After their thumping of Melbourne last time they met in 2018, the West Coast Eagles will start red-hot favourites in Friday night’s game in Perth.
However, they will meet a desperate Melbourne side keen to win to get to the head of the pack chasing for a finals berth.
Injury-wise the Eagles appear to be in better shape with only eight players on the list, three of which are possible starters for this week’s game, including the exciting Willie Rioli, already an elite top 90 goal scorer at the club.
Melbourne also have three potential players for the game but a total of 14 on their injury list, including one of their only three elite top 100 game players in Neville Jetta, who is still months away from returning to the side.
Their two other elites, however, will move up. Nathan Jones will move to outright second in Melbourne’s top 100 and Tom McDonald will match Mark Jamar’s record at the club.
For the Eagles, Jamie Cripps will equal champion Chris Judd’s tally of West Coast games, while Jeremy McGovern will equal Mark Nicoski.
It is hard for any team to string together a large number of consecutive wins, but Collingwood has won the past five. The Magpies would be expected to stretch the sequence to six with a win over the Saints on Saturday, but it won’t be easy. The Saints are also intent on staying in the hunt and have played some spirited football in their four wins so far, so they’ll be keen to end the current string of three losses.
For the Magpies, Steele Sidebottom continues to show his quality week after week and this week will join Collingwood’s top 100 game players first quartile when he joins Anthony Rocca in 25th place. Ben Reid, the only possible new elite game player for the club this season, will at last join Frank Murphy in the hot seat by playing his 145th game.
The Brisbane vs Adelaide match is potentially the game of the round and will see Brodie Smith equal Patrick Dangerfield’s game tally at the Crows, while Rory Laird will join Jason Porplyzia and Matthew Robram.
At Geelong the versatile Harry Taylor’s game against Western Bulldogs will see him join current television commentator Cameron Ling in 18th place on the Cats all-time top 100 game players list while Tom Hawkins and Gary Ablett will continue to move up the top 30. Mitch Duncan will join successful coach Bob Davis and Matthew Stokes inside the top 50.
Their opponents will see the exit of Ian ‘Sockeye’ Salmon from the top 100 game players as Lachie Hunter moves up to join Jordan McMahon in 99th position. The Bulldogs will also see Mitch Wallis and Jack Macrae advance up the list.
The Essendon vs Fremantle game will see Dyson Heppell equal Peter Somerville at the Bombers and Michael Walters draw level with Matt de Boer and Matthew Taberner match the games played by Mark Gale.
North Melbourne’s Ben Cunnington, Shaun Atley, Jamie Macmillan and Sam Wright all advance, as does Sydney’s Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker.