The majority of last weekend’s results went the way of the favourites in round 11 of the AFL. In a week where the weather wreaked havoc across the eastern seaboard of Australia, the quality of the contests was not heavily afflicted by the conditions. The Suns and Swans played on the Gold Coast on Saturday night and probably dealt with the most heavily-affected environment.
This weekend, the weather will not be a factor with conditions forecast to majorly improve. On Friday night, the under siege and understrength Bombers host the Hawks, who are riding a two game winning streak to reside in fifth spot on the ladder.
Saturday features just the four matches with Port playing the Bulldogs in Adelaide, the Lions hosting the Dockers in Brisbane, the Cats at home to the Kangaroos in what shapes as match of the round and the West Coast Eagles playing Adelaide at Perth’s Domain Stadium.
Three matches fall on Sunday and the pick of those will be the local derby between the GWS Giants and Sydney Swans. Wrapping up round 12 of the competition on Monday afternoon, the AFL has scheduled a Melbourne derby between the Demons and Collingwood to be played at the MCG in what should draw a huge amount of people.
Friday, June 10, 7:50pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
The Bombers have wrestled back last position from last week’s opponents, the Dockers after Freo flogged Essendon in the west. Despite going the first 10 rounds without a win, Fremantle belted the luckless Dons to consolidate their favouritism for the AFL’s dreaded wooden spoon. In a season that has yielded the Bombers just one victory, this week’s task against the three-time reigning champions is not expected to be Essendon’s second victory in 2016.
Hawthorn has posted consecutive wins over the Lions and Demons since their round nine loss to the second-placed Swans. Last week’s win over Melbourne was not as convincing or easy as a lot of UBET customers would have thought; they won by just 18 points (kicking just one more goal than the Demons) and even surrendered the lead in the third quarter before getting the job done.
The Bombers have included James Kelly, Mark Jamar and Mathew Stokes in their extended squad while the Hawks have named Angus Litherland, Will Langford and Marc Pittonet in their team.
Saturday, June 11, 1:10pm (AEST) @ Adelaide Oval
Both the Power and Bulldogs were last start winners but the Bulldogs sit in fourth position on the AFL ladder, while Port is in ninth place – just one win outside of the top eight. Last week Port needed victory to stay in finals contention and their midfield was instrumental in delivering the 67-point thumping of the injury-ravaged Pies. They pretty much led from start to finish, completing the match with 19 goals in the 125 point haul.
The Bulldogs didn’t have their win as easy as the Power’s over Collingwood but they did manage to inflict defeat on the highly fancied West Coast. The Bulldogs led for the majority of the match but only managed to win by a meagre eight points, much to the delight of their fans at Etihad Stadium. This week’s task against the in-form Power will be a huge test of character for Luke Beveridge’s men.
Port is unchanged from last week's win while the Bulldogs have named Mitch Honeychurch in place of the injured Toby McLean in their only change.
Saturday, June 11, 4:35pm (AEST) @ Gabba
Both the Dockers and Lions are well entrenched in the bottom half of the ladder with just two wins between them in the 22 games they have played this season. With just 11 games each to be played this year, both are at very long odds to make the finals. Last week, the Lions lost yet again; this time by 38 points to the in-form Blues in Melbourne with their only win this season coming against Queensland rivals, Gold Coast in round four.
The Dockers lost their first 10 matches of the season; doubling the amount of losses they suffered the previous year when they collected the coveted minor premiership. But last week Freo managed to salvage a hint of respect when they belted the woeful Dons in Perth by 79 points. Despite that win the Dockers still sit in equal last on the ladder with both the Lions and Bombers.
In the 17th v 18th battle, the Lions have included Harris Andrews, Rohan Bewick and Darcy Gardiner in their squad. Freo, fresh from their first win of the year, has named Zac Clarke, Jack Hannath and Tanner Smith.
Saturday, June 11, 7:25pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
The Cats brought a worrying two match losing streak to an end last weekend when they beat their round two conquerors GWS in Geelong. After shock losses to Collingwood and Carlton, the Cats had to win to stay in touch with the top four and they didn’t disappoint the faithful crowd at the Cattery. Daniel Menzel kicked three goals in Geelong’s 10-point win with former Cats forward Stevie Johnson scoring an early contender for goal of the year for the Giants.
Like Geelong, North Melbourne were also last start winners, defeating Richmond by 70 points in the first ever instalment of Friday night footy to be played in Tasmania. Veteran Brent Harvey, playing in his 420th match for the Kangaroos kicked four goals to bring up a milestone 500th career goal. However, playing Geelong away from home will be North’s biggest test of the season.
Tom Hawkins' controversial suspension for striking opens the door for Rhys Stanley to play for Geelong. North has named Aaron Mullett and Todd Goldstein for Majak Daw and Sam Wright.
Saturday, June 11, 7:40pm (AEST) @ Domain Stadium
West Coast suffered yet another loss in Victorian capital on the weekend but they can take plenty of positives out that narrow loss to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium. The week before, the Eagles finally halted their away losing streak in defeating the Power in Adelaide, however they were unable to win in Melbourne – a city the Perth club has not won in since round 16 last season.
Adelaide is one of, if not, the form team in the competition at the moment. Their form at home is irresistible and even away from Adelaide Oval; the Crows have been highly impressive. Their last start 88-point shellacking of St Kilda underlined the premiership potential of this Adelaide outfit.
The Eagles have named Jeremy McGovern to play after last week's loss in Victoria. The Crows have named David Mackay, Scott Thompson in their squad.
Sunday, June 12, 1:10pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
St Kilda’s season had been progressing relatively well but back-to-back losses have seriously harmed its chances of making the finals in 2016. Last week they were humiliated in Adelaide in going down to the Crows by 88 points. While it wasn’t the heaviest loss that has been inflicted in the AFL this year, it was close and Nick Reiwoldt and his men will be extremely keen to atone against one of the surprise packets this year in Carlton.
The Blues have been good in recent week; the complete opposite to the Saints. Last week they pieced together a gutsy 38-point win over the Lions. The week before the win over Brisbane, Carlton produced the upset of the season when they disposed of one of the title favourites, the Cats in Melbourne.
The Saints have rung in mass changes, drafting in Tom Lee, Luke Delaney, Blake Acres, Nathan Wright, Jack Sinclair, Darren Minchington and Lewis Pierce. The Blues have named Liam Sumner, Andrew Phillips and rookie Jack Silvagni in their squad.
Sunday, June 12, 3:20pm (AEST) @ MCG
Richmond is coming off a 70-point flogging to the Kangaroos at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena on the weekend. However, in the Tigers’ favour is the fact they have nine days to lick their wounds and prepare for a battle they are expected to win against the struggling Suns in the comfort of their own backyard – the MCG.
Gold Coast has been one of the most under-performing clubs in the competition after their highly impressive start to the season that yielded them three wins from the first three rounds. Now on a worrying eight game losing streak, Rodney Eade’s chargers have an opportunity to continue their improvement after a much better display against premiership favourites the Swans on the weekend.
Richmond have included Reece Conca, Dylan Grimes, Connor Menadue, Jayden Short and Liam McBean, while the Suns have named Trent McKenzie, Rory Thompson, Sam Day, Sean Lemmens and Matt Shaw.
Sunday, June 12, 4:40pm (AEST) @ Spotless Stadium
GWS suffered its first defeat in seven weeks when they succumbed to might of the Cats in Geelong last weekend. Despite the loss, the Giants will not be over perturbed by surrendering the four competition points because even getting within 10 points of a rampant Cats outfit at Simonds Stadium is almost a win in itself. A win over crosstown rivals and premiership favourites, the Swans would underline the quality of the 2016 Giants and propel them towards a maiden finals appearance.
Sydney disposed of an improved Titans outfit on the weekend by 38 points in horrendous condition on the Gold Coast. That win was the third on the trot for Sydney and John Longmire’s men will be extremely keen to highlight their standing as premiership favourites and continue their dominance over the AFL’s newest franchise.
Sam J. Reid, Ryan Griffen and Tom Downie have all been included by GWS for the Harbour city derby. The Swans have named Callum Mills, Aliir Aliir, Toby Nankervis and Dean Towers in their extended squad.
Monday, June 13, 3:20 pm (AEST) @ MCG
Melbourne currently resides in 11th spot but is just two wins outside the top eight. They’ve registered five classy wins in 2016 and will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 18-point loss to triple-premiership winning club the Hawks. The rare Monday afternoon match is courtesy of a public holiday for the Queen’s birthday in Victoria.
Collingwood has lost its last two games after they beat premiership heavyweights, Geelong three weeks ago in Melbourne. In their last match, the Pies were humbled by 67 points to Port Adelaide at the MCG. If the Pies are any chance of playing finals footy this season, they desperately need to beat the Dees to get within striking distance of the best eight teams in the competition.
Jack Viney, Viv Michie, Jack Grimes and Ben Kennedy are all welcome additions for the Dees this weekend. Collingwood has named Marley Williams, Tom Phillips, Jarrod Witts, Nathan J. Brown and Jonathon Marsh after last weekend's defeat to the Power.