Round 12 of the 2024 AFL season is here.

Under the radar: Todd Marshall

Todd Marshall has had an impressive start to the season and will fly under the radar this week with Charlie Dixon returning.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 23: Todd Marshall of the Power in action during the 2021 AFL Round 19 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Collingwood Magpies at Marvel Stadium on July 23, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Marshall has kicked 17 goals this year and kicked a career-high of five last week. The 25-year-old will fly under the radar on Thursday night with the likes of Dixon returning, but the Blues will need to be mindful and show some respect to Port's number one target in their forward 50 as Marshall will do exceptional damage on the scoreboard.

The forward is making a name for himself and if he continues performing the way he is, with another big performance this weekend, he will no longer fly under the radar.

Needs to step up: Jack Macrae

Jack Macrae will need to step up this weekend with Ed Richards missing with concussion. The 29-year-old will be an important figure in their midfield as they take on one of the strongest midfields in the competition. Though Friday might not see the Pies' best midfield it will still include the Daicos brothers, Jack Crisp and Patrick Lipinski - who are all experienced players.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 28: Jack Macrae of the Bulldogs kicks during the round 19 AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium on July 28, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Macrae hasn't had a bad start to the season but this week there is a need for the midfielder to step up and have a strong performance in the midfield to help fill the gap of Richard.

The 29-year-old has been averaging 20.7 disposals and 3.7 tackles, and this week as the Dogs take on the reigning premiers the Pies, Macrae will need to improve his tackle pressure and contested possession to help slow down the Pies' midfield.

All eyes are on... Rory Lobb

All eyes will be on Rory Lobb on Friday night as he is expected to return to AFL level this week as Aaron Naughton is out injured.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 12: Rory Lobb of the Bulldogs in action during the Western Bulldogs training session at Skinner Reserve on January 12, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Lobb has been in the public eye this week as it has been rumoured he is leaving the Dogs at the end of the year for another club. This is due to not being part of the Bulldogs' regular best 23.

This week the Dogs take on the Pies - a potential club Lobb could move to at the end of the year, therefore all eyes will be on the key forward and how he handles being in the spotlight this week with rumours of his departure and how his performance is impacted.

This would only be the 31-year-old's fourth game of the season, so it's expected if he comes in the Dogs side he will want to have a big performance, especially playing against a side that could be on the hunt to acquire him at the end of the year.

All eyes will be on Rory Lobb on Friday night and what type of performance he will have.

The big matchup: Adam Treloar v Collingwood midfield

The biggest matchup this weekend will be Adam Treloar taking on his former side the Pies. When playing your former side there is always a bit of revenge to add as extra motivation.

Treloar has had a great start of the season, averaging 32.5 disposals and is right up there in contending to make his first All-Australian team.

His former teammates will make it difficult for him on Friday night, trying to get in his head to stop him from having another standout performance.

Adam Treloar during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

The likes of the Daicos brothers will be determined to win the midfield battle against Treloar, though the 31-year-old will be difficult to stop, considering his form.

This midfield matchup between Treloar and his former side is one not to miss and it's expected to be a fierce and physical battle.

A new role? Patrick Lipinski

Patrick Lipinski may be required to play a new role this weekend due to the Pies' injury list. This may see the 25-year-old pushed into a more permanent midfield role, with Scott Pendlebury out injured again and the lack of midfielders the Pies have available.

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Lipinski usually plays between the Pies' midfield and forward line, though last week he played a more forward role and could be expected this week to play a more permanent position in their midfield to help fill the gap in the Pies' central structure.

On the comeback: Jeremy Howe

Jeremy Howe is expected to return Friday night for the Pies after recovering from a minor groin injury in Round 9.

Howe has been cleared from his rehab program and is expected to face the Western Bulldogs on Friday night after getting through the main training session on Wednesday.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 13: Jeremy Howe of the Magpies competes for the ball over Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats during the round eight AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 13, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

This is a huge in for the Pies considering their ever-growing injury list and having a player like Howe return is a big win for the club.

The 33-year-old may return by playing a new role, potentially playing down in the forward line to help fill the injury gap in the Pies' forward line.

Wherever Howe plays on Friday night it's a massive in for the Pies to have one of their experienced players back in the side.