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Opinion

The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 4

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24th June, 2020
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After back-to-back shockers, any hopes we’d be treated to a straightforward week have been thrown out the window.

We’ve got tight matches aplenty in Round 4 and even the ‘straightforward’ matches have banana peel elements to them. Why did I sign up for this again?

For the second straight week, all three members The Roar’s AFL expert tipping panel scored just three points, while the Crowd came out narrowly ahead with four.

The only way is… actually, nevermind.

Stirling Coates
Western Bulldogs, GWS Giants, Port Adelaide, Richmond, Essendon, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Geelong, Hawthorn

All I want for Christmas is a score of six. In one week. So, of course, Round 4 sees a resurgent Western Bulldogs side – nursing a few injuries – travel to play a Sydney side nobody can get a read on.

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The absence of Josh Dunkley and Lachie Hunter from the midfield is a serious worry, but no Tom McCartin throws Sydney’s forward structure out more than people realise and I struggle to see them kicking a winning score.

If the Dogs are legit, last week’s win was the start of a good run and not just a flash in the pan.

Friday night is a rematch of last year’s thrilling preliminary final. Collingwood may be the form team of the competition, but a draw with the out-of-form Tigers and a win over St Kilda isn’t Globetrotter territory.

The Giants have an excellent recent record against the Pies and were “too banged-up” and written off ahead of both wins in 2019, so I’m backing them to silence the doubters yet again.

Port Adelaide and West Coast will be intriguing on Saturday afternoon, as the Power are the only 3-0 team with a 240-plus percentage in AFL history capable of losing to anyone by six goals. I’m not writing off the Eagles yet, but I reckon the Power are the real deal and I’ll pencil them in for a fourth win.

Xavier Duursma

Xavier Duursma and Port look good. (Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Richmond simply have to bounce back against the Saints. If they don’t – look out. I may have written about an impending Carlton resurgence earlier this week, but I’ll back the Bombers to eke out another unconvincing one-kick win.

Finally on Saturday, the Suns should get themselves to 3-1 against a Fremantle side who look like they desperately need a pit stop home.

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Sunday’s trio of matches should begin with a fairly routine win for Brisbane over the hapless Crows. Adelaide surely have the cattle to respond and not get blown off the park, but this is an important test for the Lions to prove they can brush teams aside when they need to.

Geelong should come out breathing fire and put Melbourne to the sword in the second match, while I’ll back Hawthorn to make it two in a row against North Melbourne on Sunday night.

The Shoe-In of the Week segment is 0-2 since the season resumed. Unbelievable. I’ll go with Brisbane over Adelaide and say no more.

Marnie Cohen
Sydney, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Richmond, Carlton, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Geelong, Hawthorn

Well, here I was thinking last week would make off to a poor restart to the season but it actually looks like Adelaide are in better form than myself. Anyway, let’s give it another crack.

This weekend is a great opportunity to see whose early-season success is genuine and whose is false hype.

Given the form of Port and Gold Coast, you can’t really tip against them. I didn’t think those words would ever come out of my mouth but it’s 2020 and things are fairly different around here. They are definitely the two teams who have surprised most with their early-season form and it’ll be interesting to see where they sit.

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Collingwood are probably the in-form team of the competition, but this is their biggest test so far. It’s easy to forget that while they matched Richmond two weeks ago, they weren’t overly impressive. It’ll take more than a win over St Kilda to prove they are the competition’s pace-setters.

They’ll be facing an aggravated GWS side who have had a poor fortnight and I really wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants notched up the win at home. I’ll tip the Pies but with caution.

It’s good to see the Blues finally understand the value of starting a game at the opening bounce, rather than showing up at quarter time. Repeat last week’s performance and there’s no reason they can’t get over the Bombers, who have had a shaky week. Their opponents from last week, Geelong, should bounce back this weekend against Melbourne.

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I will tip Richmond to bounce back against the Saints and I’ll go with the Swans, too.

I’m tipping Brisbane because why would you tip the Crows at the moment? While North should be able to respond from last weekend’s performance, I can’t go past Hawthorn.

AdelaideDocker
Sydney, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Richmond, Carlton, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Geelong, Hawthorn

Yeah, it’s been a weird year for tipping. Actually, weird doesn’t encapsulate it – but we must continue.

I’ll begin with the ‘easy’ one. Brisbane will dominate Adelaide. A big win for the Lions.

Sunday’s Melbourne-Geelong clash, before Geelong’s loss to Carlton last week, might have been considered an easy one to tip. Melbourne are coming off a bye of sorts, but Geelong will be keen to bounce back after last weekend. I’ll tip the Cats.

Both WA teams are also facing the heat in Queensland: neither have won in the hubs, and both are desperate for a win. Unfortunately, both are facing the competition’s form teams.

West Coast’s clash with Port shapes as an interesting – and if history is any guide, unpredictable – clash, but given the Eagles’ form of late and my poor tipping record recently, I’ll stick with Port Adelaide as the favourites.

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Freo face Gold Coast on Saturday night, a clash that shapes as a five-alarm fire for the Dockers. Gold Coast, again, are favourites, and my confidence in my own team remains low. Suns to win.

Sydney’s teams also face difficult match-ups: Sydney play the Bulldogs, GWS play the Pies. I think that the latter clash should see Collingwood secure a win; GWS’s form hasn’t been the best of late, and I can’t see them winning this one. Expect the Bulldogs to run the Swans close, and, in all honesty, I can’t pick a winner. Flip a coin, go Sydney at home.

Josh Dunkley of the Bulldogs handpasses the ball

Josh Dunkley’s absence could be huge for the Dogs. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The all-Victorian match-ups this weekend are – not to sound like a broken record – not particularly easy to tip.

Reigning premiers Richmond have struggled since the resumption of the season, particularly last week. The Saints have been very average on their own behalf. Richmond, looking to bounce back, and the Saints, looking for a big scalp, will make this one entertaining – Tigers to prevail.

Hawthorn and North Melbourne play the late Sunday clash, and with Hawthorn’s eye-opening form last week gives me reason to lean towards them. North aren’t a bad team, but I’m more confident in the Hawks.

Now, one last tip with an asterisk: Essendon and Carlton – provided it goes ahead – should be a fun one. Carlton will be looking to go back-to-back, and an Essendon side fresh off a week of controversy is a prime target. If it goes ahead, I’m inclined to tip the Blues – provided they don’t replicate last week’s fourth-term fade out.

Round 4 Stirling Marnie ADocker The Crowd
Sydney vs Western Bulldogs WB SYD SYD SYD
GWS Giants vs Collingwood GWS COL COL COL
Port Adelaide vs West Coast PA PA PA PA
St Kilda vs Richmond RCH RCH RCH RCH
Essendon vs Carlton ESS CAR CAR ESS
Gold Coast vs Fremantle GCS GCS GCS GCS
Brisbane vs Adelaide BL BL BL BL
Melbourne vs Geelong GEE GEE GEE GEE
Hawthorn vs North Melbourne HAW HAW HAW HAW
Last week 3 3 3 4
Total 12 10 12 14
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