Last weekend looked to be the easiest round in AFL tipping history and, after a dicey start, most people would’ve been happy with their scores.
Round 12 sees the slate of matches slashed from nine to six over the next three weeks as players enjoy some well-earned byes. These bye rounds can be tricky, with the abridged fixtures often packing in an unusually high number of intriguing matches.
Marnie Cohen stole the show last week with a superb round of eight – with Collingwood’s last-gasp loss to Freo costing her a perfect nine. Myself, Daniel Jeffrey and the Crowd all managed strong scores of seven, while it was a rare slip-up from AdelaideDocker, who ‘only’ managed six.
While our friendly neighbourhood Freo fan enjoys a three-point lead over me for the expert lead, he’s three behind the audience in overall first.
Can the bye rounds be where the season shifts? Let’s find out!
Richmond, Brisbane, North Melbourne, GWS, Sydney, Collingwood
We open Round 12 with one of the matches of the season; the first-placed Geelong Cats travelling up the highway to face Richmond at the MCG. Geelong’s start to the season has been incredibly impressive, with a four-point loss to GWS the only thing between them and an undefeated start to the season.
That said, the last month has seen them do little more than keep some lesser sides at no further than arm’s length. They’re in solid form, no doubt, but not earth-shattering.
The Tigers copped a reality check after getting crushed by North Melbourne last Friday night, but they enjoy a strong recent record against the Cats at the ‘G. With a week of soul-searching behind them, they should bounce back and knock off the ladder leaders.
Saturday afternoon says the David Teague era begin at Carlton, with Blues fans hopeful the change in coach can at least have the immediate sugar-hit Rhyce Shaw was able to deliver the Roos last week. With no disrespect to Mr Teague, I simply can’t see how he gets more out of this list than Brendon Bolton could. Lions by plenty.
North Melbourne will be full of belief after a strong fortnight of form, but the new-coach bubble has a habit of bursting in miserable ways. Kangas fans have the right to be nervous given they’ve had a surprisingly tough time against the Suns over the years.
Still, Gold Coast are in something of a freefall at the moment and I can’t quite trust them to turn it around here.
Adelaide’s clash with Greater Western Sydney is one of the harder matches to pick this weekend, despite ladder positions suggesting otherwise. The Giants really don’t like playing in South Australia and the men who helped them break their duck last year – Lachie Whitfield and Rory Lobb – are either out with a collarbone injury or playing for Fremantle.
The upset is tempting, but with influential Crows midfielder Rory Sloane looking unlikely to get up, I’m backing the visitors.
I am, however, taking the upset on Sunday. Sydney have been extremely competitive against Collingwood and Geelong over the last fortnight and now get to face West Coast at a venue the Eagles just can’t win at.
Round 9, 1999 was the last time the visitors saluted at the SCG. In fact, their record at the ground is so poor that they’ve already collected the same number of lifetime wins at Giants Stadium as they have at Moore Park. I’m backing Lance Franklin to return to form and lead the young Swans to a famous upset.
Finally, Monday’s Queen’s Birthday classic should see Collingwood put Melbourne’s season further underground in my Shoe-In of the Week.
Richmond, Carlton, North Melbourne, GWS, West Coast, Collingwood
We have finally hit the bye rounds, which means there are fewer tips to get wrong. Splendid.
I found this week a bit tricky because I truly believe each result could go either way.
I’m going to back the Blues in. Brisbane are looking good but have struggled in Victoria so far this season. They lost to both Essendon and the Bulldogs and just nudged out North Melbourne to victory but weren’t convincing. We saw what an emotional fortnight did to North Melbourne and I believe it could do the same for Carlton.
I think both Richmond and Collingwood should be able to bounce back on the big stage this week. The Tigers have a big task, taking on ladder leaders Geelong but I’m tipping an upset. Despite Collingwood’s mounting injury list, I think they’ll get the job done against the Dees on Queen’s Birthday.
A trip to the Gold Coast is a danger game for North Melbourne as they haven’t won there since 2016. Having said that, I’m backing in my boys.
West Coast and the Giants are starting to flex their muscles and firming as two flag favourites and I think they can both get the job done away from home.
Geelong, Brisbane, North Melbourne, GWS, West Coast, Melbourne
Hard to look past Geelong to kick off the bye week. The Cats have put together a wonderfully consistent season, while last round showed the Tigers aren’t quite there yet.
Carlton will put in some more effort this week following Brendon Bolton’s sacking, but it won’t be enough to overcome the talent gap between them and the Lions.
Gold Coast have reverted to the form which was expected of them before the season started and will struggle against a resurgent North Melbourne outfit, while the Giants have too much firepower for the up-and-down Crows.
If ever West Coast are going to break their SCG drought, it’s this weekend. The Eagles have found their form, and while Sydney are competing honestly right now, it’s hard to see the young Swans getting up in this one.
Dayne Beams’ injury is yet another blow to an already banged-up Magpies list. It’s left-field, but I’ll take the Dees to follow up last week’s near-miss with a much-needed win over Collingwood on Monday.
Geelong, Brisbane, North Melbourne, GWS, West Coast, Collingwood
Friday’s big game is Geelong hosting Richmond. The Tigers head in as the underdogs – barring the MCG factor – and that underdog status will stand true. The Cats just look too strong and should win this one. Expect a close, fierce clash.
Carlton – after a ridiculously tumultuous week – will head into their game against Brisbane with an interim coach, but it’s unlikely anything will change drastically.
Brisbane are gunning – and successfully aiming – for finals and, although the travel factor will play against the Queenslanders, they’ll win. Expect Brisbane to prevail by a fair bit.
Just two games on Saturday this week. Gold Coast host a potentially resurgent North, and Adelaide host a strong GWS side. If you asked me two weeks ago who’d win that first clash, I’d probably have said it would be a game the Suns would have a good chance of prevailing in.
North’s last fortnight has been expectational, though, and although the Suns do have a chance, the Victorians should prevail in a close on.
The Crows and Giants clash is almost game of the round, with the hosts coming off a surprise, narrow win in the top end last week. It’s a tough tip for mine, but I’ll back the visitors.
Sydney host West Coast in Sunday’s only clash, and the reigning premiers will comfortably win this one. Sydney just don’t look at the same level, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a bit of a blowout.
Finally, Melbourne and Collingwood do battle in the Queens Birthday clash. With both clubs coming off hugely frustrating losses, they’ll be a hell of a lot of passion in there. I’ll have to back Collingwood, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they drop a second.
|Round 12||Stirling||Marnie||Daniel||ADocker||The Crowd|
|RCH vs GEE||RCH||RCH||GEE||GEE||GEE|
|CAR vs BL||BL||CAR||BL||BL||BL|
|GCS vs NM||NM||NM||NM||NM||NM|
|ADE vs GWS||GWS||GWS||GWS||GWS||GWS|
|SYD vs WCE||SYD||WCE||WCE||WCE||WCE|
|COL vs MEL||COL||COL||MEL||COL||COL|
|Byes: Essendon, Fremantle, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs|