MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 16: Blues head coach Brendon Bolton speaks to his players during the round 13 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Fremantle Dockers at Etihad Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

West Coast vs Essendon

Optus Stadium, 6:10pm Thursday June 21

Team news: The Eagles will be without star forwards Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy, and Tom Barrass has also been ruled out. Dom Sheed and Jarrod Brander have been omitted, while Will Schofield, Mark Hutchings and Fraser McInnes come into the side.

Essendon skipper Dyson Heppell suffered a nasty head clash before the bye but has gotten over it fine and will be right to head over to Perth. The Bombers will go in unchanged from their win over the Lions.

Injury Watch: Josh Kennedy (West Coast) will miss one to three weeks with a hairline fracture in the lower leg.

Prediction: The Eagles have lost some key personnel for the clash against the Bombers but they should still be too good at home. West Coast by 31 points.


Port Adelaide vs Melbourne                       

Adelaide Oval, 7:20pm Friday June 22

Team news: Port Adelaide could recall some names back in from the SANFL such as Jack Watts, Jack Trengove, and Dom Barry.

Injury Watch: Tom Jonas (Port Adelaide) is battling a hamstring injury and could be right this week but the club is waiting to see how he trains.

The Dees’ Jayden Hunt was on the cusp of selection but will now miss four to six weeks with an ankle injury.

Prediction: This clash between two top four contenders is sure to be a good one. Both teams are on par with each other and the only major split between them is the home ground. Port Adelaide by three points.

 

Hawthorn vs Gold Coast

UTAS Stadium, 1:45pm Saturday June 23

Team news: Hawthorn lost James Frawley last week as a late withdrawal but he is likely to return this week.

Gold Coast’s injury list is extensive and there aren’t many players available for them to bring in to improve the side which is a major concern.

Injury Watch: The Hawks don’t seem to have any news on when Cyril Rioli will return from Darwin.

The Suns’ injury list is long and they haven’t got too many players that are close to returning however they expect Michael Barlow to overcome a broken jaw soon.

Prediction: Something special would need to have happened at the Suns’ camp for them to be good enough to beat the Hawks in Tasmania. Hawthorn by 45 points.

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Brisbane vs GWS

The Gabba, 4:35pm Saturday June 23

Team news: The Giants will have Stephen Coniglio back from a concussion this week but they lose Rory Lobb to a back injury for at least a month and Daniel Lloyd to a knee injury for four to six weeks.

Injury Watch: The Lions can expect to have Mitch Robinson back in a week or two.

GWS fans can expect to have their star Toby Greene back in a month and Rory Lobb for four to five weeks.

Prediction: GWS seem to have found some form again and you would think they will beat Brisbane. GWS by 22 points.

 

Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne

Etihad Stadium, 7:25pm Saturday June 23

Team news: The Bulldogs will lose a number of key players this weekend with injuries to Jack Macrae, Easton Wood and Lukas Webb. Marcus Bontempelli, Toby McLean and Tom Boyd are also pushing to overcome minor injuries by Saturday.

North Melbourne will be without Jarrod Waite again who has a niggling calf injury but they could have Jed Anderson available.

Injury Watch: The Dogs’ injury list is unbelievably long and is full of players that would walk straight into their best 22. They are sweating on the fitness of Bontempelli and McLean.

Taylor Garner of the Kangaroos has suffered his third hamstring injury of the year but the extent of the injury is unknown and he won’t be rushed back into footy.

Prediction: With all the injuries to the Bulldogs it’s hard to see how they can win. North Melbourne by 16 points.

 

Collingwood vs Carlton

MCG, 3:20pm Sunday June 24

Team news: Collingwood will need to replace Daniel Wells who goes out of the side with a foot injury.

The Blues can bring Matt Kennedy back into the team and Caleb Marchbank is ready to return to footy but will most likely go through the VFL first.

Injury Watch: Pies fans can expect Darcy Moore and Jamie Elliot ready to return from hamstring injuries within the next couple of weeks but Wells is done for the year with a foot injury.

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Carlton should have their skipper Marc Murphy back in a couple of weeks.

Prediction: Carlton were disgraceful last week and this week they take on their arch rivals. No matter where these teams sit on the ladder, this clash always turns out to be a good one. Carlton need to show something to keep their fans wanting to turn up every week. Collingwood by 27 points.

 

Point to prove:

Carlton. To put it simply, Carlton were absolutely appalling last week against Fremantle. They’ve been bad for a while now but there was something about the match last week that felt like they’d hit a new low. For a team that’s supposedly on the rebuild and improving their youth, hitting new lows is very concerning.

Brendon Bolton is a positive guy but he needs to start coming down on his players because rebuild or no rebuild, not kicking a goal in a half of footy is inexcusable. The Blues are urging their fans to stick by them during this period but if they don’t show something against Collingwood this weekend then they’re going to start losing them.

Struggle street:

Adelaide. The Crows’ fall from grace has been spectacular and the fans aren’t coping with it. #WeWantAnswersAFC has been started by a group of fans and they aren’t holding back.

The fans have every reason to be angry with the club as there is so much speculation surrounding so many things that the club keep pushing under the rug and avoiding, like the contenious pre-season camp.

The Crows form has faded and even when you take into account all of their injuries, it’s still no excuse. The leaders aren’t stepping up, Tex Walker seems to go missing as soon as things don’t go their way and the team as a whole don’t look like they want to be out there.

They have been the best side that hasn’t won a premiership over the last few years, and this year could have been their’s, but you can’t see it happening now. They certainly aren’t enticing Rory Sloane or Mitch McGovern to stay at the club.

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