Where and When: Saturday, April 10 at 7:25pm, MCG
Last time they met: The GIANTS and Magpies have made a habit of closely-fought battles in big matches over the past few years. The two teams met in this corresponding round last year - for the first time since the epic 2019 preliminary final. This clash in round four, 2020 at GIANTS Stadium was another heart-stopper with the GIANTS taking a two-point victory. It was a see-sawing affair all night with the Magpies holding the edge at the beginning of the fourth term before goals to Josh Kelly and Jeremy Cameron sealed the win for the GIANTS. Lachie Whitfield starred while Tom Green was immense in his second AFL game and secured the round’s Rising Star nomination.
TV and Online: Saturday night’s clash will be shown live on Fox Footy and Kayo Sports from 7pm as well as on 7mate in NSW and the ACT.
What it means for the GIANTS: It’s crunch time for the GIANTS who are still looking to secure their first win of the season. A strong start during last week’s clash against the Demons had the GIANTS looking like they were back to their best before successive injuries to captain Stephen Coniglio and key leaders Phil Davis and Matt de Boer meant the young side ran out of legs. It will be a tough test for a next-gen GIANTS side this weekend who will be led on-field by vice-captain Toby Greene - who’s been in strong goal-kicking form - for the foreseeable future.
Where’s the opposition at: The Magpies have been up and down in 2021 with one win on the board, courtesy of a good performance against Carlton in round two. They were pipped by the Bulldogs in round one and suffered heartbreak at the hands of the Lions in round three when a Zac Bailey goal after the siren secured the visitors a one-point victory. Calls are coming for the ‘Pies to play the kids with the club already confirming the debut of Beau McCreery (who was a medical sub but never got on the field) for this week.
The number: 30. As the GIANTS venture to the MCG for the first time since the 2019 Grand Final, former ‘Pie Lachlan Keeffe is the GIANT with the most experience at the venue, having played 30 matches at the iconic ground in his time at both clubs. Based off last week’s team - and there’s likely to be further changes - at least seven GIANTS have never played at the venue in their careers.
In the mix: There are at least three forced changes coming for the GIANTS with Coniglio (ankle), Davis (calf) and de Boer (hamstring) ruled out. Coach Leon Cameron has already flagged potentially playing a debutant, with 2020 draftees Conor Stone (pick 15) named as an emergency last week and Ryan Angwin (pick 18) developing nicely after stacking on eight kilograms of muscle since arriving at the club. The coach could also look to add some height to his forward line with Jake Riccardi ready to return after an ankle injury, recruit Jesse Hogan available for selection - but likely to need some match practice under his belt - and Jeremy Finlayson building some form at Reserves level.