The first question to be answered in Round 8 is how effective the Western Bulldogs will prove.
In this disrupted season the ability of the teams to perform has varied from week-to-week but none more so than with the Bulldogs.
The long ago first round opened with the Bullies producing a dismal showing to lose by 52 points to Collingwood.
This was followed by a 39-point defeat at the hands of St Kilda before a surprise 24-point win over Greater Western Sydney and a 28-point victory over Sydney.
Then the Bulldogs downed North Melbourne by 49 points before suffering a humiliating 52-point drubbing at the hands of Carlton.
But the Bulldogs kept their finals hopes alive with 42-point success against Essendon last week to put them into ninth place on the ladder only out of the eight on percentages.
The most impressive part of that performance was the display by young Tim English, who was a dominant force in the ruck and around the ground while Cody Weightman made a memorable debut with a superb mark and first kick goal.
Another pleasing effort came from Mitch Wallis, who showed much of his old sparkle.
Now the Bulldogs meet the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium on Thursday night in a clash that is likely to have an important bearing on whether the sides reach the play-offs.
The seventh-placed Suns were untroubled by the Giants as they won by 32 points last week.
Once again Hugh Greenwood and David Swallow were prolific kick winners while Izak Rankine, showed considerable flair in attack.
Although playing only his second game Rankine contributed with an “Eddie Betts type of style” as he dazzled his rival defenders with some freakish moves.
However, if the Bulldogs play to their their full potential they should gather the points.
There will be a re-play of last year’s grand final when the Giants meet Richmond at Giants Stadium on Friday night.
Now in fourth place on the ladder the Tigers are motoring along nicely while for some inexplicable reason the 13th placed Giants have slumped and are really struggling.
While the score will not be as one sided as the last time they met Richmond should again be triumphant.
The top three clubs – Port Adelaide, Brisbane and Collingwood – each have matches they should win but are not forgone conclusions the way results are going.
Power, which scraped home against Carlton by three points with an after-the-siren goal by Robbie Gray, take on St Kilda at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night; Brisbane is up against Melbourne at Metricon on Sunday night and the Pies meet West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It all makes for an intriguing round.
Last Week Tipped: 4
2020 Total: 30
Western Bulldogs by 12pts
Richmond by 28pts
Carlton by 26pts
Sydney by 10pts
Port Adelaide by 30pts
Essendon by 17pts
Collingwood by 5pts
Brisbane by 16pts
Geelong by 18pts