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Aussie Rules: A look ahead to the semi-finals

After an exciting opening week of AFL finals we now move on to week two with Melbourne, Brisbane Lions, Collingwood and Fremantle all battling for a place in the preliminary final.

All four games in the opening week were classics with Geelong and Sydney Swans progressing through to the preliminary final and earning a week off. They are one game away from the grand final.

Collingwood and Melbourne get a second crack after finishing in the top four. Brisbane and Fremantle came through their elimination finals, with both Richmond Tigers and the Western Bulldogs sent packing.

We now have two semi-finals to look forward with Melbourne up against the Brisbane Lions on Friday night while Collingwood will face Fremantle. Both games will be played at the MCG.

Closer to game-day we will take an in-depth look at each team, but for now let’s take an early look ahead to both games and how the four teams are shaping up a few days out.

What: Melbourne v Brisbane Lions
Where: MCG, Melbourne
When: 19:50 (AEST) Friday 9th September 2022
How to watch: 7, Foxtel, Kayo
Odds: Melbourne 7/20, Brisbane 9/4

Melbourne’s form was patchy heading into finals and that continued in the qualification final when they were outplayed by the Sydney Swans.

The Swans ran out convincing 91-69 winners and Melbourne will now have to raise their game significantly if they are to make it through to the prelim and keep alive their hopes of winning back-to-back grand finals.

There is mixed news coming from the treatment room for the Demons. The good news is that Christian Petracca appears to be making good progress after picking up a couple of knocks against Sydney.

Petracca suffered a hairline fracture to his fibula and an injury to his calf. However club doctor Laura Lallenec believes Petracca will be good to go on Friday night.

"Thankfully, he's really settled down. He's done everything right. We've discussed his injury with a specialist and they're really happy that this injury is stable and that he's safe to get out there and play,” she said.

There is more concern over small forward Charlie Spargo who suffered a throat injury after copping a stray elbow and is rated doubtful at this stage. He avoided fractures to his airway thankfully, but there is swelling and the Demons will monitor him throughout the week.

Melbourne have beaten Brisbane comfortably on two occasions this season and are the hot fancies to make it a third and set-up a date with Geelong.

However the Lions can take plenty of confidence from their win over Richmond last week and midfielder Hugh McCluggage says they are fired up and ready to go again.

"Obviously, we've got to look at Melbourne and look at what they've done to us in the past, but the main thing is we bring our energy, and we bring our pressure, it really is what finals footy is all about,” he said.

What: Collingwood v Fremantle
Where: MCG, Melbourne
When: 19:25 (AEST) Saturday 10th September 2022
How to watch: 7, Foxtel, Kayo
Odds: Collingwood 12/25, Fremantle 33/20

Collingwood took Geelong right to the wire in the qualification final but it was the Cats that came out on top in a thrilling game.

The Magpies will be confident of bouncing back against Fremantle at the MCG, but have already been hit by one significant injury blow.

Taylor Adams suffered a complete rupture of his adductor against Geelong and it will be January before he is able to return to training.

Collingwood also have concerns over gun midfielder Jordan De Goey after he damaged his shoulder against Geelong. However the Pies are confident he will be passed fit to play after scans showed no serious damage.

Not many outside of Western Australia are giving the Dockers a chance on Saturday. Travelling to the MCG is a test for sure but it is one they have passed already this season.

Freo caused an upset when snapping Melbourne’s 19-game winning streak at the G and their young guns will be confident of performing on the biggest stage again.

The manner of their victory against the Bulldogs when they fought back from 41 points behind to win, shows that anything is possible with this young side.

It remains to be seen if captain Nat Fyfe will be fit to return but either way the Dockers will be confident of getting the job done without the midfielder, who has battled with injuries all season.

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