There would have been plenty of tipsters out there dreaming of a perfect 9 midway through Sunday afternoon… before Hawthorn and Collingwood came along and knocked that squarely on the head.
It just goes to show how fickle our fantasy of going 100 per cent in a week is… but it never happens. I mean, we somehow delude ourselves into thinking it might.
But it might happen for me this week!
Like Mick Malthouse at the start of 2015, before Carlton lost seven of its first eight and he was given the boot, I can’t spot a loss for any of the teams I’ve backed this week. It helps that six, or probably seven, are as straightforward as they come at this point of the year: indeed, across our four expert tipsters, only two tips of 36 have gone against the grain!
And I have one of them. *gulps*
Richmond, Brisbane, Geelong, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast, St Kilda, Carlton, Port Adelaide
Thank goodness Collingwood stunned Fremantle last week to set up a blockbuster against Carlton, otherwise this weekend might be the dullest of the year so far.
I reckon there are six of nine games this week that 90 per cent of serious tipsters (I’m not including if you’re backing in your own team – you’ve got to do that) will all pick the same result. And after my plan to back Adelaide as an outsider last week failed spectacularly thanks to Max King, I can’t exactly blame you.
So, of those matches: Brisbane should bounce back against GWS on their home turf. No Taylor Walker has all but killed Adelaide’s chances of upsetting Geelong on the road already. Fremantle will be better, but not good enough to hand Melbourne their first defeat in eight thousand years. The Bulldogs by how many against West Coast. St Kilda by that amount plus three against North Melbourne. And Port Adelaide to end the round by defeating an Essendon side that might show a bit more pluck and spirit than you think.
Onto the toughies. We start with another excellent Friday night between Richmond and Sydney, both sides desperately needing a win to shore up their place in the eight.
Remarkably, the Tigers haven’t played at the SCG since being belted by 100 points in the final round of 2016 – they’ve won three flags since then. I’ve consistently said this year that the Swans aren’t suited to the SCG, so despite the Tigers being without Tom Lynch and Kane Lambert, I’ll give them the nod to pull off an upset on the road.
Saturday night sees Gold Coast face Hawthorn in Darwin. I applaud the Suns for being open to bringing footy to the NT this week, after having the fixture moved to the SCG last year due to COVID, but given their form this year at Metricon Stadium, it might backfire on them.
Still, the Hawks’ midfield is their weakness, and it’s the Suns’ strength: that, and no fit ruckman to oppose Jarrod Witts, gives the Suns the edge in my book.
Then, of course, the Blues versus the Pies. Both are in good form, and in recent years have played a number of hard-fought clashes.
The Magpies play a great brand of footy to watch, in victory or defeat, and have the weapons to spring an upset. But the Blues are sky-high on confidence, with a midfield that is bullying everyone they come up against. In a ripping contest that should hopefully be in front of a packed crowd, they get my tip.
Sydney, Brisbane, Geelong, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast, St Kilda, Carlton, Port Adelaide
What a shocker.
My tipping is in more strife than North Melbourne in the media at the moment, but I’m banking on myself to turn things around. It doesn’t help when the tipped upsets fall just short, while the suggestion of a Hawthorn upset wasn’t acted upon.
We kick off the round with an important little game for the narrative of both the Tigers and Swans. It’s important to remember that Richmond just doesn’t ‘do’ the SCG. In fact, I vividly remember the last time this fixture was played there – the Tigers lost by 19 goals and were written off, only to win three of the next four flags. Foreign conditions swing it into the home team’s favour.
I’m not currently wearing a hat but if I were, I’d offer to eat it if GWS beats Brisbane. This one won’t
Geelong should account for the Crows in their bid to come back into top-four contention, although
I’m not sure Gary Rohan’s spot should be as locked in as it is.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that Fremantle are no longer legitimate, although they need to be
more willing on offence once the rain hits, not less. The Demons will be challenged, but it’s hard to
tip against them at the moment.
The Bulldogs need a nice little percentage boost on Saturday night; the Eagles would do well to
provide it, then draft a gun on Wednesday night.
Gold Coast and Hawthorn at TIO Stadium should provide great optics and an entertaining contest. The Suns are even more direct than Brisbane and I’m not sure that the Hawks can score so heavily two weeks in a row.
Alright, I accept the potential comments, but it was about this time last season when the Kangaroos
started to play more direct footy. This isn’t a tip for the team, although if Ben McKay returns in defence, it would be. The Saints weren’t good last week, despite beating Adelaide.
Carlton should beat Collingwood if they remain defensively strong, as the Magpies are just throwing everything into attacking in 2022.
Finally, it’s a match only a fantasy football player could love. The Power love to beat up on a downtrodden team, and will do just that against Essendon.
Sydney, Brisbane, Geelong, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast, St Kilda, Carlton, Port Adelaide
We’ve got a pretty good round of footy coming up, before the season grinds to a halt during the dreadful bye rounds.
Sydney hosts Richmond in the match of the round on Friday night. The Tigers have strung together four wins in a row against moderate opposition, and are due for a stiffer test. They’ve lost to Melbourne, Carlton and St Kilda in their previous tries against top-eight opponents this season.
But does the SCG suit Sydney anymore? They’ve lost to Gold Coast and Brisbane there, and struggled to beat North. The Swans aren’t flying, but with a few key injuries to Richmond, it might be enough to give them the advantage.
Brisbane and Geelong should handly beat GWS and Adelaide, respectively, when they host them on Saturday. Melbourne will start hot favourites against an out-of-form Fremantle unit, and should do enough. The Bulldogs are the next team to feast on West Coast, who have been worse starters than pea soup.
Not many would have expected Gold Coast v Hawthorn to be one of the better offerings when this round was drawn up, yet it is a match of intrigue. If the Suns can keep knocking on the door of finals as long as possible, it can only be a good thing for the playing group and club as a whole.
St Kilda will enjoy a free four points against North, but let’s hope the Kangaroos play a physical game like they did when reasonably competitive against the Dees last week.
Collingwood and Carlton host a big game at the MCG, with both clubs somewhat relevant at the same time for the first time in forever. The Blues should be too powerful.
Essendon aren’t in the same league as West Coast or North Melbourne at the moment, but they also don’t look like winning either, so Port get to bounce back.
Sydney, Brisbane, Geelong, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn, St Kilda, Carlton, Port Adelaide
It’s a rare weekend for me: I’m actually attending not one but TWO games in person this weekend.
My first at-the-ground experiences since before the pandemic existed, and I’m keen… if you ignore the fact that one of those clashes is my suddenly wayward team up against the powerful reigning premiers.
I’ll get to that game in a second, but let’s rattle through some easier-to-pick clashes first – not that there’s too many of those this weekend.
Geelong should beat a Crows side that has fallen far from its surprising early-season run of form; the Doggies are understandably heavy favourites over the Eagles and will secure another 4 points without too much fuss; St Kilda are near certainties over a horrendous North Melbourne outfit; and despite a tiny part of me thinking an upset can occur, the Power should win over the lacklustre Dons.
The other five games are all much harder to predict.
The round’s opener is a clash between Sydney and Richmond. Despite Sydney being the tipsters’ favourite, it’s kinda hard to split. Home ground? The Swans hold the advantage, especially because the Tigers aren’t named ‘Gold Coast’. Form? Tigers are four from their last four, the Swans have three losses in that time. Injuries? The Tigers have lost their leading goalkicker in Tom Lynch plus Kane Lambert, while Sydney will be without Josh Kennedy.
I’m down to flipping a coin – as much as I wanna be risky, I’ll go with the Swans.
Brisbane over the Giants opens Saturday’s five games, and despite the Lions’ awkward loss to the Hawks in Round 10, I’m comfortable backing them here over a deeply inconsistent Giants side (no, wins over the Eagles don’t count a whole lot nowadays).
Melbourne hosting Fremantle is a few hours later, and absolutely anybody with an ounce of logic would (and probably should) back the reigning premiers here. Optimistically, I’m inclined to believe the Dockers’ horrid fortnightly form is a wet-weather aberration, but even in perfect conditions, the Dees have a clear edge here, and will be winning this.
With Eagles-Dogs a foregone conclusion, the only legitimately interesting Saturday nighter is (and I’m being genuine here) the Suns hosting the Hawks in Darwin. The Suns are favourites here, but the Hawks’ incredible win last week rebuffs any chance of me simply ticking the favourites box in this tip.
The Suns pushed the Doggies all the way last week, and this would be their third win in four weeks (I genuinely cannot remember the last time the Suns did that). But as much as I’d want to see the Suns earn the points here, gut feel says the Hawks are gonna win a thriller.
Collingwood hosting the Blues is a huge Sunday game (and game #2 for me of the weekend). Both secured great wins last weekend, and both are likely to head in with minimal changes. The Blues are top four material, and their football has been phenomenal of late. The Magpies brought the heat over another top-four side – Freo – last weekend and will be full of confidence, knowing they’re capable of matching the Blues.
I doubt the margin in this one blows out too much; I’ll back the Blues, but the Magpies are genuine upset possibilities.
|SYD vs RCH||RCH||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|BL vs GWS||BL||BL||BL||BL||BL|
|GEE vs ADE||GEE||GEE||GEE||GEE||GEE|
|MEL vs FRE||MEL||MEL||MEL||MEL||MEL|
|WCE vs WB||WB||WB||WB||WB||WB|
|GCS vs HAW||GCS||GCS||GCS||HAW||GCS|
|STK vs NM||STK||STK||STK||STK||STK|
|COL vs CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR|
|PA vs ESS||PA||PA||PA||PA||PA|