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Round 11 questions to ponder: Can Dockers prove top-eight credentials, will Suns stay hot, can Eagles win away?

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Roar Rookie
22nd May, 2024
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With the competition as unpredictable as ever, we attempt to dissect and analyse some of the big questions we have ahead of Round 11.

Western Bulldogs v Sydney

Who will Jordon tag this week?
One of the crucial pieces to the Swans’ fantastic start to the season has been James Jordon’s role in shutting down opposition rebounders such as Lachie Whitfield and Jordon Clark.

Last week, against the Blues, the Swans put Jordon on prime midfielder Sam Walsh who was restricted to just 13 disposals after the first quarter as the Swans were able to negate the Blues ball movement after Carlton got off to a quick start.

This week against the Dogs, it will be interesting to see who John Longmire sends his star player to.

If it’s a halfback, Bailey Dale should expect some attention, averaging just under 30 disposals in the last five games.

However, as we saw last week with Walsh, Jordon has the capacity to run with the potent midfielders and Adam Treloar is having a sensational season, capped off with 34 disposals against GWS last week with a staggering 23 of those contested.

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As such, it will be interesting to see how the Swans use Jordon in order to sustain their great record of quelling the opposition’s ball movement this year.

Walyalup v Collingwood

Can the Dockers fix their set shot woes?
Walyalup is going really nicely this season, positioned at 6-4 and situated just outside the top eight.

Arguably their biggest game of the year to point is up next with the reigning premiers Collingwood at home in Perth under the Friday night lights.

If the Dockers want to make a statement and confirm their September credentials, one thing Justin Longmuir would want to tighten up is their goal-kicking.

Against the Saints last week, the Dockers almost threw away the game despite their domination across the ground, kicking 9.18, with the normally accurate Jye Amiss kicking 2.5.

It cost them the week before when they could not find the big sticks against the Swans, kicking 4.15 leading to a 48-point loss despite them going toe to toe with the current premiership fancies.

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If the Dockers continue this inaccuracy, it’d be hard to see them winning against a very good Pies outfit.

For Walyalup to make their stand in the competition and show they deserve to be in September, they need to supplement the fantastic job they are doing up the ground, by being ruthless in the final step in goal kicking.

Fremantle Celebrations Jye Amiss

Jye Amiss of the Dockers. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

North Melbourne v Yartapuulti

Are the Power talls holding them back?
Whilst Yartapuulti stormed home to steal a one-point win against the Hawks, one thing that would have concerned Ken Hinkley is the struggles of the Power key forwards.

The comeback against Hawthorn was mostly facilitated by smaller forwards such as Rioli and Byrne-Jones who kicked the last two goals to win the game.

The tall targets of Marshall, Finlayson, Dixon and Georgiades only managed 37 disposals between them and only kicked 1.5.

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The week before against Geelong, this quartet only kicked four goals between them and were again reliant on goals from their midfield and smalls such as Rioli and Byrne-Jones.

We know Port are going to be thereabouts this year but it’s hard to see them actually taking that next step if their tall targets cannot give more of a presence and impose themselves on games of footy.

Against a defensively poor North, these players should find some form, but the Yartapuulti fans will hope they can lift their game consistently for the Power to rise up to the next level.

Carlton v Gold Coast Suns

Can the Suns show their consistency?
The Gold Coast Suns had one of their more impressive wins last week against Geelong and currently sit within the top eight after 11 games.

However, we’ve seen this story all too often with the Suns as they not only struggle to put together consistent form and back up big wins, but their form away from home this year has been woeful.

Damien Hardwick’s men have the perfect opportunity this week to shut down both of those concerns and showcase that they are a legitimate finals contender when they come up against Carlton this week.

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The Blues are facing huge challenges in personnel, with the loss of Jacob Weitering worsening an already dire injury list for the Blues.

The loss of Weitering compounds the Blues’ defensive woes who have conceded an average of 99 points in their last four weeks and have lost three of their last four games.

As such, the Suns must take full advantage of a weakened Blues at Marvel Stadium if they are to prove to the footballing world that they are consistent and can win anywhere.

Geelong v GWS Giants

How do the Giants restart the Orange tsunami?
After a fantastic start to the season, the Giants are in a slump, losing their last three games and four of their last five.

One thing that has been noticeable in the last few weeks has been their ball movement struggles.

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We’ve all lauded the ‘Orange Tsunami’ and the Giants’ ability to run in waves, but this has gone missing. It was especially prominent last week against the Bulldogs where the Giants only had 41 inside 50s for a score of 6.7.

Throughout the night, there were many times when the Giants were unable to sustain transition footy for long periods in what were very difficult conditions.

An away trip against Geelong might be just the challenge that Adam Kingsley’s men need to get back on track.

The Giants have a good record at GMHBA Stadium, having won their last three games at the venue and they will be against a Geelong side who have also experienced a form slump and lost their last three games.

Jake Riccardi celebrates a goal.

(Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

If the Giants are to get back to their early season form, they need to rediscover the devastating tsunami that is so potent in getting past the best of opposition defences.

Richmond v Essendon

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Is Dreamtime the stage that Shai Bolton needs?
One of the really disappointing aspects of Richmond’s horrendous season so far has been the poor performance of their most experienced players.

In particular, former All-Australian Shai Bolton has looked far away from his best as he has only kicked four goals and had a combined 12 score involvements in the last four games – and has lacked the dynamism and intensity that has made him so important to Richmond.

With the Tigers having almost a never-ending injury list and playing woefully inexperienced players, Adem Yze needs players like Bolton to lead the effort for the Tigers to at least be competitive in games.

We have seen earlier this year that despite their injuries, Richmond can be competitive, and the fans will be hoping they can bring a sustained effort for the big Dreamtime clash against the Bombers.

The bright stage of the MCG in front of a large crowd might be what Bolton needs to discover his form and lead the whole team effort so the Tigers can at least bring a competitiveness against the high-flying Bombers that we have not seen in the last two weeks.

Hawthorn v Brisbane

Can the Hawks continue their domination over the Lions?
Even though Brisbane has been at the pointy end of the ladder for the last few years as opposed to the rebuilding Hawks, they’ve had struggles in playing Hawthorn of late.

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The Hawks have won the last four games against the Lions who have really struggled to play against the very well-coached team of Sam Mitchell’s.

After a tough first few weeks, Hawthorn has some form, winning three of their last five and leading against Port away from home until letting the game slip at the dying stages.

On the contrary, whilst Brisbane had an easy kill against Richmond last week and looks to have regained some form in the last few weeks, the Lions have struggled this year with a number of key players out with injuries.

With a resurgent Hawks showcasing they can match it with the best teams, it’ll be interesting to see if they can continue their unusual domination of the injury-depleted Lions and show the rest of the competition that they are firmly climbing back up the ladder in a big way.

Narrm v Euro-Yroke

How does Melbourne cover the loss of Lever?
The Demons suffered a shock loss in the West to Waalitj Marawar last week and to rub salt in the wound, they lost Jake Lever to concussion, throwing out their defensive structure as Jake Waterman kicked five goals.

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We know that Naarm’s successes and game plan are based heavily on their defensive set-up and key backs in Lever and Steven May. It’ll be interesting to see how Simon Goodwin’s team look to recover that crucial intercepting ability this week after conceding 105 points last week.

We saw the great job Tom McDonald did against Jeremy Cameron a few weeks ago as a lockdown defender and it seems he may have to play a more assertive role to assist May in repelling the Saints entries forward.

Adam Tomlinson is also a good chance to replace Lever in the key defensive post and prove that he deserves to be somewhere in Melbourne’s best 22.

Whilst Euro-Yroke are struggling this season and should be accounted for by Narrm, the Demons would still want to deliver a professional performance after their defensive game wilted against the Eagles last week.

Tom Barrass.

Tom Barrass. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Kuwarna v Waalitj Marawar

Can the Eagles do it away from home?
The resurgence of Waalitj Marawar as a competitive team has been a delight to watch this year, particularly with their superstar number-one draft pick Harley Reid leading the way.

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The Eagles have won three out of their last four games at home, the latest of which was an impressive 35-point win against premiership contenders in Narrm.

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The next step for the Eagles’ rise is to do it away from home as they still have some work to do when it comes to playing outside the WA border.

They were beaten quite comfortably in their last 2 away games against Gold Coast and Collingwood and they will have a stern challenge on their hands when they face Kuwarna at the Adelaide Oval.

Whilst they will go into the game as heavy underdogs, it’ll be interesting to see how far the Eagles can challenge the Crows as part of their overall rise this season.

If Waalitj Marawar can push the Kuwarna or even cause an upset, logic would suggest that the Eagles have left their dire run over the last couple of years firmly behind them.

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