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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions Round 16: Huzzah, the byes are done!

28th June, 2023
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28th June, 2023
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After four long weeks of byes, at last, normal service resumes in the AFL world.

For the first time since Round 11, we’ll have a full complement of nine games across the weekend – a delight to us footy fans, but bad news for those of us who, like me, are having a bit of a tipping nightmare.

I’m 10 behind the leaders in our comp after another shocker in Round 15, with my confidence in Essendon beating Fremantle on their own turf coming back to bite me.

With nine rounds to go, it’s only one tip per week away from restoring balance – can I do it? (Answer: no. No, I cannot.)

Tim Miller

Last week: 4

Brisbane, Geelong, Adelaide, Fremantle, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Carlton, Melbourne, St Kilda

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Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first – I’m hoping to reverse-jinx my Bulldogs by tipping Fremantle on Saturday.

In a genuine 50/50 contest that looms as season defining for both teams, the Dogs need all the help they can get – and given my tipping this year has reached Hindenburg levels of disaster and just about every single even-money game has ended with me on the wrong side, here’s hoping I can once again engineer it to my favour.

Hey, it worked when I tipped Carlton to beat them a few months ago!

As for the rest, it seems like a pretty simple round to tip *knocks vigorously on wood*. For the first time in a while, I’m confident about the first game of the weekend – Brisbane should be too strong for Richmond at home, meaning I’ll once again chance guessing at the margin instead of just locking in ‘1 point’ as collateral.

On Friday night, despite not winning at the SCG since 2020 – and not beating Sydney there since 2019 – I’m still backing Geelong to get the job done. They might be ninth, but I still have them firmly in the premiership mix, and the Swans, despite THAT win over West Coast, just haven’t been consistently good enough this year to justify backing them.

Around that Dogs-Freo game, Saturday is also rather straightforward, though Port Adelaide and Collingwood respectively aren’t quite the safe bets they usually are given they’re both on the road and facing reasonable Essendon and Gold Coast outfits. Still, you couldn’t tip against the two premiership favourites – and nor could you Adelaide, who should smash North Melbourne like guitars and get some of the frustration from their latest thrilling loss to the Pies out.

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I’ve got mixed feelings about Sunday – Carlton SHOULD be beating Hawthorn, but I’m still yet to fully trust them again despite their recent barnstorming win over Gold Coast, and the Hawks are a real banana-peel game for a team in their position. I’ve gone for the Blues, but not confidently.

Later on, I’m backing in Melbourne to get the job done over GWS at the MCG, but this is another one I’m tempted to pick an upset for. If I was braver, and willing to risk losing this competition by 15 to have a chance at getting back towards parity, I’d do it – the Demons have problems with their attack, and a Clayton Oliver-less midfield that got bullied when it counted by Geelong may find it tough to outmuscle Tom Green, Stephen Coniglio and co.

Finally, St Kilda will beat West Coast, but I’d be surprised if the Eagles haven’t been shamed into putting in more effort, so like against Collingwood a few weeks ago, I’m expecting an honourable 10-goal loss. That’s about as much as you can expect from this lot at the moment.

Trent Cotchin of the Tigers is tackled by Cam Rayner of the Lions

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

Dem Panopoulos

Last week: 5

Brisbane, Geelong, Adelaide, Fremantle, Collingwood, Essendon, Carlton, Melbourne, St Kilda

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A full fixture – huzzah!

We’re back at full fitness as tipsters, ready for the increased workload that’s approaching us.

It kicks off with a bit of flat-track bully action, although the Tigers tend to rise to the occasion in Queensland. Still, news of Tom Lynch likely missing the rest of the season is a little demoralising, and the Lions should get this job done. They’ve got a lot of work to do to prove they’re not the Port Adelaide of a few years ago.

Friday night’s game is buoyed by defensive reinforcements for both Sydney and Geelong, but the absence of Jeremy Cameron looms large. The Cats are entering their ‘flag contendership’ period, but they need to keep the premiership points coming in. This is a must-win.

The Crows were mightily impressive against the Magpies, but I’m sticking with the thought that they will miss finals, although they’re a far better team than those in fifth and sixth position at the moment. They’ll brush North aside easily. At the same time, the Dogs and Dockers play in the most important match of the season for both sides in their quest for a finals spot. Fremantle will bring in a couple of players and the Dogs are a little undermanned defensively. This might be the Dockers’ time.

It’s a fascinating contest on the cards between Gold Coast and Collingwood. We have to assume the Magpies will win, but the Suns are one of these teams I think can jump up into a finals spot. It’ll be a close one.

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Somehow, the most dominant team in the AFL is Port Adelaide. It’s hard to see them being stopped by the Bombers at the ‘G, despite the likelihood that Peter Wright kicks a bag.

Have the Blues turned the corner after smashing the Suns before the bye? I’m not convinced yet, but without James Sicily, it’s forced my hand here to tip Carlton. Later on, Melbourne should beat the Giants comfortably at the MCG and really start to earn back some respect.

Finally, there won’t be a big audience for the Eagles-Saints game. St Kilda will win comfortably, but it won’t be by the enormous margins that others have put on West Coast.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Jordan De Goey of the Magpies looks on during the round 16 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Collingwood Magpies at Metricon Stadium on July 02, 2022 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Jordan De Goey. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Cameron Rose

Last week: 5

Brisbane, Geelong, Adelaide, Western Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Carlton, Melbourne, St Kilda

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Five out of six last week – those blasted Cats – has me keeping pace with the leaders here, but I’ll probably need a strong run home to have any chance of topping our charts.

Quite honestly, only two games this round gave me pause for thought, so let’s speedrun through the rest first.

Sydney might be at home and coming off a 171-point win, but I’m not convinced they’re back yet, and Geelong’s win over Melbourne was by far the more impressive win last round. For the first time since 2020, they’ll leave the SCG with four points.

Adelaide will massacre North Melbourne at home, and St Kilda will do likewise on the road to West Coast. The other member of the bottom three in Hawthorn has far more of a chance against Carlton, but they’ll need the curse of the byes to rear to get an upset on the Blues, who must be high on confidence still after their win over Gold Coast a fortnight ago.

Speaking of the Suns, they’ll likely put up a good fight on home soil against Collingwood, but you couldn’t really tip against the Pies here given their penchant for winning and winning and winning. Ditto Port Adelaide, who are playing superbly and shouldn’t be troubled by an Essendon outfit that came crashing back to earth against Fremantle.

Sunday has a trio of what loom as one-sided affairs, with Melbourne hosting GWS at the MCG in between the Blues-Hawks and Eagles-Saints games. The Giants have been better than expected this year, but they’re not in the Demons’ class.

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The two games meriting a closer look are Brisbane and Richmond Friday night, and the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle on Saturday. For the former, the Lions’ great record at the Gabba has me backing them, but I’m still not yet convinced they’re the real deal, and expect someone will do them on their own turf at some point. The Tigers came so close to doing it in last year’s elimination final, but I doubt they can get that close again.

The real toughie is the Dogs and Freo. If this was in Perth, I’d back the Dockers every day, even though the Bulldogs did beat them there earlier this year. Home ground changes that, though, and despite the Dogs’ defence getting decimated by injury in the last few weeks, I sense their midfield is good enough to get them over the line in a tight one.

Josh Kelly of the Giants celebrates kicking a goal

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Liam Salter

Last week: 3

Brisbane, Geelong, Adelaide, Fremantle, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Carlton, Melbourne, St Kilda

The good news: after the unusually long bye rounds – Andrew Dillon, please don’t bring back four weeks of them next year – we’re back to regular service with a full nine games this weekend.

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The bad news: it’s nine tips to inevitably get wrong.

Richmond are up and about under interim coach Andrew McQualter, winning the past three clashes before their bye.  Brisbane are potentially the most inconsistent top-four team this year, so are weirdly vulnerable here.

The Tigers are an alluring underdog this week, but the old adage remains: when in doubt, back the home side. That’s doubly true at the Gabba. 

It’s not often the reigning premiers bouncing back with a win over a premiership threat isn’t the biggest story of the weekend, but Sydney’s, uh, strong win pipped it. The Cats lose half of their dual-pronged Coleman Medal forward line with no Jeremy Cameron, though the Swans – as Tim pointed out this week – weren’t really great despite the 170-odd point win.

I’m still thinking Geelong is pulling a ‘haha, you thought we were dead’ joke on us, and winning this grand final replay is part of the punchline. 

Two of Saturday’s clashes seem easy enough. The Crows, especially at home, are quite simply a stronger side than the Kangaroos; add to that them being frustrated after last week, this has the feel of a thrashing.

Up on the Gold Coast, despite the Suns still being in the finals race, they won’t be able to outlast the Pies – though I reckon this will be closer than expected. 

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Freo kept their finals dream (and wishy-washy form) on track by beating Essendon, but face a sterner challenge against the Bulldogs. Optimistically, the Dockers could be hoping the post-bye losing curse afflicts the Doggies. Pessimistically, this screams a game they’d lose.

Realistically, this needs no logic: I’m going with my team.

I’m also going with Port Adelaide over Essendon, who have finally convinced me they’re a premiership contender and are nearly impossible to tip against at the moment. 

The win over the Suns was strong, but Carlton are scarcely back in full flight and certainly aren’t playing finals. That said, they’ll arrest their almost-terminal 2023 prognosis with a win over the Hawks – watch the margin be single figures headed into the final term, though. A few hours later, the Giants will become yet another team to lose returning from the bye, and the Demons will earn a tenth 2023 win.  

To finish: it won’t be a 177 point loss, but the Eagles are going to lose to the Saints. St Kilda are the ONLY possible team who’d find a way to lose this one, though!

Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw of the Dockers celebrate.

Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw of the Dockers celebrate. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

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Round 16TimDemCamLiamCrowd
BL vs RCHBLBLBLBLBL
SYD vs GEEGEEGEEGEEGEEGEE
ADE vs NMADEADEADEADEADE
WB vs FREFREFREWBFREWB
GCS vs COLCOLCOLCOLCOLCOL
ESS vs PAPAESSPAPAPA
HAW vs CARCARCARCARCARCAR
MEL vs GWSMELMELMELMELMEL
WCE vs STKSTKSTKSTKSTKSTK
LAST WEEK45535
ROLLING TOTAL7787838187
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