The Roar
The Roar


The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions Round 10: Sir Doug Nicholls Round is here

18th May, 2023
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18th May, 2023
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One of the highlights of the AFL season is always the Indigenous Rounds – and this year promises to be just as spectacular as ever.

The First Nations-themed guernseys are once more absolutely gorgeous, the Indigenous pride on display throughout the round makes for some truly memorable moments, and of course, Dreamtime at the ‘G is one of the home-and-away season’s biggest spectacles.

I’m swiftly getting to the ‘acceptance’ stage of the five stages of tipping grief – even to the point where I’ve started to tip against my own team to try and get a reverse-jinx going. I’ve sunk spectacularly low, so at least this week, I can console myself by watching some thoroughly entertaining footy!

Plus of course, whatever Hawthorn and West Coast dish up – I’ll have to sit through that, too. Yippee.

Tim Miller

Last week: 6

Port Adelaide, Sydney, Western Bulldogs, Geelong, Brisbane, Essendon, Hawthorn, Collingwood, St Kilda


I’ve never been so glad to get a 6 – with my tipping season shot already, picking Carlton to beat my Bulldogs at least pulled off the reverse-jinx I was totally expecting. Happy days!

Eight off the leader now, I might as well go for broke at this point and see if I can snag a few upsets. That’s partly why I’m going for Port Adelaide to knock over Melbourne on Friday night – that, plus the Power are in great form, it’s been a while since the Dees have been tested, and I have a sneaky suspicion losing Harrison Petty will be a bigger loss than non-Melbourne fans might think.

Let’s order Saturday from easiest to hardest: Sydney will be murdering North Melbourne, who are undergoing a horror few days with Alastair Clarkson stepping away and Brett Ratten becoming the AFL’s first ever triple-caretaker coach. Congrats? Expect Brisbane to face more of a fight from Gold Coast but proving too strong, while Fremantle are a genuine shout against an injury-hit Geelong on their own turf, but I’m not sure the Cats will be as crucially inaccurate as they were in defeat to Richmond.

I’ve bitten the bullet and picked the Bulldogs to beat Adelaide – it’s just no fun tipping against your team, and with the Crows battling a few injuries and the Dogs in recent form, I couldn’t find a good enough reason not to tip them. Bulldogs fans, if they lose, it’s 100 per cent my fault.

Of course, Saturday’s showpiece event is Dreamtime at the ‘G, and while Richmond’s recent record in this match is amazing, I’m backing Essendon to end a nine-year drought and take home the chocolates. Even without Darcy Parish and Will Setterfield, the Bombers have midfield depth to cover, especially given the Tigers will be without Jacob Hopper; plus, after a series of honourable losses against the big premiership contenders, I reckon the Dons are due a win.

We start Sunday with Hawthorn and West Coast – put me right off my pudding, that has. The Hawks should win – the Eagles’ injury list is more an injury Declaration of Independence at this point – but the biggest loser is probably the poor Tasmanians who suffer through it.


Following up is an absolute belter between Carlton and Collingwood – this match always delivers even when both these teams suck, and with the Blues facing a crisis point and the Magpies absolutely flying, the stakes are high – though far from as high as when they last met. I’ll back the Pies to win again, but this is the Blues’ chance to surge back into relevancy in a single bound.

I’m not brave enough to pick GWS to beat St Kilda to finish off the round, but they’re a live chance. Still, it’s hard to see a Ross Lyon-coached team letting in two consecutive monster scores against.

Travis Boak of the Power is tackled by Charlie Spargo of the Demons.

(Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Dem Panopoulos

Last week: 6

Melbourne, Sydney, Western Bulldogs, Geelong, Brisbane, Essendon, Hawthorn, Collingwood, St Kilda

Finally, a couple of upsets to spice things up in Round 9! It was getting concerning just how predictable the footy was becoming, so we’ll call this the resurrection of the season.


Sir Doug Nicholls Round is my favourite weekend of the regular season, and every club has absolutely nailed their kit – well done all.

Friday night should be an entertaining spectacle. Port Adelaide and Melbourne are two good teams, make no mistake about it. I still have the Demons as flag favourites and they have a great record at Adelaide Oval. If the Power continue their form, it’ll be a close game.

The Swans should find themselves back on track despite their growing injury list – North Melbourne’s in a bit of disarray at the minute, although they have a knack of pulling off an upset as soon as a caretaker coach comes into play. Good luck, Brett Ratten.

One would think the Bulldogs win in Ballarat, purely because of the absences at the Crows with Tom Doedee and Riley Thilthorpe (and potentially more) out. Both teams look on track for September, though. It’s amazing how quickly things turn around for out of form teams, so now we find out if the Dockers are up to the challenge of playing the Cats. One would suspect that they’re still a little behind the finals contenders, so they’ll fall here.

The Suns have lost eight Q-Clashes in a row, and this will be number nine. Down south, Dreamtime at the ‘G will be another amazing night, but the Bombers are feeling the pinch of their absences. Still, there’s a negative mindset involved in Richmond games for me, so Essendon to win.

Sam Mitchell will rise from his sickbed to lead Hawthorn to a win in Tasmania against the Eagles, relegating West Coast to standalone last on the ladder, where they probably belong.


Is Michael Voss in a bit of trouble? We all know what happened last time the Magpies and Blues played, a sold-out MCG is a mouth-watering prospect. It’s hard to tip against Collingwood at the moment. Lastly, the Saints have been found out. Don’t be fooled if they do a number on the Giants: it won’t change their status overall.

Dustin Martin

(Photo by Getty Images/Julian Smith)

Cameron Rose

Last week: 6

Port Adelaide, Sydney, Western Bulldogs, Geelong, Brisbane, Richmond, Hawthorn, Collingwood, St Kilda

My own Tigers, plus those Blues, helped cost me some precious ground in our tipping comp – I’m now second-last, a long way ahead of Tim but three off the leaders. Hopefully this is the week to turn it around.

I’m expecting an upset to kick us off this round – Port Adelaide are in great form and I reckon Melbourne’s standing is a bit inflated by the fact they’ve played all three of Hawthorn, North Melbourne and West Coast. We’re about to find out just how good they (and the Power) are.


Saturday has some fascinating contests and one utter slopfest – Sydney surely can’t lose to North Melbourne, but given their current form it’s unlikely to be pretty viewing or convince everyone they’re back in business. Thankfully, the rest of the day is more interesting, though even in Perth it’s hard to see Fremantle beating Geelong and Brisbane should be too strong for Gold Coast in the QClash.

Amid all that are two genuine 50/50s: Adelaide’s run of niggling injuries this week has convinced me to tip the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat, but the Crows’ forward line ripped St Kilda to shreds last week and is looming large.

Then in Dreamtime at the ‘G, I saw enough of Richmond last week to back them in against an Essendon outfit without Darcy Parish and Will Setterfield. Either way, this match is always a great spectacle even if the game is a fizzer.

Some more slop on Sunday with Hawthorn hosting West Coast in Tassie – a greater insult to the people of the Apple Isle than even the new stadium. The Hawks would need half the team to catch Sam Mitchell’s COVID to lose this, even if they’re a clear cellar dweller along with the Eagles this year.

Carlton and Collingwood, though, should be a beauty – if ever there was a game for the Blues to win and instantly turn the narrative on them around, it’s this one. I’m backing Collingwood – you can’t afford not to at this point – but I’m really hoping for a cracking game.

Lastly, GWS are a sneaky chance of upsetting St Kilda at home, especially with Toby Greene back. But I’m still scarred from repeatedly backing them in defeat, so I’m on the Saints this time. Fool me once, Giants…

Adam Cerra of the Blues runs with the ball.

Adam Cerra of the Blues runs with the ball. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Liam Salter

Last week: 7

Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Geelong, Brisbane, Essendon, Hawthorn, Collingwood, St Kilda

Wait, so are Richmond and Freo good now? Carlton is… something? And are Collingwood just gonna keep on keeping on all the way through to a – no, let’s not get too presumptuous!

Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round opens with a genuine blockbuster, as Yartapuulti (Port) host Naarm (the Demons) in Adelaide. This should be an incredible clash, given the strong form of both outfits, but a genuinely hard one to predict with certainty. Thus, I’m gonna resort to cliched footy terms to decide: the Power hold a significant home ground advantage and are my tip – though the Demons very much enjoy winning in SA and are healthier. 

Moving to the busiest day of action on Saturday, Sydney are terrible at the moment but won’t face a lot of trouble overcoming the even-worse Kangaroos. The Dogs really, really like playing in Ballarat, but while the hosts are ostensibly the favourites, the Crows are the more fundamentally impressive side and I’m backing them, even with injuries.  


To answer one of my opening questions: Freo are indeed much improved in the past fortnight, but there won’t be a repeat of their stunning upset win over the Cats last year – expect Geelong to kick away late.

In keeping with the gallant teams losing theme, the Suns are likely to challenge the Lions, but I have little confidence they’ll actually defeat them in the QClash. And while the Tigers are gunning for the record of longest consecutive winning streak against a team in beating the Bombers, I’m going to tip a little chaos: Essendon will earn a much-needed reprieve with a close win, their first Dreamtime at the ‘G triumph since 2014.

On Sunday, a contender for worst clash of the century is sure to be riveting in *checks weather* surprisingly warm(ish) and sunny Tassie. The Hawks are sure to be winning this, so damaging is the Eagles’ legitimately worrying injury crisis, but it’s hard to know if it’ll be by heaps or by a goal. The Saints, too, are looking to make it three in a row against the Giants, and should do so to relieve the little pressure that emerged after last week’s damaging loss to Adelaide

But with all that said and done, the big one – the really, really big one – is Carlton hosting Collingwood. The easy thing to do here would be to tip Craig McCrae’s men and call it a day, but the Blues are under huge amounts of pressure that would make a win here oh so satisfying.

I’m legitimately tempted to tip the Blues, as diamonds are made under pressure. But I can’t kid myself – the Pies are too irresistible. And the Blues ain’t no diamond. Not just yet.

Dyson Heppell of the Bombers (left) walks to the war cry with Zach Merrett of the Bombers during the 2018 AFL round 11 Dreamtime at the G match between the Essendon Bombers and the Richmond Tigers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 02, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.

Dreamtime at the G should no longer be held at the G. (Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

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