Gather Round has arrived for another year, with the game returning to South Australia this weekend where all 18 teams will play across the state.

Adelaide hosts Melbourne in the opening clash of Gather Round at Adelaide Oval on Thursday. The Crows are desperate for their first win and tonight they have a perfect opportunity to get their season going in front of a home crowd, as they did last year against Carlton.

Another blockbuster is set for Saturday afternoon when undefeated sides Fremantle and Carlton face each other at Adelaide Oval.

Sunday afternoon will see Hawthorn take on Collingwood, where Jack Ginnivan will play against his former side for the first time since winning the premiership last year with the Pies.

Gather round will see games played all across Adelaide this weekend. Two games are going to be played at Adelaide Hills in Mt Baker; West Coast Eagles versus Sydney Swans and, Gold Coast Suns versus GWS Giants. Also, two games will be played at a local suburban oval, known as Norwood Oval; Brisbane Lions versus North Melbourne, and Richmond versus St Kilda.

In our weekly segment of AFL players to watch, we take you through who is going in under the radar, a player who needs to step up, a player who's sure to gain plenty of attention, a big matchup, and a player who potentially could look at a new role and a player who is on a comeback.

Under the radar: Aaron Cadman

Youngster Aaron Cadman has had an impressive start to his second AFL season and is flying under the radar. He has kicked seven goals across three games this year and has played an influential role up forward for the Giants.

Aaron Cadman

The 2022 number 1 draft pick struggled to find form in his first year at AFL level but now in his second season, he is finding his feet and making an impact. Cadman will come off the Giants bye with fresh legs and will go under the radar this weekend when they take on Gold Coast in Gather Round.

The Suns' defence will have to be mindful of Cadman otherwise the 19-year-old will continue to fly under the radar with the chance to kick another handful of goals and, therefore, will be a huge danger for the Roos.

Needs to step up: Taylor Walker

Despite Taylor Walker only having played two games this year, he needs to step up.

Taylor Walker during the AFL match between Essendon and Adelaide, Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media

In 2023, the Crows were ranked first for points per game averaging 95.3 but this year they are having problems scoring, averaging 55 points per game and ranked 17th in the competition.

Walker is a senior leader at the club, therefore there is a need for him to step up and help lead the Crow's forward line back into the form they are capable of.

Tonight at Adelaide Oval, the Crows will be up against a well-structured backline of the Dees, with Steven May and Jake Lever patrolling the air. Hence, there is a need for Walker to step up, generating forward pressure and when the opportunity arises converting.

All eyes are on...  Jack Ginnivan

All eyes will be on Jack Ginnivan this weekend, with how the umpires will respond to high tackles on the forward and how he will play against his former club.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16: Jack Ginnivan of the Hawks celebrates a goal with teammates during the 2024 AFL Round 01 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 16, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Ginnivan was amongst debate this week after his treatment during last week's game against the Cats, where he was noticeably not awarded several penalties. The AFL came out this week apologising and recognising there had been mistakes.

So this week all eyes will be on the young forward and how the umpiring will go with rewarding or not rewarding high tackles.

Also the small forward will likely line up against Maynard or Quaynor, two of his ex-teammates whom he only won a premiership with less than six months ago.

All eyes will be on him and how he will respond to playing against his old teammates and if any nice exchanges will be made, after Ginnivan's public comments last week about his departure from the Pies.

The big matchup: Caleb Serong and Patrick Cripps

The biggest match-up this weekend will be Caleb Serong and Patrick Cripps. Both players this season have had influential impacts on their team due to their strong midfield performances.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 29: Patrick Cripps of the Blues runs with the ball during the 2023 AFL Round 07 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Carlton Blues at Optus Stadium on April 29, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The Dockers and Blues are both undefeated this year so this matchup in the midfield is expected to be fierce.

Both players have the power to turn games around for their team with their high-pressure and clean ball movement.

It's anticipated whoever can get on top early and dominate the midfield will give their team an advantage.

A new role? Tom McDonald

Key forward Tom McDonald has had a positional change to start this season which has seen him move down to the backline this year where he originally started when he arrived at the Dees.

Tom McDonald during Melbourne's open training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne in 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes/Zero Digital Sports)

McDonald has had a decent start to the season playing three games, after an inconsistent 2022 and 2023 where he only managed 17 games struggling to break into the senior side and dealing with injury.

This week McDonald has remained in his spot despite teammate Steven May returning.

This new role for McDonald's has been an effective move and helped to rejuvenate his career.

On the comeback: Taylor Adams 

Taylor Adams is expected to return this weekend when the Swans take on West Coast.

This will be Adams's first time donning the red and white, making his debut for the club after being unavailable for the first month due to suffering a lateral ligament strain in his left knee during the Swans practice match against Brisbane.

Taylor Adams in action. (Photo: Joshua Davis)

The 30-year-old will be a strong boost to the Swans side, especially now that key defender and leader Dane Rampe is out with a hamstring strain for three to four weeks.

The midfielder will be able to have a significant influence on the young Swans side with 206 games under his belt.

According to John Longmire Adams will most likely play across the midfield and forward line.

The former Pie has been a great asset for the Swans helping, out Luke Parker and Callum Mills with the leadership of the midfield.

Adams is a huge in for the Swans not only due to his talent but his experience.


  1. Cadman observation is correct however GWS are playing Gold Cost in Gather Round, not North.

    Cadman will come off the Giants bye with fresh legs and will go under the radar this weekend when they take on North Melbourne in Gather Round.

    North’s defence will have to be mindful of Cadman otherwise the 19-year-old will continue to fly under the radar with the chance to kick another handful of goals therefore will be a huge danger for the Roos.

Comments are closed.