Lance Franklin of the Swans will be a handful for the Bombers.
Lance Franklin of the Swans will be a handful for the Bombers. JULIAN SMITH

AFL previews for round 14



At the SCG, 7.50pm

Recent record: Syd 8 Ess 2

Last time: R7 2016: Syd 20.15 (135) d Ess 7.12 (54) at the SCG

AFTER languishing at 0-6, Sydney can move into the eight with a win tonight. Since round seven the Swans are 5-1. Essendon (6-6) will be fresh, coming off the bye, while the Swans have only had a six-day break after a tough win over Richmond. But the Bombers have lost their past six against the Swans and past six against them in Sydney. In fact, their recent away record is dismal, losing 14 of their past 15. And then there's Buddy. Franklin has booted 59 goals in his past 10 games against the red and black. Michael Hurley or Michael Hartley will have their hands full.



At the MCG, 1.45pm

Recent record: Coll 6 PA 4

Last time: R11 2016: PA 19.11 (125) d Coll 7.16 (58) at the MCG

Travis Varcoe of the Magpies.
Travis Varcoe of the Magpies. TRACEY NEARMY

PORT Adelaide (7-5) will have fond memories of the last time it ventured to the 'G - it was 12 months ago when beating Collingwood by a record 67 points. The Power will look to repeat the dose and consolidate its spot in the top four. The Power, coming off a comfortable win over the Lions, has won four of its past five against the Magpies (5-7), who lost last start to Melbourne but will be refreshed after the bye. While the Power will miss the run of Jared Polec (hamstring), the hosts should regain some experience in Ben Reid and Travis Varcoe.


At the Gabba, 4.35pm

Recent record: BL 2 GWS 3

Last time: R17 2016: GWS 22.14 (146) d BL 9.13 (67) at the Gabba

IT WAS a 92-point margin the first time these two met at the Gabba, in Brisbane's favour. Roles were quickly reversed with 79 points separating them last time, GWS claiming a third straight victory over the Lions, by 79 points. The Giants (9-3) will be favoured to make it four in a row, but you'd reckon another blowout looks unlikely. Led by Dayne Zorko (32 touches, two goals), the Lions (2-10) took it up to Port last week, and the Giants, though still second, are struggling for manpower, with Josh Kelly (hip) injured at training. He dominated last time, with 26 touches, three goals and three Brownlow votes.


At Etihad Stadium, 7.25pm

Recent record: WB 4 NM 6

Last time: R4 2017: WB 12.17 (89) d NM 12.14 (86) at Etihad Stadium

Ben Brown of the Kangaroos.
Ben Brown of the Kangaroos. JULIAN SMITH

THE Bulldogs have lost four of their past five games and now sit outside the top eight (6-6). No team has kicked less points over the past five weeks, totalling just 96 in the past two defeats to Sydney and Melbourne. Only two Dogs have booted more than 10 goals this season. Even Carlton and Brisbane have three or four. But you can't underestimate the premiers and they have a chance to hit back against a spluttering North, which can't get the job done either. Spearhead Ben Brown kicked four goals against the Dogs last time but has one from his past three games. It might yet be a nil-all draw.


At Domain Stadium, 7.40pm (AEST)

Recent record: WC 9 Melb 1

Last time: R18 2016: WC 10.6 (66) d Melb 8.12 (60) at Domain Stadium

MELBOURNE (7-5) has surged into the top five after its trouncing of the Dogs. If ever the Dees are going to show they are the real deal this is it. The Demons head west where they haven't won since 2004, losing their past nine games there, not to mention their past nine against the Eagles (home and away). Big Max Gawn is due back, but skipper Nathan Jones' run of 109 consecutive appearances ends with a quad injury. Spearhead Josh Kennedy (calf) will be a huge "in" for the Eagles.



At Simonds Stadium, 1.10pm

Recent record: Geel 5 Frem 5

Last time: R1 2017: Geel 18.7 (115) d Frem 10.13 (73) at Domain Stadium

Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats.
Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats. JULIAN SMITH

FREMANTLE is one of only four teams to have beaten Geelong at home in the past five years. But the chances of another victory look slim. While the Cats (8-4) have regained form, the Dockers (6-6) have dropped their past three - by a combined 177 points. They're last for tackling. After narrowly taking the honours in round one, Patrick Dangerfield (24 touches, three goals) will face off again against Nat Fyfe (28 disposal, one goal). Like the hosts, "Danger" looks in the better shape of the two Brownlow Medallists, Fyfe quiet against the Lions last start. And big Tom Hawkins is back for the Cats.


At the MCG, 3.20pm

Recent record: Rich 6 Carl 4

Last time: R1 2017: Rich 20.12 (132) d Carl 14.5 (89) at the MCG

CARLTON (5-7) is suddenly on a run, having toppled GWS and Gold Coast (away). The defensive-minded Blues will now look to end their five-game losing streak against Richmond (7-5), which dropped another close game against Sydney - that's four by under 10 points now this season. The Blues will be confident if it goes down to the wire. Dustin Martin is the man the Blues must stop - he collected 33 touches and kicked four goals in round one. On the flip side, Bryce Gibbs (43 disposals, two goals last week) is on fire for Carlton.


At Etihad Stadium, 4.40pm

Recent record: StK 5 GC 4

Last time: R15 2016: GC 15.18 (108) d StK 8.20 (68) at Metricon Stadium

Jarrod Harbrow of the Suns.
Jarrod Harbrow of the Suns. TRACEY NEARMY

ST KILDA (6-6) broke a three-game losing streak with a hard-fought win over North and should make it two in a row against the visiting Suns (5-7), who are coming off that disappointing loss to Carlton. Jarrod Harbrow's return from club suspension will be a bonus, but Michael Barlow (leg) will be missed. Playing his 300th game, the focus will, of course, be on Gary Ablett. Unfortunately the little champ hasn't had a great run in milestone games, losing in both his 100th and 200th.

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