NORTH Melbourne will have the greatest possible motivation to walk a foot taller in their Smithy’s VFL clash clash against Sydney at Arden St on Sunday, with star midfielder Ben Cunnington set to make an inspirational comeback from a battle with testicular cancer.

Like the popular return of Carlton gun Sam Docherty at the start of this season, Cunnington is expected to draw a large crowd to the Kangaroos' spiritual home for the 11.05am start as he runs out for his first game since July last year.

He was due to return against Essendon at Windy Hill last week only to be floored by a bout of COVID, but has finally been named on a wing after getting through training on Thursday.

North is also set to have Josh Walker, Jack Mahony and Aiden Bonar at its disposal for the clash with the fourth-placed Swans, who will be desperate to consolidate their position ahead of a likely showdown for that spot against Collingwood next week.

Sydney will have superstar midfielder and former captain Josh Kennedy for a third consecutive week after he was again unable to break back into the high-flying AFL team, and it will be worth heading to Arden St early just to see the two guns go head-to-head, while the returns of Joel Amartey and Peter Ladhams (in place of Logan McDonald, Lewis Taylor and Jake Bartholomaeus) will also create interest.

 

Josh Kennedy will play in the VFL for a third straight week when Sydney faces North Melbourne at Arden St on Sunday morning. Picture: AFL Photos

SMITHY’s VFL TEAMS, ROUND 20, click here

Brisbane Lions have named Mitch Robinson, Nakia Cockatoo and Darcy Fort in their team for their crunch clash against Werribee at Moreton Bay's Red Rooster Park on Saturday.

The Lions lose Deven Robertson for a game that will see them climb past Southport into second with a victory.

The Tigers must win to keep their finals hopes alive, and they have called in a host of stars, led by Matt Hanson, with Nick Hayes, Nathan Cooper, Josh Porter and Jay Dahlhaus also returning for the trip north. 

Northern Bullants have welcomed back four key members of the cavalry as they aim to derail Richmond’s finals hopes at Genis Steel Oval on Sunday.

NAB AFL Mid-season Rookie Draft prospect Mutaz El Nour wants to inspire other Sudanese athletes through football

The Bullants, who stunned the Tigers in the corresponding fixture last year, will regain key defender Mutaz El Nour and midfielders Will Mitchell, Jackson Barling and Tim Jones to the team that was well beaten by minor premier Casey Demons last week, with Ben De Bolfo (concussion), Kobe Brown (ankle), Liam Kolar and Sunny Brazier and missing out.

But star captain Tom Wilson will miss a second consecutive game with a cheekbone injury that must put his season in doublt, while ruckman Liam Podhajski (ankle) also won’t return.

Richmond has made four changes to the team that lost to Brisbane Lions as it looks for a spot in the eight, with Samson Ryan the key in, while Josh Gibcus is back in the AFL team.

Collingwood has not named ruckman Brodie Grundy in either of its teams as it takes his recovery from his knee injury slowly, with Trent Bianco and Arlo Draper among five inclusions to face a rejuvenated Williamstown, while Aiden Begg and Michael Hartley join Grundy in exiting the team.

The Seagulls have been hit by injury again, however, losing Fin O’Dwyer (shoulder), Noah Gown (hip) and Lachlan Stapleton, as well as the suspended Jack Noonan, with last week’s outs Liam Hunt and Brayden Monk now being ruled out for the season with knee injuries.

01:39 Mins
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VFL Showreel, R19: Brodie Grundy highlights

Enjoy Brodie Grundy's standout VFL performance for the Pies

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Geelong has a trio of experienced AFL stars called in for its clash against Sandringham, with Zac Tuohy, Shaun Higgins and Sam Menegola named for Sunday's GMHBA clash as they aim to regain their spots back for the AFL finals, but Shannon Neale (concussion) and Cooper Stephens will miss.

Osca Riccardi, 17, the son of former pacy Geelong wingman Peter Riccardi, will make his VFL debut after strong form for Geelong Falcons.

The Zebras have their own AFL aspirants back, with ruckman Tom Campbell, Ryan Byrnes, Leo Connolly, Jarrod Lienert and Max Heath hoping to follow Dan Hannebery and Mitch Owens back into the AFL team, while Zak Jones will again play in the VFL.

Shaun Higgins will aim to win his AFL spot back through Geelong's VFL clash with Sandringham on Sunday. Picture: AFL Photos

In-form Essendon will pose a significant danger to GWS’s flickering finals hopes after recalling Jye Menzie  and Andrew Phillips for their clash at Giants Stadium on Saturday morning, with Joel Fitzgerald a surprise out alongside Bruno Laguda.

The Giants have made eight changes, regaining surprise AFL omission Lachie Ash, plus Xavier O’Halloran, Conor Stone, Cooper Hamilton and Callum Brown but losing promoted Jake Riccardi and Kieren Briggs plus Jarrod Brander for the season with a hamstring injury and Lachie Keeffe.

SMITHY’s VFL INJURY LIST, ROUND 20, click here

Box Hill Hawks regain skipper Hugh Beasley and former Damian Mascitti, as well as Vince Adduci for their clash with Frankston at Skybus Stadium, but Jacob Koschitzke, Emerson Jeka, Jai Serong and Sam Butler are playing for Hawthorn and Max Lynch, Kyle Hartigan, Brady Grey and Jaylon Thorpe are also out.

The Dolphins recalled Bailey Lambert but will be without Ryley Stoddard, Josh Stern and Colby Nayna.

Damian Mascitti is back for Box Hill's must-win clash with Frankston on Saturday. Picture: Kelly Defina/AFL Photos

Footscray made a host of big name changes for its game against Coburg, with Hayden Crozier, Buku Khamis, Mitch Hannan, Robbie McComb and Louis Butler all coming into the team, while Sam Darcy and Alex Keath were promoted and Dom Bedendo, Laitham Vandermeer, Lachie McNeil and Joel Garner also go out.

The Lions have got Edyn Sibbald and Ryan Sturgess back in place of Corey Ellis and Luke Bunker. 

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL

10.GWS (8-7-1) v 17.ESSENDON (6-10)

Saturday, August 6, 10.35am @ Giants Stadium
(
https://www.afl.com.au/fixture?Competition=7, 10.30am)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Never Met

GWS
IN:
L. Ash, C. Brown, E. Grace, C. Hamilton, N. Madden, M. Miller, X. O'Halloran, C. Stone
OUT: K. Briggs, L. Keeffe, J. Riccardi (AFL), J. Brander (hamstring), J. Pavlidis (Western Jets), L. Fellows, S. Quirk, B. Stewart (omit)
DEBUT: Nick Madden, 18, 204cm, Osborne/GWS Academy

ESSENDON
IN: J. Menzie, A. Phillips
OUT: J. Fitzgerald, B. Laguda (omit)

Prediction: GWS by 10

3.BRISBANE LIONS (11-4) v 11.WERRIBEE (8-7)

Saturday, August 6, 11.05am @ Red Rooster Park, Moreton Bay Sports Complex
(
https://www.afl.com.au/fixture?Competition=7, 11am)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Never Met

BRISBANE LIONS
IN:
N. Cockatoo, D. Fort, M. Robinson
OUT: H. Arnold (shoulder), D. Robertson (managed), C. Bowes (omit)

WERRIBEE
IN: N. Cooper, J. Dahlhaus, S. El-Hawli, N. Hayes, M. Hanson, M. Keast, J. Porter
OUT: D. Cassar (ankle), L. Rocci (knee), A. Lual, T. McCaffrey, S. Paea, L. Wagener, R. William (omit)

Prediction: Brisbane Lions by 23

13.FOOTSCRAY (7-9) v 18.COBURG (4-11)

Saturday, August 6, 12.05pm @ Victoria University Whitten Oval
(
https://www.afl.com.au/fixture?Competition=7, 12pm)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Footscray 6-2. At Whitten Oval: Footscray 3-0. Streak: Footscray 5 (last loss July 2, 2016). Last Time: Footscray 13.6 84 def Coburg 7.10 52 (June 26, 2021, Highgate Reserve)

FOOTSCRAY
IN:
L. Butler, C. Cormack, H. Crozier, M. Hannan, B. Khamis, R. McComb
OUT: S. Darcy, A. Keath (AFL), L. Vandermeer (AFL emerg), D. Bedendo, L. McNeil (managed), J. Garner (omit)

COBURG
IN: H. Andronaco, E. Sibbald, R. Sturgess
OUT: C. Ellis (health and safety protocols), L. Bunker (managed), A. Lukic (omit)

Prediction: Footscray by 17

6.COLLINGWOOD (10-5) v 19.WILLIAMSTOWN (3-13)

Saturday, August 6, 12.35pm @ AIA Centre
(https://www.afl.com.au/fixture?Competition=7, 12.30pm)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Williamstown 17-10. At Olympic Park: Collingwood 1-0. Streak: Williamstown 3 (last loss September 3, 2016 – qualifying final). Last Time: Williamstown 7.13 55 def Collingwood 6.11 47 (July 13, 2019, Victoria Park)

COLLINGWOOD
IN:
Y. Ashwin, T. Bianco, A. Draper, L. Purcell, T. Roberts
OUT: A. Begg, B. Grundy, M. Hartley (managed), B. Andrews, Z. Molloy (omit)

WILLIAMSTOWN
IN: J. Davey, J. Kenneth, C. Molan, F. Phillips
OUT: N. Gown (hip), J. Noonan (suspended), F. O'Dwyer (shoulder), L Stapleton (concussion)

Prediction: Collingwood by 35

14.FRANKSTON (6-9) v 8.BOX HILL HAWKS (9-6)

Saturday, August 6, 1.10pm @ Skybus Stadium
(3WBC 94.1FM,
www.3wbc.org.au, 12.30pm; Channel 7 and www.7plus.com.au, 1pm)

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Box Hill 38-36-1. At Frankston Park: Frankston 22-16-1 (last win July 30, 2016 – 8 losses). Streak: Box Hill 15½ (last loss June 24, 2007). Last Time: Box Hill 14.18 102 def Frankston 13.6 84 (Frankston Park, July 14, 2019)

FRANKSTON
IN:
J. Florent, B. Lambert, L. Williams
OUT: R. Stoddart (back), C. Nayna, J. Stern (omit)

BOX HILL HAWKS
IN: V. Adduci, C. Beasley, H. Beasley, D. Brinker-Ritchie, L. Coghlan, M. Hall, D. Mascitti, M. Walton
OUT: S. Butler, E. Jeka, J. Koschitzke, J. Serong (AFL), K. Hartigan (AFL emerg), M. Lynch (managed), B. Grey (health and safety protocols), J. Thorpe (omit)

Prediction: Box Hill Hawks by 14

Prediction: by

20.NORTH MELBOURNE (3-12) v 4.SYDNEY (10-5)

Sunday, August 7, 11.05am @ Arden St
(
https://www.afl.com.au/fixture?Competition=7, 11am)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: South Melbourne 22-7-6. At Arden St: South Melbourne 6-4-2. Streak: South Melbourne 1 (last loss August 17, 1895). Last Time: South Melbourne 5.5 35 def North Melbourne 4.3 27 (May 9, 1896, Lake Oval)

NORTH MELBOURNE
IN:
A. Bonar, B. Cunnington, J. Mahony, J. Walker
OUT: C. Smith (collarbone), T. Williamson (concussion), S. Collins, H. Murphy (omit)

SYDNEY
IN: J. Amartey, K. Bradtke, P. Ladhams, C. Webster
OUT: L. McDonald (AFL), J. Bartholomaeus, L. Taylor (managed), W. Edwards (omit)

Prediction: Sydney by 25

15.GEELONG (6-9) v 12.SANDRINGHAM (7-7-1)

Sunday, August 7, 1.05pm @ GMHBA Stadium
(
https://www.afl.com.au/fixture?Competition=7, 1pm)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Geelong 17-14. At Kardinia Park: Geelong 7-4. Streak: Geelong 2 (last loss April 15, 2018). Last Time: Geelong 10.7 67 def Sandringham 5.11 41 (Kardinia Park, July 13, 2019)

GEELONG
IN:
S. Higgins, B. Lloyd, S. Menegola, O. Riccardi, O. Tate, Z. Tuohy
OUT: S. Neale (concussion), C. Stephens (managed), A. Byrne, K. Chalcraft, J. Evans, L. Waddell (omit)
DEBUT: Osca Riccardi, 17, 177cm, 64kg, Newtown & Chilwell/Geelong Falcons

SANDRINGHAM
IN: S. Beilby, R. Byrnes, T. Campbell, L. Connolly, M. Heath, J. Lienert
OUT: D. Hannebery, M. Owens (AFL), O. Adams, J. Peris (managed), A. McLennan (Sandringham Dragons), J. Nowell (omit)

Prediction: Geelong by 7

21.NORTHERN BULLANTS (1-15) v 9.RICHMOND (9-7)

Sunday, August 7, 2.05pm @ Genis Steel Oval
(Casey Radio 97.7FM, www.caseyradio.com.au, 1.45pm;
https://www.afl.com.au/fixture?Competition=7, 2pm)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Richmond 16-2. At Preston City Oval: Richmond 6-1. Streak: Northern Bullants 1 (last loss August 11, 2019). Last Time: Northern Bullants 8.7 55 def Richmond 5.12 42 (Preston City Oval, July 3, 2021)

NORTHERN BULLANTS
IN:
J. Barling, M. El Nour, T. Jones, W. Mitchell
OUT: K. Brown (calf), B. De Bolfo (concussion), S. Brazier, L. Kolar (omit)

RICHMOND
IN: T. Bracher, A. Hicks, J. McGrath, S. Ryan
OUT: J. Gibcus (AFL), N. Guiney, B. Melville, C. Olden (omit)

Prediction: Richmond by 35

BYE: Carlton, Casey Demons, Gold Coast, Port Melbourne, Southport

Brendan Rhodes’ winners: Last Round: 5. Season: 119/163

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 afl.com.au and the AFL Live Official App. Radio stations 3WBC and Casey Radio are also broadcasting 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)

 

(Channel 7 and www.7plus.com.au, 12pm)

(3WBC 94.1FM, www.3wbc.org.au, 11.30am)

(Casey Radio 97.7FM, www.caseyradio.com.au, 5.45pm)