Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs.
Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs. JULIAN SMITH

AFL previews for round 16



At the Adelaide Oval, 7.50pm (AEST)


Recent record: Adel 4 WB 6


Last time: R7 2016: WB 18.15 (123) d Adel 17.6 (108) at Docklands


THE reigning premiers' season is slipping away, having lost five of their past seven and dropping to 10th (at 7-7). They now head to Adelaide where they've lost four of their past five, though they can take some solace out of the fact the second-placed Crows (10-4) have lost two of their past three at home. Tagging will be all important again, with Bulldog halfback Jason Johannisen getting a taste of what Adelaide onballer Rory Sloane has been going through. The Norm Smith Medallist has gone from averaging 25 touches a week to 13 in the past month.


At UT Stadium, Launceston, 1.45pm


Recent record: Haw 3 GWS 2


Last time: R6 2016: GWS 24.14 (158) d Haw 12.11 (83) in Sydney


HAWTHORN (5-8) will be happy to be taking on GWS (10-3-1) down south after copping two big defeats to the ladder-leader in Sydney. The Hawks have won 20 of their past 21 at their "home away from home". Added to that, the hosts won't have to worry about injured Giants stars Toby Greene, Steve Johnson and Zac Williams. That said, despite the Hawks having strung together a couple of impressive wins, the Giants should still have a too much class, especially in the engine room as the No.1 clearance team.


Joe Daniher of the Bombers.
Joe Daniher of the Bombers. JULIAN SMITH


At the MCG, 2.10pm


Recent record: Ess 4 Coll 6


Last time: R5 2017: Ess 15.10 (100) d Coll 11.16 (82) at the MCG


IT'LL be desperation stakes for both these strugglers. Essendon (6-8) has lost four of its past five games, while Collingwood (5-8) is staring down the barrel of a fourth straight defeat. In a toss of the coin - or should that be who gives a toss? - the Bombers must be favoured after getting the points on Anzac Day when spearhead Joe Daniher (three goals) reigned. And those four recent Bombers losses have been by only a combined 40 points - they should've won two.


At the SCG, 4.35pm


Recent record: Syd 7 GC 0


Last time: R11 2016: Syd 11.13 (79) d GC 6.5 (41) at Carrara


GOLD Coast has never beaten Sydney. In fact, the closest the Suns have gotten to the Swans is 35 points. They are unlikely to break through here, with the hosts (7-7) now the form team having won seven of their past eight, and pushing for a spot in the eight. The midfield battle will be epic with Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery up against Gary Ablett and an improving Jarryd Lyons. If the visitors (6-8) are to have any chance, Tom Lynch needs another big one. He kicked five goals last week, but has seven in six games against the Swans.


At the Gabba, 7.25pm


Recent record: BL 1 Geel 9


Last time: R22 2016: Geel 19.15 (129) d BL 10.9 (69) in Brisbane


BRISBANE will be bursting with confidence after its come-from-behind win over Essendon, and hungry for another scalp. Not sure it will come this week against the third-placed Geelong (9-4-1), which has won 16 of its past 18 clashes, and is set to welcome back skipper Joel Selwood. The last four wins have been by at least nine goals. But you never know. The hosts will be hoping the Cats' draw with GWS last week took a bit out of them. Darcy Gardiner (elbow) will be a big loss to the Lions' defence.


Dustin Martin of the Tigers.
Dustin Martin of the Tigers. JULIAN SMITH


At Etihad Stadium, 7.25pm


Recent record: StK 6 Rich 3 Drawn 1


Last time: R22 2016: StK 7.13 (55) d Rich 6.10 (46) at the MCG


FANS attending this clash will want a better showing than last time they met when, in one of the worst games of 2016, just 13 goals were kicked. They should get it with Richmond (9-5) and St Kilda (8-6) currently top-eight outfits. While the Tigers have won four of their past five, the Saints are aiming for a fourth in succession for the first time since 2011. Hard to go past Richmond though, with Dustin Martin leading the way and St Kilda's own midfield star, Jack Steven, struggling.



At Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm


Recent record: NM 5 Frem 5


Last time: R5 2017: Frem 9.13 (67) d NM 9.8 (62) in Perth


THE lack of scoring that has plagued Fremantle in recent years has come back to haunt it. In five straight losses, the Dockers (6-8) have averaged just 10 goals. To make matters worse, they have now lost ruckman Aaron Sandilands to a season-ending hamstring injury. North (4-10) should claim a rare win this season, with Todd Goldstein to take advantage of Sandi's absence. They've won five of six clashes with the Dockers at Docklands.


At the MCG, 3.20pm


Recent record: Melb 2 Carl 8


Last time: R2 2017: Melb 13.8 (86) d Carl 9.10 (64) at the MCG


MELBOURNE has its sights on a second straight win over Carlton for the first time in 10 years. The Blues have dominated the Dees in the past decade. But as we've seen, this is not the same Demons outfit. And while Carlton trio Patrick Cripps, Bryce Gibbs and Marc Murphy can take advantage of a Melbourne midfield missing co-captains Jack Viney and Nathan Jones, the Demons (8-6) should still be too strong for the Blues (5-9), with forwards Jack Watts and Jeff Garlett set to return.


At Domain Stadium, 4.40PM (AEST)


Recent record: WC 6 PA 4


Last time: R7 2017: WC 15.7 (97) d PA 12.15 (87) in Adelaide


PORT coach Ken Hinkley understands why his side is being called pretenders. It has a 8-6 record but hasn't beaten a top-eight team this season. That fact may continue when it journeys west - where it has lost six of its past eight - to take on seventh-placed West Coast (8-6). The Eagles may be boosted by some considerable firepower in Josh Kennedy and Mark Le Cras, who booted four goals in the Eagles' win over Port in Adelaide earlier this year, as well as skipper Shannon Hurn and ball-winner Matt Priddis.

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