Optus Stadium 8:10pm (AEST) Thursday June 20
Team news: West Coast’s side has been given a major re-structure with key players Shannon Hurn and Elliot Yeo returning. On top of this, they made another four changes with Chris Masten, Oscar Allen, Jackson Nelson and first-gamer Jarrod Cameron – brother of Lions forward Charlie.
Prediction: Returning players will make the Eagles tough to beat, let alone in Perth. Eagles by 29
SCG 7:50pm (AEST) Friday June 21
Team news: The Swans are hoping to recall Josh Kennedy, Zak Jones, Kieran Jack and Will Hayward from injuries, a major boost for senior coach John Longmire. The first to make way will be veteran Jarrad McVeigh (hamstring) who will miss the next two weeks. James Rose will likely be omitted, while Jackson Thurlow and Colin O’Riordan are under injury clouds which might make Longmire’s decision a little easier.
It’s even better news for Hawks fans, with Alastair Clarkson confirming the return of Jarryd Roughead for the clash in Sydney. It’ll be a straight swap for suspended skipper Ben Stratton (with James Sicily returning to defence). First year Hawks Chad Wingard and Jack Scrimshaw are awaiting fitness tests, and could return for any of Conor Glass and James Cousins.
In other news, premiership defender Grant Birchall will return to the VFL after a lengthy period away from the game.
Prediction: Defeated the premiers on their home deck pre-bye, the inclusions only add to that. Swans by 17.
MCG 1:45pm (AEST) Saturday June 22
Team news: The injuries at hand are Sam Frost (concussion) and Jake Lever (knee soreness). The Demons will be hoping Frost can return in place of Lever – who played just one game following a return from his ACL. Over in the VFL, Jordan Lewis had plenty of the ball and makes a strong case for selection – with Josh Wagner the next on the fringe.
Three on the trot for the Dockers, who have a handful of options waiting in the wings. Youngster Adam Cerra will return from injury, at the expense of either Darcy Tucker, Brett Bewley or Ethan Hughes. Harley Bennell will likely get another week in the reserves, with Ross Lyon stating that there’s no rush for the former Sun.
Prediction: Fremantle are rolling nicely, and Melbourne are still their own enemy. Dockers by 12.
Marvel Stadium 4:35pm (AEST) Saturday June 22
Team news: St Kilda’s big fish Dan Hannebery will finally get his chance in new colours after two VFL outings. Defender Jimmy Webster should return following hand surgery. The two outs are a tough one, with Nick Hind quiet on debut and David Armitage still without a role they might find themselves unlucky. However, Brandon White (thigh) will face a fitness test potentially saving one of the two mentioned.
With Brisbane’s injury list getting smaller and smaller, the selection meetings get tougher and tougher. Lincoln McCarthy and Cam Rayner are under the pump following quiet games against the Blues. The two challenging them are forgotten mid Allen Christensen and Ryan Bastinac, who have delivered each week in the NEAFL. Oscar McInerney will be a necessary in, the big man offers more of a presence than Archie Smith right now.
Prediction: Saints made it tough for themselves up north, while Brisbane will be looking for redemption. Lions by 28.
Adelaide Oval 7:10pm (AEST) Saturday June 22
Team news: Port Adelaide have made a statement this week, choosing to drop key pair Justin Westhoff and Paddy Ryder for this blockbuster clash. According to afl.com.au, it’s understood that Sam Powell-Pepper are Jarrod Lienert have also been axed.
Returning will be star trio Ollie Wines, Charlie Dixon and Brad Ebert while defender Joel Garner will get another opportunity. Westhoff’s omission marks the end of the longest current streak of consecutive matches (135).
Prediction: Cats still too strong around the ground, despite Port’s key ins. Cats by 17.
Marvel Stadium 3:20pm (AEST) Sunday June 23
Team news: Mid-season recruit Ryan Gardner hasn’t impacted either of the games he’s played, with top draft pick Josh Shache the next tall in line. Tom Liberatore (knee) avoided serious damage, but there could be a silver lining with father-son recruit Rhylee West a chance to debut. Bailey Dale had just four touches against the Blues, and is almost a certainty to be replaced by Taylor Duryea or Ed Richards.
The Jaidyn Stephenson story has left a damning mark on Collingwood’s week, but they’ll be looking to put in the past with a strong showing against the Dogs. Josh Daicos is primed for a return with a chance to cement a spot in light of Stephenson’s suspension.
Prediction: Collingwood to respond to the week of turmoil, but not without a fight. Magpies by 9.