Some big losses for a lowly Hawks side who currently sit 11th, a far cry from the premiership favourites they were six weeks ago. Luke Hodge is out with a knee and Jarred Boumann had his appendix out.
They shouldn’t have a problem against winless Melbourne, especially after last week’s stirring effort against the Saints.
Three nice names are in for the Cats: Tom Lonergan, Joel Selwood and Taylor Hunt while the Crows lose Shaun McKernan due to a suspension. Josh Jenkins will make his Crows debut in his place.
Adelaide are sitting pretty in fifth position with a 5-1 win-loss record with the Cats just a spot below on 4-2.
Adelaide were impressive sneaking in over Sydney last week but Geelong are the punting favourites despite the game being played at AAMI Stadium, paying $1.65 to Adelaide’s $2.25. Give me Adelaide in an “upset”.
Greater Western Sydney-Gold Coast
Both teams have amassed zero wins from a combined 12 contests but that doesn’t mean this won’t be a game worth watching. Gary Ablett, Michael Rischitelli, Israel Folau and Chad Cornes will each return to their respective teams and actually both sides have been reasonably competitive in recent weeks. Some of the young guys have really stood out and impressed and I’m eager to see their continued development.
But for comedy, can it please end in a draw?
Adam Goodes is out for what will be his longest sideline stint of a long career to date and Lewis Roberts-Thomson is out of the team with another injury as quickly has he joined it. That will hurt.
Richmond has continuity on its side and played some really outstanding footy for three of the four quarters last week, destroying the hapless Port away in Adelaide. Their midfield of Cotchin, Deledio, Martin and Maric will be a force in a season or two, if they don’t already figure it out this year.
I really want to see if someone can tag Josh Kennedy out of game. What a pleasant surprise he’s been.
The Pies receive Jarryd Blair back into the team and the enigmatic Alan Didak should make his 2012 debut. For Brisbane, much talked about rookie Dayne Zorko will have his first appearance.
Collingwood are currently eighth, but expect them to move further up the ladder after this one.
This will be a ripper of a game but unfortunately the Eagles will be without a couple more young stars as the injury bug really appears to be biting hard in Perth.
Nic Naitinui won’t play for the second consecutive game and while rising gun Adam Selwood needs a break after splitting the webbing between some fingers. Ashton Hams will also miss due to suspension.
With just the one loss between the teams thus far in 2012 I fully anticipate this one to go down to the wire where I expect the Bombers to complete what the Kangaroos could not last weekend.
North Melbourne-Western Bulldogs
North are OK and the Bulldogs, despite fighting hard last Friday night against the Pies, are not.
Not a lot of hype on my behalf surrounding this one, sorry.
Here’s a game that doesn’t promise much but could actually provide a bit of entertainment.
As dreadful as Port were last Sunday, and they were shocking for stretches, the Dockers have been up and down all season and need a last second goal to go ahead seven-points against a Gold Coast side missing its two best players (and the drop off from number two to three is quite dramatic).
Freo have obviously been missing Aaron Sandilands but their inconsistent play this season is a worrying sign. If they want to prove they’re heading in the right direction a big win here is crucial.
Both teams weren’t great last week, although admittedly the Blues were less than 100 percent. Judd and Waite return and that will definitely be enough to finish the 3-3 Saints.