We start with a bad team undeservedly getting the Friday night stage yet again, move into a Super Saturday with six games across the country and finish with a quiet double on Mothers Day.
So who wins in this round of the AFL, and why? Read on to find out
Richmond vs Hawthorn
Richmond rank 12th in both contested and uncontested possessions and 13th in clangers, but have won three of last four against Hawks. The return of Brett Deledio undoubtedly helps but is offset by the loss of Trent Cotchin.
Hawthorn diced with danger in three consecutive three-point wins but were humbled by the Giants last weekend. Their hunger for the contest seems to have waned as they rank just 11th in contested possessions and eighth in clearances, but they have won 15 of their last 17 MCG Friday night games and should rebound.
Pick – Hawks by 24 points
Collingwood vs Carlton
Collingwood’s defence and general play without the ball has been a concern; they rank last in both disposals and marks conceded. They face an old foe against whom they have had plenty of recent success, having won the last six games in the series.
Carlton come in on a two-game winning streak and may not be able to make the most of Collingwood’s poor defence, as they rank 16th in total possessions per game. Their defence has been a strong point; they rank sixth in points conceded as they are building a game style fashioned on preventing the opposition from scoring.
Pick – Pies by 14 points
Geelong vs West Coast
Geelong are all the rage and have started the season in great fashion, taking advantage of a weak draw and ranking second in scoring, second in uncontested possessions and second in inside 50s. They have won 45 of their last 50 games at Kardinya Park
West Coast are keeping the ball inside their 50, ranking first in team-opponent time In forward half differential. However, once they hop on a plane they become cannon fodder – they have lost both their away games this season and eight of last nine away games against teams that were in the top eight
This game features the two best contested marking teams in the league and two of the best six clearances teams, but two of the bottom three teams at rebounding from inside 50. The side that enters 50 more often should win the game.
Pick – Cats by 26 points
Sydney vs Essendon
Sydney are looking to shed the tag of ugly ducklings, leading the league in inside 50s and contested possessions and conceding the third-least points per game. They have won their three home games by an average of 47 points this season and have generally looked a top four side.
Essendon rank last in points per game and in contested possessions, but are trying to control the tempo when they have the ball and are subsequently second in uncontested possessions and first in marks. They rank 16th in clangers and just 13th in clearances, ranking well behind the league-leading Swans.
We will find nothing out about these teams which we didn’t already know this weekend.
Pick – Swans by 67 points
Gold Coast vs Melbourne
Gold Coast come in on a three-game losing streak, having lost to Geelong by 120 points last round. They rank second last in both clearances and contested possessions but sixth in contested marks inside 50, due mainly to forward Tom Lynch who leads the league in this category with 19 contested marks.
The Demons rank fourth in both contested possessions and clearances, eighth in inside 50s and fourth in contested marks. For so long a defensive team, Melbourne ranks seventh in scoring behind Jesse Hogan and Jack Watts who have kicked 16 and 14 goals respectively.
This figures to be a high-scoring, close game with Lynch and Hogan both a chance to kick bags
Pick – Suns by 9 points
Fremantle vs Greater Weatern Sydney
Fremantle are 0-6 and have gone from flag fancy to rebuild in just a month. They face a massive uphill climb starting with the rampaging Giants this weekend. Fremantle rank last in inside 50s and 13th in contested possession differential, a statistic in which they lead the AFL last season. Even their ever-reliable defence has been shaky, as they rank 13th in points conceded.
The Giants rank third in scoring, eighth in contested possessions, fourth in uncontested possessions and second in effective disposal percentage. They have averaged 144 points a game over the last three games and have won four of their last five games.
They have never defeated the Dockers or won at Domain Stadium, losing their six games there by an average of almost 84 points. That drought ends on Saturday night in front of the purple faithful, or those which bother to show up.
Pick – Giants by 20 points
Western Bulldogs vs Adelaide
The Bulldogs lead the league in disposal efficiency, uncontested possessions and total possessions; rank second in uncontested possessions and fourth in marks. They have played all six games at Etihad Stadium and won 15 of their last 20 games, and have conceded just 57 points a game this season.
The Crows lead the league in attack, rank third in contested possessions and second in clearances. They have scored 97 points or more in every game and have three of the top 13 goal kickers in the league in Eddie Betts (20), Josh Jenkins (16) and Tom Lynch (14).
Contrasting styles will meet head on in what could be the quickest game of the season; the Dogs will need to be more effective in attack than they have been this season to win.
Pick – Bulldogs by 11 points
St Kilda vs North Melbourne
Despite starting 6-0 the Kangaroos have faced just two fellow top eight contenders and questions are still being asked of their legitimacy, probably unfairly so.
They base their game on contested football – they rank fifth in contested possessions and sixth in contested marks per game. Their attack has been potent, leading the league in scoring and this has masked an average defence that ranks ninth in points conceded and seventh in least inside 50s conceded.
The Saints have been an intriguing team, embracing an attacking game and ranking second in total disposals per game, and third in both uncontested disposals and disposal efficiency. Defensively they haven’t been as impressive, ranking 13th in opponents contested possessions per game and conceding the fourth most points per game.
Their ability to contain big forwards has been questionable, with Jesse Hogan kicking seven goals last weekend; they will find life tough against Jarrad Waite and 300-gamer Drew Petrie.
Pick – Kangaroos by 17 points
Port Adelaide vs Brisbane
The Power have been the most frustrating team of the first six weeks of the season, struggling through an easy schedule and sitting 3-3. Getting the ball hasn’t been a priority – they rank 13th contested possession differential, 15th in uncontested differential and 16th in total disposal differential. They also commit he fifth most clangers and concede the fifth-most inside 50s. There is no trend to their wins; they have defeated just St Kilda, Essendon and Richmond. So not only are they frustrating, but they are difficult to get a gauge on.
Brisbane rank last in disposals and concede 61 more disposals per game to opponents than they get themselves. They have allowed their opponents to score 86% of their goals down the corridor this season and have lost their two Adelaide Oval games by a combined 200 points including losing to the Power by 113 points in 2014.
The return of Dayne Beams helps the Lions and while it wouldn’t be a shock if they won, the Power should do enough.
Pick – Power by 25 points