The footy frenzy is well underway with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night games done and dusted.
What will the rest of Round 9 bring?
See who we predict to win and why this weekend 👇
All times AEST
Saturday, 2:35pm, Metricon Stadium
It’s fair to say both of these clubs badly need a win.
North Melbourne battled hard against Carlton last weekend, only to lose by seven points, while Adelaide shot themselves in the foot once again when missing late attempts on goal to go down narrowly to Essendon.
In a major blow for the Crows, leading midfielder Brad Crouch has a hamstring strain, leaving a gaping hole in the middle, while acting captain Tom Doedee has a hamstring/glute problem but may still play. Darcy Fogarty is expected to be back after getting over a shoulder issue while fellow youngster Ned McHenry is also available.
The Kangaroos remain without skipper Jack Ziebell while vital on-baller Ben Cunnington remains in doubt. Thankfully there were no fresh injury worries out of the Blues game which will be welcomed by the Roos’ medical staff given the recent spate.
North had enough opportunities and were back playing fairly competitive footy last weekend while the Crows can blame poor execution for their defeat.
The home side has won this fixture the last 10 times (Adelaide 6, North 4) but of course that doesn’t apply here with the game taking place on neutral territory. The Crows have a slight 3-2 edge in their last five outings.
Very tricky game in which to make a confident selection but with Crouch out and perhaps Doedee too, the pendulum swings ever so slightly towards North in a close one, which would consign the Crows to nine straight defeats.
Tip: North Melbourne by 9 points
Saturday, 5:10pm, Gabba
After snapping their South Australian hoodoo, St Kilda face another bogey side in Sydney on neutral territory in Brisbane.
The Saints beat Adelaide and Port Adelaide in the space of a week to break through for their first wins at Adelaide Oval which catapulted them into fourth spot.
If they are to consolidate their spot in the top four, they must overcome a horror record against Swans that dates back eight years.
Round 9, 2012 was the last time St Kilda saluted in this fixture before losing the next 10 games by a whopping average margin of 54 points.
The Swans, led by in-form star Tom Papley, ended a four-game losing streak by defeating struggling Hawthorn to inject new life into their season.
Papley’s match-winning four-goal haul sees him leading the Coleman Medal after eight rounds as he underlined his status as one of the premier small forwards in the competition.
St Kilda’s coaching staff will be no doubt be putting time into how they will go about quelling Papley’s influence who has played a virtual lone hand up forward for the Bloods this season.
It’s another big opportunity for the Saints against lowly opposition, will they take it?
Tip: St Kilda by 10 points
Saturday, 8:10pm, Optus Stadium
Last Sunday, West Coast put in the defining performance of 2020 so far in their comprehensive 66-point defeat of Collingwood, sending a message to the rest of the competition.
The signs were almost all positive for them as they put the Pies to the sword, with Josh Kennedy’s seven goals and Tim Kelly’s 30 touches at an incredible 90 per cent efficiency the standouts.
They take on a Geelong side this Saturday night fresh off their second of two games in Perth before they head back to Queensland later in the season.
These two sides share some strong recent history, the most recent being in last year’s Semi Final at the MCG when the Cats ran out 20-point winners after a five goal to one first quarter.
Geelong’s back six will have their hands full dealing with an in-form Kennedy, Jack Darling and Oscar Allen among others but this game will be decided in the midfield. The battle between Tim Kelly and Patrick Dangerfield promises to excite.
Tip: West Coast by 24 points
Sunday, 3:35pm, Metricon Stadium
GWS has owned the battle of the expansion teams since 2015, winning their last eight encounters with Gold Coast. During that time, the Giants launched to the top while the Suns wallowed down the bottom. Now, Gold Coast actually sit higher on the ladder than GWS.
Gold Coast has been tough to take down at Metricon Stadium this year, with only Port Adelaide and the Bulldogs beating them there. The Giants meanwhile are yet to win a game away from their home turf and their win over Richmond papered over the cracks of a team that cannot move the ball from one end to the other and cannot get it inside 50. Toby Greene singlehandedly bailed them out to that end.
However, the Giants have been able to get games on their terms despite these issues whenever they get on top in the clearances – as we saw on Friday night – and they should have midfield ascendency over the Suns if they can limit Jarrod Witts’ inevitable ruck dominance.
Expect a tight game with Gold Coast no longer the prey of top teams, though recent weeks suggest one of GWS’ star forwards will catch fire and it may be enough to separate the two teams.
Tip: GWS by 9 points
Sunday, 6:10pm, Optus Stadium
Fremantle will look to spring another surprise against Collingwood in their Round 9 encounter in Perth.
The Dockers caused a boilover by stunning the Magpies by four points at the MCG last season thanks to a late goal from Michael Walters, snapping a four-game winless run in the process.
Nathan Buckley’s side were on the end of a 66-point hiding to West Coast at Optus Stadium last time out, their first loss since relocating to a Perth hub.
Already without Steele Sidebottom (suspended), Jordan De Goey (finger) and Jeremy Howe (knee), the understrength Pies were further depleted when captain Scott Pendlebury pulled out minutes before the opening bounce with a tight quad.
Pendlebury will miss the next two weeks after scans discovered a slight strain to his quad.
With four games in 13 days spread across three cities, it’s set to be a testing period for Collingwood but also a good opportunity considering all four opponents – Fremantle, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne – sit outside the top eight.
It’s the third of five straight home matches for the Dockers who have shown signs of improvement under rookie coach Justin Longmuir.
They could only muster just two goals in Monday night's dour loss to fourth-placed Geelong.
The Magpies have won their last two games against Freo at Optus Stadium by an average margin of 19.5 points.
Tip: Collingwood by 21 points