Greetings viewers back in town last week to some degree with seven winners for the round for a commendable (but not all that outstanding) tally of 61 winners for the year.
Fancy not picking the Bulldogs though with Hawthorn looking a little off the boil after unconvincingly defeating the Demons the week before AND with a few out. Iâ€™ve said it before and Iâ€™ll say it again DOH. Round 11 looks like a tough one to get a break or catch up onâ€¦a so called â€˜obviousâ€™ round. Normally these rounds have an upset or two. Richmond over Adelaide could be one of these and can Carlton get up over the Power in Adelaide?
North Melbourne vs. Geelong Telstra Dome
Geelong kick off the round at their favourite venue for tonightâ€™s match and welcome back key forwards Paul Chapman and (possibly) Cameron Mooney for their clash against the Roos. North Melbourne however, go into this match without two of their key forwards in Nathan Thompson and Corey Jones. Geelong were already favourites before these selections were announced so this tips the balance even further. With the Cats seeming to kick into gear somewhat against the Blues, expect them to continue on their rehabilitation with a solid victory.
Geelong by 43 points.
Richmond vs. Adelaide MCG
For me this is the toughest one to pick of the round. Plenty will be keen on the Tigers here as it has become obvious that Adelaide are starting to struggle in recent weeks but letâ€™s not forget that Richmond were absolutely shocking last week and most damningly, have not defeated a top eight side all season. What gives the Tigers a genuine chance is the fact that Brett Burton has copped a two game suspension and it was Burton who kept Adelaide in the game despite some truly horrendous kicking at times. Richmond will be most relieved that the Birdman wonâ€™t be there on Saturday. However, the Tigers will be without their captain for a couple of weeks with a knee injury so this balances things out a little. Whenever you assess Richmondâ€™s chances in a game you always need to consider their propensity for the turn over. If the Tigers open up a bakery it wonâ€™t be 22 Blackbirds baked in a pie, but a narrow Adelaide victory.
Adelaide by 11 points.
West Coast vs. Sydney Subiaco
West Coast were put firmly back in their box by a rampaging Collingwood last week and wonâ€™t find life any easier against a Sydney side that is averaging over a hundred points a week without power forward Barry Hall. West Coast have made eleventeen changes again and have a lengthy injury list that really puts them on the back foot. The Sydney backline has quality runners in Kennelly, Malceski and recruit of the year Marty Mattner. The Swans are the genuine article and gain the double over their arch rivals who are light years away from their 2008 best, let alone their 2006 best.
Sydney by 38 points.
Essendon vs. Hawthorn Telstra Dome
An out of sorts Hawthorn will be played back into form on the back of a huge haul from Buddy Franklin this week. Franklin has made a habit of tormenting the Essendon backline and could repeat his nine goal match of early last season at a venue where large scores are the norm. Essendon showed plenty in Adelaide last week but as Melbourne proved against the Saints struggling teams often find it difficult to back up a good performance the next week.
Hawthorn by 69 points.
Brisbane vs. Fremantle Gabba
Brisbane will win their third straight match at home against a side that while playing good football at times, have simply forgotten how to win. This Dockers unit might play a good quarter or two but they appear to be satisfied with this and quite often do not have the legs to stop an opposition run on. This week Peter Bell and Mark Johnson have been included so not exactly an injection of pace there. The Dockers have too many older legs in the side and the Lion midfield will get right on top and provide plenty of opportunities to the twin towers up front. The return of the king is not quite on yet, but they are getting closer.
Brisbane by 45 points.
St Kilda vs. Western Bulldogs Telstra Dome
At 5-5 with a point to prove, St Kilda front the in form Doggies at the Dome in what will be the match of the round for mine. St Kilda simply have to start showing something against the good sides. If they can win this one they can get a bit of a run on but another loss to a contender would have many pundits reaching for the red pen to rule out their credentials as a legitimate threat for the flag. I believe theyâ€™ll be reaching for that red pen as I donâ€™t believe St Kilda have enough hard working players in order to combat the Dogs who are this seasonâ€™s clearance kings. Too much falls to Hayes and Ball for the Sainters while it is all hands on deck for the Dogs who are at the moment the leagueâ€™s form side. The Doggies bark will be just as bad as their bite and the Saints will spend another week outside the eight looking in.
Western Bulldogs by 21 points.
Port vs. Carlton AAMI Stadium
Finals start early for these two clubs but donâ€™t be too sucked in by Port, Carlton are a real chance in this match. Last season Carlton smashed the Power in Melbourne but during the tanking season didnâ€™t put up much of a fight at AAMI in the return match. Port are the better side but they have a few problems at the moment with Chad Cornes nowhere near his best due to a hand injury and Shaun Burgoyne out suspended for a few more weeks. A positive for Port though is that skipper Warren Tredrea is back in form and has been quite mobile in recent matches. His ability to take contested marks brings the smaller forwards in Gray and Motlop right into the game. Carlton welcome back Jarrod Waite to stiffen the backline and the Fev could be in for a big match against an undersized Toby Thurstans. While Carlton do have the capacity to play good football quite often they canâ€™t sustain it for long enough and this could eventuate again at AAMI this week. There will be plenty of talent on show in this match, which I believe will be an entertaining one. I reckon itâ€™s Port, but only just.
Port by 10 points.
Melbourne vs. Collingwood
In the last couple of weeks Collingwood have been white hot while Melbourne have been, well Melbourne. Traditionally, Melbourne has played well in the Queenâ€™s birthday match but last year they went in to this fixture on the back of winning form. This year they go in after losing Robertson for the season (and remember that Neitz is also out as well) and putting in a real stinker to be belted by a side that sits outside of the top eight. Quite rightly the Demons are starting to play the youngsters (like the highly promising Adem Yze ha ha) but this wonâ€™t get them within Bullâ€™s roar (er..do Bulls actually roar?) of the hot pies get your hot pies here with their army of in form small forwards. Collingwood will get their revenge for last yearâ€™s match by handing out a right royal thumping.
Collingwood by 97 points.