AFL previews for round 22
CROWS V SWANS
Adelaide Oval, 7.50pm (AEST)
Recent record: Adel 4 Syd 6
Last time: SF 2016: Syd 18.10 (118) d Adel 12.10 (72) in Sydney
TALK about a blockbuster. The two form sides clash in a possible grand final preview. Ladder-leader Adelaide (15-1-4) has won six of its past seven games; Sydney (12-8) 12 of its past 14. With a spot in the top four - and the double chance - on the line, the Swans must keep winning. They've won three of their past four in Adelaide and are set to regain skipper Josh Kennedy (42 disposals, 10 clearances), who dominated in last year's semi-final match-up. Meanwhile, injury clouds remain over Crows stars Rory Sloane (knee) and Taylor Walker (foot). Daniel Talia's match-up on Buddy Franklin will be a key.
BULLDOGS V POWER
Eureka Stadium, Ballarat, 1.45pm
Recent record: WB 8 PA 2
Last time: R12 2016: WB 15.10 (100) d PA 14.13 (97) in Adelaide
TRAVIS Cloke, come on down. With Tom Boyd injured, Jack Redpath suspended and Jake Stringer struggling with four goals in his past six games, a masterclass from the former Pie might be needed if the ninth-placed Bulldogs (11-9) are to overcome the sixth-placed Power (12-8) and keep their finals hopes alive in the first ever match for premiership points in Ballarat. Veteran Cloke might just be playing for his own future as well after booting nine goals in nine games this season.
MAGPIES V CATS
Recent record: Coll 6 Geel 4
Last time: R6 2017: Coll 15.17 (107) d Geel 11.12 (78) at the MCG
THIRD-placed Geelong (13-1-6) will continue to push for a top-two finish - and home preliminary final - after its win over Richmond. But here the Cats face their bogey team Collingwood, winner of their past three encounters and six of their past eight. While Geelong skipper Joel Selwood remains sidelined, the Magpies will especially miss their own captain, Scott Pendlebury, for this one. He has dominated in those past three upset wins. Interestingly, backmen-turned-forwards Harry Taylor and Ben Reid (both four goals last week) will be crucial to their teams' chances.
GIANTS V EAGLES
Spotless Stadium, 4.35pm
Recent record: GWS 1 WC 5
Last time: R10 2017: GWS 14.14 (98) d WC 14.6 (90) in Perth
IT'S in the eight, but West Coast's finals hopes hang by a thread, having to play GWS and Adelaide in the final two rounds. The Giants broke their duck against the Eagles in Perth earlier this season, but now have the home-ground advantage, not to mention ruckman Shane Mumford and dangerous forward Devon Smith both returning to a side that thrashed the Dogs. Josh Kennedy does loom large for the visitors, however - 26 goals in his past five games and 30 in six against GWS. Phil Davis has a big task ahead.
SUNS V BOMBERS
Metricon Stadium, 7.25pm
Recent record: GC 2 Ess 5
Last time: R21 2016: Ess 11.9 (75) d GC 9.15 (69) at Docklands
DEAN Solomon coaches Gold Coast for a second game - against the side he won a premiership with in 2000. It's an all-important clash for the 10th-placed Essendon (10-10), which will most certainly be out of finals contention if it loses. The Bombers have lost their past two at Carrara, but wil be hoping the Suns outfit from the second half of last week's QClash, when they kicked four goals to 13, is there to greet them. Bombers fullback Michael Hurley (34 disposals against Adelaide last week) looks capable of controlling a Suns attack missing Tom Lynch.
BLUES V HAWKS
Etihad Stadium, 7.25pm
Recent record: Carl 0 Haw 10
Last time: R19 2016: Haw 10.14 (74) d Carl 7.13 (55) in Launceston
HAWTHORN (12th, 9-1-10) should maintain its slim mathematical chance of making finals with a 15th straight victory over Carlton. The Blues (5-15) haven't beaten the Hawks since 2005 and, in fact, haven't won a match since mid-June, losing their past eight games to suddenly be at risk of dropping to the bottom of the table - they lead the Lions by percentage only. But they do like stocking up on No.1 draft picks, so it mightn't be all bad for the Blues.
DEMONS V LIONS
Recent record: Melb 5 BL 5
Last time: R9 2016: Melb 19.17 (131) d BL 9.14 (68) at the MCG
THE ball is in Melbourne's court. The Demons (11-9) sit seventh and "only" have to beat bottom-placed Brisbane and Collingwood in the last two rounds to claim a first finals berth in 11 years. Easier said than done, however, with Melbourne having a reputation for losing games it should win. The Dees are at home at the 'G, where they have won 13 of 16 clashes with Brisbane. There's also a huge discrepancy in contested disposals this season - Melbourne is ranked No.2, Brisbane last. The Dees "should" be too strong.
SAINTS V ROOS
Etihad Stadium, 3.20pm
Recent record: SK NM
Last time: R13 2017: SK 12.17 (89) d NM 10.12 (72) at Docklands
ST Kilda's season is effectively alive, despite its "early final" loss to Melbourne last week. But the 10th-placed Saints (10-10) will have to beat North and Richmond next week to have any chance. They ended a six-match losing streak against the Roos (5-15) last time, with Seb Ross starring in the middle, and will be confident of starting their own run against them. But their scoring has dried up in the past month, and so too the wins - one in five rounds.
DOCKERS V TIGERS
Domain Stadium, 4.40pm (AEST)
Recent record: Frem 6 Rich 4
Last time: R8 2017: Frem 10.12 (72) d Rich 10.10 (70) at the MCG
FREO will have fond memories of its last encounter with Richmond early this year but these teams have a strange recent history, with the Dockers winning their past two clashes at the MCG and the Tigers taking home the points from their past two visits to Perth. If the Tigers (13-7) are serious this year they should keep that trend going. The Dockers (8-12) go in after reregistering the biggest defeat by a team this season - 104 points to Sydney.
Compiled by Terry Mallinder