MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Tigers players celebrate with Daniel Rioli of the Tigers after he goaled from the boundary during the 2017 AFL round 03 match between the Richmond Tigers and the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 08, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs

Adelaide Oval, 7:20pm Friday May 18

Team news: The Crows could bring Kyle Hartigan, Darcy Fogarty and possibly Sam Jacobs back into the side, but they lose Mitch McGovern. Tex Walker has also been ruled out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury.

Bulldogs bionic man Dale Morris will play this weekend but it could be in the VFL, and Marcus Adams is a chance to return for his first game of the year. Skipper Easton Wood has to pass a fitness test and Fletcher Roberts could come in for injured defender Aaron Naughton.

Injury Watch: Adelaide’s Mitch McGovern will miss two months of footy with a high ankle sprain and questions are being asked as to whether we will see Brad Crouch at all this year after it was speculated that he could undergo season ending groin surgery.

Good news for Bulldogs fans this week with the club announcing that Liam Picken could play again this year after suffering from ongoing concussion symptoms. He is expected to return after the bye.

Prediction: The Crows will be hungry for a win after last week’s narrow loss and they will be too strong at home for the Bulldogs. Adelaide by 22 points.

North Melbourne vs GWS            

Blundstone Arena, 1:45pm Saturday May 19

Team news: Kangaroos skipper Jack Ziebell will play this week after having his one-match suspension overturned.

GWS lose Matt de Boer to a hamstring injury and possibly Phil Davis if he is still showing concussion symptoms after last week’s big hit. Brett Deledio is a chance to return.

Injury Watch: Ed Vickers-Willis (North Melbourne) will miss the rest of the season after suffering a PCL injury in last week’s game.

Giants mifielder Josh Kelly won’t return for another week unless he completes a full training session this Wednesday.

Prediction: You have to respect North Melbourne after the way they played against the reigning premiers last week and they have a good record in Tasmania, but GWS should still be able to get over the line. GWS by 11 points.

Gold Coast vs Port Adelaide

Jiangwan Stadium, 1:15pm Saturday May 19

Team news: Gold Coast’s Peter Wright likely to come in for the suspended Sam Day.

Injury Watch: Tom Lynch will be back for the Suns after their bye.

Prediction: Gold Coast copped an absolute belting last week and this has the potential be another one. Port Adelaide by 35 points.

Essendon vs Geelong

MCG, 4:35pm Saturday May 19

Team news: Essendon have already announced two debutants this week with midfielder Dylan Clarke and defender Jordan Ridley to come into the side. Michael Hurley goes out with a hamstring injury.

The Cats will have Tom Hawkins back from his suspension and possibly Scott Selwood if he can pass a fitness test.

Injury Watch: The Bomber’s All Australian defender will miss 1-2 week with the hamstring injury and Andrew McGrath will miss at least one more week with a calf strain.

Daniel Menzel is the Cat’s main injury query with a groin issue and the club is unsure when he will be back.

Prediction: It’s hard to see Essendon beating anyone with the way they’re playing at the moment, but note that they are 2-0 against 2017 finalists. Geelong by 27 points.

Sydney vs Fremantle

SCG, 7:25pm Saturday May 19

Team news: The Swans have ruled out Buddy Franklin again this week but they might get Dan Hannenbery back.

Fremantle could have some key inclusions with Stephen Hill, Nathan Wilson and Michael Walters all a chance to some back in.

Injury Watch: Sydney still don’t know when they will get Franklin back into the team and it might not be for a couple of weeks.

The Dockers are hopeful to have Matt Taberner back for the second half of the season.

Prediction: While Fremantle have improved this season, Sydney at home is a tough challenge when you’re coming from Perth. Sydney by 18 points.

St Kilda vs Collingwood

Etihad Stadium, 7:25pm Saturday May 19

Team news: Jake Carlisle is touch and go to line up for the Saints this week after being knocked out against Fremantle last week. Sam Gilbert is also in doubt with an ankle injury.

Collingwood are hoping to have their skipper Scott Pendlebury back in the side this weekend as well as Brayden Maynard. Jeremey Howe and Tom Phillips are in doubt.

Injury Watch: Nathan Freeman (St Kilda) has put a couple of VFL games together after dealing with a number of hamstring problems over the last few years and the club will be hoping he can make his AFL debut soon.

Collingwood’s soft tissue issues continue with Darcy Moore and Jamie Elliot suffering more hamstring injuries.

Prediction: St Kilda will be competitive against the Pies this week but Collingwood should still win. Collingwood by seven points.

Carlton vs Melbourne

MCG, 1:10pm Sunday May 20

Team news: Carlton are hoping to have their captain Marc Murphy and defender Caleb Marchbank back this weekend after they narrowly missed last week’s game. Jacob Weitering played another good game in the VFL last weekend and should be in the mix for selection.

Melbourne could bring Jack Viney back in after he got through a VFL game last weekend.

Injury Watch: Melbourne can expect Dean Kent to return from a Hamstring injury in 2-3 weeks.

Prediction: Even though Carlton were back on the winners list last week, Melbourne should be able to get over the line in a scrappy one. Melbourne by 18 points.

Brisbane vs Hawthorn

The Gabba, 3:20pm Sunday May 20

Team news: Brisbane are a chance to bring in Sam Mayes or Claye Beams if Chris Fagan wants to drop someone.

The Hawks are likely to welcome Paul Puopolo back from a hamstring injury this week.

Injury Watch: Cyril Rioli is still on track to return after Hawthorn’s bye.

Prediction: Hodgey reunites with his ex-teammates, but the Hawks will have the last laugh. Hawthorn by 40 points.

West Coast vs Richmond

Optus Stadium, 2:40pm Sunday May 20

Team news: The Eagles get their ruckman back with Nic Naitanui returning from suspension. Jeremey McGovern, Dom Sheed and Lewis Jetta are all in the mix.

Richmond could have Shaun Grigg back from a hamstring injury and Brandon Ellis could be called up after a solid VFL game last weekend. Jason Castagna and Nathan Broad have to prove their fitness.

Injury Watch: West Coast have knocked a week of Liam Ryan’s return and at this stage he will be back in six weeks. Luke Shuey is two weeks away.

Daniel Rioli could be finally returning for Richmond in the VFL this weekend.

Prediction: Easily the game of the round; first vs second on the ladder. If the game was at the MCG it would be a no brainer, but the Optus Stadium factor makes this a very even contest. Richmond are still the better team. Richmond by 3 points.

Point to prove:

Contact with umpires. The AFL Tribunal used Tom Hawkins to make a statement to everyone that deliberate contact with umpires is not on. This week it was almost as if they did a complete 180 and have decided that it is perfectly legal. If that is the case then that’s fine, as long as that is what they stick to. They seem to make up rules as they go along which isn’t just a new thing for 2018. It would be much appreciated if they could settle on one set of rules across the season.

Struggle street:

Collingwood hammies. Collingwood’s extensive list of hamstring injuries this year is far beyond bad luck. They have almost had a fresh hamstring injury to their injury list every week this season and that signals an underlying issue. Earlier in the year, people were questioning if it was their training surface and now people are questioning their sports scientist. They are a real contender for the top eight this season but they won’t be for much longer if they keep losing important players to three-week hamstring injuries.

Quote of the week:

“So I’ve recovered some brain cells in the last 24 hours and was thinking, how often has someone had a short power nap on the G, whilst dribbling through a snag at the same time? hmm” – Tom Phillips on his concussion against Geelong

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