Preview: Geelong v North Melbourne

Preview: Geelong v North Melbourne

Photo: Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 152, Geelong 92, North Melbourne 59, Draws 1.

LAST TIME: North Melbourne 20.11 (131) def Geelong 16.18 (114), Round 3, 2012 at Etihad Stadium

WALKING WOUNDED: Geelong will be missing key defender Jared Rivers, who  hurt his knee in last week’s win over Hawthorn. Steve Johnson (knee) is said to be close, but is likely not to be risked, while ruckmen Hamish McIntosh (knee), Dawson Simpson (back), Nathan Vardy (groin) and Josh Walker (AC joint) are all still unavailable. Daniel Menzel is close to a VFL return as he continues his recovery from LARS surgery to his knee.

North Melbourne got through last week’s clash unscathed and remarkably don’t have a single player on their injury list. Their only unavailable player is veteran Brent Harvey, who won’t be seen until Round 7 as he serves his six-match suspension.

The Cats began their season in fine style as they extended their extraordinary winning streak over Hawthorn to 10 matches. They came back from five goals down to notch an impressive seven-point win over their fierce rivals.

North will be hugely disappointed to start their season with a loss against a massively undermanned Collingwood. Already missing a host of first-team players, the Pies also lost Dayne Beams and Heath Shaw before the game. But despite a late charge, the Roos were unable to capitalise as they fell 16 points short.

All signs point to a Geelong victory in this encounter, but it would be silly to underestimate North Melbourne. It will be deja vu for the Cats as they tackle the Roos just six days after a bruising encounter with the Hawks. The same scenario happened last year and North were able to run over the top of the battle-weary Cats.

Geelong will be desperate for history not to repeat and with a host of impressive youngsters performing well last week, they should have the leg speed this time round. But equally, the Kangaroos will be just as desperate to atone for last week’s loss to the Pies. Expect Brad Scott’s men to throw everything at his twin brother’s side, but it will be Chris who has bragging rights at the next family dinner. Geelong by 17 points.