MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: Brodie Grundy of the Magpies and Max Gawn of the Demons compete in a ruck contest during the 2017 AFL round 23 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Melbourne Demons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Port Adelaide vs Richmond           

Adelaide Oval, 7:50pm Friday June 8

Team news: Jasper Pittard could return for Port Adelaide this weekend, while the Tigers lose Dustin Martin to a calf complaint.

Richmond’s Daniel Rioli played a full game in the VFL last weekend and could be in the mix to return to the side if he is fit.

Injury Watch: The Tigers can expect Bachar Houli to come back in after the bye and Dion Prestia not long after that.

Prediction: An interesting clash between two of the top-rated sides of the year so far. Richmond are probably just the better team. Richmond by 13 points.

 

Geelong vs North Melbourne

GMHBA Stadium, 1:45pm Saturday June 9

Team news: Scott Selwood and Harry Taylor are slight chances to come in for the Cats this week.

North Melbourne could have Jarrad Waite back this week but the extent of his calf injury is unknown.

Injury Watch: Geelong are hoping to have Daniel Menzel back after their bye.

Prediction: North Melbourne have been flying with a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude and if they win it would come as no great surprise. In saying that, Geelong should too good at the Cattery. Geelong by 23 points.

 

GWS vs Gold Coast

Spotless Stadium, 4:35pm Saturday June 8

Team news: The Giants should have Matt de Boer back from a hamstring injury but Stephen Coniglio is in doubt with concussion.

Gold Coast lose Aaron Hall and co-captain Steven May but could bring in Peter Wright or Michael Barlow.

Injury Watch: At this stage the Suns will be without May for 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury and Hall for 10-12 weeks with a pectoral injury.

Prediction: The Giants bounced back with a big win over the Crows in Adelaide and should roll on to this week and get the win. GWS by 37 points.

 

St Kilda vs Sydney

Etihad Stadium, 7:25pm Saturday June 9

Team news: St Kilda lose their skipper Jarryn Geary for the week with a slight calf strain.

Swan Tom Papely must prove his fitness before lining up this week.

Injury Watch: Geary is expected to be fit for the Saints after their bye, meanwhile, Josh Bruce isn’t far away from returning to the VFL.

Sydney are looking to have Sam Reid back after the bye.

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Prediction: The Saints put up a good fight against the Eagles in Perth last week but you would still think Sydney will be too good here. Sydney by 21 points.

Brisbane vs Essendon

Gabba, 1:10pm Sunday June 10

Team news: The Lions will be without Charlie Cameron and Mitch Robinson this week. Allen Christensen, Hugh McLuggage and Jarrod Berry must all pass fitness tests.

Essendon lose David Zaharakis for a while but have got David Myers and Travis Colyer who could return.

Injury Watch: A big loss for Brisbane with Charlie Cameron to miss the rest of the season with a nasty ankle injury.

It is looking more and more likely that we won’t see Joe Daniher again this year after the Bombers’ big man said he is looking to be back for the “back end of the year.”

Prediction: Predicting Essendon games is like trying to win TattsLotto at the moment. The Lions have some big outs and you would think Essendon just win but who knows. Essendon by 11 points.

 

Fremantle vs Adelaide

Optus Stadium, 2:40pm Sunday June 10

Team news: The Dockers lose their star Nat Fyfe for a week after his suspension appeal failed. No news on whether Aaron Sandilands is ready to come back in this week.

Rory Laird is in doubt for the Crows with a fractured hand.

Injury Watch: Another injury setback for troubled Fremantle recruit Harley Bennell last week, but it doesn’t appear to be too serious.

Brad Crouch (Adelaide) finally went for surgery on his groin that has kept him out all year and he has officially been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Prediction: Adelaide are due to bounce back from a huge slump in form but not many teams have gone over to Perth and won this year. Adelaide by 8 points.

 

Melbourne vs Collingwood

MCG, 3:20pm Monday June 11

Team news: Melbourne have lost Jake Lever for the season with an ACL injury. Jake Melksham also has a question mark next to his name this week but with the Dees not playing until Monday, he has plenty of time to recover from a slight ankle injury.

Collingwood should have Jeremy Howe back this week.

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Injury Watch: The Pies still have no word on when Darcy Moore, Jamie Elliott and Josh Smith will return from hamstring injuries.

Prediction: A very big Queen’s Birthday clash with both teams in good form. One of the great one-on-one battles this year awaits with Max Gawn going up against Brodie Grundy, which may answer one of the biggest ongoing All-Australian debates. The Demons’ past month of footy just can’t be ignored – they are the better team. Melbourne by 13 points.

 

Point to prove:

Melbourne. The Demons have gone to another level over the past month and people aren’t just talking about them as candidates to make the top eight or top four, but genuine premiership contenders. The have beaten some good teams by some big margins but this week they play on the big stage in one of their biggest matches of the year, the Queen’s Birthday clash. Their other big matches have been the ANZAC Eve match against the Tigers, round one against the Cats and round four against the Hawks. In all of those matches they faded away dramatically, or just got beaten when they should have won. This week is their chance to show everyone on their biggest stage of the year that they are the real deal.

Struggle street:

The Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have been flying under the radar this year but not for good reason. Maybe it’s because they aren’t a big club, but they deserve more attention for how bad they have been. When they lose, they lose badly. The only loss they’ve had under 35 points was to Sydney by seven. The only wins they’ve had have been against Carlton, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Essendon which isn’t anything to be overly proud of. It was only two years ago that they won a premiership, but you look back now wonder how they did it. Luke Beveridge needs to channel some of that spirit he had in 2016 and get his men back on track.

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