Coming toward the middle of the season, the ladder is starting to take shape, highlighting the better teams such as Geelong and Collingwood but also the teams that are struggling to put wins on the board like Carlton and North Melbourne.
Although every week is deemed big in football, some are bigger than others and that can be due to big losses in previous weeks or coming up against teams that should be beaten.
Heading into round 10, there is plenty of scenarios that have a lot of teams riding on whether they win or lose this week., which can ultimately determine how the season may pan out.
It is a big week for Carlton. Things have gone bad to worse for the Blues since their 93-point thrashing at the hands of the Giants. Veteran Dale Thomas copped a hefty fine for umpire abuse as well as the Carlton cheer squad being put on notice for their behaviour at games by the AFL and the club. Bolton’s men have only registered one win thus far with many honourable losses including premiership fancy and arch rival, Collingwood, as well as the Hawks down in Tasmania. The Blues are coming up against a youthful St Kilda outfit who was in the game against the Pies until the last quarter blowout only last week. Although St Kilda have been impressive, this match provides Carlton with an opportunity to get on top of a young side with their pace and lively forward line under the Marvel Stadium roof, which screams fast ball movement and plenty of inside 50s. A loss would see coach Brendan Bolton come under even more scrutiny and some personnel changes may be afoot.
On the contrary, St Kilda have a lot to prove, especially after last weeks inspired performance against the 2018 runners up Collingwood. In hope to even out their win/loss ratio, the Saints can take a lot from their game last week, one in which could have seen them take the four points. They’re ability to stretch the ground and hold possession meant the Saints were able to take it to the Pies, only to fall short and run out of legs in the final quarter. This young side has been so impressive this season, but a loss to an under-performing Carlton outfit will see the Saints under the spotlight. Coach Alan Richardson has a lot of faith in his players and tactics and would hope both prevail against what should be a very determined Blues side.
The Hawks also have their season at stake coming into the bye and the mid-point of the season. Coming off a very disappointing loss to an undermanned Tigers, Alastair Clarkson and his men are looking to put that behind them and level out their win/loss ratio at 4-5. Travelling down to the fortress that is the University of Tasmania Stadium, the Hawks take on an inconsistent Power line-up. Ken Hinley’s men are yet to prove anything in the last few weeks but can prove to be a surprising challenge, as the reigning premiers saw just over a month ago. The Hawks must win this to get their season back on track, but a loss here may create a slippery slope that could see them miss the finals, a rare feat for the Brown and Gold in recent years.
North Melbourne are another team who desperately needs a win in round 10. The Roos are coming up against an exciting, youthful Bulldogs outfit who have recently unleashed power-forward Aaron Naughton and rising star Bailey Smith. Returning to Marvel Stadium after their narrow loss to Sydney down in Hobart, North Melbourne will be hoping to add to their two wins so far this season. Although a close finish in the end, the majority of the clash with the Swans saw the Roos trailing, including being four goals down at three-quarter time. If they are to dish up a performance like that, the Bulldogs will walk all over them, adding to the pressure that is already present. Only a game off the bottom, a loss here would all but solidify their place at the bottom of the ladder along with Carlton.