WILL Collingwood be able to right its on-field ship after a tumultuous fortnight in the headlines?
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Or can the rollercoaster Hawks rebound from a disappointing loss to a resurgent Greater Western Sydney and firm up their top-eight credentials again?
There's plenty at stake on Friday night when the Magpies and Hawks clash on neutral territory at Giants Stadium in Sydney, as all 10 Victorian teams play out their first round of matches in interstate hubs.
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The clash marks Collingwood's return to the venue where their season turned sour in round four with a narrow loss to the Giants. Star defender Jeremy Howe's potentially season-ending knee injury late in the game compounded their disappointment.
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Since that loss, vice-captain Steele Sidebottom and forward Jordan De Goey have both made off-field headlines for the wrong reasons, while Collingwood (two wins, two losses and a draw) suffered a 15-point loss to fierce rival Essendon last Friday night.
In another twist to this remarkable season, Hawthorn (three wins, two losses) will be playing its second successive game at the Homebush stadium.
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Alastair Clarkson's side dominated the inside 50s and centre clearances against the Giants in round five but struggled to use the footy effectively in the 34-point loss.
The defeat continued a pattern of inconsistency for the Hawks, whose big wins over Brisbane (28 points) and Richmond (32) have been offset by heavy losses to the Giants and the Cats (61).
Victory would put either side back into the top eight at the round's end, while a defeat will send the loser further into the mid-table mire.
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Both teams will line up as selected, with the Magpies handing debuts to Atu Bosenavulagi and Will Kelly, while Josh Morris and Will Day will debut for the Hawks.