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Opinion

The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 7

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15th July, 2020
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When we look back on 2020, most of us will remember the odd fixturing, the lack of crowds or another COVID-related anomaly.

I, for one, will still be seething about the number of upsets – especially the ones I thought of tipping but didn’t have the guts to pick. Shoulda, woulda, coulda etc etc.

It was just four points for myself and Marnie in Round 6, with Liam Salter (aka AdelaideDocker) scoring just three and The Crowd rocketing ahead with five.

I do hold a one-point lead over the other experts (with a very ordinary 29 points), with Liam one behind on 28 and Marnie one back of him with 27. The Crowd are well ahead with 32 – well done… I guess.

Stirling Coates
Geelong, Western Bulldogs, GWS Giants, Gold Coast, Richmond, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, West Coast, St Kilda

Good to see genuine blockbusters opening rounds again. Geelong versus Brisbane last Thursday night was a belter – albeit one-sided – while tonight’s Geelong-Collingwood game should be a classic too.

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The Magpies have incredibly avoided a trip to Kardinia Park once more and instead get to play the Cats in Perth. They looked the goods against the Hawks last week, but I don’t rate Alastair Clarkson’s mob this year and will back Geelong to get the points.

Essendon are another side I’m still not very convinced by. Their win against Collingwood a while ago was an excellent performance, but their other three triumphs have been ho-hum. The Doggies are becoming far too inconsistent for anyone’s liking, but I’ll back them to bounce back and topple the Bombers here.

It’s three exciting clashes in a row to begin the round, with Greater Western Sydney versus Brisbane another tough tip. The Lions got the points at this venue last year, but the Giants have a point to prove after last week’s loss and will finish just ahead.

Gold Coast face arguably their biggest test of the season against the Swans. No, Sydney aren’t their hardest opposition, but if the first month of the season meant anything, the Suns simply must cruise past the injury-ravaged Swans.

Isaac Heeney of the Swans is carried off injured

No Heeney makes this game tough for Sydney. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

North Melbourne are in a free fall and a 75,000-man back line won’t fool Damien Hardwick again. Tigers by plenty. I’d seriously consider backing the Blues – who continue to impress and are a genuine top eight chance – if they were playing in Melbourne, but the neutral venue sways me the way of the Power.

Melbourne, the absolute frauds they are, will pat themselves on the back for their ‘rousing’ win over the Suns and promptly lay a massive egg against the Hawks on Sunday. For any NFL fans out there, the Demons remind me of the Jacksonville Jaguars – so far off their 2018 peak and they don’t even know it.

The Derby should see West Coast take the points over the Dockers – although I’m backing Freo to keep it uncomfortably close, while not even St Kilda’s woeful interstate record is enough to make the Crows favourites on Monday night.

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There are scarcely any certainties in 2020, but I’m obliged to continue with the Shoe-In of the Week. This week, I’ll pin the tail on the Tigers.

Marnie Cohen
Geelong, Essendon, GWS Giants, Sydney, Richmond, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, West Coast, Adelaide

Here we go! Another week in this crazy 2020 season.

Adelaide can get their first win of the season on Monday night against St Kilda. There’s no better time for the Crows to register a win than at home, in front of a crowd at Adelaide Oval. Now truly is the time and I would give them half a chance against the Saints.

Last weekend (if not sooner) Port Adelaide proved to be the competition pacesetters and despite Carlton’s great win, I will back Port in here. Same with Essendon over the Dogs – they proved that they’re more than capable of performing without Dylan Shiel having an influence.

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Now that West Coast have returned to Perth and are set to play in front of a home crowd, the wins will start rolling in – starting this weekend against Freo in the Derby.

In the other game at Optus this weekend, Geelong should get up over the Pies. The Cats are flying under the radar at the moment – more on that in this week’s preview, though.

Hawthorn should be able to bounce back this week against Melbourne, as should Sydney against the Suns.

Richmond will likely (and sadly) get on top of North and despite Brisbane having a great year so far, the Giants should be able to get the job done at home. They’re better than their tenth spot on the ladder suggests, but this weekend will definitely test that.

Liam Salter (formerly known as AdelaideDocker)
Collingwood, Essendon, GWS Giants, Gold Coast, Richmond, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, West Coast, St Kilda

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An awful tipping week for me last week, with a grand total of three. This week, as always, seems no easier.

We begin with a Collingwood-Geelong clash in Perth! An interesting match-up given both teams are coming off impressive wins. Thanks to the location, I have zero home-ground advantage to consider. Geelong have looked the stronger team lately, and had a win over a stronger opposition last week, but this is a gut feel kind of tip. I’ll (somewhat nervously) go the Pies.

Essendon’s clash with the Bulldogs is our Friday night viewing, and it’s a big one for the ‘away’ team. The Bulldogs were awful last week and desperately need the win to shake away doubts. Essendon have (quietly) been alright of late, and despite losing Dylan Shiel to suspension, I’ve got them pegged for a win.

None of Saturday’s three games are particularly easy, but one stands out as a more simple pick: Richmond to beat North in the night fixture (sorry, Kangas fans, your team inspires little confidence at the moment).

Sydney’s clash with the Suns shapes as a key hurdle for the Swans. but unlike 2018’s shock upset to the away side, a Suns win here won’t surprise. In fact, it’s expected.

Stuart Dew

Stuart Dew should notch a second win against his mentor this weekend. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

In the clash of contenders who lost to contenders last weekend, I am also tipping the Giants to clinch a narrow win over the Lions. Brisbane, despite being the bookies’ underdogs, are a chance, but GWS – by virtue of the home-ground advantage, are my favourites.

Hawthorn and Melbourne on Sunday is a match that nobody is really excited for, especially me, but questions abound nonetheless. Are Melbourne running into a bit of good form? Can Hawthorn sink lower than last week’s horrendous loss?

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I’m not sure about either, but I’ll tip a Hawthorn win. I have very little faith in either side, but this feels like a game the Dees lose.

Similarly, Monday’s game featuring Adelaide and the Saints is, on paper, a Saints win. But it also feels very much like a game the Saints would lose, handing the Crows a desperately needed first victory of the year.

I’m not tipping that though. Despite the Saints’ horror Adelaide Oval record, I’ll say they’re set for a close win.

Sunday’s other game looks a beauty: the Western Derby – with the largest crowd for the season yet! This is the first derby in a long time that Freo feel a genuine chance in, and I’d absolutely love to tip them, but with injury clouds remaining over the side, I’m inclined to go with the Eagles.

N.B: footy gods, I’m content with sacrificing this tip for a Freo win, though!

Round 7 Stirling Marnie Liam The Crowd
GEE vs COL GEE GEE COL COL
ESS vs WB WB ESS ESS ESS
GWS vs BL GWS GWS GWS GWS
SYD vs GCS GCS SYD GCS GCS
RCH vs NM RCH RCH RCH RCH
CAR vs PA PA PA PA PA
HAW vs MEL HAW HAW HAW HAW
FRE vs WCE WCE WCE WCE WCE
ADE vs STK STK ADE STK STK
Last week 4 4 3 5
Total 29 27 28 32
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