We’re now at the halfway point of the 2017 home-and-away season and the bye rounds are upon us. Kudos to anyone who can find a word in the English dictionary that actually describes the season accurately. It’s truly been remarkable.
This season has even defied history, but only in terms of team hoodoos. Round 10 saw GWS win its first ever game against West Coast, following the scalp it took in Round 8 against Collingwood. In Round 9 the Pies were able to beat the Hawks for the first time since 2011. They’re just two of many examples.
The three bye rounds are sure to define the seasons of many clubs, especially those who are already behind the eight ball in terms of their win-loss ratio.
However, there are plenty of things that players and fans need to take into consideration in the next fortnight of footy. There aren’t too many team hoodoos coming up that people should be aware of, but the next two rounds are shaping up to be the most history-ridden so far. This is what history says will happen over the next fortnight:
Tiger heartache once more
Round 11 is looming as an ever-important fixture for many teams. For Richmond, it is a chance for them to further cement a spot in the top eight after a few frustrating weeks occurred before its Round 10 win over the Bombers. For the Kangas, this is a scalp they need to take to keep within striking distance of the top eight. Richmond’s Round 11 opponent, North Melbourne, have defeated the Tigers in seven of the past eight clashes between the two sides. To rub salt in the wounds of Richmond supporters, the Tigers have not won a single Round 11 game since 2006. That’s 11 years without a win in this upcoming fixture. Coincidentally, that last Round 11 win came against the Kangaroos.
Inconsistent Pies loom again
The Pies have won two games in a row for the first time in just under a year. Their quest to make that three consecutive wins is difficult enough having to travel to Perth to tackle the seventh-placed Fremantle Dockers. If there’s a team in the top eight who are currently vulnerable then it’s Fremantle, after succumbing to a huge 100-point loss in Round 10. But the task increases in difficulty for Collingwood for one solitary reason…the Dockers haven’t lost a Round 11 match since 2011. It was also Round 11 last season when Fremantle won its first game of the year – not to mention that Nathan Buckley has never won in Perth.
Crows lose top-of-the-table mantle
The Adelaide Crows are sitting pretty atop the AFL ladder after 10 games. With eight wins and a percentage of 144.98, there isn’t much going wrong in Adelaide. But, playing Geelong in Geelong is one of the toughest things to do. Actually, beating them in Geelong is even tougher. This week will be the third week in a row the Cats will be taking the field at Simonds Stadium – a ground they seem to never lose on. They may have a considerably better percentage than Geelong, but Adelaide has lost 80 per cent of games against the Cats in the past decade and has lost its past four against them. Adding to that, these two sides have played each other in Geelong 10 times since 2003, with the Cats winning every single time.
Saints are marching the wrong way
After losing its past two games this season, the bye is coming at the right time for St Kilda. It gives them time to reset and adjust what needs fixing. Not playing this week does, however, give sides a chance to overtake them on the ladder for the time being, potentially setting the Saints back in the pack. If this is the case, the Saints face a tough assessment in Round 12 when they travel to Adelaide Oval to take on the Crows. St Kilda has won just one of its past nine games against Adelaide and has lost its past six against them, having not won since 2011. Making matters worse, St Kilda’s record in Adelaide in general is just as frightening, winning just once out of its past 13 matches in Adelaide, with that win also coming in 2011 at Football Park. The fact is, the Saints have never won at Adelaide Oval. Since 1992 (yep, 25 years ago), the Saints have a win percentage of 20.5 in games played in South Australia (7-34).
Melbourne was unable to beat the Kangaroos in Round 9 but bounced back emphatically on the weekend with a comeback win over the Gold Coast Suns. The win put them ninth on the ladder with a 5-5 record, but with the Round 11 bye, a loss for the Demons in Round 12 could be catastrophic. Lucky for them, it’s the Queen’s Birthday clash against Collingwood at the MCG. The Demons tend to thrive on this occasion and have won their past three matches against the Pies.