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Opinion

The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 16

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30th June, 2021
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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

You’d have thought me having just three tips in common with Dem Panopoulos and Liam Salter would either result in me overtaking the pack to take a stunning lead, or spinning out badly and being left hopelessly adrift.

Instead, we all scored five points and the leaderboard stayed exactly as it was. Dem leads the Crowd by one, they lead Liam by one and he leads me by two.

The season could be thrown into utter chaos any second now, so I won’t waste any more time with the intro. Let’s tip Round 16!

Stirling Coates

Richmond, Geelong, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle, Port Adelaide, Sydney, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs

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Not even the chap who runs that wretched ‘AFL News Trade Rumours Results’ page would have honestly predicted St Kilda thumping Richmond by 40 points – although he probably did blame the umpires for the 86-point thumping his Saints copped in Round 5.

The Tigers have a funny habit, however, of losing to St Kilda and going on to do special things. In Round 16, 2017, they were down 92-10 at half time in an eventual 67-point loss, but lost just once more all season and won their first premiership in 37 years. Last year, they lost to the Saints in Round 4, dropping them to 1-1-2, before bouncing back into their imperious form and collecting another flag.

Will last Friday’s result spur them to a third consecutive premiership? Maybe, but it will definitely inspire them to an easy win over the sloppy Suns.

Essendon are playing their first game in Geelong in my lifetime, while only Cale Hooker, David Zaharakis and Michael Hurley had been born last time they won at ground. I’ve had enough life firsts over the last 18 months for another one to get added to the list. Cats by 20.

Saturday’s four games all look pretty cut and dry. Melbourne are a much better side than Greater Western Sydney – especially at the MCG, where the Giants play like their 2013 selves every time they step on the turf. Demons by seven goals.

I would’ve seriously been tempted to pick Adelaide over Brisbane given the Adelaide Oval has been a contender’s graveyard this season, but the venue change means the Lions really shouldn’t be troubled.

Zac Bailey of the Lions celebrates after kicking a goal

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Fremantle losing home ground advantage for their date with the Blues makes things a bit more interesting, but the Dockers have improved a lot since their thumping at Carlton’s hands earlier this season. The same cannot be said for David Teague’s side.

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Hawthorn are much improved since the bye – North Melbourne are seriously lucky they played them when they did as they’d still be winless otherwise. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Port love beating up on bottom ten sides and will do it again on Saturday night.

The AFL has thrown Sydney a huge bone by moving their home game against West Coast to Geelong. The Swans are the only team Cats fans hate seeing turn up at Kardinia Park, while the Eagles have acted as blue and gold traffic cones at the ground for 15 years. Sydney should take advantage and solidify their finals spot.

The umpiring decision was a shocker, but Brayden Maynard turning it into a 50-metre penalty is all on him. I must be a bad luck charm for him, because whenever I see him play he always does the most stupid things.

I know I shouldn’t get sucked in by the Saints again, but that thumping of the Tigers was quite impressive. Oh, okay; I’ll tip them again and wake up alone on Monday wondering how I could’ve been so silly.

Finally, I sincerely hope North Melbourne do a lot better against the Western Bulldogs than the absolute debacle on Good Friday – but that match is still my Shoe-In of the Week.

Dem Panopoulos

Richmond, Geelong, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle, Port Adelaide, Sydney, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs

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First and foremost, I’d like to apologise to Richmond fans for jinxing the team into a 22-point display against an average team.

There was a lot of close footy last week, results fell on either side of the fence but the enjoyment of having nine games in the round was a vibe that was matched by the quality.

Lots of fixturing issues now exists, it’ll be fascinating if we can get through the next couple of weeks without a break.

Gold Coast against Richmond at Marvel on a Thursday, it’s gone from a very likely result to a certainty with the venue change. A Tiger bounce back.

Geelong were exposed against the Lions but should really demolish the Bombers on Friday night. I have a piece breaking down why we need to settle down on these baby Bombers tomorrow and it’s games like these that provide the reality check.

Turns out the Giants just can’t really handle the pressure away from home, making the fixture against Melbourne the third easy tip in a row.

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The Lions have a terrible record at the Adelaide Oval and used to hate playing the Crows, but I’ll always be backing my premiership favourite in this sort of contest.

Fremantle have a right to be upset. This game against Carlton was a near certainty at home, to keep them within stepping distance of a top eight spot, but now will apparently have to hub on the Eastern side of the country for at least a fortnight.

At time of writing, I don’t know where the game is. I’ll stick with Fremantle regardless of the 10-goal swing in venue.

Hope you all decided to take a better look at the Hawks from before the Swans game, we thought they might be half decent. This is a tricky game for Port, whose pattern suggests a loss is on the cards at Marvel. You’d think they have just enough to win this contest.

Sydney and West Coast play in Geelong, as we expected at the start of the season. Both teams really need a win, but the Swans have a strangely good record at the venue. The shift from the SCG actually favours them!

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To wrap it up, the Saints should beat Collingwood and Josh Bruce will probably break Fred Fanning’s record, he loves playing against North Melbourne.

Liam Salter

Richmond, Geelong, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle, Port Adelaide, Sydney, Collingwood, Western Bulldogs

A clash between the Suns and a suddenly poor Richmond is our opener tonight – now at a ground that rips home advantage from one side and infuriates the other’s coach.

The Suns showed a smidgen of fight against North last week, but to suggest they’re a realistic chance against Richmond – who’d be furious with their embarrassing effort last weekend – isn’t something I’m comfortable doing.

Geelong versus Essendon is a better primetime match. The Cats were also pummelled last week, while the Bombers were competitive against the Demons. Essendon haven’t played a home-and-away season game at Kardinia Park since 1993 – let alone won one there. That’s an imposing record, particularly against a Geelong side who haven’t lost there this year. Cats to win.

Three out of four games on Saturday seem relatively clear cut. The Giants always seem to be able to threaten when they want to but, recency bias or not, last week’s performance doesn’t give me much hope. It’s obvious Melbourne are superb this year, and they should be able to see them off.

That’s the same as the Brisbane-Adelaide game, which should be the Lions’ to lose.

The Hawks winning over Port does seem like a humorously likely scenario but, with the tipping neck and neck, I can’t take silly risks. The Power to win a close one.

The Fremantle versus Carlton match petrifies me. The Blues have a tendency to beat Freo, typically by small margins, having won the previous three encounters. The Blues looked a lot more cohesive against the Crows, but the Dockers have looked excellent in the past few weeks and seem to be building to something – they’ll snap the losing streak.

Sunday’s clashes – like most Sundays – are an interesting bunch. Sydney taking on the Eagles in Geelong is fascinating. The Eagles have a terrible record there, with memories headed back to their 97-point loss to the Cats just a few months ago.

Neither side has been impressive lately but, when you’re weighing up form, it’s clearly the Eagles who look more lacklustre. I’ll go the Swans.

The two final games don’t strike me as particularly exciting. You’ll be juggling Collingwood’s superb recent record over the Saints with the St Kilda’s surprise resurgence. The Pies are narrow favourites, but I’m going to back the Sainters for the victory. North broke through for a win last week, but to replicate that against the superb Bulldogs? Nah, not happening.

Round 16 Stirling Dem Liam Crowd
GCS vs RCH RCH RCH RCH RCH
GEE vs ESS GEE GEE GEE GEE
MEL vs GWS MEL MEL MEL MEL
ADE vs BL BL BL BL BL
FRE vs CAR FRE FRE FRE CAR
HAW vs PA PA PA PA PA
SYD vs WCE SYD SYD SYD SYD
COL vs STK STK STK STK COL
WB vs NM WB WB WB WB
Last week 5 5 5 5
Total 79 83 81 82
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