After a 12-week hiatus, footy finally returns to our screens this weekend. And the AFL could hardly have scheduled a more enticing game to herald its return.

Collingwood v Richmond @ MCG

Thursday 11th June, 19:40 (AEST)

CollingwoodRichmond
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Jack Crisp, Jordan Roughead, Jeremy HoweBNathan Broad, Dylan Grimes, David Astbury
HBBrayden Maynard, Darcy Moore, John NobleHBJayden Short, Nick Vlastuin, Bachar Houli
CWill Hoskin-Elliott, Scott Pendlebury, Chris MayneCDaniel Rioli, Dion Prestia, Jack Graham
HFTom Phillips, Brody Mihocek, Callum L. BrownHFShai Bolton, Shane Edwards, Jason Castagna
FJordan De Goey, Darcy Cameron, Jamie ElliottFTom J. Lynch, Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt
FOLBrodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, Steele SidebottomFOLIvan Soldo, Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert
I/CJosh Daicos, Josh Thomas, Tyler Brown, Jack MadgenI/CMarlion Pickett, Jack Higgins, Liam Baker, Sydney Stack


History:
Played 211: Collingwood 119 v Richmond 91 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL Round 19, 2019: Collingwood 9.12 (66) lost to Richmond 14.14 (98)

Final Thoughts: You better believe it: Footy is back, and league chiefs could hardly have scheduled a more enticing game to welcome its return.

The Tigers enter this huge clash in better shape than any, with their top 30 players all available. That includes All-Australian Bachar Houli, who had questions over his calf but will be thrust into their 22. His return, plus Jack Higgins’ recovery from a head injury, leaves a tough selection meeting for Damien Hardwick and co. While they start Round 2 as AFL minor premiership favourites with Palmerbet (at $4.20), the shortened nature of the season means losses to fellow top-four hopefuls means more than usual.

The Pies make just one change for the season restart, with recruit Darcy Cameron (Sydney) replacing the not-yet-right Mason Cox. Coach Nathan Buckley will also give Jaidyn Stephenson another week before giving him his first game of 2020.

Tip: Margin: Richmond by 1-39 @ $2.00

Geelong v Hawthorn @ GMHBA Stadium

Friday 12th June, 19:50 (AEST)

GeelongHawthorn
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
H.Taylor, M.Blicavs, J.HenryBJ.Sicily, J.Frawley, S.Frost
HBM.O’Connor, T.Stewart, Z.TuohyHBH.Morrison, B.McEvoy, B.Stratton
CS.Menegola, P.Dangerfield, J.SelwoodCJ.Gunston, J.Worpel, I.Smith
HFL.Dahlhaus, G.Rohan, T.AtkinsHFR.Henderson, T.O’Brien, P.Puopolo
FE.Ratugolea, T.Hawkins, G.MiersFS.Burgoyne, J.Patton, L.Breust
FOLR.Stanley, B.Parfitt, Q.NarkleFOLJ.Ceglar, T.Mitchell, C.Wingard
I/CG.Ablett, M.Duncan, C.Guthrie, J.BewsI/CB.Hardwick, L.Shiels, T.Scully, O.Hanrahan


History:
Played 166: Geelong 90 v Hawthorn 75 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL Round 18, 2019: Geelong 8.13 (61) def by Hawthorn 12.13 (85)

Final Thoughts: If Thursday night’s clash is a blockbuster then the following night’s act is equally as good. Arguably modern footy’s best rivalry, the Hawks travel down the highway and start as outsiders to a Cats side coach Chris Scott believes is in ‘better shape’ than in round one. While controversial midfielder Jack Steven CAN play after the AFL cleared him of wrongdoing in an incident that saw him stabbed, Scott will likely wait another week before selecting him.

No current day Hawk has tasted success at Kardinia Park, a venue they haven’t won at since 2006. And given they’re set to face Richmond and GWS in the next three weeks, four points will give them a much-needed buffer for the coming rounds.

Tip: Tom Mitchell (Haw) 30+ disposals @ $2.40

Brisbane v Fremantle @ Gabba

Saturday 13th June, 13:45 (AEST)

BrisbaneFremantle
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
B.Starcevich, H.Andrews, D.GardinerBL.Ryan, G.Logue, T.Duman
HBD.Rich, G.Birchall, C.Ah CheeHBR.Conca, B.Cox, N.Wilson
CM.Robinson, J.Lyons, H.McCluggageCB.Bewley, N.Fyfe, J.Aish
HFL.McCarthy, E.Hipwood, C.RaynerHFA.Cerra, M.Taberner, B.Banfield
FO.McInerney, D.McStay, C.CameronFB.Matera, R.Lobb, M.Walters
FOLS.Martin, D.Zorko, L.NealeFOLS.Darcy, D.Tucker, D.Mundy
I/CJ.Berry, T.Berry, Z.Bailey, R.LesterI/CE.Hughes, L.Schultz, A.Brayshaw, T.Colyer


History:
Played 28: Brisbane 13 v Fremantle 15

Last Meeting: AFL Round 10, 2019: Fremantle 10.13 (73) def Brisbane 10.12 (72)

Final Thoughts: Despite a first round stutter against the Hawks, Brisbane start as strong favourites against the Dockers to get their first points on the board this AFL season. Former Docker Lachie Neale by his own admission played poorly in his first game against his old club last season, and will be keen for amends. And while the Lions have stayed within the comforts of their home state, Fremantle have also made Queensland their new home.

It’s difficult to tell how much the month-long stay on the Gold Coast will impact Justin Longmuir’s side. Second favourites to miss the top 8 this season, the Dockers will begin the season re-start without Cam McCarthy who suffered a strange training collapse.

Tip: Line: Brisbane -18.5 @ $1.90

Carlton v Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium

Saturday 13th June, 16:35 (AEST)

CarltonMelbourne
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
L.Plowman, L.Jones, N.NewmanBN.Jetta, S.May, C.Salem
HBS.Docherty, J.Weitering, S.Petrevski-SetonHBN.Jones, J.Lever, J.Harmes
CS.Walsh, P.Cripps, W.SetterfieldCE.Langdon, C.Oliver, A.Tomlinson
HFM.McGovern, L.Casboult, J.MartinHFB.Fritsch, T.McDonald, A.Brayshaw
FE.Betts, H.McKay, M.GibbonsFK.Pickett, L.Jackson, C.Petracca
FOLM.Pittonet, E.Curnow, M.MurphyFOLM.Gawn, J.Melksham, J.Viney
I/CK.Simpson, J.Newnes, J.Silvagni, D.CuninghamI/CH.Bennell, T.Rivers, J.Hunt, J.Smith

 

History: Played 213: Carlton 118 v Melbourne 93 (2 draws)

Last Meeting: AFL Round 16, 2019: Carlton 15.10 (100) def by Melbourne 15.15 (105)

Final Thoughts: Like most sides, it’s difficult to get a read on form heading into the season re-start but especially so for the Blues. Unsurprisingly beaten by the Tigers in round one, David Teague’s side showed some promising signs but not enough to suggest that they will – for the first time in seven years – squeeze into the top 8 (currently $4 to do so with Palmerbet). This game, however, presents a huge opportunity to get their first points on the board in 2020.

Melbourne have pulled the selection shock of the round after deciding to blood recruit Harley Bennell. After years of calf troubles, the former Sun and Docker will play his first game since 2017 in what many feel is now boom or bust. Number three drafts pick Luke Jackson and half-back Trent Rivers will also make their AFL debuts against the Blues on Saturday.

Tip: H2H: Carlton @ $2.45

Port Adelaide v Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval

Saturday 13th June, 19:40 (AEST)

Port AdelaideAdelaide
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
R.Burton, T.Clurey, R.BonnerBL.Brown, D.Talia, J.Kelly
HBH.Hartlett, T.Jonas, D.Byrne-JonesHBB.Smith, T.Doedee, R.Laird
CX.Duursma, T.Rockliff, K.AmonCP.Seedsman, B.Crouch, N.McHenry
HFS.Powell-Pepper, T.Marshall, C.RozeeHFC.Jones, T.Walker, W.Milera
FZ.Butters, C.Dixon, R.GrayFT.Lynch, D.Fogarty, L.Murphy
FOLS.Lycett, D.Houston, T.BoakFOLR.O’Brien, M.Crouch, R.Sloane
I/CJ.Westhoff, T.McKenzie, S,Motlop, B.EbertI/CB.Crocker, R.Atkins, B.Keays, F.McAsey


History:
Played 47: Port Adelaide 23 v Adelaide 24

Last Meeting: AFL Round 16, 2019: Adelaide 9.14 (68) def by Port Adelaide 15.11 (101)

Final Thoughts: In the history of Showdowns, Adelaide currently edge it 24 to 23 but Port will more than fancy themselves to square the ledge on Saturday night. 2240 lucky fans will get to see the action live after the South Australian government gave the green light for a limited set of supporters to enter the Adelaide Oval.

The Crows have dropped off in the estimation of many, and are currently equal second favourite ($1.12) to miss the top 8 this AFL season. The Power, by contrast, are an even $2 with Palmerbet to make the finals again this season. Robbie Gray has taken home three of the last Showdown medals and you can currently get $2.10 for him to have 20+ disposals.

Tip: Margin: Port Adelaide 1-39 @ $1.83

Gold Coast v West Coast, Metricon Stadium

Saturday 13th June, 19:25 (AEST)

Gold CoastWest Coast
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
C.Budarick, S.Collins, J.LukosiusBB.Sheppard, T.Barrass, S.Hurn
HBJ.Bowes, C.Ballard, J.HarbrowHBL.Jetta, J.McGovern, L.Duggan
CL.Weller, H.Greenwood, N.AndersonCA.Gaff, E.Yeo, J.Redden
HFD.MacPherson, S.Day, B.AinsworthHFJ.Brander, J.Darling, D.Sheed
FS.Lemmens, B.King, N.HolmanFL.Ryan, J.Kennedy, J.Cripps
FOLJ.Witts, T.Miller, M.RowellFOLN.Naitanui, T.Kelly, L.Shuey
I/CA.Sexton, B.Fiorini, P.Hanley, W.PowellI/CO.Allen, J.Petruccelle, J.Nelson, B.Ah Chee

 

History: Played 11: Gold Coast 1 v West Coast 9 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL Round 7, 2019: West Coast 11.14 (80) def Gold Coast 8.9 (57)

Final Thoughts: The Eagles unsurprisingly start strong favourites at their new home for the next month. With almost their entire list to pick from, Adam Simpson will see this clash as an opportunity to boost percentage in a season where it becomes all the more important.

Sun coach Stuart Dew believes his runners can match it with what many perceive as the best midfield in the competition. “Our midfielders are looking forward to that challenge and not just going out there to fall into line,” he said. But without David Swallow and Brandon Ellis, they certainly have their work cut out.

Tip: Line: West Coast -32.5 @ $1.90

Greater Western Sydney v North Melbourne @ Giants Stadium

Sunday 14th June, 13:05 (AEST)

GWSNorth Melbourne
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
N.Haynes, A.Corr, S.TaylorBJ.Macmillan, R.Tarrant, L.McDonald
HBI.Cumming, P.Davis, Z.WilliamsHBJ.Pittard, J.Walker, S.Atley
CH.Perryman, S.Coniglio, L.WhitfieldCT.Dumont, B.Cunnington, J.Polec
HFJ.Kelly, J.Cameron, T.GreeneHFT.Thomas, B.Brown, C.Taylor
FB.Daniels, J.Finlayson, H.HimmelbergFA.Hall, J.Ziebell, C.Zurhaar
FOLS.Jacobs, J.Hopper, M. de BoerFOLT.Goldstein, S.Higgins, J.Simpkin
I/CH.Shaw, C.Ward, Z.Langdon, T.Green, J.Hately, D.Lloyd, J.Caldwell, S.MumfordI/CJ.Anderson, B.Scott, A.Bonar, M.Wood, K.Hayden, T.Xerri, T.Murphy, T.Campbell


History:
Played 9: GWS 3 v North Melbourne 6

Last Meeting: AFL Round 13, 2019: North Melbourne 10.8 (68) def by GWS 14.7 (91)

Final Thoughts: The Giants were 7-2 at home last season and they’ll fancy themselves to maintain that trend early on Sunday afternoon. With almost their entire list to pick from (including club favourite Callan Ward), its unsurprising to see them start as $1.34 favourites with Palmerbet.

North, by contrast, have far more issues at the selection table. Key forward Nick Larkey will miss, joining the likes of Majak Daw, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Kayne Turner, Taylor Garner and Ed Vickers-Willis on the sidelines. Coach Rhyce Shaw will need to think outside the square for his side to kick a winning score against what is a resolute Giants backline.

Tip: Margin: GWS 40+ @ $3.60

Sydney v Essendon @ SCG

Sunday 14th June, 15:35 (AEST)

SydneyEssendon
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
J.Lloyd, D.Rampe, A.AliirBM.Guelfi, C.Hooker, M.Hurley
HBC.Mills, K.Brand, H.CunninghamHBA.Saad, M.Redman, J.Ridley
CL.Taylor, L.Parker, J.DawsonCT.Cutler, A.McGrath, Z.Merrett
HFO.Florent, T.McCartin, I.HeeneyHFD.Smith, W.Snelling, A.McDonald-Tipungwuti
FS.Gray, N.Blakey, W.HaywardFJ.Stringer, S.McKernan, J.Townsend
FOLC.Sinclair, J.Kennedy, T.PapleyFOLT.Bellchambers, D.Heppell, D.Shiel
I/CR.Fox, J.Rowbottom, R.Clarke, G.Hewett, C.O’Riordan, J.McInerney, D.Stephens, C.WarnerI/CD.Parish, P.Ambrose, D.Zaharakis, K.Langford, A.Francis, B.Ham, A.Phillips, J.Laverde


History:
Played 222: Sydney 89 v Essendon 132 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL Round 16, 2019: Essendon 11.10 (76) def Sydney 9.12 (66)

Final Thoughts: The Swans survived almost the entire COVID period without injuries but, all of a sudden, are extremely light-on in the talls department. Key forwards Buddy Franklin and Sam Reid leave a huge hole going forward for the Bloods, while coach John Longmire admitted Sam Naismith could also miss with a tight hamstring. Young forwards Tom McCartin and Nick Blakey will need to do much of the heavy lifting, while Callum Sinclair and even Aliir Aliir will have to pick up ruck duties.

Injuries have also ravaged Essendon’s forward line in recent weeks. But while Orazio Fantasia misses, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti has proven his fitness. Nevertheless, the fact Joe Daniher remains on the long-term injury list and Jake Stringer has a sore toe, it appears both sides will rely heavily on goals from their midfielders in this SCG clash.

The Swans led for most of the 2nd half the last time these sides met before capitulating in the final term. Use Game Saver if you’re backing them H2H to avoid another bad beat.

Tip:  Margin: Sydney by 1-39 @ $2.10

St Kilda v Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium

Sunday 14th June, 18:05 (AEST)

St KildaWestern Bulldogs
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
B.Paton, C.Wilkie, D.HowardBR.Gardner, A.Keath, B.Williams
HBB.Long, H.Clark, J.GearyHBH.Crozier, J.Johannisen, C.Daniel
CB.Hill, Z.Jones, D.HanneberyCB.Smith, M.Bontempelli, P.Lipinski
HFJ.Lonie, M.King, J.BillingsHFB.Dale, A.Naughton, B.Gowers
FP.Ryder, T.Membrey, J.GreshamFM.Wallis, J.Bruce, S.Lloyd
FOLR.Marshall, J.Steele, S.RossFOLT.English, J.Dunkley, J.Macrae
I/CJ.Carlisle, D.Kent, D.Butler, L.Dunstan, J.Battle, N.Hind, J.Marsh. N.CoffieldI/CM.Suckling, Z.Cordy, E.Richards, L.Vandermeer, B.Cavarra, W.Hayes, J.Sweet, L.Jong


History:
Played 161: St Kilda 82 v Western Bulldogs 76 (3 draws)

Last Meeting: AFL Round 18, 2019: St Kilda 17.14 (116) def Western Bulldogs 14.5 *89)

Final Thoughts: Sunday night footy is back. In one of the round’s more even-natured matchups, the Saints host the Dogs in a tough-to-read contest. The Dogs were thumped to the tune of 52 points against the Pies in Round 1, while the Saints went down in a thriller to North. Recent contests between these two sides are split two a piece and both have a clean bill of health, making this one tough to split. Despite their lacklustre efforts in the season opener, the Dogs should prove too strong.

Tip: Line: Western Bulldogs -10.5 @1.90