AFL previews for round 11
CATS v CROWS
Simonds Stadium, 7.50pm
Recent record: Geel 7 Adel 3
Last time: R18 2016: Geel 12.13 (85) d Adel 7.13 (55) in Geelong
THE match of the round promises to be an entertaining clash with Adelaide (8-2) and Geelong (7-3) not only first and third on the ladder, but holding the same positions on the scoring table. The milestone men, big Cat Tom Hawkins (playing his 200th game) and Crows giant Josh Jenkins (playing his 100th), will be pivotal to their teams' chances of victory. Daniel Talia and Tom Lonergan have big jobs in their respective defences. That "other Selwood", Scott, meanwhile, will surely be assigned the role of tagging Rory Sloane, with a view to freeing brother Joel and Patrick Dangerfield up to try and dominate through the midfield. The Cats must start favourite at home, with the Crows having lost their past nine games in Geelong.
SUNS v EAGLES
Metricon Stadium, 1.45pm
Recent record: GC 0 WC 8 Drawn 1
Last time: R10 2016: WC 20.12 (132) d GC 7.13 (55) in Perth
AFTER being beaten by GWS for the first time last week, West Coast will try to avoid suffering a first defeat to the Gold Coast. Despite the Eagles' poor form in Melbourne, they haven't lost in Queensland since 2012. But the visitors (6-4), who were poor against the Giants, won't be helped by the fact they will miss spearhead and competition leading goalkicker Josh Kennedy (calf). He's terrorised the Suns in the past, kicking 35 goals in seven games against them. The Suns (3-6), meanwhile, should welcome back Gary Ablett (shoulder) and will surely play with plenty of fire after two abysmal performances in a row. They desperately need to up their tackling pressure. They are ranked last in that area.
GIANTS v BOMBERS
Spotless Stadium, 4.35pm
Recent record: Ess 4 GWS 2
Last time: R13 2016: GWS 17.15 (117) d Ess 12.18 (90) at Docklands
WITH Tom Scully (knee), Steve Johnson (knee) and Rory Lobb (groin) all in the mix to boost GWS (8-2), the hosts should have no trouble against an inconsistent Essendon (5-5). Joe Daniher will look to stretch an undersized Giants defence, but Heath Shaw, Nathan Wilson and Zac Williams should have Bombers small forwards Josh Green, Orazio Fantasia and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti covered at ground level. The Bombers had the ball 50 more times than the Tigers last week but registered 30 less inside-forward-50m entries. They've got a lot of work to do. Fullback Michael Hurley, meanwhile, will have his hands full standing on either Jeremy Cameron or Jon Patton.
ROOS v TIGERS
Etihad Stadium, 7.25pm
Recent record: NM 8 Rich 2
Last time: R11 2016: NM 18.16 (124) d Rich 7.12 (54) in Hobart
NORTH has dominated Richmond of late, winning eight of the past 10 clashes. It's interesting to note, however, that Brent Harvey (four goals), Daniel Wells (three goals, three Brownlow votes) and Andrew Swallow (28 disposals, two Brownlow votes) starred for the Roos last time. One's now retired, one's left and one's been demoted. North, though, still possesses some weapons, especially in attack. As they've won four of their past five games, the Roos (now 4-6) trail only Adelaide and Port in the past five rounds for points scored. The Tigers (6-4) will want Dustin Martin to get first hands on the pill in the middle, but the Roos' recruiting target won't have it all his own way with Ben Cunnington second to only Tom Rockliff for average clearances.
DOCKERS v MAGPIES
Domain Stadium, 4.40pm (AEST)
Recent record: Coll 6 Frem 4
Last time: R14 2016: Coll 12.13 (85) d Frem 5.7 (37) at the MCG
FREMANTLE (5-5) makes a welcome return home from its shocking trip to Adelaide, where coach Ross Lyon suffered his first 100-point defeat in his 250th game. And the Dockers will take some solace in the fact Collingwood (4-6) has lost its past five games out west. The Magpies are gathering some momentum, however, and will be confident of kicking the Dockers while they're down. It's no coincidence that the Magpies' success rate has improved since forward Jamie Elliot found form after missing the early rounds. He's booted 13 goals in four games and taken a heap of pressure off young Darcy Moore. Either way, the midfield battle between Nat Fyfe and co and Scott Pendlebury and his Pies will be a beauty.
Byes: Brisbane, Carlton, Melbourne, St Kilda, Sydney, Bulldogs