Harry McKay and Ben McKay pose for a photo during a media opportunity on June 3, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

ONLY one win separates the finals contenders currently sitting third to 10th, with three mouth-watering clashes between teams sitting among that group set to close out round 13.

Adelaide and Richmond open the round on Thursday with both teams desperate for a victory, while the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane are in much the same position the following night.

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Port Adelaide and Fremantle have the week off with a bye.

Here is what to look out for across round 13 and a tip for each match.

Adelaide v Richmond, Adelaide Oval
Thursday, June 6, 7pm ACST

Last time: Richmond 17.6 (108) d Adelaide 10.16 (76), R2 2023

What it means

Adelaide (4-7-1) is running out of chances to keep its ever-fading finals hopes alive and simply must beat the injury-ravaged Richmond to do so. A defeat would all but end the Crows' season, especially with the high-flying Swans to follow before a bye.

Richmond (1-11) has continued to battle hard in recent weeks even as its injury toll mounts up without getting the reward of four points. The Tigers travelled well during their period of success so can carry some hope into taking on the under-fire Crows, even on their home deck.

Tim Taranto runs with teammates during Richmond's training session at Punt Road Oval on June 4, 2024. Picture: Getty Images


Josh Rachele has this week gone public on his frustration with a lack of midfield minutes, after only attending two centre bounces in the defeat to the Hawks, but now needs to make a stronger statement on the field. The Crows' young gun is averaging much the same as last season with 15.6 disposals and 1.2 goals, but could lift his impact when handed opportunities around the ball to improve on only 1.2 clearances a game.

The show will go on even without Dustin Martin as the Tigers search for victory without their talisman, who has been rested as he closes in on his 300th game. Liam Baker has helped bolster the midfield as Martin gradually moves away, and the 26-year-old is averaging career-highs for disposals (22), clearances (3.4) and tackles (3.7) while booting eight goals in nine matches.

Early tip: Adelaide by 11 points


Western Bulldogs v Brisbane, Marvel Stadium
Friday, June 7, 7.40pm AEST

Last time: Western Bulldogs 10.7 (67) d Brisbane 7.11 (53), R3 2023

What it means

The Western Bulldogs (6-6) remain in the hunt for finals with three wins from their past four matches, even as an ever-evolving injury crisis continues to disrupt its line-up. The Bulldogs have beaten the Magpies and Giants in that run of wins, while also pushing the Swans closer than most, and a couple more victories over the Lions then Dockers next week would leave them in a strong position before their bye.

Brisbane (4-6-1) has had extra time to review what went wrong in the first half of the season and how it might correct it, and it starts this week against the Dogs. A win on the road on Friday night and another against the Saints at home could even up the ledger, but the Lions are running out of time to start living up to their well-earned reputation if they are to re-join the finals race.

Marcus Bontempelli celebrates after the Western Bulldogs' win over Collingwood at Marvel Stadium in round 12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos


Marcus Bontempelli has mostly been at his brilliant best throughout this season even as the Bulldogs have been on a rollercoaster ride with injuries and results. The Bulldogs skipper is averaging 26.3 disposals, 6.7 clearances and five tackles a game, despite spending considerable time playing forward where he is averaging a career-high 1.3 goals with 16 for the season.

Hugh McCluggage handed Brisbane a much-needed boost as he turned his back on free agency and inked a seven-year deal. The 26-year-old vice-captain now needs to repay their faith on the field after an unusually inconsistent first half of the season as the Lions' injuries and problems have mounted up.

Early tip: Brisbane by 12 points


Hawthorn v Greater Western Sydney, UTAS Stadium
Saturday, June 8, 1.45pm AEST

Last time: Greater Western Sydney 12.13 (85) d Hawthorn 10.12 (72), R17 2023

What it means

Hawthorn (5-7) has incredibly put a 0-5 start to the season behind it to now be in the finals mix on the back of an impressive four wins from its past five matches. The Hawks can be confident of continuing their hot streak when they face the Giants at their second home in Tasmania after winning their past three at the venue, including a narrow win over the Saints earlier this year.

Greater Western Sydney (7-4) carried winning form into the bye when defeating Geelong on its strangely favourable hunting ground at GMHBA Stadium. The Giants are still shouldering a hefty injury load but can ill-afford to let this game slip, with top-four sides Port Adelaide and Sydney to follow.

Jack Ginnivan celebrates a goal during Hawthorn's clash against Adelaide in round 12, 2024. Picture: Getty Images


Jai Newcombe had a slow start to the season, mirroring that of his side, but the 22-year-old has looked back to his best since the return of Will Day. The duo complement each other nicely, with Newcombe the master of winning the ball in close and his teammate full of class on the outside. 

Sam Taylor made a statement when committing to the Giants long-term as the defender inked a new seven-year that will take him through to the end of the 2032 season. Taylor is arguably the key pillar for the Giants with his ability to take intercept marks or win one-on-one defensive contests that stop the opposition in their tracks and allow his own runners to attack.

Early tip: Greater Western Sydney by 16 points


West Coast v North Melbourne, Optus Stadium
Saturday, June 8, 2.35pm AWST

Last time: West Coast 10.12 (72) d North Melbourne 10.7 (67), R20 2023

What it means

West Coast (3-9) has started to show cracks in the fortress that it was building at home and is now 3-3 at the venue this season. But even after losing four of their past five games, the Eagles can expect to brush aside the winless Roos and take high spirits into their bye.

North Melbourne (0-11) would surely have marked this down at start of the year as one of its 'must-win' matches and has had an extra week to prepare during the bye. The Kangaroos are curiously the only team to kick a goal in every quarter they have played this season, but now need to turn that into winning not just terms, but even matches to show more than just promising signs.

George Wardlaw during North Melbourne's game against Fremantle in R2, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos


Liam Ryan has understandably taken a while to get going after missing more than a year before returning to the Eagles' line-up in round seven. But the livewire forward showed more than just glimpses of his best with three goals and a couple more chances against the Saints, in ominous signs for the Roos.

Tom Powell has been one of the few shining lights in a dark season for the Kangaroos as he has claimed a regular spot in the midfield in his fourth season. The 22-year-old is averaging career-highs for disposals (21.4) and clearances (5.6), while perhaps most importantly also building on his defensive side with 5.6 tackles a game.

Early tip: North Melbourne by four points


St Kilda v Gold Coast, Marvel Stadium
Saturday, June 8, 7.30pm AEST

Last time: Gold Coast 11.11 (77) d St Kilda 8.3 (51), R18 2023

What it means

St Kilda (4-8) snapped a three-match losing streak when it edged past West Coast to breathe fresh life into its season, but the Saints still have little margin for error from here. They will get a better indication of how genuine their finals hopes can be when they face a Suns outfit that is an entirely different prospect when on the road.

Gold Coast (7-5) continued its imperious home form with a seventh victory as hosts while defeating Essendon last week but still need to prove that they can hit the same heights on the road. The Suns are yet to win away from their two home decks but showed that records are made to be broken late last year when snapping an eight-match losing streak against the Saints.

Touk Miller celebrates kicking a goal during the match between Gold Coast and Essendon at People First Stadium in round 12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos


Marcus Windhager proved once again that he can be trusted to play a critical role as he shutdown Harley Reid last week, just as the Eagles' young gun threatened to tear the game apart. Windhager is also showing that he can win the ball with 10 contested possessions a game among his average of 20.6 disposals, but can expect to face another close-checking task against the Suns' on-ball brigade.

Matt Rowell has built on his reputation as a stoppage beast this season with the second-most contested ball and third-most clearances in the competition, while also finding space to gather more possessions on the outside. The 22-year-old has unusually gathered more uncontested than contested possessions over the past month as he starts to hurt the opposition in multiple ways.

Early tip: St Kilda by nine points

Sydney v Geelong, SCG
Sunday, June 9, 3.20pm AEST

Last time: Sydney 6.19 (54) drew with Geelong 7.12 (54), R16 2023

What it means

Sydney (10-1) might not have wanted to take a break with a second bye of the season as its rollicking momentum had built up seven wins on the trot. But it would be a shock if the Swans did anything other than pick up where they left off as the one side that has looked like the real deal all season, especially in front of a packed crowd that has enjoyed watching wins in all five home matches by an average of 37 points.

Geelong (8-4) took time to rein in then overrun Richmond and snap its own four-match losing streak but now faces a trickier test against frontrunners Sydney. The Cats remain precariously placed in third but could pull to within one win of the Swans in top spot as well as claim the League's biggest scalp with a victory ahead of their bye.

Tom Stewart leaves the field after Geelong's win over Richmond at GMHBA Stadium in round 12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos


Errol Gulden has almost flown under the radar as Isaac Heeney and Chad Warner have earned all the plaudits for their sublime form. But the Swans' young gun remains arguably the leading winger in the game and is averaging much the same as last season for disposals (26), clearances (3.4), inside-50s (6.1) and rebounds (2.9), all while lifting his impact near goal with 1.2 assists.

Ollie Dempsey showed hints of his talents in seven matches across the past two seasons but is now a crucial cog for the Cats whether playing close to goal or roaming further up the ground. The 21-year-old enjoyed his best performance to date with three goals among 27 disposals against the Tigers, and looks ready to increase his impact now and well into the future.

Early tip: Sydney by 19 points


Essendon v Carlton, MCG
Sunday, June 9, 7.20pm AEST

Last time: Essendon 13.8 (86) d Carlton 6.16 (52), R13 2023

What it means

Essendon (8-3-1) had its unbeaten streak snapped at seven matches as it failed to make the most of its chances in the loss to Gold Coast last week. But the Bombers could rubber stamp their own top-four credentials with a win over the Blues in a battle of the resurgent heavyweights on King's Birthday eve before heading into a bye.

Carlton (8-4) is now just two points behind old foes Essendon in second spot after three wins over finals contenders Melbourne, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide in its past four matches. The new-look Blues have even been smashing long-standing hoodoos like winning at Adelaide Oval, and now seem primed to launch into the top-four ahead of their bye.

Harry McKay, Bec Daniher and Ben McKay pose for a photo during a media opportunity on June 3, 2024. Picture: Getty Images


It has taken a change of clubs from Ben McKay to make it happen, but after nine seasons since being drafted together the key defender is set to face his twin Harry in an AFL game. Ben has already had more of an impact for the Bombers than most might have expected after his switch from the Roos, but it can be safely assumed he has left some room to rise even higher for this occasion.

Harry McKay has returned to something resembling his top form after an indifferent 2023 and his three goals were critical to the Blues' commanding win over the Power. But this week presents a different kind of challenge as the key forward takes on brother Ben for the first time, with the outcome of their sibling rivalry more than just a sideshow amid a battle between two rising powerhouses.

Early tip: Essendon by seven points


Collingwood v Melbourne, MCG
Monday, June 10, 3.20pm AEST

Last time: Collingwood 9.6 (60) d Melbourne 7.11 (53), QF 2023

What it means

Collingwood (6-4-2) ran out of lives while injuries arguably took their toll for its first defeat since round two. The Pies are unlikely to have too many reinforcements to call on but will still like their chances of putting their foot on the throat of a demoralised Demons outfit that they have beaten eight times in their past 10 meetings, including in a seven-point thriller in last year's qualifying final. 

Melbourne (7-5) will enter its traditional King's Birthday blockbuster and Big Freeze 10 event in no mood for celebrations after a humiliating 92-point thumping by Fremantle last week. It was the heaviest defeat of Simon Goodwin's reign but the Demons can hope to turn their fortunes around quickly against the undermanned Magpies, with the Roos to follow after their bye.

Jack Viney is seen during Neale Daniher’s visit to Melbourne's training at AAMI Park on June 4, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos


Jack Crisp paid the price for the Pies' sluggish start to their premiership defence when named the sub for the Grand Final rematch against the Lions in round three. Crisp has since returned to form and produced perhaps his best performance of the season against the Dogs, and this week will rightly be praised for his durability as he plays his 227th consecutive game for the second longest streak in VFL/AFL history.

Max Gawn has seen Melbourne rise from the ashes all the way to premiership glory but might have had flashbacks of past horrors during the shock loss to Fremantle last week. The Demons' skipper has done all that he can on the field this season to lead his side back into top-four contention but will now be just as critical in lifting his teammates off the canvas for another clash on a big stage.

Early tip: Collingwood by 14 points