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Match Up: Ward v Kennedy

The midfield battle between Callan Ward and Josh Kennedy will be one of the key contests on Saturday night.

After looking at the ruck match up between Rory Lobb and Callum Sinclair, now we turn our attention to the contest between the two leaders, GIANTS co-captain Callan Ward and Swans skipper Josh Kennedy.

Both men have played every game this year and their stats show they’ve had very similar seasons yet only Ward was named in the 2018 Virgin Australia All Australian 40-man squad.

Ward has averaged 27 disposals and 6.8 clearances per game in 2018, while Kennedy has averaged 25 disposals and 6.2 clearances.

Why it’s crucial

Ward and Kennedy are both integral members of their sides’ midfield units and both have the ability to lift their teams.

Their ability to win contested ball (Ward averages 12.9 contested possessions per game to Kennedy’s 13.8) is crucial to their team’s success while their ability to drive their teams forward (Ward averages four inside 50s per game to Kennedy’s 3.7) is also highly influential.

Both have won the Brett Kirk Medal twice as the best on ground in Sydney Derbies while Ward is the only player to have been awarded one in a losing side.

Had it not been for an outstanding second-half performance from Lance Franklin in round 22, Ward could have well won his third with a 27 disposal (13 contested), eight tackle, eight clearance and six hit-out performance.