AFL previews for round 21
DOGS V GIANTS
Etihad Stadium, 7.50pm
Recent record: GWS 3 WB 5
Last time: R6 2017: GWS 11.9 (75) d WB 9.19 (73) in Canberra
THE Giants (12-2-5) are beginning to look scary again after crushing Melbourne, and with star forwards Toby Greene (suspension) and Jonathon Patton (hamstring) both expected to return. The seventh-placed Dogs (11-8) certainly won't be underestimated though and will be aiming for five consecutive wins for the first time since 2010, having gotten their season back on track. Defender Easton Wood (hamstring) will be missed, however.
SWANS V DOCKERS
Recent record: Syd 5 Fre 4 Drawn 1
Last time: R19 2016: Syd 21.11 (137) d Fre 7.5 (47) in Perth
SYDNEY (11-8) is surging again after a powerhouse display in Geelong, and is unlikely to be stopped by the visiting Fremantle (8-11), which hasn't won in the Harbour City since 2011. The Swans should be further boosted by the return of skipper Josh Kennedy (hamstring), who grabbed three Brownlow votes, 45 disposals and three goals last time. Can't fault the form of his opposite number, Nat Fyfe (29 touches, 10 marks last week), who will lead the Dockers by example.
CATS V TIGERS
Simonds Stadium, 2.10pm
Recent record: Geel 10 Rich 0
Last time: R21 2016: Geel 10.22 (82) d Rich 12.6 (78) at the MCG
MATCH of the round? Surely, with third taking on fourth. Forget the fact Richmond (13-6) has lost its past 12 games to Geelong (12-1-6) and hasn't been successful at Sleepy Hollow since 2006. The Tigers showed in their win over an in-form Hawthorn they were the real deal, and may get back key forward Jack Riewoldt (eye). The Cats, meanwhile, struggled against Sydney, and have lost Tom Hawkins and Mitch Duncan to suspension and Joel Selwood to injury. It leaves Patrick Dangerfield to go it alone against his (expected) Brownlow successor Dustin Martin.
LIONS V SUNS
Recent record: BL 6 GC 4
Last time: R1 2017: BL 15.8 (98) d GC 14.12 (96) at Carrara
BOTTOM-placed Brisbane (4-15) has the chance to inch a few percentage points off Carlton and North (both 5-14) by kicking its fellow Queenslander while it's down. As is tradition when a club loses its coach, the Suns (6-13) will surely come out smoking. But you can't help wonder if they have enough firepower, with Tom Lynch (knee) and Aaron Hall (hamstring) having joined that already incredibly lengthy injury list, and Gary Ablett (hamstring) expected to follow suit. The Lions impressed in a loss to the Dogs last week.
BOMBERS V CROWS
Etihad Stadium, 7.25pm
Recent record: Ess 3 Adel 7
Last time: R4 2017: Adel 24.9 (153) d Ess 13.10 (88) in Adelaide
ESSENDON (10-9) is in the eight, but for how long? The Bombers lose this and at least Melbourne or St Kilda (also 10-9) take their place. They are up against it, hosting the ladder leaders, who have won their past three encounters by an average of 86 points. Eddie Betts (six goals) and Taylor Walker (five) destroyed them earlier this year. At least the Bombers - and their own spearhead Joe Daniher - may get some reprieve if Crows fullback Daniel Talia (hamstring) doesn't come up.
EAGLES V BLUES
Domain Stadium, 7.40pm (AEST)
Recent record: WC 5 Carl 5
Last time: R17 2016: WC 12.10 (82) d Carl 11.9 (75) at the MCG
WEST Coast (10-9) sits ninth, trailing Essendon on percentage, so will be desperate to notch a win here, especially when considering it takes on GWS and Adelaide in a daunting final two rounds. The Eagles should at least get the job done against Carlton (5-14), which is languishing in second-last spot. Eagles spearhead Josh Kennedy, with 20 goals in his past four outings, looms large against his old side. He could have another field day if the supply is there.
DEMONS V SAINTS
Recent record: Melb 1 StK 9
Last time: R1 2017: Melb 18.12 (120) d StK 13.12 (90) at Docklands
IT'S a mini-final for these two who sit 10th and 11th respectively at 10-9. They come off contrasting results, with Melbourne having lost a third game in four weeks (the latest to GWS) and St Kilda defeating the Eagles, but the Demons will draw on their round-one win, which ended a run of 12 outs against the Saints, with the midfield of Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney and Jordan Lewis dominant. Nick Riewoldt (concussion) and Jack Steven (hip) are under injury clouds for the Saints.
HAWKS V ROOS
UT Stadium, 3.20pm
Recent record: Haw 8 NM 2
Last time: R21 2016: Haw 14.12 (96) d NM 8.9 (57) at the MCG
TASMANIA'S two tenants go head to head in a dead rubber, with the Hawks 13th (8-1-10) and Roos third-last (5-14). Hawthorn has dominated the Kangas recently, winning the past three matches and seven of the past eight, and will regain the services of champion Luke Hodge in one of his final appearances. The Hawks' cause will be helped if Roos big man Ben Brown doesn't come up after his concussion scare. The Hawks have no one to curb him.
POWER V MAGPIES
Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm (AEST)
Recent record: PA 5 Coll 5
Last time: R14 2017: PA 13.15 (93) d Coll 9.8 (62) at the MCG
COLLINGWOOD returns to Adelaide, where it has lost on its past four visits. The fifth-placed Port (11-8) will aim to ensure it's five in a row for the Magpies. A win is a must for the Power as it looks to consolidate its spot in the eight, with a host of teams breathing down its neck. Port did get the job done over the Magpies (8-1-10) in Melbourne last month with Robbie Gray the star with five goals.