AFL 2021: Everything you need to know ahead of Round 7

AFL expert Josh Gabelich previews another action-packed weekend - with five games exclusively live on BT Sport.

Published: 29 April 2021 - 6.22pm
Nathan Buckley

Round seven looms as a genuine minefield for tippers. Almost nothing is certain, except for Melbourne’s trip to Tasmania to North Melbourne. Most games are a toss of the coin equation, meaning we could be in for one hell of a great weekend of football.

Friday night football is the marquee timeslot on the fixture list and it won’t disappoint this weekend, with reigning premiers Richmond facing the undefeated Western Bulldogs at the MCG.

The Tigers have lost three of their past four games, including Anzac Day Eve last weekend, and are missing the best player in the game – Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin – but they have won three of the past four flags, so dismiss them at your peril.

There are five games of AFL slotted into Saturday, starting with a rare trip to the MCG for Gold Coast.

The Suns travel south to face a Collingwood side who look more likely to finish in the bottom four than inside the top eight right now. The future of Magpies coach Nathan Buckley has been on the agenda again this week – just like it was last week – and the situation could become dire if they fall to Gold Coast. 

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Just when Adelaide looked set to shock the AFL week after week, the Crows have dropped the past two matches after looking in control of both games. It hasn’t been easy viewing, that’s for sure.

This week, Matthew Nicks’ men host Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval in a game that means plenty to both sides. After starting 2021 in awful form, the Giants have turned their season around in the past three weeks, beating Collingwood and Sydney before pushing premiership contenders the Western Bulldogs for three quarters.

If St Kilda falls to Hawthorn on Saturday, you can almost put a thick black line through their finals aspirations this season.

The situation is getting serious in Moorabbin. After winning their first final in a decade last year, the Saints are 2-4 and look nothing like the high-pressure side that rattled opposition teams in 2020.

The Hawks are rebuilding on the run and showing plenty of signs of promise right now. They overran Adelaide in Launceston last weekend thanks to a dominant display from Jaeger O’Meara, who continued his brilliant start to the year.

Brisbane have roared back to life in the past fortnight, beating Essendon and Carlton after a slow start to the season. Now they host premiership contenders Port Adelaide at the Gabba in a mouthwatering clash.

Both sides will be missing their best midfielder, with reigning Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale undergoing ankle surgery this week, while Port Adelaide star Travis Boak is a shock out with a minor quad issue.

This time last week, the jury was out on Geelong. They hadn’t delivered anything across the first five rounds and had just lost superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield for months.

What a difference two hours makes. The Cats dismantled West Coast by nearly 100 points last weekend, standing up at a time when some had started to count them out. Chris Scott’s men shouldn’t have too much trouble steering past a Sydney side who have been smashed by injuries in the past month.

Long-suffering Melbourne supporters will tell you nothing is certain in football when it comes to the red and blue, but the Demons face the winless Kangaroos in Hobart on Sunday in a game that could get ugly.

Round 7: Channels & times

Melbourne will unveil shiny new recruit Ben Brown for the first time, unwrapping him against the side that let him leave for minimal in return last trade period.

The Demons are 6-0 and have a handful of players in All-Australian and Brownlow Medal contention right now. You shouldn’t look too far ahead in football, but this shouldn’t cause Simon Goodwin’s side too much trouble.

Speaking of long-suffering fans, the Carlton faithful have been put through the wringer for a long, long time. They have rarely reached September since the start of this millennium and haven’t enjoyed the start to the season their off-season promised.

Adam Saad and Zac Williams were supposed to come in and help take the Blues to the next level. Now they face a new-look Essendon side who upstaged Collingwood on Anzac Day. Things could get ugly if Carlton don’t show up on Sunday.

When it comes to local derbies, this is as close to the Merseyside Derby as it gets in the AFL. The Western Derby has been mastered by West Coast since Fremantle entered the competition in 1995, and always offers some spice. Things could get extra spicy this weekend with the Eagles being embarrassed by Geelong last weekend and the Dockers moving to 4-2.