The six things we learned from round 11

We’re 11 weeks into the AFL season, while fans were treated to nine exciting games all weekend.

Round 11 told us a lot about some clubs as the reigning Prime Ministers were eventually overthrown.

Here’s what we learned from the weekend’s games:

Apologies for COVID and injuries are up for West Coast

The West Coast has struggled all season, but Saturday’s loss to the Bulldogs was brutal in many ways.

After seeing if they had regained a little bit of form against the Giants last week, the Eagles sank to further depths by losing by triple digits.

Coach Adam Simpson has come up with countless excuses so far this year, with injuries and COVID plaguing the side, and while that was often an honest assessment, there’s no excuse for a lack of effort.

With one win to their name and a percentage of just 49.7, the Eagles are well on their way to equaling the worst season in recent history, which was GWS in 2013 with one win and a percentage of 50.97.

There’s no question that the West Coast needs rebuilding, but it’s also impossible for them to perform as poorly as that Giants side that was in its second year of existence.

They have to react, and quickly, it gets really embarrassing.

Adelaide away next week could be the perfect opportunity to show that.

Fremantle are real contenders

Just as we were beginning to doubt the Dockers, they came through with one of the most impressive wins of the season against reigning Prime Minister Melbourne.

With consecutive losses to Gold Coast and Collingwood, Fremantle began to falter and a reaction seemed unlikely with Melbourne and Brisbane on the horizon.

With the victory over the Demons, the Dockers not only undo their recent bad form, but they really go into battle.

While Steven May was a huge shiner for the Dees, he probably doesn’t have a difference of 38 points, showing how phenomenal Justin Longmuir’s side was.

The top four beckons for Fremantle at 8-3, and a win against Brisbane next week would give them a really firm hold on the number two midway through the season.

We could be ready for a dominant purple run if what we saw on Saturday afternoon continues.

That’s probably the result Melbourne needed

Just as the result was crucial for Fremantle, it could also be the same for Melbourne.

As the reigning Prime Ministers made their way to 10-0 before the clash, the way they did it was somewhat concerning as they never quite clicked out of first gear in most of those wins.

While that’s a good sign to show how dominant they were, they probably got a little complacent knowing in the back of their minds that a loss would eventually come.

That it comes into round 11 is only a good thing for the Dees…they would certainly prefer that to it coming into a grand final.

In defeat, the Demons will be able to address any flaws that remained in their game and ensure they are still as hungry as ever, especially as we begin the transition into September after mid-season.

You wouldn’t like to be the team to face this loss Melbourne side.

Sydney awaits the MCG on Saturday, expect a big response from Simon Goodwin’s men.

Collingwood is not the one trick pony we thought they would be

After getting the season off to a good start before falling back into the pack, many had Collingwood as one of those teams that went out of their way to attack.

While that works well at best, when it goes wrong it falls away super fast and we saw that as these pies got used to Craig McRae’s game plan.

While the forward handball and overlap are still a huge feature of Collingwood’s game, we’ve seen against Fremantle and Carlton over the past two weeks that their pressure is elite too.

In two straight weeks, the Magpies knocked out teams that were in the top four of the weekend’s games, claiming both wins on the back of chasing their opponents without the ball.

Now with what appears to be a structurally sound zone, the Magpies can really win games thanks to their tackles as they cause their opponents to turn the ball around in dangerous positions.

With two big scalps in his pocket, Collingwood leads the favorites in next Sunday’s game against Hawthorn.

Win that, and at 7-5 their fate is well and truly in their hands.

Carlton’s Jacob Weitering appears to be doing serious damage

Just as Carlton’s big sticks were looking extinct from injury, star defender Jacob Weitering joined them after an AC joint injury against Collingwood.

As perhaps the league’s form-backman, Weitering’s loss proved pivotal in Sunday’s result, with the Magpies scoring 24 goals.

While an AC joint injury won’t rule out the star this season, his loss will be felt significantly at Ikon Park over the next six to eight weeks.

With matches against Fremantle, Richmond, St Kilda and Geelong in his potential offside period, Carlton will have to use a patchwork defense against some of the competition’s best attacks.

This won’t crush Carlton’s September dream as Weitering, Harry McKay, Mitch McGovern and Marc Pittonet are all set to return later this year.

In saying that, the goodbye literally couldn’t have come at a better time for Michael Voss’ wounded men.

It’s a big week for the Western Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are working their way back into the 2022 season with wins from their last three games.

Now with a record 6-5 through 11 games, the Bulldogs are in the eight and with a real heartbeat.

While they have won their last three, those wins have been against Collingwood, Gold Coast and West Coast, teams they would have supported to beat.

Next week comes Geelong, a much tougher test for the boys from the west.

If they win, they’ll have claimed their first big scalp and we’ll start to believe in their premiership credentials.

Lose, and it’s back to the drawing board.


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