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Match preview: Brisbane v North Melbourne

Where and when: Gabba, Saturday July 20, 7.25pm AEST

What it means for Brisbane: After huge wins on the road against Greater Western Sydney and Port Adelaide this is another difficult test against one of the competition's in-form teams. A win would be a huge step towards a top-four finish.

What it means for North Melbourne: The Kangaroos simply must win to remain a chance of playing finals. Despite losing in the final 20 seconds against Essendon at the weekend, they have been terrific in the past seven weeks and would fancy their chances of an upset. 

The stat: This match has, statistically, the two best ball-winners in the competition. Kangaroo Ben Cunnington has one more contested possession than Lion Lachie Neale (262-261) and two more centres clearances (50-48) to lead those two categories. Neale leads the AFL in clearances with 130, seven clear of Cunnington.

The match-up: Harris Andrews v Ben Brown

Let's not overcomplicate this. Andrews is one of – if not the – best key defenders in the game, and Brown is fresh off six goals and is one of the premier tall forwards in the competition. It should be an engrossing battle. 

It’s a big week for: Daniel Rich

In the midst of the best season of his career, Brisbane half-back Rich will run out for his 200th game. He has disposed of the ball at least 19 times in every game this season and trails only Sydney's Jake Lloyd for the most metres gained in the AFL. 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs