It's one of Australia's fave festivals for a reason!
What a weekend of action it promises to be in the AFL this round. The byes are done and dusted, so we return to our full compliment of 9 matches for the week.
Round 15 kicks off with the game of the week as we continue Thursday night (28 June) AFL action with Richmond hosting the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium at 7:20pm. It will be 1st v 2nd, with the Swans looking to knock off a big fish two weeks in a row and claim top spot outright. Whoever wins the enticing fixture will move four points clear of the rest of the pack, that is until West Coast do battle on Saturday. The Swans have now claimed six on the trot and are really starting to hit their straps in the back half of the season. Both sides will be coming off a week’s rest, so should be fit and raring to go in the must watch clash.
The action continues at Etihad Stadium on Friday night (29 June) as the Western Bulldogs host Geelong at 7:50pm. The Dogs have well-documented injury troubles and are enduring a disappointing season, but after a very good showing against top 8 side North Melbourne, they will be up and about for Friday night footy. The Cats will be needing four points to solidify their top 8 credentials, but the Dogs will be hungry and sure to put up a good fight to push them all the way, hoping to catch the Cats off guard after the bye last week.
Moving to Saturday (30 June) footy, the clash between GWS and Hawthorn promises to be much more enticing than their ladder positions suggest. Despite sitting 10th and 9th on the ladder, both the GIANTS and Hawks have won their past three, and are starting to hit a good run of form to make a real finals push. Regaining critical players from early-season injuries has significantly boosted the GIANTS, whilst the Hawks may have finally found their mojo after a patchy first half of the season. The return of Josh Kelly has been critical to the GIANTS’ resurgence, collecting another 30 touches and two goals against Brisbane. This shapes up to be a ripping clash at Spotless Stadium, this Saturday night at 7:25pm.
On to Sunday footy (1 July), the Dons will take on North Melbourne in an intriguing clash. Despite sitting 12th on the ladder, Essendon have significantly turned their form around since a disappointing loss to Carlton in May, winning four of their past five with the only loss coming to top of the table Richmond. The Bombers will be buoyed by a huge win against West Coast on their home deck at Optus Stadium last round, with Devon Smith starring with three goals. North recovered from a slow start to topple the Dogs with a last-gasp winner and maintain their spot inside the top 8, also now winning four of their last five. Shaun Higgins is in a rich vein of form after amassing another 32 disposals and two goals. This is setting up to be a possible shootout under the Etihad Stadium roof, with both sides starting to pick up some serious form. A mouth-watering clash indeed that definitely can’t be missed.
Closing out Round 15 will see Fremantle return to the marvellous Optus Stadium, as they play host to the Brisbane Lions on Sunday at 2:40pm. Coming off the bye, Fremantle have won their past two. The Dockers are only sitting two games outside the eight, and if they continue their good form in the remaining rounds could possibly put some fear in other top 8 contenders with a late push.
This really is an enticing round of footy across the country, with the top 8 by no means settled and plenty of positions in the finals series still up for grabs.
Grab your tickets to all the AFL action at Ticketmaster.com.au.