Three Top Eight Clashes Including Melbourne vs Collingwood Feature in AFL Round 12

AFL Round 12 is the first of the bye rounds as Carlton, Hawthorn, West Coast, and the Western Bulldogs are off this week. Seven games are on the slate, including top 8 clashes between Port Adelaide and Richmond, Geelong and North Melbourne, and Melbourne vs Collingwood. Here is your full preview of all the action.

Port Adelaide vs Richmond (Friday at the Adelaide Oval)

Port Adelaide is at home and has performed pretty well against the 9-2 Tigers this season. Jasper Pittard slots in, while the Tigers suffer the blow of losing Dustin Martin for the first time in multiple seasons. Martin is replaced by Anthony Miles up from the VFL. Without Martin, Richmond could struggle to create chances, but the likes of Trent Cotchin and Josh Caddy have been playing exceptionally well and should keep this game competitive. The Power need a win and I’d expect Robbie and Sam Gray to rise up and help them get it. Richmond lost to Adelaide on this same ground early in the year, and now it feels like Port’s turn to pull an upset. Port Adelaide by 17

Geelong vs North Melbourne (Saturday in Geelong)

Both sides are playing well right now and don’t have any major changes this week (North swaps Cam Zurhaaar in for Jed Anderson). Gary Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield are better players than almost everyone on the ground, but North has been playing fantastic as a team, cnetered by Shaun Higgins and Coleman leader Ben Brown. I’d expect North to keep traveling well with the Roos pulling a slight upset to further cement their top 8 standing. North Melbourne by 24 

GWS Giants vs Gold Coast Suns (Saturday at Spotless Stadium)

Gold Coast is in terrible form and they have to travel to Sydney to face a GWS side that woke up from their own form slump last week. This is a must win for the Giants to remain in finals contention and they have a great record against the Suns in recent years. The loss of Stephen Coniglio will dent their chances a bit, but the Suns come out worse losing Aaron Hall and Steven May. The Giants forward line should feast on a poor Gold Coast backline and this one could get ugly. GWS Giants by 64

St Kilda vs Sydney Swans (Saturday at Etihad Stadium)

Sydney has to travel but their record against the Saints is excellent and the Saints are abysmal this year. Alan Richardson has swung the axe again, suggesting being competitive simply isn’t good enough for this laggard side. Jack Billings, Rowan Marshall and Jarryn Geary are out, while Josh Battle, Luke Dunstan, and Nick Coffield are among the ins. The Swans return Tom McCartin and Tom Papley and I’d expect them to get over the finish line and remain a top 4 side with a win here. Sydney by 33

Brisbane Lions vs Essendon (Sunday at the Gabba)

Essendon simply can’t afford to lose this game against the 1-10 Lions, even though it’s a road contest. David Zaharakis is out though, a key midfield cog for the Bombers. Brisbane loses stars in their forward line with Charlie Cameron and Mitch Robinson out. If I had confidence in the Lions forwards I’d pick them, but Essendon should produce just enough goals to survive what looks like a tough clash. Essendon by 9

Fremantle vs Adelaide Crows (Sunday at Optus Stadium)

Both sides need to win this one to have any confidence about finals. The Dockers have struggled on the road, but they are better at home. The Crows have suffered mightily from injuries and just slipped out of the top 8. Adelaide has won the last 3 and they get Tex Walker back (despite losing Tom Lynch and Rory Laird). Hayden Ballantyne and Brandon Matera are among key ins for the Dockers, but the loss of their clear #1 player Nat Fyfe this week likely costs them this game. Adelaide, even with their B list, should be good enough to edge this. Adelaide by 23

Melbourne vs Collingwood (Monday the MCG)

The clash of the round, Melbourne has played well lately against the Pies but both sides are playing some great footy and are just one win off from each other at this point in the season. The Pies return Jeremy Howe while Melbourne loses Jake Lever. That said the Dees have been getting some amazing performances from Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Jesse Hogan, Bayley Fritsch, and Max Gawn during their winning streak. The Pies have their own stars to match (Jordan De Goey, Adam Treloar, Brodie Grundy) but Melbourne looks just a bit better and should win the Queen’s Birthday/Freeze MND clash by a tight margin. Melbourne by 15

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