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Geelong have the chance to leapfrog Melbourne into top spot when the two AFL powerhouses face off in Thursday night's blockbuster at GMHBA Stadium.
Geelong veteran Zach Tuohy says Thursday night's top-of-the-table AFL clash with Melbourne has a "finals smell" to it, and thinks it's ridiculous that some people are still doubting the Demons.
The Cats have won six games on the trot and could leapfrog Melbourne into top spot with victory at GMHBA Stadium.
The Demons looked near invincible after starting the year with 10 straight wins, but their three-match losing run between rounds 11 and 13 raised doubts about their bid for back-to-back flags.
Melbourne have since rebounded with wins over Brisbane (64 points) and Adelaide (29 points), and Tuohy said the Demons are clearly the competition's benchmark side.
"Of course they are. It's ridiculous to suggest they're not," Tuohy said.
"If anybody thought they were just going to walk through the whole season unbeaten, they obviously haven't watched footy for the last 150 years.
"That's not how the game works. The fact they've dropped a couple of games says nothing about the calibre of team they are."
Geelong's most recent meeting with Melbourne was a horror show, with the Cats scoring just 42 points in a humiliating 83-point preliminary final loss in Perth last year.
It was later revealed that a host of Geelong players had been battling illness in the lead-up to that match, and Tuohy said that result would have no impact on Thursday night's match.
"There's disappointment, but I think it gets overplayed the knock-on effects from those big games," Tuohy said.
"I mean, statistically you lose more of those big games than you win, because if it were the other way around, you'd be reigning premiers every year.
"Every team has lost those big games, and it doesn't really tend to play much of a part the following season."
Geelong thrashed North Melbourne by 112 points on Saturday, but the five-day break between games looms as a challenge.
Tuohy said the lure of facing the best team had given Geelong plenty of "spice".
"It's got a kind of finals smell to it this game," he said.
"This is why you play - to be playing against the best teams in games that could have significant ramifications."
Tuohy is out of contract at season's end, and the 32-year-old was quick to joke when asked about his future.
"We're just working through whether it's four or five more (years) I sign on for," he said.
"I'm happy to take a pay cut and play for $700,000 a year, so we're just working through those details."
When pressed on the situation, Tuohy said he was content to wait until the end of the year to sort out a new deal, assuming Geelong still want him to play on.