18/04/2024

Collingwood have been a talking point all week. Image (Collingwood FC)

As we enter the final month of the regular season, many fixtures remain that will dictate how the final ladder looks, and plenty of storylines to match.

As we enter the final month of the regular season, there are still several fixtures that will dictate how the top eight looks and Round 20 is no different.

These are the five things to look out for ahead of Round 20.

Demons stumbling at the wrong time

It’s fair to say that Melbourne is not displaying its best brand of footy like what was on display during the first half of the year. The Demons face the possibility of falling outside the top four entirely when they face the Dockers on Friday night.

Of the least eight matches they’ve played, Melbourne have recorded just three wins which is vastly different to how they started the season with 10 straight victories.

Can Melbourne find form again? Image (Melbourne FC)

The Demons will welcome back the ever reliable Jake Lever who was noticably missed in last weeks loss to the Bulldogs. Ben Brown has already been ruled out of this contest and will miss another week with ongoing knee soreness.

Melbourne may fancy their chances additionally with the absence of dual Brownlow medalist, Nat Fyfe who has sustained yet another injury.

In positive news for the Dockers, Rory Lobb will take to the field again after missing the trip to Marvel Stadium in last week’s draw to Richmond

Aside from the players discussion, the Dockers are also bringing back their classic Purple, Green and Red jumpers for their ‘Retro Round’.

Collingwood looking for 10 straight

Collingwood are looking to achieve a very rare feat on Saturday afternoon on the MCG against Port Adelaide, that being 10 consecutive wins. This was last achieved by the Pies in 2012 when they finished the season 20-2.

This is such an important game for the Magpies, a win could see them jump as high as second. Although with their poor percentage, a loss could see them fall to seventh.

Collingwood are looking make it 10 in a row against Port Adelaide. Image (Collingwood FC)

In addition to the importance of this game, the Magpies will sure be tested. The Power have found some form in the back half of the year but have been dealt a very tough fixture of late, facing four of the top five teams within the last five weeks. But that’s not to say it can’t be done, as on their day the Power are every chance at stealing a victory and keeping their slim finals hope alive

Collingwood’s chances of making it 10 on-the-trot are set to massively boosted by the inclusion of Jordan De Goey. Unfortunately for the Pies, Brodie Grundy is set to be another week or two away as he returns through the VFL.

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This season, Collingwood have done it the hard way winning eight games by less than two goals, and in doing so creating a bit of history. They’ve become the team with the smallest percentage to have recorded 13 wins at 106.2 percent, and they don’t look like stopping there.

Geelong champion notches 350

When mentioning the Geelong Football Club, one of the first names that comes to mind would be Joel Selwood. The longest serving captain of a club in the game’s history.

Saturday night will celebrate game number 350 for Joel Selwood. Of the 350, 240 games have been spent as the captain of the club beginning from Round 1 back in 2012, making this his 11th season as skipper.

Aside from being the captain for so long, Selwood is renowned for his fearlessness and courage for the ball, willing to sacrifice himself to win possession of the footy.

Joel Selwood has an incredible CV to look back on even with a couple season to go in his fantastic career. 2007 Rising Star, 6x All-Australian (3x Captain and three-time premiership player just to name a few.

Additionally, later on this season Selwood is set to become the player with the most finals appearances in the history of the game. He needs just two games to join Michael Tuck on 39 and three games in the finals to become the outright leader.

Joel Selwood reaches a significant milestone on Saturday. Image (afl.com.au)

In addition to the skipper’s celebration, Cats star defender Tom Stewart returns to face the Bulldogs after missing a month due to suspension. His inclusion will certainly help his side push their case for the minor premiership.

Blues getting the band back together

The injury gods are delivering for Carlton as many of their most valuable players are returning at the right time of the season. One of which being Marc Pittonet who has missed nearly four months with a knee injury.

The Blues last week brought back Mitch McGovern from a long-term injury and Matt Owies also makes the trip to Adelaide this weekend. Unfortunately though, George Hewett will miss at least another week with back soreness.

Ruckman Marc Pittonet is back for Carlton. Image (Carlton FC)

Through the opening five games of the season, Pittonet averaged 19 hitouts and 3.4 clearances. Pittonet’s return more importantly means that Carlton have two legitimate rucks again and Tom De Koning now has the ability to rest forward.

Carlton’s ruck issue has meant that Jack Silvagni had to play as that second option. Silvagni has been given this week off after a tough few months playing as the undersized ruck and through injury as Pittonet’s replacement.

If Carlton can secure the win over at the Adelaide Oval, they will need just one win from their remaining three games to lock in their first finals birth in nearly a decade.

Big name Tiger included for MUST win game

The remainder of Richmond’s games this season are seemingly must win matches in order to play finals this season.

Their chances in doing so are substantially increased with the welcome return of Tom Lynch who was subbed out early in the loss to the Gold Coast in Round 17.

Richmond will certainly fancy their chances on Sunday given the Lions have won just two out of the last 21 contests at the MCG, not winning there since 2014.

Brisbane also face doubts as star half-back Daniel Rich will miss this week under concussion protocols, following a clash with Levi Casboult’s knee.

As important as this is for Richmond, it’s equally important for Brisbane who are fighting for their spot in the top four and need to prove themselves capable of winning on the MCG to make a run deep into September.

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