Round 11 AFL Preview

Friday
North Melbourne vs Richmond @ Marvel Stadium - 19:50

This match will see the Kangaroos run out, for the first time, with a new coach at the helm of the team and it will be really interesting to see how the players come together in these new circumstances. Richmond had a comfortable win over the Bombers last round, and without four of their most important players, have moved up the ladder to now be in fourth place.
Some interesting areas to watch during this match will be: Will Ben Cunnington get off the chain, as he has done in the past against the Tiger midfield? How will the Kangaroos curtail the great form the Richmond smalls have been in, and who will match up with Tiger Tom Lynch?
While the venue and less injuries are in the Roos favour, ladder position and form are definitely in the Tiger's favour, but I do think this will be a tightly run race.
Richmond by 11

Saturday
Collingwood vs Fremantle @ The MCG - 13:45

At the MCG on Saturday the Fremantle Dockers will get the chance to see "where they are at", as they will be coming up against a Collingwood team that is rightfully in second place on the ladder and, after their exciting after the siren win last round, the team should be feeling good coming into this contest. For the Pies, they had a real scare last weekend and were lucky to come away with the win and, if it wasn't for the great efforts of Brodie Grundy, who led their midfield to a 49 - 38 clearance win, the result could have easily been different.
The last four matches have seen Collingwood come away with the win and, back home at the MCG, the Pies should be able to take care of business once again.
Collingwood by 29

GWS Giants vs Gold Coast @ Sydney Showgrounds - 13:45

Back from their trip to Melbourne last weekend, the Giants will be hosting the Suns at home and will be looking to catch the league-leading Cats and Magpies. For the Suns, while their season hasn't included many wins, their crop of recent draftees are showing that they belong in the AFL and will, if they stay on the Gold Coast, lead to a brighter future for the Suns. However, for this week, they come up against another formidable team in the GWS Giants down in Sydney.
After drop-punting their MCG Boogeyman through for a goal last weekend, the Giants will have too much strength across each line for the Suns, especially now that the GWS tall-forwards are starting to click.
GWS Giants by 34

Geelong vs Sydney @ GMHBA Stadium - 16:35

Over the last half a decade, the Swans have had a pretty good record against the Cats, but in more recent times it has been a case of 'the away team wins'. Huh...?
Last round the Swans had a real chance to get a win over Collingwood, while it took the Cats until the last quarter to be able to put the Suns away up on the Gold Coast, but they did get the win and are firmly entrenched at the top of the AFL ladder.
As a side that has a great record against Geelong, even when playing at Geelong, will the Swans be able to chalk up another win over this year's ladder leaders, or will the Ablettless (try saying that five times fast!) Cats continue on their winning way?
I don't normally include any 'in case of... break glass' sections, but if both Dangerfield and Stanley don't come good for this match, you may want to give Sydney the nod.
Geelong by 17

Brisbane vs Hawthorn @ The Gabba - 19:25

The Saturday night fixture finds us up at the Gabba where the Brisbane Lions are taking on Hawthorn. With the Lions back from their 1 point loss to the Dockers in Perth and Hawthorn back from their winning visit to the Apple Isle, Brisbane will have been able to get a less interrupted preparation in for this match. How much help this will be against an in-form Hawks outfit is the big question to be answered when looking to make your selection for this game. Will the Lions have any luck in their efforts to contain the Hawk's Gunston, who had six goals last week, and will the Hawks be able to keep the Lion midfield in check? With ex-Hawk Hodge looking to be back for this match, it should be a pretty entertaining game to watch if you find yourself with some time free on Saturday night.
Lions by 15

Melbourne vs Adelaide @ TIO Stadium - 19:40

While Adelaide would currently be playing the better football, Melbourne is improving and will be hoping to have a player or two back for this matchup in Darwin. With both teams having a loss at home last round, they will be wanting to balance out the ledger up in the NT where if it gets below 25c people get out a jumper to wear; well, my aunty does...
The midfield for both of these teams is their strength and they will be looking to win the 'between the arcs' contest and get the ball forward lots. Once the ball gets inside those forward 50 arcs, the Crows have more firepower to convert them into goals along with a solid back-six to restrict their Demon opponents.
With an expected top of 31c on the day, which team will end up sweating the sweat of victory?
Adelaide by 16

Sunday
St. Kilda vs Port Adelaide @ Jiangwan, Shanghai - 12:40

Our first game on Sunday will be coming to you from Shanghai, China, as the improving St Kilda meets an up-and-down Port Power in the most populous country on the planet; if only they loved footy!
While the Power got plenty of the ball last week, they really struggled to make an impact on the scoreboard, ending up with the scoreline of 6 goals and 13 points; if they had've kicked 13 goals and 6 points they would have won the match. Having given the Power players a whack for their lack of accuracy, the Saint's players were no better, ending the game with 9 goals and 14 points. Hopefully both teams will be able to put on a great show for those heading to see what AFL is all about, and Aussies living in Shanghai, of course.
The last time St Kilda beat the Power was back in 2012, and I don't think travelling to China is going to help them break this particular drought this time around.
Port Adelaide by 22

Essendon vs Carlton @ The MCG - 15:20

In a very important game for both teams, Essendon and Carlton meet at the MCG this coming Sunday afternoon. And while this game will be important for the Carlton Football Club, as no-one wants to be at the bottom of the ladder, it will be even more important for the Bombers to get a win in else they will fall back into a large pack of teams vying to get into the bottom realms of the Top 8. If Essendon is to keep their final's hopes alive they simply have to win this match!
Interestingly, over the past few years, these two clubs have pretty much split their matches and in 2014 they even had a draw. While the Bombers may be favourites for this match, I just think the Blues could be this week's "Upset Of The Round" team.
Carlton by 8

West Coast vs Western Bulldogs @ Optus Stadium - 17:20

The round finds the Bulldogs travelling west, where they will meet the Eagles at Optus Stadium on Sunday evening.
The result of the last four matches between these two teams has seen the Eagles come away with four wins. Before that, the results usually went the way of the home team. The Eagle will be putting plans to try and curtail the might of the Doggies midfield, while in Footscray, the Bulldogs will be doing similar to reduce the impact of the Eagle's forwards, both big and small.
If this game was being played at Marvel Stadium I would give the Doggies a real chance, but on the open expanses of Optus Stadium, I think the Eagles will be able to counter the Bulldog's inside dominance and win at either end.
West Coast by 13

P.S. Don't forget that next week is the start of a three-week run, where only six matches will be played in rounds 12, 13 & 14.

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