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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 9

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5 days ago
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Six out of nine is the ultimate vanilla score in AFL tipping.

It’s like Comrade Dyatlov’s assessment of a 3.6 roentgen reading in the TV series Chernobyl: ‘not great, not terrible’.

But of course, a 6-9 can sometimes just be concealing a whole heap of death, destruction and radiation poisoning soon to arrive. Let’s hope that’s where the Chernobyl analogies end, because unlike for the Soviets, I can’t just lie to our mates and give them a propaganda number next week.

As for Round 9, it’s one where many of our tips are going to look by and large identical, with two or three (or four, if you’re an Essendon fan) games that sit in that annoying 60/40 range where you’re not seriously considering tipping the underdog but will feel quite stupid when they inevitably get up.

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So let’s get on our HAZMAT suits, start shoveling the graphite off the roof and not, under any circumstances, look down!

Tim Miller (last week: 6)

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

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I’m ready to be hurt again by my Bulldogs, but unlike the last few weeks where I’ve mostly been tipping them out of blind faith, I’m a genuine believer that they can stave off Collingwood. The Pies’ lack of Brodie Grundy in the ruck and any hugely powerful key forwards or backs rob them in areas that really trouble the Bulldogs, and with Marcus Bontempelli and Alex Keath back, the Dogs’ line-up looks stronger despite their injury carnage against Port Adelaide.

You’d have to back Richmond continuing their winning ways over Hawthorn, as should Port Adelaide safely account for North Melbourne without too much trouble. But that’s when things get a bit tricky.

St Kilda hosting Geelong under the Marvel roof is a genuine 50/50 call; I’ve gone for the Saints out of faith that their dynamic forward line and midfield firepower will be far better suited to facing the Cats than it proved against Melbourne. A much worse St Kilda outfit very nearly toppled Geelong this time last year, with only Max King’s inaccuracy costing them. Surely that can’t happen again… right?

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It’s Brisbane by how many when they take on the Crows on Saturday evening, even with that game being in Adelaide, but I’m far less certain about the other game.

I wrote during the week about how the Swans aren’t playing the SCG well at the moment, and against an Essendon team that has regularly pushed them to the brink in recent years, there’s real chance of an upset… not that I can bring myself to tip the Bombers.

On Sunday, it’s Melbourne’s turn to beat up on West Coast, while Fremantle should face more of a fight against Gold Coast, but the Suns’ makeshift forward line might struggle to kick a winning score against the Dockers’ fearsome defensive unit. Wedged in between those two is the match of the round, for a multitude of reasons.

For Carlton, it’s the start of a six-week stretch without Harry McKay; with a host of other players carrying niggles and facing a GWS outfit farewelling Leon Cameron, doomsayer Blues fans are already expecting the worse.

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Remarkably, the 2-6 Giants are favourites against the 6-2 Blues, and I’m backing them to farewell Cameron with a bang here. No McKay means extra pressure on the red-hot Charlie Curnow, while the Giants have a great recent record against the Blues (then again, who hasn’t in the past half-decade?) and have the always-important ‘send-the-coach-off-on-a-high’ extra incentive.

If Collingwood can knock over Melbourne last year in Nathan Buckley’s swansong, surely the Giants can pull off something similar at home?

Leon Cameron

(Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Dem Panopoulos (last week: 6)

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

6 is about average, so it was nice to hit that mark in Round 8.

There are some intriguing games this week and we can expect the ladder to shift a bit, which is always fun this far into the season.

It’s a weird one to have the Magpies hosting the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium. Collingwood heads in with the knowledge that they have won four of their last five against the Dogs, while Bevo’s boys just know they have to win. I know what means more.

Can you believe that the Hawks haven’t beaten a bottom-four team since 2019? It’s a strange fact, but also irrelevant to this contest! Tom Lynch is in incredible form and even if the rain hits, that only suits the Tigers further.

It’s funny how perspective can change things. Before the season, you would’ve been laughed at and Port lambasted at the prospect of being 3-5 after two months. Instead, they’re seen as the ‘form’ team looking at four in a row. Yes, they’ll beat North Melbourne, but it won’t be by an obscene number and no, they’re not that good.

Saints and Geelong should play the match of the round. Readers would know my opinions of these two teams after pieces released over the last fortnight, but I see this specific matchup at Marvel as a 50/50. I’ll go Cats.

31 points have separated Sydney and Essendon in total over the last five contests between the teams and the Swans have been poor lately, which gives us hope for another beauty. It really is hard to see a contender lose three in a row, otherwise they’d be dropping down a tier in our estimations.

Brisbane’s only played against the Crows at Adelaide Oval thrice, losing the first two by 87 and 138 points and winning the other by 52. The latter seems slightly closer to current form, and while the Crows should put up a better fight than in their last fortnight, the Lions are just about a lock.

Do I think the Suns have a sneaky chance against the Dockers? Probably. Would I tip it after the tipping year I’ve had? Absolutely not.

Instead, I’ll tip the Giants to beat the Blues. It’s dangerous assuming Leon Cameron will play his guys in the right position (especially now that he has nothing to lose), but I’m hopeful.

Finally, the Eagles will beat the Demons. Of course, I’m referring to the fantasy matchup of Victoria’s Vermont Eagles against NSW’s Pennant Hills Demons. The West Coast ones are no chance at all.

Lewis Young

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

Cameron Rose (last week: 6)

Collingwood, Richmond, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle, Carlton, Melbourne

How much fight do the Dogs have in them? It won’t be the end of the world if they lose to Collingwood, but whispers will become a roar. Given the Pies have been honest all year, and playing with an energy the Dogs have often lacked, it’s a tough one to call.

On Saturday afternoon, Richmond look to be on the rise, and Hawthorn are regressing after a bright start to the season. The Tigers can’t afford to slip up on this sort of game anymore. Port must and will beat North to keep their momentum going.

St Kilda and Geelong is a bit of a Saturday twilight cracker, with the Saints trying to avoid a third loss in a row. The Cats have been inconsistent, but you generally feel they’re going to be too professional in these sort of games, even at Docklands.

Saturday night features two warm favourites – Sydney against Essendon and Brisbane over Adelaide. The Lions should be able to win at Adelaide Oval against a Crows line-up that has lost a bit of spirit in the last fortnight. The Swans are coming off two losses in a row, both at the SCG, and are at their home ground again for this clash.

It is not a ground that suits them, and the Bombers might have their spark back, but Sydney just have to stand up here.

If Freo are due a loss, and they’re not playing like they are, then the Suns have proven they can be as good a banana peel as any. It’s a long road trip for the Dockers, and you have to back them to win again but this should be a good one.

GWS know how to bounce off a bad one as well as any, so Carlton can’t take them for granted up in Sydney in Leon Cameron’s farewell game, while Melbourne are unlikely to need second gear to overcome the hapless Eagles – the last time they went to Perth, it ended pretty well, as I recall.

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Liam Salter (last week: 5)

Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle, Carlton, Melbourne

Only five for me last week. Let’s not talk about it. Instead, let’s talk about the nine absolute certainties to win this week. What? It’s been a good week off the footy field for me and I’m high on confidence.

Here’s a certainty: the reporting of the result is going to be unbearable no matter who loses Friday night’s clash. If the Dogs lose, we’re going to hear about how they’re a very disappointing teamTM. If the Magpies lose, the media is gonna shrug and head back to their deeply intellectual discussions about racial issues that they’re obviously eminently qualified for. Ugh.

Which one will happen? The Dogs look stronger and I’m going to back them here.

Saturday holds a bunch of genuinely exciting matches. Allegedly. The Hawks and Tigers kick us off, and I’m going to assume most will back the Tigers. I’m going the other way: the Hawks will be peeved with their loss to the Dons, and belie their heavy underdog status here (yeah, my ‘absolute certainty’ plan is already falling apart).

North versus Port is next: it would be absolutely hilarious if apparently-good-again Port lose this, buuuut they won’t.

Geelong travel to Marvel to play St Kilda for the twilight clash. The Saints have endured back-to-back losses, their latest somewhat excusable on the simple account their opponent was Melbourne. The Cats bat deeper, and should win, but an upset wouldn’t surprise.

I kinda don’t mind the Dons’ chances against Sydney, especially as they’ll be coming off a high. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re back in form though – far from it – and Sydney are far stronger (you can disregard the Suns loss, cause that’s apparently a bizarre contractual obligation for the Swans).

Like the preceding game, the upset factor is very real but I’m more comfortable tipping Sydney.

The Lions travelling to Adelaide to play the Crows is the other Saturday nighter. I imagine this one would have been reasonably exciting if played, well, two weeks ago, but Adelaide seem to have lost a little of their early-season sparkle and the Lions should smash them. 

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The ‘Will Brodie/Lachie Weller/Sam Collins Cup’ opens Sunday’s suite of games, and this has danger game written all over it for Fremantle. The Suns have been deceptively challenging at times this year and have belied underdog status to surprise Freo in the past. The Dockers are understandable favourites, and who I’m backing, but god I’m nervous.

I was going to tip Carlton – who have kinda unnoticeably snuck into the top four – comfortably against the Giants, but Leon Cameron’s depature has the real possibility of galvanising that group. I’ll still back the Blues, but the Giants are 110 per cent the smokey of the week. 

Finally, Melbourne will win. I barely even need to know who they’re playing. 

*checks fixture*

Oooh, yeah. They’re winning. By a lot. 

Round 9TimDemCamLiamCrowd
COL vs WBWBWB COLWBWB
HAW vs RCHRCHRCHRCHHAWRCH
NM vs PAPAPAPAPAPA
STK vs GEESTKGEEGEEGEEGEE
SYD vs ESSSYDSYDSYDSYDSYD
ADE vs BLBLBLBLBLBL
GCS vs FREFREFREFREFREFRE
GWS vs CARGWSGWSCARCARGWS
WCE vs MELMELMELMELMELMEL
ROLLING SCORE4942414549
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