- Geelong’s response after last week’s home loss
The Cats were extremely disappointing in the final term of their clash with the Swans last weekend, seeing them lose their first home match at Geelong for the season. This week, they welcome back Zac Smith and Scott Selwood from injury, with Steward Crameri making his debut in Geelong colours.
They will no doubt be looking to ensure they don’t make it back-to-back losses to the two New South Wales teams, and if they are to establish themselves inside the top-eight, their response on Friday night will be crucial.
- Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast
This looms as one of the most intriguing matches of the round, with either side posing a convincing case to be favourites. However, the fact the games is being played in Ballarat sees the Dogs become favourites, as they look to build from their Friday night win over the Blues.
The Suns looked the part early on this season, but have since faded to win only one out of their last four matches, but will be liking their chance against the Dogs. Either way, this should be a really competitive contest and will be an exciting one to watch.
- How Essendon shape up against their 80s rivals
The Dons face off against their old foes in Hawthorn on Saturday, and after two disappointing losses in the space of five days, what better side to turn their fortunes around than the Hawks. The Bombers have been very disappointing this season, but the bad blood and history between them and the Hawks may prove to be the exact motivation they need to kick into gear and turn their season around for the better.
As well as that, it is also a very crucial match in terms of how their season may pan out, and they will undoubtedly be looking to make amends for their poor season against one of their arch rivals.
- If the Eagles’ credentials stack up against the best
The Eagles have been great so far this season, but haven’t really beaten any decent sides other than Geelong in round 3. This week, they face their toughest side since facing off against the Cats as they prepare to tackle Port Adelaide in what looms as a match which could test how they stack up against one of the better teams of the competition.
Despite Port’s inconsistencies, they still prove to be a difficult task for any side, but the Eagles will be looking for a win just to prove to the competition they are to be feared this season.
- How North fare against the Swans in Sydney
North Melbourne has been one of the surprising teams so far this season, with their start to the season catching many sides unawares. Their biggest win came against Hawthorn two weeks ago, yet they followed that up with a disappointing loss to the Power at Etihad, and will be looking to make amends against the Swans.
Sydney isn’t at full strength and is vulnerable, proving to be the ideal platform for the Roos to hop back on the right track if they are to challenge for a finals spot this season.
- Adelaide continuing their form
The Crows were clinical against the Suns in Adelaide last weekend, and we should expect no different when they clash with the Blues which is also in Adelaide this Saturday night.
The Crows have started to string some good performances together, with a win two weeks ago against the Swans in Sydney seeing them start their two-game winning streak after a shock loss to Collingwood the previous week.
This week they take on the Blues, and you can be sure they will be looking to flex their muscles and do a number on a disappointing Carlton outfit.
- Fremantle’s response to tight Derby loss
The Dockers were extremely competitive in their 8-point loss to the Eagles last weekend, and were well within a chance of snatching a win from the jaws of defeat. They have looked really good so far this season with their big guns in Nat Fyfe and Lachie Neale dominating through the middle, and will be looking to put in a similar performance when they take on the premiership favourites in Richmond this Sunday.
The Tigers smashed the Dockers by 103-points in their last clash, but the Dockers have won their last two encounters at the MCG and that could prove to be a decisive factor as they’ll be looking to build on that.
- Melbourne beginning to make a finals tilt
The Dees finally strung together a good four quarters of footy in their convincing win over the Bombers on the weekend and will be looking to make it two on the trot when they face off against the Saints on Sunday.
The Saints have been poor this season, and with the Dees having such grand expectations at the start of the season, they will be looking to fulfill them as they look to get their season back on track.
If they are to do so however, they have to produce a convincing performance against the Saints, but in a season where the unexpected has happened, how the Dees front up on Sunday is unbeknownst to anyone. What is for sure is that if they are to make a genuine tilt for the finals, they’ll need to produce a solid performance this weekend.
- How the Pies handle their injury woes
Collingwood has been hit by the losses of James Aish, Brayden Maynard and Ben Reid for their clash against the Lions this weekend, and how they handle these absences will be critical to their chance of coming away from Brisbane with the four points.
The Pies looked great last weekend against the Tigers, but a final quarter fade-out saw them lose quite convincingly at the end of the day.
And now being compounded by a wealth of injury woes, this match against the Lions becomes a real danger game, and one which could define their season if they aren’t able to produce a performance worthy of a win.