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2019 Rounds 17-23

Round 17 begins 8.10pm Eastern of Friday 12 July 2019
Friday
West Coast Eagles V Collingwood at Perth Stadium 8.10pm eastern
Saturday
Sydney Swans V Carlton at SCG 1.45pm
Hawthorn V Fremantle in Launceston 2.10pm
Essendon V North Melbourne at Docklands 4.35pm
Gold Coast Suns V Adelaide at Gold Coast 7.25pm
Geelong V St Kilda at Kardinia Park 7.25pm
Sunday
Richmond V GWS Giants at MCG 1.10pm
Western Bulldogs V Melbourne at Docklands 3.20pm
Port Adelaide V Brisbane at Adelaide Oval 4.40pm eastern

Early tips are:
WCE
Swans
Hawks (almost certs – will consider)
Roos (quite keen on them)
Crows (certs)
Cats (certs)
Tigers
Dogs
Port (just)

Topics to be covered: Chris Judd’s comments about the interim coach
Fremantle’s response to their shocker of a Derby
The Lions back to back travel fixture
More tomorrow (Friday)

WCE V COLL
Almost everything suggests an Eagles win here – fewer injuries than the Pies, home ground and better recent form, Taylor Adams still hasn’t made it back; and I’ll certainly tip an Eagles win. I would be tipping them as certs but…. have a look at this:
Collingwood’s record on the road in recent times when outsiders
2018
Round 4 – beat the Crows by 48 points as despised 32 point outsiders; off to a flyer in Q1
Round 20 – lost by 2 points to the Swans and over-achieved by a mere 3 points. This was the match where Tom McCartin kicked one of the most amazing goals you will ever see.
Finals week 1 – lost to the Eagles by 16 points – underperformed by 6 points
2017
Round 3 – beat the Swans by a point as 19 point outsiders; off to a flyer in Q1
round 8 – lost to the Giants in Sydney by 3 points when 34 point outsiders; off to a flyer in Q1
Round 11 – beat the Dockers by 20 points and 2 point underdogs; 10 points up at QT
Round 21 – lost to Port by 27 points as 29 point outsiders
2016
Round 1 slaughtered by the Swans as slight outsiders
Round 6 – lost to the Eagles by 62 points as 50 point outsiders
Round 8 – beat the Lions by 78 points as slight outsiders – great Q1 and Q2
Round 16 – beat the Giants by 32 points as 45 point outsiders – horror Q1 but huge Q2 and Q3
Round 17 – lost to the Crows by 28 points as 38 point outsiders
And they do quite well overall as travelling outsiders. Look for a good start – or sometimes they can win with a sluggish Q1, a good Q2 to put them level or ahead, and then power away in the second half. It’s sort of season on the line stuff for the Pies, while the Eagles will see this as a ticket to a home first final. Big game, everything says Eagles, but I won’t tip them as certs


SYD V CARL
I want to cover Chris Judd’s comments during the week. He said the club didn’t want a coach with training wheels on. The problem here in the short term is not so much what type of coach the Blues might be seeking – as things can change in the last few rounds. My issue was that it was (unintentionally, I assume) a very demeaning comment to the current stand-in coach. It may also convey the message to the players that this bloke is out the door 1 second after the round 23 final siren blows. I don’t like it. This may spell trouble for the Blues in terms of motivation. It may possibly give them a boost, but I would put it 85% likely to cause a downer.
To offset this, the Swans have no ruckman at present – opting not to pick the underdone Darcy Cameron; and Patrick Cripps returns for the Blues. I am tipping the Swans, but it is an EXTREME variance game. I’m not really keen on the Swans until they get a ruckman back in the team; Swans but not certs

HAW V FREO
I had a look at the Dockers efforts after a Derby thrashing and they were mixed. I am pretty bullish about the Hawks so long as they are on their game. It concerns me slightly that they may just have won their grand final and then had a nice weekend off; so, for that reason, I won’t tip them as certs

ESS V NMFC
The almost ruckless Bombers had a good win against the ruckless Swans last week, but now they play the Roos who have a very good ruckman. This spells trouble for Essendon. The Bombers are slight favourites but I like the Roos by over 2 goals

GCS V ADEL
The Suns will look to rebound after a shocker first half last week, but don’t see them as a hope to beat the Crows; Crows are certs

GEEL V STK
Possible showers for this game
The Cats have been scratchy since the bye – losing 2 out of 3 and behind by some way in the other before winning. They should snap out of it well enough to handle the injured Saints. Cats are certs

RICH V GWS
Possible showers for this game
The Tigers are getting things back together again and will be tipped here, but this is the Giants’ finals rehearsal – their final 2019 game at the MCG. The Giants have been poor off the bye, but should hit their straps sooner or later. I am wary here; Tigers, but an EXTREME variance game

WBD V MELB
The Dogs should win this based on recent form; the Dees have three handy “ins” – especially Max Gawn. Brayden Preuss stays in to cover for Tom McDonald; Jake lever and Neville Jetta come back; not sure if they will both be 100% this time. Dogs, but not certs.

PORT V BRIS
The Lions have been flying since the bye – beating the Saints, Dees and Giants. But this time they have to do back to back road trips without Luke Hodge’s experience on field and also losing Eric Hipwood. This just tips the scales in Port’s favour. Port just.

Best teams to tip if you need to catch up one – Roos and then Lions

Round 17 review (ouch)
Collingwood defeated West Coast Eagles by 1 point.
I tipped the wrong team but did note the Pies’ ability to lift when on the road; trouble is that they didn’t even win like I aid they may perhaps.
The positive was that I didn’t tip the Eagles as certs like many did. So that’s the summary; the Pies lifted and wanted it more than the Eagles. Both lost important players (Jamie Cripps for the Eagles and Darcy Moore for the Pies). And it could have gone either way, but a tick to the Pies for being able to overcome the travel and injury list to win. Monday summary – we now have news that Nicnat will be out for a few weeks after struggling with an ankle injury during the match. I also need to point out that Josh Kennedy was liste as a “test” during the week, came into the side and scored 7 SC and no goals (Eagles fans would’ve preferred it the other way round – if that were possible); Pendles played with a broken finger, but that didn’t really restrict him – 119 SC points. Chris Mayne played a forward tagging role on Shannon Hurn and this move seemed to work

Carlton defeated the Sydney Swans by 7 points
The Blues has lost debutante Hugh Goddard by half time, but still managed to overcome the Swans. I labelled the game as an EXTREME variance game but it didn’t play out like that. Looks like the Carlton players were not adversely affected by the “training wheels” comment. The Swans are really struggling without a ruckman and this was the key to the game. Sorry to pick a loser, but glad not to be overly excited about the Swans

Hawthorn defeated Fremantle by 31 points
Good to tip a winner here and to be fairly bullish about Hawthorn. Nothing in the game really changed from my original tip; Grant Birchall returned after a long absence. I think you’ll see a photo of a fan with a pet dodo when he last played; Chad Wingard also came back and did well.

Essendon defeated North Melbourne by 5 points
A wonderful goal by Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti sealed the deal for the Bombers with about 20 seconds to go and ruined my tip. The critical things overall in the win was that the Bombers did a great job with Dylan Clarke on Ben Cunnington; the Roos didn’t get much out of Nick Larkey – who has since been checked out for heart palpitations; Luke McDonald struggled and is now out with a fractured fibula. Yet again, the Bombers found a way to get over the line

Adelaide defeated Gold Coast Suns by 95 points
Really happy to tip the Crows as certs, but most people would’ve done that. The game is being talked about as a shocker for the Suns – which it was; but I tend to also think that there are pluses for the Crows in this as well. The win for them is a good tune=up for a Friday night game in Adelaide the next weekend. Stuart Dew mentioned the players losing confidence but, of course, they have also lost lots of players to injury from an already depleted list. Wayne Milera in the midfield was a positive for the Crows.

Geelong defeated St Kilda by 27 points
St Kilda and Alan Richardson parted ways in the days after this game, but the scoreline itself was not a “coach out the door” type score. If so, it may have been a 100 point result. The loss meant it was mathematically impossible for the Saints to make finals (but they were gone a few weeks ago in reality – given their list and their injuries). Despite their longer injury list than the Cats, they put in a good performance until overrun late. The Cats look to be cruising a bit at the moment

Richmond defeated GWS Giants by 27 points
I tipped the Tigers without great confidence, but was extremely confident about them once Stephen Coniglio was off in the first 5 minutes; especially as the Giants’ coach said it took them 15 minutes to adjust. The Tigers led by 26 points at QT and won by 27. The Tigers a re building towards a top four finish. The Giants look like they are almost gone now – due to injuries.

Western Bulldogs defeated Melbourne by 8 points
There was quite a bit of injury / soreness news here; the Bulldogs lost Toby McLean early and then Marcus Bontempelli played sore after a Q2 ankle injury; Patrick Lipisnki has knee soreness in Q4; for the Dees, Jay Lockhart really struggled with knee soreness and Ague Brayshaw battled with a big corkie; Jake Lever and Neville Jetta are only just back from injury and may be better for the run; how to assess this match – are the Dees coming back into form? Was it the problems for McLean and the Bont? Were the Dogs just a bit off 100% after the come from behind win against Geelong? I’ll give some credit to the Dees for getting better; and some to the Dogs for fighting out a win

Brisbane Lions defeated Port Adelaide by 48 points
Ohhh boy! I was a long way off here; the only plus was that I was not too bullish about Port. The scoring pattern was EXTREME – with the Lions being outsiders, yet winning by over 6 goals. Port has been the veritable yoyo team recently. It’s form is LWLWL, but it’s worse than that:
it’s LWLWLWLWL with the following all in there:
20 point loss to the Crows and then a 57 point demolition of the same team 8 rounds later
A win over Geelong
A home loss to the Dogs
(above not all in order)
And then the loss to the Lions
They are all over the place like seagulls on Boxing Day at the G.
Meanwhile, the Lions keep rolling on after the bye.

Round 18 begins 7.50pm Eastern of Friday 19 July 2019
Friday
Adelaide V Essendon at Adelaide Oval 7.50pm eastern
Saturday
Richmond V Port Adelaide at MCG 1.45pm
Carlton V Gold Coast Suns at Docklands 2.10pm
GWS Giants V Collingwood at Sydney Showgrounds 4.35pm
Brisbane Lions V North Melbourne at the Gabba 7.25pm
Fremantle V Sydney Swans at Perth Stadium 8.10pm eastern
Sunday
Geelong V Hawthorn at MCG 1.10pm
Melbourne V West Coast Eagles in Alice Springs 3.20pm easterm
St Kilda V Western Bulldogs at Docklands 4.40pm

Early tips are:
Crows
Tigers
Blues
Giants (50/50 game – might change after team selections)
Lions
Dockers
Cats
Eagles (danger game)
Dogs (warning – a lot of people may pick the Saints in tipping comps)

ADEL V ESS
I have tipped against the Bombers for the past few weeks and, each time, they sneak over the line by a narrow margin. How to solve: tip against them once more! (you might have guessed the answer). I am quite bullish on the Crows. I reckon the emotional wins by the Bombers might have now caught up with them. Also, the Crows were embarrassed two weeks ago in the Adelaide Showdown and a big win over the Suns doesn’t really cut it for the locals without a follow up win the next week at home. Tex has his 100th game as captain this week. I normally don’t mention these things but, since he has been much maligned in recent times, expect him to have a big one this weekend and hopefully (for the sake of those west of Bordertown) help his team get over the line…. and after team selections I am even more confident on the Crows; the Dons have Shaun (honest as the day is long but not a genuine ruck option) McKernan rucking; no hope; Crows certs and to win by over 5 goals; that’s my big statement for the week!

RICH V PORT
Based on LWLWLWL for many weeks, Port is now due for a win; it’s the only reason I can find to tip them. Everything else points to the Tigers; Port lose 3 to injury (but their replacements are fairly good) and the Tigers are heading back towards 2017 form. I won’t make the Tigers certs, but I might change tomorrow (Fri)

CARL V GCS
This is one of two “grand finals” for the Suns – the other one being the upcoming Q-Clash in round 21. No doubt the Suns will be as “up” as they can be for this, but I don’t see that as amounting to a win. Had the Tigers loaned Tom Lynch back for a week, it may have been a different thing. My query is about the margin. I don’t expect the Suns to keep getting thrashed every week, but not certain if they can do better than expected (about 30 points). It’s hard to see the Blues taking this too easily. Blues and certs – just.

GWS V COLL
I don’t like this game and will label it as EXTREME variance. The injury lists are long for each team (even tough both have some handy inclusions). And maybe the GWS bottom end players might be slightly better than those of the Pies; as noted last week, Collingwood travel well, but now have to do it 2 weeks in a row AND coming back from Perth. They do get an 8 day break versus a 6 day break for the Giants (who only had to go to Melbourne). Giants to win, but anything could happen

BRIS V NMFC
The Lions are flying and I’m tipping them to win this one. The Roos were in front in the last minute, but lost last week (despite being behind for a good chunk of Q4); teams that lose on the last kick of the day (or as good as) tend to perform as expected the next week, but get off to a good start. I’m tipping the Lions, but not as cert; and the Roos to win Q1

FREO V SYD
The Dockers were 9 point favourites before team selections, then Nat Fyfe went out injured and they are now 1 point favourites; the Swans generally do okay travelling west; they have added Robbie Fox and it was mentioned that he can help out in the ruck (but not that tall and how will he go if he has to compete with Sandi?) I like the Dockers here overall and will tip them, but not as certs; both teams concern me a bit, but the Swans concern me more. I think they over-reacted to Fyfe’s omission due to injury



GEEL V HAW
It might be wet for this game
The Cats have been scratchy lately and the Hawks generally pretty good. As such, I am not tipping the Cats as certs. But I will tip them; I can understand that they are going through a bit of a mid-to-late season slump, as can happen when it’s cold and top spot is almost wrapped up. But they have such a rivalry with Hawthorn that they should lift enough to win; Gazza has been named but might need a fitness test; I was surprised that Jack Gunston is an in, but names on the extended IC bench; maybe a test for him as well? Cats; not certs

MELB V WCE in ALICE SPRINGS
I would’ve tipped the Dees if this were in Melbourne; the Eagles lose Nicnat, while Josh Kennedy may be in some doubt as well. The Dees got back Jake Lever and Neville Jetta last week and they will be better for the run; also Steven May is a recent addition to the defence; the Eagles would have had a big build-up for the Pies game and this will be a test for them; Eagles just – not certs; with no confidence and a big danger game AND an EXTREME variance game

STK V WBD
Brett Ratten takes over as coach and I would tip him as my number 1 for any vacant coaching job. This weekend, he is coaching a team with a much higher injury quotient than their opponent and this is the problem. The players may wish to do well for Ratts, but so many are missing. I suspect the Dogs will be up for the challenge and tip them to win. But not as certs.

Tips – Crows by 5 goals plus and big certs; best roughy is Melbourne (but remember GWS / COLL and FREO / SYD are both 50/50 type game – so lots of chances to catch up 1 in your tipping)

Friday update – just heard that Luke Beveridge has been reappointed until the end of 2023; this could be a negative for the team – not that they didn’t like the news; it’s just what can happen when coaches re-sign.

Round 18 review
Essendon defeated Adelaide Crows by 21 points
I was up and about big time when the Crows led by 30 points, but later as flat as a cream puff under an elephant as the Bombers rallied and then drew away.
Comments about the game: the Crows fell away badly, had some excuses but nothing to justify a 51-point turnaround. Taylor Walker came into the game with the heat on him and he re-injured his elbow early on. He played on, managed one goal but was very poor overall (36 Sc points); Tom Lynch was great early but copped an injury and was blanketed by Martin Gleeson. Rory Sloane was tagged well by Dylan Clarke. The amount of time late in the game that the Bombers moved the ball coast to coast was amazing. Conversely, the Crows got the ball in defence and went sideways, backwards and then often lost the ball.
So I stuffed up big time in this tip

Richmond defeated Port Adelaide by 38 points
Happy with the tip here, but sorry I didn’t go through with the thought of making the Tigers absolute certs. The win was made easier by several minor injury concerns for Port, but I don’t think that was the reason for the Richmond win.

Carlton defeated the Gold Coast Suns by 24 points
Very happy to tip the Blues as certs (just); that was about right; they didn’t belt the Suns as other teams had done in recent weeks, but they never really looked like losing. Will Brodie did a good job but injured his hammie late and is now out for the season. Patrick Cripps was off his best and had a small injury; Matthew Kreuzer copped a knock. Both coaches agreed that the pressure and intensity from the Gold Coast was pretty good and this helped the more injured Suns stay within touch

GWS Giants defeated Collingwood by 47 points
Happy with this tip as I tipped the winner AND the EXTREME variance call was correct (GWS up by 43 points and quarter time was enough to nail the EXTREME VARIANCE). It looks like the Pies outperformed expectations and then fell flat the next week – as injuries took their toll. The Giants had injuries of their own, but seemed to manage them better; the Pies are suffering from Mason Cox being out of form while his possible replacements are injured.

Brisbane Lions defeated North Melbourne by 12 points
Happy to tip a winner her, but the game was level with a minute or so to go; the Lions came through. Not sure if the Lions are heading for a loss; they “found a way to win” to quote Leigh Mathews. The Roos were pretty good overall. See my preview above, the Roos did, indeed, get off to a good start, then lost; but they overachieved by about 4 points. Lions are now second on the ladder!! The Lions had 12 more scoring shots for a 12:15 to 12:3 win, but lost the SC total score 1638 to 1662; maybe the Lions should’ve won by more – in which case the Roos would have slightly underperformed (again,see preview)

Fremantle defeated Sydney Swans by 1 point
Happy to escape with a correct tip here and, like before the game, I still am unsure of both teams. they both look like just missing the finals, have more injuries than most and it’s hard to see where any big lift will come from to propel either team to September action

Hawthorn defeated Geelong by 24 points
Tipped a loser here; only plus was that I was not too bullish about the Cats and didn’t tip them as certs (as some did). My summary is that the Hawks aren’t doing too bad and the Cats aren’t doing too good. Not sure how long each team will stay like that; but the Hawks look fairly solid. Round 19 will be a good test.

West Coast Eagles defeated Melbourne by 13 points
Pretty happy with my tipping here – tipped a winner and the variance was just in the EXTREME range (with the Dees leading, then losing by over 5 goals, leading again, losing the lead, getting it back and then losing the game. Maybe the Dees were a bit unlucky as they lost Jack Viney and had a couple of other injury concerns o the day. Jackson Nelson was a late in for Shannon Hurn for the Eagles

St Kilda defeated the Western Bulldogs by 27 points
See my note about the Dogs re-signing Luke Beveridge during the week; teams often underperform after such in-season happenings; it happened again, but I wasn’t brave enough to change my tip; or could it have been the coaching change at the Saints. Everyone knew for a long time the Alan Richardson was going to get the chop at some stage and it may have had an effect on the players; also, in comes an assistant who is a well credentialed senior coach already. But my concern was the long injury list at the Saints and that stopped me from tipping them to cause an upset.

Round 19 begins 7.50pm on Fri 26 July 2019
Friday
Collingwood V Richmond at MCG 7.50pm
Saturday
Hawthorn V Brisbane Lions in Hobart 1.45pm
Carlton V Adelaide at MCG 2.10pm
West Coast Eagles V North Melbourne at Perth Stadium 4.35pm eastern
St Kilda V Melbourne at Docklands 7.25pm
Port Adelaide V GWS Giants at Adelaide Oval 7.40pm eastern
Sunday
Western Bulldogs V Fremantle at Docklands 1.10pm
Sydney Swans V Geelong at SCG 3.20pm
Gold Coast Suns V Essendon at the Gold Coast 4.40pm

Very early tips:
Tigers
Lions just
Crows just
Eagles
Dees just
GWS just then changed late to Port
Dogs (danger game)
Cats just
Bombers

It’s a tough round and a nervous one for tipping ladder leaders

RICH V COLL
Rain is expected
The Pies return from two weeks on the road, but get 8 and 6 day breaks fro the last 2 games compared to 6 and 6 for the Tigers. There was talk of Richmond getting back Toby Nankervis and Josh Caddy, but neither returned. Chris Mayne might be in doubt, so watch for late changes; I’m pretty bullish about the Tigers – mainly because of the Collingwood injury list. Tigers, but not certs; I’ll tip them to win by over 3 goals

HAW V BRIS in Hobart
The experts are having trouble splitting these teams; both have done well in recent weeks, with the Lions’ higher ladder position being offset by the Hawks (second) home ground advantage in Tassie. with ex Hawks Luke Hodge and Chris Fagan at Brisbane, the Lions have now won 3 straight against Hawthorn. This inside info may be just enough to get them over the line again (though Alistair Clarkson will be greatly annoyed at this stat and want to correct it); Lions just.

CARL V ADEL
The Crows were terrible late last week and now Eddie Betts has been dropped, along with Hugh Greenwood; not that they were the only 2 to struggle; meanwhile the Blues have been travelling along quite nicely; but they lose Matthew Kreuzer now and Andrew Phillips has to fill in. Teams like the Crows who “throw a game away” can often do very well early the next week and then do enough to hang on. That’s sort of what I expect from the Crows – now that they flag hopes are 99% gone and they may have a battle to make the finals at all. But they’re hard to trust and the Blues have been very honest under David Teague. For the Crows to win, I would expect them to lead at QT and HT; if not, I would be leaning to the Blues. Crows to win, don’t like the game and not certs

WCE V NMFC
The Roos have gone to Brisbane, back to Melbourne Sunday and then over to Perth Friday. It’s not ideal and I just heard that the Cats (Sydney then Freo away) will fly from Sydney direct to Perth and stay together for the week. I reckon that the travel issue, lower rating and home ground disadvantage will sink the Roos. Eagles by over 5 goals and certs.

STK V MELB
This is a very tough game to pick. The Dogs re-signed Luke Beveridge before the game and then lost (see Dogs preview below) and the Saints had a new coach. These things combined worked to get a Saints win. Can the Saints do it again? And the Dees were pretty good last week against the Eagles when losing Jack Viney mid-game. Simon Goodwin’s message after the game is “enough’s enough”; ie honourable losses are no longer acceptable. This will be a good test for the Dees against a similarly injured St Kilda team. How long will the Brett Ratten honeymoon last? It’s hard to tell. It felt like justice to see him coach a winning team after Carlton coached their best coach of the millennium seven years ago. I tend to just favour the Dees, but an EXTREME variance game and anything could happen.

PORT V GWS
I don’t like this game. Both teams have players under injury clouds. Dan Houston has to pass a concussion test, Dougal Howard and Sam Gray both had knocks last week. And Ollie Wines will have to wait another week. The Giants were huge last weekend – playing it as if it were a grand final – and looked impressive. Leon Cameron last week said Jacob Hopper was sore after the game. a couple of others had minor knocks but should be okay. Phil Davis is back in; I’m unsure if the Giants can reproduce their form of last week – and they may have got the Pies at a good time.

WBD V FREO
This game is heavily affected by the fitness of Rory Lobb and Nat Fyfe. Watch for news on fitness tests and late changes. But there two other “influencers” on the game. Firstly, the re-signing of Luke Beveridge seemed to be a negative last week. when will this turn around? Chris Scott lost 3 in a row one time after re-signing mid year for the Cats. Then there is the technical lead on the Dockers. They lost 4 in a row and then had an uninspiring win over the Swans in Pert last week. Middle of the road teams like Freo who have this pattern can often outperform expectations by 6-10 goals the following week. When they do, they normally blitz in Q1 and then hold their lead. A typical example of this was the Saints in 2011. They lost round 1, drew with Richmond in round 2 and then lost 5 in a row. They beat then lowly Melbourne unconvincingly, then went to Perth to play Freo. As slight outsiders, they won the quarters as follows: Q1 by 25 points, Q2 by 20 points; Q3 by 2 points and then lost Q4 by a point. If this technical lead holds up, I would expect the Dockers to lead by over 2 goals at QT and then lead all day. But there are too many uncertainties to get carried away with Freo. And they have a longer injury list than the Dogs. I’ll tip the Dogs with no confidence and EXTREME variance.

SYD V GEEL
Gary Rohan has been a bit of a barometer for the Cats. He, along with Gryan Miers and a half forward Gazza had rejuvinated the Cats early in the season. Rohan has struggled recently and is rested, with Quinton Narkle his likely replacement. The Swans have now lost 3 in a row since the win over the Suns; I reckon that they were really UP for the Freo match but just couldn’t quit get over the line. The Cats have been LWLWL since the bye and another W looks likely. The Swans don’t have the big man power to exploit Geelong’s so-so ruck division. Cats, but not certs

GCS V ESS
Had the Suns been half healthy, I would’ve given them a chance to pull off a big upset here. The reason is that the Bombers had a Friday night interstate trip with a famous win; then have had all weekend to hear how good they are and everyone has already penciled in the Suns game as a big win. That’s the minus for the Bombers. The negative for the Suns is that they were really up for the Blues clash and might not be able to replicate that level of effort. And their injury list is longer than Essendons’. I’ll tip the Bombers as certs, but unsure whether they will really smash the Suns.

In summary, keen on Richmond to win by over 3 goals and the Eagles by over 5 goals; there are 4 games where the experts are pretty much split (COLL / RICH, HAW / BRIS, STK/MELB and PORT/GWS), so no need to go for roughies this week but, outside those games, Carlton and the Dockers may be the best outsiders, in that order.

Round 19 Summary
My tipping summary just above was the best all year; pity I didn’t translate that into picking a big heap of winners!!

Richmond defeated Collingwood by 38 points
This was over at quarter time and certainly by half time. The Pies copped four injuries out of the game – Jordan Roughead (38 SC points), Isaac Quaynor (52), Tom Phillips (71) and Jordan de Goey (118); so these players all contributed something; the Tigers lost Trent Cotchin at QT (41); in summary, it’s more about Collingwood’s previous injuries than their current ones; their current ones will affect them more in the next few weeks; very happy to be bullish about the Tigers.

Brisbane defeated Hawthorn by 27 points
I was not keen enough on the Lions because I reckon I put too much emphasis on the Hawks’ win over Geelong last week. Had last week been a bye for all teams, the Lions may have been stronger favourites. Anyway, glad to tip a winner here; and Brisbane did it despite losing Alex Witherden early (3 SC); Hawk Jonathon Ceglar came in for Tim O’Brien – which is a similar type swap.

Carlton defeated Adelaide Crows by 27 points
Well, I tipped a loser, but I wanted to see the Crows lead at both QT and HT; after kicking the first two goals, the Crows trailed at both QT and HT; too late to change the tip!!!! The upshot is that the Crows aren’t going that good and the Blues aren’t going that bad. Paddy Dow was a late replacement for Zac Fisher (not much in that); Harry McKay copped a knock early and struggled to influence the game. The Blues are plying so much better now than earlier in the year. The Crows players went to Don Pyke’s place for pizza on the next day..mmmm, how will that affect next week?

West Coast Eagles defeated North Melbourne by 49 points
So pleased with this tip and to be so bullish about the Eagles; everything was against the Roos and Josh Kennedy came good after some recent struggles to kick seven! The injuries to both teams were about the same (Shaun Atley for the Roos and 48 SC); Jarrod Cameron for the Eagles (27 SC); again, lower rated, away from home and double travel killed off the Roos this week. Eagles coach Adam Simpson talked about the Roos travel factor and how the Eagles thought that they would be right if they get off to a good start. He also mentioned about Scott Thompson being out in relation to Josh Kennedy excelling.

St Kilda defeated Melbourne by 19 points
I think I erred in putting too much of the Saints win against the Dogs on the Dogs re-signing their coach; credit needs to go to Brett Ratten and the sense of relief that the inevitable departure of Alan Richardson has now taken place. The Saints won the SC score 1800 to 1501; this is big; in the presser, Simon Goodwin said they were lucky to be in it; he also talked about “inability to execute” (= lack of skills); and lac of cohesion at either end of the ground; he’s right in that they have never had both a settled forward line and defence this year. I called it an EXTREME variance game, but the scoring pattern was relatively normal

GWS Giants defeated Port Adelaide by 1 point
I mentioned three Port players under a cloud; of the three Dougal Howard struggled this week with 33 SC points; Jacob Hopper was also a doubt, but did well until he copped a knock late in the game…but he recovered from that after a while; I’m disappointed that I changed my tip but, with a 1 point result, clearly it was a toss of a coin job anyway. Both teams have their issues now with injuries and experience.

Western Bulldogs defeated Fremantle Dockers by 47 points
The possible technical lead on Fremantle didn’t eventuate; it makes me think that the jungle drums beating about Ross Lyon may be affecting the team. Glad to tip the winner and also the game was just in the EXTREME variance range with the Dogs winning so well. The injuries were about even – with Dale Morris going down and maybe that’s it for him; Luke Ryan did his hammie for the Dockers

Geelong defeated Sydney Swans by 27 points
I have been expecting the Cats to hit form at some stage. They exceeded expectations slightly this week, but the win didn’t shout “premiership”. It was probably more reflective of the current troubles for the Swans – especially with the lack of talls. Ben Ronke was a late in for Oliver Florent. I mentioned the “in” of Quinton Narkle on Thursday, but he failed to make the cut on Friday night. The bottom end for the Swans seems to be the problem right now; they had 8 players score 50 SC or less; the Cats had 1!

Essendon defeated Gold Coast Suns by 9 points
Well, the Bombers had back to back interstate trips, but a long break of 9 days between them; the break was almost too long – coming up against the bottom placed team. as such, they nearly came unstuck; also, the Suns were able to replicate much of their work rate and intensity from the previous week. That’s why I was a little reluctant to call “CERTS” on the Bombers; and I don’t like a cert that is behind late in the game. There were two no-decisions which left Bomber fans fuming – a goal called “in ply” and a non decision for a front of charge late in the game. In the end, it didn’t cost them the four points – just a bit of percentage. The scoring pattern was EXTREME – with the Suns leading

Round 20 begins 7.50pm on Fri 02 Aug 2019
Friday
North Melbourne V Hawthorn 7.50pm
Saturday
Essendon V Port Adelaide at Docklands 1.45pm
GWS Giants V Sydney Swans at Sydney Showgrounds Stadium 2.10pm
Fremantle V Geelong at Perth Stadium 4.35pm eastern
Melbourne V Richmond at MCG 7.25pm
Adelaide V St Kilda at Adelaide Oval 7.40pm eastern
Sunday
Collingwood V Gold Coast Suns at MCG 1.10pm
Carlton V West Coast Eagles at Docklands 3.20pm
Brisbane Lions V Western Bulldogs at the Gabba 4.40pm

Early tips Wednesday night:
Roos (but 50/50 game)
Essendon
GWS
Geelong (but a danger game)
Richmond
Adelaide (but a danger game)
Collingwood (but lots of injuries)
Eagles (but a danger game)
Lions

NMFC V HAW
The Roos appointed Rhyce Shaw as coach for the next two years during the week. It has made me change my tip to the Hawks – because of the poor record clubs generally have immediately after they “re-appoint” a coach mid season. The Hawks might have got the Roos at the right time. They showed some footage of the announcement being made to the team and a huge cheer went up from everyone (as far as I could tell). This makes me think that there is a slight chance that the team may over-achieve for him this weekend.
Then there is the 6 day day back from Perth after another interstate trip. I now rate the Roos slightly higher than Hawthorn, but they also have the longer injury list slightly. Muddy waters!! I don’t like the game. Shaun Burgoyne surpasses Adam Goodes in terms of most games played by an indigenous player; will this help the Hawks? Maybe a little!
Hawks just and EXTREME variance.

ESS V PORT
The Bombers should win this; should; but there are a few things to consider: Nick Riewoldt mentioned that since round 11 (when they have been going well and are 7-1 in that period – losing only to the Eagles away), they have been in front for 46% of the time. They have won 5 straight, but have been behind in Q4 in four of those games; they played last Sunday at the Gold Coast after travelling to Adelaide the previous weekend; it was a Friday / Sunday split and, given that the Suns are on the bottom, it was all set up for the Dons to under-perform. They did indeed disappoint, but did enough to win. So are they about due for a loss? Or was last week’s win full of merit? Before we answer that question, Port has only been average of late, but they have already beaten the Eagles in Perth and they easily beat the Dees in Melbourne in round 1. If Port win, I’ll put it down to the inevitable Essendon slump. Note that both Essendon and the Roos have the same travel pattern here – 2 weeks on the road and then home.
Bombers to win but not certs and EXTREME variance

GWS v SYD
Giants and almost certs; more news Friday; Friday news – the Swans have a longer injury list and less experienced players at the bottom end; this looks like a good thing for picking the Giants with some confidence; I’ll make them certs now. GWS to win by over 5 goals and certs

FREO V GEEL
The Cats, like the Roos and Bombers before them, have 2 weeks on the road; the Roos lost going the second week to Perth and the Bombers almost lost to the Suns. The Cats are favoured by about 3 goals and there is some risk that they may lose, but they tend to do well with such challenges (eg first 7 games this year – the toughest test for any team & they won 6 of 7 with a 1 kick loss; another time began the year with 3 x 6 day breaks; won them all; this is a bit different, but signs are generally positive). I’m tipping them, but not with any huge confidence. The Dockers have made 5 changes – three due to injury – and their injury list is getting too high; that’s going to restrict their chances to get a win. They probably need the Cats to struggle with the double travel to be a chance to win; Cats; not certs

MELB V RICH
The Tigers have been going along pretty well and beat the Pies easily last week; but the Pies have lots of injuries, so maybe the win was slightly over-rated. In any case, the Dees also have lots of injuries and cannot get any consistent form going. I would expect the Tigers to win this one without smashing the Dees. Tigers by about 3-5 goals and almost certs; will consider it Friday; Friday update: I won’t make the Tigers certs; there is a chance they could be too confident after being declared premiership favourites and having a nice weekend off; and the Dees have this match and the Pies match next week as their 2019 “grand final”. Maybe next week is the better week to be really UP if they have to choose, but they have a tiny chance to win this week; an honourable loss is the more likely outcome though.

ADEL V STK
See the review of the Crows last game above and the pizza meeting. I am quietly confident about the Crows this weekend, but it’s hard to get too excited about them; this just looks like a good week for them to come good and maybe play with a bit more flair. Their team changes look okay overall. Conversely, it’s hard not to get excited about the Saints; they are doing so well now despite their injuries. That’s why I’m not tipping the Crows as certs. Crows by about 4 goals is my estimate. Friday update: alarm bells!!!!! Two Saints players – Ben Paton and Jack Newnes – pulled out today with gastro; who else may have picked up the bug?? Contagio control is a lot better these days, but still a risk; if other players have it, it could result in the team team well early then being totally swamped later; I’m even keener on the Crows now; this moved the line from 17 to 21 in favour of the Crows; I still won’t label the Crows as certs because of Brett Ratten’s honeymoon and the flakiness of the Crows, but this is otherwise set up for a big Adelaide win!

COLL V GCS
Both these teams have long injury lists – with the Pies having the worst luck of any team; I’d be tipping them to lose to almost anyone else. They lost two to injury, but also Jordan Roughead and Tom Phillips might also be in doubt. Should be attribute the Suns reasonable form last week to them or to Essendon being on a downer? Maybe a bit of both!
Pies to win; not certs and EXTREME variance

CARL V WCE
The Eagles are going pretty well, but got North at a good time last weekend. The Blues are going along quite nicely at the minute as well. I would’ve liked to have seen Matthew Kreuzer back and firing, but I still give the Blues a chance; Eagles to win, but a danger game for them. This is the typical games teams lose as they fight for a top 4 or top 8 spot.

BRIS V WBD
The Dogs won very well against the Dockers last week, but Freo looked all out of sorts. Meanwhile the Lions keep delivering. They are on a long winning run now, but aren’t really showing signs of stopping. Lions to win, but not keen enough to label them certs.

In summary, a good week to pick up a win or two in the tipping comp – with Roos / Hawks being a 50/50 type game and with Blues, Dockers, Port and Dees (in that order) all some fluky chance to cause an upset; I like the Giants to win by over 5 goals and the Crows to win by over 4.

Round 20 review
North Melbourne defeated Hawthorn by 22 points
I tipped the Roos early in the week and then changed when the news of Rhyce Shaw’s appointment, but then changed based on history. Let me step aside from my little world of analysis and say how wonderful it was for the team to win for him after his appointment.

Back to the game – I was feeling pretty chuffed when the Hawks were up by 27 points, but thought that the Roos had it won from the moment they caught up.

The other thing I totally missed until afterwards was the NMFC 150 year celebration; this was probably a big incentive and explains the last 3Q but not really Q1.

One thing in North’s favour was the injury Q3 to Grant Birchall.

Port Adelaide defeated Essendon by 59 points (wow)
I tipped the wrong tam here, but the big plus was labelling this as an EXTREME variance game. The Bombers looked like they have been “building to a loss” in recent times and it happened here.

On top of that, everything went wrong for the Bombers. They lost Shaun McKernan who was replaced by Michael Hartley. This was huge, because McKernan has been doing a lot of ruckwork and then the other magnets had to be changed around. Adam Saad had hammie tightness and Darcy Parish went off early due to concussion; Cale Hooker was in hospital a day or two before the game and scored a mere 37 Sc points; and then Port took their opportunities. Tom Rockliff was a bit below par after a Q2 knock to the head.

GWS Giants defeated Sydney Swans by 2 points
I tipped the winner here but got a bit carried away with the margin. Fortunately for me, they fell over the line. In my defence, they had two late outs – Jeremy Cameron and Dawson Simpson – replaced by debutantes Connor Idun and Aiden Bonar. In Cameron’s absence, both forwards Harrison Himmelberg and Jeremy Finlayson had minor injury concerns. So I feel like this restrained the Giants a little; and it was probably a grand final of sorts for the Swans. Even so, I don’t like tipping a cert that wins by under 2 goals

Fremantle Dockers defeated Geelong by 34 points
I tipped the loser here – as did most people; that’s not too positive; I also missed because the variance was EXTREME and I didn’t forecast that either!! Oh no! There were a few things in play here; firstly, the Geelong “stay away from home for a whole week” factor. The Cats had to late changes: Lachie Henderson and Sam Menegola in for Luke Dahlhaus and Mark O’Connor. Gary Rohan (a similar type to Dahlhaus) was injured Q3 and only scored 42 SC points. And also the fact that the Dockers – Ross Lyon in particular – were under big pressure all week after an absolute shocker the previous week against the Dogs; there is also one more thing – the last time these teams played, the Dockers went from leading at QT to lose by over 100 points (at Geelong, admittedly); all these seemed to combine to get the result. The Cats are still sputtering a bit. They controlled the game early and led by 15 points at QT. To lose badly from there suggests that the week’s preparation by Geelong wasn’t perfect (from a short term perspective – maybe the warmth will help later in the season!!??!!); glad I didn’t tip the Cats as certs!

Richmond defeated Melbourne by 33 points
Reasonably happy with the analysis and the “maybe yes / maybe no” about the Tigers being certs; you would have been pretty happy to tip them as certs if you were watching the game (after half time); there was talk of the Tigers being a better wet weather team and breaking away when the rain came; given that the Tigers won so easily so early last weekend, it wasn’t surprising that they were a bit slow to assert their domination

Adelaide Crows defeated St Kilda by 22 points
I tipped the Crows to win by over 4 goals and they didn’t quite get there; given the Crows barely adequate response, I don’t see them scaring any top teams if they make the finals; or should I give some credit to the Saints? I’ll lean more to being negative about the Crows – who had a shorter injury list than St Kilda. Jack Newnes and Ben Paton pulled out ill for the Saints and replaced by Daniel McKenzie and Matthew Parker; I wasn’t overly concerned about the team change – more so that there was a risk that others were slightly ill and, thereby, causing their team to have a poor outcome. Looks like no other players had any illness problems.

Collingwood defeated Gold Coast Suns by 69 points
I was concerned with Collingwood’s long injury list, but the Suns also were fairly poorly off for injuries and had a real downer
Mason Cox was off at half time and now misses the season.
Ex-Pie Jarrod Witts was ruled out in Q4, but the coach said it was doen based on his workload and the score, so expect him to be okay for next week. Stuart Dew also mentioned that a couple of guys came in after long lay-offs – Jack Martin, Ben Ainsworth and Jack Bowes – (rather than via the NEAFL) because there was a NEAFL bye and they played against Collingwood to prepare for the next match (their grand final against Brisbane!); this “planning” by Gold Coast about offset the extra injuries on the Pies’ list; and, of course, the Pies are a better list overall by a fair margin.

West Coast Eagles defeated Carlton by 24 points
The margin was a “long 24” points – with the Eagles being around 6 goals up most of the last half; then the the Blues got the last 2 goals to make it a respectable loss; I tipped the Blues to lose, but as the best outsider; but I was less confident when Liam Jones pulled out (family bereavement) and then Dale Thomas (ill) – replaced by Hugh (nice to have a Hugh or two playing these days) Goddard and Angus Schumacher; that was much less experience. So the result was about as expected after the changes. It’s worth having a look at Liam Ryan’s mark

Brisbane Lions defeated Western Bulldogs by 18 points
Glad to tip a winner here and to be fairly confident about the Lions; the lost Dayne Zorko with a minor hammie in Q3; the Dogs had 4 injuries listed but they didn’t overly affect the game; two were late in the game – Josh Dunkley and Hayden Crozier (who hurt himself taking a speccie); Tom Liberatore and Easton Wood had some issues. Caleb Daniel did a hammie but got through the game somehow. Maybe the Lions have been up for a while and are heading towards a loss; they squandered a 7-goal lead early in the third to win by 3 goals; some credit to the Dogs also for staying in the hunt.

Round 21 begins 7.50pm on Fri 02 Aug 2019
Friday
GWS Giants V Hawthorn at Manuka Oval, Canberra 7.50pm
Saturday
Melbourne V Collingwood at MCG 1.45pm
Port Adelaide V Sydney Swans at Adelaide Oval 2.10pm eastern
Brisbane Lions V Gold Coast Suns at the Gabba 4.35pm
Essendon V Western Bulldogs at Docklands 7.25pm
Geelong V North Melbourne at Kardinia Park 7.25pm
Sunday
St Kilda V Fremantle at Docklands 1.10pm
Richmond V Carlton at MCG 3.20pm
West Coast Eagles V Adelaide at Perth Stadium 4.40pm eastern

Early tips (Wednesday)
GWS (certs)
Pies (danger game)
Port
Brisbane (certs)
Dogs (but a toss-up)
Cats (danger game)
Saints
Tigers (almost certs)
Eagles (certs)

GWS V HAW
Windy, wet and possible snow!! 1 – 8 is the temperature range with a Friday night / Saturday morning low of -1; glad it’s them and not me! and Hawks to wear short sleeves! Easier on our eyes seeing less of the Hawthorn jumper, I guess. These teams played in race 8 at the MCG and it was the Giants’ worst effort for the year. They will be desperate to atone for this embarrassment. That day, GWS did not have Shane Mumford. Expect him to exert some influence on the game; Josh Kelly and Stephen Coniglio played that day and are now missing; Brett Deledio missed then and is now back; but the key here is that the loss will be etched into the minds of the GWS team more so than the win will be in the minds of the Hawks. This should help the Giants and maybe especially early; the wind is likely to be across the ground more than anything else, so expect low scoring (but not necessarily a low margin); I’m going out on a limb here and making the Giants CERTS

MELB V COLL
Wet and windy and maybe raining during the game.
I have the Dees injury quotient at 18 and the Pies running at 24. Higher is worse and the Pies lost 2 in a row with similar injury stress before playing the Suns who brought back underdone payers to have them primed for this week’s Q Clash. This, together with Jarrod Witts’ late injury – helped artificially boost the Collingwood margin. So I wouldn’t be too enthusiatic about tipping them to beat anybody. As fortune would have it, they play teams 18 and now 17! Trouble is: this is Melbourne’s grand final. They play the Swans and the Roos after that to round out the season. This one is the one they will be up for – especially against a vulnerable opponent. I am tipping the Pies just – I don’t like the game and the Dees are a chance to cause an upset. However, I am marking it an EXTREME variance game; I also see the possibility that the Pies might be sharp early and then the Dees could drop their bundle. Melbourne is a team to think about if you need to tip an outsider!

PORT V SYD
Wet, windy and maybe hail!
No changes this week at Port! They dropped Scott Lycett and brought in Peter Ladhams last week; Ladhams stays in and Lycett stays out. Ken Hinkley said that Ladhams forced his way in through good performances in the SANFL. The Swans have lost 5 in a row since a so-so win over the Suns in round 15, but their last loss was a good effort against the Giants. I reckon last week was their grand final (and a false lead) and they may struggle to replicate that form. Now on to Port. They looked great last weekend, but everything went wrong for the Bombers, so I am going to ignore that game in my analysis. Their previous close loss to GWS in Adelaide and their 6 goal loss to Richmond at the MCG is good enough to tip them to beat an injury ravaged Swans team; but I won’t tip them as certs

BRIS V GCS
speaking of grand finals, this is it for the Suns. They even gave underdone players a run last week to get them primed for this match (I’m fine with that – no thought of calling it foul play); one of those players was Jack Martin and now he’s been dropped! The other two – Ben Ainsworth and Jack Bowes – will be improved by the run; despite all this, the Lions are flying and it’s hard to see them dropping this one. The big question (assuming Brisbane wins) is the margin; they trail the Eagles in percentage 116.50 to 117.28, so each goal might be handy. The experts have the expected margin at 50 points; I have no feel for whether this is correct or not; if anything, I reckon the Suns might slightly over-achieve; but Lions and CERTS


ESS V WBD
Roof closed!
Essendon has 6 changes and 5 are due to injury; I quite keen on the Dogs now; Dogs by at least 2 goals, even though the experts have it as a flip of the coin job; I realise that the ins for the Bombers are generally good (captain Dyson Heppell, David Myers – good in the VFL last week; and Shaun McKernan), but it is still a lot of changes and history shows that teams with 4 or more changes due to injury struggle. I’ll tip the Dogs by over 2 goals!

GEEL V NMFC
The Roos have been so honest of late and the Cats have been a bit down on form. David King gets the feeling that the Cats will come good soon. From a flag viewpoint, they cannot go into the finals playing like they have in the past few weeks and expect to win. So I agree that there is going to be a spike in form soon. And the Roos should be a good test. The Roos were great last week after QT and then had their big 150 year dinner; maybe the week after that and with Geelong under the pump, there is a chance that the Cats could have a huge win; but, while I agree that it might happen, I am in the “wait and see” camp at present. Cats to win, not certs; but the highlight for me will be seeing the split screen of the 2 coaches and being able to tell them apart!

STK V FREO
Roof closed! The Dockers overran the Cats last week in a good performance; meanwhile, the Saints were honest in playing the Crows in Adelaide; so, with the game at the Docklands, the Saints are slight favourites. I suspect that the Docker win last week could be a false lead – either because of Geelong being poor due to their travel schedule; or because the Dockers were really under the pump last week and they responded at their home ground. I doubt that they will be as “up” this week; the query I have on tipping the Saints is how they will respond to being favourites; I suspect that they will handle it okay, but it’s not a given; I’m reasonably bullish on the Saints, but won’t make them certs

RICH V CARL
Very wet and windy, but maybe rain to stop by game time.
Remember round 1? It was round 1 2018 in reverse. In 2018, the Blues jumped out of the blocks and were about 5 goals up mid term 1; this year, the Tigers led 5:4 to 0:1 at QT. The Blues would love revenge for that and get Matthew Kreuzer back. And this is Carlton’s grand final – with games against the Saints (winnable, but nothing compared to beating the Tigers if they can do it) and then the Cats at KP. But the Tigers are going very well and look like a flag prospect. It’s hard to imagine them having a big enough downer to lose; but I’m thinking a reliable win rather than a huge thrashing is the most likely outcome.


WCE V ADEL
I tipped the Crows as top 4 certs a the start of the season, but it appears that they still haven’t got everything right and there are rumours of trouble within the club in the media. They were under heavy scrutiny last week and I thought they would come out steaming. It was a nice win, but nothing to suggest that the teams up the ladder are quaking in their boots. The Eagles are going along very nicely just at the minute (as Bobbie Davis used to say) and they should win this one easily – even if they start slowly (which is a possibility – given their late (but ever so slight) drop-off late in the game last week. Eagles CERTS and to win by over 5 goals

In Summary
Giants CERTS
Eagles CERTS and to win by over 5 goals
Very keen on the Dogs and Saints
Best outsiders if you need to pick one: Dees and then maybe Roos.
But this week appears to be a good week to be conservative in tipping; next week may be different


I did my ladder predictor the Terry Wallace way – WDL and calling the close games a draw (EG ESS V WBD this week)
My final 8 is
GEEL
WCE
BRIS
RICH
top 4 separated only by percentage & 16 wins
GWS 15 wins
COLL 14 wins
ESS 12 1/2 wins
PORT 11 1/2 wins
outside the 8
ADEL 11 wins
WBD & STK 10 wins

Round 22 review: I tipped 8 winners but the overall result was mixed. An awful Friday night, with the Giants (one of my certs) being thrashed, good work on the Dogs and Saints (many tipped these slight favourites to lose – more on the Saints “lucky win” below.

Apart from missing on the one outsider to win (Hawthorn), I was correct in steering people away from getting excited about tipping outsiders this week.

Hawthorn defeated the GWS Giants by 56 points
Well!! what a way to start the weekend. We have had a few big upsets on Friday night football. sometimes you sense you have pulled the wrong rein in analysis. I felt pretty certain I was sunk early in Q2. There was a lot of talk about the snow & cold and how each team approached it. On Crunch time, David King said the game was lost between the ears. The Giants denied this, but I reckon this was a significant issue. Then there was the game plan. In the cold, wet and snow, the Hawks just got it forward any way they could – often kicking off the ground. The Giants tried to pinpoint passes. In my Humber opinion, this is the worst performance by GWS in their entire history – given their progression; in retrospect, I misjudged the Canberra thing; I thought that the “home” ground would work big time FOR the Giants, but it appeared that they dreaded going there. Jacob Hopper was a big out (given the other injured mids).

Jack Gunston was a late out for the Hawks – replaced by Conor Nash. Let me just talk about teams having a “flu” game. When this happens, they generally start okay and then get worse and worse. This was not a flu game by GWS; they were actually quite good late – highly competitive in the last 10 minutes – without a goal, but they would have got blown out late had they been ill. Great effort by Alistair Clarkson and the Hawks

Collingwood defeated Melbourne by 17 points
There were late injuries to Steven May for the Dees and Josh Daicos for the Pies. Melbourne’s Oskar Baker soldiered on after an ankle injury before half time. Harry Petty had a minor leg issue but played on. The Pies looked to be winning this by 6 – 10 goals at one stage, but the Dees kicked the last 4 goals to achieve an honourable loss. I got the tip right, but I also tipped EXTREME variance; this was a borderline call as to whether it was EXTREME – Dees leading, then down about 7 goals and then losing by 3. “Passive in Q4”, said Nathan Buckley. This could be because they were protecting the lead – or maybe they have sore players that would normally have been rested at some stage had the team not had huge injuries. Maybe more the former. I reckon the Pies are still just going – due to injury – and the Dees cannot wait for the season to end.

Port Adelaide defeated Sydney Swans by 47 points
Ollie wines was a very handy late inclusion for Zac Butters and did well. I tipped the winner but, in retrospect, should have made them certs. The Sans are just too banged up – especially in terms of big men – to be much of a danger at present. George Hewett tagged Travis Boak to 13 disposals and 49 SC points – his lowest for the year; but there were plenty of other Port mids to fill the role. Not much more to say here; the Swans need the season to finish asap.

Brisbane Lions defeated Gold Coast Suns by 91 points
The Suns were in it for most of the first term, then it was a blow-out. The big plus for the Lions was that they were able to get going for a huge margin. This was especially handy as the Eagles barely beat the Crows in what could’ve been a huge margin out west. Coach Chris Fagan said it was the first time all year that they had won four quarters. The concern was that the Lions might be looking forward too early to the next match (1 v 2 at the Gabba); no problems there -they were right on the job. And the Suns are too bruised and battered – along with a poor list – to be competitive; the final margin meant that it just edged into EXTREME variance

Western Bulldogs defeated Essendon by 104 points (do not adjust your screen)
I was chuffed at QT – having been bullish about the Dogs. Then totally stunned that they kicked 21 unanswered goals. the one thing I missed was that the margin meant that it was an EXTREME variance game; I talked about the Bombers being too injured; they also have Dyson Heppell playing injured and well below his best (54 SC points) and others plying injured in Orazio Fantasia (32 SC) and Jake Stringer (25 SC); then Shaun McKernan had an injury of some sort and kept going; and the Dogs cashed in on their good fortune. This was the biggest win ever by the Dogs over the Dons.

Geelong defeated North Melbourne by 55 points
The Cats are back! Maybe! If you heard that they held the Roos to their lowest score ever, you would say “yes”. And it was a dominant win. But remember the conditions and often in the wet, wind and cold teams that get behind often really struggle to score. Just think of the Giants a day earlier! It seems the scenario I painted where the Cats could have a huge win (but I wasn’t convinced about) actually played out. Now here’s a left field thought: what if Chris Scott got some help from Brad Scott?? Just a thought. I want to see the Cats play well next week before I will think that they are back. Maybe the Roos were flat after the 150 year celebrations. They had Scott Thompson assessed for concussion – which didn’t help. Finally a viewing comment: why did both teams have hoops on their long sleeves? It made it very hard viewing (on TV at least) to pick one team from another.


St Kilda defeated Fremantle by 3 points
Now I was bullish on the Saints and they hit the lead with under a minute to go, so was this poor analysis? Apart from “Stating the oblivious” (as Mal Prop likes to say) – that I tipped a winner – the Saints has some injury troubles during the game. They lost Nick Coffield (16 Sc points) early and ruck Rowan Marshall looked to be gone with a knee injury but battled on. Blake Acres also carried on with a corkie; Jack Steven looked to be carrying more weight than normal, but his class prevailed; he kicked 3 goals and scored 93 SC points; all in all, with a level playing field, I reckon the Saints would have won by 3 – 5 goals. Very happy with the tip even though it was a tense wait to get the result.

Richmond defeated Carlton by 28 points
This was a regulation sort of win for the Tigers. They got to about 5-6 goals up and pretty much stayed there. Dusty Martin was an “early” late withdrawal – on Saturday morning – replaced by Jack Ross. I was happy with the analysis – which tipped a good, honest win rather than a thrashing.

West Coast Eagles defeated Adelaide Crows by 10 points
This was a big surprise to me (game 1 = biggest shock and game 9 second biggest shock); I tipped the winner but thought they would win by heaps. I was happy early in Q3 when the Eagles got almost 5 goals up; but the Crows hit back hard. Rory Sloane was off Q3 with injury and Taylor Walker got a knock on the knee but played on; Brad Sheppard for the Eagles copped a knock and played on also. Trying to work out how the Crows – on the back of just average form – got so close to the Eagles over there. Darcy Fogarty was very good. The Eagles have a huge game against Richmond next week; there is a small chance that they thought the game was in the bag mid Q3 and just coasted a bit. Other than that, not sure.

Round 23 begins 7.50pm on Fri 16 Aug 2019
Friday
Melbourne V Sydney Swans at MCG 7.50pm
Saturday
Carlton V St Kilda at MCG 1.45pm
Brisbane Lions V Geelong at the Gabba 2.10pm
Adelaide V Collingwood at Adelaide Oval 4.35pm eastern
North Melbourne V Port Adelaide at Docklands 7.25pm
Fremantle V Essendon 8.10pm eastern
Sunday
Richmond V West Coast Eagles at MCG 1.10pm
GWS Giants V Western Bulldogs at Sydney Showgrounds 3.20pm
Hawthorn at Gold Coast Suns at Docklands 4.40pm

Early Tips
Dees
Saints
Lions (50/50)
Crows
Roos (50/50)
Dockers
Tigers
GWS (50/50)
Hawks (certs)

This is the week to make ground on the leaders in the tipping comp if you need to. But you don’t need to do anything outlandish. There are an incredible 6 games where the experts tip a result within a goal. First time I can remember this happening


MELB V SYD
Rain, but should clear well before game time
The experts have the Dees tiny favourites. It’s hard to get too excited about them. They have made 5 changes – with only Marty Hore really banging the door down in the VFL; the big advantage for the Dees is Max Gawn versus inexperienced rucks; if the Dees can capitalise on this, the game is over. I toyed with the idea of making this an EXTREME variance game (on the basis of how unreliable each team is) but narrowly declined just. Both teams are desperate for the season to finish; Dees to win, not certs, but I am more bullish on them than many tipsters

CARL V STK
The Blues announced interim coach David Teague as their coach for 2020-2022 on Thursday 15 Aug. I reckon this is the right call, but it is a bad sign for this weekend. The announcement is a huge distraction and teams that appoint a coach like this tend to lose next up. Rhyce Shaw bucked the trend, but that was the weekend of the 150 year celebrations for the Roos; even then, they were down 4 goals early in the game. The experts cannot split this game, I had the Saints just before the news, now I am more confident than many – like the game above, more bullish on the Saints than most and they are the tip, but not certs. I have marked this as an EXTREME variance game, but mainly because I think the Saints have the potential to romp in; not so much keen on the Blues to severely out-perform expectations

BRIS V GEEL
This is the first top of the table clash for the Lions for over a decade. These clashes are a bit ho-hum for Geelong and would have had maybe 20 in that time frame. This is the danger for the Lions. They could play the game over in their minds too many times and be exhausted come game time. But they are doing everything right and have a very low injury rate & have won 8 in a row. I am trying to work out if the Cats have just hit form or whether it was a blip. I tend to think that they are back in some sort of form. Their best wins have been with Mark Blicavs in the ruck, so I would like to know if they are going to go with him this week. That would increase my confidence in the Cats. This is the hardest one for me to pick. Lions just, but no real confidence

ADEL V COLL
possible showers
I was stunned by the honourable loss of the Crows in Perth last weekend – going down to the Eagles by 10 points only. Now they play the Pies at home and have a much smaller injury list; quite keen on the Crows on this basis and tip them to win by over 3 goals; I won’t go so far as to make them certs, however

NMFC V PORT
This is a toughie to pick. The Roos kicked their lowest score ever on the weekend; this would normally make them the talking point of the week; but that honour went to GWS (they did the same) and the Bombers (beaten by 104 points). They may have been on a downer after the 150 year celebrations – that is quite likely; how, then, will they bounce back? And how much do I trust Port? This is virtually a toss of the coin job for me; Because I have queries on both teams, I am making this an EXTREME variance game. Avoid it if you can. The Roos just and obviously not certs

FREO V ESS
Rain gone and windy conditions abated by game time
The Bombers were awful last week, but they get back Aaron Francis, Darcy Parish, Michael Hurley and Adam Saad this week. That sounds good and their only outs this week are omissions; but here is the problem – there were queries on the fitness of several players last week who have not been omitted – eg Dyson Heppell, Orazio Fantasia and Shaun McKernan; I am not sure all of these three will play and be able to perform at a high level. No doubt there will be an intense desire to redeem themselves, but this may not necessarily translate into a win. Meanwhile, the Dockers!!! Sounds like Ross Lyon is talking himself up as coach (which he is for this year and next officially), but some people in the media over there are talking him down. They almost had the game last week vs the Saints, but lost it in the last minute. I am tipping the Dockers, but don’t like the game and it is an EXTREME variance game. Hayden Ballantyne gets his farewell game this weekend.

RICH V WCE
The Tigers are hotter favourites than all the earlier favourites in this round – they’re tipped to win by 11 points by the experts. I am slightly more bullish on them. They are going along very nicely and are actually flag favourites; they need to win this one to remain so. Toby Nankervis is a doubtful starter – with Ivan Soldo named in the extended squad; check for late changes, but I don’t see this as a huge problem one way or the other.
The Eagles would love to win this one and all but secure a top two finish. But I reckon Richmond will continue their winning run. Tigers – bullish, but not certs

GWS V WBD
I said in my review that the Giants’ effort last week was their worst ever. The loss will be a huge embarrassment and they are sure to respond a la Essendon, but are slightly better placed than the Bombers; despite huge injury concerns, they do get back Josh Kelly and Matt de Boer & Harry Himmelberg. This should help. The Dogs have a chance to continue their good recent form. A lot depends on the output level of the ins for the
Giants. I trend to favour them slightly. Giants to win, not certs

HAW V GCS
At last a cert; Roughy gets his home farewell game; the Hawks will win this quite well. The Suns are too banged up and have lost too many players to be a chance.

In summary, the Hawks are the only certs and I like at least 3 of the following 4 to occur: (statistically, this is unlikely – I am just pushing my analytical skills to the limit like a tennis player going for the lines)
Dees to win by over 2 goals
Saints to win by over 2 goals
Crows to win by over 3 goals
Tigers to win by over 3 goals

Round 22 review
I am pretty much sitting in the dunce’s corner this week here at the offices of longggey.com
My summary – Hawks certs; ho hum; everyone got that right; the rest all wrong and some by a big margin

The good news is that I am going to be wise after the event!!

Sydney Swans defeated Melbourne by 53 points
My first of many wrong tips. For last week’s game Dees v Pies I talked about ti being Melbourne’s grand final. In retrospect, I think it really was – and it had more of a come down effect afterwards than I had anticipated. The Dees had a few minor injury concerns – but nothing equating to a 53-point loss. Max Gawn only came off after the game was cooked late in Q4. I almost made this an EXTREME variance game; I should have!! The Swans had Lewis Melican come in as a late replacement for Hayden McLean – no need to re-assess anything for that change.

Carlton defeated St Kilda by 10 points
I was pretty happy with this tip for most of the day, but the Blues made a late surge and got over the line; it was a good effort by the Blues to avoid the distraction of the coaching announcement during the week. Apparently, Patrick Cripps was not 100% either – reasonably well held by Jack Steele. The Brett Batten interview was interesting. He mentioned that Levi Casboult was the difference – with 9 intercept marks. This is the bloke Blues fans wanted sacked earlier this year!! Ratten also mentioned that it was the Saints’ worst effort since he took over. This is interesting!! Jacob Weitering was a late out – replaced by Darcy Lang; I marked this as an EXTREME variance but was wrong; the scoring pattern and end result was within normal expectations.

Brisbane Lions defeated Geelong by 1 point
Opposite to the above game, I was feeling good about my tip for most of the day, but the Lions snuck over the line in the last 2 minutes. Huge mark by ex Cat Lincoln McCarthy to kick the winning goal! I’m sure he did it to stop my tips being a total disaster. My concern about tipping the Lions was that the occasion was going to be too much for them. This wasn’t a problem, but the Cats almost got away from them. The Lions showed maturity to be able to keep the game alive and then kick vital late goals – then hang on. A good effort by then given that another ex Cat Allen Christensen was off at half time and Mitch Robinson had some minor issues. It could have gone either way – as Lions coach Chris Fagan said – but I’ll take the win.

Collingwood defeated Adelaide Crows by 66 points
The Crows sucked me in with that narrow loss in Perth last week against the Eagles. Anyway, listening to the game as I drove, I had totally written off the crows by half time. This is something that the Pies have done well when travelling a few times – a not great start (well, they led at every change, but the Crows squandered opportunities early at 0:5 at QT), then began to take control in Q2. With a half time lead of 17 points, I would have changed my tip for sure and I was also confident of the Pies winning the second half. Rory Sloane copped a knock to the eye the previous week in Perth and was given a down arrow by fanfooty.com against the pies; I’m sure he was NQR. Jake Kelly had a minor injury and missed the last few minutes. Matt Crouch was also very poor – hardly touching the ball in the first half. This makes me wonder if there is instability in the club; one way or another, things are NQR at Adelaide. On the flip side, a great win by Collingwood. They had more injuries but did everything right!

North Melbourne defeated Port Adelaide by 86 points
The Collingwood game affected this one; that’s my theory. Here’s what happened: the Crows and Port and locked in a battle for 8th on the ladder (with other teams). The Crows were expected to beat Collingwood (favourites without being considered certs) and the Crows / Pies game was at 4.35pm eastern – with the Port / North game at 7.25pm eastern. The Port players would have been greatly interested in the game, but not the Roo boys who were already out of finals calculations. Distraction! That was the reason for Port’s poor start to the game. Then they just never got back into it. Of course, North kicked 1:8 14 last week (in very poor conditions, it should be noted) and responded from the humiliation of that score (they only lost by 55 points and it wasn’t even their worst loss for the season) and that probably explains why they just went on with it once in front. Good to see Ben Brown kick 10 and he spoke so well as a part of the coach’s presser. Happy to yip a winner (I said “just”) but I did call it an EXTREME variance game – which was correct

Essendon defeated Fremantle by 32 points
I am writing this after the Ross Lyon (+ his CEO) sacking. The Bombers ended up making 6 changes – with Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Bomber fans hope he is as tough as Margaret) replacing Cale Hooker. The injury quotients ended up being about the same

Richmond defeated the West Coast Eagles by 6 points
With this result, the top 4 all played each other and the total margin in the games was 7 points! Makes for a good finals series, I hope. The Eagles jumped the Tigers and led by 4 goals at quarter time. From that point onwards, looking at the scoring grid on the AFL website, the tram tracks which enclosed the scoring trend was all on the up for Richmond. They survived a little late surge by the Eagles and, for mine, always looked likely to win in the second half. The Eagles had Josh Rotham a late in for Will Schofield. This change would not have affected my tip in any way. The Eagles lost Mark Hutchings early; he was on Kane Lambert when he was on the field. With the Tigers winning the Supercoach scores by 150, having 6 more scoring shots and Jack Riewoldt being penalised for his marking technique, the Tigers would have been unlucky to lose

Western Bulldogs defeated GWS Giants by 61 points
The Giants have been very poor two weeks in a row; I have covered their round 21 loss and reasons above, but I think something different may be at play here.
A: their ins were so-so, not brilliant
B: their injury list is longer than that of the Dogs
C: my weather theory – the Giants and Hawks played last Friday night in the snow; would it have a negative effect the following week? The Giants were okay in the first half, then outscored by 32 points in each of Q3 and Q4! Amazing! I put this down to a lack of proper recovery from the snow game (not that the medical / training staff were to blame); plus I’m giving credit to the Dogs



Hawthorn defeated the Gold Coast Suns by 70 points
Refer to comments on the Giants game above. The Hawks weren’t as terrible in the second half as GWS, but they led by 50 points at half time, LOST Q3 by a point!!!!! and then won Q4 by 21 points against a Suns team down and out. Of course, the Hawks were higher rated, were playing to see Roughy have some fun and were a their home away from home. I still think the snow had some effect!

Round 23 starts at 7.50pm on Friday 23 August 2
Friday
Collingwood V Essendon at MCG 7.50pm
Saturday
Sydney V St Kilda at SCG 1.45pm
North Melbourne V Melbourne in Hobart 2.10pm
Geelong V Carlton at Kardinia Park 4.35pm
Gold Coast Suns V GWS Giants at the Gold Coast 7.25pm
West Coast Eagles V Hawthorn at Perth Stadium 8.10pm eastern
Sunday
Western Bulldogs V Adelaide in Ballarat 1.10pm
Richmond V Brisbane Lions at MCG 3.20pm
Port Adelaide V Fremantle at Adelaide Oval 4.40pm eastern

Early thoughts
There are 9 clear favourites this weekend – unlike last week where there were lots of line ball games; I will be brief this week and give a bit more detail Friday. It’s not a good week to make up ground on the leading tipsters; that should have been done last week (if you didn’t follow my tips)

For those trying to work out what happens with the various results, Thursday’s Herald Sun covers everything beautifully. A word of caution: when they say things like “need to win by 63 points or more” this is an estimate based on a normal score; it can vary if the total scores of both teams are unusually high or low; don’t write in to complain if this occurs. To cover every possibility, it would take about 20 pages of data. When teams play is quite important – especially for those playing for 8th spot. See below for relevant comments.

Tips are
Pies (certs) Bombers too many injuries; looks like Essendon have rested all their sore players – even though they have a bye after this week; Pies have injuries but are better off than the Dons

Swans, but a danger game. Buddy (300th) and Jarryd McVeigh (last) are back, but may not be 100% match fit. The Saints went the worst they have under Brett Ratten last week and will want to hit back hard (especially if they are desperate for Ratten to get the job next year); Swans just, not confident and EXTREME variance

North Melbourne (almost certs); maybe the Dees are just waiting for this awful season to finish; maybe they might have one last kick in them; wet and windy in Hobart on Saturday

Geelong (certs, but only just); not going like a premiership cert, but should win this one at home. Possible showers

Giants (certs); not sure if they will win by 8 goals+ as many are tipping, but will win. Have re-thought this and I’ll now tip GWS by 10 goals plus; GWS v Hawks two weeks ago, I suspect both a bit flat last week and both will be okay this week; that means that the 70 point loss by the Suns last week was a false lead and that they will really struggle this week – with lots of injuries and a thin list; Giants have injuries too, but a much deeper list.

Eagles (certs); Hawks generally travel well, but I cannot see them wining this one. Hawthorn’s only hope, in my humber opinion, is that the Eagles are flat after the Richmond game. But if the Hawks wins, they will be in the 8 on Saturday night.

Dogs (almost certs, but there is this nagging feeling that both the Pies / Crows game and the Dogs / Giants games last week may have produced false leads. logic says the Dogs will win, but I am just being a bit cautious on this one; EXTREME variance! These teams play after the Hawthorn game and I expect the Hawks to be cooked by then. If not, the Dogs merely need to win to make the 8. The Crows will need to win by about 23 points to displace the Dogs. Showers to probably clear by game time; otherwise pretty good 11 degrees and light winds are forecast.

Tigers; the whole of Brisbane and the players were SOOOO looking forward to their big home game against Geelong – people were talking about ti weeks in advance; I’m expecting a let-down against a hot Richmond team. Tigers are certs in my book (in most other people’s books, the Lions are the best outsider);

Port (not certs); the Power should be certs, but I don’t trust them and I am not sure how the Docker players will react to the good old fashioned sacking of Ross Lyon; Port to win, not certs, don’t like the game; EXTREME variance. Port’s game will commence about 45-60 mins after the vital Dogs / Crows game is over. Port needs the Crows to win to have any chance (irony in that, isn’t there?). If the Crows win, then the margin becomes critical. Ideally, a 20-25 point win by the Crows makes both them and the Dogs even on a percentage of about 104.1; then Port needs to win by enough to climb over both of them – a manageable 30 points plus is required; but if the Crows win by a point, then Port needs to win by over 43 points approx to get in. This is another reason for making this an EXTREME variance game; Port’s players will again have their focus diverted somewhat from their game. Hopefully for their fans sake, they can just concentrate on going flat out to end the year well and whatever happens happens.

In summary, Tigers to win by over 4 goals; and at least one outsider to win!
And GWS by 10 goals or more.

If you need to tip an outsider, my suggestion is St Kilda; for thrill-seekers, Adelaide or Freo; I suspect most people going for an outsider will tip Brisbane; they have some chance but my tip is AVOID. In longggey.com tipping comp, I am equal 4th with two others and 1 behind third. Prixes stop at third! We have a weekly prize and you need to tip the margin in game 1. My strategy will be to go for the Pies to win very big. If I am closest to the mark, then I will keep tipping the favourites and assess as the weekend goes by. I can see what other people tipped after each game starts. If I am way off in game 1 margin or result, I am going for the Saints to win in order to hopefully catch up with third. Then I will also assess, happy to got for the Crows and or Dockers in the end to get third prize. Hope that makes sense. For those who cannot change tips after the first game starts, then the Saints is it. Had I been in the top three already, I would merely have tipped all the favourites and been happy with whatever cash I got – not being too greedy for extra.

Collingwood defeated Essendon by 11 points
The Bombers had a great Q1 and I think I know why: the Bombers made a huge number of changes and rested several sore players; to top it off, Michael Hartley was a late in for Cale Hooker; it signaled to Collingwood (wrongly) that Essendon had already given up; so the Bombers got out to a 3 goal break and the the Pies gradually worked their way into it. It was a game that the Pies always looked to have in hand, but only won by 11 points; I always like my “certs” to win by over 2 goals. When the lat goal was kicked midway through through the last term, the Pies were less than 2 goals up; it means that a poor 2 minutes anywhere late in the game by the Pies could have lost them the game (think David Zaharakis – ask a Collingwood fan if you don’t know what I mean); but they won Supercoach by 230 and had 11 more scoring shots – so they would have been unlucky to lose.

Sydney Swans defeated St Kilda by 45 points
I was a bit dubious about Buddy and Jarrad McVeigh coming back in. Were they really right? Buddy kicked 4:2 and scored 108 SC, so very good there. McVeigh 11 disposals and 51 SC points; no huge disaster, but not a huge finale. Maybe other players lifted to celebrate Buddy’s 300th and the final games of McVeigh and Kieran Jack. Bar for a flat Q2, the Swans dominated the game; I called it an EXTREME variance game; the variance was just a tad below EXTREME; Saints coach Brett Ratten bemoaned his team’s lack of skill under no pressure and also said they wasted their period of dominance (3:4 to a point in Q2); I guess I would have tipped the Swans with a bit of confidence had I known Buddy was going to at his best. See Cats Blues game below for further explanation.

North Melbourne defeated Melbourne by 5 points
I tipped a winner here (no great prize for that) but I am glad I didn’t tip them as certs – since they almost drew the match in the dying stages. I’m not sure how to assess this game. Most were tipping a 4 goal win, bt the Ross barely fell over the line. My first thought is that the had the solitary goal down at the cattery (as stated before, a poor result, but not the worst ever – as the score may possibly indicate – due to the conditions); then they totally blitzed Port; a good effort, but maybe Port had their eye off the ball due to the Crows game on just before (see above review North / Port); so maybe they came to Tassie expecting it to be too easy against a struggling Dees outfit. Also, maybe the Dees benefited from being away from the spotlight

Geelong defeated Carlton by 68 points
Glad to tip the Cats as certs; they won like you want a cert to win; it was never in doubt from mid Q1; David Teague though the Blues were a bit off – more so round 23 than the previous 10 weeks; which brings me to a theory… the Blues played the Saints in round 22 at the MCG. It was sort of a grand final for both teams (who both parted company with their coaches mid-season). The Blues underperformed by 38 points and the Saints up in Sydney underperformed by 29 points.

GWS Giants defeated Gold Coast Suns by 72 points
Very happy with my change later in the week to tip the Giants by over 10 goals. But it took a while for me to feel comfortable; the Suns were good in Q2 but didn’t make use of their period of dominance. They fell away late when the game got out of reach and that sort of sums up their season

Hawthorn defeated West Coast Eagles by 38 points
This was my worst tip – I tipped the Eagles as certs; by half time, I realised I had pulled the wrong rein. The pattern was there to see – one which the Pies have pulled off a few times. When a travelling underdog team looks to be headed for a loss at quarter time (the Hawks jumped the Eagles early, but the Eagles regained the lead by quarter time and nobody expected a Hawthorn win) and then the away team fights back hard in Q2 to lead (or, if 2 – 4 goals down at QT to be closing in), it is generally a sign that the underdog is going to win the second half and run away with the game. this is exactly what happened here – no chance to change my tip by then; sorry about that! Late in the week following the loss, there was talk of 3 Eagles players under a fitness cloud – Shannon Hurn, Tom Barrass and Brad Sheppard (89, 52 and 69 SC points respectively); that doesn’t excuse a big home state loss. Alistair Clarkson played Big Boy McEvoy deep in defence – punching away from the tall marking forwards; this worked to great effect unless you had big boy in your dream team (35 Sc and 17 DT points – ouch if you did!)

Western Bulldogs defeated Adelaide Crows by 34 points
The win by Hawthorn the previous night virtually put the Crows out of the race; they were into the wind Q1 and 6 goals down before QT and the game was basically over; I called the game EXTREME variance and the scoring pattern was right on the border – with the Dogs off to a flyer and then the Crows kicking 5 of the last 6; probably just in EXTREME range. Glad to tip the Dogs as almost certs; maybe I was slightly more confident after the upset Hawks victory

Richmond defeated Brisbane Lions by 27 points
My big tip was Tigers by over 4 goals and they looked like winning by double that at one stage; but they just barely made it in the end. Still, happy to get this tip right. glad to tip the Tigers as certs; they never really looked like losing.

Port Adelaide defeated Fremantle by 43 points
I didn’t really like this game after what Port did last weekend. It seems that the players were better focused this time; or was it the Dockers not being able to be at their best after the turmoil of the week? And having more injuries + retirements and the previous week at home was their last real game – so to speak – and they weren’t really up for round 23 away from home. But I didn’t trust Port enough to be too confident. The variance was NOT EXTREME, so wrong there again! At least I tipped the winner!