The Saints have a tough assignment, taking on the Cats at Docklands as they try to keep in touch with the top eight. Follow our live AFL ScoreCentre for all the scores, stats and results.
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The Brazilian extended the visitor’s lead two minutes after the interval, when after sloppy play from United Trent Alexander-Arnold’s shot was spilled out by goalkeeper Dean Henderson and Firmino slotted home.
Marcus Rashford pulled one back for United, with a confident finish after a smart exchange with Edinson Cavani, but as the home side pushed forward in search of a leveller, Mohamed Salah wrapped up a positive night for the Merseysiders with a fine finish after a swift break.
Liverpool moved above West Ham United into fifth place on 60 points. Juergen Klopp’s side are four points behind Chelsea, who occupy the fourth Champions League slot but have a game in hand on the London team.
Third-placed Leicester face fourth-placed Chelsea next Tuesday which could provide an opening for Liverpool.
“We are still in the race, that’s all we could have done tonight,” said Klopp.
United stayed second in the table, 10 points behind champions Manchester City.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Everton’s faint hopes of a top-four finish were all but extinguished following a goalless draw with Aston Villa at Villa Park.
The result left Everton eighth on 56 points from 35 games, eight points behind Chelsea who have played a game more.
Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez saved a Dominic Calvert-Lewin shot in the 15th minute before Tyrone Mings headed just wide at the other end as the home side dominated the first half without creating much up front.
Everton improved after the break with Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez drawing a fine save from Ben Godfrey while the home side struggled to create any clear-cut chances at the other end.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was unhappy with the result which dented his team’s hopes of playing in European competition next season.
“It is a point,” the Italian told the BBC. “What can I say? Not satisfied for the result, satisfied for the performance. We could win but we have to take this point and try to win the next game.
“I am really positive. We have a great opportunity and we have to try to do our best. I said at the start of the season the European positions will be decided by the last game.”
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Rugby Australia is hoping to give their top earning Wallabies sabbaticals to prevent the player exodus overseas.
But there’s a twist, and it’s hoped in time Japan’s Top League competition could be integrated in a way which would see teams from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and Japan involved in one Super Rugby competition to allow “apples to be compared with apples”.
For years the Wallabies haven’t been able to pick some of their best talent plying their trades overseas because RA eligibility laws prevent it.
The ‘Giteau Law’ was invented by former coach Michael Cheika ahead of the 2015 World Cup in a desperate move to give his side a chance. It almost worked a trick, as Toulon-based Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell starred on the way to the final.
The Wallabies haven’t won a Bledisloe series against the All Blacks in 18 years and national coach Dave Rennie, like Cheika before him, is hoping to lure as many players back to Super Rugby as possible to right that wrong.
But the cash-strapped union, who on Thursday announced a new five-year deal with Cadbury as their major sponsors to help ease some of those pressures, simply can’t compete with the foreign market.
Players can earn double to three times as much money playing in France and Japan and who can blame them for not willing to sacrifice their thousands.
It’s not just long-serving Wallabies that are targeted either, with fringe Test players like Will Skelton and Liam Gill cherry picked. Both have been in RA’s sights for years, but neither has returned.
Enter RA’s solution: sabbaticals.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has missed the 2021 Super Rugby season but will return before the July series against France and will then remain in Australia for the rest of his five-year contract that ends following the 2023 World Cup.
By allowing Hooper to head overseas, RA have not had to pay their most expensive player, who has earned more overseas than possible in Australia and has had the added benefit of playing in a new environment.
It’s something New Zealand Rugby has done for years, with All Blacks greats Richie McCaw and Dan Carter enjoying time in France ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
Former Wallabies skipper David Pocock also had two seasons in Japan following the 2015 World Cup too, but the circumstances surrounding his sabbatical were vastly different.
Yet, moving forward RA will strategically include sabbaticals in players’ contracts to keep them in the game rather than being left in the awkward position of not wanting to pick from overseas for fear of opening up the bottle completely.
“I think a sabbatical type of thing like Hoops is doing, and we’re talking about that with a handful of other players, who can potentially cash in for half a year and then come back [is what we’re targeting], Rennie told reporters in Sydney.
“That’s a great option for us.
“I think guys playing over Europe, and going open slather … if you pick from whatever you like it’ll end up being like Africa and Argentina. You have no control over your players. You look at South Africa last year, they had so many guys up in Europe. That’s the reason they didn’t want to come here [for The Rugby Championship]; scared of losing their number one ranking.
“And I think that it opens the floodgates. Basically picking from here hopefully keeps guys here playing, but certainly sabbatical options for our elite players.”
RA chair Hamish McLennan told foxsports.com.au “everything’s on the table” with regards to eligibility.
He added: “Deep consultation needs to be had with RA management, member unions and Super clubs.
“I’m a free marketer at heart, but we’re totally unique and you’re playing for your country and we’ve got to protect the local game, so there are lots of angles to this one.”
RA wants to encourage its players to look to Japan because the season is shorter and it’s not nearly as taxing or physical as the jam-packed French TOP 14 or English Premiership.
Currently the Japanese competition is littered with international quality and some of the world’s best coaches, including New Zealand guru Wayne Smith.
Players like Gill, Sean McMahon and Samu Kerevi are also plying their trade.
RA is also starting to see the benefit of their own Super Rugby AU competition for two reasons.
First, off the back of their well-attended crowd in Brisbane for its Super Rugby AU final they’ve noticed it’s caught the public interest.
Secondly, if both RA and NZR could have their own separate domestic competitions, which included Pasifika representation, they could then have a fully-fledged competition which includes the top four teams from Japan because their own Top League tournament wraps up early in the year and runs for less than six months.
“To be honest, what would be a great scenario long-term is that the Japanese clubs come into Super Rugby,” Rennie added.
“So now we’re going to pick from that competition because we’re comparing apples with apples.”
“It’d be brilliant,” he added.
McLennan added: “There’s lots of merit in having an AU component, even if it’s shortened.”
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Andy Murray’s return to action in the Italian Open doubles alongside fellow Briton Liam Broady ended in a second-round defeat.
The pair lost 6-3 6-4 to Germany’s Kevin Krawietz and Romania’s Horia Tecau, the eighth seeds.
Scot Murray, 33, was playing his second competitive match since early March following a groin injury.
He will be hoping he showed enough fitness and form to persuade French Open organisers to give him a wildcard.
Murray, who had been in the Italian capital to practise with some of the world’s leading players, is hoping to return to singles action in Lyon or Geneva next week.
Tournament organisers will decide next week whether to award him a wildcard into the main draw of the French Open, which starts on 30 May, but if they do not then the Scot will seek to come through qualifying for the clay-court Grand Slam.
Tournament director Guy Forget said on Wednesday that former world number one Murray “sure deserves” a wildcard.
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Marvel Stadium will play host to Sunday”s
Round 9 AFL game between Essendon Bombers and
Fremantle Dockers. The game kicks off at 1:10 pm with Essendon Bombers heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Essendon Bombers vs.
game and give you our free tips and bets.
When: Sunday May 16, 2021 at 1:10 pm
Where: Marvel Stadium
Bet 💰: Bet On This Match HERE
Essendon Bombers vs Fremantle Dockers Odds
Essendon Bombers vs Fremantle Dockers Preview
Bloody tough game to predict here. Essendon are playing good footy for large parts of games but not long enough to get the wins.
Fremantle are just a bit hard to read entirely at the moment as well. In Melbourne I can see why Essendon are favourites.
I like Fremantle here though, their best footy has been pretty good and if they can show up and perform I think they’ll be able to roll the Bombers here.
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May 10, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) shoots past Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) in the first quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
May 11, 2021
Washington’s Russell Westbrook got his record-setting 182nd career triple-double on Monday, but the Atlanta Hawks came away with a 125-124 victory over the visiting Wizards.
Westbrook had 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists, his 36th triple-double of the season, passing Oscar Robertson’s career mark. It was his fifth triple-double in a row and his 18th in his past 21 games.
Westbrook sank a basket to get the Wizards within a point with 30.1 seconds left, but he missed a 25-footer with 2.3 seconds that could have won the game. The Wizards played without Bradley Beal (hamstring).
Atlanta rode the trio of Trae Young, John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic to the win. Young scored 36 points and added nine assists, Collins had 28 points and eight rebounds, and Bogdanovic had seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points. Clint Capela added 10 points, 22 rebounds and four blocks.
Spurs 146, Bucks 125
DeMar DeRozan poured in 23 points and three of his teammates scored at least 20 as host San Antonio moved a step closer to a spot in the play-in tournament with a big win over Milwaukee.
San Antonio, which has won two of its past three games, lowered its magic number for clinching at least the 10th spot in the West to just one game. Dejounte Murray added 21 points, and Patty Mills and Keldon Johnson hit for 20 points apiece for the Spurs.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 28 points, with Khris Middleton adding 23 and Jrue Holiday scoring 20. Milwaukee, third in the Eastern Conference behind Philadelphia and Brooklyn, had a five-game winning streak snapped.
Warriors 119, Jazz 116
Stephen Curry scored 36 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds remaining, as Golden State upended Utah in San Francisco. The game ended not long after the Warriors’ spot in the postseason play-in tournament was secured when the New Orleans Pelicans lost to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Jordan Poole added 20 points and Kent Bazemore had 19 for the Warriors. Curry has scored at least 30 points in 37 games this season, reaching that benchmark in 20 of his past 22 contests.
Jordan Clarkson had 41 points for the Western Conference-leading Jazz, including 24 in the fourth quarter. Bojan Bogdanovic added 27 as Utah saw its five-game winning streak come to an end.
Trail Blazers 140, Rockets 129
Damian Lillard scored 28 of his 34 points in the second half and finished with nine rebounds and six assists to help Portland notch a victory over visiting Houston.
CJ McCollum and Norman Powell added 28 points apiece as Portland won its fourth straight game. The Trail Blazers trail the fifth-place Dallas Mavericks by a half-game in the Western Conference and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-place Los Angeles Lakers.
Kelly Olynyk registered 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists and D.J. Augustin scored a season-high 21 points as the NBA-worst Rockets dropped their sixth straight contest and 43rd in their past 48.
Grizzlies 115, Pelicans 110
Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant both had double-doubles as host Memphis clinched a berth in the Western Conference play-in tournament by beating New Orleans.
Valanciunas had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Morant added 12 points and 12 assists as the ninth-place Grizzlies ended a five-game losing streak against the Pelicans and guaranteed that they will finish no lower than 10th in the West.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 18 points and Willy Hernangomez had 15 to lead the short-handed and 11th-place Pelicans.
Pacers 111, Cavaliers 102
Kelan Martin scored a career-high 25 points off the bench to lead short-handed Indiana past host Cleveland and closer to a berth in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
Indiana moved back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Wizards. The Pacers also moved three games ahead of the idle 11th-place Chicago Bulls with four games to play. The Cavaliers lost their 11th straight game, the NBA’s worst active streak.
Domantas Sabonis finished with 21 points, 20 rebounds, nine assists and four blocks for the Pacers. Caris LeVert totaled 20 points and 10 assists. Collin Sexton registered 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds for Cleveland.
–Field Level Media
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Second Half ends, Atletico Madrid 2, Real Sociedad 1.
Hand ball by Portu (Real Sociedad).
Hand ball by Jon Bautista (Real Sociedad).
Attempt blocked. Portu (Real Sociedad) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ander Barrenetxea.
Foul by Martín Zubimendi (Real Sociedad).
Koke (Atletico Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Atletico Madrid 2, Real Sociedad 1. Igor Zubeldia (Real Sociedad) left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Martín Merquelanz with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Real Sociedad. Conceded by Kieran Trippier.
Substitution, Atletico Madrid. Renan Lodi replaces Luis Suárez.
Attempt missed. Martín Merquelanz (Real Sociedad) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is too high.
Attempt blocked. Jon Bautista (Real Sociedad) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Portu (Real Sociedad) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Roberto López.
Martín Merquelanz (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid).
Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Atletico Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Marcos Llorente.
Martín Merquelanz (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid).
Foul by Ander Barrenetxea (Real Sociedad).
Koke (Atletico Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
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Bulldogs CEO Aaron Warburton has revealed it was Kyle Flanagan’s choice to face the media two days after he was brutally hooked at half time — but is unsure whether the young halfback knew he had been dropped for this weekend before fronting up.
The 22-year-old put on a brave face as he answered the questions thrown at him by reporters on Tuesday. He then got emotional and choked back tears when he was asked about the influence of his dad, ex-Sharks coach, Shane.
Flanagan’s last six months have been a rollercoaster. He was stunned when he was shown the door by the Roosters but was quickly picked up by the Bulldogs to be their chief playmaker.
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The Bulldogs have won just one game and are sitting last. Fair or not, like at most clubs, the No.7 has carried the brunt of their disappointing start to the season.
That pressure bubbled over on the weekend when coach Trent Barrett hooked Flanagan at half time and replaced him with Lachie Lewis.
Then on Tuesday, Flanagan fronted the media and was naturally asked about it.
His emotional response has sparked criticism towards the club’s handling of a young player in a vulnerable position.
However, Warburton confirmed to The Sydney Morning Heraldthat Flanagan assured the club that he was “comfortable” to face the media and the welfare of the 38-gamer is a priority.
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“The emotional side of Kyle, which comes from the heart, is a driving factor in what makes him tick. Family is everything and that is special,” Warburton said.
“From that piece and the narrative around what he has to do as a half is so simple; it’s the hard-work piece. It’s about getting back to where he wants to be and getting the club back to where we need to be as well.
“The welfare side of it is super important to me. I’ve spoken to Kyle at length (on Wednesday) and he knows what he needs to do and we’re there to support him.
“It’s not the first time or the last time in footy that someone gets dropped. We’re just making sure that he’s in a good headspace, that is key.”
Flanagan did an admirable job to get through the media session. Then just hours later when team lists for Magic Round dropped, it was revealed that he had been axed from the side in favour of Brandon Wakeham.
Warburton couldn’t confirm whether that decision had been communicated to Flanagan prior to Tuesday morning’s media opportunity, but is confident the “resilient” halfback will bounce back.
“I’m not sure. I’m not sure the exact conversation Trent had with him or anyone else around team listings and whatnot,” he said.
“He won’t be the first or last halfback to be dropped from a team to go back and work on whatever he and the coach talked through to help their team get out of the space they are in.
“What stole the headlines was that he was emotional and that’s Kyle. He’s a pretty resilient guy.”
The question that triggered Flanagan’s emotions was about the support of his dad. He spoke about the advice his dad gives him as a premiership-winning NRL coach and also the nurturing side of a father just looking out for his son.
Warburton says Flanagan’s reaction proves how much he cares about his role at the Bulldogs — and reaffirmed that the club has “full faith” in the developing playmaker.
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“It was so special,” Warburton said.
“I looked at that personally and thought he knows what he needs to work on and that means a lot to him.
“That’s the type of player who will know what to do and get out of it.
“You talk to me about what drives me and it’s family. Like most people, that’s who you want to make proud. That’s a very special part of what drives Kyle.
“He’s young, he’s 22, he’s the No.7 at a big club with high hopes. He’s the type of guy who will just work hard.
He said it 10-plus times (on Tuesday) and we have full faith in him.”
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Serena Williams saw the 1,000th match of her illustrious career end in a straight-set defeat by Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska at the Italian Open.
The 39-year-old American, playing her first competitive match since mid-February, was beaten 7-6 (8-6) 7-5.
Podoroska looked assured in her first meeting with the 23-time Grand Slam champion as she reached the last 16.
Japanese world number two Naomi Osaka suffered her second successive defeat on clay by losing to Jessica Pegula.
Meanwhile, Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty reached the third round by beating Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4 6-1.
Osaka, who received a first-round bye, lost 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to American world number 31 Pegula in Rome.
The four-time Grand Slam champion, 23, has often struggled on clay and negative body language – including when she smashed a racquet – showed her discomfort against a confident Pegula.
After a tight opener where she missed three set points, Osaka’s level dropped in the second and Pegula took control.
Pegula, 27, kept her focus and discipline to take advantage of Osaka’s increasingly wayward hitting, breaking for 4-2 when Osaka walloped a wild volley wide and going on to seal the biggest win of her career.
For Osaka, this defeat followed a second-round loss at the Madrid Open earlier this month and comes two and a half weeks before the start of the French Open.
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Unbeaten Melbourne has suffered a surprising injury blow, but there could be a silver lining.
Plus St Kilda’s potential big debut and calls to be made at Richmond and Geelong.
Get the latest selection news and updates in AFL Team Whispers!
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ST KILDA is heavily considering naming James Frawley for his first game at the club to combat Geelong’s in-form trio of power forwards on Friday night.
The premiership Hawk was a surprising trade period recruit last year, having appeared to have retired, brought in to bolster the Saints’ defensive depth.
However a major hamstring injury suffered in the pre-season means he has only just come back through the VFL, playing in a game two weeks ago, while Sandringham had the bye this past weekend.
Saints coach Brett Ratten said Frawley was “in the selection chat”, as long as he passes fit, which would help combat Jeremy Cameron, Tom Hawkins and Gary Rohan, who combined for 15 goals against Richmond last week.
“He’ll be pretty close. We’ll work that out this afternoon but he’s done everything right so he’ll be in the selection chat,” Ratten said on Wednesday.
“They’re (Geelong’s forwards) all in good form, and who do you go to? We got ‘Chip’ in to play on big forwards and to be part of our backline, so if we think he’s ready to go we’ll pick him, we just have to tick that off with the high-performance boys and see where that sits.
“There’s no bigger test, is there. The Cats in great form, just beaten the Tigers, up and about, and if you’re probably asking Scotty (Chris Scott) what does he want from his team, to have their key forwards kick 15 goals between three of them, that’s probably what he’s after.
“They’re in good form and we’ll have some challenges and we’ll get to see where we’re at.”
Frawley is set to be joined in the senior side by Seb Ross, who missed last week’s clash after his partner gave birth to twins.
Several players coming off big VFL games against Box Hill will be pushing for selection, including defender Tom Highmore (32 disposals, 15 marks), midfielder Luke Dunstan (3.2 from 35 disposals), Ben Long (25 disposals) and Jack Lonie (3.1 from 24 disposals).
Mason Wood, who had just five touches against the Suns, looms as a likely exclusion.
GEELONG coach Chris Scott has revealed four players are in contention to replace the injured Sam Simpson for Friday night’s clash against St Kilda.
With Simpson suffering a low-grade hamstring strain against Richmond, Scott nominated Max Holmes, Jordan Clark, Charlie Constable and Quinton Narkle as the players fighting for one spot.
Clark was one of the Cats’ best players in the VFL win over the Northern Bullants, finishing with 29 disposals and eight tackles, while Constable collected 22 touches and a goal.
Holmes didn’t face the Bullants – he was a carry-over player – but has been a standout for the Cats in their VFL campaign to date.
SYDNEY believes Isaac Heeney could make his return this week after missing the close loss to Melbourne with ankle soreness.
The young star was sorely missing from a forward line that kicked just eight goals from 58 inside 50s.
“We’re hoping he can do some running tomorrow, and then look to train on Thursday. We’re hoping he pulls up OK and will be available,” coach John Longmire said on Monday.
“Sometimes [Heeney’s ankle] gets jammed up a little bit and takes a bit longer to recover. There are times where you can feel it during a game, and it pulls up OK and it just takes him a day or two to recover. This took him a bit longer.
“It’s going to happen like that at times, so it just meant that he had the week off. It gives him, with his hand, another week to feel a bit better as well.”
Opponents COLLINGWOOD will need to find replacements for concussed pair Jordan Roughead and Nathan Murphy.
The most likely pair are Will Kelly in defence and Jack Madgen on a wing, given Nathan Buckley was trialling the later earlier this season. But don’t count out category B rookie Tom Wilson, who’s averaging 20 disposals and almost 6 marks off halfback in the VFL.
Youngsters Jay Rantall and Finlay Macrae will be in the mix for returns while Mason Cox looks clearly behind Darcy Cameron in the pecking order at this stage.
Amid an injury crisis NORTH MELBOURNE may finally get some players back, with Trent Dumont getting closer and closer to a return following a calf problem.
However he may still need to hit more marks in his GPS numbers at VFL level, based on coach David Noble’s recent comments.
Aiden Bonar (ankle) and Jaidyn Stephenson (wrist) will go out of the side, with medical sub Will Phillips plus emergencies Bailey Scott and Atu Bosenavulagi the three likely to be considered in their stead.
Tristan Xerri has looked good at VFL level, tallying 26 disposals against Southport, but remains behind Todd Goldstein and Tom Campbell in the pecking order.
HAWTHORN looks set to be bolstered by the returns of Jack Gunston (back) and Jaeger O’Meara (hip) for Saturday’s must-win clash with the 0-8 Kangaroos.
Gunston was a very late out for the loss to West Coast but should be healthy for Round 9, while physical performance manager Luke Boyd sounded confident in O’Meara’s health on Tuesday.
“He was able to do a little bit of straight line ball work last week and full trained today, so the plan for Jaeger is to full train on Thursday, and assuming he gets through that session okay we expect him to play this week.”
Shaun Burgoyne remains a test while Damon Greaves, the unused medical sub in Round 7, was Box Hill’s best AFL-listed player on the weekend.
Tyler Brockman also impressed, and he and Gunston’s returns could see Emerson Jeka out of the senior side following a quiet second AFL game. Dylan Moore, who was the late replacement for Gunston, and Daniel Howe aren’t secure with their spots either.
RICHMOND should regain triple premiership defender Dylan Grimes but will have to make at least two forced changes for its match against the Giants this Saturday night.
Gun midfielders Shane Edwards (ankle) and Shai Bolton (wrist) will miss, leaving some gaps in the midfield.
Patrick Naish looms as a strong option after two straight weeks as the Tigers’ medical sub and good form in the VFL, averaging 27 disposals per outing.
Hugo Ralphsmith has been in the verge of senior selection for some weeks, while Will Martyn has already had a taste of AFL action after debuting against Port Adelaide in Round 4.
Dual premiership player Josh Caddy will also likely be considered, but hasn’t played a full game since his 16-disposal outing for the Tigers’ VFL side on April 24.
The GIANTS are expected to make a straight swap for the Tigers game, with the suspended Jeremy Finlayson likely to be replaced by fellow key forward Jesse Hogan.
Hogan didn’t play against Essendon due to a calf issue, but just needs to get through a fitness test this week to play the Tigers.
Defender Matt Buntine is a possible inclusion after sitting out last week’s win due to concussion. He could come in for luckless defender Lachie Keeffe, who ruptured his ACL against Essendon, although the Giants could turn to forward-turned-defender Jake Riccardi after his 41-disposal, 19-mark VFL outing against Southport earlier this month.
It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see ruckman Shane Mumford rested this week, opening the door for Matthew Flynn to return to the side. However Kieren Briggs has been just as impressive at VFL level so far this season.
Both Sam Hayes and Peter Ladhams are in the mix to replace suspended ruckman Scott Lycett at PORT ADELAIDE.
It would be an AFL debut for Hayes, while Ladhams was among the best in each of the last two SANFL games for Port.
Dan Houston could play despite being subbed out of the Showdown win with an AC joint issue; if he must miss, Riley Bonner looms as his replacement after his second game back at SANFL level from a hamstring injury.
The WESTERN BULLDOGS are hopeful of regaining two members of their first-choice defence as well as ruckman Tim English for Saturday night’s blockbuster against the Power.
English will be considered as he progresses through the concussion protocol, while Bailey Williams (collarbone) and Ryan Gardner (shoulder) just need to get through training.
Remarkably Lachie Hunter could play after breaking his hand and playing through it last weekend, but Stefan Martin (Achilles) and Laitham Vandermeer (knee) will miss and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan needs a week off following a VFL head knock.
GOLD COAST will unleash its first debutant of the season, with Malcolm Rosas Jr to face the Brisbane Lions on Saturday.
Rosas Jr will come into the side for Nick Holman, who’ll miss the QClash after sustaining a concussion in the loss to St Kilda.
The 19-year-old will be named after a promising start to his 2021 VFL campaign, booting two goals and averaging 13 disposals and five tackles across three games playing as a pressure small forward.
Rosas Jr was picked up as a Suns Academy selection prior to the 2019 draft. He was the first player drafted to the Suns after the Darwin region was added to the club’s academy program.
“It’s pretty exciting, absolutely stoked to be representing this club,” Rosas Jr said.
“It’s a dream, I’ve always wanted to play footy at the highest level and I can’t wait to get out there in the QClash.
“Keep chasing your dreams, keep playing footy as much as you can because you never know where you can get to.”
Experienced midfielder Touk Miller will miss one week due to suspension, and could be replaced by free agent recruit Rory Atkins, who looks almost certain to make his Suns debut.
The 26-year-old former Crow has overcome both shoulder surgery and a foot injury since joining the club, but after three VFL matches looks ready to go.
“It’s difficult when a player comes from another club and they’re injured,” Dew said.
“We had to keep him on track, set out a plan and keep him sticking to it because sometimes when players are in a hurry they can get injured and do themselves a disservice.
“We want to set him up for a full year of footy rather than rushing him in.”
On-ballers Will Brodie, Brayden Fiorini and Darcy Macpherson, who are all averaging 29-plus disposals per outing at VFL level, are all in the mix to play.
BRISBANE is unlikely to make any forced changes for Saturday’s QClash against Gold Coast.
Carter Michael continues to impress at VFL level – he had 30 disposals and 11 intercepts against Coburg in Round 3 – while Kedean Coleman is on the cusp of senior selection after booting two goals from 28 touches.
MELBOURNE has found a way to squeeze Sam Weideman back into the team – though they would’ve preferred not to.
Rising Star nominee Luke Jackson is set to miss one or two weeks after fracturing his finger in Round 8’s win over Sydney, requiring minor surgery this week.
The ruck-forward’s absence should open the door for Weideman, who has been starring at VFL level but unable to work his way into the senior side, nor play ahead of recruit Ben Brown.
Opponents CARLTON have plenty of options to choose from as they lose Jack Silvagni to concussion. Marc Murphy looms as his replacement, having spent the season at half-forward.
After a disappointing showing from his rucks David Teague will likely call up Tom De Koning, who impressed at VFL level last weekend, while Nic Newman looks ready to return.
In the midfield, any of Paddy Dow, Will Setterfield or Matt Kennedy could be considered – they all had at least 24 disposals against Footscray.
WEST COAST is set to be boosted by the return of two key defenders for its clash against Adelaide on Sunday.
After missing recent wins over Fremantle and Hawthorn, both Jeremy McGovern (groin) and Tom Barrass (shoulder) have both moved freely at training this week If declared fit, it would mean Harry Edwards would be a likely exclusion.
The Eagles are also confident Josh Kennedy will hold his spot and be available, despite being subbed out against Hawthorn with calf tightness.
Xavier O’Neill (34 disposals) and Brayden Ainsworth (23 disposals) both impressed in the WAFL, but the Eagles’ senior line-up is a hard team to crack into after a strong showing against Hawthorn and the prospect of McGovern and Barrass returning.
ADELAIDE will be without Lachie Murphy (ankle) and Ned McHenry (concussion) for the game against West Coast.
Small forward Shane McAdam, who was dropped to the SANFL and kicked one goal from eight touches, could get a re-call, while exciting forward Tariek Newchurch could be a wildcard option to make his AFL debut after booting nine goals from six SANFL games so far this season.
Midfielders Chayce Jones (27 disposals) and Jackson Hately (26 disposals) would be in the mix to replace the duo after finding a lot of the ball in the SANFL. Another option would be 2019 draftee and big-bodied midfielder Ronin O’Connor, who’s averaged 21 disposals, seven tackles and seven clearances from his past three SANFL games.
While Elliott Himmelberg managed just 0.1 from 10 touches against Port, Billy Frampton kicked two goals in the SANFL to push his case.
Defenders Josh Worrell and Fischer McAsey, who’ve been in great form at SANFL level, are waiting in the wings too.
Key forward Riley Thilthorpe (knee hyperextension) and tall defender Jordon Butts (finger) have been cleared to play.
FREMANTLE could be boosted by the return of gun midfielder Adam Cerra, as well as small forward Sam Switkowski, to face Essendon on Sunday.
Dockers coach Justin Longmuir told 7 News Perth that Cerra was “really close” to playing this week after recovering from an ankle injury suffered against Adelaide in Round 5.
If passed fit, Cerra would be an automatic inclusion, while Switkowski – who’s been sidelined after suffering a finger injury in Round 3 against Carlton – could add speed and defensive pressure.
The Dockers will be forced to make at least one change with speedster Michael Frederick suffering a syndesmosis injury last week.
All-Australian Luke Ryan (calf) is still at least one week away, while Alex Pearce (knee) will need to play a WAFL game before returning to the Dockers’ AFL side.
ESSENDON will have to find a replacement for gun forward Jake Stringer, who suffered a hamstring strain in the tight loss to the Giants that will sideline him for three to four weeks.
Alec Waterman looms as a strong replacement option, after recovering from an ankle injury, while Ned Cahill would also be in the mix. Another other option would be to move sub Matt Guelfi into the starting 22.
Ruckman Sam Draper remains a “medium term” return prospect, with the club frustratingly unwilling to be any more specific than that.
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