AFL 2021: Everything you need to know ahead of Round 3

AFL expert Josh Gabelich previews a bumper Easter weekend - with five games exclusively live on BT Sport.

Published: 31 March 2021 - 3.42pm

Easter has arrived and with it comes one of the best AFL weekends of the season. Five days of football from Thursday all the way until Monday, including Good Friday which now includes two games.

After such an explosive start to the 2021 season, things are about to heat up again in round three, starting at Marvel Stadium on Thursday. 

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Brisbane usually host Collingwood at the Gabba on Easter Thursday but the Lions have been forced to remain in Victoria since losing to Geelong in a thriller last Friday, due to the snap three-day lockdown in the Queensland capital. 

The Lions started the season as one of the premiership favourites but have lost the opening two games of the season and now face the dangerous prospect of being 0-3.

It's a long way back from there if you are going to finish in the top four and secure the all-important double chance in the finals series. 

Round 3: Channels & times

North Melbourne are also winless after two rounds – as expected – and now face the red-hot Western Bulldogs on Good Friday.

The Dogs dispatched Collingwood and West Coast in the first fortnight of the season and have a midfield that is the envy of the competition right now.

Gold Coast were forced to fly to Adelaide early due to the developing COVID-19 situation in that part of the world, with no guarantees they will be able to return after the clash with the Crows on Friday. Stuart Dew’s men must win games like this if they are going to play finals footy for the first time in their short history.

Lance Franklin
Sydney Swans superstar Lance Franklin made a winning return against Adelaide in round 2

Four-time Coleman Medal winner Lance Franklin made his long awaited return to the AFL last weekend, kicking three goals in his first game in 18 months.

The Swans are hoping their superstar forward pulls up in time to face reigning premiers Richmond in a mouth-watering clash between the two biggest superstars in the game – Franklin v Dustin Martin. Wouldn’t that be a special sight?

Things have gone from bad to worse at Essendon this week with three more first-choice players added to a mounting injury list.

It means the Bombers will turn to their kids for Saturday’s fixture against St Kilda, in a game that will see the Saints unveil high-profile recruit Brad Crouch for the first time since the midfielder moved from Adelaide in November.

If Collingwood against Brisbane game isn’t the game of the round, then this is: West Coast versus Port Adelaide at the shiny new Optus Stadium in Perth.

The Power have started the season better than anyone else in the competition, but they haven’t played anyone of note just yet. That will change when they travel west this weekend. 

Isaac Smith
Isaac Smith will face his old club in round 3 after his shock move from Hawthorn to Geelong

It has been a week of soul searching at Carlton this week. No side was more hyped-up over the summer months than the Blues. Yet, after two rounds of the season, the pressure is mounting on coach David Teague and those inside Princes Park.

If they are going to return to September for the first time since 2013 they must beat Fremantle on Easter Sunday, especially given the Dockers don’t have their skipper Nat Fyfe due to concussion.

What a difference two weeks make in this competition. No one was under more pressure than Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin going into round one.

Suddenly, after two strong wins in successive weeks, the Demons are poised to go 3-0 if they get the job done against Greater Western Sydney in Canberra on Sunday and the Giants are ripe for the taking.

Easter Monday isn’t the biggest day on the home and away season fixture, but it is awfully close. Hawthorn and Geelong have one of the great rivalries of the modern era, rarely failing to produce at the end of a five-day footy fest.

Expect this one to have some extra spice given three-time premiership Hawk Isaac Smith crossed to Geelong at the end of last season. Plus, it has been one hell of a week for Chris Scott and the Cats. You won’t want to miss this game.