AFL Round 3 is headlined by a Grand Final repeat as Collingwood look to gain revenge over the West Coast Eagles on Saturday night.
Adelaide Crows and Geelong Cats kick things off on Thursday night, while Friday night footy sees Melbourne Demons and Essendon Bombers collide.
We preview each of the nine games below:
Adelaide Crows v Geelong Cats
Thursday, April 4
Both sides were big winners in Round 2. Adelaide cast aside a disappointing Round 1 result that saw them lose to Hawthorn by accounting for Sydney by 26 points, while Geelong thrashed Melbourne by 80. The Cats have won two from two and were seven point winners over Collingwood in Round 1 but head into this game as slight underdogs as it is the Crows that enjoy the home ground advantage. This game should be won and lost in the midfield and the battle between the respective line-ups shapes as a mouth-watering one. Rory Sloane and the Crouch brothers take on the likes of the former Crow, Patrick Dangerfield, as well as Tim Kelly and Gary Ablett. Geelong should enjoy plenty of run and rebound from halfback, where Tom Stewart has been dominant, while it will be interesting to see if their younger players can continue their form. A feature of the Cats early season form has been their defence and they have conceded just 15 goals in the two games thus far. Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins and Eddie Betts will be key players for the Crows but the home side will need others to stand up, as per their win against Sydney last weekend.
Prediction: Adelaide by 1-39 ($2.40 TopBetta)
Melbourne Demons v Essendon Bombers
Friday, April 5
Melbourne and Essendon head into this match under intensifying pressure as both clubs have dropped their first two games this year. Essendon were no match for GWS in Round 1, losing that clash by 72 points before going dow to lowly St Kilda in Round 2 by 11. In the same period, Melbourne lost to Port Adelaide by 26 points at the MCG in the opening weekend before being demolished by Geelong to the tune of 80 points. Comical errors and embarrassing moments have punctuated the form of both sides and another loss will make the road back a very long one. The Demons have been posted as favourites for the Friday night clash but will need to find greater avenues to goal after registering just six goals last weekend despite dominating the inside 50 count. Clayton Oliver, Angus Bradshaw, Jack Viney and Max Gawn should give Melbourne the advantage in the middle of the ground and at the clearances, while Simon Goodwin will be urging his troops to rediscover the hunger that saw them reach the Preliminary Finals in 2018. Key players for the Bombers include Dyson Heppell and Dylan Shiel, while Michael Hurley and Aaron Francis can provide plenty of influence across half-back. That quartet will need to ensure their side uses the ball much better than what they have been in the opening weeks.
Prediction: Melbourne by 1-39 ($2.10 TopBetta)
Carlton v Sydney Swans
Saturday, April 6
Both sides are yet to register a win in season 2019. Carlton have suffered losses to Richmond and Port Adelaide, while Sydney have gone down to the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide in their two games. Sydney are the more seasoned side and head in as favourites for the Round 3 encounter but will need more contributors, particularly through the midfield, in order to ease the burden on the likes of Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker. One of the Swans key players in this contest will be Lance Franklin, who booted three against Adelaide from limited opportunities. Carlton’s Liam Jones is the man most likely to line up on the star forward. The Blues rising stars have shown plenty of promise and if the starting 22 can sustain a four-quarter effort their side can cause an upset. Patrick Cripps, Paddy Dow and Sam Walsh have been the stars so far and asides from a poor second quarter last weekend as well as a poor opening term against Richmond in the opener, the Blues have looked dangerous.
GWS Giants v Richmond Tigers
Both sides have split their two games. GWS were far too good for Essendon in Round 1, defeating the Bombers by 72 points, but struggled on the road when dropping last week’s game to West Coast by 52. Richmond were winners in the opening weekend against Carlton by 33 but went down to Collingwood by 44 points in Round 2. One of the talking points has been the injuries to the Tigers star players. Alex Rance went down with an ACL injury in Round 1 and is out for the season, while Jack Riewoldt is the latest casualty after injuring his wrist against Collingwood. Rance’s absence is further compounded by the suspension of Dylan Grimes, who will also miss this weekend. It will be interesting to see how the 2017 premiers can cover the loss of those players. Tom Lynch will be the focal point inside 50m for Richmond, but some big holes remain inside their defensive 50m. Jeremy Cameron is one player that can capitalise for GWS and has booted seven goals from his two appearances this season, while Toby Greene and Harry Himmelberg are others that can have an influence for the home side.
Brisbane Lions v Port Adelaide
Collingwood v West Coast Eagles
Both sides have won one of their two games this season. Collingwood dropped their Round 1 clash to Geelong by seven points but responded with an emphatic 44 point win over Richmond last weekend. West Coast went down to Brisbane by 44 in the opening week but responded with a 52 point defeat over GWS in Round 2. However, the Eagles head in as slight underdogs with Collingwood enjoying the home ground advantage. Since going down in the decider by just five points last year, the Magpies have gained a couple of key players. Dayne Beams transferred from Brisbane, while Darcy Moore and Jamie Elliot have slotted back in beautifully after missing large chunks of 2018. The Magpies dynamic forward line will trouble West Coast, as will their midfield that boasts the likes of Adam Treloar, Steele Sidebottom and Scott Pendlebury. That trio, as well as the entire Pies outfit, will be desperate to go some way to erasing the pain of the Grand Final last year. Key players for West Coast include Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy, while Luke Shuey and Dom Sheed will be out to continue their fine form. Those two were among the stars in the Grand Final win last year.
Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns
Prediction: Bulldogs by 1-39 ($2.10 TopBetta)
Hawthorn v North Melbourne
Prediction: Hawthorn by 1-39 ($2.20 TopBetta)