8) v Essendon (8-7)

Two of the in-form teams in the competition will meet on Saturday afternoon. 

Both have won four of their last five matches to be within reach of the top 8. 

With 9th v 10th, a loss for either team could prove detrimental to any finals aspirations.

Last time we met

The Roos will have pushed the last meeting to the very back of their minds, after being embarrassed in the Good Friday clash to the tune of 57 points.

North was outclassed in almost every area as Zach Merrett, Dylan Shiel and Dyson Heppell dominated in the midfield. 

Orazio Fantasia was a live-wire up forward, kicking 4 goals. 

Jed Anderson’s performance was a rare bright spot for the Roos, with the tough midfielder laying a game-high 10 tackles.

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Key matchup

Ben Brown v Cale Hooker

The onus on Brown to kick goals has been eased but he remains a critical component of the forward line.

Despite a few quiet outings, the No.50 still sits in third place for the Coleman Medal.

He will face a tough test on Saturday however, if he goes up against the in-form Hooker. 

Having played in the forward and back lines in recent years, Hooker has been superb in form when playing as key back in 2019,  enjoying a career-best year, averaging 20 disposals, 9 marks and 5 rebound 50s. 

It’s won and lost in…

The ruck

There is no doubt Todd Goldstein will fancy his chances with Tom Bellchambers out due to injury and back-up ruck Zac Clarke in the side. 

Goldstein has been in brilliant form and was one of the Roos' best against the Saints.

Clarke has struggled somewhat since returning to AFL after a stint in the WAFL, but his confidence will be up after playing one of his best games last week. 

If Goldstein can continue his strong form and provide first use to the likes of Ben Cunnington and Anderson, it will go a long way.

Keep an eye on…

Jy Simpkin and Dylan Clarke

Jy Simpkin will play his 50th game, and in the best form of his career.

The midfielder has notched up consecutive 30+ disposal games, including 36 last weekend.

The No.12's influence on games has increased dramatically and he will be hoping to continue in this fashion.

Dylan Clarke has been a revelation for Bombers in a tagging role this season, and has some big scalps this season; the most notable Patrick Cripps.

Bombers' coach John Worsfold indicated he could match-up on Roos’ star Cunnington, which would provide the 20-year-old with one of his biggest tests to date.