ROUND 11 in the AFL this week sees the first of three bye-weeks, with only six games being played per weekend until round 14.
Luckily, this week sees terrific games right across the board with finals implications riding on almost every match.
Can the Magpies finally beat a team inside the top eight? Will Melbourne break its incredible hoodoo at Etihad Stadium? Can North Melbourne prove to the AFL that it’s finally for real? In Round 11, we’re about to find out.
This season has had plenty of twists and turns, and at the midway point of the season even teams as low as 14th will still believe they have a shot at playing in September.
Teams with the bye in round 11:
Friday, June 12th, 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide – $1.92 (-13.5)
Geelong – $1.92 (+13.5)
The first game of the round sees Port Adelaide hosting Geelong in a clash that is a must win for both teams.
Port have strung back-to-back wins for the first time in well over a month after sweeping the Bulldogs aside last week with a blistering last quarter that was reminiscent of their 2014 form.
Geelong is fresh off an 11-goal mauling of Essendon and will be full of confidence, but cannot afford to expect the same level of competition in this match.
The Cats welcome back Rhys Stanley into the line-up with last week’s debutant Michael Luxford the man to make way.
The Power has made only one change with Karl Amon succumbing to a calf injury with Sam Colquhoun taking his place.
It looms as an interesting battle with both teams sitting a game and percentage outside the eight. Neither team can afford to lose, which will make it a compelling contest.
The Power should have too much class around the middle though, with the Cats too reliant on too few in their on-ball brigade.
Tip: Port Adelaide to win $1.48 via William Hill
Exotic: Robbie Gray to have 30 or more disposals – $2.90 via Sportsbet
Suns vs. Dockers
Saturday, June 13th, 1:40pm, Metricon Stadium
Gold Coast – $1.91 (+45.5)
Fremantle – $1.91 (-45.5)
Two teams on opposite ends of the ladder kick off Saturday’s round 11 action, with the Gold Coast Suns hosting the league leading Dockers at Metricon Stadium.
The Gold Coast Suns are in free-fall, and will be looking to avoid the fifth straight week of a loss by 50 points or more.
The Dockers are looking to bounce back after their shock loss to Richmond last week – their first of the season. The Suns present the perfect opportunity for the 9-1 Freo to get their names back on the winners list.
Prized off-season recruit Nick Malceski makes his way back into the Suns’ side, along with key forward Charlie Dixon. Steven May and Greg Broughton are the men to make way.
Impressive young defender Alex Pearce and dashing half back Tendai Mezungu have been named in the Dockers’ side, with Paul Duffield and Michael Johnson out of the team.
It is hard to see any conceivable way where the Suns are able to be competitive in this match, with the Dockers keen to atone and the Suns missing too many key players.
Tip: Fremantle to win -45.5 $1.91 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Lachie Neale to get 35 or more disposals $8.50 via Sportsbet
Eagles vs. Bombers
Saturday, June 13th, 4:35pm, Domain Stadium
West Coast – $1.91 (-37.5)
Essendon- $1.91 (+37.5)
Domain Stadium is the venue for the clash between the Dons and the Eagles, with the Western Australian powerhouse looking to atone after a poor showing in Tasmania, while the Bombers just need to show some kind of fight after embarrassing themselves last week against Geelong.
The Eagles, despite their loss last week to the Kangaroos, are sitting in third position with the second best percentage in the AFL, and can move one game clear inside the top four with a victory on Saturday.
Essendon are in dire need of a win if they are to remain in the hunt for a finals berth. Their form in the last fortnight has been nothing short of woeful and will need to turn it around quickly if they are to present any kind challenge to the Eagles.
Essendon welcome back captain Jobe Watson and hand a debut to former Giant Shaun Edwards. Courtenay Dempsey and Tom Bellchambers have both been omitted.
Jack Darling and Xavier Ellis make their way back into the Eagles line up to bolster and already ominous attack, with Fraser McInnes and Jackson Nelson making way for the talented pair.
These two typically play out epic matches, with two of the last three matches being decided by a goal or less, but it is hard to see the Dons matching it with the Eagles over in Perth given how poorly they have played and how well the Eagles have been travelling.
Tip: Eagles to win -37.5 $1.91 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Most disposals group A – Matt Priddis $3.25 via William Hill
Kangaroos vs. Swans
Saturday, June 13th, 7:20pm, Etihad Stadium
North Melbourne – $1.92 (+14.5)
Sydney – $1.92 (-14.5)
A rematch of last year’s preliminary final rounds out the three-game Saturday, with the Roos hosting the Swans at Etihad Stadium.
North Melbourne have been up and down all season, but a quality win against the top four West Coast Eagles in Tasmania last week has the Roos believing in September again.
It is just business as usual for the second placed Swans, whose form has been nothing short of sparkling, with six wins on the trot.
Neither team has made a change this week.
This match looms as a great encounter, with the Kangaroos’ great form at Etihad counteracted by Sydney’s terrific run of wins.
The match should be a tight tussle right up until the final siren, but expect Sydney to come out on top.
Tip: Sydney to win $1.45 via William Hill
Exotic: Most marks group A – Lachie Hansen $3.70 via William Hill
Magpies vs. Giants
Sunday, May 14th, 1.10pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Collingwood – $1.92 (-10.5)
GWS – $1.92 (+10.5)
Fourth vs. fifth kicks off the first of two Sunday games this week with Collingwood hosting the Giants at the MCG.
The Pies are flying after their stirring come from behind victory over the Roos and their thorough dismantling of the Demons on Queen’s Birthday Monday last week, and currently sit inside the top four with a superior percentage to their opponents this week.
GWS made up for their aberration against the Bulldogs a fortnight ago, brushing aside the Brisbane Lions by five goals at Spotless Stadium last week.
The Magpies have included Taylor Adams and Jarrod Witts on an extended bench, with no omissions named at this stage.
Nick Haynes and Zac Williams make their way into the extended squad for GWS, with no outs named.
This is set to be the game of the round with two teams hungry to entrench themselves within the top four.
Both teams play a similar style of team-first football, with emphasis on the selfless acts, but it is the Giants who have the polish required to put teams away once the game opens up.
Expect the Giants to win in an arm wrestle.
Tip:GWS $2.45 via William Hill
Exotic:First goal scorer – Travis Cloke $7 via Sportsbet
Saints vs. Demons
Sunday, May 14th, 4:40pm, Etihad Stadium
St Kilda – $1.91 (-3.5)
Melbourne – $1.91 (+3.5)
The shortened round 11 concludes on Sunday afternoon with the Saints hosting the Demons at Etihad Stadium in what promises to be an engaging encounter.
St Kilda are coming in off the back of a disappointing yet expected loss to the Hawks, but have shown glimpses of great form throughout the season, as highlighted a fortnight ago in their come from behind victory over the Lions away from home.
The Demons have lost two in a row but were far from disgraced last Monday against the Pies, fighting gallantly to the final siren. If it were not for a seven goal haul to Collingwood forward Travis Cloke the Dees may have been able to snatch victory.
Three omissions for the Saints with Adam Schneider, Tom Hickey and Jack Sinclair all making way for Sam Gilbert, Luke Dunstan and Maverick Weller.
Four changes for the Dees’ side with Colin Garland, Aaron Vandenberg both suffering injuries, while Matt Jones and Ben Newton have been omitted. Dom Tyson, Jack Grimes, Dean Terlich and Billy Stretch are the four players set to take their place in the Melbourne 22.
It is hard to predict how this one will finish with the erratic nature of both sides this season, but it has been Melbourne over the course of the season so far who have proven to be able to sustain good football for longer periods and should have enough class here to come out victorious.
Tip: Melbourne to win $2.00 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal scorer – Jesse Hogan $9 via Sportsbet
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