Note: All win probabilities brought to you by Stats Insider.
MCG 7:50pm (AEST) Friday July 5th
Team News: Captain Ben Stratton will be welcomed back following his two-match suspension. There could also be a string of changes, with every chance Alistair Clarkson will look to make a statement. Jack Darling got the better of Tim O’Brien over the weekend, he’ll likely be omitted for Stratton.
Other casualties are youngsters Dylan Moore, Conor Nash and Ollie Hanrahan – who debuted last week. These players could come out pending fitness of Chad Wingard, Jack Scrimshaw and Jarryd Roughead. Developing midfielder James Cousins is also ready for a recall.
A breath of fresh air for Pies fans with coach Nathan Buckley announcing that first-round draft pick Isaac Quaynor will make his debut to inject some speed from the defensive end. It’s worth noting that Levi Greenwood didn’t train this morning, and could be rested for the debutant.
There’s every chance small forward Jamie Elliott will return, declaring himself fit for either VFL or AFL action. With Ben Reid (calf) the forced change, the Magpies will also look to bring back James Aish if fit, with Josh Thomas the one currently out of form.
Prediction: Hawks could blood youth, while the Magpies have a point to prove. Pies by 17.
MCG 1:45pm (AEST) Saturday July 6th
Team News: An injury to big man Tom Bellchambers will give ex-Docker Zac Clarke another chance. Martin Gleeson played his first game in nearly two years last week, but he might make way for Matt Guelfi, who sat out of the round 16 win with soreness. Can’t see the Bombers making too many movements following their comeback victory.
The Swans will also need to resolve issues in the ruck department, with Callum Sinclair set to miss three weeks at the minimum. Aliir Aliir showed he is more than capable of helping out in the ruck, giving John Longmire the confidence to select a smaller type – especially with only one ruckman on their list fit to play. It’ll be a nervous wait for one of Robbie Fox, Kieran Jack or Harry Cunningham.
Prediction: Swans to continue their hot streak and make it six from their past eight. Swans by 10.
Metricon Stadium 2:10pm (AEST) Saturday July 6th
Team News: Suns coach Stuart Dew is keen to get games into his young core, and will likely run with a similar team despite losing to Sydney. Mature-age forward Josh Corbett kicked six goals in the NEAFL last week, making a case to push top rookie Ben King out of the side.
The Tigers are growing with confidence on the back of returning players against the Saints. With no forced changes, the only players with a chance to return are Jacob Townsend and Jack Higgins who had terrific games in the VFL. Daniel Rioli had just 10 touches and a goal, but still in front in the small forward pecking order.
Prediction: The Tigers are building with confidence, and should put the foot down against a struggling Suns outfit. Tigers by 39.
Adelaide Oval 4:45pm (AEST) Saturday July 6th
Team News: Tom Lynch and Wayne Milera will have their calf injuries assessed, but both likely to make a return for Showdown 47. Bryce Gibbs had a quiet night, so to debutant Ben Davis – they’ll likely be the unlucky pair. Another player set to be available is Cam Ellis-Yolmen, and a quieter game from Hugh Greenwood will make him worried.
Power coach Ken Hinkley has shown he isn’t afraid to make a statement at the selection table, and could follow a similar path following a loss to the Bulldogs. All of Will Drew, Kane Farrell, Peter Ladhams and Steven Motlop will be sweating on Hinkley’s decision, while Ollie Wines should be safe despite collecting just 12 touches.
Utility Justin Westhoff was brilliant in the reserves with 37 touches and three goals. The other almost-certainty is Tom Rockliff who collected a whopping 57 disposals at SANFL level. Dougal Howard is another name to help replenish tall stocks.
Prediction: We should be in for another Showdown treat, leaning to Crows in a close one. Crows by 5.
Marvel Stadium 7:25pm (AEST) Saturday July 5th
Team News: There were plenty of pleasing performances from the VFL for the Dogs, but there won’t be too man unforced changes. In dissapointing news, Caleb Daniel will miss 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury, making way for Toby McLean to return. Mitch Wallis is one who will face a fitness test after missing the past three matches, right now second-year player Ed Richards is the closest to the edge.
Gary Rohan sat out of last weeks win with concussion, with Lachie Fogarty every chance to be sent back to the VFL. Zac Smith may find his way back, due to Esava Ratugolea set to miss a further few weeks. Out will come either Jack Henry or Jed Bews, sending Mark Blicavs back to defence to match up with rising star Aaron Naughton.
Prediction: The Bulldogs are showing they can match it with the best, but Geelong are a class above. Cats by 13.
Optus Stadium 8:10pm (AEST) Saturday July 6th
Team News: A massive game for the Dockers, and Ross Lyon could swing the axe following a disappointing loss. Rory Lobb is set to return, so to veteran ruck Aaron Sandilands.
There’s every chance Brennan Cox and Sean Darcy will be sent back to WAFL level. Both of Taylin Duman and Travis Colyer offered plenty in the reserves, making it a nervous night for both Brett Bewley and Andrew Brayshaw.
Two huge ins for the Perth Derby will come in the form of premiership stars Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barass, and it’s looking like a simple decision for Adam Simpson. Mark Hutchings copped a hamstring niggle, and the other out cold see Jackson Nelson the unlucky one, just to fit structure.
Prediction: An important game for both clubs, West Coast’s form has them ahead for mine. Eagles by 12.
MCG 1:10pm (AEST) Sunday July 7th
Team News: Getting the chocolates in Perth will give the Blues the idea of resting both Patrick Cripps and Harry McKay, although they’ll play if announced fit. An injury to Charlie Curnow (knee) was probably the best-case scenario after he went down. The team will be shuffled around if the previous two mentioned and speedster David Cunningham prove fit.
Melbourne are in a much more difficult position, but if Max Gawn (ankle) needs to miss then Braydon Preuss will slot in nicely. Two key position players Harisson Petty and Tim Smith were quiet against Lions, one of the two will come out for Jake Lever if he can overcome bone bruising in his knee.
Prediction: The Blues are riding high at the minute, but it’ll take a fair effort to make it three from their past four. Demons by 6.
Blundstone Arena 3:20pm (AEST) Sunday July 7th
Team News: First gamer Kyron Hayden went down with an achilles injury after he got the job on Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury. Sam Durdin will be good for the extra run, but it might be time for veteran Jamie Macmillan to inject some more experience down back.
Paul Ahern was outstanding for North VFL, collecting 31 touches and seven tackles. Ahern and Macmillan likely to come in for Hayden and Durdin. Majak Daw is set to return to VFL action, with full support of the league behind me.
Jack Newnes responded to his omission with 25 touches for the Zebras, but isn’t a certainty to come back. Given the Roos’ key forward stocks, it’ll be smart to give Nathan Brown a recall, at the expense of either Ben Paton or Dan McKenzie.
Prediction: North to make it five from their past six, remain in the discussion for eighth position. Kangaroos by 16.
Greater Western Sydney (69%) vs Brisbane (31%)
Giants Stadium 4:40pm (AEST) Sunday July 7th
Team News: Giants let one slip against the Bombers, but they’ll welcome All-Ausralian defender Lachie Whitfield to the fold, after he was kept out with an injured collarbone. It’ll probably be a simple change for Leon Cameron, with speedsters Brett Daniels and Zac Langdon likely to give Whitfield room to play anywhere he desires.
Alex Witherden was kept out of last weeks game with illness, his replacement Brandon Starcevich will be sent back to NEAFL level. The Lions reserves are dominating, giving Chris Fagan a plethora of options to challenge the Giants. Oscar McInerney went off with concussion, if he becomes unavailable it might be best to bring either Josh Walker or Matt Eagles into the fold, with the tall pair offering a defensive/ruck combo.
Prediction: Lions will start strong, but Giants will consider this a redemption game. Giants by 11.