The Roar
The Roar


I'd rather watch Carlton work hard than Collingwood coast

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Roar Guru
14th May, 2019

Neither Gold Coast nor Melbourne look like world-beaters Saturday, and Sydney and Essendon showed a similar lack of polish on Friday night.

In the end Carlton was completely outclassed over the last few minutes by a Collingwood side that knew it was a cut above them and could simply flip the switch, as they did.

None of those five teams are going to do any damage in the finals if indeed any of them make it at all, but I’ll watch them play any day if they play as hard as they did this weekend.

Because what is it we’re looking for from our sports clubs, individuals, national teams or our own progeny playing youth sports? Effort!

What frustrates me more than anything is a lack of effort. It was much harder to watch Collingwood than it was Carlton, because you could tell the Blues were working hard. Sure, the Magpies were seven-goal favourites, so they figured they could play the game in second gear and still win, but guess what? It turns out they can’t beat these Blues in second gear; they had to turn Jordan de Goey and Jaidyn Stephenson and Scott Pendlebury loose to take the four points.

And while these Navy Blues are still 1-7, there’s a completely different sense about them – in fact it doesn’t seem as if there’s any team in the league that can be guaranteed to roll over for a supposed 46-point favourite this season. Nobody gets a walkover in any game.

Which is just how I like it.

Here are this week’s games.


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West Coast Eagles vs Melbourne Demons


  • 2019: 3-5 (75.6 per cent)
  • 2018: 5-3 (113.2 per cent)
  • Needs: 11-3 to match last year’s 14-8

West Coast

  • 2019: 5-3 (97.4 per cent)
  • 2018: 7-1 (134 per cent)
  • Needs: 11-3 to match last year’s 16-6


  • Odds-makers: West Coast by 25.5
  • ELO-Following Football: West Coast by 19
  • Percentage/home-field advantage system: West Coast.

Neither team makes me comfortable. The Eagles are not only average, but they’re unpredictably average both home and away. The Demons are terrible, but they’re 2-0 interstate. I’m taking the Eagles to win but Melbourne to cover, and then I’ll cover. (My eyes, that is.)

Dom Sheed

Dom Sheed of the Eagles (Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Collingwood Magpies vs St Kilda Saints

St Kilda

  • 2019: 4-4 (93.9 per cent)
  • 2018: 1-6-1 (69.4 per cent)
  • Needs: 0-13-1 to match last year’s 4-17-1


  • 2019: 6-2 (126.1 per cent)
  • 2018: 4-4 (102.1 per cent)
  • Needs: 9-5 to match last year’s 15-7


  • Odds-makers: Collingwood by 30.5
  • ELO-Following Football: Collingwood by 27
  • Percentage/home-field advantage system: Collingwood wins

Boy, I still think there’s life in these Saints, but the Pies learnt a lesson – I hope! – about taking an opponent for granted last Saturday and should put the hammer down as swiftly as they can manage. Take your cue from De Goey and Stephenson, boys, because the Saints will not go down in the fourth as Carlton did. Still, Collingwood plus the points.

Jordan De Goey

Jordan De Goey (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Brisbane Lions vs Adelaide Crows


  • 2019: 5-3 (118.1per cent)
  • 2018: 5-3 (120.7per cent) after eight
  • Needs: to go 7-7 to match last year’s record of 12-10


  • 2019: 5-3 (103.8per cent)
  • 2018: 0-8 (73.7per cent)
  • Needs: 0-14 to match last year’s 5-17


  • Odds-makers: Brisbane by 2.5.
  • ELO-Following Football: Adelaide by 7.5. (The meta-ratings suggest that may still be selling the Crows short.)

Yeah, I hate to say it, but the Crows are better and they’re riding a four-game streak of proving it. Crows plus two goals, as much as I want to tip the Lions here.

Taylor Walker

Taylor Walker of the Crows (Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs vs Geelong Cats


Western Bulldogs

  • 2019: 4-4 (102.7per cent)
  • 2018: 4-4 (82.9per cent)
  • Needs: 4-10 to match last year’s record of 8-14


  • 2019: 7-1 (145.6per cent)
  • 2018: 5-3 (123.1per cent)
  • Needs: 6-8 to match last year’s record of 13-9


  • Odds-makers: Geelong by 26.5
  • ELO-Following Football: Cats by seven goals
  • Percentage/home-field advantage system: Geelong of course

Geelong of course. Although I’d love to see Aaron Naughton find a niche in that stellar Geelong backline and grab another nine contested, let Marcus Bontempelli do what Marcus Bontempelli does and see if they can keep the pressure on the Cats for four quarters. Still, I’m taking Geelong and the points, because I don’t see that back six denting.

Geelong Cats

Tim Kelly and Gary Rohan of Geelong (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)


Essendon Bombers vs Fremantle Dockers


  • 2019: 4-4 (112.7per cent)
  • 2018: 4-4 (94.3per cent)
  • Needs: 4-10 to match last year’s record of 8-14


  • 2019: 3-5 (99.8per cent)
  • 2018: 2-6 (83.9per cent)
  • Needs: 9-5 to match last year’s 12-10


  • Odds-makers: Essendon by 18.5
  • ELO-Following Football: Essendon by 17.5
  • Percentage/home-field advantage system: Freo on percentages

I’m not sure what Bombers games they’re watching, but I don’t see Essendon as a better team than Fremantle right now. Unless the ninth-game switch is about to be flipped – and a one-season precedent isn’t all that reliable – I’ll take Fremantle outright. Home-field advantage hasn’t meant much to either team so far in 2019.

David Mundy

David Mundy of the Dockers (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Sydney Swans


  • 2019: 2-6 (82.7per cent)
  • 2018: 5-3 (106.6per cent)
  • Needs: 12-2 to match last year’s 14-8

North Melbourne

  • 2019: 2-6 (80.9per cent)
  • 2018: 4-4 (112.6per cent)
  • Needs: 10-4 to match last year’s 12-10


  • Odds-makers: North by 4.5
  • ELO-Following Football: North by nine., especially in Tassie
  • Percentage/home-field advantage system: North Melbourne wins

Which team do I have more faith in? Honestly, Sydney, in the sense they’ve played eight games that have all been bottom-six level. North’s played six bad games with two ‘where did that come from?’ games against Adelaide and Carlton to account for their wins. Do we know when those will show up? No, but this is their first game in the fortress known as Blundstone Arena, and on that basis alone I’ll take the Kangaroos. And when the spread’s less than a goal, you might as well take the points too.

Ben Brown

North Melbourne’s Ben Brown (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Gold Coast Suns vs Port Adelaide Power

Gold Coast

  • 2019: 3-5 (78.6per cent)
  • 2018: 3-5 (76.1per cent)
  • Needs: 1-13 to match last year’s 4-18

Port Adelaide

  • 2019: 4-4 (102.6per cent)
  • 2018: 5-3 (102.7per cent)
  • Needs: 8-6 to match last year’s 12-10


  • Odds-makers: Port by 28.5
  • ELO-Following Football: Port by 32; the meta-ratings suggest that margin is still flattering the Suns
  • Percentage/home-field advantage system: Port Adelaide

I’m sorry, but this season I can’t take the cardiac Suns and bet in any way that expects something besides the kind of ending we got against Melbourne last weekend. Port to win but Suns somehow cover. It’s not like Port’s consistently good or anything like that.

Paddy Ryder

Paddy Ryder of the Power (Will Russell/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Richmond Tigers vs Hawthorn Hawks


  • 2019: 4-4 (105.4per cent)
  • 2018: 5-3 (117.6per cent)
  • Needs: 11-3 to match last year’s record of 15-7


  • 2019: 5-3 (98.5per cent)
  • 2018: 7-1 (149.5per cent)
  • Needs: 12-2 to match last year’s 17-5


  • Odds-makers: Richmond by 11.5
  • ELO-Following Football: Richmond by 9.5
  • Percentage/home-field advantage system: Richmond

Hawthorn has the best coach of the 21st century. Unfortunately he’s right when he says he has a “middle-of-the-road” team – they’ve had two highly mediocre wins against possibly the two worst teams in Carlton and North and two wins where they got lucky their opponents were atrocious that day in Adelaide and GWS. (Prove me wrong.) Meanwhile, Richmond’s winning with back-ups that would’ve been starting all along for the Hawks. Richmond covers easily.

Tom Lynch

Tom Lynch of the Tigers (Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Greater Western Sydney Giants vs Carlton Blues


  • 2019: 1-7 (84.9per cent)
  • 2018: 1-7 (69.6per cent)
  • Needs: 1-13 to match last year’s 2-20

Greater Western Sydney

  • 2019: 5-3 (116.3per cent)
  • 2018: 4-3-1 (110.5per cent)
  • Needs: 8-5-1 to match last year’s 13-8-1


  • Odds-makers: Giants by 37.5
  • ELO-Following Football: Giants by 30.5
  • Percentage/home-field advantage system: Giants

The Giants come up with stinker games like last week’s more often than any other good side does. However, they never emit odours like that twice in a row unless there’s something fundamentally wrong. expect Jeremy Cameron to kick a bag and make up for lost time in the Coleman race while the Giants cover by late third quarter.

Last week


Oddsmakers: six from nine last week, 43 from 72 overall.
ELO-Following Football: seven from, 46 from 72 overall.
Percentage/home-field advantage system: This managed a measly four from nine and fell to 38 from 72 for the season.

The Buffalo didn’t make up any ground either, hitting only four from nine and sitting at just 32 for the year, so if you’re trusting me for betting advice, you’ll get what you’ve paid for. Gamble more responsibly than that, please!