CATS V BULLDOGS
At Simonds Stadium, Geelong, 7.50pm
RECENT RECORD: Geelong 9 Bulldogs 1
LAST TIME: R13 2016: Geel 16.4 (100) def WB 5.13 (43) at Docklands
LAST WEEK: Geel (85) def Adel (55); WB (60) lost to StK (75)
IT'S only been six weeks since these two last met, but so much has happened. With Patrick Dangerfield running rampant (37 disposals, two goals), Geelong was victorious but then slumped to losses to St Kilda and Sydney (at home) before returning to form against Adelaide, while the beaten Bulldogs won three straight before suffering a damaging defeat to the Saints when Mitch Wallis (leg) and Jack Redpath (knee) went down with season-ending injuries. The Dogs (12-5) should get some respite with Jake Stringer and Luke Dahlhaus back, but they won't be able to stop Geelong (12-5) registering a 10th straight win against them, and in Jimmy Bartel's 300th.
GIANTS V TIGERS
At Manuka Oval, Canberra, 1.45pm
RECENT RECORD: GWS 5 Richmond 0
LAST TIME: R14 2015: Rich 10.18 (78) def GWS 10.9 (69) at the MCG
LAST WEEK: GWS (79) def Port (60); Rich (44) lost to Haw (114)
COMING off that "shameful” fourth quarter, as coach Damien Hardwick put it, against ladder-leading Hawthorn, Richmond (7-10) must try to regroup to take on the second-placed Giants (12-5), who are No.1 for clearances and forward-50m entries, and now the all-important scoring. And having secured their first win in Adelaide, the Giants should break their drought against Richmond in the nation's capital - where GWS has won four of the past five - on the back of a relentless onball brigade led by skipper Cal Ward. Opposing captain Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin will be overwhelmed.
HAWKS V BLUES
At Aurora Stadium, Launceston, 2.10pm
RECENT RECORD: Hawthorn 10 Carlton 0
LAST TIME: R23 2015: Haw 17.11 (113) def Carl 8.8 (56) at the MCG
LAST WEEK: Haw (114) def Rich (44); Carl (68) lost to Syd (74)
WITH Tasmanian product Brendon Bolton at the helm, Carlton (6-11) makes its first ever trip to play in the Apple Isle, but it'll hardly be a warm welcome from the Hawks (14-3), who are unbeaten down there in 19 games - a run stretching back to 2012 - and unbeaten against the Blues in 13 games, not having suffered defeat against them since 2005. Having built an eight-match winning streak to now hold an eight-point advantage over the rest of the competition, the Hawks aren't about to let it slip against the Blues, who are struggling to kick more than 10 goals a game.
MAGPIES V EAGLES
At the MCG, 4.35pm
RECENT RECORD: Collingwood 6 West Coast 4
LAST TIME: R6 2016: WC 18.16 (124) def Coll 9.8 (62) at Subiaco
LAST WEEK: Coll (84) lost to NM (124); WC (66) def Melb (60)
WEST Coast (12-5) has risen back up to fifth on the back of a five-match winning run, but is hardly setting the world on fire. Once seen as having the most potent attack, the Eagles have been restricted to just 22 goals in their past two games against lowly Melbourne and Carlton, wayward Jack Darling adding 2.6 in the past three. And the Magpies will test them at the MCG. West Coast has won its past three against Collingwood, but only one of the past 10 times they have met on the hallowed turf.
KANGAROOS V SAINTS
At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 7.25pm
RECENT RECORD: North 6 St Kilda 4
LAST TIME: R7 2016: NM 11.16 (82) def StK 11.9 (75) at Docklands
LAST WEEK: NM (124) def Coll (84); StK (75) def WB (60).
MASSIVE game, not only because it's Brent Harvey's record-breaking 427th, but because the eighth-placed North (11-6) needs a win to put more of a breathing space between it and ninth-placed St Kilda (9-8), which is on the march. The Saints have lost their past five to the Roos, but have won five of their past six, including games against the Dogs and Cats, with Jack Steven on fire in the middle (with disposal hauls of 41, 25 and 39 in the past three weeks), and they should also welcome back key defender Sam Fisher to help against Roo talls Ben Brown and Drew Petrie.
LIONS V POWER
At the Gabba, Brisbane, 7.25pm
RECENT RECORD: Brisbane 6 Port 4
LAST TIME: R7 2016: PA 21.10 (136) def BL 7.17 (59) at Adelaide Oval
LAST WEEK: BL (128) def Ess (91); PA (60) lost to GWS (79)
AFTER collecting its first win in 13 games, Brisbane has the chance to make it two in a row and end the faint finals hopes of the visiting Port. The Power (8-9), which needs to win all five remaining games, hasn't won at the Gabba since 2007, losing its past three there, including one last year when the Lions kicked 15 goals to six after quarter-time. The Lions will be relieved big Charlie Dixon (ankle) won't be making the trip back to his home state after he booted five goals last time. They'll be hoping the much-maligned Daniel Rich (27 disposals last week) can continue his form, but he can expect a hard tag (via Kane Mitchell), which he struggles with.
DEMONS V SUNS
At the MCG, 1.10pm
RECENT RECORD: Melbourne 5 Gold Coast 3
LAST TIME: R7 2016: Melbourne 24.16 (160) def GC 14.3 (87) at Carrara
LAST WEEK: Melb (60) lost to WC (66); GC (105) def Frem (81)
THE form line can be deceiving. Gold Coast (6-11) has won three of its past four and Melbourne (7-10) one of its past five. But it's hard to go past the home side, which surely has the midfield depth, headed by Nathan Jones, who starred last time with 33 disposals and two goals, to overcome the visitors, who will be without arguably their six best onballers - you know, Ablett, Prestia, the list goes on. But this is Melbourne, of course, and don't be surprised if big Tom Lynch (55 goals this season) kicks his Suns to another victory if he can get on top of the similarly athletic - and named - Tom McDonald.
DOCKERS V SWANS
At Domain Stadium, Perth, 3.20pm (AEST)
RECENT RECORD: Fremantle 5 Sydney 4 Drawn 1
LAST TIME: QF 2015: Frem 10.9 (69) def Syd 7.18 (60) at Subiaco
LAST WEEK: Frem (81) lost to GC (108); Syd (74) def Carl (68)
HOW times have changed. Three of the last five games these two have played have been finals, the last a qualifying final after Fremantle had claimed the minor premiership. There'll be no finals match-up this year, with the Dockers 3-14 and presenting the Swans (12-5) with the chance to win their first game in Perth in four attempts. Subiaco has been a horror ground for the Swans - restricted to 1.3, 1.6 and 2.11 in the first half of their past three games there. The Dockers, of course, do have something to play for though - skipper Matthew Pavlich's 350th.
CROWS V BOMBERS
At Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm (AEST)
RECENT RECORD: Adelaide 7 Essendon 3
LAST TIME: R20 2015: Adel 27.9 (171) def Ess 8.11 (59) at Docklands
LAST WEEK: Adel (55) lost to Geel (85); Ess (91) lost to BL (128)
NEEDING to bounce back after suffering a first loss in nine games, Adelaide (12-5) will welcome the chance to play cellar-dweller Essendon (1-16) at home. Crows skipper Taylor Walker (ankle) is in doubt, but it won't matter with Bomber reject Josh Jenkins looming large in the attacking half, along with goalsneak Eddie Betts, who kicked five in the 112-point rout last time - back when the Bombers actually had most of their star players available.
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