AFL previews for round 20
CROWS V CATS
Adelaide Oval, 7.50pm (AEST)
Recent record: Geel 8 Adel 2
Last time: R11 2017: Geel 13.18 (96) d Adel 10.14 (74) in Geelong
ADELAIDE (12-4) hasn't beaten Geelong (11-1-4) for four years, spanning five losses. Admittedly four of those games have been played in Geelong, so the Crows will welcome the chance to break the hoodoo on their own turf. In a true battle for top spot, the hosts will miss midfielder Rory Sloane (concussion) and key back Jake Lever (hamstring) if they don't get up, but will certainly hope the ledger is evened out by not having to face their old star in Patrick Dangerfield (leg).
BOMBERS V ROOS
Etihad Stadium, 1.45pm
Recent record: NM 7 Ess 3
Last time: R8 2016: NM 10.14 (74) d Ess 8.12 (60) at Docklands
PUSHING for a spot in the top eight at 8-8, Essendon should get the points against the second-bottom North. But lack of consistency has been the Bombers' biggest problem this season. They come off two impressive wins over Collingwood and St Kilda, but it's been three years since they last strung three wins together. The Roos (4-12) have won their past four clashes, but have lost their past six games this season, following their 70-point smashing at the hands of Port.
DEMONS V POWER
Recent record: Melb 2 PA 8
Last time: R21 2016: Melb 13.16 (94) d PA 8.6 (54) in Adelaide
PORT Adelaide (10-6) returns to the MCG to play Melbourne for the first time since March 2013. The Dees (9-7) certainly won't be rolling out the red carpet, especially after their loss to the other SA mob, which has them at risk of dropping out of the top eight. They get back Dom Tyson and Jack Watts, but will again miss the grunt of Jack Viney and Nathan Jones in the middle against Ollie Wines, Travis Boak and co. A win will entrench the Power in the top four.
BULLDOGS V SUNS
Cazaly's Stadium, Cairns, 4.35pm
Recent record: WB 6 GC 2
Last time: R17 2016: WB 15.17 (107) d GC 8.11 (59) in Cairns
THE Bulldogs may be glad to be heading back to Cairns to "host" the Suns. Needing a win to stay in touch with the top eight, the premiers (8-8) have won their past three there against the Queenslanders (6-10). The Dogs won't have forward Jake Stringer (hamstring), but Steven May (hamstring) is arguably a bigger loss for the Suns, especially when ready-made replacement Jack Leslie (broken leg) can't be considered. While only four places separate them on the ladder, the gap is huge when it comes to tackling, the Dogs ranked first, the Suns 17th.
SWANS V SAINTS
Recent record: Syd 9 StK 1
Last time: R9 2017: Syd 18.10 (118) d StK 10.8 (68) at Docklands
SYDNEY (9-7) can continue its surge up the ladder and into premiership favouritism after that 0-6 start. The Swans have dominated St Kilda for five years, winning their past seven clashes, the past five by an average 69 points. Swans skipper Josh Kennedy (38 touches) was supreme last time. The ninth-placed Saints (at 9-7) haven't won at the SCG since 2009 and after their 10-goal loss to Essendon last week they don't look like breaking the drought, which will push them from further from the top eight.
DOCKERS V HAWKS
Domain Stadium, 7.40pm (AEST)
Recent record: Frem 1 Haw 9
Last time: R8 2016: Haw 17.14 (116) d Frem 11.9 (75) in Launceston
IT'S the battle for 12th place between the 2013 grand final combatants, with the loser most certainly out of finals contention. Hawthorn (6-1-9) will head west with confidence after taking it up to Geelong, drawing with GWS and beating Adelaide, not to mention holding that 9-1 record against Fremantle in recent times. The Dockers (7-9) kicked themselves out of last week's derby by slotting an inaccurate 5.14. They'll need their kicking boots on this week.
TIGERS V GIANTS
Recent record: Rich 5 GWS 2
Last time: R9 2017: GWS 11.12 (78) d Rich 10.15 (75) in Sydney
RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick wants revenge after GWS stole the points in round nine. Not sure if he'll get it but the Giants (10-2-4) are on the nose, having won just once in the past five weeks. And they may again miss Jeremy Cameron (hamstring), which will put the pressure on Jon Patton to get the job done in attack - against the league's best fullback, Alex Rance. Cameron kicked the match-winner last time. Big-name trade targets Dustin Martin and Josh Kelly will lock horns in the midfield.
MAGPIES V EAGLES
Etihad Stadium, 3.20pm
Recent record: Coll 6 WC 4
Last time: R19 2016: Coll 13.13 (91) d WC 11.6 (72) at the MCG
WEST Coast (9-7) heads across to "dreaded" Melbourne but the Eagles can take solace from the fact they're not playing the Magpies at the 'G. They haven't beaten them there since 1995. Instead, they meet at Docklands where the visitors have actually won four of their past six. The Magpies (6-10), on the other hand, have lost five of their past seven there. In his 200th game, spearhead Josh Kennedy will be a key for the Eagles, who are desperate to hold on to their spot in the eight.
LIONS V BLUES
At the Gabba, 4.40pm
Recent record: BL 4 Carl 6
Last time: R21 2016: BL 15.9 (99) d Carl 13.17 (95) at the Gabba
BOTTOM-placed Brisbane (3-13) has the chance to collect a fifth win from six outings against Carlton (5-11). With the visitors struggling in the clearance department - ranked last - dynamic trio Tom Rockliff, Dayne Beams and Dayne Zorko can give the hosts first use. It'll be an intriguing battle in the Lions attack where young stars Josh Schache and Eric Hipwood will be pitted against fellow 2015 draftee Jacob Weitering and the reborn Liam Jones.