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Aussie Rules: Trio out to pick up first wins

Hawthorn, Gold Coast Suns and West Coast Eagles will be attempting to secure their first points of the season when the AFL continues on Sunday.

On Saturday Collingwood continued their impressive start to the season when they brought Port Adelaide crashing back down to earth with a 71-point win at the MCG.

The Pies are looking red hot and can now be backed at 6.00 to go all the way and win the Grand Final. Elsewhere on Saturday Richmond picked up a comfortable 32-point win over Adelaide, and St Kilda piled more misery on the Western Bulldogs with a 51-point win.

That is back-to-back wins for the Saints, who under the leadership of new coach Ross Lyon, could be looking good for finals in 2023.

In the final game on Saturday, North Melbourne are also 2-0 after pulling off a dramatic one-point win over Fremantle at Optus Stadium. Now it is time to turn focus to Sunday. Let’s take a closer look at each match-up with game-day almost upon us.

What:Sydney v Hawthorn
Where:SCG, Sydney
When:13:10 (AEST) Sunday 26th March 2023
How to watch:Foxtel, Kayo
Odds:Sydney 1.09, Hawthorn 7.50

Sydney got their season underway with an impressive 49-point win away at Gold Coast Suns and they are the hot fancies to see off Hawthorn as well.

The Swans need a good start to the season to help banish the memory of last season’s Grand Final defeat and after the Hawks game, things look a lot harder.

They must play Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Richmond, Geelong and Collingwood so it is important there are no slip-ups against Hawthorn. The Hawks will continue to rebuild under rookie coach Sam Mitchell this season and the aim is of course to make progress on last season and pick up more wins.

It did not start well with a 59-point home defeat against Essendon and it does not get much harder than a trip to the SCG to face the Swans in the next game. Sydney will be missing superstar Lance Franklin through suspension, while tall forwards Tom Hickey and Sam Reid are out injured. 

Hawthorn will be missing Chad Wingard who has a calf injury. Last week’s sub Conor Nash will come in to replace him in what is the only change to the side that was thrashed by the Bombers.

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What:Essendon v Gold Coast
Where:Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
When:15:20 (AEST) Sunday 26th March 2023
How to watch:Foxtel, Kayo
Odds:Essendon 1.52, Gold Coast 2.55

Essendon began the Brad Scott era with a comfortable win at Hawthorn and now need to back it up by beating the Gold Coast Suns at Marvel. 

Both of these sides have high hopes of pushing their way into the top eight and playing finals this season but the Suns are already on the back foot. Stuart Dew’s side were hammered by Sydney in round one and now need to pick themselves up and go again against the Bombers. 

The fixture schedule looks to be a tough one for the Suns with games against Geelong and St Kilda to come before a trip to the West to take on Fremantle.

They will need to show plenty of steel to pick up enough points to keep them in the mix for the eight and a clash with the Bombers will be a big test. Dew has made sweeping changes on the back of the Sydney defeat with Jy Farrar, Mabior Chol and Alex Davies all left out of the squad.

There is some good news though as experienced midfielder Lachie Weller is back in the fold. Weller ruptured an ACL last year and this will be his first game back. Essendon will be missing Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti after the forward suffered an injury to his quad.

What:West Coast Eagles v Greater Western Sydney
Where:Optus Stadium, Perth
When:18:20 (AEST) Sunday 26th March 2023
How to watch:Channel 7, Foxtel, Kayo
Odds:Eagles 2.05, GWS 1.78

West Coast lost the opening game against North Melbourne and need a positive result on home soil against GWS. The Giants began with a 16-point win over Adelaide but will be keen to build on it by beating the Eagles in the West.

GWS will also have to do it without a number of players through injury. Both Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly have been ruled out with concussion, while Harry Perryman has a hamstring injury. 

It is not all bad news though as first-round pick Harry Rowston is set to make his debut. The Eagles will be without Xavier O’Neill, Callum Jamieson and Jack Petruccelle.

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