Updated: Jul 16, 2020
RIP Sydney Hubs 2020 - 2020. On its second attempt, COVID-19 continues to cause further interruption to the nation's lifestyle. Seemingly its latest victim, Hubs in Sydney appear on their way out. Round 7 brings us some brilliant duels.
Geelong Vs Collingwood - Thursday Night 8:10 pm - Optus Stadium
Optus Stadium, Perth plays host to a crucial second versus fifth battle to open round seven. Geelong - winners of three straight - face a Collingwood team looking to build on last week's vital win. Collingwood's up and down season - on and off the field - feels like it has settled somewhat over the past week.
Splitting the spoils in 2019's two matches, games between these two teams have been tight of recent times. A tough one to pick, this Geelong list has shown the ability to string together long winning sequences. Geelong by 8 points.
Essendon Vs Western Bulldogs - Friday Night 7:50 pm - Metricon Stadium
Obviously, you always want to win, but this one has turned into a game the Bulldogs will be desperate to win after last week's upset loss to Carlton. Another loss here throws the Bulldogs back to where they were a month ago. Two games outside the eight, the Bulldogs ripped off three wins on the bounce to steady themselves. Now they could prove to be the prime example of a team who in this shortened season will rue their slow start.
Essendon - one of two one-loss teams thus far - has been steady in 2020. Their biggest win, 15 points. Their one loss, a one-point defeat to Carlton. Undermanned, a win here will see the Dons vault into premiership talk. However, the Bulldogs seem to match up well with Essendon.
Western Bulldogs by 19 points.
GWS Vs Brisbane - Saturday 1:45 pm - Giants Stadium
In a similar vein to the Bulldogs and in the context of a shortened 2020, the Giants will be desperate to take the points. Still a premiership favourite with the bookies, there is plenty at stake for the Giants. A win brings them even with their opponents in this one, the Lions.
Brisbane - whose 2019 campaign ended in a classic with the Giants - also have plenty at stake. Thrilling to watch, the Lions have supplied some of 2020's best football so far. Yet after last week's horror third quarter, a loss would throw the Lions squarely in the mid ladder crunch.
A fascinating contest awaits. The Giants can't get the ball inside 50. Whilst the Lions have shown some defensive efficiency issues.
For me, though it is the Lions. Brisbane by 28 points
Sydney Vs Gold Coast - Saturday Twilight 4:35 pm - SCG
A tasty little treat awaits us for twilight footy. After their blistering start, not a lot has gone right for the Sun's. Far from disgraced in losing their last two, an out of form and injury-hit Swans team should be just what the doctor ordered.
Sydney might just feel the same way. They can now add Isaac Heeney for the season and Josh Kennedy to what was an already extensive injury list. For all their improvement, the Swans will feel they can beat what still is a young Gold Coast side. Could a young Swans outfit get up for this and deliver an upset?
Gold Coast by 38 points.
Richmond Vs North Melbourne - Saturday Night 7:40 pm - Metricon Stadium
Four straight losses positions North Melbourne as easy prey for a Richmond side looking to stockpile wins whilst owning a large unavailable list. A pretty tame Saturday night awaits.
Richmond by 23 points.
Carlton Vs Port Adelaide - Sunday - 1:05 pm - Gabba
Whilst Saturday night offers little on paper, Sunday's opener has plenty of go about it. Carlton - so impressive at times in 2020 - have a chance to validate last week's massive upset with a strong showing against the league leaders. Most impressive for Carlton is that these wins have come without a substantial contribution from superstar Patrick Cripps. Is this the weekend he takes a game by force in the way only a few select can.
Having now played numerous times at the Gabba, Port Adelaide get one last win in the sunshine state before heading home.
Port Adelaide by 29 points.
Hawthorn Vs Melbourne - Sunday Twilight 3:35 pm - Giants Stadium
Alistair Clarkson - the most revered coach of modern times - faces the media heat for the first time. What will the response be from his team? Sitting at 3-3, they have some great wins, terrible losses, and a host of results in between. However, it should be noted they have played the toughest schedule in the league. Perhaps that 3-3 record is more impressive than it looks.
Melbourne, on the other hand, only added excitement to this contest with their super win against a more fancied Gold Coast. With just two wins on the season so far, Melbourne just can't lose this one.
Melbourne by 5 points.
Fremantle Vs West Coast - Sunday Night 6:35 pm - Optus Stadium
Three weeks ago this derby looked to offer very little. All of a sudden, we have two teams undefeated in their last two. When teams win, confidence grows, their intensity grows, and the will to compete grows. As such, an epic derby awaits.
Desperate times do really call for desperate measures!
West Coast - premiership hopefuls - and their ageing list must continue to build on their wins after their horror start to 2020. Fremantle - free of expectation - with all their youth would love nothing more than to disrupt the Eagles run in 2020.
Fremantle by 8 points.
Adelaide Vs St Kilda - Monday Night - 7:40 pm - Adelaide Oval
Adelaide returns home from its Queensland hub winless. The last thing they need is a team desperate to rebound from an embarrassing result last week. St Kilda - who gave up their second loss from a 30 point or more lead - have copped it all week. Whilst funny things might happen on Monday night football, St Kilda should still be too classy for an Adelaide team lacking confidence and skill.
St Kilda by 19 points.