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Rounds 9-16, 2018

Round 8 review & round 9 comments – by Penny Dredfell (added 22 May 2018)
Well, I came unstuck in a big way in tipping the Bombers; they were poor and, in hindsight, I think I know where I went wrong:
the Blues saw this as a big chance for a win and lifted; I put too much stake in the Bombers being better without a half fit Joe Daniher; and also, the Bombers have two other problems – second year up from the return of the 12 banned players ; and also the fact that the have re-signed the coach recently and this often triggers a form slump; an example of this is when the Cats re-signed Chris Scott late April last year; the Cats then went on a 3 game losing streak – to the Pies, Suns away and Bombers; this year the Bombers re-singed John Worsfold after just 1 game (an upset win over the Crows) and since they have lost 6 of 7 – with the one win being over Port without Ryder and SPP having just been suspended.  The loss by the Bombers to the Blues blew me out of the Gauntlet:
I must not be too confident about Essendon
I must not be too confident about Essendon
times 100

No time to wallow in self-pity; more games are upcoming; for those who avoided my tip and are alive in the Gauntlet – this is a very dangerous round; lets look at it; the big danger games I see involve the S. A. teams; they played in a Showdown last week and Port won in a thriller – virtually like a kick after the siren win; actually, Motlop showed great poise to kick a goal and the clock stopped at 21 seconds – with his team 5 points in front;

Here is the case against Port: teams that win on a kick after the siren can often underperform in a big way the next week; next, the Crows suffered injuries on the day and were pretty banged up before that; next, what happened between Port and the Suns last year? Firstly, the Suns appeared to stuff up their travel plans – which caused disunity in the club and also the players had a less than ideal trip to China (slow boat may have been better); the Suns were humiliated in the flagship game; next game, the Suns played against Port in Adelaide in the final game of the season; this time the Suns had a huge injury list and the season was totally cooked; still, it was another humiliation; this is the time for revenge; the Suns’ injury list may be too long and they may be too travel weary to do it; but I just am not as keen on Port as most are; also, if the Suns have any fight in them, it should show early.

The Crows have an injury quotient of 24(3 points for top players missing or not match fit enough to play; 2 for regular players and 1 for fringe players); anything over 20 is a big danger sign; the Dogs also have injuries and have won 3 in a row – albeit unimpressively against Blues, Suns and Lions; I would be tipping the Crows, but they, like Port are too highly fancied.

My Gauntlet tips in order would be Swans, Dees and Cats and then maybe the Roos next; again, the Giants have an injury quotient on 23 – too high and it may have killed off a top four chance for them already.

I would be totally stunned if all 8 favourites have won leading up to the 50/50 Eagles / Tigers match; in summary, I tip the Dogs to win or to lose by less than 3 goals and I tip the Suns to lead at quarter time in Shanghai

Round 9 review & round 10 comments – by Penny Dredfell (added 22 May 2018; finished 23 May 2018)
My analysis was pretty poor last weekend, but the good news is that I know where I went wrong; the Dogs were probably both too injured and too inexperienced to take advantage of the Crows (Pure Footy on SEN listed the Crows as losing 66 games from their best 22 players in 2018 – a reasonable test of injury problems – followed by the Dogs on 61, Pies and Cats on 59); so the Dogs “advantage” was minimal; then they stuffed up their chances in the first half in the wet; game gone; the Suns started pretty well, but they lost Jack Martin prior to the game and maybe the travelling schedule finished them off; also, with their injury list longer than Port by a fair way, their bottom ranked players were very poor in Shanghai – especially those playing their first time up there (eg Crossley 30 SC points, Ballard 12 and Ah Chee 8);  my “theory” was correct, I believe, but the Suns had too many other troubles to capitalise; next I want to review other games; the Bombers finally came good; it reminded me of when the Cats re-signed their coach early last season; they had a couple of bad losses thereafter; same thing happened this year with the Bombers – they struggled after the coach was re-signed  after the round 1 win over the Crows; they then lost 6 of 7 – finishing with a loss to their old foe Carlton; then they eventually came good (unexpectedly); I actually thought it might have been a week or two later; their win did prove one point of mine – the round had an upset or two – and there were two huge ones!!  The other big upset was the Lions beating the Hawks; they had ex Hawk Hodge as well as a coach who used to be in the Hawthorn inner sanctum; the Lions has been extremely competitive leading up to the game and had few injuries; I actually thought that the Hawks might win comfortably mid week; but the late week changes had me nervous – 6 changes including 4 dropped; it is generally too many unless you have top-liners coming back; they had Poppy plus 5 fringe players coming in; I haven’t been convinced by the Hawks yet – thought that they were getting teams at the right time (best example Pies in round 1 when Collingwood had heaps of players injured or underdone); the possible overrating of the Hawks – plus the positives for the Lions – all came together and Brisbane romped away in the end.  The Giants have been very vulnerable with injuries and copped another in Reid; two others copped knocks and second game Cumming hit the wall with 16 SC points; the Roos had first use of the wind and the Giants were out of petrol tickets late in the game and couldn’t make use of the breeze in Q4.  The Eagles have finally convinced me – with several having best ever seasons and Nicnat playing well, even though his game time is limited; the talk pre-season was that he might hardly play at all; now on to Melbourne.

They “lost” everyone when they totally capitulated against the Hawks in round 4 and then got steamrolled late the next week against Richmond; since then, they have beaten the Dons by 36 points, the Saints by 39, the Suns by 69 and Blues by 109; this is their best 4 weeks since 1964 – thanks to SEN Pure Footy (when the Beatles were in town); but there are knocks on all four opponents – who occupy 4 of the five bottom spots on the ladder; now they play the Crows in a neutral venue… many are uncertain if the Dees’ recent belting of lowly teams is a true indication; Glen Luff is on board with the Dees and so am I; very keen on the Dees; they are following the pattern of Geelong in 1989; the Cats were 3 and 3 after 6 rounds; in round 6, they led the all-conquering Hawks by 49 points at half time and then lost by 8 in a high scoring thriller (163 to 171); after that they beat lowly teams Saints by 119, Bears by 129 ad then Tigers by 134; nobody was convinced (just like now with the Dees), but then the top 5 teams Collingwood, Essendon and Melbourne – all by over 50 points; with the Crows so injured and Viney having a run under his belt, I am tipping the Dees to win by more than 3 goals.

Next – on the byes; I have done some work on recovery from the byes; they have all been in a cluster for some years now; since 2015, they moved to mid season (after being rounds 8-10 in 2014); teams have worked on ways to come out of the bye and hit top form straight away; there are blips and blunders, but the trends are not as obvious as when the byes first came in; but here is a technical stat that is off the charts; teams 2 games before the bye playing teams 3 games before the bye – they have underperformed by an average of 21 points; this team this week is the Dogs – 2 weeks before a bye and playing the Pies – 3 weeks prior to their bye; the waters have been muddied slightly by the Dogs playing a wet Adelaide game 7 days prior and the Pies at the Docklands 6 days earlier; but I am confident enough to tip the Pies as certs and I’ll tip them to win by 4 goals or more – with injury counts similar; the slightly less exciting stat is teams 2 games before a bye playing teams 4 games before a bye; they are running at 7 points worse than expected; this team this week is Carlton vs Cats; it just confirms that the Cats are okay to tip as certs; but because their expected winning margin is so huge (7-8 goals), I am not prepared to tip them to outdo that; let’s just stick with the Pies.

I am also keeping a watch on the Eagles and Tigers (to see how they back up from last week’s 1 vs 2) and also the Hawks and Lions – after the huge variance big Lions win; adding spice to this is the the Hawks play the Eagles at Docklands; I am just a watch on the Tigers and Eagles, but would not be surprised if one or both are in a huge variance game; I reckon the Lions are a chance to put in a bad one after having their first win of the year; generally teams that win their first game for the year round 5 or after and win huge tend to underperform the following week.  Remember that we only have 8 games to tip this week.

Round 10 review & round 11 comments – by Penny Dredfell (added 01 Jun 2018)

Note: the AFL tipping website pick 5 starts this week
see here:
https://tipping.afl.com.au/tipping/index.html#/tipping
and you have to tip 5 winners a week to stay in the comp; you just tip your normal tips and you will stay in so long as you keep tipping 5 or more; this round looks easy on paper, with some huge favourites; it gets hard in rounds 12-14 when there are fewer games; have fun with it and don’t stress!
My analysis was excellent last week, with 2 out of 2 correct leads and I also stayed away (correctly) from tipping the Cats to win big.  Really interested in the Dees at present… and this is where I start my thoughts for round 11.

Harking back to byes as per last week’s preview: we have 4 teams involved this week with 2 weeks to go before a bye playing teams NOT 2 weeks before a bye; they are the Dees, Bombers, Pies and Giants; but there are murky waters surrounding the analysis.  Let’s have a go at clearing the mud and getting a correct perspective.

Melbourne (2 weeks before the bye) play the Dogs (going to the bye); based on pure technical data since 2015, teams in the same situation as Melbourne are doing as expected (-0.5 points) with a smaller variance (21) than the league average (28).  So this technical stat should, in my opinion, be overrode by the fact that the Dees are on a roll a la Geelong of 1989 (and note that both teams had not played finals for many years – 8 years for the Cats back then and 12 years for Melbourne now); and both teams’ wining runs came after a defeat at the hands of the reigning premiers.  The Cats eventually gave a sign that they had been up for too long when blowing a huge half time lead over the Swans to fall in by under 2 goals; I expect the Dees to do likewise; but the bye muddies the waters slightly; the bye for the Dogs cannot come soon enough; they might be fresher a bit due to playing Friday night, but they may also fall away at some stage in the game; most tip the Des to win by 5-6 goals; I reckon they will win by 7+ goals.

Now on to the other 2 game before the bye teams; they all play teams that are 3 games away from a bye; these “2 before bye” teams are averaging 18 points worse than expected with an average variance; this mans that you should avoid being too excited about tipping them.  But, again, the waters are murky. Let’s take them one by one:

Bombers play the Tigers and I would usually tip the Tigers (currently 3 goal favourites) as absolute certs; but they have some problems; Riewoldt might need a fitness test; and I am not as convinced about their great win last week with injuries as many; they lost Houli (15 SC points) and Riewoldt (3) early and everyone raved about how they pulled away after being challenged to score a great win; but the Saints lost White (4SC) early (came back in Q4 to help but couldn’t do much) and also Newnes (42SC) and Dunstan (25SC) in Q3; so the Saints were probably worse off than Richmond late; and teams that lose a couple of stars early and pull away for a win often underperform the next week; I am totally leaving this game alone – except to say that I wouldn’t be going for Richmond in the Gauntlet if I were still going.

Pies – 2 weeks before a bye – play the Dockers; the Pies won well Friday night after a slow start and get a 9 day break before playing Freo; this is all set up for a Pie fall; maybe not necessarily a loss, but maybe an underperforming win; the trouble is that Sandilands is out for Fremantle and that, again, muddies the waters; it’s a muddy week; if the Dockers can do well without Sandi against Brundy (Apeness has been named in the ruck), then the Dockers should outperform expectations and be a sneaky chance to win; but it is also possible that they could be totaly flogged with Grundy being dominant.  Again, I’ll leave this one alone and say avoid tipping the Pies in the Gauntlet – you hace the Swans, Eagles, Roos and Crows all as better options.

The Giants – 2 before a bye – play the Crows; the Crows had an absolute shocker last week versus the Dees and the Giants were almost as poor at home against the Bombers; this is the one I am most confident about; while both teams are banged up, I reckon it will be difficult for the Giants to get up for this match in a hostile environment and win; they are more likely to be better at home against the Suns next week.  I can also see the possibility that the Crows could roar away late.  The experts are tipping a 3 – 4 goal win; I will go for 5+ goals win by the Crows.

The Blues were 2 before the bye LAST WEEK but had just endured a horror loss of 109 points to Melbourne; this meant that they had to “show something” the next week and they did – with a chance to win late in the game; Wright’s goal at the 12 minute mark had the Blues within 2 goals; but the Cats pulled away with the last 3 majors; the Blues now travel to play the Swans; I expect that the loss would have taken a lot out of Carlton and that they might lose this by 10 goals plus (the experts are tipping 8 – 9 goals).

But I am most keen on the Dees this week; sorry to be so verbose, but I needed to explain the potential pitfalls regarding “2 before the bye”.

 

Round 11 review & round 12 comments – by Penny Dredfell (added 07 Jun 2018)
ARRRRGH!! So annoyed with myself on the Adelaide game; I should have marked this as an EXTREME variance game due to the long injury lists of both teams and how badly they both need the bye; I got sucked in to the negative talk on the Giants; so the long injury lists overrode the 2 game to the bye versus 3 games for this game; heading on to the Pies (they were 2 games to the bye and playing the Dockers – 3 games to the bye); I am feeling okay about this because I bailed out of making a tip, but it turned out to be a pretty safe Gauntlet tip; after I did my work, Ross Lyon dumped multiple senior players and coached his youngest ever team (according to Glenn Luff on Pure Footy – well worth a listen); so that greatly impacted their chances.

The 2 games versus 3 worked wonderfully well in the Essendon & Richmond game; just looking at the Essendon games, their variance has been above average (ie either going 29+ points better or -29+ worse than expected) in 8 of the 11 games; they are your typical high variance team and have “won” this award regularly in recent years; so, although the technical lead for Essendon was correct in this case, I had good reason to be wary.

With the Blues, I thought they may capitulate this week, but they over-achieved; maybe the Swans are going through a “win unimpressively” phase because they have a string of lower ladder opponents (Freo, Brisbane, Blues and next Saints).

The one tip which I was most confident about was the Dees winning by over 7 goals; it didn’t look likely early on – down 3 goals to zip), but they always looked likely to win big once they gained ascendancy.  I’ll give myself a pat on the back for this one.

I don’t like the look of this week; it’s a tough week for Pick 5 tippers in the AFL website – only 7 games and most look tricky.  MY tips prior to team selection would be for the first 6 games: Tigers just, Cats just, Giants, Swans, Bombers just & with EXTREME variance and Crows but I don’t like that game; I am still really keen on the Dees to continue their winning run; I reckon that the Dockers made the Pies look good last week; the Dees have  fewer injuries and are favoured by 1-2 goals; I say they will win by 20 points plus.

Round 12 review & round 13 comments – by Penny Dredfell (added 13 Jun 2018)
Again I tripped up – this time on the Dees; just happened to hear Mick Malthouse before the game on Monday; he warned that the Dees have lost three times and each time in big game (Geelong round 1 – just lost; should have probably won; Hawthorn in round 4 – worse loss for the year; Tigers in round 5 – sort of expected by then but bad loss) and that if they had started gearing up for the Collingwood game too early, then they won’t have much hope; he went on to say that he had heard the Pies only started planning late in the week; then we all saw what happened; the Dees just weren’t in it early and never really got back in the game;  now here is the interesting thing about their 4 losses – each loss happened after a break of over a week; any time the Dees had a 7 day or shorter break, they won; they did beat the Blues by heaps after an 8 day break, but it does tend to indicate that the long wait to play a top end team is a problem – but one that can be fixed; now the quality of teams they played was generally better on the longer breaks, but look at this:
Round   Opponent    Days break    outperformed by (in points, a minus means underachieved)
1               Geelong       Off season      -3
2              Brisbane      6                        8
3              North M       7                        17
4              Hawks          8                       -72
5              Tigers           9                       -32
6              Bombers     5                        34
7              Saints           7                        20
8             Suns              6                        48
9             Blues             8                        75
10           Crows            7                        89
11           Dogs              6                          16
12           Pies               9                          -53

I have made the 8 and 9 day breaks blue for effect:  anyway, this helps explain to me why the Dees were so poor; I wouldn’t write the Dees off on this one loss – but they need to learn; I am now penciling in the pies as certs for the top 8 and some chance for top 4. 

Now on to this week; I like the Blues; they last won in round 8 vs the Bombers – their sole win for the year so far; they play the Dockers – who scored an upset win last week to move to 5 and 7; their four previous wins have all been at home and against low to middling teams: Bombers, Suns, Dogs and Saints; nothing to get you booking flights in September; then there was the win over the Crows; Adelaide is down and out in terms of injury at present and this helped the dockers win without Sandilands and Fyfe; both are expected back this week, so the Dockers are slight favourites to win their first game on the road; the reason I am going for the Blues is twofold; firstly, and more importantly, the bye comes as a circuit breaker for teams like Carlton; they had competitive losses away against the Cats and Swans to go into the bye; this week, no-one in the media is talking about Carlton’s ladder position (stone motherless last); it’s a huge boost for the team; an almost identical situation was 2017 for the Lions – 1 win going into the bye (back in round 1) and some competitive losses before the bye; they played Freo at home; despite being significant underdogs, they won by 57; it’s danger-vous (as Mal Prop would say) for Freo; I expect the same result and am tipping the Blues to win; the second factor is that everyone sees Sandilands and Fyfe back in (probably – TBC tomorrow) but the omissions and injuries are well worth considering; Walters out suspended (assume no appeal nor let-off); Johnson was a chance to come in for the injured Alex Pearce but also got suspended in the WAFL on the weekend; and, overall, the Dockers injury quotient is worse than that of the Blues; I wouldn’t even be surprised if the Blues had a big win.

Tough week for those alive in the tip 5; I am out already, so can relax; sometimes tipping an outsider is not a bad ploy – because so many just go for the favourites; if you get the outsider tip correct, then you stay alive and many others don’t; have fun this week and did I mention that I hate the Thursday night games; us tipsters need some sort of break!  tough week also for the Gauntlet!

Round 13 review & round 14 comments – by Penny Dredfell (added 21 Jun 2018 before team announcements)
Ohhhh boy! My Carlton tip was GORN ten minutes into Q1; the Blues were really poor; two things I will say in hindsight – 1: sometimes teams come off a bye and play awfully; as if they are half asleep still; this seemed to be the case with the Blues – as if satisfied with respectable losses to top 8 teams leading into the break; next; sometimes when a half decent team (Freo are trying to be such, but maybe only barely qualify) breaks a run of losses with a close loss, they can really excel the following week – due to the release of pressure; usually the win needs to come after a run of 4 or more losses; in this case, it was only 3 losses; but the Dockers followed this technical trend to the letter – absolutely blitzing in Q1 as they did; then holding about even after half time when the game is virtually won;  enough of the round 13. 

Looking forward to the next round; my main focus is the Suns – losing after holding a big lead of 31 points at 3QT; how do you reckon teams would go the following week?  looking at the most obvious such patterns since about 1992 (it is hard to get all of them because some big leads come and go in the middle of a quarter), here is what I found:
{teams the week after throwing away a big lead (Melb R7 1992; Haw R17, 1995; Adel R17, 1999; Roos R17, 2001; Cats R11, 2006; Swans R20, 2004; Roos R10, 2013; Eagles R7, 2014; Suns this week}
The teams, on average, outperformed expectations the following week by 21 points – with only 1 team underperforming – Eagles in 2014 in a Derby; on average, they won Q1 by 13.9 points (despite being, on average, slight underdogs); 2 team (Hawks 1995 and Eagles 2014) lost Q1; the Roos won Q1 in 2013 by 55 points!! 7 out of the 8 lost Q3, but five of those were by less than a goal.

Now there is a warning about the Suns; they have been knocked about by travel and injuries; they could be “beaten” as soon as they jump on a plane again; they are going to Launceston where the top temp is 13 on Saturday; so this is a high risk, high reward type tip (like shares in a speculative mining company); I am tipping the Suns to win Q1 on Saturday.

Now on to the Blues; if you followed my lead last week and tipped them, you have probably vowed not to tip the again all year; no reason to get excited about their chances this week – playing the Pies who are on a roll and expect to win by over 8 goals; but the bye has throw up a tiny chance for the Blues to win (and a big chance for them to out-perform expectations but still lose!);  this match has virtually given Collingwood the “double bye”; IE a week’s rest then the easiest of kills; let’s look at some recent examples of this:
Crows in R7 2014 – playing at home vs Melbourne before the bye & favoured by 48 points; Crows decided to go in party mode early & the Dees led by 28 points at half time; the Dees hung on by 3 points; Freo in the same year entering the split round 18 and playing the Saints away; they were favoured by 4 goals but lost by 58 points; these examples show how the Blues can find something on Sunday; I expect them to either win the first quarter and/or to get within 6 goals of Collingwood;

For those alive in the pick 5, it looks like a straightforward week and not the week to be too adventurous;  I am very bullish on the Roos; if you must go for an outsider, the Dees would be the best one; happy tipping;

Round 14 review & round 15 comments – by Penny Dredfell (added 28 Jun 2018 before team announcements)
Much better analysis this week; I was spot on with the Suns; they were all over the Hawks in Q1 (then ran out of steam, but that doesn’t matter); the Blues, likewise, were the better team early but the Pies just drew level late in the term; then they did the right thing by me in losing by less than the experts tipped.  The one game I was poor in was the Roos game; yes, they won, but with EXTREME stress levels; not good; would’ve hated for this to be my Gauntlet tip had I still been alive in the comp.

This week I want to look at those dreadful Thursday night games; teams that play Thursday night have underperformed the following week – as a rule; looking at 2015 to current, there are 22 such cases if we exclude teams that play back to back Thursday games; these teams have performed 8 points worse than expected and 15 of the 15 have lost Q1 with 1 draw and 6 teams have won Q1 – losing on average by 4.6 points in Q1 despite being favourites.

If we narrow the focus down to teams playing against teams NOT coming off a bye, it gets worse; there are 15 of these teams and they underperformed by 11 points on average and lost Q1 by 6 points on average (again, despite being favourites) with 12 of the 15 losing Q1; 1 draw and two wins; this applies to the Eagles and Bombers this week; Eagles vs Crows off the bye and Bombers vs Roos NOT off the bye; I am more confident about the Roos BUT have one warning; the Bombers are the most EXTREME VARIANCE team in the AFL; that is my warning; so if the tip goes wrong, it could come unstuck in a big way; but the tip is for the Roos to win Q1 by more than a goal and I will also tip them to win, but not with as much confidence in the Q1 tip.

Next on to the Eagles; they have lost their two games after the bye – a Friday night away vs Swans (respectable loss) and then a shocker at home vs Bombers; but this was on a 6 day break against the Bombers who have often begun the year well and often done well first up after the bye (in recent years barring the 2016 year to forget); they come up against a Crows team who are expected to regain stars and have done a lot of soul searching in the break; while teams can be risky off the bye, I am expecting the Crows to be extra sharp and desperate early; Crows to win Q1 by 10 points or more, but I am uncertain about events thereafter; it could depend on the fitness of the returning players and the Eagles ability to score with their makeshift forward setup.

Round 15 review & round 16 comments – by Penny Dredfell (added 04 July 2018 before team announcements)
My picks all went down last week – although the Roos only missed by a point in their Q1 lead; just looking at teams coming off the last bye of the year (round 14 this year); they have had a tendency to stat slowly and / or underperform; this is actually what happened to the Crows; they started slowly; then stormed home to underperform by a mere 2 points; so the “soul-searching” mentioned above bore fruit to enough of an extent to get the win.

More on “last byes”; the other teams to come off the bye last round – Richmond and the Swans both did, but they played each other; Geelong came off the bye; they led by a point at QT (a slow start given their huge favouritism) and spluttered along to a 2 point loss in a game they were expected to win by 5 goals; the Crows have already been covered and then we get to Freo; they conceded the first four goals against Brisbane in the west on the way to a 55 point loss – 113 goals worse than expected.

The last case is the Saints – very interesting for 2 reasons; firstly, we wanted to see how they came off the last bye – answer: the AFL website ranks the Saints last for scoring differential in the first ten minutes of games; hey presto, Angus Brayshaw goals for the Dees at 10:00 exactly on the count-up clock (hope the AFL didn’t use poetic license – if not, it’s a statisticians’ delight); but then!!! the Saints boot the next four and lead by a point at QT; this is a clash of two technical charts; the first tech chart is the “last bye” effect; the other is that the Saints snapped a long losing streak the previous time they played – a last gasp win over the Suns at the Gold Coast; teams that snap such a long losing streak by a narrow margin can often do well the next week – because it is like the pressure has been turned down; the result: they were expected to lose by 6 goals but won narrowly in a highly entertaining game.

Snapping losing streaks is the focus this week – with a bit of byes stuff thrown in for good measure.  two teams snapped 4 game or more losing streaks this week –  the Lions, Crows and Dogs; first to the Dogs; they keep playing teams vying for the top eight (Roos, Cats and now Hawks then Dees); they were 99% home against the Roos and then lost; a similar thing vs Cats, but got over the line when Harry Taylor missed by heaps in his shot.  Teams in the Dogs’ position often do very well the following week; if so, they are a chance to upset the Hawks; but there are a couple of concerns – firstly, the Dogs have been in back to back highly emotional finishes; next – when a team misses a shot to win as HOT favourites (Cats last week), the winner (Dogs here) often does poorly the next week (on average underperforming by 4 goals); I am expecting one of the two to happen for the Dogs (other option being the 2 technical charts cancel each other out and we get an expected result); what comes next won’t help tipsters much – I reckon the Dogs will win if they can get off to a flier and be 4 goals up plus in the first half; but I am concerned also that their injury toll is rising; if things go south for the Dogs, I reckon the Hawks could romp in; so here’s the somewhat wimpy tip: most would tip the Hawks to win by up to 6 goals; I will tip outside that range ie either a Dogs win or a Hawks win by over 6 goals; and to muddy the waters more, Cyril announced his retirement today (great career, Cyril and wonderful highlights reel); will this inspire the Hawks or leave them flat (hopeful he would come back for a big finals series)?  I would avoid tipping the Hawks in the Gauntlet.

Next on to the Crows; they lost 4 in a row, they had a bye, got some players back and came from behind to beat the Eagles; now they play the Tigers; both teams came off the bye last week, but Richmond gets an extra 2 day’s break and the Crows have to travel; the 8 day’s break is good for the Tigers, and it helps that it is a Grand Final replay replay; the 6 day turn-around will be tough for the Crows; the Crows have 1 only shot at the win – to come out swinging early and hit the scoreboard; the press is off their backs for now and they may be able to do it; but, again, I am uncertain; it’s a bit similar to the Dogs / Hawks game; Crows can win with a good early lead, but I can also see the Tigers  powering away in the second half for a huge win; again, not much help for tipsters.

On to the Lions; they had lost 4 straight when they got the Dockers at the right time (Aaron Sandilnads a late withdrawal and Nathan Fyfe injured in Q2); but they romped away to win by 55 points; generally teams like this coming up against a bottom team the following week do very well; I expect this to be the case for the Lions; they actually do much better than expected coming back from Perth on a six day break; the Blues have been up for 2 weeks in a row versus Pies (after an absolute shocker against the Dockers the week before – had to show something); and then up for Kade Simpson’s 300th game; listening to the post match presser, I realised how much the Blues were up for this milestone game; expect them to be not as up this week and I am going for the Lions to win by more than four goals.

Finally on to the Swans and Cats; both were off the bye last week and the Swans get the extra day’s break (7 days versus 6); the Cats, as mentioned above, lost on the last kick of the day with a miss; such teams often start badly the following week – especially if they lost as hot favourites; I am going for the Swans to be in front by 9 points or more at QT.

This is a difficult week for tipsters; beware! If you can, tip the Roos in the Gauntlet