Sydney vs Collingwood
SCG 7:50pm (AEST) Friday May 24
Team News: Star forward Jordan De Goey will miss again with ongoing shin complaints, but veteran midfielder Daniel Wells is expected to return to senior action, which would be just his 15th game for the club across three seasons. All of Darcy Moore, Mason Cox, Taylor Adams and Jamie Elliott are expected to miss, while defender Tom Langdon’s knee injury could make way for Jack Madgen to return to the side. The Pies will also need to find a replacement for the suspended Travis Varcoe likely to be replaced by Josh Daicos.
Sydney have welcomed back Lance Franklin, and co-captain Josh Kennedy looms as a much-needed in to replace the injured Zak Jones (hamstring).
Prediction: The past two encounters have been nail-biters, but I expect the Magpies to make it seven in a row with a win here. Magpies by 19
Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide
University of Tasmania Stadium 1:45pm (AEST) Saturday May 25
Team News: The Hawks will be forced to make at least one change, with Marc Pittonet likely replacing ruck Ben McEvoy (ankle). Former captain Jarryd Roughead kicked five goals in the VFL a couple of weeks ago, while both Chad Wingard, Isaac Smith and James Frawley will all be welcomed back pending fitness tests. Irishman Conor Glass is the only obvious omission.
Premiership ruck Scott Lycett is in doubt, which has spurred rumours of a debut for rookie-listed Peter Ladhams. Ryan Burton is back training with the main group, but Port will be sweating on the returns of Tom Jonas and Robbie Gray, who could push both Steven Motlop and Jarrod Leinert out of the side ahead of the game in Tasmania. First-year player Willem Drew had a solid return in the SANFL, collecting 32 touches and 12 clearances.
Prediction: The Power are still trying to find their way, Hawks have an opportunity to make for a statement win. Hawks by 16
Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne
Marvel Stadium 2:10pm (AEST) Saturday May 25
Team News: Tim English was a late out during round nine, but don’t be surprised if he misses again. Matt Suckling’s fitness is also touch-and-go, and Bailey Williams is waiting in the wings with some solid VFL outings. First-year player Will Hayes has had a decent run, but it might be time for Patrick Lipinksi to play after he collected 32 disposals for Footscray over the weekend.
Despite having a bye in the VFL last week, there are a few names North could look towards ahead of this, but no definite changes have been released. The two likely to come into the side are Luke Davies-Uniacke and Aaron Hall.
Prediction: Should be a decent contest, but the Bulldogs have a little more finesse and class. Dogs by 12.
Adelaide vs West Coast
Adelaide Oval 4:35pm (AEST) Saturday May 25
Team News: Don Pyke will be hoping to boost the ‘games played’ this week, with all of Josh Jenkins, Paul Seedsman and Richard Douglas having safe games in the reserves. The two interesting decisions will be Matt Crouch (hip) and Wayne Milera (AC joint), but the Crows won’t rush them if necessary. Elliot Himmelberg had a quiet game against the Lions, as did Jordan Gallucci and Rory Atkins – and may be the unlucky trio.
Will Schofield (soreness) is primed to return, which could force Oscar Allen to return forward at the expense of Nathan Vardy, if the Eagles decide on just the one ruckman. They will need to replace both Lewis Jetta (suspension) and Daniel Venables (concussion), with defenders Josh Rotham and Brendan Ah Chee the like for like changes.
Prediction: You can never count out both sides, but the Crows will regain enough firepower to run on top of them. Crows by 20.
Gold Coast vs Geelong
Metricon Stadium 7:25pm (AEST) Saturday May 25
Team News: Touk Miller is a slight chance to return from his foot complaint last week, while Pearce Hanley required very minor surgery on what was a corked quad. Both players are touch and go, but pending availability Jack Lukosius and Jordan Murdoch are the potential omissions.
Rhys Stanley and Tom Atkins are pushing for selection after joining the main training group this week, and could come in for Ryan Abbott and Jordan Clark. Darcy Fort had a splendid debut and will be the preferred tall option, but there is no certainty that Patrick Dangerfield plays.
Prediction: Even up in Queensland, not many teams have intimidated the Cats this season – can’t see this changing. Cats by 31.
Richmond vs Essendon
MCG 7:25pm (AEST) Saturday May 25
Team News: The suspension to Ivan Soldo may force Hardwick to shuffle some magnets around. Dan Butler, Daniel Rioli and Patrick Naish were all promising in the VFL, but only Jason Castagna and Shai Bolton had quiet games against the Hawks. If the Tigers choose to play a second ruck, Callum Coleman-Jones is a chance of a call-up due to him being the only viable ruck option.
Unfortunate news this week with key players Devon Smith and Joe Daniher sidelined for the year, both of Shaun McKernan (hamstring) and Mitch Brown (hip) have recovered from injury concerns, while veteran David Myers was solid in the twos.
Prediction: Richmond continue to present, and they shine best on the big stage. Tigers by 20.
Melbourne vs Greater Western Sydney
MCG 1:10pm (AEST) Sunday May 26
Team News: Forced changes here might come for Tim Smith, Alex Neal-Bullen and Christian Salem who all suffered concussion last week. Jordan Lewis (ankle) will be asked the question, and would likely replace Salem. Sam Weideman could find himself back in the seniors if Smith fails to get up, however, big man Braydon Preuss had 16 touches, 34 hit-outs and two goals in the VFL.
Star mid Stephen Coniglio is expected to return from the finger injury which sidelined him against the Blues. Defender Zac Williams’ (hamstring) run of good health came to a halt and will probably be the out to get Coniglio in. Leon Cameron would love to see Jackson Hately and Isaac Cumming play, but the Giants are in a solid position to have them knocking down the door.
Prediction: The Giants were poor last game at the ‘G, and will make changes accordingly against the Dees. GWS by 12
St Kilda vs Carlton
Marvel Stadium 3:20pm (AEST) Sunday May 26
Team News: Jimmy Webster (hand) will be sidelined for at least another fortnight, but youngster Hunter Clark has offered plenty in the VFL, it’s likely he’ll come in for Ed Phillips. Both Brandon White and Nick Hind didn’t do their chances of selection any harm, and could force defender Ben Paton out of the side.
For the Blues, they were pleased to confirm the availability of defenders Kade Simpson and Lachie Plowman, but will be without key back Liam Jones for a while more. In the reserves, Patrick Kerr kicked six but will only come at the expense of a tall. Two to observe are Darcy Lang (28 disposals) and Matthew Kennedy, who could come in to boost midfield stocks and lend skipper Patrick Cripps a hand. Harrison Macreadie and Levi Casboult are on thin ice, while Marc Murphy will miss a month with a rib injury.
Prediction: Saints have been a lot more competitive than the boys in Navy so far this season. Saints by 9
Fremantle vs Brisbane
Optus Stadium 5:20pm (AEST) Sunday May 26
Team News: Young Griffin Logue was just about best on ground for Peel Thunder last week, while mature-age recruit Brett Bewley’s time will come soon. Brennan Cox is someone who could miss after just five disposals against Essendon, and Ross Lyon could look at returning Cam McCarthy for this one.
Rhys Mathieson got himself suspended, which will make room for Luke Hodge to return after he was a late out against the Crows. Ryan Bastinac and Allen Christensen are too experienced heads who could come in, despite the Lions taking the four points last week.
Prediction: Lions to show that it’s not that difficult to score against a team coached by Ross Lyon. Lions by 8.