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AFL form guide

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AFL round two rolls on tonight with the distracted Essendon club bumping into premiership side Hawthorn.

Richmond opened the round by withstanding another comeback from Carlton to win their pulsating AFL clash by 12 points Thursday night at the MCG.

Dustin Martin kicked a goal in the last few seconds to seal the 14.14 (98) to 12.14 (86) win.

The Blues rallied from 37 points down late in the second term.

But they will be kicking themselves for their inaccuracy, with Carlton kicking 3.7 in the last quarter.

The round concludes with the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne looking to build some hope for their supporters.

Essendon v Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium 7.20pm

Head to head: Bombers 95 Hawks 60 Drawn 0

Last clash: Round 18 2013 – Hawks 22.11 (143) bt Bombers 13.9 (87) at Etihad Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Bombers $3.00 Hawks $1.40

Sportingbet: Bombers $2.95 Hawks $1.41

The longtime rivals both scored first-up wins, with Essendon again rising above the James Hird/supplements saga to emphatically knock off the Kangaroos. But can the Bombers repeat the feat against the reigning premiers? Hawthorn were scratchy in round one but beat Brisbane by eight goals, making light of Lance Franklin’s defection. Luke Breust and Jarryd Roughead kicked five goals each. And the Hawks have thumped Essendon by 56, 94 and 55 points in their past three meetings.

Key: Can recruit Paul Chapman repeat his four-goal heroics on debut for the Bombers? Chapman’s scoring polish will be needed as Essendon try to kick a winning score.

Tip: Hawks by 36 points

SATURDAY

St Kilda v Greater Western Sydney at Etihad Stadium 1.10pm

Head to head: Saints 2 Giants 0 Drawn 0

Last clash: Round 3 2013 – Saints 21.14 (140) bt Giants 10.8 (68) at Manuka Oval

Tab Sportsbet: Saints $1.90 Giants $1.90

Sportingbet: Saints $1.95 Giants $1.85

Can the Giants sustain it? Their upset win against Sydney was the shock of the opening round. And they’ll fancy their chances against the Saints, who were scrappy winners against Melbourne. GWS have twin towers in attack in Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton, who kicked seven goals between them last week. The duo must be curtailed for the Saints to prevail. The debut of the Giants’ 2013 No.2 draft pick and lively midfielder Josh Kelly will also be worth watching.

Key: St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt lifted his side to victory last week and, with key backman Phil Davis injured, do the Giants have someone to cover the Saints star?

Tip: Giants by 12 points

Port Adelaide v Adelaide at Adelaide Oval 4.55pm

Head to head: Power 19 Crows 16 Drawn 0

Last clash: Round 19 2013 – Power 17.5 (107) bt Crows 15.13 (103) at AAMI Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Power $1.65 Crows $2.25

Sportingbet: Power $1.65 Crows $2.25

The completion of Adelaide Oval’s redevelopment offers an historic backdrop. Port could barely have been more impressive in their opening-round win against Carlton, while the Crows matched it with Geelong for three quarters before being blown away in the last. Port’s running power grabbed headlines but their attacking prowess is the worry for the Crows. How do they stop the likes of Justin Westhoff, Robbie Gray, Angus Monfries and Chad Wingard?

Key: Adelaide recruit Eddie Betts has the tricks, but needs to convert them into a bag of goals on a Crows forward line still treading water and waiting for Taylor Walker’s return.

Tip: Power by 24 points

Fremantle v Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium 5.10pm

Head to head: Dockers 3 Suns 0 Drawn 0

Last clash: Round 6 2013 – Dockers 15.9 (99) bt Suns 7.12 (54) at Metricon Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Dockers $1.10 Suns $7.00

Sportingbet: Dockers $1.09 Suns $7.50

Gold Coast have been talking up their finals credentials and face arguably the toughest test in the league: playing Fremantle in Perth. The Suns haven’t beaten Freo and despite their encouraging season-opening win against Richmond, they are rank outsiders to change that record. The Dockers’ dismantling of Collingwood was awesome and they achieved what coach Ross Lyon wants: more scoring power.

Key: Will Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley’s niggle upset Suns captain Gary Ablett? It has in the past, but Crowley still hasn’t managed to shut down the competition’s best player.

Tip: Dockers by 60 points

Sydney v Collingwood at ANZ Stadium 7.10pm

Head to head: Swans 81 Magpies 139 Drawn 1

Last clash: Round 20 2013 – Magpies 14.16 (100) bt Swans 10.11 (71) at ANZ Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Swans $1.40 Magpies $2.95

Sportingbet: Swans $1.44 Magpies $2.80

Both clubs are smarting from opening-round humiliations, which sets up a hot encounter. The team that starts their year with consecutive defeats will face serious, but premature, questions about their finals credentials. The Magpies have a superb recent record against the Swans, winning 11 of their past 13 games. Collingwood have triumphed in nine of their past dozen clashes at ANZ Stadium. The return of co-captain Kieren Jack is a boost for the Swans in midfield.

Key: Collingwood spearhead Travis Cloke must break the Sydney shackles for the visitors to win. He’ll be banking on former Swan Jesse White to provide a second marking target for the Magpies up forward.

Tip: Swans by 18 points

SUNDAY

Brisbane Lions v Geelong at Gabba 1.40pm

Head to head: Lions 18 Cats 22 Drawn 1

Last clash: Round 23 2013 – Cats 15.22 (112) bt Lions 17.9 (111) at Simonds Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Lions $3.80 Cats $1.27

Sportingbet: Lions $3.80 Cats $1.27

Brisbane’s new coach, Justin Leppitsch, couldn’t have asked for a tougher two weeks. First Hawthorn, then Geelong. Leppitsch wouldn’t have found much joy in reviewing Geelong’s win over Adelaide. The Cats’ renowned leaders, Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel and Stevie Johnson, were influential and showed their powers haven’t waned. Brisbane, with Tom Rockliff suspended, must find more midfield ball winners. Three players had more than 20 disposals in their loss to the Hawks.

Key: Can Brisbane captain Jonathan Brown do something special? A four-goal haul in the opening round was heartening, but he’ll need to wind back the clock to his glory days for his side to trouble the Cats.

Tip: Cats by 50 points

Melbourne v West Coast at MCG 2.50pm

Head to head: Demons 15 Eagles 29 Drawn 0

Last clash: Round 3 2013 – Eagles 27.15 (177) bt Demons 13.5 (83) at MCG

Tab Sportsbet: Demons $7.50 Eagles $1.09

Sportingbet: Demons $6.75 Eagles $1.11

Melbourne coach Paul Roos has urged Demons supporters to keep the faith, but it will again be tested in a meeting with the rising Eagles. Roos suffered a first-up loss as Melbourne coach, in contrast with West Coast’s new mentor Adam Simpson, who watched his players crunched the Western Bulldogs. Smooth mover Mark LeCras kicked five goals and ruckmen Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox found form for the Eagles.

Key: Who can kick a goal for Melbourne? The Demons managed just five in their round-one loss to St Kilda and now face a miserly West Coast defence.

Tip: Eagles by 66 points

Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium 4.10pm

Head to head: Bulldogs 75 Kangaroos 74 Drawn 3

Last clash: Round 7 2013 – Kangaroos 22.19 (151) bt Bulldogs 15.7 (97) at Etihad Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Bulldogs $3.20 Kangaroos $1.35

Sportingbet: Bulldogs $3.20 Kangaroos $1.36

Both clubs meet after suffering punctures to their pre-season positivity. The Roos were awful in a loss to Essendon and the Bulldogs were not much better in going down to West Coast. The Dogs’ lack of a potent goal kicker is already a problem, as is their lack of forward-line height. North’s coach, Brad Scott, will be after a response following their meek season-opener notable for copping a pounding in contested ball. Both sides are sweating on the fitness of key players, with North ruckman Todd Goldstein (shoulder) and Bulldogs’ star midfielder Ryan Griffen (back) named in 25-man squads.

Key: In a game hardly overflowing with key forwards, North’s elusive Lindsay Thomas could be the attacking player who proves the difference.

Tip: North by 40 points

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