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August 11, 2017 7:31 AM

The GIANTS will need to win the contested ball if they're to beat the Bulldogs on Friday night.

The GIANTS will need to win the contested ball if they're to beat the Bulldogs on Friday night.

With the GIANTS’ third Friday night game in their history just a few hours away, we delve into the stats that could make a difference as they take on the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.

The Bulldogs have returned to the form that saw them win last year’s premiership, winning their last four games.

Over the course of that month a number of areas of their game has lifted with their disposal dominance returning in a big way.

Over the past month their disposal differential has been the second best in the competition at +43.2. The Dogs are also averaging over 400 disposals over the last month ranking them fourth in the AFL. 

Last time the two teams met in round six the GIANTS won the disposal differential, holding the Dogs to 372 disposals while collecting 381 of their own.

Western Bulldogs have also returned to winning the contested ball, a trait that helped them achieve the ultimate success in 2016. 

The Dogs are second in the league for contested possession differential having won 13.5 contested possessions that their opponents. The GIANTS have also returned to form in this area ranked third over the past month, averaging 10.3 more contested possessions than their opposition. 

It’s been a low stoppages month for the Dogs, they’re ranked 16th with 51.2 stoppages per game, meanwhile the GIANTS rank second in the league with 80.2 stoppages per game. 

Interestingly the average stoppages at Etihad Stadium for the entire season so far has been 56.3, which seemingly plays into the Bulldogs’ hands.

The GIANTS have been the competition leaders over the past month when it comes to clearances, but the Dogs have been back in form in that area.

They sit in third spot having won 6.5 more disposals than their opponents over the past month and are the number one team for scoring from stoppages; the Bulldogs average 23.8 more scores from stoppages than their opponents.

Despite the absence of Tom Boyd and the inconsistent form of Travis Cloke and Jack Redpath, the Bulldogs have been the third best scoring side the last month averaging 105.5 points per game.

They had only been averaging 85.8 for the year seeing them in 13th spot until this month. The GIANTS held the reigning premiers to just 73 points last time they met. 

The GIANTS will be buoyed by the fact that they’re ranked fifth in the competition for points least points conceded averaging 83.8 points against per game. Over the last month the GIANTS have been going even better, keeping their opponents to 77 points per game.

The GIANTS take on the Western Bulldogs at 7:50pm on Friday night at Etihad Stadium with live coverage on 7mate in NSW and the ACT and Channel 7 nationally.