Veteran Brent Harvey plays his 364th game on Sunday. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtis
WESTERN BULLDOGS v NORTH MELBOURNE
Sunday March 30, 3.40pm (AEST)
Sunday's clash with the Western Bulldogs is a must win for under-fire North Melbourne, and true to their coach's style, the Roos will come out beating their chests against a team rebounding from a hiding in the west. Brad Scott has set the bar high for post-match fury after last week's tantrum – what will he do if his players fail him again?
- Brent Harvey will play his 364th game, drawing him level with ex-Dog Brad Johnson in eighth position for most games in VFL/AFL history
- The match is an away fixture for North Melbourne but its 11-game members will still get in free because it's a replacement match in lieu of the Roos' Round 17 and Round 22 home games in Tasmania
- Sunday’s match has been dubbed the ‘redemption’ clash, with both sides desperate to kick-start their season. The victor has reason for optimism, the loser will be in early strife
What are Ryan Griffen's chances of returning from a back injury?
"Strong," Dogs boss Brendan McCartney said.
"What did I say last week? He was very, very close to playing. Put another very in."
Last five games (includes 2013 season)
W 28 Carlton
W 17 Adelaide
L 7 Brisbane
W 20 Melbourne
L 65 West Coast
L 9 Adelaide
W 45 Essendon
L 14 Hawthorn
W 11 Collingwood
L 39 Essendon
Last five between clubs
Last time North met the Bulldogs, Ryan Griffen had 33 possessions and kicked a goal, the time before 29 possessions, and 31 going back to Round 7, 2012. In that time he’s polled five Brownlow Medal votes against the Kangaroos.
Cold hard fact
On statistical evidence from Round 1, the Bulldogs have gone backwards since 2013. They were smashed in contested possession (125-160), saw their All Australian ruckman Will Minson overpowered in the hit-outs (31-53) and were dominated in the inside 50 count (37-59).
The Kangaroos simply have too much at stake in this match. It will be a ferocious battle early but we expect the Kangas to run away with a 25-point win.
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