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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 14

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19th June, 2019
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Football fans rejoice, the last of the bye rounds is upon us.

The next time we’ll have fewer than nine matches in a round of football will be finals.

For now, we’ve got just six matches to try and pick and, of course, the AFL has decided to spread a thin week even thinner by putting a match on tonight.

After what was easily one of the toughest rounds to tip last week, it was our fantastic crowd that led the way once again. A perfect score of six for you lot extends your lead over the rest of the panel to a commanding five points.

Despite each of the experts all disagreeing on at least two matches from one another, all of us bar Marnie somehow ended up on four points.

Marnie’s score of two, unfortunately, sees her fall three points behind myself in second and six points behind AdelaideDocker in first.

Let’s close out these accursed bye rounds with a bang!

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Stirling Coates
West Coast, Sydney, Fremantle, Brisbane, Geelong, Collingwood

We open in Round 14 in Perth, where Adam Simpson has swung the axe at West Coast after their upset* loss to the Swans last fortnight. If that doesn’t kickstart the Eagles coming off the bye, nothing will.

(* – I did tip Sydney, however, which I’ll be taking to the bank for the rest of 2019).

All in all, it’ll be six changes for the reigning premiers, with a host of top talent – including Shannon Hurn and Elliot Yeo – returning.

Essendon, on the other hand, will make the trip across the Nullabor without livewire forward Jake Stringer. I think this will be closer than people expect, but the odds are simply stacked too high against the Bombers to see them getting up.

While Friday night’s Sydney-Hawthorn clash is far from a top-of-the-table blockbuster, the sides are still matched closely enough for this to be an interesting clash.

The Hawks have an impressive record at the SCG, with their last loss at the venue coming way back in 2010. For those playing at home, that was the game Lewis Jetta finally kicked his first goal after starting his career with a record 21 straight behinds.

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But the Hawks are fairly battered and will lose skipper Ben Stratton, while the Swans are potentially welcoming back a triplet of superstars – including Josh Kennedy.

Interesting stat for you; the Swans and Hawks have clashed twice in the home-and-away season every year since 2012. Sydney are 5-2 in the first meeting each season, but 0-7 in the second. Given this is their first match of the year (plus all the important reasons), I’m backing the Swans.

Josh P Kennedy

Can the Swans string back-to-back wins together? (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The rest of the week is a bit more straightforward. Similar to the match above, Fremantle actually haven’t fallen to the Dees in Melbourne since 2010.

The way Simon Goodwin’s team is playing now, however, you’d still tip against them if the Dockers had never won at the MCG before.

If Brisbane hadn’t lost to Carlton before their bye, I’d be quite tempted to back the Saints to spring the upset in their clash.

Chris Fagan knows his team is too good and too experienced not to get the blowtorch after that effort, however, so expect the Lions to come out breathing fire and score a big rebound win.

Geelong have lost their last seven matches immediately following the bye, one of the AFL’s most bizarre streaks right now. Chris Scott has been reversing every recent narrative around the Cats this year though, and their superb record in South Australia should see them get past the Power – even if the home team is welcoming back some big names.

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Sunday will be a big test for Collingwood now that Jaidyn Stephenson is out until finals.

The young forward is first at the club for marks inside 50, tackles inside 50 and goal assists, while also sitting in second for goals. They should have enough to get the four points over the Bulldogs, but don’t be surprised if they have to labour to do so.

As far as a Shoe-In of the Week goes, I’m backing a Freo side flying under the radar to put a padlocked chain around Melbourne’s already sealed coffin.

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Marnie Cohen
West Coast, Sydney, Fremantle, Brisbane, Geelong, Collingwood

Thank goodness this round is a little easier on paper – and the last week of the bye rounds. I’m really going to miss Rhyce Shaw and his milk bottles.

This week we find out if St Kilda really is the fittest team at Marvel when they take on the Lions. Despite Brisbane’s spectacular first half of the season, they have only won once in Victoria and not since Round 2.

They’ll be looking for redemption after the pre-bye loss to Carlton at Marvel and, while I think St Kilda will take it up to them, Brisbane should prevail.

Fremantle are travelling along nicely, both at home and away and have proven a few times this year they should not be written off. Sonny Walters to inspire them to a fourth straight victory.

I am backing Sydney in at home, but it would be a very Hawthorn thing to do to get the win after a very flat performance last week.

I can’t see Essendon defeating West Coast in Perth for the second year in a row – pinch me if it does.

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I can see Geelong reaffirming their status as the best team in the competition with a win over Port, while Collingwood should get the job done over the Dogs.

Nathan Buckley

Nathan Buckley and Collingwood are flying. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Daniel Jeffrey
West Coast, Hawthorn, Fremantle, Brisbane, Geelong, Collingwood

About time we talked about some actual footy this week. West Coast will be glad to put their last performance – a shock loss to Sydney – well behind them and should bounce back with a strong win against the Bombers.

Sydney should beat Hawthorn, considering both teams’ form. The Swans may be eyeing off a surprise finals tilt, such is their improved play compared to the start of the year, and Hawthorn are deservedly without their skipper.

But recent history tells us backing the Swans against the Hawks at the SCG is a foolhardy option, so I’ll take Alastair Clarkson to engineer an upset in this one.

The in-form Dockers should handle the Demons without much trouble, away from home or not, and Brisbane also look a safe bet against the Saints.

Geelong? They’re still the best team in the comp, they’ll continue to prove just that against Port.

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Were Collingwood playing just about any other side, you’d think them vulnerable to an upset loss. But they’re playing the Bulldogs. Magpies, by plenty.

AdelaideDocker
West Coast, Sydney, Fremantle, Brisbane, Geelong, Collingwood

Solid four out of six for me last week; could have been one higher if I’d backed my own side in.

We’ll start off in Perth, as West Coast host Essendon. The reigning premiers were beginning to find themselves in good form before a loss to Sydney, while Essendon, too, have had themselves a good couple of weeks.

Essendon can upset here – think of last year’s victory at Optus – but I’ll be backing in the Eagles. They’d be loath to drop this one.

Perennial rivals Sydney and Hawthorn are our Friday night action, and this is a reasonably hard one to pick. Neither team has been in good form of late; Sydney’s poached a couple here and there, while Hawthorn’s last win was over an inconsistent Port.

Hawthorn looked flat last week and, a good history in Sydney be damned, I’ll back the hosts to win.

Saturday is our busiest day of footy, and we begin with Freo travelling to the ‘G to play Melbourne. Fremantle are favourites here, which makes me uncomfortable, but they’ve been tracking superbly over the past few weeks and Melbourne … have not.

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Michael Walters

Michael Walters and Fremantle should take care of Melbourne. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Dockers have an excellent record against the Demons, and will take solace in the fact that they’ve already won at the MCG this season. With this being their second and final visit there, I’ll back them to make it two from two.

St Kilda host Brisbane in Saturday’s twilight clash. It’s hard to read where the Saints are at: either still somehow aiming for finals, or floundering a little bit above settling a little down the ladder. A close win over Gold Coast probably means nought coming up against Brisbane, themselves (successfully, at this stage) aiming for finals.

Expect Brisbane to win this one, but I smell a sniff of upset factor.

Port and Geelong play in South Australia on Saturday night, and I’m confident backing in the visitors. I haven’t really felt confident in Port for a long while now, and despite a loss surely, surely, coming to Geelong eventually, this weekend won’t be it. Cats to run away late to secure a 12th win.

Collingwood to defeat the Western Bulldogs in Sunday’s only game, too. Although I’m thinking this will be a close, surprisingly entertaining clash.

Round 14 Stirling Marnie Daniel ADocker The Crowd
WCE vs ESS WCE WCE WCE WCE WCE
SYD vs HAW SYD SYD HAW SYD SYD
MEL vs FRE FRE FRE FRE FRE MEL
STK vs BL BL BL BL BL BL
PA vs GEE GEE GEE GEE GEE GEE
WB vs COL COL COL COL COL COL
Byes: Adelaide, Carlton, Gold Coast, GWS Giants, North Melbourne, Richmond
Last week 4 2 4 4 6
Total score 68 65 64 71 76
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