BOOM Western Bulldogs draftee Sam Darcy will make his long-awaited first appearance for his father's old club when he makes his Smithy's VFL debut for Footscray in its must-win clash against Collingwood at the AIA Centre on Saturday.
The 2021 NAB AFL No.2 draft pick, whose father Luke played 226 games for the Bulldogs between 1994-2007, has been sidelined with a foot injury until now but will finally wear the red, white and blue for the first time as Footscray chases a second consecutive win after a surprise 1-4 start to the year.
Another interesting name to earn a VFL debut is boom suburban goalkicker Darcy Fritsch, the brother of Melbourne star Bayley, who will play his first game for Williamstown after being added to the Seagulls' list during the week.
Fritsch, 23, kicked 20 goals in a game for Coldstream in the Eastern league last year and will be hoping to take the VFL by storm in the same way as his brother did in 2017 before becoming an AFL premiership gun for Melbourne last year.
The five standalone clubs in action this weekend have all been boosted by significant inclusions, none moreso than the Northern Bullants, who welcome back five best-22 players to take on Port Melbourne at the newly-named Genis Steel Oval on Sunday.
The Bullants will bring back the famous Preston Football Club PFC monogram for the clash with the Borough, and have had the luxury of being able to select key midfielder Liam Mackie for his first game of the season after a six-week suspension for striking Frankston's Bailey Lambert in a practice match, while full-back Doug Lawrence (hip) will play his first match since Round 1, while Kyle Dunkley and Tim Jones are back after missing last week's loss to Sandringham and Zac Hart returns from a couple of weeks on the sidelines.
The Borough regains star midfielder Corey Wagner from a hamstring injury.
Frankston hasn't beaten Williamstown since 2005 and not at Williamstown since 1999, but the Dolphins are the highest-ranked Victorian standalone at the moment and will fancy their chances with Lambert, Tom Murphy and Pierce Roseby returning from illness and injury, although they have lost Taine Barlow for five weeks with a foot injury.
Key midfielder Nick Mellington returns for the Seagulls alongside Fritsch's debut, but Lachie Stapleton will miss with concussion.
And Southport regains star forward and 2017 Liston medallist Jacob Townsend from suspension for its crucial game against the undefeated GWS Giants, the only team to knock the Sharks off in 2021 - a huge inclusion given he was leading the Frosty Miller Medal when he received a two-week ban for striking against Geelong.
The Giants also have plenty of motivation, with captain Ryan Hebron to play his 100th NEAFL/VFL game in a match relocated to Gold Coast's newly-named Austworld Centre (Carrara Training Oval) on Sunday.
3.COLLINGWOOD (5-1) v 14.FOOTSCRAY (2-4)
Saturday, May 14, 2.05pm @ AIA Centre
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Footscray 11-7. At AIA Centre: Footscray 1-0. Streak: Collingwood 1 (last loss 2019). Last time: Collingwood 12.9 81 def Footscray 8.10 58 (Whitten Oval, June 23, 2019)
IN: D Eggmolesse-Smith, C Lane, R McInnes, N Murphy, K Schreiber
OUT: O Henry, C Poulter (AFL), W Kelly (hip), Z Molloy (hamstring), A Draper, H Harrison (managed)
IN: A Bade, C Craig-Peters, S Darcy, J Patullo, R Smith
OUT: L Cleary, B Khamis, R West (AFL), A Hodge (quad), B van de Heuvel (hamstring)
DEBUT: Sam Darcy, 18, Glen Iris/Oakleigh Chargers
Prediction: Collingwood by 10
18.WILLIAMSTOWN (1-5) v 13.FRANKSTON (3-3)
Saturday, May 14, 7.35pm @ Williamstown Football Ground
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Williamstown 44-24-1. At Williamstown: Williamstown 21-10. Streak: Williamstown 19.5 (last loss August 8, 2005; at WCG June 20, 1999). Last time: Williamstown 17.13 115 def Frankston 4.7 31 (WCG, May 8, 2021)
IN: D Fritsch, N Mellington, F Phillips
OUT: L Stapleton (concussion), M Gook, E Soylemez (omit)
DEBUT: Darcy Fritsch, 23, Coldstream
IN: B Lambert, T Murphy, P Roseby
OUT: T Barlow (foot), K Jacobson (knee), B Welsh (omit)
Prediction: Williamstown by 8
7.SOUTHPORT (4-2) v 2.GWS (5-0-1)
Sunday, May 15, 11.35am @ Austworld Centre Oval, Carrara
HEAD-TO-HEAD: GWS 4-2. At Austworld Centre: Never Met. Streak: GWS 2 (last loss 2018). Last time: GWS 14.10 94 def Southport 8.16 64 (Blacktown, May 2, 2021)
IN: M Gahan, T Reeves, J Townsend
OUT: D Charlesworth, A Fyfe, M Selsby (omit)
DEBUT: Tom Reeves, 21, Labrador
IN: R Angwin, L Chisholm, H Grintell, J Stein
OUT: W Clark, B Stewart, C Stone, K Veerhuis (omit)
Prediction: Southport by 7
10.BOX HILL HAWKS (3-3) v 8.RICHMOND (4-2)
Sunday, May 15, 12pm @ Box Hill City Oval
(3WBC 94.1FM, www.3wbc.org.au, 11.30am; Channel 7 and https://7plus.com.au, 12pm)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Richmond 5-4. At Box Hill: Box Hill Hawks 2-1. Streak: Box Hill Hawks 1 (last loss 2019). Last time: Box Hill Hawks 14.10 94 def Richmond 12.8 80 (Box Hill, July 21, 2019)
BOX HILL HAWKS
IN: J Callow, F O'Hara (debut), J Serong, J Ward (debut)
OUT: T Brockman (shoulder), E Jeka (hamstring), F Greene, D Mascitti (managed)
DEBUT: Fion O'Hara, 20, County Westmeath, Ireland; Josh Ward, 18, Fitzroy
IN: R Collier-Dawkins, S Edwards, A Hicks, H Ralphsmith, S Ryan, S Stack
OUT: B Nyuon (AFL), L Johnson (calf), M Lefau (knee), N Oakes (achilles), N Guiney, J Sexton (omit)
Prediction: Richmond by 13
16.NORTH MELBOURNE (2-4) v 1.CASEY DEMONS (7-0)
Sunday, May 15, 12pm @ Aegis Park
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Casey Demons 3-0. At Aegis Park: Never Met. Streak: Casey Demons 3. Last time: Casey Demons 19.17 131 def North Melbourne 3.6 24 (Marvel Stadium, April 29, 2021)
IN: J Boyd, H Dick, J Goater, K Hayden, B Stevens
OUT: T Powell (AFL), C Comben (knee), J Edwards (managed), A Wright (contusion), C Weightman (omit)
DEBUT: Jacob Boyd, 22, Launceston; Bode Stevens, 18, Strathfieldsaye
IN: T Bedford, M Daw, B Lawrie, T Woewodin
OUT: A Moniz-Wakefield (concussion), J Bell, T Edwards, R Steele (omit)
Prediction: Casey Demons by 45
19.NORTHERN BULLANTS (1-5) v 17.PORT MELBOURNE (1-5)
Sunday, May 15, 1.05pm @ Genis Steel Oval, Preston
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Port Melbourne 117-63-2. At Preston City: Port Melbourne 45-38-2. Streak: Northern 1 (last loss 2018 … Port won the previous 12). Last time: Northern Blues 10.12 72 def Port Melbourne 10.8 68 (North Port, July 13, 2019)
IN: K Dunkley, Z Hart, T Jones, D Lawrence, L Mackie
OUT: S Brazier, J Collins, H Kennedy, S Martin, T Mills (omit)
IN: J Briskey, J Johnston, C Wagner
OUT: L Modica (knee), N Holmes, J May (omit)
Prediction: Port Melbourne by 2
BYE: Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Coburg, Essendon, Geelong, Gold Coast, Sandringham, Sydney, Werribee
Brendan Rhodes’ winners: Last Round: 8. Season: 50.5
All Smithy’s VFL matches in 2022 can be viewed live and free. The VFL Match of the Round will be televised each week on Channel 7, with all other matches livestreamed via vfl.com.au and the AFL Live Official App. Radio station 3WBC will also again be broadcasting Box Hill Hawks matches.
To access live scores, results, ladder, stats and to link to live streams/replays, download the VFL/W Official App from the Apple or Google Play app stores.
Keep track of your Smithy’s VFL team via our VFL Match Centre, which features live scores, team and player stats, match timeline, events summary and Fantasy points. Check it out at (https://www.afl.com.au/vfl/fixture)