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Opinion

The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Rounds 15 and 16

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2nd September, 2020
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We’re into the final stretch of the home-and-away season, with just four ‘weeks’ separating us from the finals.

It’s time to get a wriggle on if you’re a top-eight aspirant and it’s also time to get a wriggle on if you’re a tipster.

A delicious score of eight for myself last week, given second-placed Liam Salter scored six, puts me three points ahead on The Roar’s expert tipping panel, with Marnie Cohen seven points off the pace. The Crowd are unassailable on 86 points.

This week, we’re covering all matches up until Wednesday and, from there, normal programming resumes.

Stirling Coates

Melbourne, GWS Giants, Brisbane | Port Adelaide, St Kilda, Geelong, West Coast, Melbourne, GWS Giants, Carlton, Brisbane

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Looks like a fairly straightforward set of matches. Melbourne – who, once again, I tried to warn you were back – now look more and more likely to return to finals and should press that claim further with two more wins.

They should have little trouble notching consecutive wins over Sydney for the first time since 2001, before taking down Fremantle in what should be a harder clash next week.

Greater Western Sydney will have a lot to say about the Demons’ chances, however, and they gave themselves a huge boost with one of their most impressive performances of the season last week. Their match against Carlton is probably the toughest tip of the week, but they should have the class to get it done. Their clash against Adelaide in Round 16 is not as hard to decide.

The other team who’ll go 2-0 over the next week and a bit is Brisbane. Collingwood will give them a run for their money tomorrow night, but will fall short and keep the finals race interesting. The most interesting Q-Clash in years will hopefully live up to the billing, but the Suns getting up would be an enormous suprise.

Charlie Cameron of the Lions celebrates a goal

Charlie Cameron and the Lions have a chance to wrap up a top four spot. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Elsewhere, the tips look pretty easy to call. Port Adelaide doing anything but wiping the floor with North Melbourne seems unlikely.

The wheels have officially fallen off Hawthorn’s old man’s wagon and the end to the season can’t come soon enough. St Kilda are more vulnerable than they thought they’d be a week ago, so should be switched on enough to give the Hawks a belting.

Geelong will take care of Essendon, West Coast have to have their wits about them against the Bulldogs, but should get it done, while Carlton will get themselves back on the winners’ list by knocking off Sydney.

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As for a Shoe-In of the Week, I’ll go for Port Adelaide and their newly re-signed spearhead Charlie Dixon to do a number on North.

Marnie Cohen

Melbourne, GWS Giants, Brisbane | Port Adelaide, St Kilda, Geelong, West Coast, Fremantle, GWS Giants, Carlton, Brisbane

The obvious team to focus on is Brisbane, as they’ve played in Queensland the whole season and the grand final will be played on their turf. But the Lions need to start helping themselves so that their wayward kicking doesn’t cost them.

They play Collingwood on Friday night and the Suns on the following Monday and they should win both of them. But they have to take destiny into their own hands, as there are teams below them who will be pushing for a top-four finish.

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One of those teams is Richmond, who not only appear to (once again) be the team to beat, but also have the wood over the Lions at the Gabba. There’s no doubt the Tigers are good, but I’m surprised the focus is so heavy on them when ladder leaders Port and second-placed Geelong have both had sensational seasons.

Is it safer to trust the reigning premiers? Probably, but both Port and Geelong look like different sides than they have in recent seasons. Those top-five sides are worth watching, as are the current eighth-placed Dees, who I was almost tempted to tip twice in this group of matches.

Incredibly, Melbourne have won four of their previous five matches, yet I still cannot bring myself to rely on them. They have two big games coming up against Sydney and Fremantle. Both are winnable and would put them in a seriously good spot to play finals but I wouldn’t dismiss either as an easybeat and they’ve got to be wary of that.

It feels most of these results will be straightforward enough, but with little separating the top five and sixth to 12th spot, it makes for a dramatic end to the season and, seeing as my team has all but locked up 17th spot, I’ll grab my popcorn and watch on in intrigue.

Liam Salter

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Melbourne, GWS Giants, Brisbane | Port Adelaide, St Kilda, Geelong, West Coast, Melbourne, GWS Giants, Carlton, Brisbane

A shocker of a round last week leads me to be a little strategic this round (by which I mean keeping to the favourites).

The Dees need to beat the Swans to keep in top eight contention. Sydney have been mediocre of late – really, for much of the season – and Melbourne have more at stake, so the latter will win this and next Monday’s clash against Freo, too.

Another Thursday night team – the Giants – should also win their next two. They’ll beat the Blues, whose capitulation last week just about slammed the finals door shut, and the Crows.

Brisbane also plays twice this week. Clash one, Friday night’s against Collingwood, shapes as an absolute cracker. The Pies still aren’t secure in the eight, but looked excellent against the Blues last Sunday and will be full of confidence.

The Lions have a tendency to lose the biggest matches, but I’d expect them to be too strong for the Magpies (if inaccuracy doesn’t hurt them). Brisbane’s other match – next week’s Q-Clash – should be a good one, but the top-four bound Lions will be too strong for the Suns.

Sunday has a pair of intriguing clashes. Geelong and Essendon do battle at the Gabba, and the admirable Dons will want to keep the competitiveness they showed against the Eagles but increase their inside-50 discipline. Can they do it against the Cats? I want to back the upset, but can’t.

Speaking of the Eagles, they face a desperate-to-win Bulldogs the same day. The Eagles haven’t been shining in their return to Queensland, but I’d back them to have too much class for the Doggies.

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In easier tips, expect Port to pummel North, Carlton to beat the Swans, and St Kilda to score a win over a horrendous Hawthorn.

Note: You’ll be able to enter your tips for Round 16 on Saturday morning. Check back on this article on then for an updated list or click on this link to head to our AFL tipping hub and get your tips in early.

Rounds 15 and 16 Stirling Marnie Liam Crowd
SYD vs MEL MEL MEL MEL MEL
GWS vs CAR GWS GWS GWS GWS
BL vs COL BL BL BL BL
NM vs PA PA PA PA PA
STK vs HAW STK STK STK STK
GEE vs ESS GEE GEE GEE GEE
WB vs WCE WCE WCE WCE WCE
MEL vs FRE MEL FRE MEL MEL
ADE vs GWS GWS GWS GWS GWS
CAR vs SYD CAR CAR CAR CAR
BL vs GCS BL BL BL BL
Last week 8 7 6 9
Total 78 71 75 86
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