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It’s arguably the most anticipated game of the season as the ladder-leading Western Bulldogs take on the second-placed Melbourne Demons… but thanks to Melbourne’s COVID-19 outbreak, there won’t be a crowd to see it. Don’t miss a moment of this top-of-the-table showdown with live scores right here on The Roar from 7:50pm (AEST).
With the AFL season suddenly teetering as the Victorian COVID situation unfolds, this match was very nearly the first of the year to be rescheduled. A Melbourne player visited a hotspot before attending training during the week, but fortunately received a negative test, allowing the Demons to play.
It’s not the only worry facing the Dees at the moment, though. After a hot start, their form has begun to wane of late, culminating in a shock one-point loss to Adelaide in Round 10, breaking a nine-match unbeaten run. They do, however, have important half-back Christian Salem back in the line-up, having been a late withdrawal last week.
The Dees’ loss saw the Dogs surge back to the top of the ladder, courtesy of an 111-point demolition of St Kilda. The victory was soured by a hamstring injury to gun recruit Adam Treloar, but that hasn’t stopped Luke Beveridge’s outfit from being deemed outright flag favourites by many pundits.
Tim English makes a welcome return after a four-week absence with ongoing concussion issues, while Beveridge has also named a debutant in Riley Garcia.
This match features arguably the AFL’s best two midfields going head to head. While the Dogs have injury concerns, Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae make for a prolific centre-square combination, but the Dees’ own dynamic duo of Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca, plus one of the best ruckmen in the game in Max Gawn, makes this a tantalising contest indeed.
Opening bounce: 7:50pm (AEST)
Venue: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
TV: Fox Footy, Channel Seven (VIC/TAS/SA/NT), 7mate (NSW/QLD/WA)
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go
Betting: Bulldogs $1.60, Saints $2.34 (odds via PlayUp)
B: 15 Taylor Duryea, 42 Alex Keath, 9 Hayden Crozier
HB: 34 Bailey Williams, 12 Zaine Cordy, 35 Caleb Daniel
C: 31 Bailey Dale, 21 Tom Liberatore, 39 Jason Johannisen
HF: 7 Lachie Hunter, 17 Josh Bruce, 19 Cody Weightman
F: 44 Tim English, 33 Aaron Naughton, 4 Marcus Bontempelli (c)
FOLL: 41 Jordon Sweet, 11 Jack Macrae, 6 Bailey Smith
INT: 27 Patrick Lipinski, 30 Lachlan McNeil, 37 Roarke Smith, 38 Riley Garcia
EMG: 2 Lewis Young, 14 Rhylee West, 18 Louis Butler, 43 Ryan Gardner
IN: Patrick Lipinski, Tim English, Riley Garcia (debut)
OUT: Adam Treloar, Anthony Scott, Mitch Hannan, Lewis Young (R10 medical sub)
B: 29 Jayden Hunt 1 Steven May, 8 Jake Lever
HB: 3 Christian Salem, 35 Harrison Petty, 14 Michael Hibberd
C: 10 Angus Brayshaw, 5 Christian Petracca, 15 Ed Langdon
HF: 23 James Jordon, 25 Tom McDonald, 18 Jake Melksham
F: 9 Charlie Spargo, 26 Sam Weideman, 31 Bayley Fritsch
FOLL: 11 Max Gawn (c), 13 Clayton Oliver, 36 Kysaiah Pickett
INT: 4 James Harmes, 6 Luke Jackson, 24 Trent Rivers, 30 Alex Neal-Bullen
EMG: 17 Luke Bowey, 32 Tom Sparrow, 37 Kade Chandler, 50 Ben Brown
IN: Christian Salem
OUT: Neville Jetta, Tom Sparrow (R10 medical sub)