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Aussie Rules: Melbourne looking to bounce back

Melbourne will be keen to return to winning ways when they take on Port Adelaide on Sunday while Hawthorn entertain the West Coast Eagles and Essendon play the Gold Coast Suns.

Melbourne looked to be back on track following a poor run of form, only to then slip to a 18-point defeat against fellow flag hopefuls Geelong last week.

However all is not lost and the Demons remain in the thick of the battle to win the minor premiership. Victory against the Power is a must though or the doubters will be out in force once again.

Hawthorn will continue the rebuild under first-year coach Sam Mitchell when they take on a West Coast side that have picked up just two wins this season. The Eagles are playing for pride and will not be about to roll over.

In the final clash of the day Essendon take on the Suns, who are in desperate need of a win to keep their top-eight hopes alive.

How easy or hard that will be will depend on which Bombers side turns up. Essendon have pulled off some big wins in the last few weeks.

Just the three games to wrap up the weekend then but there is plenty at stake. Let’s take a closer look at each game.

What: Hawthorn v West Coast Eagles
Where: MCG, Melbourne
When: 13:10 (AEST) Sunday 17th July 2022
How to watch: 7mate, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Hawthorn 2/13, Eagles 9/2

Hawthorn’s preparations for the game have been hit by the news that star forward Chad Wingard has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Wingard has made just 10 appearances in 2022 after struggling with hamstring, calf and ankle injuries. After the 28-year-old tweaked his hamstring in training the Hawks have decided to get him ready for next season.

There is more bad news ahead of the Eagles game as star forward Jack Gunston will sit out due to family reasons. However young gun Will Day returns from suspension to take his place in the side.

The Hawks snapped a five-game losing streak when beating Adelaide by 32 points last week and will be keen to go back-to-back against the Eagles.

West Coast will be without the injured Nic Naitanui and Jack Petruccelle but Alex Witherden, Callum Jamieson, Jai Culley, Jamie Cripps and Xavier O'Neill have all been included.

What: Melbourne v Port Adelaide
Where: TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs
When: 15:20 (AEST) Sunday 17th July 2022
How to watch: Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Melbourne 27/50, Port Adelaide 6/4

Melbourne will be without star midfielder Clayton Oliver when they attempt to bounce back to winning ways against Port Adelaide in Alice Springs.

Oliver picked up a thumb injury during the loss to Geelong and has needed surgery to fix the problem. It is not serious but the Demons will not be taking any risks this week.

The loss of the champion mid comes at a bad time as the Demons have lost four of the last six games. Adam Tomlinson, Jake Melksham and Trent Rivers have all been included by coach Simon Goodwin.

Port Adelaide have recovered well after losing the opening five games of the season. They are just one win away from the eight and are sure to be a tough test for Melbourne.

They ran Fremantle close in the West and then thrashed GWS last week so are looking in good touch.

However they have suffered a setback ahead of the game as coach Ken Hinkley has entered Health and Safety protocols and has been forced to stay home in Adelaide.

What: Essendon v Gold Coast Suns
Where: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
When: 16:40 (AEST) Sunday 17th July 2022
How to watch: Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Essendon 20/21, Gold Coast 87/100

Essendon members have been left scratching their heads as the Bombers have picked up some incredible results in the last few weeks.

They had two wins all season until a few weeks ago. They have now won three out of the last four when seeing off St Kilda, Sydney Swans and the Brisbane Lions.

The Bombers are still capable of poor results though and did lose to West Coast Eagles. However there has been a huge improvement and they will be looking to continue a strong end to the AFL campaign. Mason Redman returns to the fold.

The Gold Coast are still on a high after the after-the-siren win against the Tigers last week that keeps them just outside of the top eight. They are right in the mix to play finals and another win is the order of the day here.

Coach Stuart Dew is boosted by the return of key duo Izak Rankine and Oleg Markov.

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