The Newsroom previews round three of the 2016 Toyota AFL season.
Sydney Swans v Greater Western Sydney
The Battle of the Bridge takes place this Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground as the Swans and Greater Western Sydney battle it out for bragging rights. The Swans find themselves sitting comfortably in second on the AFL ladder after another dominant win last week over Carlton, while a new-look Giants side will want to capitalise on their 13-point win over Geelong. A mouthwatering midfield contest beckons as Sydney’s Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery, Tom Mitchell and Kieran Jack face the Giants’ Callan Ward, Stephen Coniglio, Ryan Griffen, Dylan Shiel and Tom Scully. Although the midfield battle will be key in this matchup, the contest between the ruck-men will determine the eventual scoreline with GWS’ Shane Mumford and Swans duo Kurt Tippett and Callum Sinclair going head-to-head. Both sides have undeniable goalscoring talent in Buddy Franklin for the Swans and in-form Giants hero Steve Johnson.
West Coast Eagles v Fremantle Dockers
With the Battle of the Bridge taking place on Australia’s east coast, West Australians will be treated with the 43rd Western Derby as the Eagles and the Dockers both look to comeback from losses last week. Fremantle are at risk of losing the first three games of an AFL season for the first time in seven years, while West Coast will want to bounce back from their humbling defeat to the reigning premiers Hawthorn last week. The Eagles have a slight advantage with a frightening centre square combination led by Nic Naitanui, Matt Priddis, Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey. The Dockers have been poor this season from centre clearances which is where they’ve lacked quality. Matt de Boer finds his way back into the Fremantle side as Clancee Pearce is omitted due to a hamstring injury, whilst West Coast welcome back midfielder Chris Masten from injury.
Western Bulldogs vs Hawthorn
After brushing aside Fremantle and St Kilda, the Bulldogs face a much greater test against the reigning premiers who dismantled West Coast last week with ease. The Bulldogs will find great confidence in playing at Etihad Stadium, having won their past 11 games at the ground. Although both sides feature star midfielders, the game will ultimately be decided by which backline stands up better. The Bulldogs, who have been praised for the halfback line, boast the likes of Matthew Boyd, Robert Murphy and former-Hawk Matthew Suckling, while Hawthorn’s reliable premiership-winning defence featuring Shaun Burgoyne, Grant Birchall and last week’s “best on ground” Josh Gibson can counter the Bulldogs’ attacking play. Hawthorn have several inclusions with Marc Pittonet, Liam Shiels and debutant Blake Hardwick lining up. The Bulldogs also welcome back Tom Campbell, Joel Hamling and Lin Jong into their lineup. – Anthony Johnston
Port Adelaide vs Essendon
St Kilda vs Collingwood
Richmond vs Adelaide
Gold Coast vs Carlton
North Melbourne vs Melbourne
Geelong vs Brisbane Lions
Photo of Sydney’s last encounter with GWS from the Swans’ official Facebook page.