Mick’s Picks: Round 11 AFL Preview

Mick Malthouse: Round 11 Preview

Mick Malthouse is back on the William Hill team in 2018 and Mick’s Picks will be a weekly article throughout the season.

The most impressive teams of the last fortnight have been Melbourne, West Coast and Essendon. The Dees have won by an average of almost 100 points, while Essendon have completely turned their season around and their clash with Richmond now looms as a pivotal one for their finals chances. West Coast have consolidated themselves on top of the ladder – but make no mistake, Hawthorn did not play that badly and have plenty more to give this season. I continue to have queries about Geelong, as they just don’t seem to be travelling that well. Gary Ablett is a shadow of his former self and Joel Selwood is struggling for form.

Round 11 Tips

(Time AEST)
Mick’s Pick
Sydney v Carlton (Fri 19:50) Carlton +51.5 ($1.91)
Bulldogs v Melbourne (Sat 13:45) Melbourne 1-39 ($2.25)
Hawthorn v Port Adelaide (Sat 14:10) Hawthorn WIN ($1.97)
Gold Coast v Geelong (Sat 16:35) Gold Coast +21.5 ($1.91)
Essendon v Richmond (Sat 19:25) Essendon +20.5 ($1.91)
West Coast v St. Kilda (Sat 20:10) West Coast -52.5 ($1.91)
North Melbourne v Brisbane (Sun 13:10) Brisbane +27.5 ($1.91)
Collingwood v Fremantle (Sun 15:20) Collingwood -33.5 ($1.91)
Adelaide v GWS (Sun 16:40) Adelaide 1-39 ($2.10)

Sydney v Carlton (Fri 19:50)
Carlton have been flogged once but for most of the season they have managed to stay competitive. Sydney have been patchy. They haven’t had all their big guns firing at the same time this season, and key players like Lance Franklin have missed football and they have now lost Callum Mills for the season. I expect Sydney to win fairly comfortably but with some rain around, that suits Carlton, and I think they look the way to go with the head start.
Mick’s Pick: Carlton +51.5 ($1.91)

Bulldogs v Melbourne (Sat 13:45)
I’m always cautious about teams who come off playing in unfamiliar surroundings. The Dees travelled to Alice Springs last week and even though they were impressive, to have to back up six days later is challenging. The Dogs have been very poor in the front half; they just seem to lack scoring capacity. The Dees will be motivated to win for Nathan Jones 250th, but I just think that the margin will be a bit closer than the last couple of weeks due to that shorter break and the fact the Dogs are at their best under the roof.
Mick’s Pick: Melbourne 1-39 ($2.25)

Hawthorn v Port Adelaide (Sat 14:10)
As a former coach you develop some ‘gut feel’ – and my gut feel here is that Hawthorn won’t lose four in a row. The Power come off the bye which is a bit unpredictable, but having travelled to China prior to that just how fresh are they? The Hawks hung in the game last week against West Coast for a long time but in the end the Eagles just had too many guns for them. I think the Eagles are a far better side than Port so I am going for the Hawks in a close one.
Mick’s Pick: Hawthorn WIN ($1.97)

Gold Coast v Geelong (Sat 16:35)
Gold Coast beat Geelong last year in one of their best wins as a club so following on from the break they should be full of confidence going up a Cats side that has been less than convincing this season. It’s fair to say that Dangerfield, Selwood and Ablett have not clicked. Joel Selwood in particular has dropped off markedly, his disposal is substandard and while he continues to play a tough brand of football he doesn’t seem to cover the ground like he used to. Patrick Dangerfield is spending less time in the middle, and that means Geelong don’t win enough contested ball. Gold Coast come here off a break and they finally get to play at home for the first time this season. With Tom Lynch back in the team they can push the Cats.
Mick’s Pick: Gold Coast +21.5 ($1.91)

Essendon v Richmond (Sat 19:25)
If you go on form across the season, it should be Richmond easily. But Essendon have really stepped up in the last couple of weeks. I have said it before in this column that Orazio Fantasia makes a massive difference for the Bombers. When he is in the team, all of a sudden they look quick again. Richmond come off a tough couple of weeks, having travelled to Perth and getting beaten before being pushed for most of the game when undermanned against the Saints. I think if the Bombers bring their form from the last couple of weeks they can really push the Tigers here.
Mick’s Pick: Essendon +20.5 ($1.91)

West Coast v St. Kilda (Sat 20:10)
There is no case to be made for St. Kilda here. If their form wasn’t bad enough, they have been hit with injuries and suspensions that will make their job even harder. With Nathan Brown and Jake Carlisle out, a firm track and clear weather forecast, the Eagles forwards should monster the Saints. Everyone knows how well the Eagles are going – their record speaks for itself.  I think this will be a ten goal plus margin.
Mick’s Pick: West Coast -52.5 ($1.91)

North Melbourne v Brisbane (Sun 13:10)
North have far exceeded expectations this year and while the Lions are 1-9, they are certainly playing far better than that record suggests. The Lions probably have the more talented list, but they are two or three years away from really making a run at the finals. North are the most consistent side in the competition in terms of maximizing their ability each week. They are fortunate to have Todd Goldstein back in vintage form, and their usage of a tagger, Ben Jacobs, each week has paid real dividends. I expect the Lions to make a game of it.
Mick’s Pick: Brisbane +27.5 ($1.91)

Collingwood v Fremantle (Sun 15:20)
Collingwood have far too much midfield depth for Fremantle. The Dockers have two stars in Michael Walters and Nat Fyfe, but neither is strong defensively and even though that is contra to everything Ross Lyon believes in, that’s how they play. Without Aaron Sandilands, Brodie Grundy will have a day out in the ruck and he will be giving his players first use of it. Fremantle continue to lack scoring power and even though the Pies have struggled to kick big scores this season, it is hard to see the Dockers scoring more than 8 or 10 goals, in fact, they haven’t scored more than 9 on the road all year and that was in Round 1.
Mick’s Pick: Collingwood -33.5 ($1.91)

Adelaide v GWS (Sun 16:40)
Both teams come off very poor defeats but Adelaide has the capacity to rebound quicker than the Giants. Both teams are down on confidence and down on personnel, but Adelaide have been a better team at home all season than they have been away. This game is exactly what the Crows need to get their season back on track so even though Phil Davis’ return will be welcomed by the Giants, they should win comfortably enough.
Mick’s Pick: Adelaide 1-39 ($2.10)

All prices correct as of 4:00pm, Thursday 31 May.