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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 20

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Editor
31st July, 2019
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We’ve got one hell of a finish coming up as we approach season’s end – both on the ladder and on the tipping panel.

Only percentage separates Adelaide in eighth from the Western Bulldogs in ninth, while there are four clubs just one game behind in the race for a coveted finals spot.

Over on our table, impressive scores of eight from both AdelaideDocker and Marnie Cohen have changed the makeup up the top significantly. Marnie slides into second place, one point ahead of myself in third and two points behind AD in the lead. Daniel Jeffrey, unfortunately, [remainder of sentence redacted by editor].

Mr Docker has also managed to close the gap between himself and The Crowd to just three points. With four rounds to go, it’s anyone’s game!

Stirling Coates
North Melbourne, Essendon, GWS, Geelong, Richmond, Adelaide, Collingwood, West Coast, Brisbane

I’m going to have risk losing by five or six if I want to catch up to AdelaideDocker over the home stretch, and the risky tip this week is North Melbourne arresting a rough patch of form against the Hawks tomorrow night.

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The Kangaroos controlled much of the game against both Essendon and Brisbane. The loss to West Coast was rough, but getting thumped at Optus Stadium isn’t exactly an anomaly. Hawthorn’s good form makes it a tough pick, but I’m gunning for the Roos.

Essendon have put together one of the pluckiest winning streaks in recent memory lately and, with Ollie Wines potentially returning, Port are more than a fair chance of snapping it.

Ollie Wines

Wines returning for Port could make their clash with Essendon interesting. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Bombers’ superb record over the Power in recent years means they get the nod for me, especially with some potential reinforcements on their side.

I was tempted to give Sydney the nod after their admirable performance against Geelong last Sunday, but the absence of Dane Rampe creates some horrifying matchups against the Giants forwards. GWS by a few.

Fremantle’s recent tailspin has been really disappointing to watch; I think they’re building something good and the last month has attracted far more attention than the three months of good work that preceded it. That tailspin will continue against the Cats, however.

Saturday night should see the Tigers dig up Melbourne’s coffin for the sole purpose of adding a superfluous new set of nails, while Adelaide should be fired up enough to knock off a St Kilda side who play horribly in South Australia.

Fun fact: the last time the Crows lost to the Saints, their coach resigned that week.

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Carlton’s stunning turnaround under David Teague makes what looked to be a car crash fixture against West Coast two months ago very watchable. The Blues will have a crack, but I think the high-flying Eagles will give them a reality check.

Brisbane’s irrepressible post-bye form sees them get the tip in the round-closing fixture against the Western Bulldogs – although this could get end up being a ripper.

As far as a Shoe-In of the Week goes, Gold Coast seem to play exceptionally well when they’re on the receiving end of this and, going up against Collingwood’s VFL team, they’ve got more than Buckley’s chance. As such, I’m going with the red-hot Tigers to pile more misery on the Demons.

Marnie Cohen
North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, GWS, Geelong, Richmond, Adelaide, Collingwood, West Coast, Brisbane

What’s going to be harder this week: Tipping nine out of nine, or getting 22 players on the park for Collingwood?

I kid you not, I hesitated a moment before tipping them. Off-field they have a mountain of injuries and those who are fit look completely worn out. There’s also the Suns’ inspired performance against Essendon last weekend.

There’s no better time for the Pies to bounce back than this weekend in front of an adoring MCG crowd. Despite injury concerns, I am sure they’ll get it done.

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It’s also a good opportunity for North Melbourne to bounce back as the club celebrates its 150th anniversary this weekend. Hawthorn momentarily returned to form against Geelong, only to fall away against last weekend against the Lions. It promises to be an entertaining clash but I think North take the points.

It will be an interesting duel between Adelaide and St Kilda, with both sides fighting for a finals spot. You would have to think Adelaide respond in front of a home crowd this week if they are any genuine chance of making a dent come September.

Don Pyke

Adelaide’s backs are against the wall. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Despite Carlton’s form, West Coast should notch up a win. As should Richmond against a lowly Melbourne.

I’m tipping Port. Don’t ask me why because I don’t really know myself. The Bombers have been red hot lately but that last gasp victory last week left me with a lot of questions.

On the other hand, Port Adelaide like to win when their backs are against the wall, rather than when faced with straight forward fixtures. So they’d give themselves a chance.

Freo couldn’t rise to the challenge against a ninth-placed Bulldogs outfit so I don’t seem them doing so against top of the table Geelong.

GWS in the Sydney Derby and Brisbane (just) over the Dogs to finish off the round.

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Daniel Jeffrey
Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, GWS, Geelong, Richmond, Adelaide, Collingwood, West Coast, Brisbane

My tipping might have been pretty dicey last week, but fear not! I’m certain to notch a Kim Jong-un-esque 17 points this week.

North have fallen into a bit of a hole recently and, with a win meaning a bit more for Hawthorn, I’ll take the Hawks to get the job done.

Port Adelaide are probably due to put together a good performance for the first time in a long time, so I’ll go the upset against the Bombers, who weren’t all that convincing against Gold Coast last week.

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GWS should comfortably account for the Swans given some key injuries for Sydney – Dane Rampe in particular is a big out – while Geelong and Richmond also look sure-fire winners against the Dockers and Demons.

I tipped Adelaide last week without any luck, but I’ll double down on the Crows due to St Kilda’s woeful recent interstate record.

Collingwood’s bad recent form is no excuse for them failing to get past Gold Coast, and West Coast will be too strong for the resurgent Blues. As for Brisbane and the Bulldogs, I can’t go past the Lions to finish off the round with a home win.

AdelaideDocker
Hawthorn, Essendon, GWS, Geelong, Richmond, St Kilda, Collingwood, West Coast, Brisbane

A relatively simple nine games await us in Round 20. So, naturally, I’m going to get around four of them correct.

Both North Melbourne and Hawthorn are coming off losses last weekend. You’d expect this clash, then, to see the winner either extend their finals dream or simply add a few more wins before the season’s out. Either way, I think the Hawks will win.

Essendon can likely secure a finals spot with a win over Port, who haven’t tasted victory since their July Showdown victory. Ken Hinkley will be pulling out all the stops to defeat Essendon, but I can’t imagine he will. Essendon to win.

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The next three Saturday games don’t have as much importance riding on them, and all look like reasonably easy picks (I say, as I touch all sorts of wood). GWS is up against Sydney and, while this fixture can occasionally surprise, the Giants should be strong enough to overcome the admirable but lowly Swans.

Fremantle host Geelong next, and I’m not particularly eager to watch this. Cats to win by plenty to continue their march towards securing the minor premiership.

Tim Kelly of the Cats

Tim Kelly and the Cats should account for Fremantle. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Melbourne host Richmond in the first Saturday night clash. This should be a win to the Tigers – anything else would be a big upset for the under-pressure Demons.

For mine, it’s Saturday night’s other game that holds the most stock for finals. Inexplicably, the Crows’ are still tenuously in the top eight, and their clash with the Saints might see them fall out.

St Kilda have a terrible record at Adelaide Oval, and a rubbish record against the Crows generally. But they’re in better form, playing with better confidence and have a new coach loosening the reigns.

Adelaide are looking poor and, like several other teams, have rumblings surrounding their coach. They’re probably the smart tip at home, but I’m going to tip the Saints to surprise.

Sunday’s three clashes all look simple, again. Collingwood against the Gold Coast the likely danger game here, but at the ‘G and even with injuries, I’ll back the Magpies to win this one.

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Carlton have looked lovely of late, but hosting the Eagles – even at home – will be a bridge too far. Expect them to competitively lose. If that’s a thing.

Finally, a surging-for-finals Western Bulldogs will visit a surging-for-top-two Brisbane at the Gabba. This should be a cracker of a clash, but expect Brisbane to win.

Round 20 Stirling Marnie Daniel ADocker The Crowd
NM vs HAW NM NM HAW HAW NM
ESS vs PA ESS PA PA ESS ESS
GWS vs SYD GWS GWS GWS GWS GWS
FRE vs GEE GEE GEE GEE GEE GEE
MEL vs RCH RCH RCH RCH RCH RCH
ADE vs STK ADE ADE ADE STK ADE
COL vs GCS COL COL COL COL COL
CAR vs WCE WCE WCE WCE WCE WCE
BL vs WB BL BL BL BL BL
Last week 7 8 6 8 6
Total score 100 101 94 103 106
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