Four games to decide the AFL top eight


Round 20

Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne, Ethihad Stadium.

The Bulldogs and North Melbourne go into round 20 with 12 wins each, sitting seventh and eighth, respectively, on the ladder. Crippled by injuries to several key position players, the Dogs will look to rebound from two bruising losses. After a strong start to the season, the Kangaroos are trying to rediscover their winning form heading into September. They can make it three wins on the trot on Saturday.

Round 21

Hawthorn v North Melbourne, MCG.

The Kangaroos could claw their way up a tightly packed top eight with a win over the defending premiers in their only game at the MCG for the 2016 home-and-away season. Hawthorn escaped with a nine-point victory over North in round 13 at Ethihad Stadium.

Round 22

West Coast v Hawthorn, Domain Stadium.

While Hawthorn were too strong for West Coast in the round two rematch of last year’s grand final, the Eagles have proven tough to beat at home. West Coast have struggled to find the form that took them into the 2015 grand final, but a win at home over the high-flying Hawks could kick-start their finals campaign. West Coast beat Hawthorn the last time they met at Subiaco, running away 32-point winners in last year’s qualifying final.

Round 23

West Coast v Adelaide, Adelaide Oval.

Adelaide have gradually emerged as one of the front runners to challenge Hawthorn for the 2016 premiership, with three of their last four games against teams outside the top eight. A win over a West Coast side that’s struggled away from home should be enough to ensure Adelaide move into September in the top four. A fourth-quarter scoring explosion resulted in Adelaide erasing a two-goal deficit to run out 29-point winners in round 12 at Subiaco the last time they met.

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