The following are previews with betting tips for Round 11 of the 2020 AFL season.
Saturday, August 8
Port Adelaide vs Richmond
4:35pm , Adelaide Oval
Round 11 kicks off on Saturday(!) with a mammoth game between the top-of-the-ladder Port Adelaide and the rampaging reigning premiers Richmond. The Tigers are back in form in a big way, with consecutive 41 point wins against fellow contenders cementing them back into premiership favouritism. But as things stand they’ll need to beat Port, potentially back at the Adelaide Oval, to win it all again, and the Power are going pretty well themselves. It wasn’t their best performance, but they gritted out an important win against the Dogs on Monday night and now seem all but certain to finish in the top four. They do have a tough couple of weeks ahead, with Richmond followed by the Cats, but even if they happened to lose both they’re still in a very good position.
I’d hazard a guess that this game will be won and lost in the Port Adelaide forward half. If Port can make the most of their forward entries and hold the Richmond defence accountable, not allowing them to rebound and quickly turn defence into offence like they’ve been able to do recently, then they’ll be halfway to victory. But if they’re wasteful and don’t heap pressure on the Tigers, then Richmond will do what they do best. It’s a hard one to pick, because Port have been great all year, but the Tigers are in some seriously ominous form and I expect they’ll be too strong for Port in this one.
Brisbane vs Western Bulldogs
7:40pm , The Gabba
The Lions put in what was probably their worst performance of the year when it was most important for them to show up. They don’t play well against the Tigers, and they haven’t for years. But they needed to prove to themselves and to everyone else that they could beat them, or at the very least challenge them, and they did neither. They’ll be kicking themselves for their inaccuracy, because it could’ve turned out to be a totally different result if they had converted some of their many chances at goal. But bad kicking is bad football; they just need to make sure it doesn’t become a habit.
They return to the Gabba this weekend to take on the Dogs, who have now lost two in a row and find themselves outside the eight. Again it was their lack of forward options that cost them against Port; they were the dominant side for most of the night but couldn’t convert their forward entries into shots at goal. The return of Aaron Naughton will help immensely, but not only are they lacking a tall option to help Josh Bruce, they’re also devoid of crafty small forwards. It all adds up to a workmanlike forward line that lacks any real danger to the opposition. Even if they win the midfield battle, they’re not going to beat good teams like Brisbane with that sort of attack. And the Lions look significantly stronger this week with Rich, Birchall and McStay all back into the team. I’m expecting the Lions to bounce back hard and win this one with ease.
Betting tip: Brisbane (-13.5) @ $1.91 (bet365)
Sunday, August 9
West Coast vs Carlton
3:35pm , Optus Stadium
The Eagles and the Blues are ready to get back into the thick of it after a bye which should have them feeling refreshed. West Coast didn’t look like they needed a break after another strong victory over the Cats, but the Blues probably needed the week off to re-group after their disappointing loss to Hawthorn. That game was just about over with five minutes remaining in the first quarter, when Carlton were running rings around the Hawks. The turnaround from that point onwards was one of the more remarkable things I’ve seen happen in a game of footy. Carlton stopped, and the Hawks started taking the game on.
The positive for Carlton is that that is exactly how the Eagles like to play their footy as well, so it’s the perfect preparation. If they haven’t come up with a plan then the Eagles will kill them on the rebound. But I suspect that regardless of how well the Blues play they probably aren’t going to be good enough to match the Eagles. Jacob Weitering has been in AA form, and Marc Pittonet has been great as the number one ruck, but those two guys are going to get their biggest tests of the season on Sunday. I’m sure they’ll perform admirably, but I can’t see it resulting in a Carlton win.
Betting tip: West Coast (-20.5) @ $1.91 (bet365)
Melbourne vs North Melbourne
6:10pm , Adelaide Oval
The Demons would’ve been slightly concerned about where their season was headed until the last quarter of their Wednesday night clash with the Crows, at which point they put their foot down and motored away from the cellar dwellers. It puts them right back into finals contention, but they need to continue on with it this week and beat the Kangaroos.
Without being terrible, North weren’t great against the Cats, but they did lose spearhead Ben Brown early in the contest. He obviously hasn’t been anywhere near his best, but it would’ve thrown their structure out for the rest of the game. They’ve had plenty of injury issues this year, North Melbourne, and it doesn’t look like turning around any time soon. Melbourne have a big one of their own at the moment, with skipper Max Gawn battling away, and now being rested this week. It’ll be interesting to see how they go without him this week against one of the competition’s other premier ruckman, Todd Goldstein. It looks like they’re going with a combination of Tom McDonald and Luke Jackson, and I’m not sure that’s going to be good enough against Goldstein. As much as I think the Demons are the better team, that really worries me and I reckon it’ll allow North into the game. If Goldstein can get right on top, which he should, the Roos might just be a sneaky chance.
Betting tip: North Melbourne to win @ $2.12 (UniBet).
Monday, August 10
Geelong vs St Kilda
6:10pm , The Gabba
The Cats leave Perth to take on St Kilda at the Gabba in a battle between two of the competition’s in-form sides. It’s third versus sixth, and with both clubs fighting for a top four position the outcome of this game could have massive implications. The Saints have won their previous four games and look to be a much more mature side in 2020, able to respond when they are challenged within a game. The Cats have only won two of their previous four, but that includes an admirable loss to the Eagles. That all sets this one up to be a ripping contest.
The Saints have opted to rest Zak Jones which will no doubt impact their ability to run and carry, but Jarryn Geary is back in to reinforce the defence. Jones’s loss might hurt them this week, with the Cats bringing both Gary Rohan and Brandon Parfitt into the team. If Geelong can get on top in the midfield they might be too slick for the Saints going forward. The St Kilda defence has been solid all year, but they did have some issues with Charlie Dixon a few weeks ago and I’d suspect Tom Hawkins might pose similar problems. I reckon it’ll be a good game of footy but I’m backing the Cats to get home.
Fremantle vs Hawthorn
8:40pm , Optus Stadium
Fremantle caused one of the upsets of the season by beating the Pies in Round 10, a victory that would have given them an immense boost of confidence in their ability. They played to their strengths and were able to get right on top of a high quality opponent. They might not be able to do it every week, but they’ll know their best is good enough to challenge most other clubs. And with another home game this week against the Hawks, they’ll be sniffing another win. That said, Hawthorn played some pretty good footy in the last three quarters of their game against Carlton, after looking like a bottom two side in the first quarter.
We can only guess at which Hawthorn will turn up, but they’d be hoping that was a turning point moment after a month of poor performances. I’m not so sure they’ll be significantly better; they’ve still got some worries all over the ground, and I think Fremantle might use their speed and skill to make the Hawks chase them all over the Optus Stadium turf. Again, it’s probably going to be a close one, but I’m expecting the Dockers to snag another four points.
Tuesday, August 11
Adelaide vs Collingwood
7:10pm , Adelaide Oval
The Pies got their season back on track with a hard-fought win over the Swans on Thursday evening. It wasn’t a memorable performance, but their dominance around the ball meant they were probably better than the scoreboard would suggest. Some magic from Josh Daicos was enough to secure the victory and it could go down as a turning point in their season. That said, this week they’ll be taking to the field with half of their best team missing; lucky they’re only playing the Crows.
Adelaide have regressed terribly over the past two weeks after they’d put in a couple of half-decent performances. It’s getting really difficult to see where a win will come from; Collingwood are severely depleted at the moment, but they’re surely still a better team than the Crows. They’ve still got a very strong midfield, and despite the fact that both their backline and their forward line is makeshift, there’s still talent at both ends of the ground, and that’s probably more than you can say about the Crows. I expect it might be similar to the game against Sydney; the Pies might not necessarily dominate, but they’ll be good enough to get the job done either way.
Betting tip: Collingwood By 1-39 @ $1.83 (Bet365)
Wednesday, August 12
Gold Coast vs Essendon
7:10pm , Metricon Stadium
The Bombers were much, much better against the Giants on Friday night, but not quite good enough to hang on and secure the four points. In a wet and scrappy affair, the Dons looked the better team for three quarters, but the Giants had a little too much class in the end. But if ever a loss gets a team back on track, that might be it. There were some positive signs for the first time in three weeks, with the Essendon midfield getting on top and a super encouraging effort by young ruckman Sam Draper. He’ll be managed this week, but he’s definitely got a big future at AFL level.
Tom Bellchambers takes his place and will have a huge job this week against Gold Coast skipper Jarrod Witts. Witts is a great ruckman and his midfield were also very impressive in their tight loss to the Saints on Thursday. Speaking of honourable losses, their effort was absolutely another one. Neither team really deserved to lose, but the Suns just were just pipped by a Dan Butler-led St Kilda forward half. I expect if they bring that same intensity and hunger for the footy to the game this week they’ll look just as good and end up with a better result against the Bombers, who are probably missing one too many of their key players for this one.
Betting tip: Gold Coast to win @ $1.72 (UniBet)
Best Bets of the Round
Gold Coast to win @ $1.72 (UniBet)