Note: All win probabilities brought to you by Stats Insider.
Collingwood (30%) vs West Coast (70%)
Optus Stadium 8:10pm (AEST) Friday July 12
Team News: Nathan Buckley will unleash a second debutant in the space of two weeks with midfielder John Noble confirmed to play in this Grand Final rematch. The mid-season draft recruit is touted for having elite pace from half back and across the wing. The Pies also stated that Mason Cox will play, with both Levi Greenwood (shoulder) and Taylor Adams (groin) in line to return. If either of these come into the squad alongside Noble, the two Josh’s, Daicos and Thomas are in selection strife.
Eagles spearhead Josh Kennedy succumbed to illness and was a late out against the Dockers, with youngster Brendon Ah Chee the unlucky one after just returning to the side. With Kennedy returning, the Eagles are extremely close to full strength for the first time in over 12 months.
Prediction: The Magpies come in as underdogs, but the Eagles are building form with a full strength side. Eagles by 10.
Sydney (73%) vs Carlton (27%)
SCG 1:45pm (AEST) Satuday July 13
Team News: All of Kieran Jack, Ryan Clarke and Riley Stoddart have been in solid NEAFL form, but there’s every chance the Swans select Darcy Cameron to help in the ruck slots. There aren’t any glaring omissions however, with James Rose and Ben Ronke the two players next in line to go.
Returning skipper Patrick Cripps adds a big-body against the Swans midfield, while key forward Harry McKay is every chance of returning to the fold. The changes here are wide open, with defender Caleb Marchbank (neck) expected to miss the season, the Blue will be willing to either send Levi Casboult back to defence, or bring in former Saint Hugh Goddard following a strong VFL campaign – if McKay isn’t fit. Darcy Lang had a quiet outing against the Demons, his 10 touches might push him out of favor.
Prediction: The Blues are a much improved side, but the Swans should hold them off. Swans by 15.
Hawthorn (66%) vs Fremantle (34%)
UTAS Stadium 2:10pm (AEST) Saturday July 13
Team News: Four-time premiership player Grant Birchall is firming for his first match in over two seasons after stringing together a handful of VFL matches. The Hawks might be keen to add midfield depth, which could see either Harry Jones or James Cousins return. But it’s likely the one change will be the experienced Birchall for Irishman Conor Glass.
There’s a strong chance Sean Darcy comes back into the fold saving Aaron Sandilands from the long trip. Taylin Duman is close to full fitness, while Brennan Cox will be looking to return from a hip complaint. If Duman and Cox prove fit, quiet games from both Sam Switkwowski and Reece Conca might firm their omissions.
Prediction: Hawks can build on last weeks upset, but Freo are out to prove a point. Hawks by 9.
Essendon (52%) vs North Melbourne (48%)
Marvel Stadium 4:35pm (AEST) Saturday July 13
Team News: Bombers captain Dyson Heppell will be in consideration after he was a late out due to a foot complaint. While both Josh Begley (three goals) and Will Snelling (33 touches) achieved great VFL games, it’s unlikely the Dons will shuffle the side around. Kyle Langford came into the side for Heppell, and might be the one to miss if the captain can get up.
The Bombers’ crop of key position players might give Ben McKay (23 dispsosals, 14 marks) a chance of returning to the senior side. Interim coach Rhyce Shaw is yet to drop anyone from this side since taking over, but there may be another unforced change if Mason Wood (quad) can’t get up. Young Lachie Hosie could debut pending Wood’s fitness.
Prediction: A flip of the coin type match, with Essendon edging a victory. Bombers by 3.
Gold Coast (17%) vs Adelaide (83%)
Metricon Stadium 7:25pm (AEST) July 13
Team News: Winger Will Powell suffered what looks to be a season-ending knee injury last round, leaving an absence of speed within the Suns outfit. Sean Lemmens and Jordan Murdoch were good in the NEAFL, and firm as the players to replace Powell and either Jacob Heron or Brad Scheer – two players who couldn’t influence the Tigers match. Peter Wright is every chance of returning after a week off, which would send young Ben King to the NEAFL. Aaron Young could replace Alex Sexton, who has lacked spark of late.
The Crows already announced the debut for Tyson Stengle, while Riley Knight and Chayce Jones could return after a dismal showdown from a number of players. In what was one of the more dissapointing performances, captain Taylor Walker said every player’s position is vulnerable, from top to bottom. Who knows how many changes we will see.
Prediction: Crows to make amends for round 16, put in a strong showing. Crows by 39.
Geelong (90%) vs St Kilda (10%)
GMHBA 7:25pm (AEST) Saturday July 13
Team News: After being a late out against the Dogs, Brandan Parfitt will return to the side probably at the expense of Lachie Fogarty. Big man Esava Ratugolea is close to putting the hamstring setback behind him. If named, either Jake Kolodjashnij or Jed Bews are the likely omissions, which would allow Jack Henry to return down back.
A hip injury to youngster Josh Battle will more than certainly mean Nathan Brown returns to the side, given Geelong’s key forwards. The Saints remain patient with Dan Hannebery’s soreness, but the good news is that small forward Jack Lonie is ready to go for his first game since round 6. First-year player Matt Parker has had a quiet month, might need a rest.
Prediction: Returning home, dropping last weeks match – this has a big Geelong win written all over it. Cats by 31
Richmond (67%) vs Greater Western Sydney (33%)
MCG 1:10pm (AEST) Sunday July 14
Team News: With Jack Riewoldt looming as a major return, it’ll be a difficult selection table for Damien Hardwick following his sides thumping win over the Suns. Josh Caddy is also set to return. Despite having 19 touches on debut, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith will likely return to VFL, purely from being the last player in. It’ll be interesting to see if Hardwick opts for a second ruck in Mabior Chol, even with Riewoldt back as forward assurance.
A debutant set to excite the league, Ian ‘Bobby’ Hill (cousin of the Fremantle’s Stephen and Brad) will come in to add some life into the Giants forward half. One of Brett Daniels or Zac Langdon to miss. Star midfielder Josh Kelly (calf) was struck by injury in Sunday’s loss to Brisbane, fortunately enough it’s just about time for Lachie Whitfield to return for this crucial contest. Shane Mumford will be picked over Dawson Simpson, pending fitness.
Prediction: Shaping up to be the match of the round, Tigers in a tight one. Tigers by 9.
Western Bulldogs (63%) vs Melbourne (37%)
Marvel Stadium 3:20pm (AEST) Sunday July 14
Team News: While the Demons find themselves battled and bruised, the Bulldogs are riding smooth and aren’t expected to make too many changes, if any. Mitch Wallis was terrific in return to VFL action following an ankle injury, while warrior Dale Morris was solid but may need another week in the twos.
Both Max Gawn and Jake Lever could return from injuries, and they’ll be needed with Tom McDonald succumbing to a season-ending knee injury. The other worry, Marty Hore suffered a broken collarbone against the Blues which would open a slot for Lever. With McDonald out, Preuss to keep his spot and play predominantly forward.
Prediction: Bulldogs to make it four of their past five. Dogs by 20.
Port Adelaide (62%) vs Brisbane (38%)
Adelaide Oval 4:40pm (AEST)
Team News: Travis Boak was an extremely late out for the Showdown, if available he’ll come straight back to the side. Despite a strong game against the Crows, Sam Powell-Pepper was the late in for Boak and it could be the only change.
Ruck Oscar McInerney is primed for a return, lending a hand to Stef Martin against Scott Lycett. Eric Hipwood will likely miss, after a knee complaint kept him from finishing the GWS match. If all goes to plan, it’ll be just the one forced change.
Prediction: In what should be a cracking Sunday for footy, we’ll finish on another nail-biter. Power by 5.