Round 20 of the AFL season features a host of do-or-die clashes that will finish some club’s hopes of September action in season 2019.
Friday 2nd August, 19:50 (AEST)
|Williams, Thompson, Durdin||B||Howe, Frawley, Sicily|
|HB||Macmillan, Tarrant, Pittard||HB||Hardwick, O’Brien, Stratton|
|C||Dumont, Ziebell, Polec||C||Henderson, O’Meara, Scully|
|HF||Wood, Larkey, Thomas||HF||Shiels, Gunston, Nash|
|F||Zurhaar, Brown, Simpkin||F||Breust, Lewis, Puopolo|
|FOL||Goldstein, Higgins, Cunnington||FOL||McEvoy, Worpel, Burgoyne|
|I/C||Garner, Davies-Uniacke, Ahern, Turner||I/C||Birchall, Wingard, Smith, Hanrahan|
History: Played 175: North Melbourne 76 v Hawthorn 97 (2 draws).
Last Meeting: AFL Round 3, 2019: Hawthorn 13.9 (87) defeated North Melbourne 10.11 (71).
Final Thoughts: The fight for eighth heats up with this Friday night clash. Both sides are still considered outsiders for September, although the Hawks ($8 with Palmerbet to make the finals) are a significantly better hope than North Melbourne ($26) who essentially need to win their remaining four games and rely on other results to go their way. As such, Hawthorn likely have more to play for, but North Melbourne have shown that despite recent losses, their game plan under interim coach Rhyce Shaw holds up. The Hawks have won nine of the last 11 games against North, and also won when these sides met earlier in 2019.
Saturday 3rd August, 13:45 (AEST)
|Redman, Hooker, Gleeson||B||Houston, Clurey, Bonner|
|HB||Francis, Ambrose, Zaharakis||HB||Hartlett, Jonas, Byrne-Jones|
|C||Fantasia, Merrett, Langford||C||Duursma, Rockliff, Amon|
|HF||Parish, Brown, McDonald-Tipungwuti||HF||R. Gray, Dixon, S. Gray|
|F||Snelling, McKernan, McGrath||F||Westhoff, Ladhams, Rozee|
|FOL||Z. Clarke, Shiel, D. Clarke||FOL||Ryder, Powell-Pepper, Boak|
|I/C||McKenna, Guelfi, Stringer, Saad||I/C||Sutcliffe, Broadbent, Butters, Marshall|
History: Played 30: Essendon 14 v Port Adelaide 16.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 23, 2018: Port Adelaide 13.11 (89) lost to Essendon 17.9 (111).
Final Thoughts: The Dons can’t stop winning, and despite a late scare from cellar dwellers Gold Coast last weekend, registered their seventh win in eight games. The win all but secures them a top eight spot. The Power, on the other hand, are tracking in the polar opposite direction. Three straight losses leaves them clinging onto season 2019 by a thread, and a loss could even spell curtains for their year. In further dour news for Power fans, Ken Hinkley’s men have struggled against Essendon in recent times. They lost both encounters last season, both by 22 points. Can they arrest their slide in this vital clash?
Saturday 3rd August, 14:10 (AEST)
|Shaw, Davis, Haynes||B||Aliir, Mills, Clarke|
|HB||Perryman, Tomlinson, Stein||HB||Lloyd, McCartin, Florent|
|C||Reid, Taranto, Keeffe||C||Rose, Heeney, Jones|
|HF||Whitfield, Mumford, Deledio||HF||Blakey, Reid, Dawson|
|F||Finlayson, Cameron, Greene||F||Parker, Menzel, Papley|
|FOL||Simpson, Hopper, Daniels||FOL||McLean, Hewett, Kennedy|
|I/C||Williams, Himmelberg, Hately, Hill||I/C||Jack, Ronke, Fox, Rowbottom|
History: Played 17: GWS 6 v Sydney 11.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 6, 2019: Sydney 12.7 (79) lost to GWS 18.12 (120).
Final Thoughts: The carrot is very different for the two Sydney-based sides in the 18th ‘Battle of the Bridge’. For the Giants it’s a big chance to consolidate their top four spot and continue gathering momentum before September. For the Swans, however, it’s mere pride on the line. When these sides met earlier this season the Giants won comfortably by 41 points. More importantly, they kicked 18 goals against the Bloods – two more than any other game this season. Given the Giants have won the last two by an average of 45 points, it’s hard to see them being upstaged by their cross-town rivals this time around.
Saturday 3rd August, 16:35 (AEST)
|Duman, Hamling, Blakely||B||Henry, Blicavs, Kolodjashnij|
|HB||Hughes, Logue, Cerra||HB||O’Connor, Tuohy, Stewart|
|C||B. Hill, Fyfe, Langdon||C||Clark, Dangerfield, S. Selwood|
|HF||Banfield, Walters, Crowden||HF||Ablett, Ratugolea, Duncan|
|F||Brayshaw, Darcy, Matera||F||Rohan, Hawkins, Atkins|
|FOL||Sandilands, Conca, Mundy||FOL||Smith, J. Selwood, Kelly|
|I/C||Carter, Switkowski, Tucker, Schultz||I/C||Miers, Bews, C. Guthrie, Dahlhaus|
History: Played 38: Fremantle 12 v Geelong 26.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 22, 2018: Geelong 24.14 (158) defeated Fremantle 3.7 (25).
Final Thoughts: When these sides last played, in Round 22 last year, Fremantle were utterly embarrassed to the tune of 133 points. And while it’s hard to see that scoreline being repeated, the same result is likely. The Dockers have won just one game (by a point over the Swans) in their last six, and are bereft of confidence. The jungle drums are beating for Ross Lyon, who needs to finish the season strongly. For the Cats, a couple more wins should all but secure top spot and a home qualifying final. Tom Hawkins has kicked 3+ goals in nine of Geelong’s last 10 interstate day matches. Will he do so again?
Saturday 3rd August, 19:25 (AEST)
|Hibberd, McDonald, Lever||B||Astbury, Broad, Grimes|
|HB||Salem, Frost, Lewis||HB||Houli, Vlastuin, Edwards|
|C||Harmes, Petracca, Jones||C||Short, Prestia, Bolton|
|HF||Dunkley, Petty, Hunt||HF||Rioli, Ellis, Lambert|
|F||Melksham, Oliver, Fritsch||F||Baker, Riewoldt, Lynch|
|FOL||Gawn, Viney, Brayshaw||FOL||Soldo, Caddy, Martin|
|I/C||Preuss, Kennedy Harris, Baker, C. Wagner||I/C||Graham, Butler, Castagna, Chol|
History: Played 190: Melbourne 82 v Richmond 106 (2 draws).
Last Meeting: AFL Round 6, 2019: Richmond 12.13 (85) defeated Melbourne 6.6 (42).
Final Thoughts: At the start of the season, this clash was pencilled in as a big pre-finals encounter. As it has transpired, however, it should be little more than a training run for the Tigers. Damien Hardwick’s side has been brilliant since the mid-season bye, and as reported this week are the new premiership favourites for 2019. Melbourne, conversely, have been dismal this year, and are languishing in second-bottom. In the last month they’ve conceded almost 30 points per game in final quarters, as they struggle to run out games. The Dees were brushed aside by the Tigers to the tune of 43 points earlier this season, and every form-line suggests a similar result.
Saturday 3rd August, 19:40 (AEST)
|Kelly, Talia, Brown||B||Savage, Brown, Paton|
|HB||Mackay, Hartigan, Laird||HB||Wilkie, Carlisle, Clark|
|C||Sloane, B. Crouch, Atkins||C||Billings, Ross, Langlands|
|HF||Douglas, Lynch, Knight||HF||Hind, Bruce, Steele|
|F||Murphy, Walker, Betts||F||Lonie, Membrey, Battle|
|FOL||O’Brien, M. Crouch, Gibbs||FOL||Marshall, Dunstan, Gresham|
|I/C||Otten, Milera, Fogarty, Smith||I/C||Coffield, Newnes, Long, Sinclair|
History: Played 43: Adelaide 27 v St Kilda 15 (1 draw).
Last Meeting: AFL Round 6, 2019: St Kilda 10.8 (69) lost to Adelaide 15.7 (97).
Final Thoughts: The Crows are another team under siege this week having lost four of their past five. At one stage Don Pyke’s side were a short $1.10 with Palmerbet to make the top eight in season 2019 but their poor run of form has seen them out to an even $2.00. Equal with the Dogs on 36 points, with four clubs breathing down their neck on 32 points, this game is simply a must win for Pyke. But they face an invigorated Brett Ratten who, as interim coach, has led the Saints to back-to-back wins. Working in the Crows favour is the fact that they’re undefeated against the Saints (with nine straight wins) since 2012.
Sunday 4th August, 13:10 (AEST)
|Maynard, Roughead, Howe||B||Lukosius, Ballard, Harbrow|
|HB||Crisp, Scharenberg, Greenwood||HB||Martin, Burgess, Weller|
|C||Phillips, Pendlebury, Sidebottom||C||Hanley, Miles, Fiorini|
|HF||C. Brown, Cox, Hoskin-Elliott||HF||Sexton, Wright, Miller|
|F||Elliott, Mihocek, Varcoe||F||Lemmens, Day, King|
|FOL||Grundy, Treloar, Adams||FOL||Witts, Swallow, MacPherson|
|I/C||T. Brown, Crocker, J. Daicos, Madgen, Mayne, Thomas, Noble, Wills||I/C||Ainsworth, Bowes, Dawson, Graham, Horlin-Smith, Heron, McLennan, Rischitelli|
History: Played 8: Collingwood 6 v Gold Coast 2.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 15, 2018: Gold Coast 8.12 (60) lost to Collingwood 14.15 (99).
Final Thoughts: With four losses in their last five, plus an injury list of around 20 players, things have certainly been better for Nathan Buckley. One of the premiership favourites for much of 2019, all of a sudden the Pies are out to a distant $13 to salute in late September. Flagpies no longer? But while the Suns gave the Dons a scare last week, surely, SURELY, Collingwood return to winning ways this weekend? Previous encounters in Melbourne has seen them breeze past the Suns by 97 and 71 points respectively. Unfortunately for Stuart Dew’s side, who haven’t won since round four, it’s becoming harder and harder to see them post another win this season.
Sunday 4th August, 15:20 (AEST)
|Weitering, Jones, Thomas||B||Hurn, Barrass, Schofield|
|HB||Petrevski-Seton, Plowman, Simpson||HB||Jetta, McGovern, Sheppard|
|C||O’Brien, Cripps, Setterfield||C||Redden, Shuey, Sheed|
|HF||Gibbons, Casboult, Silvagni||HF||Petruccelle, Darling, Rioli|
|F||Lang, McKay, Kennedy||F||Ryan, Kennedy, Allen|
|FOL||Phillips, Walsh, E. Curnow||FOL||Hickey, Yeo, Gaff|
|I/C||Newman, Murphy, Deluca, Fisher, Goddard, Fasolo, Lobbe, Dow||I/C||Waterman, Masten, Watson, Cole, Nelson, Williams, Hutchings, Cameron|
History: Played 44: Carlton 21 v West Coast 23.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 5, 2018: Carlton 10.9 (69) lost to West Coast 10.19 (79).
Final Thoughts: The Blues have won five of their last seven under interim coach David Teague and the more fans see, the more they want him instated as full-time boss. And while they aren’t playing for anything tangible this weekend, they’ll want to ride this momentum, of which fans have been starved of, under season’s end. The Eagles, conversely, DO have something to play for – a top-two spot. Hanging on to second by less than a percentage point to the Lions, Adam Simpson will want a buffer to go one step closer to securing the all-important home qualifying final. And given they’ve won their last eight games in Melbourne, the long trip from Perth certainly holds no fears.
Sunday 4th August, 16:40 (AEST)
|Hodge, Andrews, Adams||B||Duryea, Trengove, Crozier|
|HB||Witherden, Gardiner, Rich||HB||Daniel, Cordy, Wood|
|C||McCarthy, Zorko, Robinson||C||Hunter, Liberatore, Johannisen|
|HF||Cameron, Hipwood, McCluggage||HF||Dale, Naughton, Lloyd|
|F||Mcinerney, McStay, J. Berry||F||B. Smith, Bontempelli, Dickson|
|FOL||Martin, Neale, J. Lyons||FOL||English, Dunkley, Macrae|
|I/C||Keays, Christensen, Bastinac, Walker, Rayner, Taylor, Bailey, Answerth||I/C||Suckling, Schache, West, McLean, Richard, Lipinski, B. Williams, Sweet|
History: Played 38: Brisbane 18 v Western Bulldogs 20.
Last Meeting: AFL Round 8, 2019: Western Bulldogs 13.14 (92) defeated Brisbane 11.10 (76).
Final Thoughts: Round 20 finishes in style in what is set to be perhaps the best game of the weekend. Certainly, there’s lots to play for. For the Lions, a chance to further bed down their top four aspirations. And for the Dogs, their finals hopes altogether. In ninth (and with a poor percentage) Luke Beveridge’s side has little margin for error in the final weeks of the season. Recent form falls their way – they’re undefeated against the Lions since 2015. And with four wins in their last five, could their finals run begin here with an upset over the Lions at fortress Gabba?