SWANS V HAWKS
At the SCG, 7.50pm
Recent record: Haw 7 Syd 3.
Last time: R17 2016: Haw 11.9 (75) d Syd 10.10 (70) in Sydney.
IN A battle of the great superpowers of the past five years, we'll find out who's fallen harder. It should be Hawthorn (3-6), with a rapidly regrouping Sydney (3-6) now in far better shape and ready to turn the tables on its nemesis, which has won its past three clashes at the SCG. Ex-Hawk Lance Franklin, in particular, will be keen for a big one. He has found the going tougher against his former side than any other opponent. This time he'll be matched up on a young Kaiden Brand or a declining Josh Gibson. Look out.
BULLDOGS V SAINTS
At Etihad Stadium, 1.45pm
Recent record: WB 4 StK 6.
Last time: R18 2016: StK 11.9 (75) d WB 9.6 (60) at Docklands.
WHILE I was hoping we might actually see that dream Dogs-Saints grand final, both sides (5-4) have a heap of work to do, the Dogs having lost three of their past four games and the Saints poor against Sydney last week. Saints great Nick Riewoldt (10 marks, four goals) was the difference last time and again holds the key as he battles fellow 34-year-old Dale Morris. The Bulldogs will hope to have Jake Stringer (knee) back to boost an attack that isn't working with Travis Cloke.
DEMONS V SUNS
At TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs,
Recent record: Melb 6 GC 3.
Last time: R19 2016: Melb 9.12 (66) d GC 9.10 (64) at the MCG.
THE Suns head to another exotic location, but will be thankful they don't have to travel as far as Shanghai after that on-field disaster against Port. They will take further solace out of the fact the venue has been anything but sweet for the Demons, who have lost all three "home" games there. But the Suns (4-5), ranked second-last for tackles, will need to increase their pressure dramatically, because you know the Demons (4-5) will after they lost yet another game they should have won last week against North after upsetting Adelaide the week before. David Swallow (knee), Matt Rosa (concussion) and Rory Thompson (quad) should return for the visitors.
TIGERS V BOMBERS
At the MCG, 7.25pm
Recent record: Rich 7 Ess 3.
Last time: R17 2016: Rich 16.6 (102) d Ess 11.17 (83) at the MCG.
RICHMOND'S nightmare run looks set to continue in the Dreamtime at the 'G clash. After a 5-0 start, the Tigers could be 5-5 if the Bombers can find some consistency and end a run of five straight defeats themselves to their arch rivals. Red-hot Bombers spearhead Joe Daniher will find the going a lot tougher against premier fullback Alex Rance. But likewise, Dustin Martin, who collected 81 disposals and six Brownlow votes in two games against the red and black last year, won't have it all his own way with Jobe Watson and Dyson Heppell back and Zach Merrett going to another level.
CROWS V DOCKERS
At Adelaide Oval, 7.40pm (AEST)
Recent record: Adel 5 Frem 5.
Last time: R21 2016: Adel 21.16 (142) d Frem 11.4 (70) in Perth.
FREMANTLE will surely be brought back down to earth with a trip to Adelaide. The Dockers are 6-3 after winning five of their past six. Unfortunately for them, the Lions played the Crows into form, the ladder-leaders kicking 18 goals to four after quarter-time. Adelaide (7-2) is top for a reason - No.1 for both contested disposals and contested marks. The hosts will surely bring back Josh Jenkins to stretch the Freo defence. He and Eddie Betts combined for 11 goals last time. Connor Blakely will be a key for the Dockers in his run-with role on star Crow Rory Sloane.
MAGPIES V LIONS
At the MCG, 1.10pm
Recent record: Coll 7 BL 3.
Last time: R8 2016: Coll 20.23 (143) d BL 10.5 (65) in Brisbane.
COLLINGWOOD (3-6) can get on a roll after its comeback win over Hawthorn, taking on a hapless Brisbane (1-8). The Magpies have won five of their past six against the Lions, who look to be regressing again after a promising start to the season. The Pies racked up the first 21 scoring shots last time with Adam Treloar (36 touches, three goals) best-afield. Forward Alex Fasolo will want to lift though after slotting just five goals in his past six games. Whatever happens, you can bet Lions skipper Dayne Beams (40 disposals last week) will give it his all, especially against his old side.
BLUES V ROOS
At Etihad Stadium, 3.20pm
Recent record: Carl 4 NM 6.
Last time: R9 2016: NM 17.11 (113) d Carl 6.10 (46) at Docklands.
NORTH (3-6) is building momentum, having won three of its past four, and it'll continue this week against Carlton (3-6). The Blues, last for scoring, won't have anywhere near the firepower to go with the Roos, who'll have Ben Brown (coming off a five-goal haul against Melbourne), Mason Wood (three goals last week) and ex-Blue Jarrad Waite ready and waiting in attack. Carlton, meanwhile, has lost fullback Sam Rowe (knee), leaving Caleb Marchbank and Jacob Weitering to hold the fort.
EAGLES V GIANTS
At Domain Stadium, 4.40pm (AEST)
Recent record: WC 5 GWS 0.
Last time: R21 2016: WC 14.13 (97) d GWS 14.12 (96) in Sydney.
WEST Coast is the final frontier for the Giants, the Eagles the only side left they haven't beaten. In fact, the Eagles have won four of the five clashes by more than 80 points. And as deplorable as they were against Essendon last week, the Eagles (6-3) will again be a far different outfit on home soil where they've won 20 of their past 22. And it's home-ground advantage that should get them the win over the hobbled Giants (6-2), who are limping through games.
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