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AFL 2020 Round 10 Review, Round 11 Preview: Who wants to be a tipster?

In the space of a week, Round 10 has come and gone. There have been important wins and cruel losses, along with some impactful injuries.


Port Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.12 (42)

The Dogs came to Adelaide Oval looking to dethrone the ladder leaders and instead were left to rue missed opportunities. After a slow start, the Power romped away to another important win.

A young star and an emerging talent do the damage

When the Bulldogs got off to a hot start courtesy of a consistent effort in the midfield, the Power had to respond. They have a plethora of experienced talent, but it was some unsung heroes who did the damage.

Zak Butters continues to improve, becoming a vital cog and a key pillar when the tide is against Port Adelaide. His third quarter was immense, and inspired his side to victory with 24 touches. Peter Ladhams was just as crucial; he out-pointed Tim English in the ruck battle and also proved handy around the ground with a major. While Ollie Wines fought hard against the excellent Tom Liberatore, it was Butters and Ladhams who receive the most praise for their awesome efforts.

Verdict: The Power are doing everything right, even against adversity. The Bulldogs are challenging good teams, but lack the polish up forward to post winning totals.

Richmond 12.10 (82) defeated Brisbane 4.17 (41)

In a highly-billed match-up against two top teams, the reigning premiers did all the talking in a dominant victory.

They’re back

It was their 15th straight win against the Lions, and perhaps one of their more important ones.

What made the win so special was the buffet of performances. Damien Hardwick got everything – Liam Baker and Derek Eggmolesse-Smith are fast becoming defensive generals alongside Jayden Short, Shai Bolton and Marlion Pickett have revamped Richmond’s pacey midfield and the experienced core of Tom Lynch, Jack Riewoldt and Dustin Martin were all pivotal to the win.

It may have been a different night, but it was the same Dusty (Image by Dave Hunt/ AAP)

It’s an ominous sign for the rest of the competition, who will now have to fight for the cup against a side who have benefited from a hefty injury list.

Verdict: Brisbane were woeful in front of goal and highlighted their forward problems. Richmond are fast rising to join West Coast as flag favourites.

Geelong 13.12 (90) defeated North Melbourne 9.3 (57)

The Cats needed to rebound from their heart-breaking loss out west, and did so in style. North Melbourne fought hard, but just couldn’t convert when it mattered.

Crafty smalls do the damage

There are many Geelong stars out, meaning the heavy lifting was left to younger and lesser-known names.

Chris Scott would have been eyeing off who would step up, and one name on the list is Gryan Miers. He was electric up forward, snagging four majors and lighting up the match when it threatened to slip into a boring kick-to-kick encounter. Cam Guthrie also wreaked havoc with his dash and streak through the contest, as he and Sam Menegola provided pristine service for the ever-green Tom Hawkins.

With Ben Brown now under an injury cloud, the Roos will be longing for another win to get their season back on track.

Verdict: Geelong are firming as a top four team once again. North Melbourne are struggling, but have the makings of a strong team.

Gryan Miers destroyed the Roos with four goals (Image by Darren England/ AAP)

Adelaide 5.7 (37) defeated by Melbourne 13.10 (88)

For much of this match Adelaide had the ascendancy; only missed opportunities saw them behind. It all hurt them vitally when Melbourne clicked into gear and shrugged off the likely wooden spooners for a big win.

A new-look forward set-up is the way forward, for both teams

Melbourne were faced with a choice when Tom McDonald was forced out due to injury.

The change freed up the Dees – Luke Jackson and Sam Weideman combined for an athletic and potent forward duo that yielded goals and created space. Jake Melksham (2 goals) benefited, as Melbourne’s midfield (led by the brilliant Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney) found targets all night.

The return of Darcy Fogarty for the Crows also changed their dynamic. They may have struggled to convert their chances, but Fogarty was not the issue. If they are to snag a win, Fogarty must be given space and opportunity to kick a bag.

Verdict: The Crows are in real danger in the coming weeks – just play the kids. Melbourne needed this confidence boost – what next?

Collingwood 6.14 (50) defeated Sydney 6.5 (41)

It was a scrubby match. A real tough one. Skills were at a low as the dewy Gabba saw Collingwood right their shoddy kicking efficiency to post an important win.

Son of a gun breaks it open

The Pies were down and out. Two consecutive losses to the WA teams meant Collingwood were out of the eight and in serious need of four points. Six straight points in the first term only highlighted their forward problems, 2.10 at the main break didn’t help it.

Sydney coach John Longmire defended all night, and his brave troops nearly snatched an upset. But when it counted, Taylor Adams stood up, alongside the dashing play of John Noble and the consistent efforts of Brayden Maynard.

When it counted, it was Josh Daicos who performed. He had a terrific night, and capped it off with a goal of the year contender in the dying moments – his banana sent the small crowd crazy and sealed a tough win.

Debutant Trey Ruscoe snaps amidst a great Brisbane sunset (Collingwood FC)

Verdict: Sydney have some tough kids who will return the Swans to finals action in not too long. Collingwood face an uphill battle, but these kind of wins are so vital.

Gold Coast 11.8 (74) defeated by St Kilda 12.6 (78)

It was a cracker. In the first meeting of the King twins, it was Max’s team who got the chocolates due to a final surge.

Are we seeing the start of an exciting rivalry?

It has the making for these two clubs. Both have exciting prospects and have improved beyond sight from 2019.

This game gave the footy world enough to crow about. Dan Butler continued his All-Australian form with four match-winning goals. Izak Rankine performed in spurts, but his third quarter hanger and two goals were electric and gave the Suns a late chance. Jack Steele is in seriously good form, and was helped wonderfully by Jack Billings and Hunter Clark. Both of the King twins had their moments, showing us all how talented these two teams are.

Verdict: The Suns are definitely a chance of finals next season. St Kilda, if they keep winning, could snag a double chance. From there – who knows?

Essendon 8.7 (55) defeated by GWS 8.11 (59)

The Giants can consider themselves lucky. A late Callan Ward free kick and goal gave the Giants a come-back win that could mean so much in their 2020 campaign.

The Giants were lucky to escape Essendon’s clutches (GWS FC)

Two strong midfields, one exciting ruckman

The two teams have plenty of midfield weapons, and all were on full display.

With Michael Hurley, Jordan Ridley and Adam Saad up to their usual tricks down back, Essendon shot out of the blocks in the second quarter to gain a great lead. Zach Merrett, Dylan Shiel and Andrew McGrath all gave the Bombers plenty of bounce from the middle, and fought well against a strong GWS contingent led by Tim Taranto (32 disposals), Stephen Coniglio and Jacob Hopper.

It may have been a tough loss, but Essendon fans can take solace in the prospect that is Sam Draper. He smacked Shane Mumford in the ruck, working hard all over the ground and slotting a great goal. Their ruck prayers may have been answered – Draper is a generational talent.

Verdict: The Giants didn’t deserve this – it’s a wake-up call. Essendon have no luck, but have plenty of talent.


Saturday 4.35PM

Adelaide Oval

Port Adelaide v Richmond

It’s a top four clash at the Adelaide Oval. The Power have been the top team all year – can they make a statement with a win over the reigning premiers?

A battle of explosive youngsters and daring half-backs

The two teams differ in how they go about playing footy, but they both share certain qualities that make them so good. Both Richmond and Port have great young prospects; it’ll be exciting to watch Zak Butters and Connor Rozee come up against Shai Bolton and Sydney Stack.

These top four sides also have an aggressive half-back line that is willing to take risks to set up goals. The likes of Liam Baker, Darcy Byrne-Jones, Karl Amon and Derek Eggmolesse-Smith are all in terrific form, so they should create a fast-paced game off either arc. With Noah Balta and Tom Jonas also producing plenty of intercept marks, this should be a cracker.

Charlie Dixon and his Power will need to be at their best today (Image by Dave Hunt/ AAP)

Tip: Who knows what to expect. The Power need to be clean and efficient – will dare or experience trump? I’ll go the Tigers, just. Richmond by 7.

Saturday 7.40PM

The Gabba

Brisbane v Western Bulldogs

Brisbane have a great run at their home fortress in the coming weeks. But to get off to a good start, they must rebound and put away the plucky Dogs.

Smaller sides and a revamped forward line

Both teams have made some big changes. Brisbane had to respond after a horrible effort against the Tigers where their young talls struggled badly. Chris Fagan has responded, dropping three talls and bringing in the experience of Grant Birchall, Daniel McStay and Daniel Rich. It’s the right move.

The Bulldogs could’ve upset the Power last week if they had a more efficient forward line. Josh Bruce is out of form, and may not kick a goal if he lines up on Harris Andrews. To combat this, the Dogs welcome back Aaron Naughton and Bailey Dale – this should help their attacking group in the coming weeks.

Tip: Brisbane should bounce back, although the Dogs have a great team in. It may take a few weeks for Naughton to get going. Lions by 20.

Bailey Smith and his Dogs will need to be cleaner up forward (Image by Sam Wundke/ AAP)

Sunday 3.35PM

Optus Stadium

West Coast v Carlton

The Eagles are in the middle of a great run, and must fend off a frustrated Carlton out west.

Weitering’s big test

There has been a lot of hype surrounding former number one draft pick Jacob Weitering in 2020. He has had a superb season so far, crushing tall forwards and taking many intercept marks. But if he is to romp to All-Australian selection, he must prove himself against the best tall forwards in the league.

Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling are two of the best. Kennedy is in sparkling form, and Weitering should be given first crack at him ahead of Liam Jones. While his midfielders face a tough task against the best on-ball brigade in the league, Weitering will have to be at his best to shut down Kennedy and help his Blues to a win.

Tip: Carlton should give a great fight, but the Eagles are too classy. West Coast by 23.

Sunday 6.10PM

Adelaide Oval

Melbourne v North Melbourne

Originally scheduled to be down in Tasmania, this clash has been relocated to Adelaide. It’ll suit Melbourne, who have been able to rest in South Australia all week.

A Shinboner effort is needed

There are reasons for both sides to be positive.

Melbourne have turned a corner in the past month and have unleashed some young key players who have made a difference. North Melbourne have fought through a tough patch, and now have Majak Daw back in the fold. But the Roos will need to match Melbourne’s intensity in the middle if they are to win.

Led by Todd Goldstein, the Roos are one of the best clearance teams in the league. They’ll need to win this stat against a Melbourne side boasting an in-form Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney and Christian Petracca. If the Dees can win the clearances, they should give their improving forwards enough chance to win this one.

Tip: North Melbourne are on the up, but the circumstances may prove too much. Demons by 15.

Monday 6.10PM

The Gabba

St Kilda v Geelong

The rivalry is back on between these sides, as they are both coming off wins.

A real test for the Saints’ forwards

The main headline around St Kilda this year is their improved attacking six. Dan Butler is in All-Australian form, Max King has been terrific and their myriad of medium-sized goalkickers are all firing alongside their midfielders. If they are to beat the Cats, they need to be at their best against a stingy defence.

Dan Butler has been everywhere for the Saints – can he continue his form? (Image by Dave Hunt/ AAP)

Up the other end, Dougal Howard will have his hands full guarding Tom Hawkins. There are so many intriguing battles all over the field.

Tip: St Kilda could definitely win this. It’s a 50/50. But something tells me experience will prevail. Cats by 13.

Monday 8.40PM

Optus Stadium

Fremantle v Hawthorn

This game pits two interesting sides against each other. Both are coming off big wins and are desperate to consolidate.

A massive centre battle

If Nat Fyfe is returned to his slot in the middle, the midfield will be stacked full of Brownlow Medallists and seasoned players. With David Mundy, Andrew Brayshaw and Michael Walters all dangerous, Fremantle will be confident they can match it with Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O’Meara and James Worpel. The Hawks were contested ball beasts against Carlton – they’ll have to recreate that effort if they are to grind past the Dockers.

Tip: Who knows. This depends on who gives the most energy and pressure around the ball. Hawthorn are always a chance, but the home crowd may push the Dockers home. Freo by 11.

Tuesday 6.35PM

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide v Collingwood

The Crows desperately need to get off the board, and a win against Collingwood would delight their disappointed fans.

Struggling midfields and forwards need to show something

The Pies may have gotten through against the Swans, but it wasn’t pretty. If they are to return to the top spots of the ladder in 2020, they need to figure out their forward line and add some grunt to their midfield.

Adelaide will give them an opportunity – their defence lacks pace. The onus is on Jaidyn Stephenson to open up the forward 50 and slot some important goals. Taylor Adams will bring plenty of fire against Matt Crouch, allowing Brodie Grundy and Jamie Elliott to get into the game.

After battling Max Gawn last week, Reilly O’Brien now faces Grundy, lucky guy (MFC)

Tip: This could be an upset, but the Pies should be good enough to work for a second consecutive win. Sorry Adelaide. Collingwood by 27.

Wednesday 7.10PM

Metricon Stadium

Gold Coast v Essendon

This round is a hard one to tip, and this match is one of the worst for pundits.

Forward dangers and a big midfield challenge

The main directive Gold Coast will discuss this week is how to stop Zach Merrett. He should receive some attention due to his scintillating last few games. If he can win the clearances and get it to their forwards, it’s game over.

On the other hand, the Suns will be confident if the footy gets delivered often down to Ben King, Alex Sexton and Izak Rankine. They are all dangerous and able to kick a winning score. They’ll entice Essendon to play attacking – could we get another nailbiter?

Tip: Couldn’t tip with confidence here. Gold Coast are capable of anything, but maybe the Bombers have more to play for after their unlucky loss last week. Bombers by 2 (or a draw, I’m at that stage of the season now).

Byes: GWS and Sydney.

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