Round 15 of the AFL season sees a return to the full nine games following the bye weeks, in a crucial week for the makeup of the top four.
Thursday 27th June, 19:20 (AEST)
|Ambrose, Brown, Gleeson||B||Williams, Davis, Kennedy|
|HB||McKenna, Hooker, Saad||HB||Perryman, Haynes, Shaw|
|C||Fantasia, Merrett, Parish||C||Tomlinson, Hopper, Reid|
|HF||Zaharakis, Laverde, Begley||HF||Langdon, Cameron, Green|
|F||Langford, McKernan, McDonald-Tipungwuti||F||Finlayson, Himmelberg, Daniels|
|FOL||Bellchamber, Shiel, Heppell||FOL||Mumford, Coniglio, Kelly|
|I/C||Hurley, Redman, Clarke, McGrath||I/C||Taranto, Hately, Taylor, Deledio|
History: Played 9: Essendon 5 v GWS 4.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 1, 2019: GWS 16.16 (112) v Essendon 5.10 (40).
Final Thoughts: The Dons saddle up for another week of Thursday night footy and will be glad to return to the more familiar surrounds of Marvel Stadium. But like last week, they face another strong opponent. At 6-7, there isn’t too much margin for error for John Worsfold’s side, and a loss against the Giants (who they have lost to on four of the last five occasions) would make the top eight a very, very difficult prospect. The Giants, meanwhile, are cruising. A game inside the top four and a more-than-healthy percentage should see them attack this clash with confidence. And when they do that, they’re one of the most fearsome sides in the AFL.
Friday 28th June, 19:50 (AEST)
|Tuohy, Kolodjashnij, O’Connor||B||Brown, Talia, Laird|
|HB||Henry, Taylor, Stewart||HB||Smith, Keath, Gibbs|
|C||Dangerfield, Kelly, Duncan||C||Atkins, B.Crouch, Kelly|
|HF||Dahlhaus, Fogarty, Hawkins||HF||Gallucci, Walker, Douglas|
|F||Ablett, Bews, Atkins||F||Greenwood, Himmelberg, Betts|
|FOL||Blicavs, Guthrie, J.Selwood||FOL||O’Brien, M.Crouch, Sloane|
|I/C||Stanley, Miers, Clark, Parfitt||I/C||Seedsman, Hartigan, Davis, Murphy|
History: Played 44: Geelong 24 v Adelaide 20.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 3, 2019: Adelaide 10.15 (75) lost to Geelong 14.15 (99).
Final Thoughts: The Cat’s post-bye hoodoo continued last week, with their eighth-straight loss following the break. BUT, their record in the games immediately after post-bye clashes is 7-0 in the last seven seasons. Can they make it eight this weekend? Back at home, they start as $1.33 favourites. The price reflects their top-of-the-table form, but also reflects the fact that the Crows haven’t won in Geelong since 2003. Further, the Cats beat the Crows on home turf earlier this season. Don Pyke’s side, however, have improved since that round three encounter, and go into this clash having won seven of their last nine games. They are yet to beat a top eight side away from home this season, and will be desperate for a scalp on the road.
Saturday 29th June, 13:45 (AEST)
|O’Brien, Frawley, Burgoyne||B||Hurn, Schofield, Duggan|
|HB||Glass, Sicily, Hardwick||HB||Nelson, Sheppard, Jetta|
|C||Scully, Shiels, Henderson||C||Gaff, Yeo, Redden|
|HF||Breust, Gunston, Puopolo||HF||Cameron, Darling, Cripps|
|F||Hanrahan, McEvoy, Impey||F||Ryan, Kennedy, Rioli|
|FOL||Ceglar, O’Meara, Worpel||FOL||Naitanui, Sheed, Shuey|
|I/C||Nash, Smith, Moore, Howe||I/C||Masten, Allen, Hickey, Hutchings|
History: Played 50: Hawthorn 23 v West Coast 27.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 10, 2018: Hawthorn 9.6 (60) lost to West Coast 11.9 (75).
Final Thoughts: The Hawks’ season is very nearly done, and a loss to the Eagles will surely put a nail in their 2019 coffin. The premiers have won six of their last seven and importantly, are unbeaten at the MCG since the start of 2018. A minor slip up against the Swans on Queens Birthday weekend was a mere speed bump on what should be a top four finish again in 2019. The Hawks have actually won three of their last five against the Eagles. We’ve seen Clarko pull off backs-to-the-wall wins many, many times before. But is this week a bridge too far? To be in with a chance, they’ll need to use the ball far better than they did against the Swans last Friday. And with skipper Ben Stratton serving another week on the sidelines, they’ll have their hands full stopping twin towers Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling.
Saturday 29th June, 16:35 (AEST)
|O’Riordan, Rampe, Melican||B||Ballard, Day, Harbrow|
|HB||Mills, Aliir, Lloyd||HB||Hanley, Hombsch, Weller|
|C||Hewett, Parker, Jones||C||Sexton, Brodie, Lukosius|
|HF||Dawson, Blakey, Ronke||HF||Fiorini, Wright, Miller|
|F||Papley, Reid, Heeney||F||Martin, King, Powell|
|FOL||Sinclair, Kennedy, Florent||FOL||Witts, Swallow, MacPherson|
|I/C||McCartin, Rowbottom, Hayward, Rose||I/C||Ellis, Joyce, Miles, Scheer|
History: Played 9: Sydney 8 v Gold Coast 1.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 18, 2018: Sydney 8.16 (64) lost to Gold Coast 12.16 (88).
Final Thoughts: The Swans will be desperate to avoid a repeat of this clash last year where, starting as strong favourites, bottled it at home to Gold Coast. That, it turns out, was their first and only loss to the Suns. On a more positive note for John Longmire’s side, they are in fantastic touch. And with four wins in their last six, they’re considered an outside chance of sneaking into the top eight. They will have to play the next 3-4 weeks without star forward Buddy Franklin, however, who suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury last week against the Hawks. Suns coach Stuart Dew is a former Swans assistant and will bring some strong intel, but it’s hard to see his side – who have lost their last nine games straight – getting four points at the SCG.
Saturday 29th June, 19:25 (AEST)
|Maynard, Roughead, Greenwood||B||Williams, Thompson, Durdin|
|HB||Crisp, Moore, Aish||HB||Atley, Tarrant, McDonald|
|C||Phillips, Pendlebury, Mayne||C||Dumont, Simpkin, Polec|
|HF||Thomas, Cox, Hoskin-Elliott||HF||Thomas, Wood, Hayden|
|F||De Goey, Mihocek, Varcoe||F||Larkey, Brown, Turner|
|FOL||Grundy, Treloar, Sidebottom||FOL||Goldstein, Cunnington, Ziebell|
|I/C||C.Brown, Daicos, Reid, Sier||I/C||Anderson, Davies-Uniacke, Pittard, Zurhaar|
History: Played 160: Collingwood 107 v North Melbourne 51 (2 draws).
Last Meeting: AFL Round 18, 2018: Collingwood 20.10 (130) defeated North Melbourne 9.10 (64).
Final Thoughts: While Nathan Buckley was far from impressed with his side’s win over the Dogs last weekend, the fact of the matter is the Pies are sitting pretty, a game clear in second. They face a North Melbourne side who, on both occasions in the past two seasons, they have knocked off by over 40 points. The rebuilding Roos will fancy themselves to get at least closer than that this time around, however. Reinvigorated under interim coach Rhyce Shaw, North Melbourne, they’ve won three of their last four games – the only loss coming in a bruising encounter against premiership hopes GWS where they far from disgraced themselves. And under the roof at Marvel, this one will be similarly physical.
Saturday 29th June, 19:40 (AEST)
|Port Adelaide||Western Bulldogs|
|Burton, Clurey, Bonner||B||Johannisen, Trengove, Williams|
|HB||Hartlett, Jonas, Byrne-Jones||HB||Daniel, Cordy, Wood|
|C||Duursma, R.Gray, Ebert||C||Hunter, Smith, Lipinski|
|HF||Boak, Ladhams, Farrell||HF||Suckling, Schache, Lloyd|
|F||S.Gray, Dixon, Rozee||F||Bontempelli, Naughton, Dickson|
|FOL||Lycett, Wines, Houston||FOL||English, Dunkley, Macrae|
|I/C||Garner, Motlop, Drew, Butters||I/C||Crozier, Duryea, Richards, Smith|
History: Played 29: Port Adelaide 16 v Western Bulldogs 13.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 19, 2018: Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) lost to Port Adelaide 11.12 (78).
Final Thoughts: Fresh off a win over premiership favourites Geelong (a rarity in season 2019), the Power need another win to maintain their precarious position in the top eight. They face a Dogs outfit who have won just one of their last six encounters at Adelaide Oval. Without back-to-back wins since rounds five and six, Ken Hinkley’s side have struggled for consistency in 2019. The Dogs’ season, on the other hand, is all but done, now a distant $13 to make the top eight with Palmerbet. And given the Power have conceded the second-fewest inside-50s in the AFL this season, it’s hard to see them kicking a winning score.
Sunday 30th June, 13:10 (AEST)
|McKenzie, Carlisle, Savage||B||Astbury, Broad, Grimes|
|HB||Wilkie, Battle, Clark||HB||Short, Vlastuin, Stack|
|C||Billings, Ross, Hannebery||C||McIntosh, Prestia, Ellis|
|HF||Hind, Bruce, Sinclair||HF||Rioli, Castagna, Lambert|
|F||Gresham, Membrey, Acres||F||Edwards, Caddy, Lynch|
|FOL||Marshall, Dunstan, Steele||FOL||Soldo , Cotchin , Martin|
|I/C||Coffield, Newnes, Armitage, Long, Paton, Parker, Langlands, Rowe||I/C||Bachar Houli, Graham, Chol, Naish, Butler, Menadue, Bolton, Baker|
History: Played 185: St Kilda 71 v Richmond 111 (3 draws).
Last Meeting: AFL Round 18, 2018: St Kilda 8.9 (57) lost to Richmond 15.15 (111).
Final Thoughts: After an unexpectedly rollicking start to the season, Saints coach Alan Richardson had seemingly secured his previously tenuous job. But such is the nature of the business, after a few poor weeks from the Saints, Richardson is now under huge pressure to perform. A one-goal-to-nine third term against the Lions last week has turned the blowtorch up considerably. The Tigers, now outside the top eight after the bye rounds, are similarly under the pump. Starting the season as premiership favourites, Damien Hardwick’s side have lost three on the bounce. Nothing short of a win will be good enough for the tiger faithful here.
Sunday 30th June, 15:20 (AEST)
|Hodge, Andrews, Rich||B||Lockhart, May, Salem|
|HB||Witherden, Gardiner, Answerth||HB||Jones, Frost, Fritsch|
|C||Zorko, Neale, McCarthy||C||Baker, Harmes, Brayshaw|
|HF||Rayner, Hipwood, Robinson||HF||Hunt, Smith, Petracca|
|F||Cameron, McStay, Bailey||F||Hannan, T.McDonald, Weideman|
|FOL||Martin, McCluggage, Lyons||FOL||Gawn, Viney, Oliver|
|I/C||Keays, Christensen, Berry, Skinner, Lester, Starcevich, Lyons, McInerney||I/C||Lewis, Hibberd, Preuss, O.McDonald, Neal-Bullen, Hore, Petty, C.Wagner|
History: Played 28: Brisbane 15 v Melbourne 13.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 2, 2018: Brisbane 10.14 (74) lost to Melbourne 14.16 (100).
Final Thoughts: Like the Dogs, the Dees’ season is now done, and they can look forward to launching for 2020. How Simon Goodwin approaches that will be interesting, but last week’s win over Freo was certainly a good start. The young Lions, on the other hand, are primed for a real crack at it this season. After a dominant win over the Saints last week, a return home to The Gabba (where they’re 5-1 in 2019) should signal another four points for Chris Fagan. They have, however, lost their last four against Melbourne, but are solid favourites to snap that on Sunday.
Sunday 30th June, 17:20 (AEST)
|Wilson, Hamling, Ryan||B||Newman, Casboult, Simpson|
|HB||Hughes, Logue, Blakely||HB||Marchbank, Weitering, Plowman|
|C||B.Hill, Fyfe, Langdon||C||Murphy, Dow, O’Brien|
|HF||Tucker, Walters, Brayshaw||HF||E.Curnow, C.Curnow, Cuningham|
|F||Switkowski, Cox, Matera||F||Fisher, McGovern, Gibbons|
|FOL||Darcy, Conca, Mundy||FOL||Kreuzer, Setterfield, Walsh|
|I/C||Bewley, McCarthy, Colyer, Cerra, Banfield, Jones, Schultz, Duman||I/C||Thomas, Silvagni, Jones, Petrevski-Seton, Kennedy, Phillips, Goddard, Lang|
History: Played 33: Fremantle 20 v Carlton 13.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 21, 2018: Fremantle 15.11 (101) defeated Carlton 10.12 (72).
Final Thoughts: The Dockers were ravaged by injury during last week’s game against the Dees, which contributed heavily to their subsequent loss. Losing Jesse Hogan to injury is a big blow to their top four hopes, too. But they pick themselves up and, in facing the bottom-placed Blues, should bounce back for another four points. The Blues have lost their last three to the Dockers but since David Teague has taken over as interim coach, there’s a certain pep in their step. Whether the new-coach-spike extends another week will be interesting, with a big test in the west for the young Blues.