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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 8

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5th May, 2022
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I’m fairly certain any credibility I had as an ‘expert’ was lost when I tipped West Coast to knock over Richmond last Friday night.

109 points later, I was forced as punishment to walk home naked, dragging behind me the stone of shame. (I was already home at the time, but that’s neither here nor there.)

While the rest of the week wasn’t quite enough for me to remove the stone of shame and attach the stone of triumph, I’ll take a 5 and run for the hills given an upset-filled Saturday that saw GWS shock Adelaide on their own turf, Fremantle squeak past Geelong and Port Adelaide slop past St Kilda (I don’t care if ‘slop’ can be used as an adjective, it perfectly describes that game in Cairns).

This week, there’s some genuinely tough games for the first time in a good long while, and I for one can’t wait to get each and every one of them wrong. Now, let’s all get drunk and play ping-pong!

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Tim Miller (last week: 5)

Western Bulldogs, Fremantle, Richmond, Sydney, Geelong, Hawthorn, Brisbane, Melbourne, Carlton

With COVID hitting the Western Australian sides hard once again, and the rest of the competition seemingly playing for second behind Melbourne, we’ve reached an interesting point in the AFL season. And yet, despite having a pretty good idea about where everyone in the competition sits, Round 8 is still throwing up some mighty interesting games.

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Let’s get the easy ones out of the way first. COVID or not, Fremantle aren’t going to be losing to North Melbourne on their home patch – and after winning in Geelong without Matt Taberner or Sean Darcy, I’m not sure the absence of Blake Acres, Griffin Logue and a few others is going to give Justin Longmuir too many sleepless nights.

Sydney have a habit of surprise losses to the Gold Coast – indeed, the Suns have won three of their last five against the Swans after winning none of their first eight – but you just can’t back the Suns with any confidence, and the Swans losing to Brisbane shouldn’t take away from the fact that they’re a top four contender.

The same goes for Melbourne against St Kilda on Sunday – expect a good Saints fight, but for the Demons to be too strong when it matters, which if I recall correctly from scriptures will result in the rapture.

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Brisbane could legitimately set a new points record against a West Coast side set to lose yet more players to COVID and that was hardly functioning as an AFL side anyway; while a Matthew Nicks-less Adelaide might not have the midfield muscle to take down Carlton at home.

Having gone 6-0 in the first seven weeks, I’m expecting caretaker coaches Matthew Knights (Eagles) and Scott Burns (Crows) to end that particular streak back to back.

Onto the hard games. I’m expecting a huge fight from Port Adelaide on Friday night – you often see sides who’ve been smashed in a big final come out for vengeance the year after, even if they don’t have great seasons (Adelaide and GWS over Richmond in 2018 and 2020 respectively come to mind). I’m sticking with my Bulldogs, though, even though Marcus Bontempelli is a massive, massive loss – even a 60 per cent Bont is a potential difference-maker in a game like this.

The Giants are likewise every chance to spring an upset on Geelong in Canberra, but I’m siding with the Cats for two reasons: one, they’re unlikely to afford the Giants the same pressure-free ball movement the Crows did last week; and two, I’m a coward who doesn’t have the nerve to pick an outsider while clinging to equal lead in the tipping competition.

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A smoky for the most interesting game of the round arrives on Saturday night, with Essendon hosting Hawthorn. The Hawks are rightful favourites, but this is the exact side the Bombers would love to play in their current form – a team with a weakness in midfield, minus their most dangerous key forward in Mitch Lewis, and holding the favouritism tag that has turned the Dons to water so often in recent years.

Having said that, who am I tipping? Why, the Hawks, of course – I did say I’m a coward.

Laitham Vandermeer of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Dem Panopoulos (last week: 4)

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Western Bulldogs, Fremantle, Richmond, Sydney, GWS, Essendon, Brisbane, Melbourne, Carlton

Let’s just get straight into it.

The Bulldogs didn’t play their best game to beat Essendon, but at least they didn’t play in the worst game in recent memory, where Port’s grey jumper was the most colourful part of the game.

The Bulldogs have won four of their past five at Adelaide Oval too.

I’d support Peel Thunder to beat North Melbourne at the moment, and all readers should remember the name Wade Derksen as a potential mature-age player that could come into the AFL system.

The Magpies’ offensive weaponry has been surprisingly dominant so far this season, and is a testament to their attacking style. Richmond were dominant against the Eagles, but it’s the quality of inclusions, such as Trent Cotchin and that bloke who wears number four, and the forecasted wet weather that really swings this match in their favour.

Sydney will want to make a statement after their loss last week. People shouldn’t overreact to the Suns’ record at the moment, they’ll be fine in the long-term, but I won’t be tipping them this week.

GWS and Geelong is really intriguing. The Giants were great against the Crows and the Cats’ were valiant but fell short against Fremantle. There’s something extremely unlikeable about Lachie Whitfield and Stephen Coniglio playing
90 per cent forward, but it worked last week.

My piece today dives deeply into the way Geelong are playing, and it’s the sort of style that a switched-on Giants team can cover defensively.

Hawthorn is a better structured team than Essendon, but have a poor recent record at Marvel Stadium. Matches between these two teams are generally close, but I expect the Bombers to find something a little extra and get some heat off Ben Rutten (and themselves).
Brisbane will beat West Coast by a billion, and that might be being conservative. Lachie Neale will be everyone’s SuperCoach captain and probably cruise to 97, annoying us all.

Happy Mother’s Day to all for Sunday! As far as the footy is concerned, Melbourne will beat the Saints by 10 goals, and the Blues will knock off a feisty Adelaide team as your gift.

Ben Brown

Ben Brown of the Demons. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Cameron Rose (last week: 5)

Western Bulldogs, Fremantle, Richmond, Sydney, Geelong, Hawthorn, Brisbane, Melbourne, Carlton

Tipping outsiders hasn’t exactly gone well for me this season, so I’m playing it safe this week and seeing if my luck turns around.

Even without Marcus Bontempelli, the Bulldogs have a great recent record at the Adelaide Oval, and a Port Adelaide side minus Charlie Dixon will struggle to kick a winning score. The Dockers should handle North Melbourne comfortably in the later game, which few people outside supporters of those two clubs will bother staying up for.

Richmond to take down Collingwood on Saturday afternoon, with the Tigers beginning to get their triple-premiership-winning band back together with Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin returning. The Swans are too good for Gold Coast to present too many worries, while Geelong should be able to keep GWS’ running game in check long enough for the points in Canberra.

Brisbane can choose whether they cruise to a 10-goal win and have a training session against West Coast or have a crack at the biggest win in AFL history, while Hawthorn showed against Melbourne last week they can lock a good side down, which doesn’t bode well for the Bombers.

On Sunday afternoon, the Dees face their first real test of the year, but you’d be brave to bank on St Kilda to be the first ones to knock them off all year, especially away from Marvel Stadium.

Finishing off the round, Carlton and Patrick Cripps should deal with Adelaide on home turf, who have made a big statement by dropping Matt Crouch.

Sam Walsh

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Liam Salter (last week: 6)

Western Bulldogs, Fremantle, Collingwood, Sydney, Geelong, Hawthorn, Brisbane, Melbourne, Carlton

Six outta nine for me last week – ultimately, not too awful a score given the shenanigans that went on over the weekend.

Side note: I wasn’t expecting to be the only expert to back the Tigers, but I’m not complaining at all. 

We begin with a fun double Friday night duo of matches, including a very rare appearance from the Dockers in the prestigious timeslot. I’ll get to them in a moment because, given this is the AFL we’re discussing, Port and the Bulldogs take the nationally televised slot an hour earlier.

Neither are bastions of consistency – they weren’t spectacular, but both did secure much-needed wins last week. To the disappointment of those who like chaos, or coaching upheaval, Port does seem to be beginning a recovery from its early season woes, but the Doggies are more trustworthy – I’ll reluctantly back them.

In a moment of schadenfreude for Eagles fans, Freo have been hit by COVID. In a moment of relief for the Dockers – and this is famous last words territory – they’re playing the Kangaroos. It’s silly to not back Fremantle here, health & safety protocols be damned, but let’s be honest: if they were going to drop one, this would be it.

Just quickly on West Coast, there’s little chance they’re beating Brissy at the Gabba on Sunday.

Richmond and the Magpies do battle on Saturday afternoon. Little fun fact here: Collingwood have won this match-up the last three times the Tigers have been the home side, which is the case this weekend. Who am I to bely history like that?

The Pies will win, though given I’m ignoring Richmond’s supposed favouritism, my tips may not.

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The rest of Saturday’s game have tantalising opportunities for upsets – but I’m going to tip conservatively. Not even Nostradamus could have predicted Gold Coast’s famous win over Sydney at the SCG in 2018, so this fixture is open to spontaneity, but the Swans nevertheless remains a safer bet this weekend. As does Geelong, who I’m backing but who admittedly look vulnerable against the Giants particularly if Leon Cameron’s squad produces a performance like the one that thrashed Adelaide.

Lastly, just based on the Hawks’ strong form of late, they’re a mighty good bet over the struggling Dons. 

Jack Gunston of the Hawks celebrates a goal

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

St Kilda and Cairns are an awful combination, which cost them a win the entire panel backed last week – yet Sydney simultaneously losing meant they moved up on the ladder. They’re back in safer pastures this weekend, with the caveat being they play Melbourne.

It’s a very good test for the Saints to prove themselves against the premiership contender. My policy of automatically tipping the Demons remains, however.

To conclude the week, we have the Blues hosting Adelaide. If you’d asked me last week, I’d have considered backing the Crows here – but nah, the Blues are deservedly at another level clearly and will win. 

Round 8TimDemCamLiamCrowd
PA vs WBWBWB WB WBWB
FRE vs NMFREFREFREFREFRE
RCH vs COLRCHRCHRCHCOLRCH
SYD vs GCSSYDSYDSYDSYDSYD
GWS vs GEEGEEGWSGEEGEEGEE
ESS vs HAWHAWESSHAWHAWHAW
BL vs WCEBLBLBLBLBL
MEL vs STKMELMELMELMELMEL
CAR vs ADECARCARCARCARCAR
ROLLING SCORE4336354043

Multi tip from PlayUp

Leg 1. Richmond H2H @ $1.52

Leg 2. Essendon H2H @ $1.90

Leg 3. Melbourne H2H @ $1.35

Total – $3.90

Good luck this weekend. Be sure to check out the great odds and the new same game Multi-feature at PlayUp. Please gamble responsibly.
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