After a few cracking contests in the third week of AFL action, we again begin should be a stellar start to the week with Friday night footy featuring the Eagles and Tigers from out west.
It has been a ‘bright’ start to the year for the Suns, and they headline the Saturday action, where they take on struggling northern rivals, the Lions. Essendon will face their toughest test of the year when they head to the MCG to tackle the fifth-placed Geelong.
The high-flying Crows welcome the ladder-leading Swans to Adelaide on Saturday night and the round concludes with the Pies hosting the Dees and North Melbourne looking to add to the woes of the Dockers at Etihad Stadium.
Friday, April 15, 8:10 pm (AEST) @ Domain Stadium, Perth
The Eagles are coming off a highly charged Western Derby win over Fremantle and have the luxury of playing a second consecutive match at their home venue. The Tigers, meanwhile, have been very disappointing since they overcame the Blues in the first round.
West Coast possesses a pretty poor record against the Tigers on their home turf, but their form has been solid with wins over Brisbane and the Dockers. Pressure is beginning to build on Richmond coach, Damien Hardwick and only a win is likely to satisfy the Tigers’ frustrated fan base.
The Eagles remain unchanged, while Andrew Moore and Taylor Hunt come into the team for omitted Richmond duo Anthony Miles and Jayden Short.
Saturday, April 16, 4:35 pm (AEST) @ Gabba
The story could hardly contrast any further between the Suns and Lions. Brisbane hasd been belted in every game so far, while the Gold Coast have been on fire, registering easy wins in all three rounds. Last week, they basically led from start to finish in the 54-point thumping of Carlton to continue the club’s best ever start to an AFL season.
To be fair to the Lions, though, they have played last year’s grand finalist West Coast, the undefeated North Melbourne and A Patrick Dangerfield-inspired Geelong. They opened betting for the first of this year’s two Q Clashes at $2.90 but have since gone out to $3.50.
Daniel Rich is a huge in for the Lions, while for the Suns, Touk Miller, Keegan Brooksby and Callum Ah Chee have been named in place of Rory Thompson (ankle), Trent McKenzie (nose), and the omitted Brandon Matera.
Saturday, April 16, 7:40 pm (AEST) @ Adelaide Oval
The Swans are sitting pretty on top of the ladder after three rounds, but will face their sternest test against a buoyant Adelaide team coming off consecutive wins over the Power and Tigers. Sydney was given a thorough examination by crosstown rivals, the Giants last week, but passed with flying colours.
Aside from their round one slip-up, the Crows have been extremely impressive so far this year. The Crows don’t have a great record against Sydney but in front of their home crowd and on the back of some strong form, they are fair chance of registering the first blip on the Swans’ 2016 radar.
Crows forward, Tom Lynch comes into the side for Riley Knight. Swans veteran, Jarrad McVeigh makes his first appearance of the season while Dean Towers has also been named by John Longmire.
Sunday, April 17, 1:10 pm (AEST) @ StarTrack Oval
The Giants were brave in defeat against the Swans over the weekend, and while they pushed their Sydney cousins hard, it was a Buddy Franklin brace that ultimately proved the difference. Port, meanwhile, produced a mammoth 119-point turn around. They smashed the Bombers by 61 points after they were belted by the Crows in The Showdown the previous week.
The Giants return to Canberra – the sight of their first ever win, which was against the Suns back in 2012. Their only other win during their inaugural season was against … yep, you guessed it, Port Adelaide.
GWS starts this one as a deserved favourite, but Port showed signs of life against the Dons last week, led by inspirational midfielder, Robbie Gray.
Matt Buntine, Jack Steele, Jarrod Pickett, Nick Haynes, Adam Tomlinson and Jacob Hopper are in for injured GWS trio Devon Smith (knee), Aidan Corr (ankle), Will Hoskin-Elliott (quad). For Port, Hamish Hartlett, Chad Wingard and Sam Colquhoun have been added to the squad.