AFL Round 11: the players to to watch

Adam Treloar is red-hot and looms as a game-breaker for the Magpies. (Photo: Collingwood FC Facebook)

A raft of star-studded inclusions occupy the headlines for Round 11 of the 2019 AFL men’s season, and Crows and Magpies fans have reason in particular to celebrate with important clashes looming.

Richmond regained skipper Trent Cotchin for Friday night’s game with North Melbourne, Bryce Gibbs tops the class of Adelaide’s returning stars, the Dogs don’t hesitate to debut a mid-season draftee while a troubled Cat turned Swan makes his re-entry to the game on familiar ground.

Daniel Wells’ return to senior football was tragically short-lived, Carlton stand down an on-field leader following an alcohol indiscretion, the Bombers face further depletion with Dylan Shiel and Jake Stringer succumbing to soft-tissue injuries and Gary Ablett cops his first career suspension to sit out Geelong’s clash with the Swans but nonetheless there are plenty of potential show-stealers to peruse.

Jesse Robertson casts his expert eye over three players for fans to keep their eyes this weekend:

1. Daniel Menzel, Sydney Swans (vs Geelong, GMHBA Stadium, Saturday 4:35pm)

Embed from Getty Images

Daniel Menzel endured a career path that few would envy during his time at Geelong, suffering four knee reconstructions but persevering through to deliver 136 goals in 73 appearances at Kardinia Park. Now, most aptly, following nine goals in his last two games for Sydney’s NEAFL side, Menzel is named to debut for his new club at the ground he has staggeringly lost only twice on in 26 outings for his former club … with both of those past defeats coming against the Swans.

2. Adam Treloar, Collingwood (vs Fremantle, MCG, Saturday 1:45pm)

Embed from Getty Images

The competition’s most prolific ball-getter so far in 2019 has produced more than 30 disposals in each of his last six outings, and in playing all 10 games this season has racked up 30+ eight times. He’s been crucially influential out of stoppages with 25 clearances in his last three games in part of a high-performing Pies outfit on a seven-game winning streak.

Collingwood lose Daniel Wells to a knee injury sustained in his return match but with Jordan de Goey and Darcy Moore reintroduced to the seniors, and with Dockers stalwart Nat Fyfe going head-to-head with Scott Pendlebury in the centre, Treloar has room to make a big impact once again this week.

3. Elliot Yeo, West Coast Eagles (vs Western Bulldogs, Optus Stadium, Sunday 5:20pm)

Embed from Getty Images

The former full-time running defender, transitioning in recent seasons into a vital part of the Eagles core that saw them claim the 2018 premiership, has become an absolute tackling machine over the last month, registering  49 tackles in four games and capped off with efforts of 16 and 15 against Melbourne and Adelaide in the past fortnight. For fans of high levels of physicality, no doubt his matchup against the Bulldogs’ Josh Dunkley, himself top of the Dogs for tackling and ranked in the top 15 overall, will have major ramifications in a fierce midfield duel.

Also of note may be the performances of Patrick Cripps, who was well-held in the Blues’ humbling at the hands of GWS but rebounded strongly against St Kilda last week ahead of a fierce matchup with Zach Merrett Sunday, Tom Hawkins as the only player in the league to have kicked a goal in every game so far and picking up steam with four goals in each of his last three games before meeting Sydney on Saturday afternoon, and Dayne Zorko is the inside-50 king whose pressure as an attacking midfielder will be tested against the likes of James Sicily, ranked second for rebound-50s.