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Match preview: Geelong v Gold Coast

Gary Ablett ran riot when the Cats beat his old side in round 11

All eyes will be on Gary Ablett’s first game at GMHBA Stadium against the side he captained for six years as Geelong looks to book its passage to an 11th finals series in 12 years. Should Port Adelaide beat Essendon on Friday night, the Cats must defeat the Suns to play finals. Then if Melbourne loses to Greater Western Sydney on Sunday, the ladder predictor has an eight-goal Cats win pushing them above the Demons into seventh. Tom Hawkins needs four goals to draw level with Jack Riewoldt in the race for the Coleman which looms as a shootout across town. With 20 goals from his past three matches at home, Hawkins has a 25-minute head-start on Riewoldt’s Tigers, who meet the Bulldogs at the MCG. With one match remaining in Stuart Dew’s debut season, a number of Suns will be out to impress in order to earn fresh contracts.

WHERE AND WHEN: GMHBA Stadium, Saturday, August 25, 1.45pm AEST

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

R11, 2018: Geelong 17.19 (121) d Gold Coast 4.12 (36) at Metricon Stadium
R7, 2017: Gold Coast 18.16 (124) d Geelong 15.9 (99) at Metricon Stadium
R6, 2016: Geelong 25.18 (168) d Gold Coast 7.6 (48) at GMHBA Stadium
R3, 2015: Geelong 16.9 (105) d Gold Coast 13.18 (96) at GMHBA Stadium
R14, 2014: Gold Coast 17.16 (118) d Geelong 11.12 (78) at Metricon Stadium

1. Gary Ablett starred in round 11 against his former side with 37 disposals and three goals, the Cats recording 20 more scoring shots than the Suns from an extra 11 marks inside 50.

2. The Cats and Suns have met four times at GMHBA Stadium, the Cats winning all four by an average of 83 points.

3. After a four-week period of averaging 9.3 tackles inside their forward 50, Geelong recorded 16 in last week’s pummeling of Fremantle.

4. Unless the Suns are within striking distance at the final break, things could get ugly. The Suns have won three final terms this year to sit last in the competition, while Geelong has been on a recent rampage, winning their past seven in a row.

5. If the Suns finish on their current tally of four wins, Stuart Dew will join St Kilda coach Alan Richardson with the equal-worst debut season (2014) of all current coaches.

6. Suns ruckman Jarrod Witts continues to climb up the Schick AFL Player Ratings. Now ranked an equal-best 64th in the competition for his career, Witts is ranked the seventh-best big man in the league.

Fresh from his run-in with Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko last week, Suns leader Touk Miller will get a big assignment against one of Geelong’s big three – Gary Ablett, Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood.

PREDICTION: Geelong by 78 points.