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Where: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
When: 04.10 (BST)
Watch live: Click here to watch online with AFL Global Pass!
BOTH teams enter this clash with a 4-2 record, but North Melbourne will deservedly start clear favourites given its 2014 victims have included top-four aspirants Port Adelaide, Sydney Swans and Fremantle, while the Suns’ biggest scalp has been Richmond.
At their best this year, the Roos have been outstanding. But at their worst – in losses to Essendon in round one and Collingwood in round five – they have been extremely disappointing.
Which North turns up on Sunday will go a long way to determining the result of this clash. If it’s the switched-on outfit that outlasted the Dockers last Friday night, the Roos should win fairly comfortably.
If it’s the lacklustre mob that struggled to move the ball with any fluency against the Bombers and the Pies, we could have an upset on our hands.
1. In the Suns’ breakthrough win over the Kangaroos in 2013 Gary Ablett starred, picking up three Brownlow votes for his 33 possessions and two goals, with Jarrod Harbrow (30 possessions) and Dion Prestia (28) also influential for Gold Coast.
2. Gold Coast is ranked fourth in the AFL in 2014 for inside 50s, averaging 54.2 a game, while North Melbourne is 16th with 44.7 a game.
3. The Suns have continued to struggle in the ruck this year and are ranked 17th in the competition for total hit-outs. With Todd Goldstein again shouldering most of their ruck duties, the Roos are ranked 10th.
4. North is averaging 20 disposals more a game than Gold Coast in 2014, with 370.5 disposals (ranked fifth in the AFL) compared to the Suns’ 355 (13th).
5. In the four clashes between the teams, North’s Brent Harvey and Lindsay Thomas have kicked the most goals (nine), while Gold Coast skipper Ablett has polled the most Brownlow votes (eight).
6. Although Ablett remains unchallenged at the top of the Official AFL Player Ratings, there are eight North players ranked higher than the Suns’ next best player, Harley Bennell at No. 84. They are Harvey (6), Daniel Wells (19), Scott Thompson (40), Goldstein (48), Nick Dal Santo (58), Drew Petrie (67), Ben Cunnington (71) and Andrew Swallow (82).