Sydney v Carlton ANZ Stadium, Saturday, 7.45pm
Adam Goodes must show significant progress this week if he is to play, however the Swans are confident Jarrad McVeigh's knee injury is not serious and that he will be ready. The Blues will have Brock McLean available after he was a late withdrawal on Sunday, but Matthew Kreuzer and Mitch Robinson will have to prove their fitness this week after being hampered by injuries against the Tigers.
Round 14: Sydney 8.17 (65) defeated Carlton 5.13 (53). Carlton got to within seven points early in the last quarter before the Swans responded to pull away late in one of the most physically intense games of the regular season.
Why Sydney can win: Because they are hard to beat in Sydney and must have a sense of unfinished business. While the Swans have more players on the injured list, the Blues in general must be feeling fatigued from the accumulative effect of the past month. Carlton has virtually played three straight elimination finals. Are the Blues are capable of getting themselves up again for the type of mammoth physical and mental effort required to upstage John Longmire's team on their home ground?
Why Carlton can win: Because they play a brand of football that can stand up in finals. Because Mick Malthouse loves the challenge of plotting the downfall of an opposition. And because they are playing with nothing to lose. It hasn't always been apparent, but the Blues have a key weapon in Kade Simpson, Andrew Walker, Zach Tuohy and others who can hurt teams that push too many numbers into the Blues' forward line. By doing so, opposition teams allow Simpson and co free rein to rebound the ball on the wing and half back and then pump it back inside forward 50.
Geelong v Port Adelaide MCG, Friday, 7.50pm
Tom Hawkins should play this week, given the Cats are in elimination mode now, and will just hope his back is feeling good on Friday night. Corey Enright is definitely out and the other concern that emerged at recovery on Sunday was the sight of Josh Caddy in a moon boot. Andrew Mackie also looked particularly sore on Sunday, but should get up. Tagger Taylor Hunt was a late withdrawal on Saturday with an ankle injury and will benefit from an extra week. The Power are healthy after escaping Saturday night's win unscathed.
Round 9: Geelong 18.8 (116) defeated Port Adelaide 9.14 (68). Steve Johnson was everywhere with 32 disposals and Hawkins had a good day with his injured back, kicking an equal career-high six goals.
Round 20: Geelong 20.9 (129) defeated Port Adelaide 16.8 (104). The Cats were 63 points up early in the fourth, but the Power won another last quarter by plenty to limit the damage and finished up scoring 100 points, something few visiting teams do at Simonds Stadium.
Why Geelong can win: Because they are simply too good and too proud to go out in straight sets - not with the number of champions they have in that team. The factor most underplayed in the high praise Fremantle received (and deserved) for the victory over Geelong was the fact the Cats had the same number of scoring shots and were missing their most structurally important forward. It was a ripping contest, but some Geelong players believed they played poorly at stages. Chris Scott's team doesn't usually play two bad ones in a row, and definitely not in September.
Why Port Adelaide can win: Because they are super fit and they don't stop. The Power's two-way running against the Pies on Saturday night was massive. Their half forwards and midfielders push hard back into defence and then run just as hard the other way once they win possession, moving the ball with high-risk handball chains. And they have the fitness to keep doing it. Whatever they are paying fitness guru Darren Burgess, he is worth every cent. Execution and decision-making will be imperative, though. Geelong will punish turnovers, and the Power have to take their chances in front of goal as they did against the Pies.