Last week of the AFL produced the upset of the season with the Blues beating the Cats in Melbourne – outdoing the previous week’s effort when the Pies dusted Geelong at the MCG. This week Friday night again features ladder-leaders North Melbourne hosting Richmond at Blundstone Arena in Hobart; the first time Friday night footy has been played in the Apple Isle.
On Saturday, five matches will take place across the country with the Hawks playing the Demons at the MCG, Carlton hosting Brisbane at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium and the Cats up against round two conquerors the Giants in the comfort of their own home; Geelong’s Simonds Stadium. The final two matches on Saturday will be played outside of Victoria with the Suns at home to the Swans on the Gold Coast and the Dockers playing the Bombers at Domain Stadium in Perth.
On Sunday, Collingwood will look to get their season back on track against the Power at the MCG, while the Bulldogs play host to the West Coast, who are yet to win in Victoria this year. The final match of round 11 sees the Crows start as heavy favourites against the Saints at Adelaide Oval.
Friday, June 3, 7:50 pm (AEST) @ Blundstone Arena
Tasmania hosts Friday night footy for the first time and the locals should turn out in force for the Kangaroos’ home game against the Tigers. The Kangaroos suffered their first loss of the season last week against a very clinical Swans outfit but still sit alone at the peak of the AFL ladder. North’s start to the season has been highly impressive and it has even surprised a lot of experts that they sit in first position after 10 rounds.
The Tigers had a disastrous start to the season following their round one victory over Carlton; they then managed to inexplicably lose their next seven matches against opponents coach Damien Hardwick would have expected them to overcome. However, their form over the last month has been terrific – since the injection of confidence following their win over the Swans by one point, the Tigers have posted three consecutive wins and will fancy their chances against North.
Mason Wood comes into the team for the Kangaroos while the Tigers unchanged after posting three straight wins.
Saturday, June 4, 1:45 pm (AEST) @ MCG
Despite winning the last three flags, the Hawks have had a pretty tame start to the year and appear to be flying under the radar compared to the likes of Sydney, North and Geelong. Last week Hawthorn disposed of a brave Brisbane Lions by 48 points in the Queensland capital. That win signified the Hawks’ seventh from 10 matches to sit in seventh position on the AFL ladder and perfectly positioned for a stretch of wins to get themselves within striking distance of the top four.
The Demons have been one of the most improved teams in the competition. Since posting back-to-back wins for the first time in five years, the Dees just seem to be going from strength to strength. Last week’s loss to the Power in Adelaide was their fifth of the year, equalling their amount of wins in 2016 to sit just outside the top eight.
Daniel Howe and Kade Stewart are in for the Hawks while the Demons have included Jack Trengove, Chris Dawes, Clayton Oliver, Sam Frost and Aaron Vandenberg.
Saturday, June 4, 2:10 pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
Carlton has been a remarkably different team to the one that has shown up over the last few years. Last week they produced a huge breakthrough in beating Geelong in what was probably the upset of the season and the Cats’ second consecutive loss to teams they were expected to comfortably dispose of. The Blues can’t afford to be complacent against the woeful Lions after their epic upset of Geelong because victory will put them in contention to break into the top eight.
Last week the Lions were more than brave against the defending premiers, Hawthorn at the Gabba. While they were eventually beaten by 48 points, the young Brisbane side stuck with one of the flag favourites for the majority of the match and it was only late in the fourth quarter that the Hawks were able to kick away and post a margin that probably didn’t reflect the closeness of the contest.
Nick Graham and Ciaran Byrne are the ins for the Blues while the Lions' big addition for this match is in the form skipper Tom Rockliff.
Saturday, June 4, 4:35 pm (AEST) @ Simmonds Stadium, Geelong
For consecutive weeks now, the Cats have been upset by underdogs Collingwood and Carlton but both of those matches were played away from Geelong. Despite those hiccups against inferior opponents, Geelong is the equal second favourite to secure its first premiership since 2011. In what shapes as the match of the round, the Cats have been installed as the early favourites to post their first win over GWS this season after they fell in a heap in the teams’ last meeting in round two.
The Giants are without question, the story of the year as far as the AFL is concerned. They have come from a team that regularly copped 100+ point floggings for a few seasons, to a team that is now one of the competition’s genuine flag contenders. The Giants sit in fourth position on the ladder and victory over Geelong will reaffirm their status as a premiership force after last week’s loss to the Crows in Adelaide.
On the back of two losses, Geelong has added Lincoln McCarthy, Daniel Menzel and Tom Ruggles. GWS' two new faces are Phil Davis and Matt Buntine.
Saturday, June 4, 7:25 pm (AEST) @ Metricon Stadium
After an extremely promising start to the year that featured three consecutive wins, the Gold Coast club has fallen in a heap to regularly lose matches by whopping margins, including a 120-point loss to Geelong back in April. Last week wasn’t much better when the Suns travelled west to Perth to take on the Eagles at Domain Stadium; they were beaten, once again, by more than 70 points but in a positive sign for the club they do have more troops back from injury including skipper Gary Ablett.
Last week the Swans were able to do what no other AFL club has been able to do in 2016 – beat the previously undefeated North Melbourne Kangaroos. Led by the brilliant Buddy Franklin, Sydney was clinical in its 26-point win with their star forward kicking three goals.
The Suns have made mass changes, drafting in Kade Kolodjashnij, Callum Ah Chee, Matt Rosa, Alex Sexton, Touk Miller and Jesse Joyce to their squad. Sydney is unchanged after last week's victory over the ladder-leading Kangaroos.
Saturday, June 4, 7:40 pm (AEST) @ Domain Stadium
This match could potentially decide which team collects the wooden spoon at the end of the year. The Dockers sit in stone cold last position with zero wins and twice as many losses as they suffered last season when they clinched the minor premiership. Last week against St Kilda, the Dockers improved slightly upon previous weeks but the 34-point loss was their 10th from as many games in 2016; a very worrying sign for coach Ross Lyon, who has been accused of putting the cue in the rack this year.
If Freo is to register only one win this year, you’d think it would have to be against the extremely undermanned and understrength Bombers in Perth. Essendon has been pretty ordinary in 2016, winning just one match against the Demons in Melbourne. Last week they buckled to the Tigers by 38 points.
David Mundy, Darcy Tucker and Michael Apeness have been included for Freo, while the Bombers have added Jackson Merrett, Will Hams and Matthew Leuenberger to their squad.
Sunday, June 5, 1:10 pm (AEST) @ MCG
Collingwood has had an extremely topsy-turvy start to the year, with four wins and six losses from their 10 matches. The highlight from those wins came a fortnight ago when they disposed of the Cats at the MCG. In that match, the Pies blew Geelong off the park with a quarter-time lead of 41 points, and despite the Cats winning the next three quarters, Collingwood still posted a comfortable victory over one of the flag favourites.
Like the Pies, the Power has endured an up and down season but they appear to be back on track after last week’s 45-point win over a much-improved Demons. Port has been afflicted with injury and suspension throughout much of the year but with star midfielder Robbie Gray back on deck, they are a team that can make a statement heading into the finals.
With injuries affecting the Pies, they have called Ben Sinclair, Travis Cloke, Brent Macaffer, Jarrod Witts, Jonathon Marsh and Matthew Goodyear into an extended squad. Port has also named an extended squad, drafting in Logan Austin, Matthew Broadbent, Alipate Carlile and Brendon Ah Chee.
Sunday, June 5, 3:20 pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
The Bulldogs and Eagles are two of the more fancied contenders to take home the 2016 premiership and with a place in the top four potentially on the line; they will be as keen as ever to register victory. The Bulldogs are coming off an important 21-point win over Collingwood that cemented their position inside the top eight. That was the Dogs’ seventh win of the season to have them outside the top four on percentages in sixth place after 10 rounds.
West Coast put their away demons to bed when they beat the Power in Adelaide a fortnight ago but this match shapes as probably even more critical because West Coast is yet to win in Victoria this year. Last week the Eagles were at their ruthless and clinical best against the Suns at Domain Stadium, heaping more misery on the Gold Coast club that went down by 70+ points yet again.
Mitch Honeychurch, Will Minson and Bailey Williams were named in an extended Western Bulldogs squad. West Coast has added Elliot Yeo, Andrew Gaff and Kane Lucas in what will be Josh Hill's 150th match.
Sunday, June 5, 4:40 pm (AEST) @ Adelaide Oval
The Crows made their way back into the top eight after bringing the Giants’ six match unbeaten run to an end at the Adelaide Oval. After that win over GWS, the Crows would be full of confidence considering how the Giants have been travelling. In that match, the irrepressible Eddie Betts staked a claim for goal of the year after an insane piece of skill only Betts would be capable of in the AFL’s Indigenous Round.
St Kilda inflicted Fremantle’s 10th consecutive loss on the weekend and at the same time registered their fifth win of the season. The Saints were actually down heading into the fourth quarter but a late flurry of goals consigned the battling Dockers to yet another loss in what has been a miserable season.
David Mackay, Rory Laird and Matt Crouch have been added to a winning Adelaide side, while the Saints have included Hugh Goddard, Tom Lee, Jack Billings and Jimmy Webster with Sam Fisher absent as a result of a hamstring injury.