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Opinion

The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 2

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10th June, 2020
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It’s back! It’s back! Footy’s finally back!

It’s been 84 long days since I last put up a tipping article. While I tried to fill the gap with some revisited trade periods and season restart previews, nothing compares to the real thing.

Fortunately, our AFL expert tipping panel is back and ready to go for Round 2 and beyond.

Round 1 saw myself, AdelaideDocker and The Crowd both score six, while Marnie Cohen’s title defence got off to a shaky start with a score of four.

Let’s get back into it!

Stirling Coates
Richmond, Geelong, Brisbane, Carlton, West Coast, Port Adelaide, GWS Giants, Sydney, Western Bulldogs

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The AFL’s thrown us a doozy for the first game of Round 2, pitting premiership contenders Richmond and Collingwood against one another. No chance of Tigers versus Suns to ease us back in, Gil?

The Magpies may have won two of the last three meetings and had the more impressive Round 1 performance, but I don’t like second-gamer Darcy Cameron and Brody Mihocek trying to spearhead the attack against the Tigers’ defence.

Hawthorn make their first trip to Kardinia Park since Round 3, 2006. They crushed the Cats in that outing and it was that shock loss that sent Geelong into a downward spiral, only to then draft Joel Selwood and win three flags. The Hawks looked good in Round 1 but I think they’re a bit overrated and will fall short here.

Brisbane have had three months to simmer over their sub-par Round 1 effort and should have little trouble taking it out on a Fremantle side who haven’t played at the Gabba in three years, while the other Queensland match should see West Coast wipe the floor with the Suns.

Ill-advised faith in Melbourne cost me a bunch of tips last season and I’ve had it. I didn’t realise how truly atrocious they were in 2019 until doing the season restart preview series and I won’t be giving them a tip until things change dramatically.

The Blues looked really sharp in the second half of their Round 1 loss and deserve favouritism here.

Saturday’s other match should see Port Adelaide comfortably take care of their vulnerable arch-rivals in the Showdown. As for the prison bar debate? The jersey doesn’t even look that good. Wear the normal one. It’s not like the Crows are also an elevated SANFL side, there’s no history between the sides to honour by wearing it.

Connor Rozee

What’s wrong with the teal? Nothing! (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Greater Western Sydney should kick Sunday’s fixture off with a straightforward win over North Melbourne. I don’t think we’ve given the Giants enough credit for how easily they took down last year’s minor premiers – they’re the real deal.

Essendon’s poor record at the SCG counts against them in the second match. The Swans looked sharp for most of their Round 1 clash with Adelaide and should get past the Bombers by three or four goals.

Round 2 then finishes with a meeting between the two sides most disappointed by their opening efforts: the Western Bulldogs for getting obliterated and St Kilda for forfeiting a hefty halftime lead.

The Saints will keep the Doggies honest, but the ‘home’ side should have the class to get the job done.

This week’s Shoe-In of the Week simply has to be the Eagles getting the four points over Gold Coast.

Marnie Cohen
Collingwood, Geelong, Brisbane, Carlton, West Coast, Port Adelaide, GWS Giants, Sydney, Western Bulldogs

I am so glad footy is back! It’ll be great to put an end to the “why [INSERT TEAM HERE] are the winners post-isolation” articles while we delve into some footy with real winners and losers.

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Despite those articles, I found it quite difficult to tip any team confidently (except for maybe West Coast) because we are just about starting the season from scratch.

Tonight’s game was the hardest to tip. The AFL picked a ripper (and unsurprising) match up to restart the season. As long as the game is as good as it looks on paper we should be in for a treat. I don’t think much separates the two sides, just a bit of percentage. Both won their first games of the season and looked sharp. Could be anyone’s game, really.

Nathan Buckley’s decision to leave Jaidyn Stephenson out of the side for a second straight game intrigues me. He’s not giving away spots in the 22 easily and that confidence has led me to tip the Pies.

Taylor Adams of the Magpies is congratulated by teammates

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Friday night is also a brilliant match-up. Geelong-Hawthorn games are my favourite from a neutral point of view. Geelong for me, at home in Patty Dangerfield’s 250th game.

Both New South Welsh sides should get the job done against Essendon and North respectively, while Carlton will ruin Harley Bennell’s return to footy. If the Blues could learn to start showing up to games from the opening bounce, instead of the start of the second or third quarter, they could really pose a threat in 2020.

And what about the West Australian-turned-Queensland sides? I’d say West Coast will win in their first game at home away from home. As for Freo, I wouldn’t write them off completely but I think the Lions will win.

As for the final game of the round? I’m going with the Bulldogs – just. It’s hard to be confident about a team who scored 34 points in Round 1. And equally hard to be confident in a side who let a five-goal halftime lead slip.

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AdelaideDocker
Collingwood, Geelong, Brisbane, Carlton, West Coast, Port Adelaide, GWS Giants, Sydney, Western Bulldogs

What a decade those last three months have been. But, alas, the AFL have patched together a fixture that sees Queensland come into vogue, fans (maybe) at some games and Harley bloody Bennell debuting for the Demons – Freo medical staff, what were you doing for five years?

Despite the AFL world clearly being a weird one at the moment, there is footy to be played.

Both Collingwood and Richmond are coming off wins back in March, but do those March results have any relevance? I’ll back Collingwood as a flip-of-the-coin choice.

Hawthorn have the better ‘form’ after a surprise Round 1 upset, but Geelong are cushioned nicely in GMBHA land. I’m looking forward to the game but expect the Cats to sneak a win.

On Saturday, Fremantle and West Coast make their Queensland hub debuts, clashing with Brisbane and Gold Coast respectively. The second of those games should be a comfortable win to the Eagles, but not even my Freo fandom has enough optimism to see us secure a win away against the Lions.

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The Demons may be the bookies favourite, but I’m sensing Carlton could pull off an upset here. I feel like a maverick doing this but I’m going to tip the Blues. Hey, at least this tip makes more sense than Stirling’s tip of a Melbourne upset in Perth back in March.

The Showdown – to be played in front of a packed house by COVID standards – is going to be a close game. Without a lot of form to back me up, I’m tipping Port.

Sunday’s clashes seem no easier to define. Expect the Giants to beat North in the lunchtime clash, but the other two are harder tips. Sydney and Essendon – two kinda average teams – both narrowly defeated two slightly-less-average squads in March. So, in the battle for averageness, I’ll go with the home team in Sydney to win.

The Saints and Bulldogs will close us off with a weirdly-timed Sunday night clash. The Bulldogs were terrible in Round 1, but I don’t expect Luke Beveridge’s side to remain so. They’ll win against the Saints.

Round 2 Stirling Marnie ADocker The Crowd
Collingwood vs Richmond RCH COL COL RCH
Geelong vs Hawthorn GEE GEE GEE GEE
Brisbane vs Fremantle BL BL BL BL
Carlton vs Melbourne CAR CAR CAR MEL
Gold Coast vs West Coast WCE WCE WCE WCE
Port Adelaide vs Adelaide PA PA PA PA
GWS Giants vs North Melbourne GWS GWS GWS GWS
Sydney vs Essendon SYD SYD SYD SYD
St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs WB WB WB WB
Score 6 4 6 6
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