FOUR contenders remain in the hunt for the premiership with two blockbuster preliminary finals to decide who meets in the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final.

There are injury worries for Geelong and the Western Bulldogs, while Port Adelaide and Melbourne have their own selection headaches. 

Our experts have predicted the ins and outs for this week's matches. Did we get it right? Check out our teams below. 


First preliminary final
Melbourne v Geelong at Optus Stadium, 5.50pm AWST


B: Michael Hibberd, Steven May, Harrison Petty
Jayden Hunt, Jake Lever, Christian Salem
James Harmes, Christian Petracca, Ed Langdon
Kysaiah Pickett, Tom McDonald, Angus Brayshaw
Alex Neal-Bullen, Ben Brown, Bayley Fritsch
Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney
Luke Jackson, Charlie Spargo, Trent Rivers, Tom Sparrow
James Jordon, Jake Bowey, Nathan Jones, Jake Melksham 

IN: Jayden Hunt, Michael Hibberd
OUT: Jake Bowey, Joel Smith, James Jordon (medical sub)

UNAVAILABLE: Joel Smith (hamstring), Marty Hore (knee), Aaron Nietschke (knee), Adam Tomlinson (knee)

NOTES: Melbourne has more decisions to make in defence. Hibberd is set to return in place of Smith, who hurt his hamstring at training this week and will likely miss the remainder of the season. It could mean a stretched backline, given the height in a Geelong attack that features Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron, Esava Ratugolea and Gary Rohan. Hunt is fit again following ankle surgery, but will his experience earn him a recall over Bowey? The first-year youngster has deputised well in his older teammate's absence, but may be forced into reserve for a preliminary final. The Demons have been reluctant to make unforced changes to a winning team so far this year, but the speed and availability of Hunt could prove too enticing. Jones continues to press his case for a recall, perhaps as the medical sub, while Sparrow should hold his position over Jordon after a composed performance in the qualifying final win over Brisbane a fortnight ago. Neal-Bullen is fit, despite a corked calf sustained in match simulation drills during the side's week off. – Riley Beveridge

Melbourne defender Michael Hibberd in action against Adelaide in round 22, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


B: Jed Bews, Lachie Henderson, Jake Kolodjashnij
HB: Tom Atkins, Mark Blicavs, Jack Henry
C: Sam Menegola, Joel Selwood, Isaac Smith
HF: Gryan Miers, Jeremy Cameron, Sam Simpson
F: Esava Ratugolea, Tom Hawkins, Brad Close
Foll: Rhys Stanley, Cameron Guthrie, Patrick Dangerfield
I/C: Mitch Duncan, Gary Rohan, Zach Tuohy, Max Holmes
Emerg: Zach Guthrie, Shaun Higgins, Luke Dahlhaus, Quinton Narkle

In: Sam Simpson
Out: Brandan Parfitt  

UNAVAILABLE: Brandan Parfitt (hamstring), Mark O'Connor (hamstring), Tom Stewart (foot)

NOTES: The decision to replace Parfitt came down to Narkle as a like-for-like midfielder or Simpson, Higgins or Dahlhaus as a forward who could slot in and allow Duncan to return to the engine room. Have gone with Simpson as a half-forward which will give Chris Scott greater flexibility. Duncan can increase his midfield minutes on recent weeks (he's played at half-forward and half-back in his two return games), while Holmes can also push the centre bounces as he did after Parfitt's injury. And Narkle hasn't played at AFL level since August 14. Zach Guthrie is the only other consideration given he impressed as the medical sub last week, but Tuohy's return at half-back looks well settled. Holmes is no lock and could make way for one of the emergencies, but he did finish as the Cats' second highest ranked clearance and pressure acts player last week. Ratugolea appears a likely starter to stretch the Demons' backline which will ensure Blicavs stays in defence.

Sam Simpson celebrates a goal against Port Adelaide in the second qualifying final on August 27, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos


Second preliminary final
Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval, 7.10pm ACST


B: Tom Jonas, Trent McKenzie, Darcy Byrne-Jones
HB: Ryan Burton, Aliir Aliir, Dan Houston
C: Xavier Duursma, Ollie Wines, Karl Amon 
HF: Steven Motlop, Todd Marshall, Connor Rozee
F: Orazio Fantasia, Charlie Dixon, Robbie Gray 
Foll: Scott Lycett, Travis Boak, Zak Butters
I/C: Peter Ladhams, Willem Drew, Miles Bergman, Riley Bonner
Emerg: Sam Powell-Pepper, Mitch Georgiades, Sam Mayes, Tom Clurey 

In: Nil

UNAVAILABLE: Trent Burgoyne (hamstring), Kane Farrell (knee), Taj Schofield (hamstring) 

NOTES: The Power face a selection dilemma in attack, with tall forward Georgiades available after recovering from hamstring soreness. If he returns, however, there is no clear omission after a 43-point qualifying final win over Geelong. The case for Georgiades playing is that Dixon and Marshall have kicked five and three goals respectively in their last four games, and another goalkicking option will be important if that run continues. Fantasia has kicked seven goals across his past two games and will be a priority for the Bulldogs to shut down. Young defender Lachie Jones is available after returning through the SANFL, but a preliminary final call-up is unlikely. Powell-Pepper is the likely medical substitutes, with Mayes another option. - Nathan Schmook  

Mitch Georgiades with Scott Lycett at Power training on August 25, 2021. Picture: Getty Images


B: Easton Wood, Alex Keath, Bailey Williams
HB: Taylor Duryea, Ryan Gardner, Bailey Dale
C: Adam Treloar, Josh Dunkley, Lachie Hunter
HF: Laitham Vandermeer, Aaron Naughton, Bailey Smith
F: Tom Liberatore, Tim English, Mitch Hannan
R: Stefan Martin, Jack Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli
I/C: Josh Schache, Jason Johannisen, Caleb Daniel, Roarke Smith
Emerg: Mitch Wallis, Zaine Cordy, Anthony Scott, Lewis Young

In: Jason Johannisen, Stefan Martin
Out: Cody Weightman, Lewis Young

UNAVAILABLE: Josh Bruce (knee), Toby McLean (knee), Cody Weightman (concussion) 

NOTES: Weightman has been ruled out with concussion meaning the Bulldogs will need to make at least one change to the 22 that started last week's semi-final against Brisbane. Johannisen came into the game as his medical substitute and did his bit, including kicking a crunch goal, so may hold his spot inside the selected side. It appears most likely to come down to a decision between Johannisen and Scott for that position, with both players offering versatility, while Wallis was named an emergency last week but would change up the Bulldogs' forward structure. Under this scenario Scott would likely be the medical substitute against Port Adelaide. Bontempelli is battling a knee injury but will be given every chance to get up for the game, while Martin has been training well and has given the Dogs something to think about ahead of facing Port Adelaide ruck pair Scott Lycett and Peter Ladhams. Is this the week Luke Beveridge pulls the trigger? – Callum Twomey

00:17 Mins
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Weightman subbed with head knock in big blow

The Bulldogs have suffered a bad injury blow with small forward Cody Weightman forced out of the game following this incident

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