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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 18

Patrick Cripps of the Blues celebrates kicking a goal during the round 12 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium on June 08, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
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18th July, 2019
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Last weekend threatened to be the tipping apocalypse but, after a shaky Saturday, most of us got back on track.

Collingwood coming back to pip the Eagles would’ve ruined a few nines immediately, while Carlton overthrowing the Swans in Sydney certainly came as a surprise.

But some smooth sailing from there means most of us would have ended the week with respectable scores.

All four of The Roar’s AFL expert tippers picked up six points on the weekend, meaning AdelaideDocker maintains his slender two-point lead over myself with six rounds to play. Marnie Cohen is just two points behind in third, while Jeffers – who’s swung for the fences this week – is three points behind her on 83.

The Crowd suffered their second slip-up in three weeks, however, getting both of the tough North-Essendon and Port-Brisbane games wrong to finish with five. They’re still comfortably five points ahead of AdelaideDocker for the overall lead, though.

Stirling Coates
Adelaide, Richmond, Carlton, Collingwood, Brisbane, Fremantle, Geelong, West Coast, Bulldogs

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We start with a very tough tip in the uninspiring Crows taking on a Bombers side who are eking out close wins. A lot of Adelaide’s wins in the last month or so have asterisks next to them but, with Michael Hurley out for this one and Dyson Heppell still not 100 per cent, the home side get my tip.

Port Adelaide’s incredible yo-yo run seems destined to come to an end against Richmond at the MCG. The Tigers get reinforcements back just about every week now and, with a top-four spot well and truly up for grabs, they should have what it takes to knock off the Power.

Carlton’s superb turnaround under David Teague will end up being one of the stories of the season, but there’s still six weeks to navigate and the potential for the rails to fall off with one bad loss is very real. I don’t think they’ll roll the Suns like people think they will (or want them to), but they’ll still collect the four points.

Greater Western Sydney are in full panic stations coming up against Collingwood. A one-point win doesn’t get the Magpies off the hook for their iffy run of form, but they’ve enjoyed good form against the Giants in recent seasons. With Stephen Coniglio joining Leon Cameron’s nasty-looking injury list – and Josh Kelly still out – I’m backing the Pies.

With finals now likely out of the equation, the challenge for North Melbourne and Rhyce Shaw will be to continue the rich vein of form they’ve enjoyed since he came on board. Brisbane at the Gabba is quickly becoming one of the toughest road trips in the AFL again – too tough for Kangaroos, although I think this one will be closer than expected.

Ben Cunnington handballs

North’s finals chances are probably extinguished. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

I’m very tempted to pick a 0-0 draw between Fremantle and Sydney given their recent form. You’d argue the Swans have been better over the last month, but they’ve really looked at sea without Callum Sinclair and Lance Franklin and I can’t trust them in a road game against the Dockers.

Sunday throws up some more interesting clashes, starting with the always entertaining fixture of Geelong and Hawthorn at the MCG. Some cracks in Geelong’s armour have appeared since the bye, but the Hawks have been punching massively above their weight all season, getting a lot of teams at the perfect time, and will get found out here.

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Melbourne could give West Coast a bit of hassle in Alice Springs, with Max Gawn going up against a midfield missing both Nic Naitanui and Nathan Vardy. Unfortunately, the Demons midfield only play wet weather footy and their clumsy hacks forward will play straight into the hands of the Eagles structure.

Finally, St Kilda’s coaching change has seen many jump on the bandwagon for their clash against the Dogs. Rhyce Shaw and David Teague both won their first matches in charge this season, but I don’t think Ratten joins that list for a number of reasons.

First, the other two caretakers were clearly in charge of underperforming lists – North were supposed to be a fringe finals team and the Blues were playing VFL football. The Saints have demonstrated over a number of seasons that the level they’re at now is probably accurate.

Secondly, Shaw got an injury-plagued Tigers side for his first game, while Teague got a nervy Lions side still learning how to deal with the pressures of favouritism away from home. Ratten gets a Bulldogs team who, since May, have actually been in really good form. They’ve knocked off some great sides and have been extremely competitive in losses on the road. They should win again here.

As for a Shoe-In of the Week? Oh, let’s just say Carlton. Never thought I’d be saying that this season.

Marnie Cohen
Adelaide, Richmond, Carlton, GWS, Brisbane, Fremantle, Geelong, West Coast, St Kilda

I feel like this week is pretty straight forward, which is never a good sign for my tips.

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This week it was St Kilda’s turn to ditch their coach, which, if they follow the 2019 trend they’ll be chalking up their seventh win for the season. I’ll back them in but I’m not confident, as I’ve enjoyed the way the Dogs have turned their season around. Stranger things have happened.

Despite Collingwood getting their season back on track against West Coast last week, the Giants desperately need to do the same thing and they’re good enough to take the four points here. I’d say this is my only ‘upset’ of the round.

I think Adelaide should get over the Bombers at home. I think this will be a good test of where Essendon is at – which I don’t think is at the same level as the Crows, but I’m happy to be proven wrong here.

Taylor Walker

Adelaide start slight favourites against the Bombers. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Likewise Freo, at home against Sydney. I know Sydney are playing better footy than their ladder position shows, but we know Freo are capable of playing out of their skins as well. Backing the Purple in here.

Geelong and West Coast should notch up rather straight forward wins.

As much as I’d love the Suns to repeat their round four efforts against Carlton, I just can’t see it happening.

North could upset the red hot Lions, but after two impressive wins by Brisbane on the road you can’t tip against them.

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You also can barely tip against Richmond at the MCG so I won’t.

Daniel Jeffrey
Essendon, Port Adelaide, Carlton, Collingwood, Brisbane, Sydney, Geelong, West Coast, St Kilda

A crucial game with serious finals consequences to start the round, one I think the Bombers will win. They’ve been gutsing out some tough victories lately, while you can hardly put much stock in Adelaide beating the Suns. Essendon, just.

Richmond should handle the Power quite comfortably. But, having not been able to tip Port with any kind of consistency this year, I’ll back them to continue their win-loss-win-loss pattern, given the theory worked well last week.

Carlton are unrecognisable from the side which was running around a few months ago and should deal with the Suns, and I can’t tip a Giants win right now given their shocking injury list – and the Pies’ win over West Coast last week.

Brisbane continue to firm as premiership contenders, but last round’s loss might have ended the Kangaroos’ finals chances. At home, the Lions deserve favouritism.

Cam Rayner

Brisbane look better each week. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Sydney have an excellent record at Optus Stadium (undefeated from one match!) and should fancy their chances against the lacklustre Dockers. They couldn’t possibly dish up the same insipid stuff they did at the SCG last round.

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The Cats and Hawks always throw up enticing matches, and this one looks much better than we’d have thought a month or so ago given Hawthorn’s improved form. But Geelong have been far and away the best side this year, and should win at home.

West Coast shouldn’t have any problem getting a bounceback win against the Demons, although going up against Max Gawn without Nic Naitanui could throw something of a spanner into the works.

And I’ll go for an upset in the last game of the round, tipping St Kilda to benefit from the new-coach effect and put a serious dent in the Bulldogs’ finals hopes.

AdelaideDocker
Adelaide, Richmond, Carlton, Collingwood, Brisbane, Fremantle, Geelong, West Coast, Bulldogs

I’m still in Asia (Bali – the land of footy fans, apparently) but able to write up a little piece in what is going to be a hugely influential round.

Adelaide and Essendon are first up. One of the week’s toughest tips, both are headed in with impressive wins under their belts. I’ll tip the Crows, purely because they’re at home.

A resurgent Richmond and horribly inconsistent Port face off at the MCG and, going by the visitors’ unique form, this should be a Power win. Alas, I’ll wager this is the week that streak will snap and back in an increasingly top-four possibility in Richmond.

GWS and Collingwood is Saturday’s other tough game. It sees the Pies travel to Sydney to try and consolidate a top-two position. GWS are, to put it kindly, out of form and increasingly hurt. The money is flowing the hosts way, but I’ll back the Pies.

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A desperately poor Fremantle host Sydney in a Saturday night encounter at Optus, with neither team in good form. This is a hard tip, with Sydney historically dominating Freo of late, but Freo’s at home. I’ll (absurdly) back my side with no confidence at all.

Michael Walters

Can Fremantle arrest a horror run of form? (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Geelong and Hawks do battle on Sunday – a fairly tantalising clash. Hawthorn’s won a couple in a row, Geelong have kept top spot despite a few slip-ups. It’s a Hawks-Cats contest, so it could go either way, but I’ll back Geelong in a close one.

Finally, and as is seemingly the norm, the Western Bulldogs face a side that has just sacked their coach. St Kilda’s the side in question, with Alan Richardson departing on Tuesday. This makes the Saints a very tempting tip; they were absolutely admirable against the Cats and, with a new coach bounce, I can see them overcoming the Dogs.

I’m not tipping them though – surely the Dogs (on a path to a surprise finals spot) have too much to play for. I hope so.

The weekend’s three ‘easiest’ games will see West Coast comfortably beat the Demons, Brisbane win against North and Carlton make it two in a row against the Suns. Although I shouldn’t be too confident on any of those.

Round 18 Stirling Marnie Daniel ADocker The Crowd
ADE vs ESS ADE ADE ESS ADE ADE
RCH vs PA RCH RCH PA RCH RCH
CAR vs GCS CAR CAR CAR CAR CAR
GWS vs COL COL GWS COL COL COL
BL vs NM BL BL BL BL BL
FRE vs SYD FRE FRE SYD FRE FRE
GEE vs HAW GEE GEE GEE GEE GEE
MEL vs WCE WCE WCE WCE WCE WCE
STK vs WB WB STK STK WB WB
Last week 6 6 6 6 5
Total score 88 86 83 90 95
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