Digby Beacham’s AFL Preview: Round 10


Gold Coast v Geelong, TIO Stadium, 5.30pm

Bookmakers have a leaning towards Geelong in the opening match of Sir Doug Nicholls Round. It makes sense given their body of work. To be fair though, had they installed Gold Coast as favourites, it wouldn’t have been a shock.

The Suns have won their past five in the Top End and remained in Darwin following the demolition of North Melbourne last Saturday night. But Damien Hardwick has been proactive, resting a swag of key players for this clash on a five-day turnaround. Geelong have also elected to sit down experienced personnel, including Tom Hawkins and Mitch Duncan.

In a genuine flip-of-the-coin contest in greasy conditions where the ground ball is going to be key, the Cats’ small to mid-sized forwards Tyson Stengle, Gryan Miers, Oliver Henry and Gary Rohan could be influential.

VERDICT: Geelong to win


Sydney v Carlton, SCG, 5.40pm

The more you watch Sydney, the more amazed you are by their loss to Richmond earlier in the season. It remains the only blip on the radar of John Longmire’s side which has won five on the bounce sit that slip-up.

Carlton narrowly avoided dropping a third successive match in round nine, their sizzling start against Melbourne being the cornerstone to a pulsating one-point victory. A feature of their initial blitz was a return on investment … they went inside their attacking 50m on 11 occasions in the first term for five majors.

Sydney won’t be as generous and have a proven track record of taking away their opposition’s strengths. The Swans will miss Tom McCartin (concussed), but are awfully hard to break down at the SCG.

VERDICT: Sydney by 1-39 points


Collingwood v Adelaide, MCG, 11.45am

Memo to Matthew Nicks and Adelaide: If you have designs on being active in September, do not (I repeat, do not) lose this match. This is your trademark eight-point game.

The Crows’ round-nine draw against Brisbane left them eight points adrift of Collingwood. Unless your maths is dreadful, you know exactly how many points Adelaide will be adrift of Collingwood if they don’t cause an upset here. And we are fast approaching the halfway mark of the season.

Adelaide have the midfield spunk to cause Collingwood problems, but the issue with Nicks’ charges is a complete, four-quarter performance. And as we have seen in recent times, when the Magpies bring the heat, they are a daunting opponent.

VERDICT: Collingwood by 1-39 points

GWS v Western Bulldogs, ENGIE Stadium, 2.35pm

GWS need to not only get on their bike, they have to start pedalling. Over the past month they have paddled more than peddled and as a result,  coughed up three games.

Adam Kingsley will be desperate for the “old” Giants to re-emerge and likely leans on skipper Toby Greene to rediscover his best touch. It’s fair to assume an old foe in the Western Bulldogs might just drag the best out of Greene.

The Bulldogs mauled Richmond to avoid another week in the spotlight. They have weapons, no doubt. Do they have the stomach for a fierce football audit?

VERDICT: GWS by 1-39 points

St Kilda v Fremantle, Marvel Stadium, 5.30pm

Fremantle endured a tough 24 hours last week, with the news of Cam McCarthy’s passing rocking the football club only hours before they hosted Sydney at Optus Stadium.

The players and coaches are now presented with an opportunity to bond away from home and deliver their fans a victory that will bring immense joy and pride. As much as St Kilda are never easy to break down, the Dockers should feel confident in their ability.

Their best is most definitely good enough, especially through the midfield where they appear to have an edge in talent courtesy of Nat Fyfe, Caleb Serong, Andy Brayshaw and Hayden Young at the feet of Luke Jackson. Expect Ross Lyon to try to apply as many clamps all over the ground as possible.

VERDICT: Fremantle to win

Brisbane v Richmond, Gabba, 5.30pm

Irrespective of how banged up they are, Richmond need to take stock. And fast. Their past five quarters have been well below the standard they set initially under rookie coach Adem Yze, even though their only win for the year came against Sydney last month.

Granted, Brisbane at the Gabba isn’t going to be easy. The Lions aren’t healthy and don’t boast the same fear factor of years gone by, but they did flex their muscles at their most recent outing on home soil, disposing of Gold Coast.

Given Richmond’s extensive injury list, it would be a major step backwards for the Lions if they were to drop this match.

VERDICT: Brisbane by 24 points or more


Essendon v North Melbourne, Marvel Stadium, 11.10am

Essendon’s superb recent form was rewarded this week when the AFL scheduled them for some serious primetime matches from round 16 onwards.

This clash is anything but primetime. In fact, it should be rearranged to be played past people’s bed time because the Bombers are indeed flying and North Melbourne are a sight for sore eyes.

For those that believe this is a “danger game”, sit down and watch a replay of how Essendon are going about their football. They are trustworthy and defend now like a genuine September outfit.

VERDICT: Essendon by 40 points or more

Port Adelaide v Hawthorn, Adelaide Oval, 1.20pm

If you found Port Adelaide on the tip last week, congratulations. And even though the margin by the final siren was only six points, it would have been an injustice had the Power not prevailed.

They made the running early on, a hallmark of their performances for the most part under Ken Hinkley, especially in 2024. Hawthorn will be well aware that they cannot afford to allow Port to go through their gears on home soil.

What we have seen from Hawthorn in the past fortnight is a willingness to compete and a far greater spread of contributors through the midfield. The return of Will Day from injury cannot be understated.

VERDICT: Port Adelaide by 1-39 points

West Coast v Melbourne, Optus Stadium, 4.20pm

West Coast were given a free lesson by Collingwood on how much work needs to be done in the most critical area of the ground if they are to match motors with the competition’s best.

Let’s hope they took it on board. Having allowed way too many scores from centre clearances in a drubbing by the Magpies, the Eagles now face up to a quality Melbourne midfield powered by one of the best ruckmen of our generation, Demons skipper Max Gawn.

If Gawn has his way (as he so often does), then it is difficult to see how the Eagles can nullify the amount of entries that will enable the Demons to compile a winning total, even taking into account how labour intensive their finishing in front of goal can be.

VERDICT: Melbourne by 24 points or more

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