Round 3 of the 2020 AFL campaign is nearly here and it shapes as a pivotal weekend for many clubs in a shortened season. Can Greater Western Sydney and West Coast bounce back from shock defeats?
And can teams like Port Adelaide, North Melbourne and Essendon keep up their early season momentum? Read on in our comprehensive Round 3 preview for tips on every match!
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AFL Tipping – Thursday, June 18
Richmond Tigers v Hawthorn Hawks
Venue: MCG | Start: 7.40 PM
Richmond Tigers – It was not so long ago that a poor Richmond performance would end in a 10-goal defeat and talkback radio meltdown. In 2020, Richmond can play poorly and still avoid defeat! Neither the Tigers or the Magpies played well in the scrappy, low-scoring draw that kicked off the restart of the AFL season but it is hard to see the Tigers struggling with their skills so much again. Richmond gave up the first five goals against the Magpies but then showed plenty of grit and determination to salvage something from the match. Richmond has won its past four against Hawthorn, all by under 39 points or less, and a repeat seems likely. Dustin Martin has a great record against the Hawks and looms as a key figure in this match, while Tom Lynch has said he will play despite having scans on a minor foot problem.
Hawthorn Hawks – The Hawks did not fire a shot after half time against Geelong in Round 2 and will be fired up to atone in this clash. Responding against Richmond will be very difficult, though, and the simple fact is that Tom Mitchell needs far more support in the midfield for Hawthorn to be competitive. He was the only Hawk to win more than 17 disposals against the Cats. The Hawks got very little from the likes of Liam Shiels, Shaun Burgoyne and Ricky Henderson in that clash, and while Jaeger O’Meara should return from injury, an upset seems beyond them.
AFL Tipping – Friday, June 19
Western Bulldogs v GWS Giants
Venue: Marvel Stadium | Start: 7.50 PM
Western Bulldogs – Not sure any side has been as disappointing as the Bulldogs in 2020. Lots of hype and headlines in pre-season has amounted to very little, with Luke Beveridge’s men kicking just 12 goals in the first two rounds. The new-look forward line does not seem to be working and Jack Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli are not having their usual impact in midfield. Expect Beveridge to swing the axe at selection in a desperate bid for a response. A 0-3 start could prove catastrophic to the club’s finals hopes.
GWS Giants – The Giants have a point to prove after a surprise 20-point loss to North Melbourne in Round 2. That performance was in stark contrast to the club’s terrific win over Geelong in Round 1 and a response should come here. GWS’ defeat to the Dogs in a 2016 preliminary final still stings and they have won four of the last five since, including a 58-point win in a physical elimination final last year. The Giants look too good to drop this.
AFL Tipping – Saturday, June 20
North Melbourne Kangaroos v Sydney Swans
Venue: Marvel Stadium | Start: 1.45 PM
North Melbourne Kangaroos – Write off the Kangaroos at your peril! Rhyce Shaw has led the Roos to nine wins from 14 matches since taking charge and the tenacity and commitment showed in the win over the Giants in Round 2 would have delighted the club’s supporters. Shaun Higgins provides the silk in midfield and the likes of Jy Simpkin, Jared Polec and Trent Dumont are all winning plenty of football. History is not on North Melbourne’s side in this one – but is this the day Shaw’s men reverse the trend?
Sydney Swans – The Swans have won just six of their last 17 at home and followed up a great win in South Australia in Round 1 with an SCG defeat to the Bombers. John Longmire’s side have won five of their last six against North Melbourne, though, and they have also won their last five matches against the Kangaroos in Victoria. The club’s injury list won’t help in this one, with Lance Franklin and Sam Reid definitely sidelined. Expect the Roos to be too good.
Collingwood Magpies v St Kilda Saints
Venue: MCG | Start: 4.35 PM
Collingwood Magpies – There will not be many sides in 2020 who concede just five goals but fail to win, like the Magpies did against Richmond in Round 2. Jamie Elliott and Josh Thomas offered little in the forward 50 against the Tigers, meaning a recall for Jaidyn Stephenson seems likely. It would be a big boost for the Magpies if Adam Treloar (calf) is declared fit. Don’t expect the Magpies to break the 100-point barrier, as they have done in their last five wins against the Saints, given it will be wet.
St Kilda Saints – Very keen to see how the Saints respond from a morale-boosting win over the Bulldogs in Round 2. New recruits Zak Jones and Brad Hill showed off their speed in that win and the club’s array of off-season arrivals gives them a new look. This match could be a very close one, but Collingwood have won nine of the last 11 and might just edge this. St Kilda skipper Jarryn Geary will miss with a hamstring injury.
Brisbane Lions v West Coast Eagles
Venue: Gabba | Start: 7.40 PM
Brisbane Lions – Brisbane’s win over Fremantle in Round 2 was far from emphatic but it was much-needed, snapping a run of four losses in a row. Not convinced about the Lions in 2020 just yet but Charlie Cameron certainly looks set for a big year. He kicked four in the first half against the Dockers and has kicked at least one goal in his last 18 matches, booting two or more in 15 of those. More goals for Cameron won’t surprise here.
West Coast Eagles – No performance in Round 2 was poorer than the effort West Coast dished up against the Suns. Adam Simpson will have been scratching his head after that one but this season is going to throw up some odd results. This task seems harder but the Eagles have quality on every line and have enough about them to bounce back, even with Jeremy McGovern suspended. It should be close.
Geelong Cats v Carlton Blues
Venue: GMHBA Stadium | Start: 7.40 PM
Geelong Cats – You cannot tip against the Cats at GMHBA Stadium, particularly against Carlton. The Cats rarely lose there and have won eight on the trot at the venue, five of them by 44 points or more. Gary Ablett was terrific in the forward half against the Hawks in Round 2, and Jack Steven, Jake Kolodjashnij and Josh Jenkins could all be available for selection, too. The Cats have won three of their last four against the Blues by 65 points or more.
Carlton Blues – How frustrated must Carlton coach David Teague be? Slow starts in both Round 1 and 2 have been too hard to overcome, despite strong finishes against Richmond and Melbourne. Carlton lacked the composure required to win in the last quarter against the Demons and this is a much tougher task.
AFL Tipping – Sunday, June 21
Gold Coast Suns v Adelaide Crows
Venue: Metricon Stadium | Start: 1.05 PM
Gold Coast Suns – It was impossible to tip the Suns in Round 2 but it certainly looks possible here! Stuart Dew’s side were brilliant against the Eagles as several top draft picks stood out. Most impressive was 2019 No.1 draft pick Matt Rowell, who won 26 disposals and kicked two goals, but he had plenty of support. David Swallow will return from suspension and even though the Suns have a filthy record against the Crows, Adelaide are not the side they once were.
Adelaide Crows – The Crows put in a Showdown stinker, thrashed by 75 points by crosstown rivals Port Adelaide in Round 2. It means they drop to 0-2 and it is already looking like being a long year for new coach Matthew Nicks. The Crows have won all 13 meetings against the Suns, kicking 109 points or more in all of them, and key forward Taylor Walker averages 3.5 goals per game against Gold Coast. Can he produce a repeat and fire his side to victory?
Essendon Bombers v Melbourne Demons
Venue: MCG | Start: 3.35 PM
Essendon Bombers – The Bombers have scrapped their way to both of their wins in 2020 but are a great chance to go 3-0 here and in a shortened season, that puts finals seriously on the agenda. Loved Darcy Parish’s final quarter against the Swans in Round 2, as he won 13 disposals and kicked the match-winning goal when things were getting tight. Jake Stringer thrives against the Demons and has seven goals in two matches against them as a Bomber.
Melbourne Demons – The Demons did enough to beat Carlton in Round 2 … just. They kicked just one goal after the half time break but managed to hang on and win a very poor quality match by a solitary point. It was the club’s first win since June last year and came thanks to important contributions from Christian Petracca, Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver. That trio needs more support, though, and this shapes as a potentially season-defining match for the Demons.
Fremantle Dockers v Port Adelaide Power
Venue: Metricon Stadium | Start: 6.05 PM
Fremantle Dockers – Despite having a cast of unfamiliar names, the Dockers have come close to upset wins on the road in both Round 1 and 2. Nathan Fyfe and Michael Walters provide the genuine class but the Dockers are showing enough to suggest they are heading in the right direction. A clash against the in-form ladder leaders should prove too difficult, though.
Port Adelaide Power – A huge win over Adelaide in Round 2 has the football world talking about Ken Hinkley’s side, with young trio Connor Rozee, Xavier Duursma and Zak Butters all looking like stars of the future. With Travis Boak, Tom Rockliff, Robbie Gray and Hamish Hartlett all providing support, the early signs are very good for the Power in 2020. It is still early days, of course, but you could not tip against them here.