Magpies and Cats look set to take out round 9 matches
MAGPIES V SWANS
- At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 7.50pm
- Recent record: Collingwood 9 Sydney 1
- Last time: PF 2012 - Sydney 13.18 (96) def Collingwood 10.10 (70)
Sydney may have won the game that mattered most - last season's preliminary final - but it has lost 11 of its past 12 games against Collingwood, and hasn't beaten the Pies at the MCG since 2000.
As well as that incredible record, the Magpies will also take great confidence into the blockbuster out of its thrilling win over a previously unbeaten Geelong last week.
And though it still has its injury concerns, Collingwood regains rebounding defender Heath Shaw.
While lucky to come out of it with a draw, the Swans never should have let Fremantle back into the contest last week, highlighting their struggle with form.
POWER V CATS
- At AAMI Stadium, Adelaide, 1.45pm
- Recent record: Port 1 Geelong 9
- Last time: R14 2012 - Geelong 14.15 (99) def Port 8.13 (61)
One-time ladder leader Port is about to lose its grip on a spot in the top eight.
After winning its first five games, the Power looks certain of losing a fourth in a row when it confronts a Geelong outfit on the rebound.
Port may be at home, but, if history counts for anything, it won't matter - it hasn't beaten the Cats at AAMI Stadium since 2004, and hasn't beaten them anywhere since 2007.
The Cats side that lost their first game of the season to Collingwood will be strengthened by the return of Steve Johnson.
GIANTS V EAGLES
- At Skoda Stadium, Sydney, 2.10pm
- Recent record: West Coast 1 GWS 0
- Last time: R3 2012 - West Coast 23.12 (150) def GWS 10.9 (69)
West Coast is still a long way from top form, eking out scratchy wins over Brisbane and North Melbourne in consecutive weeks.
But the Eagles will have no trouble gaining the four points against the Giants, who are still searching for a first win of 2013 after going down by 83 points to Hawthorn.
West Coast lose Sharrod Wellingham (ankle) but look set to ease Andrew Embley and Mark Nicoski back into the team.
Young Giant Jeremy Cameron has booted 16 goals in the past four weeks, but will find the going tough against Eric McKenzie.
SAINTS V BULLDOGS
- At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 4.40pm
- Recent record: St Kilda 8 Bulldogs 2
- Last time: R18 2012 - St Kilda 16.22 (118) def Bulldogs 6.6 (42)
St Kilda managed just 47 points in going down to Adelaide by 40 last week.
A similar score this week might just about be enough to win.
The Saints have won their last eight games against the Bulldogs, holding them to an average of 51 points in their last seven clashes and to just 42 and 40 in the past two.
Though held by the Crows, Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt should have a field day against Jordan Roughead and the Dogs defence - and prove the difference.
He took 14 marks, kicked four goals and claimed the three Brownlow votes last time.
TIGERS V BOMBERS
- At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 7.40pm
- Recent record: Richmond 4 Essendon 6
- Last time: R22 2012 - Richmond 13.24 (102) def Essendon 8.9 (57)
Unexpectedly mauled by the Lions, Essendon (6-2) now faces a Tigers outfit baying for more blood.
Richmond (5-3) is actually in the top eight and will be determined to stay there.
Youngsters Brandon Ellis and Nick Vlastuin were superb in registering season-high tallies of 39 touches and 16 marks respectively in the comfortable win over Melbourne.
It also welcomes back ruckman Ivan Maric to the side that did enough to see off the Demons.
Key forward Michael Hurley (concussion) playing, and fullback Jake Carlisle keeping Tiger spearhead Jack Riewoldt quiet will be crucial to the Bombers' chances.
LIONS V BLUES
- At the Gabba, Brisbane, 7.40pm
- Recent record: Carlton 7 Brisbane 3
- Last time: R20 2012 - Carlton 17.11 (113) def Brisbane 10.17 (77)
Brisbane scored a memorable win over Essendon last week, but it came at a cost with key defenders Daniel Merrett and Justin Clarke both suspended.
Carlton will look to exploit a weakened Lions defence through Jarrad Waite and Matthew Kruezer.
The key for the home side will be maintaining the intensity from last week and winning the midfield battle.
Bryce Gibbs, Heath Scotland, Kade Simpson, Andrew Carrazzo each gathered 30-plus disposals last time.
But Gibbs and Carrazzo look set to miss again, boosting the home team's chances.
HAWKS V SUNS
- At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 1.10pm
- Recent record: Hawthorn 3 Gold Coast 0
- Last time: R21 2012 - Hawthorn 19.15 (129) def Gold Coast 10.5 (65)
Gold Coast has won its past two games, against Melbourne and the Bulldogs, but faces the ultimate test against the premiership favourite.
The Suns will also have to take on the Hawks at home without No.1 ruck Zac Smith (knee) and possibly Charlie Dixon (ankle).
The Hawks have no worries in the big man department, with the versatile Jarryd Roughead in career-best form through the middle and in attack.
Rory Thompson is in for a tough day whether he plays on Roughy or 'Buddy'.
Significantly, the Hawks are first for goal accuracy (56%) and the Suns last (41.7%).
ROOS V CROWS
- At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 3.15pm
- Recent record: North 3 Adelaide 7
- Last time: R13 2012 - North 17.19 (121) def Adelaide 13.11 (89)
North (3-5) has been unlucky to go down to West Coast (away), Hawthorn, Collingwood and Geelong, but surely must get a deserved win here.
The Roos, No.1 for disposal efficiency (73.7%), will be aiming for its fourth straight win over Adelaide at Docklands, a ground where the Crows have won just once in their last 10 visits.
Josh Jenkins hauled in a round-high seven marks inside-50 in the 40-point win over St Kilda last week, but will not have the same freedom against Roos full-back Scott Thompson.
DOCKERS V DEMONS
- At Patersons Stadium, Perth, 4.40pm
- Recent record: Fremantle 7 Melbourne 3
- Last time: R23 2012 - Fremantle 14.17 (101) def Melbourne 5.10 (40)
Fremantle shot itself in the foot last week when one rushed behind was all it needed to register the 'four points' against Sydney.
There will be no near misses this week.
The Dockers' horror injury run has continued with in-form goalsneak Michael Walters (ankle) set to miss the next month, but they should still have far too much talent - headed by Nat Fyfe who registered a round-high 17 contested disposals last week - to be troubled by Melbourne.
Although they had a real crack against Richmond, the Demons have lost their last 13 games in Perth, dating back to 2004.