- 1.20pmMilera late withdrawal for Crows
- 12.51pmSubs confirmed
1 of 1ContentsKey postsMilera late withdrawal for CrowsWhy Hinkley should have entertained a move to the SunsExclusive: North offer Clarkson minimum five yearsCunnington is backTeam changesSubs confirmedBont testing out his radarBulldogs have it all to play forGreetings, everybodyToday’s milestoneMost Viewed in Sport
Milera late withdrawal for Crows
Wayne Milera (back soreness) has been replaced in Adelaide’s selected side by James Rowe.
The medical subs at Adelaide Oval are Ben Davis (Crows) and Hugh Greenwood (North).
Hugh Greenwood.Credit:Getty Images
Why Hinkley should have entertained a move to the Suns
The sliding doors moment for Ken Hinkley came in late 2017 after Port Adelaide drew their sudden-death final against West Coast but lost the game in extra time, and the club’s shattered president David Koch issued a pointed public broadside which reflected poorly on the coach and his team.
By Koch’s standards this was nothing new but for Hinkley and his family, still raw from the dramatic season’s exit and the compounding wrath from the Port supporter base, it felt like the final straw.
The Suns simultaneously appeared well down the path of replacing the sacked Rodney Eade with Stuart Dew but that club’s boss Mark Evans saw an opportunity and made the call to Gold Coast’s foundation senior assistant, sensing that life in Adelaide had become almost untenable for the Hinkleys. Hinkley had lost his best friend Peter Hubbard over the pre-season, a man he referred to as his “second wife” and whose views on Koch were occasionally unprintable.
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Port Adelaide president David Koch and coach Ken Hinkley.Credit:AFL Photos
Exclusive: North offer Clarkson minimum five years
North Melbourne have offered Alastair Clarkson a long-term deal of at least five years to coach the Kangaroos.
Sources familiar with some discussions between Clarkson or his management and North Melbourne confirmed that the Roos had offered the four-time premiership coach a deal that would be a minimum of five years to coach the AFL club at which he first played.
North Melbourne are still waiting on Clarkson’s answer, as he also weighs up strong interest from Greater Western Sydney, who also have been in conversations with the ex-Hawthorn coach.
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Four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson.Credit:AFL Photos
Cunnington is back
And at Adelaide Oval there will be joyous and emotional scenes as North Melbourne champion Ben Cunnington finally returns to an AFL field.
It’s been a harrowing and treacherous 13-month journey for the star Kangaroos midfielder who has had to overcome two bouts of testicular cancer, as well as a calf strain and a bout of COVID more recently.
But after getting through his first VFL hitout last week unscathed, the midfield bull is back and set to take on the Crows.
Adelaide is finishing the season well and is aiming for three wins in a row for the first time in two years, while they’re gunning for four consecutive victories against North for the first time since 2009.
However, their form at their home ground has been poor, with just two wins from their past seven games there.
Meanwhile, the Kangaroos are still winless at Adelaide Oval, having struck out there in all nine matches.
In fact, they’ve lost their last 11 games in Adelaide, with their last win in the South Australian capital coming back in 2011.
Ben Cunnington and Tarryn Thomas.Credit:Getty Images
In: Lachie Hunter, Stefan Martin, Ryan Gardner, Roarke Smith
Out: Alex Keath, Josh Bruce (managed), Riley Garcia, Toby McLean.
In: Jake Stein, Callum Brown, Xavier O’Halloran
Out: Toby Greene (thumb), Braydon Preuss (shoulder), James Peatling (concussion)
Lachie Hunter.Credit:AFL Photos
The medical substitutes at Marvel Stadium are Roarke Smith (Bulldogs) and Xavier O’Halloran (GWS).
Roarke Smith.Credit:Getty Images
Bont testing out his radar
Marcus Bontempelli getting some early goalkicking practice in.
Bulldogs have it all to play for
The equation for the Western Bulldogs is simple – win, and your season is still alive.
By beating the Giants, the Dogs would move to 11 wins, just a game behind Carlton who will have to beat one of Melbourne or Collingwood in the run home to guarantee themselves a spot in the finals.
But if the Blues fail to beat either of those teams, and the Dogs win their last two games against GWS and Hawthorn, then Luke Beveridge’s men will likely replace Carlton in the top eight.
And of course beating GWS would see the Dogs get within two points of eighth-placed Richmond who play Hawthorn and Essendon in the final two weeks.
But a loss for the Bulldogs today would end their season. It’s as simple as that.
The Dogs don’t head into this match in great form, having lost their last two games, but they have won their last three meetings with the Giants.
The Bulldogs have also won seven of their last nine at Marvel Stadium, while GWS have only won three of their last eight there.
The Giants’ task is made even more difficult without their best player Toby Greene (thumb).
Ed Richards corralled by Jake Riccardi.Credit:Getty Images
Hello and welcome to our rolling coverage of another monster Saturday of AFL action.
It all comes down to this. For some teams wanting to play finals, there is no more margin for error.
Starting with the Western Bulldogs who take on GWS at Marvel Stadium. Victory is simply a non-negotiable for the 10th-placed Dogs.
While that’s taking place there will be emotional scenes at Adelaide Oval as Ben Cunnington makes his long-awaited AFL return as his Kangaroos take on the Crows.
The twilight game sees Gold Coast face Geelong at Metricon Stadium.
And later tonight the match of the day sees Melbourne meet Carlton at the MCG. The Demons need to win to strengthen their claims for a top-four spot, while a loss for the Blues could further jeopardise their finals hopes.
On the other side of the country, another top-four contender Fremantle battles West Coast at Optus Stadium in the 55th Western Derby.
Patrick Cripps is chased by Patrick Cripps.Credit:Getty Images
Zach Guthrie (Geel) – 50 games
Zach Guthrie.Credit:Getty Images
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