Welcome to the Round 11 AFL preview. Round 11 is the first of three consecutive bye rounds that sees six clubs sit out each week. This week we have Brisbane, Fremantle, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, Richmond and the Western Bulldogs not competing. It isn’t the ideal structure for most supporters as it means a lopsided ladder and mayhem with our fantasy teams. Although the concept does seem to suit the television networks and AFL sponsors, which basically means it is here to stay.
Round 10 was highlighted by another comprehensive Sydney performance, which has seen them shorten to $6.00 for the premiership. After an opening two months of patchy performances, it appears they are just beginning to hit top form. What makes them an even more interesting prospect is the imminent debut of Kurt Tippett. If he can produce his 2012 preliminary final form on a more regular basis at his new club, the Swans are well and truly headed for a late September finish.
Essendon vs Carlton is the obvious attraction of Round 11 and should attract a crowd of 80,000 plus. Other games of interest include Adelaide vs Sydney and Gold Coast vs North Melbourne.
Essendon @ the -2.5 line
ESSENDON ($1.83) vs CARLTON ($1.98)
AT THE MCG, FRIDAY 07/06, 19:50
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Carlton 24.12 (156) defeated Essendon 8.12 (60) at the MCG, R21, 2012
Line: Essendon -2.5, Carlton +2.5
Is there anything better than a Friday night blockbuster between two traditional rivals? What gives this game even more value is that the Blues are now only one win behind Essendon on the ladder, making this a genuine eight point game. An Essendon loss actually has large ramifications to the ladder, potentially creating daylight between the top 4 and the rest.
The Bombers were comprehensively beaten by the Swan’s in conditions that suited the reigning premier. The Swan’s won the contested possessions 182-166 and clearances 71-51. While the scoreboard didn’t reflect it, Essendon will be pleased to have still entered their forward 50 61 times, 5 more than the Swans. It proves that the game plan was still effective in parts but the constant pressure of the Swans and wet conditions kept their disposal efficiency to only 57.6%. Courtenay Dempsey has been cleared of any fractures or punctures to the lung after a sickening hit on the weekend, but will still be given this week off to recover. Michael Hurley and Ben Howlett have been named while Joe Daniher will make his long awaited debut.
The Blues are close to full strength after an easy win against GWS. Andrew Carrazzo is the main name still missing after being given every chance to get up for Friday night. There are also rumours that Andrew Walker is struggling with a hamstring, while Chris Judd didn’t look 100% at training. The Blues have won 6 of the last 7 games, but those victories have included Adelaide, Melbourne, Port, Brisbane and GWS, all games you would have expected them to win. It is exaggerated form if you ask me.
Again, I think the Bombers are great odds. They have consistently been competitive against the top teams, despite the scoreboard of the Sydney game not exactly indicating that.
ESSENDON TO WIN BY 17 POINTS
GWS ($21.00) vs GEELONG ($1.001)
AT SKODA STADIUM, SATURDAY 08/06, 13:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Geelong 19.12 (126) defeated GWS 9.7 (61) at Simonds, R10, 2012
Line: GWS +88.5, Geelong -88.5
These two teams will compete in the inaugural Tribute to Farmers game at Skoka Stadium. Will that see an extra few thousand Western Sydney folk roll through the gates? Probably not, but let’s hope the crowd can at least outnumber the tumble weeds.
Another week, another GWS flogging. They are in serious need of more senior players. They share the bottom two in most statistical areas with Melbourne and their next win seems a long way off. So what does Kevin Sheedy and Leon Cameron do? It would be difficult to keep a group of 18 and 19 year olds motivated during such trying times. The shining light has certainly been Jeremy Cameron and his 27 goals. It would be an amazing effort if he can kick 50+ goals for the season in these circumstances. He is a star.
The Cats had a minor scare on their big night of lights at Simonds Stadium on Saturday. The Suns were genuinely competitive before Geelong kicked 9 goals in the last quarter to win by 52 points. Expect a raft of changes from the Cats as they look to manage their players for a run to secure a top 2 spot in the second half of the season.
GEELONG TO WIN BY 80 POINTS
ADELAIDE ($2.50) vs SYDNEY ($1.53)
AT AAMI STADIUM, SATURDAY 08/06, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Sydney 11.5 (71) defeated Adelaide 5.12 (42) at AAMI, QF, 2012
Line: Adelaide +10.5, Sydney -10.5
This is another tough game for the Crows at home after they couldn’t quite do enough to get up against the Dockers. If last year’s Qualifying Final is anything to judge upon, the Crows have a lot of improvement to cover.
At this point of time, it is difficult what to make of Adelaide. They certainly aren’t the team they were last year and have a relatively tough draw home. They really need to sneak a couple of games like these to cement a spot in the top 8. One thing that has carried on into 2013 for the Crows is the form of Patrick Dangerfield. He is averaging 23 touches and 1.6 goals a game, having impact in the centre and on the scoreboard when he goes forward.
I’ve already said quite a bit about the Swans in this write up, but they aren’t hard to like. They are continuously disciplined and play to their advantages. They just don’t appear to have any of their stars out of form, with the likes of Jack, McVeigh, Hannebery, Malceski and Josh Kennedy on All Australian pace.
The Swans form is too hard to ignore. I doubt it will blow out, but Sydney should get home comfortably.
SYDNEY TO WIN BY 18 POINTS
GOLD COAST ($3.20) vs NORTH MELBOURNE ($1.35)
AT METRICON STADIUM, SATURDAY 08/06, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: North 11.21 (87) defeated Gold Coast 12.8 (80) at Metricon, R12, 2012
Line: Gold Coast -18.5, North +18.5
The Gold Coast Suns are arguably the most improved side in the competition. After competitive outings against league leaders Hawthorn and Geelong, the proof is in the pudding. The one thing that I have noticed most is that they are now running both ways just as hard. Unfortunately, their injury list is beginning to get lengthy. Brandon Matera could miss the rest of the season with a high ankle strain after an electrifying start against Geelong. Charlie Dixon will finally return from injury but is underdone, while Karmichael Hunt and Jared Brennan are still missing. Nathan Bock will stay in the NEAFL despite kicking 4 goals on his return.
North Melbourne finally put its good form into points with a convincing victory against the Saints. The differentials in the first quarter were astonishing, winning the total possessions 132-51 and having 16 scoring shots to 1. St Kilda didn’t even have 16 scoring shots for the game. The Kangaroos continue to be blessed by a short injury list and have players like Liam Anthony, Levi Greenwood, Jordan Gysberts and Majak Daw (in this week) pushing for selection in the VFL. They are in a good position.
At full strength, I would have liked Gold Coasts chances. North Melbourne is healthier and in good form, it is hard to see them losing.
NORTH MELBOURNE TO WIN BY 22 POINTS
ST KILDA ($3.40) vs WEST COAST ($1.32)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SUNDAY 09/06, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: West Coast 18.13 (121) defeated St Kilda 13.13 (91) at Patersons, R8, 2012
Line: St Kilda + 20.5, West Coast -20.5
Are these two teams the most disappointing of 2013? The Saints would have been optimistic of a finals berth at the start of the season while the Eagles were the tip of many during the preseason to win the premiership, including myself. They now sit 16th and 10th on the ladder respectively.
The Saints are finding it difficult to win a hard ball. They are bottom 3 in the competition for both contested possessions and clearances. For a team that prided itself on those areas during the recent successful seasons, it would be a bitter pill to swallow for any fanatical St Kilda supporter. Unfortunately Lenny Hayes is still 2-3 weeks away and there isn’t anyone of note pushing for selection from Sandringham.
West Coast is unrecognisable at the moment. But the stats don’t really suggest anything overly concerning. Most of the key performance indicators were tight on Monday night and the Eagles actually beat the Tigers for inside 50s. Where stats don’t tell the true story is for intensity and work rate, two areas in which West Coast are really struggling. Their forward pressure has dropped off dramatically and even though they are still getting the ball in the forward 50, they just aren’t keeping it there or converting.
Surely West Coast can beat the lowly St Kilda? They “should” win comfortably.
WEST COAST TO WIN BY 28 POINTS
MELBOURNE ($16.00) vs COLLINGWOOD ($1.002)
AT THE MCG, MONDAY 10/06, 15:15
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Collingwood 19.15 (129) defeated Melbourne 13.9 (87) at the MCG, R11, 2012
Line: Melbourne +75.5, Collingwood -75.5
This Queens Birthday game was created to be a big drawing rivalry. The crowds generally do turn up, but with the exception of the tie three years ago in 2010, the match has rarely lived up to that “blockbuster” billing. This year we have the distraction of Mark Neeld’s future. After surviving the monthly board meeting on Monday, there are plenty in the industry saying this is his final chance. Let’s hope that isn’t true as it is unjustifiable to think that any improvement can occur over a week in Melbourne’s situation.
If things couldn’t get worse for the Dees, it has with James Frawley succumbing to a hamstring injury. There is just no readymade defender to replace the quality of him at any club, let alone Melbourne. Max Gawn and Jimmy Toumpas are in line to return after dominating the VFL.
Travis Cloke is a certainty to return for the Pies and there could be a number out with the temptation of restings looming large. They do have the Bulldogs next week before the bye with a six day break and that could be the more appropriate time to rest some heavy legs.
COLLINGWOOD TO WIN BY 86 POINTS
I’ve been a passionate supporter and follower of AFL for as long as I can remember. Having been born into a family with deep football history and tradition on both sides, you can say it runs through my blood. I’ve got a keen interest in the stats and analysis of the game, which helped me finish in the top 100 of fantasy competitions DreamTeam and Supercoach last year. While my own local football career was cut short due to injury at 22, it has created an opportunity for me to frequently watch and build a deep knowledge of the sport at its highest level. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and views throughout the season.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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