MCG 7:50pm (AEST) Friday July 26
Team News: The Magpies could receive a major boost to their forward line with Jamie Elliot expected to return, while veteran defender Tyson Goldsack has been building form in the VFL. Coach Nathan Buckley could opt for a younger defender in Matt Scharenberg, although there is a number of players knocking down the door. Ben Crocker will be replaced by Elliot, while Goldsack will likely come into the side for small defender James Aish.
Ivan Soldo will ruck again – giving Toby Nankervis an extra week with the VFL – and run with Mabior Chol as the second ruck/extra tall up forward. Josh Caddy came back through the reserves, and it’s a game primed for his ability. Kamdyn McIntosh might be utilised for outside run, both Liam Baker and Jack Graham could face omission. It’ll be a crazy next 48 hours for captain Trent Cotchin, with his partner expecting a child in the coming days but is still expected to line up.
Prediction: A gem of a match to open the round, with the Tigers’ form the glaring key. Tigers by 7.
UTAS 1:45pm (AEST) Saturday July 27
Team News: It was unfortunate news for Jarman Impey, suffering an ACL injury. It’ll open the door for a similar type to come into the side. A player who Hawks fans will be keen to see pushed through the ranks is Teia Miles. Last year, he was on the verge of becoming a regular but has had to challenge himself in 2019, and could suit up for his first senior game of the season.
Prediction: The Lions are rolling, a win in Tasmania will do a lot for their confidence leading into the final few rounds. Lions by 10
MCG 2:10pm (AEST) Satuday July 27
Team News: The in-form Blues take on Adelaide in a contest that has major implications from a draft point of view. As has been the case in previous weeks, Carlton will wait on the fitness of Paddy Dow (illness) and David Cunningham (knee) who hasn’t played since the bye. Both Liam Stocker and Alex Fasolo impressed in the VFL, but there won’t be any easy spots. Mid-season pick Josh Deluca becomes the next to go.
The Crows could continue to make changes, but it’s likely they’ll settle with a similar team from last week’s loss. Forward duo Taylor Walker (elbow) and Tom Lynch (corked quad) received niggles, but both should lineup. Veteran mids Richard Douglas and Bryce Gibbs performed solid in the SANFL, while rookie-listed Patrick Wilson collected a team-high 32 touches.
Prediction: Both teams will have a point to prove, Crows to hold on in a tight one. Crows by 5.
Optus Stadium 2:35pm (AWST) Satuday July 27
Team news: After being a late out against the Demons, captain Shannon Hurn is hopeful of returning from a calf complaint. Purely for being the one to come in for Hurn, young Francis Watson will likely be squeezed out despite a solid debut performance in Alice Springs. Hurn for either Watson or Jackson Nelson.
Scott Thompson endured a painful injury following Saturday night’s loss to the Lions, young Ben McKay is the one if North opt for a key defender. Early draft selection Luke Davies-Uniacke did his case no harm with 25 disposals in the reserves. Nathan Hrovat’s position isn’t safe, given LDU is the like-for-like player.
Prediction: Eagles too strong for North who should put up a stern contest. Eagles by 18.
St Kilda vs Melbourne
Marvel Stadium 7:25pm (AEST) Saturday July 27
Team news: Jack Steven played three quarters for Sandringham over the weekend, and could be welcomed back if he feels ready. Young defender Josh Battle is nursing a knee injury, he’ll come in for Nathan Brown if proven fit. Either of Nick Hind or Doulton Langlands will be the unlucky pair if the Saints look at a Bailey Rice or Brandon White to boost back stocks.
Sam Weideman (calf) may become available, pushing Braydon Preuss out unless Harry Petty needs a rest. Jay Kennedy Harris was a standout for Casey and could replace young forward Jay Lockhart – who struggled in last week’s loss to the Eagles. If Jack Viney doesn’t overcome concussion symptoms then Corey Maynard will be looked at.
Prediction: Demons in another close on after challenging the defending premiers. Demons by 6.
Adelaide Oval 7:40 (AEST) Saturday July 27
Team news: Big man Paddy Ryder will be invited back into the 22 to help shut down Giants’ dual rucks. Will Drew had himself a successful weekend, collecting 31 possessions at SANFL level. Cam Sutcliffe will likely be sent back, while both Sam Powell-Pepper and Steven Motlop are on the fringe. Jarrod Leinert is a potential inclusion to play as the third tall in defence.
The two ruckmen proved vital in their win against Collingwood, but coach Leon Cameron could opt for Shane Mumford only. If this is the case, then Giants are eager to blood first round selection Jye Caldwell for his debut game. Star midfielder Josh Kelly (calf) is still a week off while Phil Davis will need to face fitness tests.
Prediction: Can see the Giants carrying form from last week’s game and switching off the Power. GWS by 11
Marvel Stadium 1:10pm (AEST) Sunday July 28
Team news: Son-of-a-gun Rhylee West will debut for the Dogs following a best afield performance for Footscray. Premiership hero Dale Morris has built into the game through the seconds, and will get his call up this week. Zaine Cordy becomes the next to go with a safer Morris available, while Roarke Smith and Bailey Smith went quiet in the loss to St Kilda last Sunday. Ed Richards sat out with a hamstring injury, but could replace Matt Suckling this week after the former Hawk hurt his hip closing out the Saints match.
Pending fitness, both Nat Fyfe (elbow) and Stephen Hill (quad) will push some of the less-experienced names out of the side. If Rory Lobb becomes unavailable, then veteran big Aaron Sandilands will need to travel to Melbourne. Ethan Hughes and Brett Bewley are the next to go.
Prediction: Bulldogs to redeem last week’s performance with a strong outing. Dogs by 22
Sydney vs Geelong
SCG 3:20pm (AEST) Sunday July 28
Team news: After a one-week suspension, Jordan Dawson will come straight back in given his solid form in what has been a breakout season. Riley Stoddart will probably be the one change, with not too much else happening after Sydney’s bye in the NEAFL.
A number of players starred in Geelong’s VFL win, all of Quinton Narkle, Charlie Constable, Sam Mengola and Scott Selwood have impressed. Jack Henry was rested last week, so there’s opportunity for him to take Jed Bews’ (or similar) position. Narkle for James Parsons the other glaring change.
Prediction: The pressure has risen for Geelong, expect them to settle the nerves. Cats by 17
Metricon Stadium 4:40pm (AEST) Sunday July 28
Team news: Young mid Will Brodie suffered a hamstring injury that will likely keep him out for the year, while all of Jack Bowes, Lachie Weller and Ben Ainsworth become available. Anthony Miles is another to come back following suspension. Brodie for Miles and Weller for first-gamer Jacob Dawson.
Zac Clarke has recovered from illness to help limit Jarrod Witts’ game, while forward pair Jayden Laverde and Josh Begley would be handy inclusions. Michael Hartley might spend more time in the reserves, while Connor McKenna has freed up a spot after departing back home for a family wedding.
Prediction: Essendon is eager to chalk up the wins, while Suns are better off from last week’s match. Essendon by 29.