Round 13 of the AFL Season proves as a weekend that can really shape up the ladder as another six teams take the week off.
Here are 5 key things to keep an eye out for in Round 13.
Tigers skipper cracks 200 games.
With both teams knocking on the door of finals in 2022, Thursday night’s game between Richmond and Port Adelaide looms as an interesting contest for both teams’ September campaigns.
The matchup will see Tiger’s newly appointed co-captain Dylan Grimes take to the field for the 200th time. After being taken at pick 2 in the 2009 draft, Grimes had to wait all season until Round 22 of 2010 to get the nod for his debut, also funnily enough against the Power.
In addition to Grimes’ 200th game milestone, the Tigers will welcome another debutant on Thursday night. Young 18-year-old midfielder, Judson Clarke has impressed selectors at VFL level with his ability to impact the scoreboard from stoppages. In the NAB league last season, Clarke averaged 18 disposals and a goal.
Grimes will likely match up against the recently returning Charlie Dixon. After 2 Goals in managed minutes against the Bombers in Round 11, Dixon will be looking to build momentum for a finals push at the back end of the season
Richmond enters Thursday’s game with a 6-5 record in 10th position. A win will once again elevate them into the Top 8 while Port Adelaide is just one game behind despite starting 0-5.
Both sides have won four out of their last five games and coming off the bye, so fresh legs are set to make an exciting contest.
The Power have not played at the MCG since May last year in a narrow 1 point win over Collingwood. However, the last time they lost on the MCG was back in 2019, also against the Tigers
Blues looking to spoil another Anniversary blockbuster
Essendon will be celebrating its 150th anniversary as a Football Club on Friday night when they host Carlton at the MCG.
The history of these two rivals expands back to the first season in 1897. Since then, the rivals have met 250 times with the advantage going the Blues’ way, 126 wins to 118 with six draws.
In an emotion-filled week in the lead-up for the Blues, Caleb Marchbank was announced to make a return to senior football after 1,069 days following multiple serious injury setbacks. Marchbank last played in Round 16, 2019 against the Demons.
With the loss of Jacob Weitering to a shoulder injury, Marchbank comes in at just the right time as Carlton is really lacking depth in the taller defender category.
Meanwhile, at the Hangar, Jake Stringer is set to return for the Bombers on their big night following an interrupted start to the season with a hamstring injury. The 28-year-old has played seven games so far this season averaging 12.5 disposals and almost 2 goals per game.
The Blues have made a habit of spoiling anniversaries and club milestone matches in recent times, most recently scoring a win over Collingwood when they celebrated their 125 years in the competition back in 2017. They will be out to spoil the party once more on Friday night.
A win for Carlton would see them elevate themselves back into the top four.
Is ‘Flagmantle’ real?
After beating the top two teams in the competition, Fremantle are riding the highest wave one can imagine and people are beginning to ask, can they go all the way?
Fremantle will be boosted by the return of dual Brownlow Medalist, Nat Fyfe. Fyfe is yet to play this season and addressed speculation he plays forward, turning these down to stay in the midfield, not wanting to heavily disrupt the Dockers engine room that has worked so well so far this season.
On top of Fyfe, Fremantle is set to welcome back a plethora of important names to face Hawthorn. Names such as Matt Taberner, Michael Walters, and Sam Switkowski are all poised to return, adding a major part to the Dockers’ forward 50.
All these players are welcomed back on the back of a 4-goal display from Bailey Banfield. This only makes rough work for Hawks defenders who have already had a tough time in 2022, conceding the third-most points this season.
Potential finals preview at the Gabba
Saturday night gives us a potential sneak peek for a finals matchup later this season with the Lions hosting the Saints
Brisbane will enter the contest in second position just one win away from the top of the table. While St Kilda is just percentage from 4th position and one game behind their opposition.
Much of the Saints’ recent success can be attributed to the emergence of Jack Sinclair. The dashing half-back has made his claim to be an All-Australian this season sending the ball forward for scores on countless occasions
As for Brisbane, Lachie Neale has improved on his 2020 Brownlow Medal year and could be on track for his second Brownlow in three years. He is averaging 32 disposals, 5 tackles, and almost a goal per game.
Both sides will welcome back some handy inclusions in their respective forward lines. The Lions have key forward Joe Daniher available to them after missing six weeks. Jack Higgins makes a return to the Saints lineup after missing under Health and Safety Protocols.
With just one game separating second and seventh on the ladder, these games are just so important especially for Brisbane and St Kilda heading towards September
Queen’s Birthday, Big Freeze 8 Blockbuster
The Big Freeze game on Queen’s Birthday has become one of the most special days on the footy calendar.
Collingwood and Melbourne face off on what is not only an important day for the sport but also important in the context of both teams’ seasons.
Melbourne has come back down to earth a bit following back-to-back losses at home and this week a scandal between two players sent shockwaves through the reigning premiers. Melbourne still heads into this contest as favourites but their place at the top of the ladder is starting to become vulnerable.
As for Collingwood, They’ve registered three consecutive wins and have made a statement to the rest of the competition, staking their claim as finals contenders this year
Another win for Collingwood means they will hold their place in the top 8. Although their percentage is comparatively quite weak. Meanwhile, if Melbourne were to get back on the winners list the remain a game clear at the top of the table.
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