Round 11 marks the first of three bye weekends, with six teams taking a week off. Ladder leaders Hawthorn took a break along with top eight teams Fremantle and Richmond. Sydney showed some impressive form, replacing Geelong in second spot who had another inconsistent performance. Gold Coast continues to rise up the ladder, while North Melbourne drop five spots this week.
1. (Last week – 1) Hawthorn Hawks – 9-1
The Hawks won’t want to show any effects of the week off when they face the Blues on Friday night. Carlton will come out firing after its disappointing loss.
2. (3) Sydney Swans – 8-1-2
Every other team in the competition would have taken notice of the demolition Sydney supplied against Adelaide on Saturday. The defending champions couldn’t put a foot wrong, and even fringe players Jesse White and Mitch Morton impressed with three goals each. Sydney head in to the bye entrenched in the top four, having only lost one game.
3. (2) Geelong Cats – 10-1
Much like its win over Gold Coast, Geelong pulled away late for a comfortable victory this week. Coach Chris Scott was disappointed with the performance of his team, which will have to improve when the Cats face better opposition.
4. (4) Fremantle Dockers – 7-1-2
Fremantle will be hoping to cement their spot in the top four when it hosts Brisbane after having this week off.
5. (5) Essendon Bombers – 8-3
Somehow Essendon came from nowhere to win against Carlton on Friday night. Like good teams do, the Bombers did enough at the right time to get over the line, thanks to a clutch goal from Jake Melksham. Essendon face a rapidly improving Gold Coast on Saturday night.
6. (6) Collingwood Magpies – 7-4
Much like Geelong in 2012, Collingwood has blooded a lot of youngsters this season (including seven debutants) but don’t look like the premiership contender it has in recent years. The Magpies did receive a much needed percentage boost against the Demons yesterday though, as they kept themselves well in the top eight.
7. (9) Carlton Blues – 6-5
With Jarrad Waite dominating up forward and a lead of 31 points the Blues looked set for a decisive victory on Friday night. Carlton was stunned by an Essendon fight back, and although it won all the major statistics, it couldn’t hold on to their lead. The loss could mark the end of Carlton’s top four hopes for this season.
8. (10) Richmond Tigers – 6-4
Richmond return from the bye to host Adelaide in round 12. The Tigers will be hoping to continue their form coming off an excellent victory against the Eagles.
9. (8) West Coast Eagles – 6-5
On the AFL ladder four points means everything. In the True Ladder they aren’t as important. West Coast’s skills in its narrow win on Sunday were shocking, and while the club will certainly take the victory, improvement is needed to finish in the top eight this season.
10. (13) Gold Coast Suns – 5-6
The Suns registered possibly the finest win of their short history on Saturday night when they were too good for the Kangaroos. Gold Coast handled the wet conditions better than its opponents and dominated the game after quarter time. The Suns are only one game outside the top eight, and could move even closer if they manage to ground the Bombers in round 12.
11. (11) Adelaide Crows – 5-6
Adelaide will be very keen to forget about its round 11 performance as soon as possible. The 77-point loss was the worst at home since 1994 and was thoroughly out classed by an ominous Sydney. If the Crows want to play finals they must respond against the Tigers on Saturday.
12. (7) North Melbourne Kangaroos – 4-7
While it might be better for North conceding a five-goal lead in the second quarter instead of the fourth, alarm bells will still be ringing at Arden Street. After looking well on top at quarter time, the Roos completely fell off the pace and was smashed by the Suns for the rest of the match. Only the bottom four teams have conceded more points than North Melbourne, and the club need to sort out their defence if they want to push for the finals.
13. (12) Port Adelaide Power – 5-5
The Power will be desperate to arrest their five game losing streak when they face the Giants on Sunday, after having this week off.
14. (14) St Kilda Saints – 2-9
The result was a disaster, but the method wasn’t. The Saints played very well against the Eagles but a costly mistake from Leigh Montagna, and some other errors in the final moments left Saints fans walking away with another loss. After the bye St Kilda play Melbourne, and must win to keep fans on-side.
15. (15) Brisbane Lions – 3-7
Brisbane return after the bye to face an in-form Fremantle in Perth. Lions fans will be hoping they used the week off to improve for the second half of the season.
16. (16) Western Bulldogs – 3-7
The bye came at the wrong time for the Bulldogs after they had won two on the trot. The Western Bulldogs face a tough opponent in Collingwood on Sunday, who is coming off a comfortable victory against Melbourne.
17. (17) Greater Western Sydney – 0-11
The Giants were terrific for three quarters against the Cats, impressing with their enthusiasm and skills. Jeremy Cameron solidified his All-Australian credentials with another four goals. GWS hosts a struggling Port Adelaide this Sunday and an effort like the one showed against Geelong could see it register the first win of the season.
18. (18) Melbourne Demons – 1-10
The scoreboard won’t support Melbourne, but it played the game the right way yesterday. The Demons were hard at the ball and the man, and while their skills were still terrible, the effort was there. Captain Jack Trengrove looked like he was making a step in the right direction, kicking a couple of goals and showing a glimmer of good form.