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Aussie Rules: Lyon set for Freo reunion

There are three games to wrap up round one of the AFL on Sunday and all six teams involved have a lot to prove in the season ahead.

With the exception of Fremantle, none of the sides playing on Sunday made the top eight and played finals in 2022, so there is a lot of room for improvement to say the least.

Fremantle themselves have to show that last season was no fluke and they need to get off to a good start against a St Kilda side who are desperate to return to finals. They are of course now coached by Ross Lyon, who has tasted success at both St Kilda and Fremantle previously, which adds a nice little side story to Sunday’s fixture. 

Essendon also have a new coach in the form of Brad Scott and he has a huge job on his hands attempting to get the Bombers back pushing for the eight. 

They face Hawthorn who continue to rebuild under second-year coach Sam Mitchell. The Hawks will be looking to pick up more wins and progress up the ladder in 2023.

Sunday begins with two sides that were in the lower reaches of the ladder last season, GWS and Adelaide, and again both sides will be trying to look up, not down, this season. 

It has the makings of an intriguing Sunday to say the least so let’s take a closer look at each match-up as game-day fast approaches.

Giants looking for positive start

What:Greater Western Sydney v Adelaide
Where:Spotless Stadium, Sydney
When:13:10 (AEST) Sunday 19th March, 2023
How to watch:Foxtel Go, Kayo
Odds:GWS 1.65, Adelaide 2.25

GWS are another club to start the 2023 campaign with a new coach and Adam Kingsley has named a 26-man squad for the round one clash. The Giants are blessed with plenty of talent in their ranks, including Toby Greene who will skipper the side on his own for the first time.

GWS are missing a couple of players though as Xavier O’Halloran is facing several weeks on the sidelines with a quad injury, Braydon Preuss is also missing with back pain. Brett Daniels and Jack Buckley are also pressing to make their much-anticipated returns. 

The pressure is on coach Mathew Nicks to get the Crows up the ladder in 2023 and they need a good start to the campaign. Nicks has confirmed that father-son selection Max Michalanney will be handed his AFL debut against the Giants and the coach is in no doubt the youngster is ready to shine. 

Meanwhile the Crows will also had debuts to Izak Rankine and Tyler Brown, who have arrived from the Gold Coast Suns and Collingwood respectively.

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Scott begins Essendon reign

What:Hawthorn v Essendon
Where:MCG, Melbourne 
When:15:20 (AEST) Sunday 19th March, 2023
How to watch:Foxtel Go, Kayo
Odds:Hawthorn 2.30, Essendon 1.62

Hawthorn will be looking to make inroads up the ladder in 2023 and the rebuild will continue with three players set to make their debuts against the Bombers. Karl Amon, Fergus Greene and Lloyd Meek, who have all been brought in as new recruits, are in the mix to play in round one. 

Draftee Cam Mackenzie could also be set for his first taste of senior footy. The Hawks are also boosted by the return of both Chad Wingard and Sam Frost to the fold. 

Neither player has figured since round 13 in 2022. James Worpel is also back in the squad after recovering from a shoulder injury. 

Meanwhile Essendon’s new coach Brad Scott has also named three debutants on Sunday. New recruits Will Setterfield and Sam Weideman have been named in the 26-man squad along with father/son draft selection Alwyn Davey.

What:St Kilda v Fremantle 
Where:Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
When:16:40 (AEST) Sunday 19th March, 2023
How to watch:Foxtel Go, Kayo
Odds:St Kilda 2.70, Fremantle 1.47

The season has not even started and St Kilda are already having to deal with a horror injury list. 

Max King, who is already battling back from a shoulder injury, has now picked up a hamstring injury and is looking at weeks on the sidelines. Tim Membrey, Zak Jones, Jack Billings and Seb Ross are also on the sidelines. 

St Kilda are hoping Marcus Windhager recovers from a hand injury in time to take his place. Fremantle will be without Michael Walters as he continues to recover from an Achilles injury, which could open the door for Sam Sturt to figure.

Nathan Wilson has also been included in the 26-man squad and is pushing to start in the Dockers backline after impressing in pre-season.

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