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