This week marks the start of the bye rounds, but it doesn't mean that we are short of exciting footy.

Another round of action kicks off on Friday night with Melbourne vs Carlton at the MCG, and both teams have a point to prove.

Melbourne are currently on a two-game losing streak and whilst it's not alarm bells yet, it might be if they lose this one, particularly with a massive King's Birthday match coming up next week.

For Carlton, they had so many missed opportunities against Sydney after being reliant on their two key forwards and will need their team at their best in order to break a four-match losing streak.

Footy is in the Top End once again this weekend and after the success of last weekend's game, it promises to be another entertaining match, this time between the Suns and Crows, as Izak Rankine comes up against his old side for the first time.

These are the five players we've chosen to focus on this weekend.

Patrick Cripps

After what has been a tumultuous week for Carlton, with a board member resigning after a post-game incident and false claims that Cripps and Sam Docherty stayed in a hotel separate from the team, the skipper would be hoping to lead his team to an upset win against Melbourne tomorrow night.

In a game that has so much on the line for both teams, Carlton will be hoping to break their four-game losing streak and revive their finals hopes with a win over a top-four side. With injuries to key personnel affecting their chances, Cripps will be looking to showcase his Brownlow form with a true captain's performance and pull his team over the line.

It is a big week for Cripps as a captain rather than a player, and with 170 games next to his name without a finals appearance, he'd be open to the fact that this season isn't over yet. When Carlton played Melbourne in Round 22 last year, they lost by five points with only seconds to go and they'll be looking for redemption this weekend. Cripps was one of the best on ground in that game, with 26 disposals and a massive 12 tackles.

Expect a similar effort this weekend.

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Jake Lever

Melbourne has dropped their last two games against Port Adelaide and Freo and will be hoping to rectify that against Carlton ahead of a massive King's birthday match against Collingwood. However, Jake Lever will have to lift down back in order to create any influence over Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow.

Against Port Adelaide, Lever was held to only 10 disposals, three marks and one tackle after Ryan Burton played a defensive role forward on Lever. It was a similar story against Gold Coast in Round 8, with 10 disposals and two marks but, luckily, Melbourne ran out five-point winners. Last weekend against Freo was a significantly worse performance for Lever, having only the seven disposals, two marks and one tackle.

This weekend, he must stand tall alongside Steven May in order to get the Dees back on track and deliver the defensive performances he is known for.

Liam Jones

Jones has been an excellent pickup for the Bulldogs, proving to be a rock in defence. Jones was one of the best on ground for the Dogs against Gold Coast last weekend, taking 10 intercept marks, a career high for him, and 13 intercept possessions. Jones is averaging 3.8 intercept marks per game, ranking as elite for that aspect in the competition.

This weekend, he takes on one of his biggest challenges in managing the influence of Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron in what will be a real test of the Bulldogs' finals credentials.

The last time Jones played Geelong, way back in 2020 when he was still at Carlton, he had only five disposals, three marks and two tackles, and it's clearly evident that his game has come a long way since then. He'll be a key factor in which team is sitting on the winning side of the margin come Saturday night.

Bailey Humphrey

Named the Round 9 Rising Star, Humphrey has proved why he was nominated, with strong performances in the past few weeks. In the Q-Clash, Humphrey produced perhaps an even stronger game than the one he was nominated for, collecting 18 disposals and four clearances in the first half alone. Humphrey finished with 26 disposals, four marks and a goal to be named his team's best player.

Last weekend, Humphrey sealed the game for the Suns, with an upset win over the Bulldogs and was again named amongst the best, with 19 disposals and three tackles to go alongside his critical goal.

This weekend, the Suns will host Adelaide at TIO Stadium in what will be another tough match, and Humphrey's contributions will be critical to beating the Crows. Based on his form over the last three weeks, he is primed for a big day out, once again.

Harvey Harrison

Harrison has been confirmed as Collingwood's first debutant for the season and will make the trip West to take on West Coast on Saturday arvo.

Taken at Pick No.52 in the 2021 AFL Draft, Harrison was ranked as the fasted ranked sprinter in the draft combine, with a time of 2.85 seconds for the 20-metre dash.

Harrison has appeared on the Pies' extended bench on numerous occasions, however later named as an emergency, and has finally broken into the senior side as the Pies face some key changes this weekend.

In Collingwood's narrow loss to the Giants in Round 8, Harrison was one of the stars with three goals and 18 disposals. Should have a good run this weekend against the injury-ridden Eagles.