Friday night footy is back again with the Tigers ‘hosting’ Hawthorn at the MCG, but the match of the round arrives the following day when Geelong hosts West Coast at Simonds Stadium. The Cats were brutal in their 120 point demolition of the Suns last weekend and the Eagles soared in the west, thrashing Collingwood by 62 points.
Elsewhere on Saturday the Pies and Blues reignite one of the AFL’s oldest rivalries at the MCG. The Swans are unbackable favourites to add to the woes of Essendon, the Suns will be keen to atone from the flogging they copped last week when they play the Demons at Metricon Stadium. The other two matches on show in a huge day of footy are the Bulldogs at home to the Crows and the out of sorts Dockers hosting the in-form Giants at Domain Stadium.
On Sunday, North Melbourne head to Etihad Stadium to face St Kilda, with the Kangaroos highly fancied to continue their perfect start to 2016. The final match of round seven sees Port hosting the Lions. Brisbane was impressive despite losing to Sydney on the weekend and will look to carry that form to the Adelaide Oval on Sunday evening.
Friday, May 6, 7:50 pm (AEST) @ MCG
The Tigers’ abysmal beginning to season 2016 continues, with the struggling AFL club on a five match losing streak. Their season started with so much promise; even before a ball was kicked in anger, fans, players and staff were all confident of improving on their impressive 2015 season. But since beating the Blues in the first round, Richmond has failed to halt its slide down the ladder.
Despite a shonky recent record against Richmond and after copping a 75 point shellacking at the hands of the Giants on the weekend, the Hawks are overwhelming favourites to heap more misery on Damien Hardwick’s Tigers.
Nick Vlastuin, Kamdyn McIntosh, Ben Griffiths, Jayden Short are in for the Tigers, while Ivan Maric, David Astbury, Kane Lambert and Trent Cotchin left out of the team through form and injury. The big change for the Hawks is captain Luke Hodge's knee forcing him to the sidelines with debutant Kaiden Brand coming into the team.
Saturday, May 7, 2:10 pm (AEST) @ MCG
How the great have fallen. Once upon a time, this clash would have been the highlight of any round of AFL, but these days the Pies and Blues are playing with a fair amount of mediocrity. The Blues managed a 15 point victory over the one of the only other teams playing worse than themselves; Essendon. Carlton flogged the Bombers the previous week as well but were brought back to earth with a 62 point loss to West Coast.
Unlike the Magpies, though, the Blues’ two wins have been back-to-back against the winless Fremantle and Essendon. Despite the poor showing from both of these traditional rivals in 2016, the AFL will still be expecting a decent crowd at the MCG on Saturday.
Carlton welcomes back Patrick Cripps and Andrew Walker from calf injuries, while Nick Graham has been left out. The Pies have recalled James Aish, while Nathan Brown was dropped and Ben Sinclair and Tom Langdon were unavailable through concussion and injury respectively.
Saturday, May 7, 2:10 pm (AEST) @ Simonds Stadium
Geelong’s strong start to 2016 reached new heights over the weekend when they inflicted a 120 point mauling of the Suns at Simonds Stadium. It was their biggest win in five years, where they ironically beat the Gold Coast at the same stadium by 150 points. The Cats now hold onto equal second spot with the Swans and start as favourites against the sixth-placed Eagles.
There is a concerning pattern emerging in the West Coast camp, with the home side’s form contradicting that of the away team. They have won all four matches at Domain Stadium and lost both east coast matches at the MCG (against Hawthorn) and the SCG (against Sydney) and it doesn’t get any easier versus Geelong at Simonds Stadium.
Andrew Mackie, Rhys Stanley and Tom Ruggles all return for the Cats, in place of Nathan Vardy, Jake Kolodjashnij and Jed Bews.
Saturday, May 7, 4:35 pm (AEST) @ SCG
The ‘Bloods’ are expected to turn the SCG into a bloodbath. The Swans are unbackable favourites to continue the misery of the under siege Bombers. If it wasn’t for winless Fremantle, the Bombers would be sitting stone cold last; they have the worst percentage of any team in the AFL this year. However, in a minor positive for the Dons, they did show signs of improvement in their loss to Carlton last weekend.
Sydney’s season is the complete opposite of Essendon’s; the Swans have won five of their six games so far in 2016 and are currently placed in third on percentages behind the Cats and the unbeaten Kangaroos. Back-to-back wins over West Coast and Brisbane has the Swannies full of confidence and keen to heap more misery on the Dons.
The Bombers have named Nathan Grima to make his club debut and have rested Darcy Parish and Kyle Langford. The Swans welcome back Nick Smith from injury in place of Aliir Aliir.
Saturday, May 7, 4:10 pm (AEST) @ Metricon Stadium
After a promising start to the season, the Suns have had a difficult three weeks, losing to Brisbane, as well as premiership heavyweights North and Geelong. The fact Gold Coast got beaten by 120 points on the weekend is bad news for the Dees, with Rodney Eade’s troops undoubtedly as hungry as ever to return to the winners circle.
The Dees posted back-to-back wins for the first time in five years a fortnight ago, but came crashing back to earth with a 39 point loss to St Kilda. The Demons sit on the cusp of the top eight; just one win behind the likes of the Hawks, Crows, Eagles, Giants and Bulldogs - meaning a win over the Suns could put them back on track to play finals footy.
Adam Saad, Jarrod Garlett and Darcy MacPherson come into the Suns' team for omitted duo Ryan Davis and Mackenzie Willis, as well as the injured Trent McKenzie.
Saturday, May 7, 7:40 pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
In one of the matches of the round, the Bulldogs will host the in-form Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium. The Bulldogs were one of the form teams of the competition, with early predictions forecasting a flag for the first time in 62 years. Last week, the Dogs couldn’t get the chocolates against the undefeated Kangaroos but they did provide stiff competition. With four wins and two losses, the Dogs will be hungry to get their premiership hopes back on track against a very good Adelaide team.
The Crows have won four of their last five matches after suffering a first round loss. Last week they kept Fremantle’s winless start to the season going. This week the Bulldogs defence will be pushed to its limits with the electrifying Eddie Betts leading the Crows’ attack.
The Bulldogs have left out Koby Stevens and Lin Jong for Jack Redpath and Caleb Daniel. The Crows have also made two changes with Ricky Henderson and Brad Crouch in for the injured Rory Laird and the omitted Jarryd Lyons.
Saturday, May 7, 8:10 pm (AEST) @ Domain Stadium
Both Freo and GWS have been two of the AFL’s most intriguing stories of 2016 … unfortunately, for the Dockers, for very different reasons. After some smart pre-season acquisitions, the Giants are fast becoming one of the success stories of the season; their 75-point demolition of the reigning premiers, Hawthorn last weekend would have caught almost everybody with no association to the club by surprise.
On the flip side is the capitulation of Fremantle. The Dockers are playing so poorly this season, they are yet to register a victory; the closest they have come to getting the four points was in their four point loss to fellow battlers Carlton in Melbourne two weeks ago.
The Giants are unchanged after their win last weekend and Fremantle has recalled Garrick Ibbotson and Nick Suban.
Sunday, May 8, 3:20 pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
North Melbourne has enjoyed its most fruitful start to a season in a long time, after posting six wins from as many matches. Probably the most pleasing thing for coach Brad Scott is the fact his team is spreading the workload evenly amongst each other. But the pick of the bunch would have to be Jarrad Waite, Drew Petrie, workhorse Brent ‘Boomer’ Harvey and Ben Brown.
While North is the clear (and deserved) favourite to win this one, you would have to be a fool to completely write off St Kilda, considering the form of their captain Nick Reiwoldt. St Nick has led his team admirably and even though it was a difficult first five weeks, the Saints will be high in confidence after disposing of the Demons by 39 points last week.
Lindsay Thomas is suspended for North with Robin Nahas on standby, while Mason Wood, Aaron Mullett, Brad McKenzie and Majak Daw have been included on an extended bench. The Saints are unchanged.
Sunday, May 8, 4:40 pm (AEST) @ Adelaide Oval
Despite a late surge against Sydney last weekend, the brave Brisbane Lions could not manage the upset of the season, eventually going down to the Swans by three points in challenging conditions. The Lions have had one of the most difficult draws in the first six rounds and things don’t get much easier against Port in Adelaide. So far in 2016 the Lions have faced the Eagles, the undefeated Kangaroos, the second-placed Cats, the Suns, Bulldogs and Swans with their only win coming against the Gold Coast.
Port had a powerful win last weekend without star duo Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard, keeping Richmond’s losing streak alive. They’ve had three wins from three matches and will be on high alert against a rapidly improving Lions team.
Chad Wingard, Jackson Trengove and Karl Amon join an extended Power team. Brisbane has named an extended team as well with Josh Schache, Dayne Beams, Marco Paparone and Billy Evans in, while Liam Dawson is injured.