Port Adelaide’s clash with Richmond headlines a fascinating-looking Round 11 that will see eight matches spread over five days and feature more mid-week football.
St Kilda’s clash with Geelong also looks like a cracker and the Hawks will be out to continue their perfect record at Optus Stadium with another Western Australia win.
Check out all the tips in our Round 11 AFL preview!
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AFL Tipping – Saturday August 8
Port Adelaide v Richmond
Adelaide Oval | 4:35PM (AEST)
Port Adelaide Power: The Power are going well and at 8-2, sit on top of the ladder. But are they really the best side in the competition? Probably not. This is a massive test of Port’s credentials and comes against an in-form, if undermanned Richmond. Zak Butters had a career-high 24 disposals in Port’s 13-point win over the Bulldogs in Round 10, but the Power need a much bigger contribution from Travis Boak and Robbie Gray if they are to topple the Tigers. Ken Hinkley’s side look dangerous in the forward 50, with the likes of Charlie Dixon and Mitch Georgiades giving them great marking power, but the Tigers set up very well defensively. Ruckman Scott Lycett is back in for the Power but utility Justin Westhoff has been dropped.
Richmond Tigers: Super impressed by Damien Hardwick’s side in recent weeks, who are getting better and better despite missing several of their best players. Dustin Martin is in outstanding form, averaging 24.3 disposals and 1.6 goals per game in his last three weeks, while Liam Baker and Noah Balta are catching the eye down back. The Tigers have won three of their past four against the Power, including both clashes last year, in which Tom Lynch kicked a combined nine goals. Josh Caddy is back from a hamstring injury, while Daniel Rioli has been recalled, too. Those two come in for skipper Trent Cotchin (managed) and midfielder Jack Higgins (omitted). The Tigers have now won five of their past six, with the last three wins by 41 points or more. You can’t tip against the reigning premiers in that sort of form, but this should be a beauty.
Brisbane Lions v Western Bulldogs
Gabba | 7:40PM (AEST)
Brisbane Lions: The Lions entered their Round 10 clash with Richmond full of hope but were thrashed by 41 points in somewhat of a reality check for Chris Fagan’s men. Abysmal kicking for goal did not help, with Brisbane finishing on 4.17 (41) for the night. Inaccuracy has been a feature of Brisbane’s play this season and the Lions have a tendency to lose badly, five of their past six defeats being by 27 points or more. Having said all that, the Lions still sit second in the ladder, and should be winning this. Dan McStay is back from suspension and Grant Birchall and Daniel Rich are back in, too. Brisbane has a point to prove and are back on home soil.
Western Bulldogs: The Bulldogs could have beaten ladder leaders Port Adelaide with a little more polish in Round 10. They kicked 2.6 in the final quarter of a 13-point loss and failed to convert when on top during an arm-wrestle in South Australia. Aaron Naughton’s return from an ankle injury is a significant boost and gives the Dogs a much-needed focal point in the forward line. Just three Bulldogs kicked goals in that loss to the Power and Luke Beveridge’s side would benefit from a consistent target inside 50. Josh Dunkley slotted back in against the Power and the Dogs have a good recent record against Brisbane, even if they lost last year’s match. Prior to that, the Bulldogs beat Brisbane five times in a row. This should be relatively close.
AFL Tipping – Sunday August 9
West Coast Eagles vs Carlton Blues
Optus Stadium | 3.35pm (AEST)
West Coast Eagles: Five wins in a row, fresh off a bye and on their home deck … the Eagles look good things here. Things are clicking for the 2018 premiers and key forward Josh Kennedy is at the heart of it. The ex-Carlton big man has booted 15 goals in his past three matches, an impressive feat given the lack of high-scoring matches in 2020 – and the shortened quarters. The Eagles have also won five in a row against the Blues, and even though the last four have been decided by 24 points or less, they should be far too good here. Defender Jeremy McGovern (thumb) and midfielder Jack Redden (quad) could return from injury.
Carlton Blues: The Blues have a habit of playing in spurts in 2020 and it was on full display against Hawthorn in Round 9, as they burst out of the blocks and kicked the first five goals but still lost by 31 points. Carlton had no answers for the Hawks after quarter time and they missed big man Mitch McGovern, who is set to return to the side after a hamstring injury. David Cuningham will not play, though, with a calf issue. Carlton are much-improved under David Teague and could go with West Coast in bursts, but winning this seems beyond them.
Melbourne Demons vs North Melbourne Kangaroos
Adelaide Oval | 6.10pm (AEST)
Melbourne Demons: Don’t be fooled by Melbourne’s 51-point win over Adelaide – it was not as impressive as it sounds. The Demons kicked away late and piled on late goals against the winless Crows but had to scrap for much of the match. That result eased the pressure on coach Simon Goodwin and the draw is kind on him here, offering up a clash against a Kangaroos side who have won just one of their last eight. The influence of star ruckman Max Gawn was quelled against the Crows and he is battling a shoulder complaint, giving Todd Goldstein the edge in the ruck battle. The Demons have a dreadful record against the Kangaroos, losing 18 of their last 19, and simply must win this to keep alive any slim finals hopes.
North Melbourne Kangaroos: North Melbourne’s injury woes just keep coming in 2020, with key forward Ben Brown (knee) joining the likes of Jack Ziebell (hamstring), Ben Cunnington (back), Taylor Garner (hamstring) and Tarryn Thomas (ankle) on the injury list. Brown will not play for a couple of weeks and the Roos look like they are missing too many players to win this. Four of the club’s last seven defeats have been by 14 points or less, though, suggesting Rhyce Shaw’s men can be competitive here. Betting on the Kangaroos to cover the line might be the best option here, as it is very difficult to back the Dees with any confidence.
AFL Tipping – Monday August 10
St Kilda Saints vs Geelong Cats
Gabba | 6.10pm (AEST)
St Kilda Saints: The Saints enter Round 11 sitting second on the ladder with six wins from their last seven matches. Wins against Richmond and Port Adelaide in that run have really stood out, but the other victories have all been expected. This shapes as the real litmus test for Brett Ratten’s side against a battle-hardened Geelong outfit and the result of this should tell us a lot about the club’s hopes in 2020. Jack Billings and Jack Steele were both terrific in a narrow win over Gold Coast in Round 10, while youngster Hunter Clark showed impressive poise in the big moments. Dan Butler’s terrific first season at St Kilda continued, too, the small forward booting four goals in the four-point triumph. This looks a tougher assignment, though, and St Kilda need a bigger contribution from Jade Gresham and Zak Jones in this. The Saints are exciting going forward, but is their defence good enough to stop the Cats?
Geelong Cats: Geelong look like settling back into its old ways – win one week, lose the next. The Cats went more than a year without back-to-back wins before rectifying the perplexing statistic in Round 5, but they have quickly reverted to type. As a result, it is hard to get a read on Geelong, but they do have the experience, know-how and firepower to beat the Saints in this. Cam Guthrie and Sam Menegola are in terrific form at the minute, winning plenty of the ball, and it was pleasing for Cats fans to see Jack Steven win 21 disposals in a routine 33-point win over North Melbourne in Round 10. Tom Hawkins booted another three goals, too, and is enjoying another strong season. This should be close – Geelong might just edge it.
Fremantle Dockers vs Hawthorn Hawks
Optus Stadium | 8.40pm (AEST)
Fremantle Dockers: The Dockers defied a huge injury list to stun Collingwood in Round 9 and head into the bye on the back of a terrific, morale-boosting win. It was Fremantle’s first win in Western Australia since August last year, too, and there could be more good news at the selection table for Dockers fans. Keep an eye on the team news, with James Aish (concussion), Stephen Hill (adductor) and Jesse Hogan (calf) all a chance to return. Michael Walters will miss with a hamstring problem, though, and the Dockers do not have history on their side in this. Fremantle has lost its past six matches to Hawthorn and won just one of the past 13.
Hawthorn Hawks: The footy world had written off Hawthorn after four losses in a row but a stirring come-from-behind win against Carlton has kept the club’s season alive. The Hawks have the wood over Fremantle and the club’s injury list is thinning by the week, even if Shaun Burgoyne could miss this with a tight hamstring. This will be a little tougher, given it is against the Dockers on their home ground, but Hawthorn has a 3-0 record at Optus Stadium. The most impressive element of that statistic? All three wins have been by over five goals. The Hawks clearly like playing at the ground and could just pinch this.
AFL Tipping – Tuesday August 11
Adelaide Crows vs Collingwood Magpies
Adelaide Oval | 6.35pm (AEST)
Adelaide Crows: The Crows have missed good opportunities for a drought-breaking win against Essendon, North Melbourne and Melbourne … and now the fixture starts to get harder. The losing streak of 13 matches is a club record and there is nothing to suggest that will be broken here. Will Hamill (concussion) will be monitored but is likely to miss this clash and Brad Crouch (hamstring) is still two or three matches away, just like Rory Sloane (hand). Adelaide has not beaten Collingwood since 2016 and that run will continue.
Collingwood Magpies: Collingwood are only just going at the moment, following up four defeats in six with a scrappy nine-point win over the Swans in Round 10. The Magpies’ delivery inside 50 was poor all night, as was their kicking for goal, and Adam Treloar (hamstring), Will Hoskin-Elliott (knee) and Isaac Quaynor (leg) all went down with injury. None of that trio will play in this. Collingwood could do with a morale-boosting win and that opportunity presents itself here. Of particular concern for coach Nathan Buckley will be the club’s difficulties forward of centre. The ‘Pies have not kicked more than nine goals in a game since Round 3. Expect that to change here.
AFL Tipping – Wednesday August 12
Gold Coast Suns vs Essendon Bombers
Metricon Stadium | 7.10pm (AEST)
Gold Coast Suns: Stuart Dew must be sick of the sight of St Kilda. The Suns have lost their last four matches to the Saints by four points or less, and another close defeat in Round 10 left them with just one win in six matches. Three of those defeats have been by 17 points or less, though, and there is a very different feel about Gold Coast in 2020. The likes of Brandon Ellis, David Swallow, Hugh Greenwood, Touk Miller and Lachie Weller give them experience in midfield, and excitement machines Izak Rankine and Ben King give footy fans plenty of reasons to watch the Suns. Gold Coast has not beaten Essendon since 2016 but has every chance here, on home soil and against an injury-depleted Bombers.
Essendon Bombers: The Bombers defied their recent form to put in a strong showing against the Giants in Round 10. The three games prior saw Essendon thumped by the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane and victorious, unconvincingly, by three points against winless Adelaide. So when Essendon kicked away against the Giants in the second quarter, it came as a surprise. The Bombers could not hold on when it counted, though, and they do not look like a side capable of playing finals football. This shapes as a must-win clash if Essendon want to finish in the top eight but Zach Merrett needs much support in midfield if the Bombers are to triumph here. Andrew McGrath (18 disposals) and Dylan Shiel (15 disposals) were not as effective as normal against the Giants.