Where and when: Giants Stadium, Sunday August 18, 3.20pm AEST
TV, radio and online: Click here for broadcast guide
What it means for GWS: Last week's loss to Hawthorn all but ended the Giants' top four hopes, but they must beat the Dogs to ensure they're a chance to host an elimination final.
What it means for the Bulldogs: Sitting outside the top eight the Dogs simply can't lose any of their final two games if they hope to sneak into September.
The stat: Star Giant Toby Greene had 20 contested possessions against the Hawks last week and played almost a lone hand in the midfield at times. If he doesn't get more support inside this week, the hungry Dogs could have too many onball options for the home side.
The match-up: Toby Greene v Josh Dunkley
Two of the game's brightest young stars could go head to head in the midfield and both are in sublime form, so the duel will be a cracker. Greene (rated No.202 overall in the Official AFL Player Ratings) and Dunkley (No.41) both relish the hard stuff and are outstanding around stoppages, but they'll also look to get forward when they can to help their teams on the scoreboard.
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It’s a big week for: Shane Mumford
The veteran struggled against Jon Ceglar last week and comes up against the young and athletic Tim English on Sunday. If Mumford gets hurt around the ground the Giants will struggle to win the midfield battle.
Big call: Tagger Matt de Boer will return from injury and lock onto Doggies ball magnet Jackson Macrae, keeping him to less than 20 possessions for the first time since round 13 last year.
Prediction: Bulldogs by 8 points
From Land of the Giants
Sincere thanks to the 11,741 hardy souls who braved utterly miserable conditions on Friday night. You turned up, and we didn’t.
The attendance was just about the only positive on a bad night for the club. We got a bigger crowd than the Dockers game (which was in perfect weather), and one consistent with the turnout when the Saints came to play. We seem to have a really solid base of support in Canberra. Pity we showed them no respect by not even trying.
You can’t blame the injuries, either. We appear to have learned nothing after being defeated by the Hawks back in Round 8. The team we fielded that day was close to full strength, but the players were singing from the same hymn sheet – in touch at half time, then blown away without a fight. Clarkson must have seen us coming.
This sort of really bad performance is happening too often to be a coincidence. it happened last year and now again this year. It suggests to me some sort of underlying team weakness that is brutally exposed under pressure.
The storm on Friday night was one thing, but there’s another one on the horizon, and this is one of those perfect storms. Expectations, injuries, list management, contract negotiations, and perhaps coaching efficacy all seem to be coming together this week. The word “implosion” comes to mind.
I was going to say we’ve always hit back hard the following week after a bad loss, but this time we have a problem. The Bulldogs destroyed Essendon last night and looked like the premiership team of 2016, so we’re going to find out a lot about ourselves on Sunday. It doesn’t matter who takes the field and there’s probably not much point speculating on team changes because we all saw what happened this week with Himmelberg, Finlayson and Hopper. This week will be all about hunger and attitude, not who’s playing.
As for the Bulldogs, they have to win to have any chance of making the eight and will relish returning to the scene of their PF triumph. They probably believe they even have a chance of replicating 2016 if they can manage to pinch a finals spot.
At least we know what’s coming. Batten down the hatches and prepare for a torrid afternoon.
It's time for everyone at GWS to dig really deep.
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