Three takeaways from round eleven

St Kilda players look on following their loss to Port Adelaide in Shanghai. (Photo by: Michael Wilson/AFL Media)

St Kilda’s first game in China was a disaster

The Saints were thumped by 70 points against Port Adelaide in Shanghai on Sunday, but that was only the nail in the coffin as to what was a horrendous week for a travelling Saints side playing in China for the first time.

Four players and coach Alan Richardson were struck down with illness, two of them in defenders Daniel McKenzie and Jonathon Marsh were unable to play, the Saints were on the back foot before the ball had been bounced.

The worst part of their venture to Shanghai came in the form of a potentially season ending injury to captain Jarryn Geary, who fractured his fibula in a tackle from Power forward Connor Rozee.

It comes after Geary spent the last five weeks on the sidelines due to a compartment syndrome which was the result of a badly corked quad, which then required an emergency operation including three surgeries.

The Saints will have more opportunities to make amends on their first visit to China for premiership points, with the club signed up to play there for a further two more years.

Something had to change at Carlton

It was basically the worst scenario Carlton could have hoped for, reaching round eleven with only one win – that outcome would never bode well for Brendon Bolton.

Monday saw the Carlton board, headed by president Mark LoGiudice, judge that after four seasons of pain and rebuilding, Bolton was not the right man to be leading the Blues into the future.

It comes only two weeks after the club publicly endorsed Bolton, and football director Chris Judd stated that there would be no mid-season sacking of the coach; the pressure of their win-loss ratio however became too great.

2019 was the year we were meant to see Carlton rise, not necessarily to become a top eight side, but to win a share of games that would signal improvement and development over the past three years.

The losing margins have become smaller but the wins have remained just as scarce, Carlton won only sixteen games under Bolton’s seventy-seven game reign as coach.

The sacking of Bolton means their next coach will inherit a talented list that ultimately doesn’t know how to win, with the next step for the Blues to determine who is the right man to lead them in 2020.

West Coast’s premiership defence is building beautifully

 There were huge questions over the Eagles at 3-3 following a belting at the hands of Geelong away from home in round six, which came only a week after a shock loss to Port Adelaide at home.

Their next two wins over Gold Coast and St Kilda did nothing more than secure the required premiership points, before they produced a dominant last quarter in round nine against Melbourne to take their season to 6-3.

It’s since then that we have seen the Eagles begin to roll, they overturned a 33-point deficit against Adelaide following a slow start, storming home to win by two goals.

They then dismantled the Western Bulldogs after half-time last Sunday, going on to win by 61 points after leading by only 11 points at the major break, piling on nine goals alone in the third quarter.

The Eagles now sit in the top four and are relatively healthy on the injury front, with Sydney their next opponent before their round thirteen bye.

As far as premierships are concerned, the Eagles sit firmly in contention in 2019 and if they manage to secure a home qualifying final they will be hard to beat come September.

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