We have finally hit the last round of the bye weeks and will return to the regular nine-game fixture in Round 16 next weekend, with Carlton, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Richmond, GWS and Port Adelaide the final teams to take their bye.

Five of those six teams head into the bye with a win, and with the win-loss record of teams coming off the bye in the last week, it'll be interesting to see how they fare next weekend.

Despite it being a bye round, there are still some intriguing matchups which will shape the eight this weekend. The biggest game of the round is Thursday night at GMHBA Stadium when Geelong host Melbourne. Whilst Geelong are normally a shoe-in to win down the highway, they will be without captain Patrick Dangerfield due to injury, whilst Rhys Stanley returns to take on Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy - no easy feat when you haven't played since Round 5. Also interesting is Melbourne's preparation heading into the game, treating it like an interstate game by staying down in Geelong.

The Brisbane Lions and Adelaide Crows will also be hoping that they can prove their ability to win down in Victoria this weekend, with Brisbane taking on St Kilda at Marvel and the Crows travelling to the MCG for the first time this year to play Collingwood.

It's also important to recognise that the St Kilda vs Brisbane game on Friday night is Spud's Game: A Match for Mental Health, with donations going towards early intervention of mental health through various initiatives and programs run through the Danny Frawley Centre.

It's going to be another good round of footy and these are our five players to focus on for this weekend.

Pat Lipinski

Not many would have picked Pat Lipinski to be the first goalkicker of the King's Birthday Match in his first game of the year - but he did exactly that. You wouldn't have thought that Lipinski hadn't played since he injured his shoulder in the pre-season, finishing the game with 15 disposals and two goals to be one of only two multiple-goalkickers for the game alongside Bayley Fritsch.

This weekend when Collingwood hosts Adelaide at the MCG, it'll be the second time the teams have played this year, with the Round 7 thriller at Adelaide Oval seeing Collingwood run out as one-point winners to lead for only 20 seconds of the game.

The last time Lipinski played Adelaide was in Round 17, 2022 in one of his best games for the year as he finished the game with 28 disposals, 13 tackles and six clearances to be ranked Collingwood's third-best player.

This weekend, Lipinski will be expected to hit the ground running in his second game of the year and get on the board early to stop Adelaide from causing an upset at the 'G.

Rowan Marshall

Marshall will celebrate his 100th game this weekend, having originally been picked by St Kilda as a 19-year-old rookie after missing out on being drafted the year before. His milestone comes in an extra significant round for St Kilda, who will celebrate Spud's Game this weekend, recognising the legacy of club and AFL legend Danny Frawley and raising mental health awareness.

Over the last year, Marshall has slowly moved into the No.1 ruck position at St Kilda and this year has cemented that spot. Two weeks ago against Sydney, Marshall produced one of the strongest games of his career to be best on in the win, recording with 16 disposals, seven tackles and a career-high 50 hitouts.

Marshall will take part in an intriguing battle against Oscar McInerney this Friday at Marvel and Marshall's performance will be crucial in getting St Kilda across the line. Whilst Brisbane don't travel well, their record at Marvel is strong and St Kilda will need to be wary of that.

Rhys Stanley

Stanley has been recalled to Geelong's side for the first time since Round 5 after a successful VFL return last weekend, accumulating 12 touches, 30 hitouts and four clearances.

Stanley is a much-needed inclusion for the Cats, who faced Port last weekend with no listed ruckmen, with Jonathon Ceglar currently recovering from an adductor injury. It won't be an easy return for Stanley either, who is coming up against the in-form ruck duo of Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy. Gawn won the ruck battle against Stanley last season, with Stanley limited to 13 disposals, two marks and 16 hitouts.

Stanley cemented his place as Geelong's No.1 ruckman last season, culminating in a dominant grand final performance with 16 disposals, five marks and 27 hitouts, whilst also pushing back into defence throughout the game to prove how versatile a player he is.

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Jack Scrimshaw

After James Sicily failed in Hawthorn's appeal of his three-match ban at the AFL Appeals Board on Monday night, Scrimshaw will have to step up across half-back this weekend if Hawthorn are to cause another upset.

So far this season, Scrimshaw has been unable to piece together consistent footy, having played in only seven games. However, Scrimshaw showed promising signs against Brisbane, amassing one of his best games of the season with 19 disposals, six marks and three tackles. Scrimshaw's best game of the year came against North Melbourne in Round 3 when he was ranked as one of the Hawks' best players, finishing with 25 disposals, nine marks and a goal.

Scrimshaw must perform to a similar standard that he did against North Melbourne and Brisbane, with Gold Coast not an easy team to beat at home. However, after stunning the AFL world with massive wins over St Kilda and Brisbane, who's to say that Hawthorn can't do it again?

A win would be even better for Scrimshaw given he spent his first two seasons at the Suns.

Jye Amiss

Amiss kicked four goals in Fremantle's narrow loss to Richmond to be named amongst the Dockers' best in Round 13, yet went goalless last weekend in Fremantle's disappointing 70-point loss to GWS. After looming as a genuine finals contender a few weeks ago, Fremantle's season has tipped on its head after two losses in a row to find themselves in 13th position.

Prior to last weekend, Amiss had not been held goalless since Round 2, kicking a total of 23 goals so far to lead the club's goalkicking by four goals over the experienced Michael Walters. Amiss has cemented himself as a critical part of Fremantle's forward line this season, having played every game since Round 2 this year compared to only three games last season, which impressively included both of Fremantle's finals appearances.

Fremantle face a red-hot Essendon outfit fresh off the bye this weekend and will have the advantage of playing at Optus Stadium, with Essendon only beating Fremantle in Perth once since 2013.