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Aussie Rules: Demons in search of derby delight

There is a bumper day of AFL action to look forward to on Saturday with five games taking place, including the derby showdown between Melbourne and North Melbourne.

With the likes of Essendon, Collingwood and Adelaide not playing until Sunday, there is chance for Melbourne, and indeed Brisbane, to steal a march on their rivals.

Brisbane get the action underway in the early game when they take on a Fremantle side who have come in for some heavy criticism following a poor start to the season.

Talking of teams coming in for heavy criticism, Sydney have had a tough week after being hammered by Geelong and they need to bounce back in another derby game against GWS.

Western Bulldogs are also in action against Hawthorn, before Melbourne and North Melbourne go head-to-head in front of a packed MCG in the early evening.

The final game of the day sees West Coast looking to pick up just their second win of the season when they face Carlton at Optus Stadium in Perth.

Lions out to maintain fine form

WhatBrisbane v Fremantle
WhereGabba, Brisbane
When13:45 (AEST) Saturday 29th April, 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Kayo, Foxtel
OddsBrisbane 1.13, Fremantle 6.00

Brisbane have been in good form in recent weeks, winning three of their last four games and two have been against top opposition in the form of Collingwood and Melbourne.

The Lions are unbeaten on home turf so far this season and Fremantle will face a huge task in trying to get the points.

While Brisbane are 4-2 for the season, the Dockers are the opposite 2-4 and head into the game on the back of a good hiding dished out by the Western Bulldogs last weekend.

Fremantle have been boosted by the return of Sam Switkowski from a calf niggle, while the Lions have recalled veteran defender Ryan Lester, who comes into the side to replace Darragh Joyce.

Derby honours on the line

WhatSydney v Greater Western Sydney
WhereSCG, Sydney
When14:10 (AEST) Saturday 29th April, 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsSydney 1.27, Greater Western Sydney 3.85

Sydney will have been licking their wounds all week after suffering another heavy defeat at the hands of Geelong, who also thrashed them in last season’s Grand Final.

The Swans may have injury issues, but their failure to compete against the Cats alarmed coach John Longmire and he will be demanding a response against GWS.

The Giants, who are 2-4 this season, will also need to bounce back following a heavy defeat against the Lions last weekend.

Sydney will welcome back star forward Lance Franklin and key full-back Tom McCartin, while Toby Bedford will make his first appearance for GWS since arriving from Melbourne.

Bulldogs are on the rise

WhatWestern Bulldogs v Hawthorn
WhereMarvel Stadium, Melbourne
When16:35 (AEST) Saturday 29th April, 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsWestern Bulldogs 1.21, Hawthorn 4.50

Western Bulldogs have won two from the last three by seeing off Brisbane and Richmond, before hammering Fremantle in the west last week.

Luke Beveridge’s side have started to climb the ladder and now have the chance to go further with games against Hawthorn and GWS to come.

Hawthorn are bottom of the ladder with one win in six but only lost to Adelaide by three points last week, while GWS beat them by just two the week before.

The Bulldogs have been boosted by the news that Bailey Smith comes back in after recovering from a calf injury.

The Hawks have axed four players with Denver Grainger-Barras and Cam Mackenzie both left out of the side.

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Tale of differing runs of form

WhatMelbourne v North Melbourne
WhereMCG, Melbourne
When19:25 (AEST) Saturday 29th April, 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsMelbourne 1.08, North Melbourne 8.00

Melbourne are third on the ladder after winning four of their six games this season and are shaping up to be premiership contenders once again.

They bounced back from defeat against Essendon to beat Richmond by 18 points last week and will be looking to inflict more pain on the Kangaroos.

North Melbourne started the season well when winning their first two games under new coach Alastair Clarkson, but have since lost four on the bounce.

Clarkson needs to work his magic to get a result here but at least there is some good news as co-captain Jy Simpkin returns.

Eagles in need of a boost

WhatWest Coast v Carlton
WhereOptus Stadium, Perth
When19:30 (AEST) Saturday 29th April, 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Kayo, Foxtel
OddsWest Coast 5.00, Carlton 1.18

West Coast have won just won game all season and that came against GWS at Optus in round two.

They have conceded over 100 points in each of the last four games and that has to be a worry for coach Adam Simpson.

The injury situation continues to hurt them with skipper Luke Shuey picking up another hamstring injury, but Shannon Hurn does return.

Carlton, who sit eighth on the ladder, have been handed a huge double boost with Sam Docherty and Adam Saad both returning from injury.

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