AFL previews for round six
GIANTS V BULLDOGS
At Manuka Oval, Canberra, 7.50pm
RECENT RECORD: GWS 2 WB 5
LAST TIME: PF 2016: WB 13.11 (89) d GWS 12.11 (83) at Spotless Stadium
THE Giants host a Friday night match for the first time and what a match it should be - a rematch of last year's epic preliminary final. While there are mouth-watering match-ups all over the ground - look at the middle where old Dog Cal Ward leads his No.1-clearance team into battle against Marcus Bontempelli and co - the Giants might just have the edge in attack through the likes of Toby Greene (17 goals this season) and Jeremy Cameron (16).
HAWKS V SAINTS
At UT Stadium, Launceston, 1.45pm
RECENT RECORD: Haw 7 StK 2 Drawn 1
LAST TIME: R4 2016: Haw 13.9 (87) d StK 13.6 (84) at UT Stadium
HAWTHORN can start to generate a bit more momentum after its thrashing of West Coast. Missing David Armitage (groin), the Saints' midfield is struggling to get the job done. Unless the likes of Luke Dunstan and Jack Billings can lift against Tom Mitchell and co, the Hawks should claim a seventh straight win over them, and 20th in succession at their Launceston fortress. They haven't been beaten down there since 2012.
BLUES V SWANS
At the MCG, 2.10pm
RECENT RECORD: Carl 2 Syd 8
LAST TIME: R18 2016: Syd 10.14 (74) d Carl 10.8 (68) at the SCG
FACING the Carlton under-21s - they did field 10 players 20 or younger last week - could be just what the doctor ordered for bottom-placed Sydney. The Swans have won the past seven encounters. On top of the Blues' lack of experience is the fact stars Bryce Gibbs (thumb) and Marc Murphy (knee) are under injury clouds. Young Caleb Marchbank will be up against it if he gets the job on Lance Franklin.
LIONS V POWER
At the Gabba, 4.35pm
RECENT RECORD: Bris 5 Port 5
LAST TIME: R19 2016: Bris 25.23 (173) d Port 11.13 (79) at the Gabba
A RE-ENERGISED Power comes to Brisbane aiming to improve on its record of one win from its past four visits. The Lions' new-found commitment cannot be questioned - especially after taking it up to the Dogs last week - but, again, their lack of experience up forward and down back may prevent them from containing Port, even without skipper Travis Boak (hamstring). Man of the moment Robbie Gray is on fire and Chad Wingard (five goals last time against Brisbane) is always dangerous.
ROOS V SUNS
At Etihad Stadium, 7.25pm
RECENT RECORD: NM 4 GC 3
LAST TIME: R5 2016: NM 18.11 (119) d GC 11.15 (81) at Metricon
NORTH may be 0-5, but its poor run goes back a lot further. The Roos have, in fact, won just two of their past 19 games. They will be confident of breaking their 2017 duck here though against the visiting Suns, who are drastically undermanned down back with Rory Thompson and Steven May sidelined. The Roos will look to tall forwards Ben Brown, Mason Wood and Brayden Preuss to capitalise. It'll be an interesting battle of the struggling Swallows in the middle, with brothers Andrew and David coming face to face.
EAGLES V DOCKERS
At Domain Stadium, Perth, 8.10pm (AEST)
RECENT RECORD: WC 4 Frem 6
LAST TIME: R20 2016: WC 17.8 (110) d Frem 9.10 (64) at Domain Stadium
THE Eagles have returned home with their tails between their legs after another MCG no-show. They'll start favourites back in Perth, but the Dockers won't be rolling out any red carpet in the 45th Western Derby as they look to end their big brother's three-match winning streak against them. The pressure of Jamie Cripps (ankle) will be missed against a Dockers outfit up and running, while their lack of a gun ruckman presents a chance for big Aaron Sandilands to dominate in his 250th game.
BOMBERS V DEMONS
At Eithad Stadium, 1.10pm
RECENT RECORD: Ess 6 Melb 4
LAST TIME: R2 2016: Ess 11.14 (80) d Melb 10.7 (67) at the MCG
POOR Jake Spencer, who would've been rubbing his hands together at the prospect of an extended run in the ruck for the Demons after Max Gawn (hamstring) was sidelined, only to suffer a shoulder injury. It means the Bombers will have a decided edge in the big-man department with Matthew Leuenberger. Whether it equates to an Essendon win remains to be seen, with Jordan Lewis back from suspension bolstering the Dees' midfield. The Bombers will be confident, though, after their Anzac Day display.
CATS V MAGPIES
At the MCG, 3.20pm
RECENT RECORD: Geel 5 Coll 5
LAST TIME: R9 2016: Coll 16.8 (104) d Geel 11.14 (80) at the MCG
IT DOESN'T get any easier for Bucks and his boys, who are feeling the heat from their Anzac Day defeat. The Pies are 1-4 and facing an in-form Geelong, which is 5-0 and skipper Joel Selwood (43 touches last week) leading the way. The Magpies have now booted 52.71, with Alex Fasolo contributing 9.13 - after kicking 25.6 last year. But there may be some hope for the Pies. They've won five of their past seven clashes with the Cats. And they avoid a trip to Geelong for the 19th straight season.
CROWS V TIGERS
At the Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm (AEST)
RECENT RECORD: Adel 6 Rich 4
LAST TIME: R3 2016: Adel 19.14 (128) d Rich 13.14 (92) at Etihad Stadium
RICHMOND is 5-0, but after beating up on Carlton, Collingwood, Brisbane, West Coast (at the MCG) and an undermanned Melbourne, finally gets a real test of its credentials - Adelaide (5-0) in Adelaide. The Crows are on fire as the No.1 side for both contested disposals and contested marking. Even with forwards Josh Jenkins (ribs), Mitch McGovern (hamstring) out and key defender Daniel Talia (hamstring) under a cloud, the hosts look far too strong.