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Where: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
When: Saturday August 23 – 5.10am (BST)
Watch live: Click here to watch online with AFL Global Pass!
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After such a promising start to the season, the Suns head into the clash with Essendon with their finals hopes out of their hands.
Regardless, Guy McKenna’s side must win against the Bombers, but going off recent form it looks unlikely.
Essendon on the other hand all but secured its involvement in this year’s finals series after a hard-fought win over West Coast last week.
Coach Mark Thompson has the luxury of welcoming back the in-form Jake Carlisle into the fold after a return from injury, and he will add some much-needed size to the Bombers forward line.
However, the loss of star player Dyson Heppell will cause some big headaches.
Gold Coast have lost Charlie Dixon to a quad injury, and it’s hard not to see the Bombers winning comfortably here.
1. Gold Coast is the worst clanger team in 2014, averaging 48.4 a game, and its disposal efficiency is the worst in the competition at 70 per cent. Essendon is ranked No.1 for disposal efficiency at 74.1 per cent.
2. Essendon’s last-quarter comeback last week reversed a trend. The Bombers have only won seven final terms for the season, while the Suns have won 10.
3. This game sees a contrast in style. Essendon is the No.1 ranked uncontested possession side in 2014, and the Suns are ranked 18, averaging almost six fewer uncontested disposals.
4. In three games between the sides, Gold Coast champion Gary Ablett has averaged 37 disposals, kicked three goals and polled five Brownlow Medal votes. The Dons midfield would be expected to take advantage of Ablett’s absence.
5. Jason Winderlich is set to leave the game in perhaps the best form of his career. The retiring veteran kicked three goals last week after being shifted forward after half-time in a match-turning display.
6. Dion Prestia continues to grow as a player, a rise reflected in the Official AFL Player Ratings, brought to you by Gatorade. The midfielder started the season ranked the 91st player in the competition, but is up No.39 after a terrific year.