It was another nightmare round for tipsters last weekend with a few upsets taking place. Here’s what we learned:
1. The Eagles must start to win games otherwise coach John Worsfold is heading for the sack
2. Sydney’s Daniel Hannebery is favourite to win this year’s Rising Star award
3. Essendon can match it with the best
4. Hawthorn’s Lance Franklin needs to learn to tackle, not bump
5. …there’s a Richmond theme song?
Round 11 Matches:
St.Kilda v Richmond: Tonight- 7.40pm at Etihad Stadium
Richmond are fresh off their first win of the season after defeating Port Adelaide by 47 points last week. It was a magnificent effort by the Tigers and they thoroughly deserved to sing that famous theme song with such gusto. Jack Riewoldt continues his great form at full-forward, Trent Cotchin is starting to get some consistency into his game and the second efforts of young ruckman Angus Graham should certainly encourage coach Damien Hardwick. The Saints weren’t totally convincing against Adelaide last week, but a seven-goal last quarter put the game beyond doubt. Leigh Montagna played the game of his life, gathering 38 touches and kicking five goals in a best-on-ground performance.
Richmond will be full of confidence after last week’s win and will try to give ruckman Troy Simmonds a great send off in his last game. But St. Kilda will make a statement tonight and should win by a comfortable margin.
Carlton v Melbourne: Saturday- 2.10pm at MCG
At the end of 2007, these two teams were the laughing stock of the AFL. They found themselves dwindling at the bottom of the ladder and seemed to cop hidings almost every week. This Saturday, two of the youngest and most exciting teams in the competition face off in what should be an attacking and fast-paced game.
The Demons tried hard against the Cats last week, but the fact of the matter is Geelong were able to beat them in a very low gear. One thing that would’ve impressed them was the form of Jordan Gysberts, who gathered 26 possessions in his first game in the AFL. The Blues did enough to defeat a disappointing West Coast outfit by 29 points last Sunday. Bryce Gibbs literally did as he wished across half-back collecting a career-high 45 possessions on his way to a best-on-ground performance.
This is a massive danger game for the Blues. Melbourne have recalled talented youngsters Jack Trengove and Tom Scully for the match, which should draw a decent crowd to the MCG. But Carlton are being led superbly by Chris Judd and should be too classy for the Demons.
Adelaide v Fremantle: Saturday- 3.10pm at AAMI Stadium
The surprise packet of 2010 ventures across to South Australia to take on the biggest disappointment of 2010.
The Crows stuck with St.Kilda for three quarters last week but were blown away in the final term. There were some positives though, with Kurt Tippett taking some strong contested marks and Richard Douglas continuing his good form. Fremantle were super over the Kangaroos last weekend and now sit second on the ladder with an 8-2 record. David Mundy continued his great start to the season and the much maligned Kepler Bradley is slowly cementing his spot in the side.
Despite where these two teams are on the ladder, this game will be closer than what many people expect. Adelaide will be hoping to farewell club champion Tyson Edwards in style, while the Dockers will want to improve their reputation as a top four chance. Even though the game is in Adelaide, Fremantle should win in a tight one.
North Melbourne v Brisbane: Saturday- 7.10pm at Etihad Stadium
Two teams vying for a finals spot go one-on-one on this Saturday night. The loser will be placed under enormous scrutiny and could spend the rest of the season in limbo.
North Melbourne would’ve been bitterly disappointed with their performance against Fremantle last week. Coach Brad Scott even apologised to his members because his players’ efforts were so insipid. Brisbane also got back on the winners list with an inspring win against Collingwood up at the Gabba.
This is a very difficult game to pick a winner. Brisbane’s backline is riddled by injuries but they regain the ultimate enigma in Jared Brennan from an ankle injury. North Melbourne have included the classy Daniel Wells in their side but they lose their most important player in Drew Petrie to a foot injury. This is the game where Roo defenders Nathan Grima and Scott Thompson must step up and shutdown Fevola and Brown. If they do, North Melbourne will win.
West Coast v Geelong: Saturday- 7.40pm at Subiaco Oval
A team full of confidence makes the long trip across the Nullarbor to play a team that seems to have lost all confidence in themselves and in their coach.
Geelong can’t do anything wrong at the moment. They are in menacing form but at the same time seem to be cruising. The scary thing is though that they are still missing Joel Corey, Brad Ottens, Max Rooke and Matthew Scarlett from their best 22. West Coast will be scrutinised heavily over the next month as pressure continues to mount on their coach. Their loss against Carlton last week was woeful and the decision by John Worsfold to let Bryce Gibbs gather 45 touches in the backline was flummoxing. The Eagles play Geelong, Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs in the next month. It could get ugly.
Pretty simple – Geelong to win very easily.
Sydney v Essendon: Sunday- 1.10pm at SCG
Sydney have lost their last three games and their injury count continues to rise. They were very close to victory last weekend against Hawthorn, falling short by two points. One positive to come out of the game though was the performance of Daniel Hannebery. The ex-Xavier College boy was a clear best-on-ground as he gathered 26 possessions and kicked three goals. Conversely, Essendon are one of the most in form teams in the competition. They have won their last three games, which includes victories over St. Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, and their young players are leading the way.
The Swans normally have a clear home ground advantage at the SCG but surprisingly, the Bombers have won their last two games against Sydney at the ground in question. With Sydney decimated by injury, Essendon should win in an upset.
Hawthorn v Port Adelaide: Sunday- 2.10pm at MCG
Hawthorn have finally hit some form and have won their last three games. It’s fair to say they were a little lucky to win against an inaccurate Sydney last week, but as the saying goes, a win’s a win. While he probably wasn’t the best player on the ground, Cyril Rioli was instrumental when the game needed to be won, deep in the final term. Port Adelaide are a rabble – they have lost their last three games and are low on confidence. A loss against the Tigers last week certainly wouldn’t have helped the situation and coach Mark Williams is once again under serious pressure.
The Hawks will be without star full-forward Lance Franklin for this game due to another unnecessary suspension but they are slowly and steadily finding the form that saw them win a premiership back in 2008. Hawthorn to win comfortably.
Collingwood v Western Bulldogs: Sunday- 4.40pm at Etihad Stadium
What a way to finish the round with a crucial match between two teams that have had far from smooth-sailing over the last few weeks.
Collingwood have lost last their last two games to Geelong and Brisbane and since their super win against Fremantle, the Magpies have struggled to kick winning scores. This is because they have failed to find that spread of goalkickers that made them such a dangerous side to play in the first eight weeks of the season. The Bulldogs were upset by Essendon last Friday night as they continued their inconsistent start to the season. Players such as Shaun Higgins and Ryan Griffen uncharacteristically turned the ball over, despite the fact that Barry Hall threatened all night and finished with five goals.
The Dogs have had to deal with a very messy fallout from the whole Jason Akermanis fiasco. In the end, the club-imposed suspension is probably a good thing for both player and club and it will give the Bulldogs a little tranquillity for the next few weeks.
This game is very tough to predict. Both teams have had their fair share of issues and have looked far from convincing in past weeks. However, Collingwood are coming off a trip from Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs should come out with a point to prove to the football community.
Ben’s Tip Tally: 47