The Pies and Giants played off in an epic Preliminary Final last year, hopefully this match is just as good. Getty

GWS Giants (12th) vs Collingwood Magpies (2nd) Friday 26 June 7.50pm @Giants Stadium

This shapes as a blockbuster matchup with stars all over the park and is an important clash for the Giants as they look to avoid losing three matches in a row when they take on the red-hot Pies.

The Giants have come back from the COVID break with consecutive losses and are playing well below the standard they have set over the past few years.

They have been outplayed by the North Melbourne Kangaroos and Western Bulldogs the last two weeks and, with only a 17-round season, they need to get their game going quickly.

With the Giants missing several of their key midfielders, the Bulldogs were able to get on top of them around the ball, but there is some good news at the Giants selection table.

Star trio Josh Kelly, Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield have all been passed fit to play and are named to start for the Giants, along with last year’s top draft pick Tom Green and ruckman Shane Mumford.

The four outs for the Giants are Daniel Lloyd, Jye Caldwell, Sam Jacobs and Zac Langdon who have all been omitted.

The Magpies look one of the teams to beat early in the season; their veterans in Steele Sidebottom and Scott Pendlebury look as good as ever while Jeremy Howe has been superb down back.

They’ll be looking for some revenge on the Giants after they upset them in last year’s preliminary final so expect the Pies to bring a bit of emotion into this one.

A major strength of the Pies has been their starts to games; they have been dominant, outscoring their opponents 90-20 in first quarters over the first three rounds.

With the shorter quarters this season, the starts to games have become all the more important with less time for the opposition to mount a comeback, so the Giants will have to be on from the opening bounce because we know the Magpies will be.

The only change for the Pies is Mason Cox coming in for Darcy Cameron.

Key matchups

Josh Kelly vs Scott Pendlebury

Both sides love getting the ball in the hands of their two silky smooth operators. Kelly missed last week through some calf tightness but his inclusion is massive for a Giants side that was lacking polish. Pendlebury has been brilliant so far in 2020 and it would be no surprise to see him cop a tag from Matt de Boer.

Shane Mumford vs Brodie Grundy

Mumford has been chosen ahead of Sam Jacobs, most likely because of his physicality – and what a challenge in his first game of the season. He comes up against the best ruckman in the competition and will have to use every bit of his aggression to win that contest. Grundy has been dominant so far in 2020 and with Mumford perhaps lacking some match fitness, he could run him ragged around the ground.

Full teams:

  Giants Magpies
    
FB:Heath ShawAidan CorrPhil Davis
 Jack CrispJordan RougheadJeremy Howe
    
HB:Zac WilliamsSam TaylorNick Haynes
 Brayden MaynardDarcy MooreJohn Noble
    
C:Harry PerrymanCallan WardLachie Whitfield
 Josh DaicosScott Pendlebury (C)Will Hoskin-Elliott
    
HF:Josh KellyToby GreeneMatt de Boer
 Jaidyn StepehsonBrody MihochekCallum L. Brown
    
FF:Brent DanielsJeremy CameronJeremy Finlayson
 Jordan De GoeyMason CoxJamie Elliott
    
RR:Shane MumfordJacob HopperStephen Coniglio (C)
 Brodie GrundyTaylor AdamsSteele Sidebottom
    
Int:Jackson HatelyLachlan AshTom Green
 Harry Himmelberg  
   
Int:Chris MayneRupert WillsTyler Brown
 Tom Phillips  

For more sport:

Canberra Weekly Real Estate
Canberra Weekly Real Estate