Malinder's AFL previews - Round 6
TERRY Mallinder previews round 6 of the 2012 AFL season.
BULLDOGS v MAGPIES
At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 7.40pm.
Recent record: Collingwood 6. Bulldogs 4.
Last time: R6 2011 - Collingwood 105 def Bulldogs 57.
Out of contract at season's end, power forward Travis Cloke has been in the news this week with clubs set to try and snatch him away from the Magpies. He might be able to up his price tag a little by mauling an undermanned Dogs defence. The Dogs have beaten Melbourne and GWS in the past two weeks, but face a Collingwood side poised to regain creative trio Dale Thomas, Heath Shaw and Alan Didak from injury.
BOMBERS v LIONS
At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 1.40pm.
Recent record: Essendon 4 Brisbane 5 Drawn 1.
Last time: R8 2011 - Brisbane 66 lost to Essendon 102.
The Lions have managed just two wins in their past 12 games at Docklands, but their last victory there did come against the Bombers (in 2010). Brisbane will be hoping to take down its form from the second half of its slog with Geelong, and not its goalless first. Coming off a 10-day break, Essendon though should be able to bounce back from its heroic one-point Anzac Day loss to Collingwood. The Lions may be No.1 for clearances, but are ahead of only Melbourne in disposal efficiency.
CATS v DEMONS
At Simonds Stadium, Geelong, 1.40pm.
Recent record: Geelong 8 Melbourne 1 Drawn 1.
Last time: R19 2011 - Geelong 233 def Melbourne 47.
The Demons return to the scene of the crime - that record 186-point loss that cost coach Dean Bailey his job. Having only just gotten over Richmond on home soil two rounds ago, Geelong won't go anywhere near replicating that result, but should still easily beat a Melbourne outfit that remains winless. Dees spearhead Mitch Clark is back, but, down the other end, competition leading goalkicker Tom Hawkins looms even larger for Cats. Look out for James Magner running with Cat Joel Selwood, who's shown a real dislike for taggers.
SUNS v DOCKERS
At Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast, 4.40pm.
Recent record: Gold Coast 0 Fremantle 1.
Last time: Fremantle 112 def Gold Coast 62.
The Dockers head to the Coast for the first time and what a time to visit, not having to worry about Gary Ablett, at least on the field. The same cannot be said for cyberspace, where his Twitter attack on Freo tagger Ryan Crowley started a mild war of words between the teams. Players will let their actions do the talking, the Dockers determined to bounce back from a home loss to Carlton, the Suns to try and build on a good showing against North. With no Ablett, Crowley might get the job on young David Swallow after his 23-disposal game last week.
SWANS v CROWS
At the Sydney Cricket Ground, 7.40pm.
Recent record: Sydney 2 Adelaide 8.
Last time: R15 2011 - Adelaide 57 def Sydney 50.
The Crows have won their last three against the Swans at the SCG, but haven't played there since 2008. Adelaide will still head over with confidence after downing Port, but Sydney is flying, stunning Hawthorn in Tassie. It should be a hard-fought clash with the sides one and two for contested disposals. With the biggest spread of individual goalkickers (10 a game), the Swans are proving hard to contain. The Crows, who regain skipper Nathan van Berlo, will want another big effort from NSW's Taylor Walker (6 goals last week) against the most miserly of defences.
SAINTS v HAWKS
At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 7.40pm
Recent record: St Kilda 6 Hawthorn 3 Drawn 1.
Last time: R8 2011 - Hawthorn 99 def St Kilda 69.
The Hawks are under pressure after wilting against Sydney last week, on the back of tight losses to West Coast and Geelong. But, the Saints, a fading force are hardly setting the world on fire, having beaten only Melbourne, the Bulldogs and Gold Coast. Lance Franklin has booted 10 majors in his last two against the Saints, and will be required to step up after a goalless effort last week. Expect Buddy and his teammates to be stung into action here.
BLUES v GIANTS
At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 1.10pm
Recent record: N/A.
Last time: N/A.
It might be a case of two steps forward one step back for the Giants after their promising display against the Bulldogs. Their only saving grace could be the fact many of the Blues' stars will be rested after their win against Freo in the West. With nine goals in three weeks in the reserves, Setanta O'hAilphin will make his GWS debut against his old side to help ease the load on outstanding young forward prospect Jeremy Cameron.
POWER v TIGERS
At AAMI Stadium, Adelaide, 2.10pm (AEST)
Recent record: Port 6 Richmond 4.
Last time: R10 2011 - Richmond 74 lost to Port 89
What's the chance of the Tigers going down by 10 points again? It has been their losing margin against heavyweights Geelong and West Coast in consecutive weeks. With that form though, Richmond should fancy itself against Port in Adelaide, especially having been successful on its last two trips there. Don't expect a brutal contest though with the teams average a league-low 137 contested disposals.
EAGLES v KANGAROOS
At Patersons Stadium, Perth, 4.40pm (AEST)
Recent record: West Coast 7 North 3.
Last time: R1 2011 - West Coast 92 def North 88.
The ladder-leading Eagles haven't suffered a defeat, but they are losing star players, with spearhead Josh Kennedy (ankle) to join other notable goalkickers Mark LeCras, Mark Nicoski and Andrew Embley on the sidelines with long-term injuries. His absence should make the result close, especially with the Roos a genuine finals threat this year. West Coast though has not been beaten in its last 13 games at home