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The crucial cogs of AFL's Round 11: Which players need to be the difference makers?

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Roar Guru
21st May, 2024
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Round 11 promises to be an entertaining one with plenty to look forward to: there are some fascinating games starting with Western Bulldogs against Sydney.

We’re taking a look at one player from each team that needs to make a difference.

Western Bulldogs v Sydney

Western Bulldogs

Aaron Naughton showed that he could have an impact on the game without kicking a bag when the Western Bulldogs took on GWS in Round 10.

The key forward finished the game with 20 disposals, six score involvements and polled three Coaches’ votes, even though he only kicked one goal.

On the other side of the coin, the only game Naughton has gone goalless this season, was when Geelong beat the Western Bulldogs by four points in Round 4.

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Sydney

Chad Warner’s explosive speed out of stoppage is killing opposition teams, given he is so tough to stop.

The Sydney midfielder has averaged an impressive eight score involvements per game, so he is doing damage from his disposals.

It will be intriguing to see whether Western Bulldogs choose to go head-to-head with the 23-year-old or if they tag him.

Fremantle v Collingwood

Fremantle

Jye Amiss finished the game against St Kilda in Round 10 with all nine of his disposals resulting in score involvements.

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The Fremantle forward must improve his goal-kicking, given the 20-year-old finished the game with two goals and five behinds.

It’s difficult to see Collingwood curtailing his influence, as when Amiss is in the groove he’s a tough match-up.

Collingwood

Darcy Cameron rarely gets talked about, but the Collingwood ruckman is a pivotal part of their system.

His work around the ground was impressive against Adelaide in Round 10, given he took six marks.

Even if the former Sydney player doesn’t take a mark, he invariably brings the ball to ground, which allows Nick Daicos, Jack Crisp and Scott Pendlebury to go to work.

North Melbourne v Port Adelaide

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North Melbourne

Harry Sheezel has benefited from playing in the midfield, as it’s added another layer to his game, which is better than him picking up cheap disposals in the back half, but not impacting the contest.

The third pick in the 2022 AFL draft showed what he can do against Essendon in Round 10. The 19-year-old finished the game with 32 disposals, eight score involvements and three intercept possessions.

Even though Port Adelaide should win the game, Sheezel could cause Ken Hinkley plenty of headaches.

Port Adelaide

Willie Rioli has kicked an aggregate of seven goals in the past two games. The former West Coast player is in a rich vein of form and expects that to continue against North Melbourne.

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It’s a game where the crumber needs to get on the scoreboard because he will want to keep up his form and play a key role in what should be a Port Adelaide win.

Carlton v Gold Coast

Carlton

Mitch McGovern is a key part of the Carlton system, as the Blues lost two of the three games that McGovern didn’t play due to injury.

There’s no doubt that Carlton will need him to be at his best when they face Gold Coast, especially given Jacob Weitering may be unavailable.

What will be interesting is which Gold Coast player Michael Voss chooses McGovern to curtail.

Gold Coast

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Noah Anderson is an elite player in the competition and is tough to stop when at his best. Having polled 37 Coaches’ votes so far this season is pretty impressive.

The Gold Coast midfielder is a dangerous player that Michael Voss could choose to tag, which may mean Touk Miller and Matt Rowell get off the leash.

Geelong v GWS

Geelong

Tyson Stengle has had a good season so far, having kicked at least one goal in every game except Round 1 against St Kilda.

The crumber has kicked multiple goals in his past three games. The 2023 AFL All-Australian has averaged 6.10 score involvements per game this season and is a constant threat in the Geelong forward 50.

Stengle should benefit from the inclusions of Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron, as they provide an aerial contest.

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Tyson Stengle celebrates a goal.

Tyson Stengle. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

GWS

Toby Greene has had a slow start to the season, considering the GWS leader was the AFL All-Australian captain in season 2023.

There’s no disputing that Greene has been out of form and must be better, which he has been having kicked an aggregate of five goals in the past two games.

His leadership should shine through in what could be a season-defining game against Geelong.

Richmond v Essendon

Richmond

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Toby Nankervis was one of the players for Richmond who had a go against Brisbane in Round 10, given he had eight tackles.

There’s no disputing Richmond has plenty of injuries, but their past two games have been unacceptable and they will need their captain to lead from the front in the Dream Time at the G game, as it starts with him.

Essendon

Peter Wright should benefit from kicking four goals in Round 10 against North Melbourne from a confidence perspective.

It’s clear that Wright needed that game for confidence and he has kicked multiple goals in four of the five games he has played this season.

With Sam Draper injured Wright has played as a second ruckman, which has added another string to his bow.

Hawthorn v Brisbane

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Hawthorn

Jack Scrimshaw was sorely missed when Hawthorn gave up a 41-point lead to lose their Round 10 clash against Port Adelaide.

The Hawthorn defender has averaged the eighth most intercepts per game of any player in the competition with 8.22.

The 25-year-old will be a welcome addition when Hawthorn takes on Brisbane without Eric Hipwood who is suspended.

Brisbane

Charlie Cameron should take plenty away from kicking five goals in an obliteration of Richmond. Prior to that, there’s no disputing that he hasn’t been at his prolific best.

Cameron will want to prove that his Round 10 against Richmond wasn’t an aberration, as you don’t know what you’re going to get from him, which is something we never questioned before.

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Charlie Cameron celebrates.

Charlie Cameron. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Melbourne v St Kilda

Melbourne

Christian Petracca has averaged the second most score involvements per game of any player in the competition with 8.90.

There’s no doubt that Petracca will want to will Melbourne over the line in what could be a season-defining game against St Kilda.

St Kilda

Jack Higgins will be a welcome addition to the St Kilda team, as he has been sorely missed.

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The St Kilda crumber has kicked multiple goals in five of the seven games that he has featured in. He could prove difficult for Melbourne to stop, in his first game back from suspension.

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Adelaide v West Coast

Adelaide

Ben Keays played a key part of the Adelaide team in Round 10 against Collingwood as he played a shutdown role on Scott Pendlebury in the second quarter in particular, as Pendlebury was on fire in the first quarter.

Going by that, Keays could get the job of curtailing Harley Reid when he plays in the midfield and Tim Kelly at other times against West Coast, which could prove to be a handful.

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West Coast

Jake Waterman has been a revelation for West Coast so far this season, having averaged the most goals per game of any player in the competition with 3.22.

What’s impressive is that he kicked at least one goal per game in the nine games that he has featured in.

The 26-year-old is such a tough match-up and should prove difficult for the Adelaide defence to stop.

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