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Barometer: Varcoe hamstrung, Teddy out

Alex Rance on report0:41

AFL: Alex Rance could be facing a lengthy stay on the sideline after this incident with Jack Watts late in the fourth quarter of the Richmond Tigers? loss

Nat Fyfe hobbles off Subiaco after injuring his leg against Carlton.

News Corp Australia

WHO’S hurt and who’s in line for selection at your club for Round 6?

See the latest injury list and predictions from the Herald Sun footy experts after a big weekend of footy.

Ted Richards wound back the clock with a stellar performance on Saturday but the Swans later revealed the veteran defender played out most the match with a fractured eye socket.

Fremantle sweat on Nat Fyfe’s injury, another Western Bulldogs defender under an injury cloud while Richmond could be missing its spearhead.

We’ve looked at every club’s playing stocks.



Brad Crouch (hamstring) test

Curtly Hampton (foot) test

Paul Hunter (ankle) test

Wayne Milera (quad) test


ON THE BLOCK: No fresh injuries from Friday night’s three-point loss to Hawthorn. Jake Lever and Jarryd Lyons haven’t done much wrong but someone will have to make way for Brad Crouch.

ON THE CUSP: Midfielder Brad Crouch is expected to return to AFL action after working his way back from a hamstring strain in the SANFL on Sunday.

MICHELANGELO RUCCI’S FORECAST: Adelaide remains high scoring — but the “team defence” concept pushed by first-year coach Don Pyke is being tested by the Crows giving up an average 59 inside-50 entries and allowing opposition teams to crack the 100-point barrier. The test of tightening defensive systems will not emerge against the Dockers this week, but it will give Pyke more insight on how his midfield works at the contest.

Tom Cutler dislocated his shoulder on Saturday night. Picture: Wayne Ludbey

Tom Cutler dislocated his shoulder on Saturday night. Picture: Wayne LudbeySource:News Corp Australia



Tom Cutler (dislocated shoulder) TBC

Allen Christensen (concussion) TBC

Josh Green (chest) TBC

Dayne Beams (knee) 1-2 weeks

Michael Close (wrist and foot) 5 weeks

Josh Watts (groin) 3 weeks

Hugh Beasley (back) TBC

Jaden McGrath (foot) TBC

Marco Paparone (hamstring) TBC

Cian Hanley (groin) indefinite

Rhys Mathieson (cheekbone) 2 weeks

Sam Skinner (knee) 7 weeks


ON THE BLOCK: Running halfback Tom Cutler faces up to six weeks on the sidelines after dislocating his shoulder in the first quarter against the Dogs. Midfielder Allen Christensen failed a concussion test after copping friendly fire from ruckman Stef Martin in the second term. Christensen said he felt OK watching the game in the second half and was walking around and talking in the Lions room post-match. The Lions are hopeful he will be fit for the Swans. Josh Green was sent to hospital for precautionary X-rays after copping a blow in the chest late in the game and had trouble breathing. The scans revealed no damage but he will have more tests on Monday.

ON THE CUSP: Dan McStay played in the NEAFL after missing the QClash due to illness. Rhys Mathieson had 32 disposals in the NEAFL in his comeback from a broken cheekbone while Ben Keays kicked three goals for the Lions reserves. Dayne Beams is not due back to Round 7.

GREG DAVIS’S FORECAST: So you’ve got contested footy problems. Who is the worst team to face? Sydney. Guess who Brisbane hosts this weekend? It’s not going to be pretty if the Lions are smashed again in the middle. Buddy could have a field day in a rare trip to Brisbane. The Lions got ahead of themselves after the QClash win but have brought back to earth with a thud. Expect a bit more grit around the footy.



Blaine Boekhorst (hamstring) test

Andrejs Everitt (calf) test

Harry McKay (back) 6 weeks

Ciaran Sheehan (hip) 1 week

Andrew Walker (calf) test

Mark Whiley (calf) 3 weeks


ON THE BLOCK: Hard to see too many changes this week at the Blues after a stirring maiden win of the season. However, the long trip to Perth and back ahead of a clash with Essendon could see some youngsters rested. Dylan Buckley was quiet before lifting in the final term, to help guide the Blues over the line while ruck duo Matthew Kreuzer and Andrew Phillips could only muster 10 touches between them and 53 hitouts compared to 38 from Dockers pair Zac Clarke and Jon Griffin.

ON THE CUSP: Veteran defender Michael Jamison kept his name on the minds of selectors with an assured performance before sitting out the final term of the Northern Blues’ loss to Port Melbourne. Jason Tutt gathered 34 disposals while Dennis Armfield was at his best in the contest with 27 touches. Kristian Jaksch kicked three goals while Jack Silvangi booted two in his VFL debut.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: The Blues will undoubtedly be riding a high ahead of a key clash against Essendon. In what could be an early wooden spoon preview (depending on Fremantle’s form) the Blues will likely head into the game as favourites. Brendon Bolton’s gameplan held up well against the Dockers and he will back his young team to out-pressure the Bombers.



Travis Varcoe (hamstring) TBC

Jamie Elliott (back) 4-12 weeks

Jonathon Marsh (hamstring) test

Jackson Ramsay (knee) season

Matt Scharenberg (knee) season

Dane Swan (broken leg/foot) season

Marley Williams (mid-foot strain) 2 weeks

Ben Sinclair (concussion) test

Jarrod Witts (split webbing) test


ON THE BLOCK: Travis Varcoe is Collingwood’s only concern after its dismantling of Essendon on Anzac Day. The wingman injured his hamstring in the first half and didn’t feature again. He is in major doubt with a six-day break before a trip to Perth to face West Coast. Otherwise, Nathan Buckley will find it very hard to make changes after as complete a performance the Magpies have produced in recent years.

ON THE CUSP: Out-of-form spearhead Travis Cloke kicked two goals in the VFL but will have a hard time breaking back into the senior line-up if Mason Cox keeps producing like he did on Monday. Jesse White was also dropped for Anzac Day and was named amongst Collingwood’s best playing in defence, racking up 24 disposals as the Magpies were smashed by 85 points. Ben Crocker and Matt Goodyear also stood out.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: The Magpies don’t get much time to celebrate their return to form with a tough trip to Perth to face West Coast on Sunday. A trip made harder if Varcoe is ruled out. However, confidence is a wonderful thing and if Nathan Buckley can keep his players believing they are a chance to upset an Eagles outfit who are coming off a hard slog at a wet SCG last week.



Aaron Francis (calf) 4 weeks

Jayden Laverde (shoulder) 6-8 weeks

Alex Morgan (hamstring) 3 weeks


ON THE BLOCK: It was a dirty day for the Bombers but John Worsfold was happy with the second half showing, which should save mass changes. Young Irishman Connor McKenna could get a rest in the VFL while Mathew Stokes was down on his usual output. Key defenders Matt Dea, Michael Hartley and Mitch Brown could come under pressure at the selection table.

ON THE CUSP: Ryan Crowley put his hand up for a senior recall with a 30-possession, four-goal performance in Essendon’s big VFL win over Collingwood. Jonathan Simpkin also impressed with 32 touches and two goals while Jake Long could come off the rookie list after collecting 25 disposals and seven marks. Nathan Grima went toe-to-toe with Travis Cloke and kept the Magpies veteran to two goals. James Polkinghorne was named Essendon’s best.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: Essendon was indeed better in the second half but still lost by 69 points on Monday. It next faces Carlton, who it beat in the NAB Challenge and John Worsfold will be using that game as a reminder of what the young Bombers can do. While the Blues will be full of confidence after beating Fremantle, they are coming off a trip to Perth, which can be tough to back up from.

Hayden Ballantyne gets checked by club doctors.

Hayden Ballantyne gets checked by club doctors.Source:Getty Images



Nat Fyfe (broken leg) TBC

Hayden Ballantyne (thigh) TBC

Michael Johnson (knee) TBC

Michael Apeness (knee) 2 weeks

Harley Balic (wrist) TBC

Harley Bennell (calf) 8 weeks

Connor Blakely (fractured toe) test

Ethan Hughes (hamstring) test

Sean Hurley (hip) 8-10 weeks

David Mundy (calf) test

Clancee Pearce (hamstring) test

Aaron Sandilands (ribs) 5-6 weeks


ON THE BLOCK: Is it too much to say the entire team? Nat Fyfe won’t play for the foreseeable future after Ross Lyon confirmed he would fly to Melbourne for surgery on a broken leg. Michael Johnson will also be missing for a while and Hayden Ballantyne must also be in doubt after injuring their knee and thigh respectively. Will Ross Lyon finally turn to youth after Darcy Tucker and Lachie Weller’s impressive performances? Veteran Dockers will be looking over their shoulders.

ON THE CUSP: Matt de Boer put his name up in lights with a starring performance in Peel’s WAFL win over Claremont, finishing with 36 touches, nine tackles, seven marks and a goal. Ed Langdon picked up 29 disposals and 11 marks. After a three-week injury layoff with a broken toe Connor Blakely returned with a bang, collecting 29 touches and a goal as he looks to build his match-fitness.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: Where to now for Fremantle? A loss to Carlton on its home deck is surely rock bottom. It doesn’t get any easier with a trip to Adelaide to face a Crows outfit looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to Hawthorn. And on a five-day break to boot. Ross Lyon will swing the axe at the selection table in the hope of a response from the playing group but surely a five-goal loss is the best he can hope for at Adelaide Oval.



Mitch Clark (calf) 2 weeks

Cam Delaney (knee) TBC

Sam Menegola (knee) 1-2 weeks

Tom Read (knee) 2 weeks

Scott Selwood (foot) 3 weeks

Billie Smedts (shoulder) test

Jackson Thurlow (knee) season


ON THE BLOCK: After quarter-time it was all Geelong at Adelaide Oval, which would have pleased coach Chris Scott. Even those that endured quiet nights still contributed. Shane Kersten kicked two goals, Nakia Cockatoo booted one goal, laid four tackles and his nine disposals come at 100 per cent efficiency. Hard to see too many changes ahead of a clash with Gold Coast.

ON THE CUSP: George Horlin-Smith was one of the VFL Cats’ best with 20 disposals and a goal in the big win over North Ballarat while Michael Luxford had 18 and a goal playing as a high half-forward. Billie Smedts returned from a shoulder reconstruction and impressed with 18 disposals across half-forward.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: While a few players will be a bit lighter in the pocket after the all-in brawl on Saturday night, the Cats will be fresh and fired up for a Skilled Stadium clash against the Suns and former star Gary Ablett. The Cats’ sit fourth and can further cement their finals aspirations with a win on Saturday night against a Gold Coast team missing both its key defenders.



Jaeger O’Meara (knee) 5-6 weeks

David Swallow (knee) indefinite

Rory Thompson (ankle) 4-5 weeks

Brayden Fiorini (knee) TBC

Jarrod Garlett (AC joint) test

Mitch Hallahan foot) 7 weeks

Cameron Loersch (calf) test

Dion Prestia (shoulder) test

Steven May (suspension) 4 weeks


ON THE BLOCK: Adam Saad has an adductor problem and is in doubt for this week. However, he has often been sore at the end of games and managed to recuperate in time to play the following week so the Suns at this stage expect to him available. Kade Kolodjashnij has been down on his lofty standards in recent weeks but has a lot of credit in the bank.

ON THE CUSP: Dion Prestia is likely to return after missing last week with an illness. Small forward Jarrod Garlett starred in his return to the NEAFL side after injury and will also enter the selection debate. Although the Suns prefer to have players play multiple games at the lower level before they receive the call-up, Garlett played well last time they headed to Geelong and that will be taken into consideration.

ANDREW HAMILTON’S FORECAST: The Suns have been belted out of the centre in their past two games and will be desperate to rectify that against a Selwood-Dangerfield combination that is dominating the clearances. Gary Ablett played high half-forward against the Kangaroos but he is needed in the middle. Priority two is protecting the footy more. That will be the focus this week. The Suns have dropped off after a promising start to the season and would need to rediscover their form to be any chance against the Cats.



Paul Ahern (knee) season

Cam McCarthy (illness) indefinite

Caleb Marchbank (ankle) 5 weeks

Aidan Corr (ankle) 3 weeks

Jarrod Pickett (foot) TBC


ON THE BLOCK: No injuries and not many passengers in Sunday’s demolition of the Saints. Lachie Whitfield and Adam Kennedy were a bit quiet and Jonathon Patton struggled, picking up just six disposals, three marks and one goal for the day. He still looks unsure of himself in marking contests and is lacking mobility.

ON THE CUSP: Some handy names on the periphery including Rhys Palmer who was unlucky to be dropped last week. No.7 draft pick Jacob Hopper continues to impress in the NEAFL and was again in the Giants best in their loss to the Gold Coast Suns reserves. Nick Haynes was also in good touch and has now had a solid month of NEAFL football after off-season groin surgery. Patton does not appear to be making significant progress in his long and slow recovery from two knee reconstructions. His confidence would be better rebuilt getting his hands on the ball more frequently in the reserves. Adam Tomlinson is worth another try.

NEIL CORDY’S FORECAST: The sixth-placed Giants face a huge test from the Hawks next week but they won’t carry any fears into the game after running the premier to within seven points in 2014 then claiming the biggest win of the club’s history in the corresponding fixture last year. Jeremy Cameron kicked seven in that game and looked ominous booting five straight in his first appearance for 2016.

Toby Greene was in everything for the Giants.

Toby Greene was in everything for the Giants.Source:Getty Images



Ryan Burton (leg) 12 weeks

Bradley Hill (leg) TBC

Jarryd Roughead (knee) 6-8 weeks

Ryan Schoenmakers (groin) test

Matt Spangher (calf) test

Alex Woodward (knee) indefinite


ON THE BLOCK: Four straight wins and the reigning premiers are flying. Hawthorn haven’t had a season start like this for several years. Only Bradley Hill is in any doubt to face GWS on Saturday after appearing to injure his ankle/knee attempting a kick that was smothered.

ON THE CUSP: Daniel Howe starred in Box Hill’s narrow win over Coburg in the VFL, collecting 29 disposals and two goals. He’s been in and out of the line-up and will be a chance to face the Giants. Jono O’Rourke responded well after being dropped, playing through the midfield and winning 14 possessions and kicking one goal with his leadership reportedly impressive. Matthew Spangher returned from a calf injury, playing about half the game and finishing with 14 touches and five marks in defence.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: They just keep producing, the Hawks. Three games, three wins, all by three points. After scratchy starts to previous seasons, the Hawks are cemented in the top four and will be looking to crush another upstart contender, Greater Western Sydney. The Giants upset the Hawks early last year in Sydney and Alastair Clarkson’s men will no doubt be looking to turn that result around.



Jay Kennedy-Harris (hamstring) 5 weeks

Mitch King (knee) season

Oscar McDonald (concussion) test

Jake Spencer (plantar fascia) 1 week

Aaron vandenBerg (ankle) 3 weeks


ON THE BLOCK: No one from a form perspective in what was another highly encouraging performance from the Dees. If you’re being harsh you’d say Angus Brayshaw was quiet. But Paul Roos might have to look elsewhere first, with Christian Salem appearing to tweak his groin late in the match. The defender came off the ground and was seen with an ice packed strapped to his upper leg. Jack Watts looked to have hurt his back in the warm-up, but obviously played on — and played well.

ON THE CUSP: Christian Petracca is still on the cusp and is understandably desperate to make his AFL debut after finally overcoming injury and stringing together several impressive VFL matches. Will Roos, so irritated by the midfielders pre-season slam dunk gone wrong, finally budge? Asked about Petracca after the Tigers game he was non-committal, only saying: “Has he (Petracca) texted you?”

AL PATON’S FORECAST: It appears the penny has finally dropped, and not just because the Dees won their first back-to-back game since 2011. There’s resilience, hunger, offensive intent and a clear system.They’re 3-2, but should be 4-1 if not for going to sleep against Essendon in Round 2. Importantly, in all five games they’ve been super competitive.St Kilda is up next at Etihad — a venue Melbourne had lost 22 consecutive matches at before last year’s Round 23 breakthrough against GWS.



Jed Anderson (hamstring) 6 weeks

Taylor Garner (hamstring) 1 week

Daniel Nielson (knee) 1 week

Joel Tippett (back) 2 weeks

Ed Vickers-Willis (shoulder) 1 week


ON THE BLOCK: Undefeated. On top of the ladder. Why would Brad Scott want to make any changes? A blockbuster top of the table clash awaits on Friday night, however, and a trip to the Gold Coast might have some Kangaroos feeling a bit tired. The Kangaroos got through Saturday night unscathed but will be sweating on Ben Cunnington’s report for rough conduct on Gary Ablett. The midfielder dropped his knees into the Suns’ star’s back and will wait on the MRP’s verdict on Monday.

ON THE CUSP: The Kangaroos’ VFL affiliate Werribee had the bye on the weekend making it difficult for players looking to push their case for senior selection. Mason Wood was a late withdrawal before the match and would be the only likely inclusion.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: It doesn’t get much bigger than this early in the season. Two teams in terrific form and looking to cement their top-four credentials. The Kangaroos will likely go in slight favourites given their undefeated start to the season and the Bulldogs’ banged up defence. However, the Dogs’ pressure and intercept marking has been a feature this season so Brad Scott’s men cannot afford to let up.



Alipate Carlile (wrist) 4-6 weeks

Dan Houston (hip/groin) 1 week

Jay Schulz (back) indefinite

Matt White (pectoral) indefinite

Aidyn Johnson (hamstring) 6 weeks

Nathan Krakouer (jaw) test

Jay Schulz (back) indefinite

Matt White (pectoral) indefinite


ON THE BLOCK: Forward Chad Wingard will be assessed during the week after the Power reported on Monday he had suffered concussion. It must also replace defender Jackson Trengove who was offered a one-match ban for striking. Ken Hinkley brought in Cam O’Shea and Paul Stewart to play the Cats and neither is guaranteed to hold their spot for a second week. He says Darcy Byrne-Jones’ form shows that if you’re playing well for the Port Adelaide Magpies then you’re every chance to play for the Power.

ON THE CUSP: The Power plays Richmond at the MCG on Saturday night and may recall half-back/half-forward Nathan Krakouer who was set to return from a broken jaw and club-imposed sanction in the SANFL on Sunday. Krakouer played his first game for the season for the Port Magpies after he was involved in a nightclub incident in Perth last month. Polec, Impey, Clurey, Ah Chee and even Butcher are all names who might be looked at this week.

REECE HOMFRAY’S FORECAST: The only thing Port Adelaide hurt on the weekend was its pride after it fell away dramatically against Geelong after quarter-time. There were plenty of spotfires in what was a physical and at times spiteful contest with the Cats but the Power reported no injuries post-match. The bigger concern at selection will be whether they have to replace anyone who is cited by the match review panel and gets a week’s holiday.

Jonas knee shot sparks brawl1:25

AFL: A testy first quarter between Port Adelaide and Geelong turned into one of the bigger footy brawls we've seen in a while after the siren sounded.



Nathan Drummond (knee) TBC

Chris Yarran (foot) 5-6 weeks

Reece Conca (hamstring) 2 weeks

Dylan Grimes (hamstring tendon) TBC

Brett Deledio (quad) test

Jack Riewoldt (ankle) TBC

Shaun Hampson (corked calf) test


ON THE BLOCK: The Tigers’ woes will surely be compounded on Monday with superstar backman Alex Rance set to be cited by the match review panel. Jack Riewoldt finished the loss to Melbourne with a sore ankle. As for the axe? Damien Hardwick admitted there were plenty of underperformers – so plenty will be nervous this week.

ON THE CUSP: Oh no. The Tigers’ VFL team did the unthinkable – lost to a spirited Frankston side, which entered on a 24-game losing streak. And it happened after cruising five goals clear early. So who’s hand is up? Well, Brett Deledio for starters. He was a late withdrawal against the Dees but with another week of training under his belt the superstar will face Port Adelaide. From the VFL game it was rookies Maibor Chol (four goals) and Adam Marcon to impress. Ben Griffiths also returned and with the Tigers’ struggling for an avenue to goal, he could be in line to face Port.

SAM LANDSBERGER’S FORECAST: Time is running out for the Tiges. After the Power they must battle top-four outfits Hawthorn and Sydney, with their friendly draw about to expire. Deledio is a massive in – Richmond is three wins from 18 without him – and they’ve come back from the brink the past two seasons. The clutch of mid-tier players need to start helping out captain Cotchin and Jack, or 2016 will go down as a wasted year.



Nick Riewoldt (ankle) test

Leigh Montagna (hamstring tightness) test

Nick O’Kearney (broken arm) 1 week

Brenton Payne (shin stress reaction) 1 week

Dylan Roberton (knee) 2 weeks


ON THE BLOCK: Coach Alan Richardson gave small forwards Jack Lonie, Jack Sinclair and Darren Minchington special mention in his post-match news conference among players who were “certainly not at the level we need them to be today”. The coach said some of the club’s third-year, fourth-year and fifth-year players had been showing signs of improvement this year but this went out the window with a 47-point loss to GWS. Midfielder Leigh Montagna didn’t have a huge game and finished the day on the bench icing a tight hamstring but he’s expected to be fit to play against Melbourne on Saturday.

ON THE CUSP: Eli Templeton kicked a goal for Sandringham after he was dropped from St Kilda’s senior side last week while Tim Membrey booted two goals and was named in Sandringham’s best players so he could be pushing for senior selection. Billy Longer was an emergency alongside Membrey against the Giants on Sunday and played VFL.

GREG BUCKLE’S FORECAST: The Saints’ lack of urgency left their coach furious and they’ll need to lift substantially in order to chase their second win of the year this weekend against the Demons. Richardson wants the Saints to kick long more and make use of Paddy McCartin’s marking skills, while Nick Riewoldt’s four-goal performance on the wing against the Giants shows the 33-year-old is still a matchwinner. After a fine effort against Hawthorn, Sunday’s big loss was a major step backwards and the Saints must regain their intensity in a hurry.



Ted Richard (eye socket) 2-3 weeks

Jeremy Laidler (concussion) test

Harry Cunningham (ankle) TBC

Alex Johnson (knee) indefinite

Sam Naismith (hand) test

Sam Reid (hamstring) 2 weeks

Gary Rohan (hamstring) 1 week

Michael Talia (foot) 4-8 weeks


ON THE BLOCK: Ted Richards was best afield against the Eagles but will miss at least two weeks with a fractured eye socket sustained during Saturday’s win. Jeremy Laidler will undergo concussion testing during the week after copping a head knock in the early stages of the win over West Coast. Harry Cunningham will also be in doubt after rolling his ankle. Callum Sinclair was quiet against his former club after returning from injury, collecting just five disposals and 14 hitouts, albeit in tough conditions. Dan Robinson was down on his usual output with 10 touches but on a positive note nine of them were contested.

ON THE CUSP: The Swans’ reserves had a comfortable 40-point win over Southport in the NEAFL. Dean Towers bounced back from being dropped for the match against West Coast kicking two goals. Brandon Jack had 30 disposals and Irishman Colin O’Riordan continued his rapid progress. Nic Newman could be in line for an AFL debut after a sensational 30-disposal, nine-tackle performance off half-back.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: The Swans will want to rest up their legs after a wet win over the Eagles but an extra days rest will help before the trip up to Brisbane to face the Lions. While some forecast a fall down the ladder this season, the Swans are comfortable sitting inside the top four and will be confident of maintaining that lofty position after Brisbane on Sunday.



Mitch Brown (finger) 5 weeks

Xavier Ellis (Achilles) 1 week

Dom Sheed (pectoral) 5 weeks

Simon Tunbridge (ankle) 1 week

Alec Waterman (illness) indefinite


ON THE BLOCK: Adam Simpson will be having a look at a few names after the loss to Sydney. The Eagles were simply too tall in wet and slippery conditions and were thoroughly outworked by the Swans. Fraser McInnes had little to no impact, finishing with just five disposals. Josh Hill, Jamie Cripps, Mark LeCras and Lewis Jetta were all down on their expected output.

ON THE CUSP: After being overlooked as Nic Naitanui’s back-up against Sydney, Jonathan Giles stepped up for East Perth’s win over Perth in the WAFL with 33 hitouts, 17 disposals and a goal. Mark Hutchings was dropped for the Swans clash and responded with 23 possessions, six tackles and six inside 50s in an all-action performance that will surely have him in the frame for a recall. Defender Tom Barrass was also strong with 16 touches and six marks.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: The good news is the Eagles return home next week for a meeting with Collingwood. The Eagles will be looking to stretch the Magpies’ defence with their tall timber - should the weather conditions suit - and will back themselves to dominate the midfield battle. Simpson will be demanding his fleet of prime-movers to up their output on the expanses of Subiaco to compliment the inside work of Naitanui, Priddis, Gaff and co.



Tom Boyd (shoulder) TBC

Nathan Hrovat (ankle) 5 weeks

Jason Johannisen (hamstring) 10 weeks

Robert Murphy (knee) season

Josh Prudden (knee) season

Roarke Smith (knee) indefinite

Matt Suckling (knee) TBC


ON THE BLOCK: For the second week in a row Matthew Suckling is racing the clock to prove his fitness after tweaking his knee in the first half against Brisbane. He returned for a short time before sitting out the rest of the game. Bailey Dale got a call up this week but was largely ineffectual, gathering 16 touches at 40 per cent efficiency. Toby McLean was a late replacement for Caleb Daniel but should retain his place after picking up 25 disposals and two goals.

ON THE CUSP: Caleb Daniel was a late withdrawal with a calf issue and the club will be hopeful he is ready to return for the top of the table clash against North Melbourne. If not, Lukas Webb is in line for a recall after an impressive 23-possession, one-goal effort in Footscray’s loss to Sandringham. Josh Dunkley played in the opening two games of the AFL season before being dropped but showed his potential with 19 disposals and two goals on the weekend. Kieran Collins, Fletcher Roberts or Joel Hamling could be called upon to help deal with North Melbourne’s tall timber.

BEN HIGGINS’S FORECAST: It’s been almost 20 years since North Melbourne and the Bulldogs sat one-two on the AFL ladder. The Dogs dealt with Brisbane’s dangerous small forwards with ease on Saturday night but the Kangaroos are a different beast with their three-pronged attack. If the Dogs can contain North’s rebound off half-back it will go a long way to stopping Waite, Brown and Petrie. Luke Beveridge will be hoping his forwards can take better advantage of their chances after a wayward 0.6 start and 15.16 final score.

Matthew Suckling hurt his knee against Brisbane.

Matthew Suckling hurt his knee against Brisbane.Source:Getty Images

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