AFL previews: High-flying Swans face tough test in Hawks
HAWKS V SWANS
Recent record: Haw 7 Sydney 3.
Last time: R10 2017: Haw 12.9 (81) d Syd 11.9 (75) in Sydney.
SYDNEY (10-7) has been the form team of the competition, winning 10 of its past 11 games. But here the Swans come up against their bogey team, having lost eight of their past 11 clashes against Hawthorn. Sydney may welcome the fact it's travelling to play the Hawks (7-9-1) as it's won their past two match-ups at the 'G. Swans skipper Josh Kennedy will be the headline act in his 200th. His first 13 were with the Hawks.
ROOS V DEMONS
Blundstone Arena, 1.45pm
Recent record: NM 10 Melb 0.
Last time: R9 2017: NM 15.14 (104) d Melb 13.12 (90) at the MCG.
IT'S all about streaks in Hobart. No, not the clothesless kind. Far too cold down there. The hosts, the Kangaroos (4-13), will be gunning for a 17th straight win over Melbourne, and in doing avoid losing an eighth straight game for the first time in 33 years. With Jack Ziebell, Robbie Tarrant, and Mason Wood a chance to return for the Roos, it goes without saying this is a danger game for the Dees (10-7), who are pressing for a top four berth.
GIANTS V DOCKERS
Spotless Stadium, 2.10pm
Recent record: GWS 2 Frem 4.
Last time: R22 2016: GWS 19.15 (129) d Frem 5.7 (37) in Sydney.
HOW the mighty have fallen. After a six-week period which has yielded three defeats, two draws and one win, the Giants (10-5-2) suddenly face the prospect of slipping to as low as sixth this weekend. That should be avoided with them taking on a lacklustre Freo (7-10), which has won just one of its past eight games. The hosts won't have Toby Greene (suspended, again), but should regain forward Jeremy Cameron (hamstring) and star onballer Steve Coniglio (ankle).
Adelaide Oval, 4.35pm
Recent record: Port 6 StK 4.
Last time: R1 2016: Port 20.13 (133) d StK 15.10 (100) in Adelaide.
ST KILDA (9-8) will be hard-pressed to get its season back on track here. Coming off back-to-back defeats to Essendon and Sydney, totalling 103 points, the Saints head to Adelaide Oval where they are 0-7, to play Port, who they haven't beaten since 2011. The Power (10-7) struggled against the Demons in Melbourne, but are a different team at home. They will miss the dangerous Chad Wingard (ankle), but Robbie Gray is back to torment the Saints. The half-forward's picked up eight Brownlow votes in their past three clashes.
SUNS V TIGERS
Metricon Stadium, 7.25pm
Recent record: GC 3 Rich 3.
Last time: R12 2016: Rich 17.12 (114) d GC 15.7 (97) at the MCG.
RICHMOND has struggled against Gold Coast in Queensland, losing three of four clashes in Cairns or Carrara. But looking every bit the top-four team they currently are, the Tigers (11-6) have the chance to right some wrongs in the Sunshine State against the lowly Suns (6-11). Dustin Martin has dominated them of late, gathering 67 disposals, five goals and the maximum six Brownlow votes in their past two encounters. Good luck trying to stop him this week. At least Gary Ablett should return for the Suns after a rest last week.
BLUES V CATS
Etihad Stadium, 7.25pm
Recent record: Carl 3 Geel 7.
Last time: R10 2016: Carl 16.8 (104) d Geel 12.13 (85) at Docklands.
SECOND-placed Geelong (11-5-1) will look to bounce back in a big way against third-last-placed Carlton (5-12). Not only from a poor showing against Adelaide last week but also from its rare defeat to the Blues last year. The Cats will hope forward spearhead Tom Hawkins (one goal in two weeks) can find some form against the young Blues defence after backman Harry Taylor (five goals) showed him up last week.
BULLDOGS V BOMBERS
Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm
Recent record: Ess 6 WB 4.
Last time: R22 2016: WB 14.9 (93) d Ess 7.11 (53) at Docklands.
A CRUCIAL clash with the eighth-placed Bombers and 10th-placed Bulldogs (both 9-8) separated by percentage. The Dogs have managed to string a couple of wins together, but their defence has a major task trying to stop Joe Daniher, Cale Hooker and co in a red-hot Bombers attack with Dale Morris (broken arm) joining Marcus Adams (foot) on the sidelines. The Dogs' own attack, meanwhile, is spluttering with onballer Liam Picken carrying it last week (six goals).
MAGPIES V CROWS
Recent record: Coll 6 Adel 4.
Last time: R17 2016: Adel 14.13 (97) d Coll 10.9 (69) in Adelaide.
COLLINGWOOD (7-10) may have knocked over an 'interstater' in Melbourne last week, but ladder-leading Adelaide (13-4) is going to present a far bigger challenge than West Coast. That said, the Magpies might still fancy their chances with midfielder Brad Crouch (fractured cheekbone) and star forward Eddie Betts (appendix) both out for the Crows, and defender Jake Lever (hamstring) still under an injury cloud.
EAGLES V LIONS
Domain Stadium, 4.40pm
Recent record: WC 7 BL 3.
Last time: R13 2016: WC 20.11 (131) d BL 12.10 (82) in Brisbane.
BRISBANE looks set to come back to earth with a thud after its win over Carlton. The Lions (4-13) have lost their last seven games in Perth, averaging just 56 points, and haven't beaten the Eagles since 2012, losing their past six clashes. They'll put up a fight, but will miss star midfielder Dayne Zorko (suspended). Sitting ninth the hosts (9-8) need a win and will be boosted by the return of veteran onballer Sam Mitchell.