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2024 Toyota AFL Premiership
Fremantle v Collingwood
Round 11 •
75 11.9
Kennedy - Official Timekeeper Full Time
75 10.15
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    R11 preview: Swans aim for 88-year high, Cats face home bogey

    In an even competition a lot of clubs have a chance to stake their claims this week

    Will Hayward during the round 18 match between Sydney and Western Bulldogs at the SCG, July 13, 2023, Picture: AFL Photos

    THE SECOND leg of Sir Doug Nicholls Round has much to live up to after an action-packed weekend of upsets, come-from-behind victories, and a masterclass from the pacesetters.

    Dreamtime at the ‘G will be the centrepiece when Richmond and Essendon meet on Saturday night, while Western Bulldogs and Sydney open round 11 on Thursday night

    >> Win $25,000 in the official AFL Tipping comp! Sign up NOW

    Here is who and what to look out for across round 11, as well as a tip for each match.                     

    Western Bulldogs v Sydney, Marvel Stadium
    Thursday, May 23, 7.30pm AEST

    Last time: Sydney 11.12 (78) d Western Bulldogs 11.10 (76), R18 2023

    What it means

    The Western Bulldogs (5-5) have revitalised their season with back-to-back wins including a clinical dismantling of heated rivals Greater Western Sydney last week. But the Bulldogs are coming off a five-day break to face the white-hot Swans with further tests of their finals credentials to follow against the Pies, Lions and Dockers before a bye.

    Sydney (9-1) can stretch its blistering start to the season to a 10-1 record for the first time since 1936 with a seventh consecutive victory when it faces the Bulldogs. The stunning streak has helped the Swans open up a gap on the chasing pack that they can maintain with a win over the Dogs before a week off with a bye.

    Game shapers

    The Bulldogs have been forced to shake up their midfield this year with Bailey Smith out for the season and Tom Liberatore sidelined in recent weeks. Dashing defender Ed Richards has made the most of his move to midfield over the past two weeks, winning the ball at the coalface while still using his pace to find space and move the ball forward at speed.

    Isaac Heeney has lapped up the plaudits as the Swans have soared to the top of the ladder, but fellow onballer Chad Warner has been in similarly imperious form. Warner is all about maximum impact as he averages 24.5 disposals with 3.8 clearances, while booting the third most goals of all midfielders, with 15 from 10 matches.

    Early tip: Sydney by 11 points

    02:17

    Walyalup v Collingwood, Optus Stadium
    Friday, May 24, 6.10pm AWST

    Last time: Collingwood 18.5 (113) d Walyalup 10.7 (67), R18 2023

    What it means

    Walyalup (6-4) is within striking distance of the top four even while sitting just outside the eight by a slim percentage after winning three of its past four matches. The Dockers could put themselves in an even stronger position with a victory on their home deck against the reigning premier, with the Demons up next in Darwin before a bye.

    Collingwood (6-3-1) has climbed to fifth spot with three wins on the trot and is looking an imposing prospect for any opposition despite growing concerns for the length of its injury list. The Magpies travel well and have a promising record at the venue with three victories from their past four visits going back to 2020.

    Game shapers

    Even as the Dockers have climbed to the brink of the top eight, questions remain over their ability to score heavily. Jordan Clark’s impact on that has been growing even from half-back, as his rebounding from defence helps set up more Dockers attacks while a standout display against the Saints was arguably his best for the club.

    Lachie Schultz has had an indifferent start to life at the Magpies since leave the Dockers at the end of last season. The zippy forward has booted 10 goals in nine matches and will now play his 100th match against his former club, while the Pies will hope Schultz can lift his impact near goal especially as their own injuries mount up.

    Early tip: Collingwood by nine points

    02:03

    North Melbourne v Yartapuulti, Blundstone Arena
    Saturday, May 25, 1.45pm AEST

    Last time: Yartapuulti 20.15 (135) d North Melbourne 10.5 (65), R9 2023

    What it means

    North Melbourne (0-10) once boasted a formidable record in Hobart but has only won twice in its past 13 visits since being stranded near the bottom of the ladder in recent years. The Roos showed promising signs against the Bombers outside of a 15-minute lapse, and can look to build on their cleaner ball movement with fellow bottom-four side West Coast to follow a bye.

    Yartapuulti (7-3) snatched the four points in a dramatic finish against Hawthorn but will be well aware that it was mostly outplayed until the final-term surge. The Power can look to fine tune against the Roos, who they have defeated in nine of their past 10 meetings, before a five-day break to face the Blues ahead of a bye.

    Game shapers

    Aidan Corr has been an ever-present in the Kangaroos’ new-look defence, trying to stem the tide and lead the way alongside their less experienced key backs. The former Giant is certain to be handed another crucial role minding the Power’s tall forwards as he lines up to play his 150th match.

    Jason Horne-Francis has had one of the more eventful – and impactful – first 50 matches, being drafted with the No.1 pick then a year later moving clubs. The former Kangaroo gives his original club regular reminders of what they once had, as his influence continues to grow with the Power whether playing near goal or on the ball.

    Early tip: Yartapuulti by 33 points

    02:18

    Carlton v Gold Coast, Marvel Stadium
    Saturday, May 25, 1.45pm AEST

    Last time: Carlton 13.13 (91) d Gold Coast 13.9 (87), R23 2023

    What it means

    Carlton (6-4) started brightly against Sydney before being handed a clearer indication of where it sits as the ladder-leaders soon got on top and eventually raced away. The Blues have now lost three of their past four to drop out of the top eight, but can take critical points off finals rivals like the improving Suns, with the Power and Bombers to come before a bye.

    Gold Coast (6-4) could hardly have been more impressive as it thumped Geelong in Darwin to make it six-from-six at its home venues and a move into the top eight. But the Suns are yet to match those heights when they hit the road this season, losing all four matches as the gap between their best and worst has been too obvious to see.

    Game shapers

    The Blues continue to search for more support for skipper Patrick Cripps and gun midfielder Sam Walsh, especially with Adam Cerra part of their long injury list. George Hewett plays his role well, but the likes of Matthew Kennedy could add more grunt around the stoppages, if only to help their stars shine.  

    Alex Sexton was widely expected to flourish in a new role as a rebounding half-back where his pace and long kicking could open up the game for the Suns. But the former goalsneak took time to settle and was dropped after three matches, until returning for the past two, including with a starring role against Geelong that suggested his best is yet to come.

    Early tip: Carlton by 16 points

    02:30

    Geelong v Greater Western Sydney, GMHBA Stadium
    Saturday, May 25, 4.35pm AEST

    Last time: GWS Giants 12.9 (81) d Geelong 10.14 (74), R11 2023

    What it means

    Geelong (7-3) will hope to call on reinforcements as it returns from Darwin with its tail between its legs after a crushing defeat to Gold Coast that was among the most shocking of Chris Scott’s reign. The Cats have now lost three on the trot to fall back into the pack but can look to get their season back on track in back-to-back matches at home.

    Greater Western Sydney (6-4) has stumbled badly after starting the season with five consecutive victories that suggested it was among the flag fancies, losing four of the next five to now only just squeeze into the top eight. But the Giants seem to lift when on the road and have beaten the Cats on their past three visits to their formidable home deck, and can leave it all out there with a bye to come next.

    Game shapers

    Brandan Parfitt has taken on added responsibility in the Cats’ midfield with changes in part due to a planned refresh while also forced upon them by injury. The 26-year-old has grasped the opportunity through improved consistency and tidier disposal, while averaging 18.4 disposals with a career-high 5.25 clearances.

    Toby Greene went a long way to brushing off any talk of a form slump with three goals in the defeat to the Bulldogs, even as he was one of only two goalkickers for his side. The skipper now has 14 majors from nine matches, including five in the past two, and again looks primed to lead the Giants out of trouble when their backs are to the wall.

    Early tip: Geelong by 17 points

    02:34

    Richmond v Essendon, MCG
    Saturday, May 25, 7.40pm AEST

    Last time: Essendon 10.11 (71) d Richmond 10.10 (70), R10 2023

    What it means

    Richmond (1-9) is facing an ever-growing injury crisis that is making it hard for it to compete, but must find a way to at least limit the damage on the big stage against rivals Essendon. The Tigers’ problems are reinforced by their difficulties to score, averaging only 62 points for their lowest return from a season’s first 10 matches since 1964.

    Essendon (7-2-1) is past flying under the radar after climbing to second spot with a commanding victory over North Melbourne and can now bolster its top-four hopes against a struggling Richmond. The Bombers snapped their 13-match losing streak against the Tigers in a one-point thriller in the corresponding clash last year, but this time might eye a percentage boost as well as the four points.

    Game shapers

    Jayden Short has been a valuable addition to the Tigers’ defence since overcoming yet another a calf injury. The experienced half-back has helped to steady the ship even as the undermanned Tigers’ have been under attack, locking down on opposition forwards and rebounding the other way.

    The Bombers look far more potent now with multiple forward threats, but Jake Stringer is also reaping the rewards of the variety in attack. Stringer has booted at least one goal in all 10 matches this season for 19 overall, and will no doubt be looking to add another haul in his 200th match.

    Early tip: Essendon by 44 points

    02:18

    Hawthorn v Brisbane, Marvel Stadium
    Sunday, May 26, 1.10pm AEST

    Last time: Hawthorn 15.8 (98) d Brisbane 11.7 (73), R13 2023

    What it means

    Hawthorn (3-7) might still be reeling from a last-gasp defeat to Yartapuulti last week but can at least take positives from an impressive three quarters when it had built a strong lead. The Hawks have turned around their season with three wins in their past five, and even have the wood over the Lions after triumphing the past four times they have met.

    Brisbane (4-5-1) will be out to even up its win-loss record for the first time this season after starting it with three defeats. The Lions have been building their form in recent weeks and should hold few fears of playing at this venue after eight wins from their past nine visits, while last year’s runner’s up can look forward to freshening up after this with a bye to come next.

    Game shapers

    Will Day had a belated start to his season after taking out the Hawks’ best and fairest award last year, but after four games back appears to be humming again. The 22-year-old took a while to get going after recovering from stress fractures in his foot, but was all but back to his best with 27 disposals and a goal as his side fell a few seconds short of making it four wins from five.

    Kai Lohmann has been something of a slow burn after being drafted with pick No.20 in 2021 but has played every match for the Lions this year, including spending time as the sub. The livewire forward booted a career-high five goals last week to earn the Rising Star nomination, as he starts to fulfil more of his promise just as the Lions need their young guns.

    Early tip: Brisbane by 19 points

    02:56

    Narrm v Euro-Yroke, MCG
    Sunday, May 26, 3.20pm AEST

    Last time: Narrm 12.7 (79) d Euro-Yroke 8.10 (58), R17 2023

    What it means

    Narrm (6-4) has been paying the price for its inconsistency in and across matches while it has dropped from flag fancy to only sitting inside the top eight on percentage. After back-to-back defeats the Demons can now look to get their season back on track against an under-fire Saints outfit they have beaten the past four times they have met.

    Euro-Yroke (3-7) has only beaten lowly North Melbourne in its past six matches as its season has hit the skids to leave it at significant risk of losing touch with the top eight. The Saints are finding the going tough with their ongoing struggles to score, ranked 15th for points for and with the miserly Demons now to come.

    Game shapers

    Christian Salem bounced back immediately from a stint on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury to gather 25 disposals even as the Demons were stunned by the Eagles. Narrm now needs the smooth-moving half-back to help reinvigorate its ball movement that was too timid in that loss, while the defence could also do with a boost as fresh injuries strike.

    The Saints missed the new-found consistency of the tireless Mason Wood when he was sidelined, even as other injuries and losses piled up. The hard-running 30-year-old has been useful since returning to the side, averaging 21 disposals in three matches, but the Saints should now look to Wood to be more of an influence on their attack.

    Early tip: Narrm by 24 points

    02:03

    Kuwarna v Waalitj Marawar, Adelaide Oval
    Sunday, May 26, 4.10pm ACST

    Last time: Kuwarna 17.21 (123) d Waalitj Marawar 12.6 (78), R24 2023

    What it means

    Kuwarna (3-6-1) has put itself back in the finals mix with a month of improved form, even if the fine margins that follow a slow start were reinforced in a heartbreaking loss to Collingwood. But the time is now for the Crows to make their move with three matches against bottom-four sides, starting this week against Waalitj Marawar and then with Hawthorn and Richmond to come.

    Waalitj Marawar (3-7) has shown signs of rebounding quicker than arguably expected with three wins and a narrow defeat in its past four matches on its home deck. But the Eagles have been unable to take that same form on the road, and will have to overturn a poor recent record at this venue following six heavy defeats there since 2021.

    Game shapers

    Jordon Butts is increasingly a crucial member of the Crows’ defence with his importance again highlighted when he was recently sidelined. The key defender will have a critical role against the Eagles with the task to shut down arguably to most in-form forward in the game, with Jake Waterman’s ongoing impact now hardly a surprise.

    The Eagles need their leaders and top players to show the way on the road if they are to turn around their troubling form away from home. Tom Barrass continues to control the air alongside Jeremy McGovern in defence, to ensure the Eagles have at least two pillars at the back to rely on.

    Early tip: Kuwarna by 27 points

    02:25

    All tied up! Remarkable finish as Dockers, Pies end all square

    Walyalup and Collingwood play out a thrilling draw after a late Dockers surge

    Nat Fyfe looks up at the scoreboard after the draw between Walyalup (Fremantle) and Collingwood at Optus Stadium in round 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

    A LAST gasp charge from Walyalup fell stunningly short in a Friday night thriller as the Dockers drew with a battered Collingwood at Optus Stadium. 

    Trailing by 25 points as time on approached in the last term, the Dockers booted four straight goals in a thrilling run to the finish and could have stolen the win if wingman Jeremy Sharp had converted on the run with 45 seconds left. 

    DOCKERS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats

    The point levelled scores at 11.9 (75) to the Magpies' 10.15 (75), and the visitors were not able to add to that when they charged forward one more time and got the ball locked in their forward 50. 

    The run from Walyalup came seemingly from nowhere after Bailey Banfield cut the margin to 19 points 20 minutes into the quarter, with a rare goal from captain Alex Pearce coming after the key defender snuck forward.

    ALL THE HIGHLIGHTS

    There was also a contentious free kick to Walyalup ruckman Sean Darcy when the ball was not returned to the umpire by young Magpie Lachie Sullivan after a stoppage was called in the Dockers' forward line. 

    Midfielder Hayden Young kicked a brilliant left foot goal off a step to continue the charge and fuel belief in an unlikely win that had seemed improbable minutes earlier.

    Calling on all their depth and suffering more injuries to Mason Cox (leg and concussion) and Brody Mihocek (hamstring awareness), the Magpies had looked destined for a gutsy road win full of grit, given their availability.  

    04:01

    Their star midfielder Nick Daicos was brilliant for the fourth consecutive week and made the Magpies' lead possible, finishing with 35 disposals, 10 clearances and nine inside 50s. 

    Harvey Harrison booted three goals as one of six young Magpies with limited experience, while Pat Lipinski (21 and seven inside 50s) was heavily involved in scoring chains.  

    The Dockers were dialled in for a fast start and looked decisive with the ball early, handballing to their runners and playing on at every opportunity as Josh Treacy got them off to the perfect start from the pocket. 

    06:51

    They dominated general play and had 10 of the first 12 inside 50s, but inaccuracy quickly crept into their game when Jye Amiss, who kicked 2.5 last week against St Kilda, sprayed two set shots. 

    Still, when Andrew Brayshaw converted on the run halfway through the quarter the Dockers were 13 points clear and looked to have the game on their terms, but the run of play shifted almost immediately as Josh Daicos pounced on a long-range opportunity himself. 

    00:36

    A questionable reversed free kick against Amiss just before the siren saw Harrison convert to give the Magpies a one-point lead at the first change, but it would be their last goal for more than a quarter. 

    01:08

    A run of three behinds to start the second term would have frustrated Craig McRae while his team had all the momentum, and the Magpies were inevitably punished once the Dockers adjusted to the visitors' pressure and created a run of chances of their own. 

    Banfield, Sam Switkowski and Jaeger O'Meara all converted opportunities, with Walyalup ramping up its pressure and laying 28 tackles to 17 to change the complexion of the match and take a 13-point lead into the main break. 

    00:36

    The Magpies owned the third as they set up what looked like a match-winning lead, ramping up their own pressure, creating overlap run and kicking 5.3 to 0.4, with Mihocek influential with two goals before leaving the ground because of a recurrence of his recent hamstring issues. 

    When Jack Crisp and Brad Hill continued the momentum to start the fourth, they were 25 points clear and seemingly home before the stunning late reversal.

    Pies punished with rare free kick
    It is not often a player is penalised for not returning the ball to the umpire when a ball-up is called, and Collingwood players were bemused when it happened on Friday night. Instead of returning the ball to umpire Mathew Nicholls deep in the fourth quarter, young Magpie Lachie Sullivan handed it to teammate Nick Daicos and gave away a free kick to Sean Darcy 15m from goal. Whether he was time wasting or just made an innocent mistake, it was a significant penalty. Technically, however, it was there, given AFL rules state a free kick can be paid if a player "fails to follow the instructions of the umpire". An explanation won't help the Magpies, but they'll await one.     

    01:00

    Young Pies impress
    A mounting injury list meant Collingwood took a group of six players into Friday night's clash who had a combined 15 games' experience, but you would not have known based simply on how they played. The most experienced of them with eight games, Harvey Harrison, led the way with three goals and nine tackles, while Joe Richards (two games) was clean and damaging in the front half. Lachie Sullivan (three games) held his own in the midfield, with Charlie Dean (two games) and debutants Ed Allan and substitute Wil Parker all enjoying moments of influence. The performances should give the Magpies significant confidence in their depth and system. 

    00:37

    Schultz plays the villain on milestone night  
    Just 12 games ago, Lachie Schultz was wearing a Glendinning-Allan Medal after a tearing apart the second Western Derby of 2024 with five goals and 24 disposals. A Dockers star that day at Optus Stadium, he returned on Friday night for his 100th game and was booed with every one of his 15 disposals. Well held on his return to Perth, the small forward went goalless and missed a golden opportunity in the fourth quarter to snap the goal he would have desperately wanted. Loved at Walyalup for the pressure he applied, he laid six tackles in a milestone game he'll certainly remember.

    Lachie Schultz (centre) speaks with former teammates Sean Darcy and Sam Switkowski after the drawn game between Walyalup (Fremantle) and Collingwood at Optus Stadium in round 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

    WALYALUP              3.3    6.4   6.8   11.9 (75)
    COLLINGWOOD       3.4    3.9   8.12   10.15 (75)

    GOALS
    Walyalup:
    Banfield 3, Brayshaw, Darcy, O'Meara, Pearce, Sharp, Switkowski, Treacy, Young
    Collingwood: Harrison 3, Mihocek 2, Crisp, J.Daicos, Hill, Lipinski, Richards

    BEST
    Walyalup:
     Clark, Brayshaw, Banfield, Ryan, Sharp, Pearce, Young 
    Collingwood: N. Daicos, Lipinski, J. Daicos, Harrison, Richards, Pendlebury 

    INJURIES
    Walyalup:
    Nil
    Collingwood: Cox (leg and concussion), Mihocek (hamstring)

    SUBSTITUTES
    Walyalup: Corey Wagner (replaced Josh Draper in the third quarter)
    Collingwood: Wil Parker (replaced Mason Cox in the third quarter)

    Crowd: 54,035 at Optus Stadium

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