2024 AFL Round 11 Preview

The joy of Sir Doug Nicholls Round continues as the Swans head to Melbourne to notch their tenth win of the year, the Dockers have their big test against the Pies, the Cats and Giants battle for form, and Dreamtime at the G’ lights up our Saturday Night.

Things are tightening up around the top eight, and every game is changing the outlook of the season and the competitiveness is gripping us for yet another year. We’ve put together our analysis of what’s to come and give our tips in our AFL Round 11 Preview.

Western Bulldogs vs Sydney
Thursday May 23, 7:30pm, Marvel Stadium

A good time to be a fan of the Swannies, on a roll at 9-1, two games clear at the top, they’re realistically about 4-5 wins away from already securing a top-four spot.

On the other hand, just when we think that Bevo and his Dogs are done and dusted, there’s always a pulse, and they notched up a big win against the Giants last week.

This is the type of game the Dogs tend to win, and that’s with history beating flag favourites at Marvel early in the year against Brisbane last year, and the Swans the year before.

The pressure this time is a bit different, with the Dogs still sitting outside the eight, and the Swans able to play with a lot of freedom given their gap at the top.

The Swans were damaging in their turnover game against the Blues, and their ability to capitalise on each offensive moment put the game beyond doubt in a matter of minutes, even with their poor start.

The Dogs make a contest of this game through their pressure, which hasn’t been at the top end of the competition, but the Swans were able to break through the Blues with ease, which is the difference between them winning big or small.

Both sides average similar numbers heading inside 50, with both rounding to 13 marks inside 50 average per game.

The centre stoppage dominance should be in favour of the Dogs, and if they’re able to continue their typical slickness at the drop of the ball, at the very worst they should be prepared for a burst out of the centre by the Swans.

Sydney is second for turnovers, and their high-risk, high-reward game will at some point be taken advantage of.

This should be high-scoring and entertaining, and the Dogs are every chance for an upset.

Tip: Western Bulldogs to win by 1-24 @ $4.00

Fremantle vs Collingwood
Friday May 24, 8:10pm, Optus Stadium

If there’s any better test for the Dockers at this stage of the year, they’ve got it.

The red-hot Pies are strolling into town off the back of yet another win in their resurgence back into the top eight.

Freo got the job done in Melbourne against the Saints, albeit not so convincingly, but an important four points on the road.

The Pies continue to get the job done through their high impact per possession game, which is deadly inside forward 50 and gives the opposition no room for error.

The inaccuracy hurt the Dockers last week, but their system of transition on the outside generated enough inside 50s to kick a winning score.

Generally, it hasn’t been enough against the top sides, with an average of 48.6 inside 50s per game compared to Collingwood’s 53.

Collingwood will have to charge some physicality up against the Dockers classy stoppage clearance work, and if they’re able to do so, the Dockers lack of scoreboard pressure will catch up.

Fremantle’s ultra-defensive style isn’t attractive, but it does need to come out and work in these types of games where the Pies will look to penetrate the corridor at any stage.

There’s a lot more at stake for the Dockers than the Pies, and although the Dockers have full home support, the Pies aren’t a stranger to a WA win.

Tip: Collingwood to cover the line (-2.5) @ $1.90

North Melbourne vs Port Adelaide
Saturday May 25, 1:45pm, Blundstone Arena

The Power are lucky to be heading into this clash two wins on the trot after their miraculous 41-point comeback against the Hawks last Sunday afternoon.

The Roos are 10 in a row, for all the wrong reasons, and whilst they produced a spirited effort against the Bombers, there’s still no sign of a four-quarter performance.

Back in Tassie again, it’s some form of added familiarity for North Melbourne, but their recent outing against the Crows proved it’s not as advantageous as it should be.

The Power were exposed with their lack of contest fundamentals and inability to dig in for the second pressure acts at the stoppages, where the Hawks were first to it.

If the Roos are any chance, they need to elevate their pressure game and at least do their best to create a spoil or stoppage at most inside 50 entries.

If Nick Larkey can have the same fortune as Blake Hardwick had against the Power, it’s something for the Roos to hang on to as a plan of attack.

But as proved in the Power’s late surge, the class is overwhelming, and it only takes them a quarter against bottom-half sides to win the game.

Tip: Port Adelaide to cover the line in the first half (-21.5) @ $1.91

Carlton vs Gold Coast
Saturday May 25, 1:45pm, Marvel Stadium

It’s red alert on the injury front for the Blues, who were put away by the Swans at the SCG last week.

They’re still competitive despite their injuries, and their start proved that, but it’s going to take another big effort to stop the Suns who were deadly against the Cats in Darwin.

The pressure is all on the Suns in this battle, with yet another chance to prove they can do it outside of the Gold Coast or Darwin for that matter.

The last time these two played at Marvel back in 2021, it was the Suns who got the job done that day, in front of empty stands.

We can expect a quite fired-up Blues side, who were way below standards for their pressure rating and lacked any conviction with their fundamentals after quarter-time against the Swans.

The midfield battle will be quite similar, with a good balance of physicality, poise, and speed at the stoppages, which places the crux of this battle in the management of offensive transition.

The Blues will be under pressure defensively yet again, as the Suns lead the league for inside 50s per game.

Along with that, the Suns lead the league for intercepts per game, which challenges the Blues midfield to lower their eyes and place more dependence on their smalls to create a lead and take the pressure off Charlie and Harry.

With a navy blue crowd and the Suns travelling woes, the Blues should get back on track, but the Suns shouldn’t go down easy.

Tip: Blues to win by 1-39 @ $2.10

Geelong vs GWS
Saturday May 25, 4:35pm, GMHBA Stadium

The pressure is mounting on both sides and with early talks of premiership favourites, the talk has died down with some questionable performances.

The Cats first trip to Darwin wasn’t memorable, and the conditions were out of their depths, conceding 164 points, which is a generational sight for Geelong supporters.

The Giants issues have stemmed from their lack of commitment in the contest and their inability to find a good balance in their offensive running, lacking the defensive composure to bring the ball to ground inside 50.

The Cats have been smashed in transition in the last two weeks, and they are found wanting defensively when teams exploit them lowering their eyes inside 50.

Back at the Cattery, things swing in favour of the Cats naturally, and even though they were beaten by the Power there two weeks ago, after quarter time it was all Geelong.

Clearance work falls in favour of the Cats, and with a smaller midfield with a punch of pace, they should find first hands on it.

Likely inclusions of Jeremy Cameron, Tom Hawkons, Rhys Stanley, Mitch Duncan, and Sam De Koning should bolster all three areas across the ground for the Cats.

The Giants swift running patterns on the outside will be tested on the narrow GMHBA turf, but their ability to turn defence to offence is something they need to get back to give themselves a chance.

Confidence is low for both, but the personnel has made a difference for the Cats and they’re not travelling as badly as what it seems.

Tip: Geelong to win by 1-24 @ $3.25

Richmond vs Essendon
Saturday May 25, 7:40pm, MCG

It’s back to the early 2010s for the Tigers, big beltings by over 100 points, and travelling into the unknown of when things will turn for the better again.

But they have an occasion to turn up for as the football world draws its attention to Dreamtime at the G’, one of the greatest spectacles highlighting Aboriginal culture in our game.

The Bombers are on a roll, sitting second with a cruisy fixture ahead, this should be a pretty simple task for the red sash.

Richmond’s injury list could form its own team, so in their defence, they are simply doing the best they can.

Essendon was in a battle with the Roos for the first half, but quickly flicked the switch in the second half to get the job done comfortably.

The Tigers priority needs to be on gaining territory from the stoppages, finding quick ways to win clearances, and put the Bombers defence under pressure.

If the Bombers bring the pressure they’ll shut out the Tigers relatively quickly, as the Tigers sit last in the competition for contested possessions.

The Bombers have been on the end of quite a few Dreamtime losses in the last 10 years, and along with their gripping one-point win last year, they’ll look to build a nice streak of wins.

Tip: Essendon to win by 40+ and Essendon to cover the line in the 2nd half (-22.5) @ $2.09

Hawthorn vs Brisbane
Sunday May 26, 1:10pm, Marvel Stadium

The Hawks will be pretty fired up and disappointed they let a 41-point margin slip against the Power last week.

On the other hand, the Lions had the game done in 5 minutes against the Tigers, and whilst it didn’t teach us anything new, we know they’re still ultra-damaging at their best.

It’s a major danger game for the Lions, and it was this fixture last year where the Hawks flipped the script and upset the Lions.

Interestingly, this is the first time in the Hawthorn v Brisbane era that the game is being played at Marvel, which gives no previous indication as to who has the upper hand on this ground.

The challenge for the Lions is to find avenues at goal to make the Hawks work in defence 50, which they were clinical with against the Tigers with 11 different goal scorers.

The Hawks were dominant against the Power when they were able to get first hands on the footy at the stoppage and create some quick chains in transition, and they were generally just harder at the footy.

The Lions dominated the clearance game last year but were smashed in disposals around the ground by 100, so expect a similar approach from the Hawks of wearing the Lions down through uncontested possessions around the ground.

The narrow Marvel surface doesn’t allow for that type of play so much and the Lions should be able to better penetrate through the corridor in transition and see through enough entries to kick a winning score.

The safe bet here is the Lions, but the Hawks are known to cause an upset or two, so expect a tight affair.

Tip: Lions to win by 1-24 and Logan Morris Anytime Goal Kicker @ $4.55

Melbourne vs St Kilda
Sunday May 26, 3:20pm, MCG

The Dees are on the back foot after a poor two weeks, the latest loss coming over in the West against Harley’s Eagles.

St Kilda is all but done for the year, and with another uninspiring performance against Freo, any hope that was left is now gone.

The Dees have lacked inspiration in transition, and whilst they’re typically bullish on their contest work which gets them metres gained in short bursts, they haven’t adapted well in recent weeks.

2019 was the last time St Kilda beat the Dmons, and it hasn’t been since then that the Saints beat them at the MCG, which makes the task even harder.

An average score of 54 over the last two weeks is only the beginning of their problems, but the lack of conviction in defensive fundamentals and pressure inside 50 has been below par.

The midfield battle is in favour of the Dees and if they’re able to create enough spread and drive on the outside, they’ll be able to exploit the Saints inside 50.

The Saints are in the bottom half of the competition for rebounds out of the defensive 50, so a lot of emphasis will be on Melbourne’s forward line to trap the ball in and create stoppages inside 50.

There are too many things going wrong for the Saints at the moment, and the games seem to be getting harder.

Tip: Melbourne to win by 25+ @ $2.15

Adelaide vs West Coast
Sunday May 26, 4:40pm, Adelaide Oval

There’s always some sort of controversy with the Crows, and yet again they were on the end of an interesting call in their loss to Collingwood.

It’s probably the tale of their season, close but still not close enough, and ultimately they haven’t improved enough to beat top sides.

They come up against a rampaging Eagles side who are playing with nothing to lose and with a bit of fire in their ball movement.

The Crows weren’t clinical inside forward 50, but their quick transition game was still effective in generating enough scores against the Pies.

The Eagles were composed around the ground, utilising a lot of spread and uncontested ball movement to break open the Dees, which will need to translate well if they’re to beat the Crows.

Adelaide needs to generate speed at the contest and force the Eagles to draw numbers to the contest, as their tackle pressure is quite poor when they are exposed at the stoppages.

On a quick Adelaide Oval surface, the Crows need to bank this win, and with the Eagles still unable to win out of WA, it’s hard to see them replicating the same form without the home support.

Tip: Adelaide to win by 1-39 @ $2.15


Ten weeks of footy have come and gone as we look ahead to the final full round before the byes begin.

It’s been a huge week off the field following the shock resignation of Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, and all eyes will be fixed on the Tigers in Sunday’s meeting against Port at the ‘G.

Earlier in the round, the Blues face a must-win game against the struggling Swans on Friday night, while the Dees are desperate to bounce back against a Fremantle side finding form.

A blockbuster between the Crows and Lions caps off the round on Sunday afternoon, and like always, we’ve got you covered for tips in Round 11 Preview!

Sydney Swans vs Carlton
Friday 26 May, 7:50pm, SCG

One look at the ladder tells you all you need to know heading into this 11th v 12th clash on Friday night.

Four losses from their last five games makes this a must-win for Sydney at home, the Swans almost sinking to a new low last week with what could have been an embarrassing loss to North Melbourne.

A last-minute umpiring decision saw the Bloods home in the dying seconds, but it was far from a convincing performance, scoring just 64 points against one of the worst defensive sides in the competition.

The Blues also have their backs against the wall coming off another disheartening loss to Collingwood last Sunday.

Undisciplined footy, inaccuracy in front of goal, and failure to account for Collingwood’s overall talent up forward saw the Blues undone early, the pressure cooker only growing warmer with questions being asked of Michael Voss.

Making the most of inside 50 opportunities has been a huge challenge for these two clubs, evident in the fact the pair rank bottom half of the league in goals scored.

With that logic, the Under feels like a good bet, but the likes of Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow should be able to find some form with Sydney fielding only three tall defenders due to their ongoing injury crisis.

Tip: Back Carlton to Win & Under 168.5 Total Points @ $3.60

St Kilda vs Hawthorn
Saturday 27 May, 1:45pm, Marvel Stadium

The Saints have held the wood over the Hawks winning their last five encounters, but history suggests this game could be closer than the bookies think.

St Kilda weathered a heavy storm against the Giants last week to win by 12 points, Max King at the forefront kicking four goals on return, and Jack Sinclair continuing to show why he might be the most exciting midfielder in the league.

The Hawks also picked up a rare win, defeating West Coast in historic 116-point fashion.

Mitch Lewis was enormous booting five goals, and although Hawthorn may have cost themselves a chance at future No. 1 pick Harley Reid, it’s clear there is light at the end of Sam Mitchell’s long rebuild tunnel.

Three of the last five games between these two sides have been decided by 14 points or less, and given both teams have struggled to find points at times, this one could turn into a thriller.

The Saints should make the Hawks pay in transition if they turn the ball over, but on the flip side, Hawthorn’s crafty forward line seems to be gelling rather nicely at the moment.

The future of Mitchell’s midfield is also clear with James Worpel, Jai Newcombe, and Will Day getting plenty of the ball, setting up an interesting matchup against a Saints midfield that plays hard, contested footy.

With a spot in the top four up for grabs, the Saints should seize this opportunity against one of the bottom-dwellers, but the chances of Hawthorn keeping this tight early don’t seem all that absurd.

Tip: Back the Hawks to Cover the 1st Half Line (+13.5 Points) @ $1.90

Melbourne vs Fremantle
Saturday 27 May, 2:10pm, MCG

Two of last year’s finalists meet in what should be a telling Saturday afternoon game from the ‘G.

The Dees were a little scrappy in their four-point loss to Port last Friday, turning the ball over, struggling around the stoppages, and a handful of players failing to give Max Gawn any support around the ruck.

Freo, on the other hand, has come good over the last month winning three in a row over the Hawks, Swans, and most impressively, Geelong.

The Dockers have surprisingly scored 100+ points in all three wins, but it was their efficiency inside 50 and their work around the clearances that really saw them home against the Cats.

A trip to Melbourne is always a daunting task for the West Australian teams, but Freo should feel confident knowing they made short work of the Dees in Round 11 last year.

The tables were turned when Melbourne won big at Optus later in the season, the one constant in both games being goals from Bayley Fritsch and Michael Walters.

There hasn’t been a more efficient scoring team than the Dees this year, which does make this an interesting challenge for a Fremantle side that appeared lost in front of goals during the first six weeks of the season.

That said, the Dockers have been one of the best tackling teams in the competition, meaning the Melbourne midfield needs to be at its best with Clayton Oliver due for an extended stint on the sideline.

Backing the Dees to bounce back from a loss is typically a profitable play, but the Dockers own a solid 6-4 record in their last 10 games as the line underdog.

It feels like Justin Longmuir has his team believing in the system again, and with points coming more easily and the pressure up, the Dockers pose a real threat to a Melbourne team that seems to be only just going at the moment.

Tip: Back the Dockers to Cover the Line (+19.5 Points) @ $1.90

Geelong Cats vs GWS Giants
Saturday 27 May, 4:35pm, GMHBA Stadium

More cracks are beginning to show at Geelong following last week’s surprising loss to Fremantle.

With Patrick Dangerfield, Cam Guthrie, Tyson Stengle, and a handful of other key parts absent, it’s not surprising the Cats are struggling to apply pressure and get their hands on the footy.

Geelong’s midfield is severely depleted heading into this home clash against the Giants, a side that has been playing good footy without winning over the last three weeks.

Adam Kingsley’s side suffered another honourable 12-point loss to St Kilda last Sunday, pushing the Saints for the better part of three quarters behind a big performance from Lachie Whitfield and two goals each from Toby Greene and Jesse Hogan.

The Giants don’t score a ton of points, which is a worry heading into a tough road environment, but they do rank second in disposals and rebound 50s per-game – two key areas that have troubled the Cats this year.

That said, GWS has lost 15 straight games against opponents ranked higher on the ladder, although they do own a pair of wins over the Cats during their 11-year history.

Closing out the fourth quarter has been a big problem for the Giants this year, so the Cats should win this game. Given their injuries and how well GWS’ midfield has been playing though, it might be tighter than the market suggests.

Tip: Back Geelong to Win 1-39 @ $2.35

Gold Coast Suns vs Western Bulldogs
Saturday 27 May, 7:25pm, TIO Stadium

Warm weather awaits the Suns and the Dogs ahead of their first meeting in Darwin since 2012.

Gold Coast was up to its old tricks last week in the Q-Clash, playing a tight three quarters against arch-rivals Brisbane before fading in the final term to lose comfortably.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are the in-form team having won five in a row, the most recent being an impressive 45-point win over the Crows in Ballarat.

Luke Beveridge’s side still has its issues in front of goal, but the midfield is firing on all cylinders with Bailey Smith, Bailey Dale, and the Bont getting plenty of the footy last week.

Dogs fans can rest easy knowing they’ve won four in a row over the Suns, but this should be a fascinating contest between two of the top five clearance teams in the league.

Where the Bulldogs hold the advantage though is down back, Beveridge’s back-line allowing the third-fewest points to opponents this year.

Like they do most weeks, the Suns will likely hang around for the first half but lack the class to finish the job.

With Gold Coast struggling to make the most of its inside 50 opportunities, this should be a comfortable win in the end for the Dogs.

Tip: Back the Bulldogs to Cover the Line (-11.5 Points) @ $1.90

West Coast Eagles vs Essendon
Saturday 27 May, 7:30pm, Optus Stadium

Where to now for the Eagles?

Last week’s 116-point belting at the hands of Hawthorn was the second-highest margin between two bottom-ranked clubs in the history of the competition, a new low for a team battling through injury and coaching questions all season.

Whether Adam Simpson survives the chop before this Saturday’s bounce remains to be seen, but as the healthy double-digit line suggests, this could be another bloodbath.

West Coast had only two of its 2018 Premiership players on the park last week, and neither showed much leadership.

The likes of Andrew Gaff need to lift if this club is to salvage anything this season, but it’s hard to see the Eagles digging deep enough to knock off a Bombers side basking in the glow of last week’s Dreamtime win over Richmond.

The Bombers are a young side still finding their identity, but overall, there’s been a lot to like about Brad Scott’s first year in charge.

Essendon’s midfield remains incredibly underrated, and there is good news on the horizon with Dylan Shiel expected back this week.

The Bombers have shown against Hawthorn and the Gold Coast that they are capable of getting hold of the league’s bottom-ranked clubs, so this one has all the makings of non-contest.

Tip: Back the Bombers to Cover the Line (-52.5 Points) @ $1.90

Richmond vs Port Adelaide
Sunday 28 May, 1:10pm, MCG

A new era at Tiger Land gets underway this week following Damien Hardwick’s shock resignation on Tuesday.

Andrew McQualter is the man in charge from here on out, but he faces a stiff challenge first-up against the red-hot Power on Sunday afternoon.

Thoughts of Ken Hinkley being fired feel like a distant memory now, Port stringing together its seventh-straight win over the Demons last week thanks to some magic from Connor Rozee and Zak Butters.

The Tigers, meanwhile, lost a heartbreaker to the Bombers in the Dreamtime game, a result that makes finals close to impossible with a tough stretch ahead.

Getting the ball inside 50 hasn’t been a problem for Richmond, it’s what the Tigers are doing with their chances that has hurt them the most.

Likewise, Port has had its own struggles in front of goal, but they do hold a serious advantage through the middle of the ground.

Despite their inaccuracies, the Power still rank fourth in points scored, while more impressively, they’ve been the best tackling team in the competition.

The old adage of teams responding to a new head coach applies, but with the Power looking to hang inside the top four picture, the value on Port winning outright is tough to ignore.

Tip: Back Port Adelaide to Win @ $1.80

Collingwood vs North Melbourne
Sunday 28 May, 3:10pm, Marvel Stadium

The Pies continue to firm in Premiership betting with another favourable game against a bottom-ranked club ahead on Sunday.

Collingwood put on another slick performance in the win over Carlton last week, Ash Johnson taking one of the marks of the year and Brodie Mihocek kicking another bag.

Nick Daicos has survived a sticky week at the Tribunal, but overall, the Pies remain the team to beat moving forward.

To their credit, North responded extremely well to Alastair Clarkson’s absence last week, pushing the Swans all the way, only to be denied on an interchange penalty.

The Pies are so in-sync right now, and the stats support another comfortable win.

Collingwood ranks top five in points and inside 50s, two worrying areas against a North back-line that has struggled all season.

Tip: Back Collingwood to Win & Over 165.5 Total Points @ $1.88

Adelaide Crows vs Brisbane Lions
Sunday 28 May, 4:40pm, Adelaide Oval

The stage is set for a finals-like matinee game on Sunday between the Crows and Lions.

Adelaide is on the hunt for a bounce-back coming off last week’s unconvincing loss to the Dogs, Matthew Nicks’ side booting an ugly 5 goals 10 in the 45-point defeat.

Brisbane, on the other hand, is arguably the biggest threat to Collingwood following a seventh-straight win over the Suns.

Hugh McCluggage was back to his best during last week’s Q-Clash, while Joe Daniher remains in red-hot form in front of goal, complimenting a midfield that is firing on all cylinders behind Lachie Neale and Josh Dunkley.

The battle up forward promises plenty of fireworks this week with plenty of tall timber down either end. It’s fair to say both midfields are evenly matched also, placing enormous emphasis down back.

The Lions have conceded less than 70 points to three of their last four opponents, while it’s fair to say the Crows would have lost by more last week if the Dogs had kicked straight.

Adelaide is capable of putting up a big score if they kick straight, an area that has proven their biggest hindrance this year.

On the flip side, the Lions have been elite around the clearances as they continue to play an unselfish brand of footy.

This is the kind of win that would really stamp the Lions as a genuine flag contender, and although they’ve stumbled in games like this in the past, it’s much easier to trust their recent form over Adelaide’s troubles in front of goal.

Tip: Back the Lions 1-39 @ $2.30