Where and when: The Gabba, Saturday September 12, 7.40pm AEST
Last time they met: It was back in round 10, 2019. The GIANTS had a 26-point win today after conceding seven last quarter goals to a Melbourne side they were all over early; the GIANTS were leading by 51 points midway through the third quarter when the Demons kicked just their second goal for the day. Lachie Whitfield, Tim Taranto and Josh Kelly were big possession-winners, with Whitfield also kicking two of the GIANTS’ goals. Harry Himmelberg had a big day, scoring five goals, while Jeremy Cameron ended a goalless fortnight by kicking three of his own. Matt de Boer went to work on Clayton Oliver and was able to hold him to 17 possessions, half his season average to that point. The win was just the GIANTS’ third at the MCG.
TV and online: https://www.afl.com.au/broadcast-guide-premiership
What it means for the GIANTS: We’re starting the second-last round in eighth spot on the ladder despite Tuesday’s loss to Adelaide, and need to win our last two games ensure we play off in the finals for the fifth year in a row. Our fate is still in our hands but with Melbourne, St Kilda, Collingwood, the Western Bulldogs and Carlton all hovering around the same part of the ladder, we’ll start relying on other teams to lose if we drop this one. The Demons are four points before us on the ladder leading into this game and desperately need to win too; this is a huge one, with plenty on the line for both clubs.
Where’s the opposition at? Like the GIANTS, Melbourne come into this game off a loss. In fact they’ve dropped two in a row, to Sydney and Fremantle, after a narrow win over St Kilda in round 14. Melbourne beat Fremantle for contested possessions and clearances in their game on Monday and had chances to win the game through the last quarter, but couldn’t contain the Dockers’ kicking game, with Fremantle’s defenders also playing an important role in the win. Christian Petracca has been in excellent form for Melbourne all year, with Steven May also playing strong footy down back.
The number: 62. Matt de Boer played 138 games for Fremantle after making his way off the rookie list, spending eight years with the Dockers before being delisted at the end of 2016. Since joining the GIANTS at the end of that year he has become an important part of the team, in all sorts of roles and all sorts of crucial jobs. Saturday’s game will be de Boer’s 62nd for his second club, which is very happy to have him.
In the mix: Phil Davis has unfortunately headed home to have some minor knee surgery, so we won’t see him in the backline again this season. Aidan Corr sprained an ankle in the loss to Adelaide a few nights back, and won’t play the Demons. The short break means there could be some changes to the line-up though player management, with Brent Daniels and Harry Perryman to be tested and Josh Kelly and Zac Williams ready to come back in. Jack Buckley has been in consistently good scratch match form and will put his hand up for a game, as will Tom Green, with Connor Idun and Matt Buntine likely to be considered in the absence of Davis, Corr and Sam Taylor. Shane Mumford rested up in Queensland while Sam Jacobs took on his old team Adelaide last round, and could also come back in.