The following are previews with betting tips for Round 11 of the 2019 AFL season.
Friday, May 31
North Melbourne vs Richmond
7:50pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
Following his shock announcement to step down as senior coach, the Kangaroos gave Brad Scott the perfect send-off on Saturday afternoon by defeating the Dogs by 25 points, ending his time as coach with a positive win/loss record of 102 wins and 101 losses. This will be Rhyce Shaw’s first game as caretaker coach, and it’s a tough gig to step straight into: a Friday night clash against the Tigers, who are fresh off a 23-point victory over the Bombers to make it three wins on the trot for the 2017 champs.
North were good against the Dogs, but they’ll have stiffer competition this week. Todd Goldstein was at his dominant best, while Shaun Higgins ran rampant through the midfield. Goldstein might have another big game this week against a Richmond team missing Ivan Maric — although the other Ivan is back in — but the Tigers will make sure he isn’t able to follow up around the ground as much as he did against the Dogs. Emotions will still be running high at North, but it’s hard to see them beating the Tigers, who will be buoyed by the return of skipper Trent Cotchin for his first game since round 3. North will give it their all, but the Tigers should prove much too strong.
Betting tip: Richmond to win @ $1.41 (BetFair)
Saturday, June 1
Collingwood vs Fremantle
1:45pm AEST, MCG
The Dockers got the better of Brisbane in the last term after a gripping first three quarters, but it wasn’t until after the final siren that they finally took the lead. It was a potentially season-defining win for the Dockers; they’d lost three in a row and were teetering on the edges of the top eight, with a tough game to follow. They were good enough to secure the four points; now they have to face up to the just-mentioned tough game: the Pies at the MCG. Collingwood are coming off a tight win against the Swans in Sydney, although the stats say they should have won by more; they won all of the inside 50, contested ball, and clearance stats by plenty.
The return of Daniel Wells was exhilarating before being cut short by yet another injury, this time a serious knee problem. The Pies don’t need him, but he’d be a mighty nice addition to their team as a smooth finisher, as shown in the first half on Friday. They do have some big inclusions this week, with Jordan De Goey, Darcy Moore, and Travis Varcoe all returning to the team.
While they’re winning, the Pies aren’t in the greatest form at the moment and I get the feeling they might drop one soon, but I don’t think it’ll be this weekend; the Dockers aren’t going well enough to beat them at the MCG, but perhaps a Queen’s Birthday clash at the ‘G the following week might be the one they drop. Or, maybe not.
Betting tip: Collingwood (-34.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
GWS Giants vs Gold Coast
1:45pm AEST, Sydney Showground Stadium
The Giants did exactly what they needed to do on Sunday afternoon, smashing the Demons from the outset to dispel any fears around their ability to play good footy at the MCG. The Demons hit back in the last term to make the scoreboard look more respectable, but a dominant display from the Giants had the contest all wrapped up at the final break. Josh Kelly, Tim Taranto, and Lachie Whitfield provided plenty of drive through the middle, while Harry Himmelberg and Jeremy Cameron did the job up forward, combining for eight of the Giants’ 14 goals.
It’s a scary prospect for opposition teams when the Giants’ star players are all up and firing, particularly so for a lowly team like the Suns, who will face the full force of GWS at home this week. They didn’t fare too poorly against the Cats at home, but this might be the week the Suns cop a real pasting; the Giants know how to dish one out, and they’re in good touch at the moment. If the Suns can keep the margin under 10 goals they’ll have done an admirable job.
Betting tip: GWS By 40+ @ $1.55 (Ladbrokes)
Geelong vs Sydney
4:35pm AEST, GMHBA
The Swans are beginning to look a better team than their ladder position would suggest, but they’ll need to pull something special out of the bag to challenge the Cats on Saturday. The return of Lance Franklin is enormous; his return coinciding with the rest of the team playing better footy makes them a totally different opposition to what they were a month ago. But the Cats in Geelong is currently the toughest task in footy, and there’s not too many teams equipped to make a proper challenge. The Cats will be missing Gary Ablett after another undisciplined act this time resulted in suspension, but they get back Patrick Dangerfield to offset the loss. For Sydney, Jarrad McVeigh returns but Josh Kennedy is out again, while Dan Menzel will make his Sydney debut after a strong performance in the reserves.
The Swans did what no other team did in the mid-season draft and selected two players, but whether they’re able to come in and make an impact this season remains to be seen. There should be plenty of opportunities if they put their hand up in the NEAFL; perhaps even as early as next week if the Swans cop a belting from the Cats on Saturday, which I reckon they almost certainly will.
Betting tip: Geelong By 40+ @ $2.35 (Bet365)
Brisbane vs Hawthorn
7:25pm AEST, The Gabba
The Hawks had a strong win over Port in Launceston on Saturday afternoon, dominating from the outset against a team that is more than capable of playing high quality football. It was the type of performance that makes it hard to write the Hawks off from featuring in September action despite their injury woes, but this week is another big test. Hawthorn lost to the Lions twice last year, despite the Hawks being much stronger and the Lions nowhere near as good, so they’ll know how much of a challenge this week is going to be. Brisbane may be slightly fatigued after their trip to Perth, but the stinging one-point loss they suffered at the hands of Fremantle should give them enough motivation to overcome any lingering lethargy.
The Hawks are a will-drilled, disciplined side, but I think it’s going to take some seriously good individual efforts — similar to Jack Gunston’s six goal haul against the Power — for them to beat the Lions up at the Gabba. Brisbane are a side with a good blend of youth and experience, of talent and workhorses, and they’re playing great footy on their home deck. As long as they turn up to play, the Lions should get the four points fairly comfortably in this one.
Betting tip: Brisbane to win @ $1.68 (BetEasy)
Melbourne vs Adelaide
7:40pm AEST, TIO Stadium
The Crows will be bitterly disappointed they weren’t able to clinch victory against the reigning premiers on the weekend; they were in front for the majority of the game, but the Eagles ran over them in the final term. It was a win gone begging; they’ll look to make amends this week when they travel north to face the Demons in Darwin. The Dees will be disappointed themselves after a poor loss to the Giants at the MCG. The Giants are obviously a much better team than Melbourne in 2019, but the Dees would’ve fancied their chances of an upset considering GWS’s poor history at the ‘G. Unfortunately, they needed to start well to put the pressure on the Giants, and they weren’t able to do that. A good start might be critical in this game as well considering the higher temperatures and humidity likely to be encountered in Darwin — there will be plenty of tired players running around towards the end of the game, so a handy three quarter time lead might prove insurmountable.
There are a few games this weekend being played off the beaten path, and while they can sometimes throw up unexpected results, I reckon it’s a fairly safe bet the Crows get the better of Melbourne on Saturday night. They’ve got some big inclusions in Tom Lynch, Josh Jenkins, and Bryce Gibbs, and a few of those guys have a point to prove, so I’m expecting some big efforts from the Crows.
Betting tip: Adelaide to win @ $1.66 (BetFair)
Sunday, June 2
St Kilda vs Port Adelaide
2:40pm AEST, Adelaide Arena at Jiangwan Stadium
Sunday sees Port Adelaide returning for their third clash in Shanghai, this time against a different opponent, with the Saints replacing the Suns. They’ll be hoping a change of scenery will rejuvenate the club after losing three of their past four outings, the most recent being a poor effort against the Hawks in Tasmania. There’s plenty to play for, with both clubs sitting on five wins and out of the eight on percentage only. It’s the classic eight-point game, and it could have a massive impact on each club’s fortunes. The Saints climbed out of their mid-season slump with a hard-fought win over the Blues on Sunday, and while the performance was far from convincing, it was the win they desperately needed to keep in touch with the eight. It’s looking like inspirational skipper Jarryn Geary will return from his severe leg injury which is great news for the Saints, while Port welcome back important big man Scott Lycett.
I expect this to be a really close game of footy, the most interesting to have been played in Shanghai by far. I’m not entirely confident tipping either team, but I’m going to go with the Power to win a close one as they’ve got more talent in the forward half and should be able to capitalise on their opportunities, which is something the Saints have struggled with.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide to win @ $1.56 (BetFair)
Essendon vs Carlton
3:20pm AEST, MCG
Carlton blew an opportunity for a win last week against the Saints, but they’ll be presented with another when they take on the Bombers on Sunday. Essendon were one of the teams they managed to beat last year, and the Bombers are currently struggling with both injury and form. They’re also coming off a slog in extreme weather conditions, so they could have a few sore bodies. They staged a late comeback against the Tigers in that one, but they left it all too late; they took too long to adjust to the slippery ball, and the Tigers made them pay early. Barring a few exceptions, skill level ultimately goes out the window in that sort of game and it simply comes down to structures, discipline, and a bit of luck, which is why the Bombers would’ve given themselves a chance and will be disappointed by the outcome. More injuries to key players didn’t help, with Jake Stringer and Dylan Shiel both finishing the game early with hamstring complaints. Those two joining Devon Smith and Joe Daniher on the sidelines surely makes the next few weeks tough for the Bombers, starting with this clash against the old rivals.
There will be no better chance for the Blues to add another win to their tally, and I reckon they might just do it, even without the experience of Kade Simpson and Dale Thomas or the marking prowess of Mitch McGovern; they love playing against the Bombers, and the Bombers look to be ripe for the picking just at the moment; it’ll be close, but I reckon Carlton will sneak in another win before the bye.
Betting tip: Carlton to win @ $2.95 (BetFair)
West Coast vs Western Bulldogs
5:20pm AEST, Optus Stadium
On Saturday afternoon the Dogs did what they’ve done multiple times this year, failing to turn up to play against a lesser-rated opponent. They’ve now been beaten by North, Carlton, and the Gold Coast, all games they should have won. Yes, it was North coach Brad Scott’s final game in charge and they were playing for him, but that’s just the point: it doesn’t seem like the Dogs have anything to play for unless they’re underdogs and out to prove a point. An outburst at the end of the third quarter that flowed into the first five minutes of the final term allowed them to take the lead, but North quickly settled and regained the ascendancy. If the Dogs turn up uninterested this week they’ll be smashed, but they probably won’t because they know they need to be switched on against the Eagles in Perth.
West Coast will enjoy returning home after a tough game against the Crows in Adelaide. It was an important win to keep them in touch with the Cats and the Pies at the top of the ladder; this week they might be looking for not only a win, but a percentage boost as well. The Dogs will probably scrap hard and keep the Eagles honest, but they’re not good enough to get within four or five goals of the Eagles. Mid-season draftee Ryan Gardner comes in straight away to make his debut, and it’s going to be a day to remember if he’s asked to defend Josh Kennedy or Jack Darling, because I expect they might be in for some silver service delivery.
Betting tip: West Coast (-22.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
West Coast (-22.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)