ARE YOU ready to be entertained? We've got not one, but TWO huge games coming at you on a massive Friday night of football.

First up, it's reigning premier Melbourne up against a struggling Essendon from 7.20pm AEDT. Then Adelaide and Port Adelaide will face off in another Showdown, starting an hour later from 7.50pm ACST.

WHY ARE THE GAMES CROSSING OVER? AFL explains 'overlapping' double-header

The winless Bombers are staring down the barrel of a 0-3 start to the season – and a loss tonight would make it a monumentally difficult task to play finals.

The Demons, meanwhile, have barely got out of first gear in wins over the Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast.

>> FOLLOW THE STATS LIVE WHEN THE GAME BEGINS
>> SCROLL DOWN FOR FINAL TEAMS AND SUBS

Making Essendon's job harder will be the loss of ball-magnet Zach Merrett with a syndesmosis injury that will keep him out for up to two months, and rising star Nik Cox with an ankle problem. Coach Ben Rutten also dropped Devon Smith after last week's four-disposal game.

The Bombers have regained first-game sensation Nic Martin and Dylan Shiel for the clash, while Melbourne forward Ben Brown was withdrawn on Friday afternoon due to the AFL's health and safety protocols.

02:58 Mins
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Match Previews R3: Melbourne v Essendon

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the game between the Demons and Bombers at the MCG.

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In Adelaide, the Power will be without Robbie Gray and Charlie Dixon, while recruit Jeremy Finlayson, top pick Josh Sinn and young gun Xavier Duursma have been axed.

The Crows are missing skipper Rory Sloane after he failed to recover from a groin injury, but they will be boosted by the return of dual club champion Rory Laird from a broken hand.

>> FOLLOW THE STATS LIVE WHEN THE GAME BEGINS

After winless starts to the season, both sides go into the clash desperate for the four points, with Port Adelaide holding a slender 26-24 advantage in their head-to-head battles.

03:18 Mins
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Match Previews R3: Adelaide v Port Adelaide

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the game between the Crows and Power at Adelaide Oval.

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Ken Hinkley's side, in particular, will be keen to atone for last week's embarrassing loss to Hawthorn.

"This is more than a Showdown for us," he said. "We are motivated by the need to respond for what happened last week."

And if you're wondering why the two games are overlapping, the AFL added the extra match on Friday night because it had intended to give the AFLW Grand Final clean air on Saturday, before it was pushed back a week due to COVID. Read AFL general manager of finance, clubs and broadcast Travis Auld's explanation here.

Adelaide v Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, 7.50pm ACDT

NO LATE CHANGES

MEDICAL SUBS
Adelaide: Luke Pedlar
Port Adelaide: Martin Frederick

CROWS v POWER Follow it live

Melbourne v Essendon at the MCG, 7.20pm AEDT

NO LATE CHANGES

MEDICAL SUBS
Melbourne: Toby Bedford
Essendon: Devon Smith

DEES v DONS Follow it live