UNSW 7:50pm (AEST) Friday August 9
Team News: With just three weeks left, GWS won’t be risking anything. But they have the opportunity to bring two mega-stars back in Jeremy Cameron (calf) and Josh Kelly (calf). All of Matt De Boer (shoulder), Daniel Loyd (calf) and Dawson Simpson (managed) will throw their hands up pending selection. If Cameron and Kelly don’t get up, expect one of Adam Kennedy or Jye Caldwell to come in, likely at the expense of Jake Stein.
The Hawks will need to find Grant Birchall’s replacement, after the veteran suffered another setback last round. Hawthorn confirmed on Thursday morning via Twitter that young Changkuoth Jiath will debut for the club against the Giants. ‘CJ’ is an exciting prospect that will run and spread all evening. Former Sun Jack Scrimshaw looks due for a call-up, after a successful return to VFL action recently. Birchall and Ollie Hanrahan the two to make way.
Prediction: Giants to make up for the loss to Hawthorn earlier this year. GWS by 17.
MCG 1:45pm (AEST) Saturday August 10
Team News: Marty Hore collected 34 touches in the VFL last weekend and is a big chance to return to AFL action. Steven May has just about recovered from his hamstring, but will have to replace fellow key-defender Jake Lever (ankle). Oscar McDonald was quiet against the Tigers, every change he will be replaced by the mature-age Hore.
Mason Cox’s season is over after suffering an eye injury, and the only like-for-like option is big man Max Lynch, who hasn’t set the world on fire in the reserves. Coach Nathan Buckley might opt for a smaller type, with both John Noble and Tyler Brown impressing in the VFL.
Prediction: Pies to make a statement heading into the final two rounds. Magpies by 22.
Port Adelaide vs Sydney
Adelaide Oval 2:10pm (AEST) Saturday, August 10
Team News: Peter Ladhams was good enough to get another run, while Charlie Dixon will better off going again despite a quiet game in last week’s big win over Essendon. First year midfielder Zak Butters is under an injury cloud, and could make way for one of Ollie Wines or Steven Motlop.
Sydney revealed that youngster James Bell will make his debut this weekend, making one way will be one of James Rose, Daniel Menzel or veteran Kieran Jack. Defender Dane Rampe should be right to go following his absence from last weeks Sydney derby.
Prediction: Port to remain predictably unpredictable and just sneak the win. Port by 5.
Gabba 4:35pm (AEST) Saturday, August 10
Team News: The NEAFL Lions are travelling well, providing great depth for senior coach Chris Fagan. Captain Dayne Zorko is a Q-Clash specialist, but he may miss after suffering a hamstring complaint against the Bulldogs. No need for changes, but if Zorko misses than either of Ben Keays or forgotten man Ryan Bastinac will come in.
There isn’t much to report for the Suns, but it’s experienced duo Jordan Murdoch and George Horlin-Smith who are next in line. Murdoch will provide a lot more pace than a Michael Rischitelli type, and it will be necessary against this growing Lions team.
Prediction: Brisbane are too strong, and will know how important the percentage might be. Lions by 35.
Essendon vs Western Bulldogs
Marvel 7:25pm (AEST) Saturday August 10
Team News: All of Dyson Heppell, Darcy Parish and Aaron Francis will need to face fitness tests before getting up for this season-defining game. Essendon confirmed the news on Adam Saad, that he’ll miss two weeks. Shaun McKernan will return, likely candidate here will be late-inclusion Michael Hartley. Other names ready for a spot are Mark Baguley, David Myers and Josh Begley.
Footscray had a huge 70-point victory last weekend, with AFL-listed pair Billy Gowers and Jordan Sweet enjoyed stellar games, while Rhylee West will be hoping for a recall. Caleb Daniel re-injured his hamstring, but it’ll be Taylor Duryea to replace him given the former Hawk missed with groin tightness last week.
Prediction: The most important game of the year for both clubs, Essendon will want to make up for last week. Bombers by 9.
GMHBA 7:25pm (AEST) Saturday August 10
Team News: Zac Smith was beaten comfortably against Aaron Sandilands, so he’ll come out for Rhys Stanley. Luke Dahlhaus and Harry Taylor were both rested for the trip to Perth, so they’ll need to make room. Gary Rohan (knee) will again come out of the team following injury. Expect Dahlhaus, Taylor and Stanley to replace Rohan, Smith and one of Bews or Henderson.
A season-ending shoulder injury for young star Luke Davies-Uniacke will force him out of the side. Jed Anderson dominated the reserve grade with 25 touches and 12 tackles – so shapes as LDU’s replacement. Speedster Shaun Atley will try to get himself right, but looks to be another week away.
Prediction: Cats are desperate to remain up top and win at home, but North will be up for a challenge. Cats by 12.
Marvel Stadium 1:10pm (AEST) Sunday August 11
Team News: Jack Steven pushed for a senior spot after a promising game in the VFL. Defender Jimmy Webster also lined up for the Zebras, and will be a welcomed return for Sunday’s clash. It could be experience over youth for Brett Ratten this week, with Jack Newnes and Dan Hannebery both free from illness. Matt Parker and Dan McKenzie were late ins last week and coincidentally may be first to go.
Big man Rory Lobb will face a fitness test, as he’ll be needed to cover Aaron Sandilands – who hasn’t been travelling often in his final year. While Lobb helps Sean Darcy, defender Nathan Wilson will inject some life off half-back. A big win over Geelong would mean heartbreak for whoever is omitted, but Lachie Shultz was probably the quietest out of the bunch.
Prediction: A much more anticipated game after last weeks results, Fremantle are every chance to upset again. Dockers by 7.
MCG 3:20pm (AEST) Sunday August 11
Team News: Exciting rookie Sydney Stack may be sidelined for another week, but will face a test in the build up. Toby Nankervis has now played two games in the VFL, and is rated higher than current ruck Ivan Soldo – so expect ‘Nank’ to return. Trent Cotchin remains a week away, while Pat Naish was again terrific for Tigers’ VFL.
Dale Thomas will come straight back for first-gamer Angus Schumacher, who will be better for the run. The Blues will be eager to recall ruck Matt Kreuzer to replace Andrew Phillips, while recruit Mitch McGovern is receiving high praise after his month of fitness development. Hugh Goddard’s position will depend on whether Liam Jones is ready to play again. An interesting week for interim coach David Teague at the selection meeting.
Prediction: Tigers too strong, but the revived Blues will ensure this doesn’t get out of hand. Tigers by 16.
West Coast vs Adelaide
Optus Stadium 3:20pm (AWST) Sunday August 11
Team News: The Eagles are hoping premiership forward Jamie Cripps will be right to go, if fit he’ll come into the side probably at the expense of Jarrod Cameron, who is exciting but developing. Mark Hutchings had a handy WAFL return, collecting 21 disposals for the game, while Liam Duggan’s WAFL comeback was derailed after an early ankle injury.
Key defender Alex Keath will miss a third straight week, but there are plenty of names looking for a recall. It’s a tough one, as the Crows are currently in an awkward position selection-wise despite a big win over the Saints. Sam Jacobs might come in to give Reilly O’Brien a well-earned rest.
Prediction: Eagles are peaking at the right time of the year, should take care of the Crows. Eagles by 19.