Luke Hodge of the Hawks will return from suspension this weekend.
Luke Hodge of the Hawks will return from suspension this weekend. TRACEY NEARMY

Round two AFL previews

FRIDAY

BULLDOGS v SWANS

At Etihad Stadium, 6.50pm (AEST)

 

RECENT RECORD: WB 4 Syd 6

 

LAST TIME: GF 2016: WB 13.11 (89) def Syd 10.7 (67) at the MCG

 

THEY may have beaten them in the grand final, but the Bulldogs have now strung three successive wins together over the Swans - including two in Sydney. And they'll be quietly confident of making it four in a row. The Swans were shell-shocked by Port in the opener and then saw their already worrying injury list grow with key defender Dane Rampe breaking his arm. The Dogs have lost backman Dale Morris (broken leg), but have more in reserve than the Swans.

SATURDAY

HAWKS v CROWS

At the MCG, 12.45pm (AEST)

 

RECENT RECORD: Haw 8 Adel 2

 

LAST TIME: R5 2016: Haw 17.10 (112) def Adel 17.7 (109) at the MCG

 

FORMER skipper Luke Hodge is back from his club-imposed suspension and the Hawks will be hoping he can bring a change of fortune after last week's capitulation to Essendon. It won't be easy, especially if Crows captain Taylor Walker (hamstring) can get up. The Hawks have won the past seven clashes between the two but are ripe for the picking against a Crows outfit that destroyed flag favourite GWS.

 

Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL player Jeremy Cameron.
Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL player Jeremy Cameron. PAUL MILLER

GIANTS V SUNS

At Spotless Stadium, 3.35pm (AEST)

 

RECENT RECORD: GWS 5 GC 4

 

LAST TIME: R20 2016: GWS 14.8 (92) def GC 13.6 (84) at Carrara

 

THE Giants will look to bounce back from their opening-round shellacking in Adelaide, and make it five in a row against the Suns. The visitors will, however, take heart from their (just failed) comeback against the Lions, losing by two after being down by 47. It's a mouth-watering match-up featuring some of the best key talls going around - Jeremy Cameron and Jon Patton (GWS) down one end and Tom Lynch and Peter Wright at the other.

LIONS V BOMBERS

At the Gabba, 6.25pm (AEST)

 

RECENT RECORD: BL 5 Ess 4 Drawn 1

 

LAST TIME: R18 2016: BL 20.8 (128) def Ess 12.19 (91) at Docklands

 

BRISBANE will be gunning for a 2-0 record to start the season for the first time since 2010, buoyed by a round-one win in the QClash. The Bombers will hoping they don't fall back to earth with a thud on the controversial Gabba deck after their season-opening heroics against Hawthorn. They have won on their last two visits to Brisbane, though the Lions got them down south last year. Unfortunately, ex-Lion goalsneak Josh Green (hamstring) won't make the trip.

 

Sam Mitchell of the Eagles.
Sam Mitchell of the Eagles. JULIAN SMITH

EAGLES V SAINTS

At Domain Stadium, 6.40pm (AEST)

 

RECENT RECORD: WC 7 StK 3

 

LAST TIME: R8 2016: WC 20.12 (132) def StK 3.11 (29) in Perth

 

THESE two clash in Perth for the third straight time, the Saints having lost the last two by 95 and 103 points. It should be another big win for the hosts - who have racked up seven straight against St Kilda - with Josh Kennedy (seven goals) and Sam Mitchell (38 touches) in red-hot form against North. To make matters worse for the Saints, who come off a demoralising loss to Melbourne, they will head west without superstar Nick Riewoldt (knee).

SUNDAY

CATS V ROOS

At Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm (AEST)

 

RECENT RECORD: Geel 5 NM 5

 

LAST TIME: R12 2016: Geel 15.15 (105) def NM 12.2 (74) at Docklands

 

NORTH will still be having nightmares about Patrick Dangerfield after his incredible game in round 12 last year - 48 disposals, 13 clearances, 11 inside 50s and two goals. Hitting the ground running against Freo (24 touches, three goals), he will lead the Cats to another comfortable win over the Roos, who will be without spearhead Jarrad Waite (shoulder). And Chris Scott will edge ahead 4-3 in coaching battles against twin Brad.

 

Patrick Cripps of the Blues.
Patrick Cripps of the Blues. TRACEY NEARMY

DEMONS V BLUES

At the MCG, 3.20pm (AEST)

 

RECENT RECORD: Melb 1 Carl 9

 

LAST TIME: R22 2016: Carl 11.12 (78) def Melb 7.16 (58) at the MCG

 

ONLY one of these long-time battlers is making huge strides and it's not Carlton. Though there are some promising signs for the Blues, whose young bull Patrick Cripps dominated last time (30 touches, three Brownlow votes), the Demons, as they showed against St Kilda, have far greater midfield class and depth. Jordan Lewis combining with rising forces such as Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca is a recipe for success - and just a second win in 11 outings against Carlton.

POWER V DOCKERS

At the Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm (AEST)

 

RECENT RECORD: Port 3 Frem 7

 

LAST TIME: R13 2016: Frem 12.14 (86) def Port 9.15 (69) in Perth

 

FREMANTLE's big loss to Geelong showed it won't be a simple case of adding a few new players and hey presto, the Dockers are back to their winning ways. The Power, on the other hand, look to have regained their hard edge, having crushed the Swans in Sydney - and despite star onballer Robbie Gray suffering a head knock and gathering only nine disposals. His battle with Nat Fyfe should be a beauty.

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