AFL previews for round 21

Toby Greene of the Giants is expected to return from suspension against the Bulldogs this weekend.
Toby Greene of the Giants is expected to return from suspension against the Bulldogs this weekend. JULIAN SMITH



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.



SCG, 1.45pm


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.


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.


Gabba, 4.35pm


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.


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.


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.



MCG, 1.10pm


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.


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.


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.

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