2019 Rounds 9-16

Round 9 begins Fri 17 May 2019 at 8.10pm eastern (6.10pm WA)
WCE v Melbourne at Perth Stadium 8.10pm eastern
Collingwood v St Kilda at MCG 1.45pm
Brisbane v Adelaide at the Gabba 2.10pm
Geelong v Western Bulldogs at Kardinia Park 4.35pm
Essendon v Fremantle at Docklands 7.25pm
North Melbourne v Sydney Swans in Hobart 7.25pm
Port Adelaide v Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval 1.10pm (not in Shanghai this year!)
Richmond v Hawthorn at MCG 3.20pm
GWS v Carlton at Sydney Showgrounds 4.40pm

Early tips
Eagles (certs)
Pies (certs)
Crows in a minor upset
Cats (not certs, though)
Bombers (not certs)
Roos (not certs)
Port (not certs)
Tigers (but umming and arring about this game)
Giants (certs)
More detail later

The Dees went to the Gold Coast last Saturday and now have to go to Perth on a six day break with an expanding injury list. It all means bad news for them. The only plus is that Tom Hickey is still not back and Max Gawn will be able to dominate in the ruck. That won’t be enough to get the win though. I talked last week about the 5 day break not bothering Essendon (but they lost). Here the 6 day break is a problem because of the travel and that they were “the walking wounded” last week; so some players did extra to help them get over the line. Also the Dees have some inexperienced players coming in. And they won on the last “rushed” of the day last weekend – maybe a letdown after that!
Eagles are certs.

Won’t waste too much time here. The Pies faced an “up” Carlton team and managed to roll them in the end. They’ll handle the Saints okay. Chris (we thought he was a bad choice but he came good) Mayne hasn’t made it back from his knock last week.
Pies are certs

This is one of two close call games this weekend. The Lions are slight favourites, but I like the Crows here. They are going along nicely with 4 on the trot and their injury list is getting smaller. The game is an afternoon game so the humidity shouldn’t be a problem. I am quietly confident but not tipping them as certs

This is a slight danger game. Big news this week is that Tom Boyd has retired. He was worth every cent of his big contract in my Humber opinion because his form was brilliant in the 2016 finals series and I marked him as Norm Smith Medallist (but the AFL didn’t consult me). He hasn’t played senior football this year due to injury. I don’t expect it to effect the players either way. The Dogs recovered from 4 losses in a row to beat the Tigers and then follow it up with a fair win over Brisbane.
The main reason for calling this a danger game is that the Cats have been up for a long time. I’ll tip the Cats but, for those in the Gantlet, there are better options this week. I’ll mark this as an EXTREME variance game (meaning the result could end up more than six goals outside the expected range ie Dogs win by over a goal or cats win by over 11 and/or there are wild fluctuations in scoring patterns during the game)

The Bombers had 3 impressive wins in a row, then lost 3 in a row (to Pies, Cats and Swans away), but they need to get back on the winners’ list soon. The Dockers were disappointing last weekend against an injured Richmond – who had injuries on the day and it was a great effort ton win. Teams (like Fremantle) that lose like this often do poorly the following week – especially if they are not favoured to win. For this reason, I am tipping Essendon; it’s also handy to have Joe Daniher back. This technical lead would normally make me quite confident on the Bombers overachieving this weekend. I think they will, but there is just a small * on them as they try to arrest a 3 game losing streak. I’ll mark this as an EXTREME variance game

This game is a night game in Hobart
The Swans snapped a four game losing streak last week just (had Malcolm Blight been kicking for goal, maybe they could’ve lost). To break the losing streak (of 4 or more) like this is generally a positive sign for the following week. If the technical trend holds up, then they could fly out of the blocks this weekend and lead handsomely at quarter time – then go on to win. The Roos are firm favourites here and I acknowledge the technical trend, but I also see that the Roos are better than their ladder position indicates, while the Swans are really struggling (apart from last week). I’m giving the Swans a chance, but tipping North.

I don’t see the Swans storming home to win – they will have to win from in front at half time, I reckon. Roos, but a danger game. I’ll mark this as an EXTREME variance game

This game was in Shanghai for the last 2 years but is now in Adelaide. Port is vulnerable with multiple injuries, but the Suns are not that well off either – losing three more to injury this weekend. Perhaps the last minute loss last week might flatten the Suns. Port really should win this well but, like the Geelong game, there are better “certs” this week than Port

The Tigers had a great win despite injuries last weekend. Teams in this space can often slightly underperform the following week. They are slight favourites to win, so this makes it a 50/50 game; I might change my tip on Friday? The loss of Toby Nankervis is big (on top of other talls being injured) and this makes me inclined to go for Hawthorn. But was the Hawthorn win over the Giants last week a false lead. I am concerned that Richmond, albeit injured, are a fair bit better than Hawthorn. I’ll sit on the fence for now. Okay, Richmond. Friday thoughts – it’s almost line ball and it all depends on how Ivan Soldo goes in place of Nankervis (plus any help he can get from other talls). I’ll go Tigers by a whisker

The Blues were really up last week and looked like winners, but fell away in the final few minutes. That is a real bad sign in round 1; and it may be bad in round 8 as well. The Giants get back Shane Mumford and Lachie Whitfield (on 7 man IC bench – so maybe a fitness test?). GWS will be savage after last week’s loss and the Blues will pay. Giants by heaps and big certs

Round 9 Review
West Coast Eagles defeated Melbourne by 16 points
The Dees did extra well here and it took the Eagles all night virtually to reel them in. A couple of things to note:
A: the Dees were gone very early in the prelim final here last year; they seemed determined to get a good start – which they did
B: Tom Hickey was a late inclusion to replace Will Schofield, then Hickey got injured; so Max Gawn dominated. The Eagles lost Daniel (eat your) Venables early on
C: the Dees had three players get concussion – Alex Neal-the hyphen-Bullen, Christian Salem and Tim Smith
D: the Dee inexperienced players didn’t return great scores; the Dees need a break in terms of injuries
Not sure of my tip of the Eagles as certs – whether I was a bit lucky (did the Eagles injuries offset those for the Dees?), but I’ll take the win

Collingwood defeated St Kilda by 41 points
This was close for three quarters until the Pies romped away; talked to Harry Hindsight and he noted that teams winning like Collingwood did against the Blues (round 8) often finish off games well the following week; that’s exactly what happened here. The Pies lost Jordan de Goey (was doubtful through the week) and Darcy Moore before the game – replaced by James Aish and Rupert Wills; the Pies were still too good and the late changes would not have made me waver to much; they lost Tom Langdon mid game as well; for the Saints, Ed Phillips copped a knock

Brisbane defeated Adelaide by 1 point
After my tip, the Crows lost Matt Crouch to injury, but this would NOT have made me change my tip; alas, maybe missing Crouch was the difference. But he was replaced by Bryce Gibbs; and for Brisbane, Luke Hodge was a late withdrawal also – replaced by Ryan Lester; Kyle Hartigan copped a knock for the Crows in Q3 and did not return; Alex Keath and Brodie Smith had minor knocks, so mot too disappointed by my tip, just unhappy to be incorrect.

Geelong defeated the Western Bulldogs by 44 points
When the Dogs made their move in the third term and early in the last to be get within 9 points, I expected them to overrun the Cats. But Geelong kicked away and won comfortably; both teams had their #1 ruck options available, so remember that; the Cats had Ryan Abbott in (just as Tony Abbott went out) and Darcy Fort in for the injured Rhys Stanley; the Dogs lost Tim English the week prior, but he didn’t return; so Jackson Trengove rucked virtually solo; Cats coach Chris Scott said the general numbers were very similar (true) but the Cats were more accurate in front of goal; I still have the Cats in the “due to drop one soon” category; Luke Beveridge thought a few of his players were “well down” on normal output; the game was borderline EXTREME variance in terms of the scoring patterns (more so than the final margin)

Essendon defeated Fremantle by 7 points
Well I got away with tipping a winner, but that was about it; the Bombers
didn’t over-achieve; the scoring and pattern was not EXTREME; the Dockers were very honest in their fightback (although Bombers fans were screaming at the umps late in the game – not that it cost them anyway in the end); Ross Lyon was bemoaning his team’s execution and efficiency; a similar story from john Worsfold; not much to report on injuries on the day; Docker Connor Blakely had his first run back from an injury and will be better for the run

Sydney Swans defeated North Melbourne by 5 points
Someone pointed out that the Swans won 11:11 to 10:12 for the second week in a row; amazing; anyway, I tipped thw rong team and the Swans did NOT follow the technical pattern of a half decent team finally having a win (to start extremely well); interestingly enough, they kicked 6 unanswered goals in the second term; this is typical of what the Swans might have been expected to do under this technical trend, but in the first term. They lost Zak Jones in Q2 and then Isaac Heeney for half the last term in concussion protocol, but he came back on; Josh Kennedy was a late withdrawal for the Swan – replaced by Ryan Clarke; something I got right here was predicting an EXTREME variance game – this was true because of the way each team score multiple unanswered goals

Port Adelaide defeated the Gold Coast Suns by 38 points
This had a very similar scoring pattern to the Pies / Saints game – with scores being close for three quarters before the favourite pulled away. Maybe the Suns lost heart when they got a couple of goals down in the final term (after the heart-wrenching loss the previous week); and they lost Sam Collins as well; it looked like the Power were recovering from their Showdown loss and eventually clicked into gear; the Suns have now settled from their early season peak and their injury list is a bit longer now; it rained during the game;

Richmond defeated Hawthorn by 36 points
The Tigers had a long injury list, but then the Hawks copped injuries on the day to Big Boy McEvoy and Mitch Lewis, then Luke Breust got a corkie in the last term and was off for a while; Dustin Martin came good with his best game for the season; Ivan Soldo did well in the ruck – helped by McEvoy’s injury

GWS Giants defeated Carlton by 93 points
The flatness of the Blues from late in the Collingwood game went right into the start of the GWS game; the Blues were gone early and the injury to Marc Murphy just seemed to seal the deal. The only positive was a less than 100 point defeat. Good tipping by me to be so hugely confident about the GWS. The technical trend on Carlton was correct.

Round 10 begins 7.50pm Friday, 24 May
It’s sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous round this weekend and some apt “ins” along with it!

Sydney Swans vs Collingwood at SCG
Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide in Launceston 1.45pm
WBD vs NMFC at Docklands 2.10pm
Adelaide vs WCE at Adelaide Oval 4.35pm eastern
GCS vs Geelong at Gold Coast 7.25pm
Richmond vs Essendon at MCG 7.25pm
Melbourne vs GWS at MCG 1.10pm
St Kilda vs Carlton at Docklands 3.20pm
Fremantle vs Brisbane at Perth Stadium 5.20pm eastern

early tips
Collingwood (danger game)
Hawthorn (not overly confident)
WBD (quietly confident)
Adelaide (quietly confident)
Geelong (only real certs)
Richmond (danger game)
GWS (not confident)
Carlton (in an upset)
Fremantle (mildly confident)
more detail Friday; this is a very tough round of football

I am slightly concerned about the poor air quality in Sydney this week due to a hazard reduction burn-off. The Swans players have been in it for several days. Meanwhile, the Pies are losing players on a regular basis; their injury quotient has gone from 11 to 21 in recent weeks. Neither of their two ins, Daniel Wells and Jack Madgen, starred at VFL level last week. Mason Cox, Jordan de Goey and Darcy Moore were all considered some hope of playing several days ago, but none of them got up for the game. Then there is Buddy; he is back, but the question is: how close to 100% is he? I don’t like this game and will mark it an EXTREME variance game for the reasons above.

Note that this is a Launceston game; last year at this venue, the Hawks squeaked in by 3 points; with wet and windy conditions, I am expecting another tight tussle. Port lost Scott Lycett and up comes Peter (unusual name!) Ladhams; he wouldn’t have got a game otherwise, but scored 122 dream team points in the SANFL Showdown last weekend. The Hawks have also lost ruckman Big Boy McEvoy, so Jonathon Ceglar goes it alone; I thought Jarryd Roughead might come back in to help; look for late changes here, because Mitch Lewis and Luke Breust were both sore last week; I’m tipping the Hawks and they have a great record at this ground; but I’m not overly confident because the Hawks are just going. But Port has a few injuries, so they won’t be tipped

The Dogs were better than the scoreboard indicated last week at Geelong, according to Chris Scott. Luke Beveridge spoke about a number of players being well down – and now four players who didn’t trouble the stats people too much have been dropped. To me, this is a goon enough reason to go for the Dogs over the Roos – who couldn’t beat the Swans in Hobart last weekend; these teams are about even overall, but I will tip the Dogs without great confidence;
ADDED late Friday afternoon: news broke about the possible sacking of Brad Scott; “within weeks”, said the Herald-Sun. I want to watch and see how this plays out. But often in cases like this, this whole club situation can have a negative effect on the playing group. I will say “can” for now and not “definitely will”. Given the above, a big Dogs win is now a possibility. This is now an EXTREME variance game!!!

Rain is forecast for this game.
The Crows had a nice little string of wins going, then lost narrowly to the Lions away last week. A top team would generally bounce back okay from such a loss, but a middle ranked team often slightly underperforms after a small loss. I had the Crows ranked as a top team, but they are perhaps borderline top or mid. I’m tipping them to beat the Eagles who are not going at Premiership speed at present. They, of course, don’t have Nicnat and now have lost Tom Hickey again; I’m quietly confident on the Crows, but won’t tip them as certs

I’ve been waiting for the Cats to have that loss, but this doesn’t strike me as the week. The Suns dropped away late in the game last weekend and that is not a good sign for them. The Cats blew the Dogs away late after being in a tight tussle last weekend – which suggests that their drop-off might be delayed slightly. Rhys Stanley comes back for Geelong and this is a plus. with this being a night game, watch for the Cats to struggle late if the humidity is high. They should be far enough in front anyway; Cats certs, but I’m not expecting a huge win

A possible shower for this game; Richmond has given ruckman Callum Coleman-Jones his first game due to other ruck injuries plus the suspension of Ivan Soldo. this is a major concern as CCJ hasn’t been starring in the VFL – with Soldo being much better. The Bombers have just lost Joe Daniher for the year which basically kills off any hopes of finals glory this year (with Devon Smith gone as well). I don’t like this game because of the Tiger injury status and the Bomber long-term injuries to 2 key players – which could deflate them. I’m tipping the Tigers, but it’s an EXTREME variance game and one I would avoid if I could

Rain is forecast for the day.
The Dees were pretty good mostly last week, while the Giants totally smashed a vulnerable Carlton team. However, the Giants won’t to overly excited unless they can back that up with a rare win at the MCG. That will be the focus here and they will see the Dees as “gettable”. It’s also good for them to get their chance for “redemption” for the loss to the Hawks quickly. The 7-man IC is interesting; I would like the Dees to pick Brayden Preuss because I think they need him forward. Tim Smith and Christian Salem were concussed last week, so watch for late withdrawals. Stephen Coniglio is into the team on the extended bench and will surely play if fit. Giants, but not certs

The roof should be closed on this wintry type day. The Blues were great against the Pies for most of the game, then put in their worst effort for the year against the Giants. The players had a heart to heart meeting which the whole world knew about. It had to be made public otherwise Blues members could be baying for blood. But I still see this as a positive and, in any case, the Saints are struggling with key injuries. St Kilda last won in round 5 when they got the Dees at a good time; same story for their round 4 win over Hawthorn. Of course, the Saints will be aware of what to expect. But I’ll still tip the Blues, even though few outside the club give them much hope.

The home ground advantage means that I’ll tip the Dockers here; I have the Lions rated slightly higher, but they have just lost Jarrod Berry and Rhys Mathieson, with Luke Hodge coming back. Connor Blakely should be better for the run last week and help the Dockers get over the line. but they aren’t certs

My outlandish tip for the week is the Blues to win; there are three teams I like which are about one goal favourites: Crows, Dogs and Dockers. I’ll tip that 2 of these three at least win by over 3 goals.

Round 10 review

My tips just above were awful; the Blues went close but failed, and 2 out of my 3 “likes” lost, while the other one won by a point!

Collingwood defeated Sydney Swans by 7 points
Some irony in the match, with Daniel Wells starting brilliantly in the Indigenous round and then getting injured; the Swans lost 2 late – George Hewett and Josh Kennedy; Buddy came back (a week too early?) and scored 39 SC points, but Sam Reid stepped up in his place and booted six! He got BOG, but I would have given it to Brodie Grundy. There was some controversy re the umpiring; the Pies got a goal after a 50 metre penalty in the final term; then Callum Brown ran from the centre square to the Opera House and back without bouncing (well, not quite that far, but he was smiled upon by the umps) and goaled to put the Pies in front. The EXTREME variance call proved to be incorrect in this case – a tight game all night with minor momentum swings; more later

Hawthorn defeated Port Adelaide by 31 points
The Hawks got first use of a decent breeze and never looked back – even though Port looked dangerous at times, but never likely to win; the conditions helped the Hawks, but Port was still quite poor; their main excuse is that they tried Peter Ladhams in the absence of Scott Lycett and that didn’t work too well; each time that Port has played in Shanghai (2017/8/9) they have started poorly in the lead up game; they managed to overrun the Crows last year as slight outsiders, but lost 2017 and 2019 and underperformed in both games

North Melbourne defeated the Western Bulldogs by 25 points
The big ? hanging over this game was the departure of Brad Scott; it appears to be reasonably amicable, but the players were almost as unaware of the move as the general public; nonetheless, they seemed to want to play for Scott in is last game; my call of EXTREME was, indeed, correct. The scoring patterns were all over the place – especially late; it was 6 goals in a row to the Dogs and then then last 5 to the Roos; I reckon Scott’s “what’s best for the club” line he often used held him in good stead for the game; I didn’t allow enough for the potential positive outcome for the Roos in my late Friday assessment

West Coast Eagles defeated Adelaide Crows by 12 points
The Crows led by 28 points at half time then got outscored by 10 goals to three after that; this will require some digging; more later; it’s Thursday night after the game and I’m still not sure what happened; David Mackay pulled out with a virus and the Crows played the last third of the game like they all had it; it remains a mystery

Geelong defeated the Gold Coast Suns by 27 points
Very happy overall with my analysis – Cats certs but don’t expect a huge margin. But I expected them to have the game won and then slow down late; in fact, the game was in the balance at the last break and the Cats pulled away – despite the humidity of about 85%; just clarifying that the humidity has a bigger effect if the game is cooked at the last change

Richmond defeated Essendon by 23 points
The rain started just before match time and was with them for a lot of the night; as a rule, an early lead in these conditions is worth double; indeed, the Bombers never really looked like it – despite a mini-fightback in the final term; Essendon lost Dylan Shiel and Jake Stringer in the game, so did a good job to not get swamped late.

GWS Giants defeated Melbourne by 26 points
The loss would’ve felt like a lot more to Dees fans at the game; it was over at half time really – the Dees down 35 points and looking like they’d just jumped off the plane from Perth that morning. A 7 goal to 2 last term limited the percentage damage, but a win was never likely. This was a huge game for the Giants – having been awful at the MCG two weeks earlier; it seemed to me that they did what they came to do – get an important win at the MCG – and then put the queue in the rack (or put the Q in Iraq, as Mal Prop would say) and that was when the Dees started looking okay.

St Kilda defeated Carlton by 11 points
I’ll do some work on the Saints this week – they just snapped a four game losing streak with an unimpressive win; there’s some technical trends forming for them; they played like a team that needed a very poor opponent just to get over the line; and they just got over the line. Having said that, I thought that the Blues would come out firing; they did, but big enough or for long enough. Of note is that both team played the Pies in recent weeks and fell away badly late in the game; in each case, they played a very poor first term the next week (Blues vs GWS in round 9 and Saints versus Carlton – not as bad as Blues the previous week – in round 10); news came out after the match about Dale Thomas being sent back to the VFL for drinking on the Friday night; something is NQR at the club, I suspect – and I’m not blaming Thomas specifically; there is constant unrest from the fans (understandably), so I am keeping an eye on the Blues as well.

Fremantle defeated Brisbane by 1 point
I tipped the Dockers and happy to get the four points (well 1 point in the tipping world), but I reckon the Lions were a bit stiff to lose – having 2 players go down in the latter part of the game – Oscar McInerney and Eric Hipwood; and all this with ex Docker Lachie Neale being just so-so against his old team; Connor Blakely still has improvement in him

Round 11 begins 7.50pm Friday 31 May 2019
North Melbourne v Richmond at Docklands 7.50pm
Collingwood v Fremantle at the MCG 1.45pm
GWS Giants v Gold Coast Suns at Sydney Showgrounds 1.45pm
Geelong v Sydney Swans at Kardinia Park 4.35pm
Brisbane v Hawthorn at the Gabba 7.25pm
Melbourne V Adelaide at TIO Stadium Darwin 7.40pm eastern
St Kilda vs Port Adelaide in Shanghai 2.40pm eastern
Essendon v Carlton at the MCG 3.20pm
West Coast Eagles v Western Bulldogs at Perth Stadium 5.20pm eastern

early tips are
Tigers (but anything could happen)
Collingwood (certs)
GWS (certs)
Geelong (but not certs)
Brisbane (just)
Adelaide (but don’t like the game)
Port (not certs)
Essendon (not certs)
Eagles (certs)

Last week Brad Scott and the club parted company. The team did a good job to beat the Dogs and it was obvious that the players wanted to win for Scott. It seems, too, that the players are happy with the choice of interim coach. But questions remain about how the team will go this week. I suspect that it will be difficult for them and that they may struggle this week in particular (and it will get easier after that through the year); then there is the coaches performing without Scott there. But I am not confident enough to be very bullish of the Tigers; I rather see this as an EXTREME variance game in which anything could happen.

Saturday should be mainly dry in Melbourne, so the ground should be okay to play on. The Dockers won by a kick after the siren last week (a point, but that was enough). Team generally underperform after such an event but, looking at middle of the road teams and teams winning where the game was tight at the last break, these teams slightly outperform expectations. But the Pies are 5 goal plus favourites, so the Dockers would need to hugely exceed expectations to have a sniff. The Collingwood team looks better now with their inclusions and will win well; they are CERTS

The Giants are the hottest favourites of the week and will win; the question is really about the margin; I favour the Suns to be good at some stage in the contest; the Giants played a huge match against Melbourne last week (huge because they just HAD to win at the MCG) and next week they’re off to Adelaide to play the Crows, then away again to the Roos in Tassie, then a bye; this match looks like an ideal snooze before the bye; so I’m thinking that the Suns could slightly outperform expectations; this isn’t a given, because they could get totally swamped if the Giants get a hunger for percentage. The Suns were quite good against Geelong last week (who aren’t playing premiership footy right now). In any case, Giants are certs

The Swans have done very well down at KP recently; the Swans have won down there for the past 3 years. The Cats pulled away against the Suns last week, but the Suns were struggling a bit with injuries late in the game. The Swans did okay against Collingwood but, then again, the Pies had a lengthy injury list. A curio is that ex Cat Daniel Menzel plays his first game for the Swans against the Cats; and another ex Cat in Jackson Thurlow was dropped to make way for him. Back to important matters – will Buddy do better this week (improved by the run last week); maybe he played a bit underdone especially for the Doug Nicholls round; Cameron Guthrie (Geelong) and George Hewett (Swans) might both be doubtful. I’ll tip Geelong but I tend to think the 5 goal margin most are tipping is a bit high.

Since Chris Fagan left the Hawks to coach Brisbane, he has won 2 of 3 against the Hawks including both 2018 matches (by 56 and 33 points). I am tipping the Lions but am a bit concerned about their 6 day break back from Perth. The Hawks looked good against Port last weekend, but I don’t like that game as a good form line – because Port was travelling to Tassie the week before going to China to play. It’s a game I am not really keen on, but Lions to win

This game is in Darwin where it will be warm and dry, but windy. I don’t really like this game – because of the way the Crows stopped badly late last week. As a general rule, teams which do this can tend to begin well the following week and then keep going all the way for the win; that’s what I expect might happen, but I am concerned about Max Gawn totally dominating in the ruck. Sam Jacobs is fit but not ready for AFL just yet. Watch for late changes, because the Crows had slight concerns about Rorys Laird and Sloane; the Dees might need to test Tom McDonald; I slighlty like the Crows’ ins more than the Dees’ ins. Crows are the tip, but it’s a game to avoid

This is in Shanghai – warm and a slight breeze on Sunday. Port has the experience of being here twice before. They struggled against the Hawks last week and have Tom Rockliff to be tested up there on the day. The Saints snapped a four game losing streak with an unimpressive win over the Blues last Sunday. Mid rated teams that win like like can often begin like a rocket and never be headed the next week. This may happen (and I wouldn’t be surprised), bu the Saints have a long injury list, captain Jarryn Geary back, but on a test and the trip to China to contend with. I am tipping Port without confidence, but it is another EXTREME variance game

Rain is forecast for Sunday, but it might be dry at the start; check the radar and forecast!
Both coaches have been under the microscope recently, but perhaps Brendon Bolton more so. The Blues were up for the match last week but still couldn’t beat the Saints. Now they lose Mitch McGovern (injured), KAde Simpson (managed) and Daisy got dropped for disciplinary reasons. To me, it all adds up to the Bombers doing better than expected and I’ll tip them with a bit of confidence. I am not too gung-ho, though, because what it the knives are out for John Worsfold from within the club? I don’t think this is the case but, if so, this is a “perfect” game for the Bombers to lose. And they have struggled against the Blues recently. I’ll ignore this and tip the Bombers to win by over 3 goals

The first mid-season draftee gets a game – Ryan Gardner. This is a great story, but don’t expect his team to win. The Eagles are starting to string some wins together and this should be another one. The Eagles get are certs and should win by over 6 goals.

In summary, my special tips are Bombers by over 3 goals and Eagles by over 6 goals.

This round is slightly harder than it looks!

Round 10 Review
My last comment above was borne out in the first two games – with two significant upsets.

North Melbourne defeated Richmond by 37 points
I tipped wrongly here, but was pleased that I labelled it as an EXTREME variance game; this was true both in terms of the end score (more than 6 goals outside the expected result (Richmond tipped by most by 2-3 goals); the Roos won despite having Jamie Macmillan gone by half time. The lesson I take from this is that is was so hard to know what the Roos were going to produce – given the somewhat strange circumstances of the past week (coach let go but given one last game; then new coach in; the Carlton scenario is much more common!); maybe the lack of a top ruckman (with Toby Nankervis out injured) finally caught up with Richmond.

Fremantle defeated Collingwood by 4 points
This is the game where I really came unstuck. Looking back at it, the Pies had a Friday night win against the Swans (who are just going) which wasn’t all that impressive, then they had a nice weekend off looking forward to an easy win against a Dockers team that almost nobody tipped (maybe the Kiss of Death did). They may have relaxed a bit – especially with the Queens Birthday game coming up next. Of some interest is that Brodie Grundy had an injury in the second term but played the game out. There was a contentious non score review in the game whereby the Pies could’ve perhaps won, but that’s all water under the bridge now. Rory Lobb and David Mundy had some injury concerns for Fremantle, while Alex Pearce wasn’t able to finish the game. As well as the Pies being slightly off their game and “due for a loss”, this result shows that the Dockers are on the up.

GWS Giants defeated the Gold Coast Suns by 83 points
I was right about the Suns being good at some point in the contest; it was Q1 and they were down by less than a kick at quarter time; but then fell away badly and ended up getting beaten by 5 goals more than expected; yuck (for Suns fans)! The Giants had injuries on the day to Toby Greene, Lachie Whitfield (and he’s now gone multiple weeks) and Lachlan Keeffe; this limited their rotations late with having much of an impact on the game – which was totally in the bag by then; the Suns lost Jack Bowes by quarter time, while ex Cats George Horlin-Smith and Jordan both copped knocks. In summary, the Suns were a lower ranked team and seemed to be worse off for injuries / niggles late and got slaughtered in the final term; “best side we have played all year”, said coach Stuart Dew.

Geelong defeated the Sydney Swans by 22 points
The Swans looked good early, but a late first term blitz by the Cats put them in front and mostly controlled the game – but did it with accuracy (13:7 to 8:15) and two spurts of quick goals; of note is that the Swans brought back Jarrad McVeigh (45 SC points) and Daniel Menzel (39) and they struggled first up; the Swans lost the total SC score by only 12, so they went okay; but I also suspect that the Cats are struggling barely to keep their long winning run going. Zac Smith was a late inclusion for Rhys Stanley.

Brisbane Lions defeated Hawthorn by 19 points
The Lions, unlike the Hawks, were two games away from a bye (in R13 and Hawks bye in R12); teams two off the bye can often start poorly and finish well – often outperforming expectations; this is exactly what the Lions did – 25 points down at quarter time and their graph on the AFL website was steadily up between two tram lines. The Hawks lost Chad Wingard in the second half, but that wasn’t enough to turn a possible win into a loss; the Hawks demonstrated why they are where they are this year (currently 11th); they can manage the odd upset or good patch, but cannot sustain it due to injuries and a mini-rebuild; PS: this game was pretty much an EXTREME variance game by virtue of Hawthorn’s great start and eventual downhill run thereafter; I could’ve picked this had I paid more attention to the “2 games before the bye” trends.

Adelaide defeated Melbourne by 2 points
The quote from Simon Goodwin on the AFL website: The story of our season.
Yep, that pretty much sums up 2019 for the Dees; anyway, they tend to go better in even years! first up, they lost Marty Hore and Christian Salem – replaced by Jay Kennedy-Harris and Sam Weideman; they led by over 5 goals in the third term and kicked 1:8 to 5:2 in the final term to lose narrowly – including a shot almost on the siren to win the game which missed.

The Crows has minor dramas of their own – David Mackay came in as a late replacement for Kyle Hartigan; rory Sloane was tagged by James Harmes and then did his hammie; the Crows probably got out of jail but were good enough to come from way behind to win. I’ll consider myself a bit lucky to tip a winner, but pleased that I marked it as a game to avoid

Bryce Gibbs went on to Clayton Oliver in the second half and slowed him down somewhat.

Port Adelaide defeated St Kilda by 70 points
When I heard the news about the illness in the St Kilda team, I was suddenly very bullish on Port. The Saints lost Daniel McKenzie and Jonathon Marsh (not two huge names, but I also was concerned about others not 100%) replaced by Darragh Joyce and Nick Coffield; then they lost captain Jarryn Geary with a bad leg injury; coach Alan Richardson said all players were good to go; Travis Boak was tagged by Jack Steele but still got 33 possessions and 131 SC points; I still reckon the illness had an effect; also the Saints were left with a fairly inexperienced group; with the final margin being a blow-out, the call of EXTREME variance was correct; Scott Lycett back in was a big help for Port

Essendon defeated Carlton by 41 points
Rapt to be fairly confident on the Bombers outperforming expectations; it seemed clear to me that the Blues would struggle – after not getting over the line the previous week; looks like the “coach under pressure” scenario caught up with the Blues and Brendon Bolton was sacked on Monday; Patrick Cripps was reasonably well tagged (89 SC points) by Dylan Clarke; the Blues had minor knocks to Darcy Lang and Sam Petrevski-Seton; Alex Fasolo came in and really struggled; that was not a huge shock because he plays a role where that can happen at times; I was also concerned that Zac Fisher scored 36 SC points; that is really low for him

West Coast Eagles defeated Western Bulldogs by 61 points
Very happy with myself on this tip; the Eagles were expected to win by about 4 goals and I said >=6 goals; in the end it was 10 goals; The Dogs played Ryan Gardner; great story for him and he scored a modest 41 SC points for his first game; tough to play his first match in a hostile environment; Dogs look likely to miss finals and Eagles to make top four now.

Round 12 begins 7.50pm Friday 07 June 2019
Richmond vs Geelong at MCG 7.50pm
Carlton vs Brisbane at Docklands 1.45pm
Gold Coast vs North Melbourne at Gold Coast 4.35pm
Adelaide vs GWS Giants at Adelaide Oval 7.40pm eastern
Sydney vs West Coast Eagles at SCG 3.20pm
Collingwood vs Melbourne at MCG 3.20pm

Remember the AFL website’s Pick 5; the next three weeks are the critical ones where there are only 6 games per weekend. These weeks are the ones in which most people bomb out; and this round is full of danger; it might look easy, but I expect at least 1 upset and maybe more.

Things to consider when tipping this week:
Brodie Grundy might be named but tested over the weekend; who knows how the Blues will go with the new coach
Geelong (bye next week) plays Richmond (bye in 2 weeks time)
Brisbane (bye next week) plays Carlton (bye in 2 weeks time)
I will look at the bye stuff soon

My Wednesday night tips are:
Geelong (danger game – changed to not certs after teams came in)
Brisbane (not certs)
North (not certs)
Crows (50/50 game)
Eagles (not certs)
Collingwood (not certs)

The Tigers are interesting; they have twice had big upset wins following disappointing results; round 3 thrashed by the Giants away and round 4 beat Port away; then lost to the Dogs in round 7 then beat the Dockers away in round 8. Now we have the first part of the pattern again – a bad loss to the Roos followed by… what will happen against the Cats? The Tigers have beaten the Cats the last 3 times after enduring a horror stretch against them in the years before that. In their 2019 upset wins, the Tigers have had injury troubles and they face that again: with now David Astbury and Brandon Ellis going out this week, their injury quotient rises to 20 – double that of Geelong (and higher is worse); given the fact that Chris Scott has referred to this game a lot in recent weeks, expect the Cats to be up for it. The Cats have the bye next week and Richmond the bye the week after. In this scenario, the most common thing is for the team going into the bye to exceed expectations in the first three quarters and then ease off in the final term. A lot of the ups and downs are minor – 1 to 3 goal wins and loses; all this points to the Cats exceeding expectations somewhat and starting well. My only concern is that the Cats have been up for a while, but I will ignore this because they have the bye next week. Now that the Tigers are running low, I am reasonably bullish about Geelong but they are not certs

Another sacked coach – Brendon Bolton is replaced by interim man David Teague steps in; see above for team before bye playing a team 2 weeks before the bye; it favours the team before the bye – which is Brisbane here; they can focus on winning this one and then go to the bye 8 and 4; it’s hard to know how the Blues will go; they have been accused of not being daring enough, but they have had significant injury troubles and that eases off a bit this week; I’m going to make this game an EXTREME variance game because of the doubts about Carlton; as per 2 vs 1 before bye, I would expect the Lions to start well and for Carlton to finish well late, but the sacking throws all this up in the air!

The Roos look the goods on paper and I’m tipping them; but I have a watch on how the Roos fare in the next few weeks; I don’t expect it to be all up and up necessarily; it might be, but a downer sooner of later is a chance; the Suns have lost 7 in a row and have back to back home games before the bye (Saints next week); they would be looking to pinch one of these; there was a huge amount of effort put into the Roos match against Richmond and the Roos won well on a Friday night; now they have a chance to have a weekend off and an upset is possible. My uneasiness about this game makes it another EXTREME variance game

This is the toughest one to pick – and I’m going for the Crows narrowly. The reason is mainly the injuries to the teams – Adelaide’s list is shrinking and that of the Giants is growing; it concerns me a bit that the Crows threw away a 5 goal lead against the Eagles two weeks ago and then won from over 5 goals down last week; of note is that Sauce Jacobs played in the SANFL last week and hasn’t been recalled; the Crows have this game and then Richmond at home before the bye; will Sauce be back next week? I am a little unconvinced about the Crows, but am tipping them due to their shorter injury list and home ground advantage

I want to see the final teams here; Darcy Cameron comes in for the Swans (extended IC bench) as does Tom Hickey for the Eagles. Either or both could have a big impact on the game. The eagles are favourites and I’m tipping them; but this seems like a perfect game for the Swans to bring the Eagles winning run to an end; the Swans aren’t all that flash this year, but they were okay against Geelong and Jarrad McVeigh + Daniel Menzel will be better for the run; the SCG may suit Menzel; Eagles, but by no means certs

Why are all this week’s games like this; I pick a team, but with no great confidence; the Dees have a minimum four changes at present – with Marty Hore, Steven May, Jake Lever, Christian Salem all coming in; the Pies lose Dayne Beams but sort of lost him last week – because he couldn’t perform anywhere near his top against Fremantle. I’ll make this yet another EXTREME variance game; I’m tipping the Pies, but not as certs; this could be Melbourne’s “Grand Final”

In summary, I like the Cats to win by over 3 goals and I’m not confident on any other favourites.

Of the other favourites, I expect at least one of the narrow favourites to lose (GWS & WCE); I also expect at least one of the firm favourites (BRIS, NMFC and COLL) to lose.

As far as playing the Pick 5 (AFL tipping comp where you need to pick at least 5 winners per week or you’re out), my strategy is to pick all favourites plus Adelaide. Some people just pick all the favourites – an okay strategy but, if you win, so do lots of others & if you lose, a small number of geniuses progress; I prefer tipping 1 narrow outsider when we have a 6 game week and hope it gets up; it’ not super high risk, but you get a good reward if you win.

Round 12 review

Geelong defeated Richmond by 67 points
My preview was almost spot on here. I expected the Cats to over-achieve generally (correct) and to be god in Q1, Q2 and Q3; I did a Meatloaf and got 2 out of 3; then I correctly predicted that the Tigers would over-achieve in Q4 which they did (not that it mattered too much); so that’s 3 out of 4; but I failed to predict an EXTREME variance (which it was for almost all reasons – Cats winning by over 50 points; the Tigers leading at the first break and then being 74 points DOWN at the last break (very rare even when the winner is a huge favourite). Glad to pick the Cats as my best favourite in a round where no others really enticed me. Dusty copped a big corkie and played out the game; Esava Ratugolea was having maybe his best game for Geelong when removed in Q3

Carlton defeated Brisbane by 15 points
I didn’t tip the Blues but wasn’t overly surprised that they won; they managed to get 37 points down early in Q2, then gradually got back into it; new coach David Teague talked about this and how the players made adjustments on the field in that term and then Patrick Cripps absolutely starred; Brisbane coach Chris Fagan didn’t think they underestimated the Blues but were “outhunted” on the day; it is also worth noting that Dayne Zorko were both off the ground in that vital second term; Zorko came back on and looked like a 45 year old and eventually spent most time forward later in the game; the Lions were a whisker away from blowing the game away totally; Lochie O’Brien went off late for the Blues, but the game momentum was with them by then. The coach said Caleb Marchbank was vomiting at half time, but seemed to do okay overall. My call of EXTREME variance was correct due to the Blues winning after being 37-points down.

North Melbourne defeated the Gold Coast Suns by 27 points
The Roos have almost convinced me now that they are on track; ALMOST! They had the game wrapped up at quarter time virtually; from then on the Suns fought back well. The Kangas lost Shaun Higgins early, the the Suns lost Jordan Murdoch in Q3; Touk Miller copped a corkie very early as well and played deep forward due to his problems. North coach Rhyce Shaw said the boys were keen to start well early against a good Q1 team and also wanted to win for the skipper’s 200th; this is a bit of a Kangaroos trait (winning in milestone games); doesn’t work for all clubs. The EXTREME variance call was borderline, but wrong, I reckon

Adelaide Crows defeated GWS Giants by 21 points
The Crows looked to be on target for a win early in the third term, then lost the lead and eventually finished with the last 4 goals to win well. Happy to tip a winner here, but I wasn’t overly bullish. Tom Lynch was a late withdrawal and replaced by Hugh Greenwood; the Giants also lost a key player – Toby Greene went out late for Daniel Lloyd; Nick Haynes and Isaac Cumming both soldiered on with injury problems for the Giants; so the Giants probably had the worse of luck; the Crows have ridden their luck in the past two weeks; I reckon they probably should have lost against the Dees, but deserved to win over the Giants; Reilly O’Brien lifted and did well against the Mummy; maybe having Sauce Jacobs ready helped indirectly

Sydney Swans defeated West Coast Eagles by 45 points
Looking back, I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t game enough to go for the Swans; having dais that, the Swans lost Jarrad McVieigh, Colin (good to have a Colin playing in the AFL) O’Riordan and Jackson Thurlow to injury by half time. So the Swans really overachieved and went from 21 points up at half time to run away with it; Buddy has been able to train better recently and it showed; coach John Longmire wanted to rotate Daniel Menzel off more as he runs into fitness, but couldn’t really do it due to the bench troubles. It was a huge effort by the Swans to win like that with injuries on the day; it is good for both teams in a way that they have a bye next week; the Eagles brought in Tom Hickey and the Swans did NOT bring in Darcy Cameron (see my preview), but Hickey didn’t really give his team any advantage; anyway, I mentioned that this looked like a game set up for the Swans to cause an upset and they did.

Collingwood defeated Melbourne by 41 points
The Pies never really looked in danger and this was the final nail in the coffin for the Dees in terms of finals. Collingwood really pressured well early and could’ve led by more at quarter time; Josh Wagner was a late inclusion for Tim Smith for the Dees; Sam Frost was off early as was Christian Salem; Salem came back, but Frost was gone early; the Dees had limited rotations while this occurred; not that that was the difference; the Pies were just better overall; the Dees were down in their skills – including goal-kicking; they didn’t make the most of their periods of dominance; Brodie Grundy played with a sore neck (different injury to last week’s game), so Max Gawn took advantage with 34 possessions (must be his best ever) and 153 SC points; Clayton Oliver was considered doubtful to play, but played and scored a healthy 114 SC; the Brundy story makes it even more disappointing for the Dees.

My tips in the individual games weren’t that great, but my overall end summary and warning was spot on; but I wasn’t brave enough to stay alive in the Pick 5

Round 13 begins 7.50pm eastern Thursday 13 June 2019
YUCK! back to Thursday games; those who have seen the Front Bar promos will know how much the coaches hate it too!
Adelaide vs Richmond at Adelaide Oval 7.50pm eastern
Essendon vs Hawthorn at Docklands 7.50pm
Gold Coast vs St Kilda at Riverway Stadium Townsville 1.45pn
Fremantle vs Port Adelaide at Perth Stadium 4.35pm eastern
Carlton vs Western Bulldogs at Docklands 7.25pm
North Melbourne vs GWS Giants at Hobart 3.20pm

Early tips are
Crows (certs)
Bombers (just)
Saints (keen, but not certs)
Dockers (jsut)
Dogs (keen, bur not certs)
Giants (just)

Rain is expected to clear by game time, but they have had 40-50mm in the last two days; watch for news on the conditions in Adelaide
The Tigers have pulled off two huge upsets interstate this year – one against Port and the other vs Fremantle. They have one only thing in their favour this week – the extra day’s break. Everything else is against Richmond. their injury list is virtually out of control and they desperately need the week’s break. The Crows have a 5 day break, but back to back home games. The Tigers lose Trent Cotchin again and also Shane Edwards to injury. At least they get back the busy Brandon Ellis from injury. But they are too injured to win this time – despite that fact that they will be throwing everything at the Crows. The Tigers have the bye next up and probably have some “sore boys” that might have been rested by now had it not been for the long injury list (eg Tom J. Lynch). I’ll make them my only certs, but looks like everyone else will be following suit as they are tipped to win by 4 goals plus

ESS V HAW (written Wednesday night)
Overall Essendon seem to have what it takes to win this one; but I won’t get too excited about them. The pundits were talking about Whoosha getting moved on if they lost to the Blues 2 weeks ago. The Bombers won easily and then the bye, but it shows that they aren’t going that well. They are likely to get back Mitch Brown, Dylan Shiel and Jake Stringer for the game, with Orazio Fantasia some hope as well. The Hawks lose Chad Wingard from their game before the bye and aren’t expected to regain anyone of significance. their big positive is the 1989 30 year reunion of their grand final team (just saw a grey Gary Ayres on TV); this will be a boost for the Hawks (although the 1989 win was NOT against the Bombers – that was the 1983 game). This boost makes it almost a 50/50 game but I still slightly lean to Essendon.

GCS V STK in Townsville (written Wednesday night)
Warm and a bit humid weather up there
I have done a lot of work on teams post the bye playing teams going to the bye this week. This round is the only round it will happen in 2019. Remember back when byes first came in? Teams were awful coming off the bye – even though it seemed like an advantage; they all played like someone who just got out of bed. then teams got better at it and the stats from 2015 to 2018 say that the teams off the bye versus teams going to the bye outperform expectations by 12 points; bottom rated teams do best of all after the bye; are the Saints (who come off the bye and play a team going TO the bye) middle rated (5 wins / 11 games = middle), but it also feels right to label them a bottom rated team as well; their 5 wins were over Essendon, Melbourne and the Hawks (getting all these teams at the right time) plus the Suns and Blues; not too impressive. If they are a lowly team, then it almost makes them certs here. But here’s the problem – both teams have long injury lists which are even worse than that of Richmond. Their injuries aren’t being highlighted because neither side was considered a premiership threat at any stage (like Richmond). I am keen to tip the Saints, but with an asterisk about the injuries. Teams coming back from China and the bye have generally been okay – with a good Q1 and a poor Q2, but slightly positive overall. Then there is the Saints going from cold Melbourne to hot China to cold Melbourne to hot Townsville; should be okay but another “don’t get too excited” warning. But the day game means that the humidity shouldn’t be a big drama. If the technical chart on bye and China holds up, the Saints should win Q1 well, probably lose Q2 and then go on to win the game by over 3 goals; that’s what I’ll tip with an asterisk as above; and EXTREME VARIANCE
Late Friday thoughts: still sticking with my pick, but the unexpected injury to Jack Steele is a concern; I feel it will be a battle of attrition – and the winner could be whoever has the less stressed players on the field; I would love to know how many Suns players would have been given a week off had they had a fuller list to pick from; at least the Saints had a week off!

FREO V PORT (written Wednesday night)
See above not about teams coming back from China – good Q1 and poor Q2. Port has done quite well after China – with close away losses to both Geelong and Hawthorn (in Tassie) as outsiders each time. Going to Perth is the farthest they have traveled off the China game and then the bye, but it shouldn’t be a monstrous problem any more than going to Perth another time. Hamish Hartlett is expected back for Port. The Dockers lose Rory Lobb and Alex Pearce to injury – with Griffin Logue and Sean Darcy tipped to be the replacements; Darcy is coming off an injury, but should be okay; the Dockers have to be picked on the back of beating the Pies in Melbourne before their bye; but that day Brodie Grundy was struggling and Dayne Beams could hardly move; the Dockers had their own troubles, but the other factor was that the Pies had a sizable injury list and were due for a loss; credit to Fremantle for being good enough to take advantage. Similarly, Port took full advantage of the Saints (who had multiple problems) in Shanghai. the winner is in the 8 & the loser out; Dockers just!

CARL V WBD (written Thursday morning)
The Dogs may get back Taylor Duryea and Hayden Crozier from injury.
Dale Morris isn’t ready yet and they lose Billy Gowers from their round 11 match. The Dogs launched their Fightback – 30 years on campaign this week, but the Fightback round is not until round 17 versus Melbourne. This may give them a boost this week, but I am not sure it if will or by how much if it does. The more important factor is the round 5 loss to Carlton. It was considered humiliating a the time – with the Blues winning their first match for the season and scoring over 100 points for the first time since forever (almost). If this kicks in AND if the Dogs are good enough to pull it off (both questions marks, in my book), then the technical chart would suggest a big Q1 for the Dogs. Hold that thought.
Next – on to the fact that the Blues are going to the bye and the Dogs are coming off the bye. This favours the Dogs slightly (if you rate them a middle of the road team) and a lot if you rate them a bottom team. Certainly the bye after three straight losses is a help.
So far everything is favouring the Dogs; but what about the Blues and the coach change (worked well last week) – will they continue the momentum into the bye; maybe they will. This thought gives the Blues a chance. The first quarter is crucial here. Hope Marcus Bontempelli plays on Patrick Cripps! All the above makes this an EXTREME variance game. I’ll tip the Dogs, but I want to see a strong Q1 from them.

NMFC V GWS in Hobart (written Thursday morning)
The weather looks okay so get down there – or up there is you live further south.
Like for the Blues game above, I am wondering how long the North momentum will last. One could say that the Roos caught the Tigers and Suns at a good time (both had big injury problems). Although the Roos had a few injury concerns of their own and now lose Shaun Missy Henry Higgins for several weeks. Jamie MacMillan should return, however. Aaron Hall was a possible replacement for Higgins, but has a knee injury; Dom Tyson is almost ready to return, but not yet – so Paul Ahern might come in. The Giants lose Nick Haynes, but probably regain Toby Greene. With the injury lists about the same and the game in Hobart (the Giants have won 1 of 3 there and one loss was early on when they weren’t competitive), I tend to favour GWS. But both teams need the rest – which they get next week – and I don’t like the game – another EXTREME variance game. GWS to win.

Nothing stands out this week, but I will go with at least 1 of the Saints and Dogs to win by over 5 goals

Round 13 Review

Adelaide defeated Richmond by 33 points
This was the biggest margin of the weekend and glad to tip the Crows as my solitary cert. They always looked likely later in the game. Noah Balta needs a rest, according to his coach; there were probably a few others who need a rest; Reilly O’Brien dominated in the ruck (181 SC points and 20-odd hot-outs to advantage – this is huge!) and Sauce Jacobs will struggle to replace him now; the Crows lost three players; Lachlan Murphy forgot his mouth-guard and didn’t last long. They were then okay until Daniel Talia was out in Q3; then Josh Jenkins in the last minute. Jake Kelly was a bit sore late. Jenkins and Taylor Walker booted 7 between them and helped the Crows over the line. It was a case of overall injuries being worse than injuries on the night. The Crows actually looked like surging to a lead in Q2 but the Tigers found something under pressure.

Essendon defeated Hawthorn by 19 points
The Bombers controlled the game due to more polish / efficiency going forward. The Bombers were 38 points up early in Q4 but Hawthorn fought it out and got a couple of easy goals – without ever looking like winning. The Bombers lost Jake Stringer late n the game and Dylan Shiel was a bit sore. Happy with the tip, but maybe need to upgrade Essendon slightly

St Kilda defeated Gold Coast Suns by 4 points
It was the third narrow win by the Saints over the Suns in a row. I got the tip right, but that more luck than anything – with it so close. I stuffed up the game trend – thinking the Saints might start fast (but they trailed 23-2 at quarter time); the only thing I got right was EXTREME variance – with the Suns getting sizable breaks twice and then losing. I was quite concerned about the Saints having 7 changes along with the travel stuff; the poor first half by the Saints was maybe due to the many changes – maybe the Suns feeling so much like they need a break and putting effort into the start. I’ll be curious to see how the Saints fare next week after the travel (albeit with a bye in between) and also how the Suns go after their round 14 bye.

Dockers defeated Port Adelaide by 21 points
The lead changed at each break in this game – which is a rare event (about 1 in every 50 games or so). The lead changes were aided by this being always within 2 goals for the first three terms. The Dockers broke away late for a handy win. Port continued the general trend of a good Q1 and a poor Q2 after coming back from China (11 point win in Q1 & a 16 point loss in Q2). That was my best bit of analysis work for the whole weekend!
“Best Q4 team in the league” says coach Ross Lyon. They are 10-2 in final terms – pretty good overall. Happy to tip a winner and the Dockers have improved

Western Bulldogs defeated Carlton by 3 points
This was the type of game you switch off as an independent observer at the 20 minute mark. The Dogs were 34 points up at the 19:59 minute mark of the last term; the Blues got a goal at 20:00 and then another 4:1 to go down by 3 points. They were 3 points down at 27:48 and the siren went at 31:59; so the Dogs managed to hold on for over 4 minutes – with a bit of tempo footy. I am pretty happy with the tip – expecting the Dogs to win if they started well; that part was correct; and the EXTREME variance call was certainly right also – with the Dogs going 34 points up, losing the lead, going 34 points up again ad then almost losing. David King on Monday on SEN made the point that the Dogs lack a key defender, but are playing Aaron Naughton up forward. the Dogs lost Libba in Q2. The Dogs won the SC scores 1795 to 1507; maybe more a style thing than an indication of dominance. The Blues were often efficient getting the ball into Charlie Curnow who kicked 7; the Dogs play a bit of Russian roulette – relying o the mids winning, but if they don’t, then they can get scored against heavily. the technicals from this are a bad sign for the Dogs, I reckon – to be explained in the round 14 previews

GWS Giants defeated North Melbourne by 23 points
I got the tip right but was wrong about the EXTREME variance call; the Giants pulled away after half time to win well; maybe the last 15 minutes or so of the game they may have eased off a bit – or perhaps the effects of back to back away games. Both teams need the rest; Matt de Boer tagged Ben Cunnington and got injured late by a Cunnington tackle; not much more to say about the game, except that it was an important win on the road for GWS.

Round 14 begins 8.10pm eastern Thursday 20 June 2019 
(tough for kiddies with school next day on the east coast, but good for fantasy players as it gives them an extra half hour after team selections!)
West Coast Eagles versus Essendon at Perth stadium 8.10pm eastern
Sydney Swans versus Hawthorn at SCG 7.50pm
Melbourne versus Fremantle at MCG 1.45pm
St Kilda versus Brisbane at Docklands 4.35pm
Port Adelaide versus Geelong at Adelaide Ovasl 7.40pm eastern
Western Bulldogs versus Collingwood at Docklands 3.20pm

My early tips are
Eagles (certs)
Swans (not certs)
Dees (not certs but quite confident)
Lions (not certs)
Geelong (but have been awful off the bye! and a danger game)
Pies (not certs but quite confident)

I will do some Thursday and bye analysis before game 1… but the good Thursday night stuff doesn’t kick in until round 15 – will explain in the round 15 preview and it contains some off the chart stuff!

WCE V ESS (note: a Thursday) preview written Wednesday
These teams played a Thursday night game this round last year; the Eagles were hot favourites to win but the Bombers booted 6:2 to 0:1 and ran out 28 point winners. That night, Essendon were fresh off the bye and the Eagles were second up; the Eagles played Sydney away after the bye; then an “easy kill” against Essendon before a tough road trip to play Adelaide. I reckon that the Bombers just got the Eagles at the right time; the Eagles have made 6 changes. It seems too many, but some are just players coming back in to replace lesser talent / experience (EG Elliot Yeo, Shannon Hurn and Oscar Allen); the Eagles’ injury list is really shrinking, but Tom “Ron” Barrass and Nicnat will resume in the WAFL this weekend or very soon. Of course, the Eagles lost two to suspension last game versus the Swans – Nathan Vardy and Willie Rioli; Vardy can be covered by Tom Hickey – who had 1 game back from injury in round 12 and should be cherry ripe now; and the other forwards can cover for Rioli; the memory of last year’s horror start will burn for the Eagles (and will be remembered by the Bombers who would like to replicate it); I don’t see a repeat happening in Q1 tomorrow; in fact, the Bombers were probably really UP for the Hawthorn game last week (always are but maybe more so to spoil the 1989 Hawk grand final re-union). Eagles by 6 goals and certs

SYD V HAW (preview written Wednesday)
Since these teams met in the 2014 grand final, the away team has won 8 out of 9 and 7 of the wins have been less than 2 goals. I began the week thinking I’d tip the Swans to win comfortably…and they may. But I have some warning bells going off in my head as I assess. Firstly, the away team record listed above; this is a small concern as I think it is more of an anomaly than the technical trend of note. The Swans had a heroic win before the bye against the Eagles at the SCG in a match where the Swans copped three injuries. These heroic wins with injuries often are followed by a poor performance; but the bye in the middle muddies the waters for me and I don’t know how to rate this technical trend as a result. Next there is the Hawthorn 1989 grand final reunion match last Friday night; will the Hawks be flat after it? And they lose captain Ben Stratton to suspension. Ben McEvoy was back earlier than expected last week and may be better for the run. The Swans may get back Josh Kennedy, Kieran Jack, Zak Jones and Will Hayward. The experts are tipping the Swans by 2 goals and this looks about right; Swans but I don’t like the game

MELB V FREO (preview written Wednesday)
The Dees have re-shuffled their coaching ranks under Simon Goodwin during their bye; it’s all part of setting up for day 1 of the 2020 season, according to David King. Yes it is; but what about the rest of 2019? It may help or unsettle in the short term. I am keen on taking the risk that the Dees will not be distracted and tip them with a small amount of confidence. Reasons are:
A: I think they will be keen to finish the season off well – especially this bit; they may put players away for operations once the year is officially written off from a finals viewpoint.
B: they got back Jake Lever and Steven May recently; they should be ready to fire after they’ve had the bye to rest; Jack Viney should be primed after playing with some difficulties recently also.
C: the Dockers win over the Pies was slightly overrated as the Pies had problems on the day.
Dees to win by over 15 points.

STK V BRIS  (written Thursday 2.50pm)
The Lions have improved this season and currently sit a precarious 7th (compared to 17th this time last year) and only one win ahead of the Saints. Remember the Saints? They were supposed to finish 17 or 18 this year and their coach get sacked. Right now they have one of the longest injury lists (along with Richmond and the Gold Coast), they are 6 & 6 and people still want the coach sacked!!! I don’t get it! Dan Hannebery and Jimmy Webster might be in this weekend.
The problem the Saints have here is that the Lions have one of the shortest injury lists. But the Lions need to win these type of away games to make the finals. They failed narrowly against the Dogs in Ballarat and, most recently, lost to the Blues. I reckon they can get over the line here.
Lions by over 2 goals

PORT V GEEL  (written Thursday 3.00pm)
I don’t like this game; Geelong has been quite poor off the bye in recent years. With trends like this, the whole world knows about it and therefore the club can work on it; eventually they will fix it, get it back to so-so or give up on it. Occasionally, it is just a statistical anomaly. The Cats may struggle again, but then we have Port announcing some (all?) of their changes a day early. Paddy Ryder and Justin Westhoff have been dropped along with Sam Powell-Pepper and Jarrod Lienert. This may be a good move? But the players SC scores last week were 86, 90, 66 and 59!!! Not too bad. Were they not following team instructions? Not sure. The ins are Charlie Dixon (great player to watch when on song), Ollie Wines and Brad Ebert (plus Joel Big Bird Garner – says one report). Good ins. Leave me out, but if I must tip – Geelong narrowly (I’m less excited about the Cats than most tipsters); but nothing would surprise me

WBD V COLL (written Thursday 3:20pm)
I am confident on the Pies provided that Brodie Grundy is good to go; the Pies are the superior team and should win despite having a longer injury list; there is a negative technical trend for the Dogs; they were pumped by the Blues in round 5 this year and seemed pumped up to exact revenge early last weekend. A 5:2 to 2:1 Q1 suggested that the Blues were going to get whipped; even a 34 point lead midway through the final term looked good. But then they let the Blues kick the last 5:1 of the match unanswered. The Dogs are acting like a share that’s about to crash. I’ll stop short of declaring the Pies certs due to their injury list concerns. The Pies lose Jaidyn Stephenson who has been suspended due to betting $36 on Collingwood games. I’d like to point out that there was no match fixing implications here (unlike “Say it ain’t so, Joe” in 1919/20 where Chicago White Sox players were accused of taking bribes to throw games); I thought the penalty was a bit harsh. Anyway, Stephenson starred last match – kicking 3:3 and scoring 94 SC points. Pies the tip and I am confident but not certs. If the Pies win huge – especially with big gains in Q2 and / or Q4, I will put it down to the possible technical trend mentioned above (re Dogs vs Blues last weekend) more so than the discrepancy between the teams. A “normal result” would be Pies by 20 points +/- 30 either way.

Summary – I like the Eagles to outperform expectations; also at least one of the Dees and Lions to win by over 15 points

Round 14 Review
West Coast Eagles defeated Essendon by 35 points
I tipped the Eagles by 6 goals and certs; pretty happy with this; the Eagles should’ve won by more – missing gettable shots; but to balance this out, the Bombers lost Matt Guelfi early, while Fantasia (19 SC points) played sore (as revealed by the coach after the game); the Experts were not bullish enough about the Eagles – tipping them by only 3 goals. There is talk of Nicnat and Tom Barrass coming back soon; the Eagles will still probably need to finish in the top two to go back to back.

Sydney Swans defeated Hawthorn by 19 points
The Swans controlled the game pretty much throughout, but left the door ajar with the score differential and the injuries later to Buddy and Callum Sinclair; in the end, they did very well to win with a limited bench late in the game as they did against the Eagles before the bye. Didn’t know how to assess the game beforehand and still don’t know what to make of it. Did the Hawks underperform after the 1989 grand final reunion and big game against Essendon last week? Or are the Swans just a notch above the Hawks? Coach John Longmire said the Swans have been pretty good for about 6 weeks now (4 wins and competitive losses against the top two sides); in the end, I will call it more of a plus to the Swans for winning despite injuries than a minus to the Hawks for losing because of being flat. Glad to tip a winner!

Melbourne defeated Fremantle by 14 points
Like the game above, this one was affected by injuries. Ironically, Jesse Hogan copped a bad injury against his old team. He was gone early; Stephen Hill was gone in Q3 but only scored 21 SC points; the Dees got through without any problems. The Dees were 2-3 goals behind early and gradually took over. So did the injuries make the difference? A case could be made that the Dockers were unlucky (and they were – but was it enough to lose – maybe!), but there is also another way to look at this game. The Dees had all these shuffling behind the scenes in the break re coaching and off field stuff. They were scratchy early and then snapped a 4 game losing streak; they might be ready to improve sharply. I tipped the Dees to win by over 15 points and then won by 14; a bit similar to my Eagles tip above; happy overall; I mentioned Jake Lever in the preview but he was out injured; the other two I listed: Steven May was fair and Jack Viney was terrific. Also Jeff Garlett + Michael Hibberd were out injured for the Dees in selection news. Was the variance EXTREME? It was borderline and just below the EXTREME level – with the Dees going from 17 points down to win by 14.

Brisbane defeated St Kilda by 56 points
Very happy with the tip here as many were tipping the Saints as ever so slight outsiders. The job was made easier for the Lions when the Saints didn’t get Jimmy Webster back in the team. Interesting to hear Lions coach Chris Fagan talk about a lot of his players being sore before the Carlton game and really needing the bye after being up for the pre-season and needing to start the year well. The Carlton loss was the key thing that made people underestimate the Lions. I suspect that the St Kilda coach Alan Richardson is on death row and the real push is coming from inside the club. If so, the Saints may continue to underperform in most of the next few weeks. But there may be a blip this coming week perhaps???

Port Adelaide defeated Geelong by 11 points
Well, the Cats lost after the bye again. There was an article in theroar to say that the Cats had mainly played difficult games after the bye; yes, I agree, but I need to allow a bit more for it; and, of course, the trap is that once you pick them to lose and be a hero, that’s the year they will buck the trend!!
The Cats have been poor in Q1 in a lot of these games and they were well off the pace again. But credit to Port; they did well and the team looks as good now as it has all year; Tom Clurey did well on Tomahawk; Dan Houston the same on Tim Kelly; it could be argued that the Cats has a bit of bad luck in the second half – they lost Gary Rohan and then Kelly + Luke Dahlhaus got knocks; but coach Scott said that the 12 point loss flattered them, so don’t get too pleased with yourself if, like me, you tipped Geelong. Scott Lycett was huge with a big win in the ruck

Collingwood defeated the Western Bulldogs by 9 points
The winning margin was in the normal range, so no huge bust by the Dogs, but I am still not too excited by them; the Pies have a long injury list, lost Jeremy Howe-High-Did-He-Fly early, didn’t play too well off the bye, but still managed to win; the Pies were coming off the bye after having a big game against Melbourne on the Monday prior; so I am a bit down on the Dogs because they don’t convince me; and now down on the Pies because of their injury list.

Whoops! I just lost all of Round 15! Sorry about that – and no backup.
No time to restore as I am on a project.
To summarise, I missed on Essendon, Collingwood (but didn’t pick the other teams as certs) and Port + Dockers (which I tipped as certs); annoyed with myself about Port as certs; Dockers lost because they got too comfortable with a comfy lead early on and started planning for the round 16 Derby. And they ran short of talls.
Pies lost due to a long injury list going into the game and then more injuries.
Roos are looking good, but how good?

Round 16 begins 7.50pm Friday 05 July 2019
Back to Friday starts!! Yippee!!

Hawthorn versus Collingwood at MCG 7.50pm
Essendon versus Sydney Swans at MCG 1.45pm
Gold Coast Suns versus Richmond at Gold Coast 2.10pm
Adelaide versus Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval 4.35pm eastern
Western Bulldogs versus Geelong at Docklands 7.20pm
West Coast Eagles versus Fremantle at Perth stadium 8.10pm eastern
Carlton versus Melbourne at MCG 1.10pm
North Melbourne versus St Kilda in Hobart 3.20pm
GWS Giants versus Brisbane at Sydney Showgrounds 4.40pm

My early tips (subject to change) are
Pies (but a danger game)
Swans (a minor upset)
Tigers (certs)
Eagles (certs)
Dees (danger game and EXTREME variance)
Roos (certs)

It’s a tricky week and a good chance for tipsters to catch up a win or two

Misc notes

HAW V COLL (added before teams announced)
The Pies are clearly a better team, so that’s why they have been tipped, but the problem here is the injury toll for the Pies. It is seriously high at 23 compared to 13 for Hawthorn. But it is hard to get excited about the Hawks – who are on a 4 game losing streak and have slipped to 15th. there is a chance, however, that the Hawks (now 99.9% gone for 2019) might target this as a sort of grand final. They have this and 2 more Friday night games to come, but they are against the Roos at Docklands and then Giants in Canberra. This is their biggest game for the rest of the season.

ESS V SYD (added before teams announced)
The Bombers played Thursday night and had an emotional win when all looked lost for most of the second half. Looking at teams playing Thursday night and then the next week:
Middle ranked teams against middle ranked teams (as we have here): underperform by 8 points on average with poor Q1 & Q3 with good Q4
Teams with 9 days breaks (ESS) playing teams with a 7 day break (SYD): they underperform by a massive 26 points on average (sample size 6 – BRIS 2015 round 13; COLL 2015 round 16; HAW & ESS 2017 round 12; BRIS & GEEL 2018 round 18) with a dreadful Q1.
This is why I am tipping the Swans; they are only 9 point outsiders. But there is a catch. I am concerned about the ruck situation. Zac Clarke looks like playing in place of the injured Tom Bellchambers, but the Swans only fit ruckman is a raw rookie. They may use him (risky) or do as per last week with Sam Reid and Aliir Aliir sharing duties.
Even with the ruck issues, I am going for the Swans to win Q1 by 10 points or more.

GCS V RICH (added before teams announced)
not much to say here; cannot see the Tigers dropping this one; the Suns would like to win against ex captain Tom Lynch, but they have a couple of better “grand finals” to come – against the Blues and Lions in coming weeks.

ADEL V PORT (added before teams announced)
After Port beat the Cats, they gave back their positive by losing to the Dogs in the wet last weekend. The Crows played a day earlier in the dry. Big names likely to come in for both teams and the Crows’ injury list is shrinking. I’m keen on them to beat Port this time

WBD V GEEL (added before teams announced)
Well the Dogs just beat Port who beat Geelong the week before. But Port’s coach Ken Hinkley admitted that his team was very good against Geelong and the opposite against the Dogs. Even so, the Dogs have surprised to the upside recently, so I give them some chance to pull off the upset

FREO V WCE – added after team selection
Very keen on the Eagles; the Dockers are missing several talls (despite Rory Lobb and Aaron Sandilands coming back in) and the Eagles have a shorter injury list. Haven’t named the Eagles as certs but they are almost certs

The Blues were great last weekend, but it might be hard to replicate it. They didn’t get any injured players back this week in the selections, so a letdown is a distinct possibility. But there is a chance they could produce another great win. The Dees were overrun last week, but Max Gawn was injured and battled thru the day. He has been named with Brayden Preuss on the 8 man IC bench. Expect Gawn to have a fitness test maybe Saturday. I am in 2 minds about the Dees – one is that they will hit a rich vein of form late in the year and the other is that they will swing between poor and reasonably good. Dees the tip but an EXTREME variance game.
PS it seems that a lot of people are tipping Carlton as their outsider in tipping comps. 3AW has the Blues running at 40% and AFLnation at 35%. This is huge for a team that is 17 point outsiders. The Dcokers are similarly 17 point outsiders and the % of people tipping them is under 10%; Port is 4 point outsiders and they are getting under 20%! If you are just going for one outsider, I favour the Swans over Carlton.

I’d be tempted to tip the Roos as certs, but not sure ow they will do second up from the bye after a huge upset win last week; the pattern for this is mixed, but not to bad overall. Maybe this game revolves more around where the Saints are at. They have plenty of injuries and the coach may be on death row – judging from comments from within the club. They found something early against Richmond last week (after a shocker the week before against Brisbane), but then dropped off. In share trading terms, it looked like a “dead cat bounce” to me. If the Roos win big, say over 8 goals, I’ll put it down to the Saints being on a downer. If the Saints cause an upset, I’m thinking that maybe the coach isn’t as much under the gun as I suspect and the the Roos had trouble being up AGAIN the second week after the bye and after a huge upset win first week after the bye.
Having said all this, I am sitting on the fence as to whether to call this an EXTREME variance game; Okay, its just EXTREME.

I am debating in my head whether the Lions are really flying after the bye or have just got teams at the right time (Saints and Dees – both with big injury troubles. The jury is still out, for me. Problem is, this game doesn’t help. The Giants are coming off a Thursday night game and a 10 day break.
Recent data for such:
Top teams: 1 point better then expected with a poor Q1 and a good Q4
Teams playing against a team with a 7 day break: 21 points below expectations with a shocker Q1, poor Q3 and a good Q4
the technicals are a mixed bag, but all have the Giants likely to win Q4
Giants to win, but not feeling totally confident.

Round 16 review
Oops, I really stunk it up with the tips – only getting 4 outright winners; worst weekend for many a long day

Hawthorn defeated Collingwood by 4 points
First loser tipped, but not totally unhappy, I did suggest that this was a sort of grand final for the Hawks. The Pies were just too injured to excel; the Hawks were good enough to take advantage of it

Essendon defeated the Sydney Swans by 10 points
Another wrong tip and maybe the difference was the Sydney ruck situation. Aliir x 2 rucked but they missed his work down back. The technicals suggested that the Swans were going to be good early – but they weren’t – losing at QT; the technicals tended to suggest that the Bombers would win Q4 – which they did; the Bombers got away with Zac Clarke struggling a bit because the Swans had no normal ruckman to go with.

Richmond defeated the Gold Coast Suns by 92 points
The Tigers finished last week well and this one was all parceled up at quarter time – with the Tigers leading by 43 points. Will Brodie was a late replacement for Peter Wright; Wil Powell was out very early and it appeared that the Suns carried on from where they left off the previous week – struggling late against the Swans. The tigers have a much better team on the park in recent weeks and now look dangerous

Port Adelaide defeated Adelaide by 57 points
This was the biggest shock to me; the Crows had a few minor injury problems on the day, but this by no means explains the margin. Sam Powell-Pepper came in as a late replacement for Travis Boak and did okay. There was talk that the Crows needed to make changes at the selection table after this game – including Eddie Betts; only Richard Douglas and Jordan Gallucci went out

Western Bulldogs defeated Geeelong by 16 points
The Dogs are back to their 2016 form – well maybe. They are certainly playing better than their ladder position of 12th. The cats looked to have the game in control but faded late and looked fumbly under the Dog pressure. The Cats had a few injury problems, but not really enough to explain being overrun like that. Marcus Bontempelli is looking very good.

West Coast Eagles defeated Fremantle by 91 points
Brendon Ah Chee came for for Josh Kennedy; the Dockers looked awful and Aaron Sandilands struggled like he is finished; but he may need a run or two to get back into form; yes the Dockers were bad, but the Eagles looked very good.

Melbourne defeated Carlton by 5 points
I reckon the Dees should have won by more, but ran out of players

North Melbourne defeated St Kilda by 39 points
Tipped the winner here, but the EXTREME variance call was wrong; the Saints looked cooked now with injury concerns and speculation about the coach

Brisbane defeated the GWS Giants by 20 points
See the above technical in the preview; the one I highlighted and bolded just now worked out almost perfectly. I was a bit reticent to tip the Lions as an upset because there was another technical going the other way

See preview of Round 17 here: