Early Rounds 2017

Round 1, 2017
All times are Eastern

Round 1 Venue Day Date Time Television
CARL v RICH MCG – Vic Thursday March 23 7.20pm Channel 7
COLL v WBD MCG – Vic Friday March 24 7.50pm Channel 7
SYD v PORT SCG Saturday March 25 4.35pm Foxtel
STK v MELB Docklands Saturday March 25 4.35pm Foxtel
GCS v BRIS Metricon – Qld Saturday March 25 7.25pm Foxtel
ESS v HAW MCG – Vic Saturday March 25 7.25pm Channel 7
NMFC v WCE Docklands Sunday March 26 1.10pm Foxtel
ADEL v GWS Adelaide Oval Sunday March 26 3.20pm Channel 7
FREO v GEEL Domain Stad – WA Sunday March 26 7.40pm Foxtel


Early thoughts overnight 20/21 March
The best certs look to be the Swans over Port; Port had a good win over the Hawks in JLT3, but Hawthorn looked further away from their best 22 in that game than Port; next best is Richmond over a Blues team that is on a huge (but necessary) rebuild.  The only danger for Richmond (but unlikely to happen) is that the media are already talking about the R2 clash between Richmond and Collingwood

Quite keen on the Hawks, while the Saints, Giants and Suns will be tipped; the danger games coming up are:
The Pies are a big chance to upset the reigning Premiers (Dogs)
Freo have a chance to upset Geelong
The Roos are a small chance to beat the Eagles in Melbourne


CARL v RICH MCG – Vic Thursday March 23 7.20pm Channel 7

This is the only games with teams announced right now (Wed night).  Key things to note:
Blues – lost Walker, Tuohy and Jamison from 2016, although only Tuohy was fully fit for the duration last year.  They gain Marchbank, Pickett, Petrevski-Seton and Smedts; Petrevski-Seton missed all the JLY but had a full pre-season prior; it must be a risk to play him “cold” however;  Cripps may be slightly underdone, but has class; a surprise to see Kerridge as an emergency; look for a late change, perhaps; his JLT numbers looked fine.

Tigers – lost Chaplin (hardly played), Deledio and Vickery from 2016; they gain Caddy, Prestia and Nankervis; Hampson and Morris miss through injury, while Houli has had a light preparation.

Things have gone well for the Tigers since 2016; they have Balmie, a whole new group of assistants after the 2016 knew they were gone months out from season’s end; the recruits are firing (while Deledio is out injured for R1 AGAIN!!); the one danger here is that everyone has pencilled this in as a win and they are already talking about the R2 Collingwood game.  The Tigers should be good enough to win this one comfortably; Tigers by 33 points and certs

The following previews are all done Thursday morning PRIOR to team announcements

Post Match Review: Tigers were tipped by 33 points and won by 43; analysis was very good – given that most tipped the Tigers by under 20 points; of note was that Cripps (50 SC points) and Petrevski-Seton (59 SC – started like a rocket and ran out of puff) were both underdone; Dusty has had some poor games against the Blues in recent seasons, but would’ve been given 3 votes by everyone who saw the game;  Murphy and Kreuzer were good for the Blues after alleged better pre-seasons, but Daisy Thomas looks like he won’t get back to his best; for the Tigers, it appears that Caddy and Prestia (who were both serviceable) allow Dusty to go forward, while Nankervis looks to be a good recruit; Lamb was a late withdrawal for the Blues – replaced by Harrison Macreadie

COLL v WBD MCG – Vic Friday March 24 7.50pm Channel 7

This is a difficult game to tip; the Pies have have a bad off-season; they lost Neil Balme and their prized recruits (Wells and Mayne) have not shown much – for various reasons; then there was the de Goey incident; just FYI, the dog, under fierce cross examination, is still sticking to his story.  Meanwhile the Dogs are playing their first real game since winning the flag; given that there was a 60+ year drought between flags, it is uncertain how they will go; as such, it is an EXTREME VARIANCE game; to add spice to it all, Cloke is expected to play against his old team first up; Dogs by 9 points, but not a tip to feel confident about

Post Match Review: Dogs were tipped by 9 points and won by 14; analysis was pretty good again; the Dogs got out to a good early lead (5:1 to 1:5 at QT) and always looked likely thereafter – without really ever killing off the Pies; Pie fans were aghast that high-priced recruit Mayne was not good enough to get a game – but then was a late replacement for the ill Aish; he was okay without being great; of interest was that Mayne missed a tricky shot in 1Q and then later Cloke kicked one for his new team soon after – much to the disgust of the Magpie cheer squad. That summed up the game; the Dogs made slightly more use of their opportunities.  It was the usual suspects doing well for the Pies – while Fasolo was excellent with 3:3 from 22 touches; for the Dogs, Murphy and Crameri returned from long lay-offs and were both okay


SYD v PORT SCG Saturday March 25 4.35pm Foxtel

The Swans are the certs of the week; Port looks to be struggling as a team and will struggle against the Swans in Sydney; Swans by 36 points
Post Match Review: Swans were tipped by 36 points but Port won by 28; analysis was awful for a team tipped as the biggest certs of the week; a curio is that week 2 is the Grand Final rematch; since everyone was tipping the Swans to romp in first up, maybe they were looking a week ahead; the Swans lost Robinson before half time; Port lost Robbie Gray in the same term; he returned but was well down on his usual output; Port debutantes Powell-Pepper and Houston did quite well, but Eddy struggled; for the Swans, first-gamer Florent struggled and Hannebery only scored 52 SC points (very low for him); Jack (Kieran) hadn’t played a JLT game but was okay; Port ruckman Paddy Ryder was pretty good back from a year off and Lobbe was not in the team (and Trengove being the back-up); Broadbent had a hammie all JLT and produced only average numbers first up; reading between the lines in the presser, Ken Hinkley was happy with the things that they had worked on over the summer




STK v MELB Docklands Saturday March 25 4.35pm Foxtel

This is the tough one for most tipsters; however, the Saints have a string of wins against the Dees running back to the time when Methuselah was in the under 111s.
Given that these teams play each other twice in 2017, the Dees cannot really afford to lose both clashes as they seek to make the finals for the first time since 2006. This website rates the Saints as the better of the two and also happen to be a bit better off injury-wise at present; they will be tipped to win by 16 points, but not certs.
Post Match Review: Saints were tipped by 16 points but Port won by 28; analysis was For the Saints, both Brown and Wright had concussions tests and passed; but they had to be off for the 20 minutes; Gawn had a back issue but only off for 10 minutes; Smith for the Dees dislocated a shoulder in 1Q and will miss weeks; Lonie was a late replacement for McCartin – who was a minor risk with hammie issues, but played VFL this weekend; the Saints were apparently late getting onto the ground and the coaches just sat down in the box when the game began; however, the Saints got away to a big lead but then were totally overrun once Gawn came back in the second term; Recruits Steele (STK) and Lewis (MELB) both excelled

GCS v BRIS Metricon – Qld Saturday March 25 7.25pm Foxtel

The Suns have an official injury list of 2 (Day and Rischitelli) but Harbrow, Matera and McKenzie are all underdone and will not be available; the Lions will see this as a chance to win; conversely, the Suns will be pleased to have a reasonable number of midfielders available – with inclusions of ex Lion Hanley (Pearce) and Barlow from the Dockers.  Suns to win by 16 points
Post Match Review: Suns were tipped by 16 points but the Lions won by 2; analysis was not that great; the momentum swings were huge in this game; the Lions booted the first 7 goals of the game and were 46 points up at HT; the Suns got it back on even terms with plenty of time in 4Q but the Lions hung on; Rockliff almost got leather poisoning late in the game when needed and Beams (back from injury) was tremendous; Swallow’s return was supposed to help the Suns, but he was a late withdrawal (replaced by Schoenfeld who was so-so); Suns recruits Barlow and Hanley were serviceable; first gamer Ainsworth was very good, but missed a shot in 4Q; Witts was okay and Bowes was quiet; the Suns will see this as one that got away


ESS v HAW MCG – Vic Saturday March 25 7.25pm Channel 7

The Dons will be super-excited to have all their players back from the year-long suspension as they play their old enemy.  The Hawks have been written off by many, but have a very small injury list and should be able to win this one; Luke Hodge has been suspended by his club, but the Hawks should have enough in hand to win; exactly how well the Dons work together for the first game is hard to assess; Hawks by 22 points and they will be tipped as certs, but only because it is early season and there is no big list of certs to “protect”.  The Swans are better certs
Post Match Review: Hawks were tipped by 22 points but Dons won by 25; analysis was very poor; the issue here was that the Bombers had been waiting for years, in effect, for this game to arrive.  As such, they might have played above themselves; or maybe the Hawks  failed to have the intensity required for this game; let’s look at the players back from the year-long suspension: Heppell 152 Sc points; Watson 93; Hooker 82; Hurley 77; Stanton 74; Colyer 61; these figures were above ALL expectations for the first game back; the Hawks were coasting to victory midway through 3Q, but the Bombers booted 5 unanswered goals and then never looked like losing; the question will now be asked – can the Hawks cope without Mitchell and Lewis (with the suspended Hodge back next week); their recruits:  Mitchell (Tom) was great; O’Meara, Vickery and Henderson all fair; of interest is that the Bombers won the game by 25 points and had the same number of scoring shots as the Hawks – but won SC 1817 to 1484; Rioli played on through an injury sustained in 1Q


NMFC v WCE Docklands Sunday March 26 1.10pm Foxtel

The Roos have been totally written off as far as the finals go (all 18 tipsters in the Herald Sun selected them to miss the 8) and they will be desperate to kick off the season with a win; the Eagles will have motivation of their own – having lost the first final in a game they were hot favourites to win (against the eventual premiers). The Eagles looks stronger this year and the Roos a tad weaker; the Eagles by 5 points in a danger game; Petrie may play against his old team first up.
Post Match Review: Eagles were tipped by 5 points and won by 43; analysis was a fair way off; in retrospect, the Roos were probably struggling a bit in the pre-season; their form was masked by a “home win” on Arden Street against the Hawks; this was a HUGE home ground advantage for the Roos; their other win was against the Swans – who are famous for being average in the early season; the Roos were missing Jacobs, Cunningham and Wood from their best 22; several newcomers were played and their numbers were poor (first gamers Simpkin, Hibberd, Preuss and Mountford all socored under 50 SC points – as did recruits Williams and Hrovat); on top of that, Waite kicked 1:7 and may have copped an injury as well; ex Roo and new Eagle Petrie played on with a hand injury – but will miss weeks now; Mitchell has settled in beautifully at the Eagles and they have a top class midfield list; recruit Vardy copped an early knock but could be a useful pick-up – especially in view of the ruck injury crisis at present

ADEL v GWS Adelaide Oval Sunday March 26 3.20pm Channel 7

This match deserves “game of the round” status – with both teams eyeing off a top 4 spot; both have had injuries to deal with; the Giants will be tipped; they have have a better pre-season, but will need to deal with huge expectations; Giants by 14 points
Post Match Review: Giants were tipped by 14 points but the Crows won by 28; analysis was a long way off; Walker was a late with a hammie, but should be ready in R2; he was replaced by Knight who was quite okay; McGovern copped friendly fire late in the game; the Giants had quite a few injury worries – with Mzungu doing a hammie in Q2; Haynes and Patton both struggled late in the game; the Crows – buoyed on by the AFLW premiership win the day before – were very sharp; meanwhile, many Giants were very ordinary; debutante Taranto was just average; ex Giant Hampton was just fair against his old team; the AFL website mentions the GWS playing the Suns at Metricon next week; incorrect; it is at Spotless in Sydney


FREO v GEEL Domain Stad – WA Sunday March 26 7.40pm Foxtel

Neither team has impressed during the pre-season; the Dockers lost 10 straight to begin 2016 and will be desperate to get a win first up; they have a chance against a Cats’ team that has spluttered in the JLT – playing 1 excellent quarter here and there; the Cats do look the better team and will be tipped narrowly; but they seem to be too highly fancied; Cats by 4 points

Post Match Review: Cats were tipped by 4 points and won by 42; analysis was a fair way off; it was fairly obvious that the Dockers struggled a bit during the pre-season – ending with a 21 point win over the Blues in Perth; on that basis, the Dockers were expected to struggle; but the Cats’ form was very patchy (but better) – losing narrowly to the Hawks and Crows, then overrunning the Dons (who had injuries on the day); the Cats played in spurts in those games; against Freo in R1, their “spurt” lasted until the game was done and dusted; after that, the Dockers were competitive.  The SEN team mentioned that Neale was underdone (with a poor 72 SC points and especially scratchy early); recruits for both teams generally struggled; Kersten had a shocker against his old team (after an interrupted pre-season); Hamling struggled while McCarthy looked likely and kicked 1:5 (trying to emulate Jarrad Waite, maybe); Brad Hill looks to be a handy pick-up;  the Cats moved the ball better than the Dockers – who were haphazard going forward in the post Pav era.  The Cats had the use of a decent breeze in 1Q; Zac Smith was a late withdrawal (replaced by Thurlow – back frmo a year-long injury) – leaving Sandilands to dominate the ruck; but it didn’t help the bottom line; the best recruit was Tuohy – who excelled for the Cats

CERTS: Swans (incorrect), then Tigers (correct)

50/50: Tigers by more than 18 points (correct); Swans by more than 30 points (incorrect); Saints by more than 4 points (incorrect); Hawks by more then 14 points (incorrect); Roos to win or lose by less than 15 points  (incorrect); Docker to win or to lose by less than 9 points (incorrect).


Happy tipping; this round is not as easy as it looks!! (correct)


Round 2, 2017
All times are Eastern

Round 1 review: Super Tipping: 4 out of 9 (quite poor) and ranked 19,649 out of 37,292
Certs: 1 out of 2 – with the Swans wiping the streak and back to zero
50/50: 1 out of 6 (silly to go for so many in week 1) and 16% (dreadful – above 50% is good)

Round 2 Venue Day Date Time Television Tip Margin Variance
RICH v COLL  MCG – Vic Thursday March 30 7.20pm Channel 7  RICH  11  HIGH
WBD v SYD Etihad Stadium -Vic Friday March 31 7.50pm Channel 7  WBD  13  HIGH
HAW v ADEL MCG – Vic Saturday April 1 1.45pm Foxtel  ADEL  11  EXTREME
GWS v GCS    Spotless Stadium – NSW Saturday April 1 4.35pm Foxtel  GWS   33  HIGH
BRIS v ESS The Gabba – QLD Saturday April 1 7.25pm Channel 7  ESS   3  EXTREME
WCE v STK Domain Stadium – WA Saturday April 1 7.40pm Foxtel  WCE   20  EXTREME
GEEL v NMFC Etihad Stadium -Vic Sunday April 2 1.10pm Foxtel  GEEL   14  HIGH
MELB v CARL MCG – Vic Sunday April 2 3.20pm Channel 7  MELB   55  HIGH
PORT v FREO Adelaide Oval – SA Sunday April 2 4.40pm Foxtel  PORT   30  HIGH

Early thoughts for round 2: certs appear to be Giants and Dees; really tough games are Tigers / Pies and Hawks / Crows ; maybe Tigers and Crows to win; the Dogs will likely be tipped to win the GF replay; Port are likely to remain undefeated; same for the Cats, while the Eagles and Dons are the likely tips – but face danger games; if you had a shocker in week 1 of tipping – don’t panic; it was a tough week


RICH v COLL  MCG – Vic Thursday March 30 7.20pm Channel 7

The key to this is off the field; both teams are very similar – maybe the Pies are  slightly higher rated but it is almost even; the Tigers get an extra day’s rest; but Neil Balme has moved from the Pies to the Tigers last year; his inside info will be very useful and worth a goal or 2; it was R2 in 2016 that the Pies came from 17 points down late n the game to win – and the Treloar mentioned that he was happy he chose the Pies and not the Tigers; the Tigers got their revenge late in the season – when both clubs were effectively out of finals contention, but they may still have some high motivation because of R2 last year; Tigers by 11 points but not certs.

Post Match Review: Tigers were tipped by 11 points and won by 19; analysis was very good; always good to get a win in a virtual 50/50 game – with maybe the Pies slight favourites; in the presser, Bucks said he was concerned that the players weren’t daring enough and turned it into a dour struggle; also he thought that the team would “struggle for legs” after the Bulldogs game (6 days prior) and they were, indeed, overrun after being 10 points up in 3Q; the Pies “won’ the Supercoach scores by 9; so it was a fairly even game overall, but the Pies skills were poor at times and missed chances to build a bigger lead in the mid stages of the game


WBD v SYD Etihad Stadium -Vic Friday March 31 7.50pm Channel 7

This is the grand final replay with the Dogs unfurling their first flag since 1954/55. Comparing these teams with the GF teams: the Dogs have Murphy back in. The Swans lose Robinson and Rampe – which makes things tough; the Dogs lose Morris. The Swans were considered to be certs last week, but were overrun by Port. Please refer to Penny’s comments below on the Swans and Saints. Although the Swans looked poor, some credit needs to be given to Port. They look better this year. Early tip is the Dogs by 13 points, but not certs
Post Match Review: Dogs were tipped by 13 points and won by 23; analysis was reasonably good; Aliir (interrupted pre-season & in the best 22 when fit) was a late replacement for Foote; the Swans played three debutantes in Newman (73 SC points), Fox (44) and Hayward (82); Hannebery had a shocker last week and was better this week but not brilliant; losing Tippett early was a blow for the Swans; the Bont starred after a slightly interrupted pre-season; the variance was tipped as HIGH, but was EXTREME (with the Dogs going from over 20 points down to over 4 goals up, then losing the lead and hitting back to win by 23 points); that was a negative in the analysis; coach Longmire was asked about the frees; he is not sure if they are doing something wrong or just got a couple of bad decisions; the Mills free for rushing a behind was correct in 4Q and it virtually killed the game.


HAW v ADEL MCG – Vic Saturday April 1 1.45pm Foxtel

At the start of the year, the Hawks would have been favourites for this one, but now they are slight underdogs; Hodge returns; they may struggle for a while in the absence of (Sam) Mitchell and Hodge as their new midfield gets used to each other; some people are wondering if the Hawks will ever drop off; maybe this is the time, but it’s way too early to know just yet; if the Hawks do win this game, it is likely that they will do it by getting off to a flier; they have been fairly savage at the selection table and brought in Hodge (an obvious inclusion) but also youngsters Burton, Stewart and Miles; and how should the R1 game against the Bombers be assesses? It was a huge build-up for Essendon. did they catch the Hawks off guard?  Dermott Brereton on SEN said that the Hawks lack a midfield brute (a la ex Hawk john Kennedy).

The Crows look better this year with Cameron maturing off the back of a better pre-season; but the Giants were poor last week and had some injury troubles during last week’s game; so it is slightly difficult to assess last week’s game; the Crows had to deal with the tragedy of the death of their coach in mid 2015; given the struggles in overcoming this, it is possible that they have natural improvement in them in 2017 over the 2016 effort; such a difficult game to assess; on top of all this – the Crows led the Hawks by almost 3 goals with little time left on the clock in their previous meeting; this result will burn for the Crows and they could blitz early on that basis; the first term is therefore critical
Crows by 11 points, but EXTREME VARIANCE
Post Match Review: Crows were tipped by 11 points and won by 24; analysis was pretty good overall; the best part of it was the EXTREME variance call; the game just tipped into the EXTREME category with the Crows coming from over 4 goals down to win by 4; however, some of this game swing can be attributed to the various injuries; the Hawks got a jump on the Crows a bit when Jenkins was injured early (plus the Hawks were especially desperate to get off to a good start); after that, Birchall, Shiels and Smith all copped injuries for the Hawks; they all gave reasonable SC scores, but the problems disrupted the flow for Hawthorn.  Gibson scored a miserable 36 SC points, while Burton scored 104 and won the Rising Star award for the week.  Sloane was back to his absolute best this week; Caro on Footy Classified mentioned that there has bee a brain drain at the Hawks (Chris Fagan, Stewart Fox and others) to add to the exit of Lewis and Mitchell

GWS v GCS    Spotless Stadium – NSW Saturday April 1 4.35pm Foxtel

Both teams were favourites last weekend and lost; the Suns were blown away early, while the Giants were overrun after HT; maybe the weight of expectation was too much for the Giants last week against a slick Crows outfit; they also copped a few injuries on the day; their inclusions, Wilson and Hopper, have both had injury interrupted pre-seasons; so they have begun the year spluttering a bit; playing at home will be a huge help. Patton is considered very doubtful to play. With rain forecast on an already wet track, it shouldn’t hurt the Giants too much.
The Suns lose new recruit Pearce Hanley for a period – going home (with brother Cian from the Lions) just before the death of his brother Tommy. In retrospect, Pearce didn’t have the greatest of games last week and this can now be put into perspective; the Suns were 7 goals down and almost pinched it last weekend; but it was a disastrous loss against their local rival.
The Giants should win this and will be tipped as certs, but it is doubtful that they will win like premiership certs; Giants by 33 points and certs
Post Match Review: Giants were tipped by 33 points and won by 102; analysis was miles off, so not so great; the ground conditions were a bit better than expected and the Suns were blown away early for the second week in a row; the Giants looked desperate to atone for last week’s Darren Crocker of a performance; Patton was a late withdrawal (as expected – likely to be okay next week) and replaced by Reid; much was made of Ablett’s very average game; Gazza will appear on the Footy Show on Thursday – should be interesting; coach Eade says that he needs to build up the confidence of the players; the huge win made this game an EXTREME VARIANCE game


BRIS v ESS The Gabba – QLD Saturday April 1 7.25pm Channel 7

What a huge win for the Bombers last week upon the return of Jobe Watson and the others back from exile; the end of the saga (we hope) seemed to have helped the players perform with a weight lifted off them; the 6 that returned all played well (see Penny’s comments below and review of R1 for SC scores); on top of that, they beat their traditional rivals in an upset; the coach said today on the AFL website that they should have no trouble backing up after such a big win – they have trained to play week after week; but an emotional letdown (aside from any physical effects) could play a role. Green is injured and misses the chance to play against his old team; in comes a 7th man from exile in Howlett (not in the team in R1)
The Lions played like champions for the first term and (importantly) withstood a strong challenge from the Suns late in the game to win narrowly last week. How emotional was that win? And how much did it take out of them?  It’s difficult to say; often bottom teams that fall away dramatically in R1 play poorly the following week; but almost all the examples of such occurrences ended in the team losing (and usually badly); all this uncertainty makes this an EXTREME VARIANCE game; a big danger game for the Bombers and they are tipped by 3 points
Post Match Review: Bombers were tipped by 3 points and won by 27; analysis was a bit off in the margin tip, but very good to tip this as EXTREME; the Bombers went from behind to 7 goals up to behind again and then won by 27 points! Amazing!  there was SOOOO much doubt on how each team would recover from R1 – for different reasons; each team was great at times and poor at other times; there were 6 Bombers second up from the year off and 1 (Howlett) first up; the SC scores were (last week: Heppell 152 Sc points; Watson 93; Hooker 82; Hurley 77; Stanton 74; Colyer 61); this week: Heppell 108 Sc points; Watson 100; Hooker 68; Hurley 94; Stanton 48; Colyer 98); so 3 higher and 3 lower; Howlett scored 80 SC first up; so not a great deal of drop-off in week 2; maybe the average was slightly down – with Heppell down 48 pts and Stanton 26 pts


WCE v STK Domain Stadium – WA Saturday April 1 7.40pm Foxtel

Based on last week’s form, the Eagles would be absolute certs in this game; they smashed the Roos and play at home to a team that was blown away mid-game by Melbourne; but the temptation to pick them as certs will be resisted. Here’s why: the Roos last week were missing Cunnington and had 4 first gamers – all of whom underperformed; the Eagles had a couple of injury concerns – and lose McKenzie, Petrie and Jetta to injury; their “ins” are quite okay.
The Saints played in high humidity last week and it appeared that they were playing against a tropical team; their energy was sapped mid 2Q; they also went out late to start the game; on top of this, there was the McCartin hammie incident (although maybe overblown in the media), the news about Dempster missing  last week and considering his future; a whole lot of little things went wrong – and then Riewoldt got injured! Then Armitage went out injured as well; it was a real Darren Crocker of a first week for the team.  Because it was SO bad, they may be able to bounce back; they have suffered some big floggings against the Eagle sin recent times; it all points to an EXTREME VARIANCE game; but the Eagles will definitely be tipped, but not by as much as many; Eagles by 20 points but not certs
Post Match Review: Eagles were tipped by 20 points and won by 19; analysis was excellent; firstly, the Eagles were considered total certs and generally tipped by 6 goals or more; the Saints led for most of the game and Jack Steven suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung during the game – bu played it out under duress; there was “noise of affirmation” discussion about this game – with the Saints maybe getting the rough end of the stick; in reality, the crowd noise and any effect on the umpires is all a part of the home ground advantage and will happen in many games where the crowd is >90% for one team; but another factor is the errant kicking by the Saints; the Eagles still won the SC scores 1758 to 1545, so it would be a stretch to say that the Saints kicked themselves out of it; but they did miss some chances to be further in front early; next, the EXTREME variance call was barely correct – with the Saints being 4 goals up and almost losing the lead in 3Q before fighting back and then conceding the final 5 goals of the match

GEEL v NMFC Etihad Stadium -Vic Sunday April 2 1.10pm Foxtel

This looks like an easy game for the Cats after a big win in the west against Freo; the Roos lost to the travelling team from the west on the same day; the only problem here is that teams coming back from a trip Perth to play on the east coast in R2 have tended to underperform; as well as that, the Roos get back Cunnington into a midfield which struggled against the crack Eagles mids last week; Cats by 14
Post Match Review: Cats were tipped by 14 points and won by 1; analysis was pretty good overall; the positive was the Cats should NOT be considered to be total certs; the end result proves that – plus the fact that the Cats were 31 points down a minute before 3QT; the big late withdrawal was Goldie for the Roos – replaced by Preuss; several players copped knocks from each side; the poor part of the analysis was the call of HIGH variance; with the Roos being over 4 goals up at QT and 3QT; a goal up at HT and then losing in the last 2 minutes; Roos fans are still trying to figure out how they lost it! Higgins played his best game in ages and was unfortunate not to get his team over the line; Danger and Selwood were excellent late in the contest; the “trip back from Perth” factor may have been significant; the other thing is to work out just how good the Geelong R1 win over Freo was; Cunnington coming back was a help for the Roos; it was noted that the Roos butchered shots at goal in R1 vs Eagles and could have been further in front in that game – then got totally overrun.


MELB v CARL MCG – Vic Sunday April 2 3.20pm Channel 7

The Dees had a great R1 win last year over the Giants and then lost to the depleted Bombers team in R2; it cost them dearly; history has repeated itself with the Dees scoring a minor upset again in R1 (vs Saints this time); this was such a kick in the guts for the Dees that there is no way that they will repeat the drama; on top of that, the Blues have an unhelpful 10 day break between rounds 1 & 2 (too long); they lose Vince (suspended) and Smith, but regain Tyson.
The Blues go in unchanged after a 43 point loss – unusual; they are doing a huge rebuild and should have no hope; they beat the Dees in R22 – after the Dees had backed up their great win over Hawthorn with a thumping of Port.  this time the Dees will be primed; Dees by 55 points and CERTS OF THE WEEK
Post Match Review: Dees were tipped by 55 points and won by 22; analysis was poor; the Dees made awfully hard work of the win – even though they eventually won by almost 4 goals; also the variance call was incorrect – with the game trend being EXTREME – with the Dees leading by 4 goals – then going over a goal down; then winning by almost 4 goals at the end; the Blues had several players who copped knocks – the worst being Cripps with a hairline fracture of the jaw – but all these players managed to supply decent SC numbers; it could be argued that maybe the knocks helped the Dees overrun the Blues; the Daisy Thomas mark was a ripper! The Blues had beaten the Dees 9 out of the last ten; was that what made the Dees a bit “tight”? Was it a letdown after beating the Saints in R1 for the first time for over a decade?  The Dees lose Hogan and Lewis due to suspension from this game.


PORT v FREO Adelaide Oval – SA Sunday April 2 4.40pm Foxtel  PORT   35  HIGH

How good is Port and how bad the Dockers?  Looking above at the comments on the Dees game, Port is in a similar situation now to the Dees in 2016 – a big upset win R1 and now heavily favoured R2; the question is: do you believe the form?  The answer will be “yes” this time.  Port seemed to play like they have amended their game plan and will be expected to continue their good form; Paddy Ryder in the ruck seems to have helped – with Lobbe struggling last year; Wingard has had a good pre-season and the team looks to have somewhat pulled out of their post prelim 2014 slump; but it is early days and time will tell.
Coach Ross Lyon took responsibility for letting the Cats get away with a few easy things last week; his team will need to improve dramatically to win this time; they possibly can do it, but highly unlikely; he has selected the same 22 this week (like the Blues).
Port certs (just) and tipped by 30 points.
Post Match Review: Port was tipped by 30 points and won by 89; analysis was absolutely miles off, but at least the CERT call on Port was correct; this game was cooked half way through the 1Q; Port look a lot better this year, while Ross Lyon was talking about making changes after the loss; with such a huge win, the variance was yet another EXTREME one; the problem about Port was that their R1 form was believed, but not enough; the reverse was true for the Dockers; they were even worse than their R1 effort


CERTS: Dees, then Giants and Port (all correct)

50/50 (where the experts have got it wrong): Richmond to win (correct); Lions to win or to lose by less than 13 points (incorrect); Roos to win or to lose by less than 26 points (correct); Dees to win by over 32 points (incorrect)

Happy tipping; some favourites may be a bit shaky this weekend – but expect less upsets than the amazing R1

Round 1 & 2 musings – by Penny Dredfell
A couple of things to note from round 1: the JLT round 3 matches were played at varying levels of intensity.  The “real fair dinkum one”, according to the experts, was Swans / Saints.  They thought that this game was played like round 1 type stress levels.  Many viewed it as a positive at the time.  Come round 1, both teams fell away mid game after leading at quarter time.  It is often seen DURING a season that 2 combatants both do terribly after playing each other.  This match is often a special match – team 4 plays team 5 and the winner is well placed for the double chance, for example; they are often flat the following week and then both improve dramatically the week after.  In this instance, I am adopting a “wait and see” approach; both teams here (Swans and Saints) face difficult challenges; the Swans (minus a few top players) fly for the grand final replay and the Saints fly west to play the Eagles; the Saints interstate record is poor recently and they are trying new things this time, according to the SEN website; all I will say at present is that I would be more confident about the Saints having some sort of chance if the Swans win or are highly competitive versus the Dogs

The other thing to note is watching outsiders come from behind to win; when you have an outsider in the range of 1 – 5 goals, a trend often appears that leads to them winning.  The trend is this: the favoured team begins well and leads at the first change; the outsider makes it move in the second term and leads narrowly at half time; everyone expects the favourite to win, but the outsider pulls away in the third term and then wins by over 3 goals; the Dees fit into this pattern perfectly for their round 1 effort; Port sort of fits in as well, but the first half score lines were a bit chaotic; the Crows scoring trend perfectly fits the pattern – being 2 goals down at quarter time and then a goal up at half time; they then romped away in the second half; I will put more research into this trend in the future; but for now I will note: when this happened in round 20, 2013 (Pies overrunning the Swans in Sydney), the Swans performed as expected in round 21 and their best quarter was the third; the Pies slightly underperformed in round 21 and their WORST term was term 3.

The Bombers played against Hawthorn a bit like the Crows in their first ever game in 1991 – 100 years of waiting all exploded into a huge performance; they lost the following week to Carlton; it was too hard to back up the effort of the first game; I am wondering how the Bombers will go in R2; don’t tip them as certs

Teams that play round 1 in Perth as travellers have a poor record recently the following week; the Cats whopped Freo last weekend and are highly favoured to beat the Roos; I would resist the urge to tip them as complete certs

I will not make any definite tips just yet for 2017


Round 3, 2017
All times are Eastern

Round 2 review: Super Tipping: 9 out of 9 (perfect) plus bonus of 2 = 11 for a total of 15 and ranking improved from 19,649 to 5,620 39,392
Certs: 3 out of 3 – with the Giants, Dees and Port all winning; streak back up to 3 and ranked 9,607th (bottom 61%, but it is early days)
50/50: 2 out of 4  for a total of 3 out of 10 and 30% (still very poor – above 50% is good)Early thoughts for round 3: certs appear to the Saints and Bombers; otherwise, a very tricky week; other games – early tips for Swans, Giants, Eagles, Cats, Crows, Dogs and Hawks



Round 3 Venue Day Date Time Television Tip Margin Variance
SYD v COLL   SCG Fri April 7 7.50pm Channel 7  SYD  15  EXTREME
NMFC v GWS    Blundstone Arena Tas Sat April 8 1.45pm Foxtel  GWS  32  HIGH
RICH v WCE   MCG – Vic Sat April 8 2.10pm Foxtel  WCE  12  HIGH
GEE v MELB    Etihad Stadium -Vic Sat April 8 4.35pm Foxtel  GEEL  10  EXTREME
PORT v ADEL Adelaide Oval – SA Sat April 8 7.40pm Foxtel  ADEL  4  HIGH
FREO v WBD Domain Stadium- WA Sat April 8 7.40pm Channel 7  WBD  14  HIGH
STK v BRIS Etihad Stadium -Vic Sun April 9 1.10pm Foxtel  STK  40  HIGH
CARL v ESS MCG – Vic Sun April 9 3.20pm Channel 7  ESS  43  HIGH
GCS v HAW Metricon – Qld Sun April 9 4.40pm Foxtel  HAW  12  EXTREME




SYD v COLL   SCG Fri April 7 7.50pm Channel 7

These teams haven’t played since R1 2016 when the Swans belted the Pies by 80 points at this venue; while the Pies recovered for a thrilling win the next week over the Tigers, their season never really looked convincing and eventually finished 12th. The Swans would be looking down the barrel a bit with a loss – they have a R4 Thursday night game against the Eagles in Perth; the Pies follow up with games against the Saints and Bombers; they would fancy themselves in these games if they can break their duck as underdogs in Sydney; the Swans have been slow starters in some recent years (after being pedestrian in the pre-season games) but their R3 performances have been very good; both sides have had a few injuries to cope with and have played players who had slightly interrupted  pre-seasons; so all this evens out a bit, but the Swans are higher rated and with the home ground advantage; Treloar avoided contact in Wednesday’s training session; Aish is the Pies’ travelling emergency; while Hannabery for the Swans has been underperforming; Sinclair comes in to replace the injured Tippett, but Sinclair himself has struggled with injury in the pre-season and did NOT play NEAFL last week;  Swans by 15 points, but doubts on both teams make this an EXTREME VARIANCE game
Post Match Review: Swans were tipped by 15 points but the Pies won by a point; analysis was fair; some were going for the Swans as absolute certs – after all, they were at home after playing the GF last year and were against the winless Pies; but the Pies were not that bad and were highly competitive in both games against reasonable opposition.  Positives for the Pies were that Treloar was okay and excelled; they tackled well and led for most of the game; Schade shaded Franklin and kept him goalless for his 250th; Hannebery found form this week for the Swans; the Swans played a first-gamer and three second gamers; despite the Swans almost reeling in the Pies, Collingwood would have been unlucky to lose – having won the SC score 1762 to 1539


NMFC v GWS    Blundstone Arena – Tas Sat April 8 1.45pm Foxtel

This is the first of 5 consecutive road trips for the Giants (with 2 home games at Canberra in this time); their only other trip to Hobart was in their debut year when they lost to the Roos by 129 points; expect a different outcome this time.  Sam Durdin has been announced as the 1000th Shinboner as he debuts – replacing the suspended Scott Thompson; Daw and Brown both copped knocks last week and may be in some doubt; the Giants are unchanged – with Patton expected to come in ; the variance has been labelled as HIGH – not expecting and end result to be way out of kilter, but there is the possibility of some chaotic scoring trends mid game; in R3 of 2013, the Roos played in Hobart the week after throwing away a 40 plus lead against the Cats; it’s “Danger Voo” as they go to Tassie again in R3 to play a top NSW team; back in 2013, the Roos hopped out to a 14 point lead at HT before getting blown away 11 goals to 1 in 3Q before “winning” the final term 5 goals to 4; watch out for the possibility of a similar pattern this time.  The Roos also have the Good Friday home game against the Dogs; there will be a huge build-up for this from the club as a whole and this may prove a slight negative for the team; Giants by 32 points and certs
Post Match Review: Giants were tipped by 32 points and won by 42; analysis was pretty good and they were correctly tipped as certs; in the end, bit the variance call and the game trend was predicted reasonably well – with the scores close in 1H and then GWS drawing away after HT; both teams late late withdrawals – Clarke came in for Daw for the Roos; and Giant Corr coming in for Buntine; nothing significant in that; there was news about the Roos offering Giant Kelly a $9m 9 year deal; he played extremely well with 110 SC points; Stevie J was off & sore late in the game, while Griffin copped a few knocks and was off in 2Q

RICH v WCE   MCG – Vic Sat April 8 2.10pm Foxtel

The Tigers need this to sure up their top 8 credentials; a win for the Eagles would mark them as a top 4 team; the Eagles next few games appear vital – they have the Swans at home and then the Hawks away; they are a good chance of being 5 zip by then, but none of the next three are gimmes; it helps them that the Tigers lose Edwards and Griffiths – and that Dusty may play somewhat restricted with his head injury; The Eagles have a Thursday night home game coming up against the Swans; there is a possibility that they may drop off late in the game is the result is not in doubt (whether winning or losing); it appears that the Eagles’ plan for the R3 & R4 games with the 5 day break is to go for broke against the Tigers and hope they are still fresh enough in 5 days’ time for the Swans (who have a 6 day break); Eagles by 12 points
Post Match Review: Eagles were tipped by 12 points but the Tigers won by 11; analysis was not that great
I must not tip the Eagles at the MCG
I must not tip the Eagles at the MCG
I must not tip the Eagles at the MCG
I must not tip the Eagles at the MCG
Dusty was considered in some doubt but played and starred for the Tigers; they lost Vlaustin in 3Q, whil ethe Eagles copped a few knocks but they all played on; the Eagles did not handle the rain when it came; the Tigers have passed every test so far! They have improved


GEE v MELB    Etihad Stadium -Vic Sat April 8 4.35pm Foxtel

The Cats fell over the line last weekend and their is a slight risk that they could be flat after such an emotional win (a la 2012 – played R1 in WA; had an emotional win over the Hawks in R2, then lost to the Roos in R3 – but they generally struggle after playing the Hawks anyway); but, on the flip side, they were coming back from Perth after a R1 win; the trip back from Perth to play R2 on the east coast has been a tough task for many; so they may be better off this week – having stayed at home; the Dees have shot themselves in the foot with suspensions recently; they got away without Vince last weekend and he returns; but now they lose both Lewis and Hogan (all three have 5 letter names!); the Cats have been very hot and cold in patches, while the Dees’ depth of top end talent is being tested with these suspensions; it makes it an EXTREME variance game; a really good test for the Dees, but they can drop this one and still be in the hunt after a 2-0 start; Carts by 10 pointsPost Match Review: Cats were tipped by 10 points and won by 29; analysis was fair; they managed this margin on the back of accurate kicking and the injury to Gawn helped; the Dees won the SC scores 1674 to 1627 and could’ve been further in front (led 15 points in 3Q) but somewhat kicked themselves out of it and the Cats took their chances; Parfitt looks a find for the Cats

PORT v ADEL Adelaide Oval – SA Sat April 8 7.40pm Foxtel

These teams play their first eve Showdown while 1 and 2 on the ladder (albeit only in R3); the form of both teams has somewhat surprised; before the start of the season, many might have tipped both teams to be 0-2 leading into the game; the press is reporting that Robbie Gray is in doubt with groin soreness; he admits to having the problem over summer, but insists he is over that now; the 6 day break will not help if it is an issue; we will get a better read on Port once they have played this game and then the Giants in Canberra; the temptation to tip Port outright has been quelled by the injury to Hombsch and the non-selection of Pittard (who was expected back from injury this week); the Crows have looked good, but may have caught the Giants and Hawks at a “good time”.  Pity it’s not the Channel 7 game (unless they make a late change); Crows by 4 points
Post Match Review: Crows was tipped by 4 points and won by 17; analysis was fair; as above, the out of Hombsch and the non-return of  Pittard was a minus for Port’s chances; this was a great game to watch and the Crows just keep rolling on – despite losing McGovern

FREO v WBD Domain Stadium – WA Sat April 8 7.40pm Channel 7

The last time the Dogs lost a game was against the Dockers in Perth R23 last season; back then, a win (in retrospect) wasn’t that critical; this time, they look like they are on their way to a 5-0 start (playing the Roos and Lions in Vic before a prelim rematch against the Giants); the heat is on the Dockers big time now and they would be expected to show something; the most likely outcome would be a much more competitive loss; given that the Dogs just came off their first unfurling in 62 years and they have the BIG Friday night game coming up, the Dockers would be expected to finish well; the Dockers have made 6 changes and going a bit more inexperienced; the ins – Logue 29 disposals in WAFL last week; Sheridan 25 poss; Balic 29 were the best from last week; in reality, the Dogs would be content to walk away with the 4 point – even if the win was unimpressive; dogs by 14 points and not certs
Post Match Review: Dogs were tipped by 14 points but Freo won by 16; analysis was reasonable – most pleasing was that the Dogs weren’t tipped as certs; it seems that the Dogs were a bit flat in between their two big matches; but, also, they probably thought that they had done enough at 3QT and went into 4Q in management mode; but Fyfe (helped by Stephen Hill) played a quarter similar to Kouta in the 1999 prelim 4Q and got the Dockers over the line; the Dogs were slightly restricted – with Picken gone early and Tom Boyd playing on after getting a knock

STK v BRIS Etihad Stadium -Vic Sun April 9 1.10pm Foxtel

The Lions haven’t beaten the Saints at the Docklands since 2000; nothing should change here; the Lions did win on the road against the Saints in 2014, but that was in Wellington NZ; the Saints simply MUST win this one to stay in touch; then follows tough but winnable games against the Pies and Cats; they should have finished closer to the Eagles than they did last weekend; some may think that that contest could’ve flattened them; but it is likely to have given them some confidence after a absolute shocker the previous week against the Dees; the Lions were good in R1 to score an upset win and then okay in patches last week; as per Penny below, there is a chance that they could come down with a thud this time; Riewoldt is a surprise inclusion for the Saints and has declared himself a certain starter; his leadership should help the Saints – even if he is not at his top; teams that lose in the West to the Eagles when they think they maybe should have won can tend to struggle the following week in the final term; Saints by 40 points and certs
Post Match Review: Saints were tipped by 40 points and won by 31; analysis was reasonably good; Riewoldt came in and absolutely starred; Montagna was excellent in his second game back; the Lions were competitive in a game in which they may have been totally smashed in 2016 and Martin is back to his 2015 form.

CARL v ESS MCG – Vic Sun April 9 3.20pm Channel 7

See Penny’s comments below; adding to her ideas, it is noted that the Bombers – pre drama days – were an excellent early season form team, so they will be labelled as certs in this contest; the Blues have quite a few players sore form last weekend; the AFL website on Friday says that Rowe and Cripps will be given every chance to prove their fitness; they may play less than 100% or be late withdrawals – either way, it’s enough to tip the Bombers as certs; it is expected that Essendon’s early season bubble may burst at some stage, but probably not just yet; their players back from the year off are holding up okay; Bombers by 43 points and CERTS
Post Match Review: Dons were tipped by 43 points but the Blues won by 15; analysis was AWFUL; the Blues played better wet weather footy, while the  Bombers were often looking for the cheap kick over the top; Murphy’s revival has been outstanding in 2017 and he kicked a wonderful goal of the day; Palmer was a late inclusion for Charlie Curnow; this was a very poor tip and the assumption that the Bombers would be still “up” early in the season was incorrect. 

GCS v HAW Metricon – Qld Sun April 9 4.40pm Foxtel

The Suns have never beaten the Hawks – with the last three contests all taking place in Launceston; this is the first time in the Suns’ more mature era that they have a chance to play the Hawks at home; given that the Hawks have shown their vulnerability – and have some injuries, the Suns would see this as their best ever opportunity to break their duck; the Hawks will be desperate to record their first win – first time since 2009 (after winning the 2008 flag) that they have begun a season 0-2; but they lose Birchall, while Smith and Shiels both copped knocks last week, but have recovered well, according to the club; still, it is a danger game and uncertainties about both clubs makes this an EXTREME variance game; Hawks by 12 points but not certs
Post Match Review: Hawks were tipped by 12 points but Suns won by 86; analysis was MIIILES off, but there were some positives; the BIG positive was that the Hawks were NOT tipped as certs; in retrospect, it appears that the Hawks were really up for the R2 Crows game and then were flat in R3; as mentioned above, the Suns saw this as their BIG chance to beat the Hawks; exactly how they managed to win by 86 points is a mystery


CERTS: Saints (correct), then Bombers (incorrect) and Giants (correct)

50/50 (where the experts have got it wrong): Dockers to win or to lose by less than 29 points (correct); Saints to win by more than 36 points(incorrect); Bombers to win by more than 31 points (incorrect)

Happy tipping; this is not as easy as it looks (very correct)


Round 3 thoughts – by Penny Dredfell
Reviewing my thoughts on round 2: not much to report – as I was non-committal on the whole; but pleased to warn people away from tipping the Cats as total certs; sure, they got there in the end, but the stress wasn’t really worth it.  

A couple of things to note for round 3: teams that come from well back the previous year and exceed expectations for the early weeks usually hold their form well for the first 5 – 6 weeks; this is true for Port so far; I was quite keen on them to be highly competitive in the Showdown; however, my enthusiasm has been tempered by the injury to Hombsch and some query on the fitness of Robbie Gray; I still give Port a big chance, but not as bullish as I was on Monday.

At the start of the season, the race for the spoon was between the Blues and Lions – according to all the experts; since then, the Dockers and Suns have thrust their names in front of the tipsters (so to speak) with some bad losses.  So the pressure is really on the Suns and Dockers early; I expect them both to be better this weekend.  But the pressure is right OFF the Blues and Lions; both had respectable losses on the weekend; therefore I reckon that they will both underperform this weekend; they are both significant outsiders anyway, but I expect them both to lose by 6 goals or more.



Round 4, 2017
All times are Eastern

Round 3 review: Super Tipping: 4 out of 9 (back to earth with a thud) for a total of 19 (including a bonus of 2) and ranking dropped from 5,620 to a respectable 6,291
Certs: 2 out of 3 – with the Giants and Saints winning; but the Bombers bombed to totally wipe out the streak, but ranking improved from 9,607 to 5,914 (top 34%) – maybe because so many people crashed to earth and this streak went to 5 before burning
50/50: 1 out of 3  for a total of 4 out of 13 and 30% (still very poor – above 50% is good)

Early thoughts for round 4: certs appear to the Giants, Dees and Crows; otherwise, a difficult week with more time needed to assess things; other games – early tips for Eagles, Dogs, Blues (toss-up), Saints (toss-up), Tigers and Cats; PLEASE NOTE: FIRST GAME STARTS THURSDAY EVENING


Round 4 Venue Day Date Time Television Tip Margin Variance
WCE v SYD Domain Stadium – WA Thursday April 13 8.10pm Foxtel  WCE  31  EXTREME
NMFC v WBD Etihad Stadium -Vic Friday April 14 4.20pm Channel 7  WBD  19  EXTREME
MELB v FREO MCG – Vic Saturday April 15 1.45pm Foxtel  MELB  26  HIGH
GWS v PORT Manuka Oval – ACT Saturday April 15 4.35pm Foxtel  GWS  38  HIGH
CARL v GCS Etihad Stadium -Vic Saturday April 15 7.25pm Foxtel  GCS  4  EXTREME
ADEL v ESS Adelaide Oval – SA Saturday April 15 7.40pm Channel 7  ADEL  27  HIGH
COLL v STK Etihad Stadium -Vic Sunday April 16 3.20pm Channel 7  STK  3  HIGH
BRIS v RICH The Gabba – QLD Sunday April 16 4.40pm Foxtel  RICH  16  HIGH
HAW v GEEL MCG – Vic Monday April 17 3.20pm Channel 7  GEEL  17  EXTREME


WCE v SYD Domain Stadium – WA Thursday April 13 8.10pm Foxtel

The Eagles are coming off a 5 day break in the wet at the MCG; Sydney have the “luxury” of the extra day’s rest; given the sort breaks, the importance of the contest and the doubts over the fitness of several players, this will be labelled as an EXTREME variance game; the Eagles have brought in Duggan and Butler – both of whom were rested last week; Darling is a possible late withdrawal – likely to have a late fitness test; the Swans have lost Naismith (injured) and Sinclair is their main ruck; but he has only played 1 game off an interrupted pre-season; ins for the Swans – Cunningham played NEAFL last week while Papley hasn’t played anywhere yet!  This is a big minus for the Swans; on this basis, the Eagles will be tipped by 31 points and certs
Post Match Review: Eagles were tipped by 31 points and won by 26; analysis was very good and the Eagles were correctly tipped as certs – despite being only a goal up early in 4Q; the Swans were up against it with all their injuries – and somewhat underdone players in the team; this more than offset the extra day’s rest; McGovern went forward and booted 2 for the Eagles; Buddy appeared restricted for Sydney after a corkie in Q1; Darling was a late withdrawal for the Eagles – replaced by Schofield; the EXTREME call was wrong, however

NMFC v WBD Etihad Stadium -Vic Friday April 14 4.20pm Channel 7

The Dogs come back from Perth on a 6 day break, while the Roos also have a 6 day break back from Hobart; both teams underperformed in the week before this high profile game. The Dogs were the more disappointing – and appeared caught off guard by Freo’s dare and run; and, of course, the Dogs had a big GF replay the week before
Post Match Review: Dogs were tipped by 19 points and won by 3; analysis was just fair; although the experts were slightly more bullish – generally going for the reigning premiers by 4 goals or so; the EXTREME variance call was correct – with the Roos leading by 29 points in 3Q before losing the match (they have done this type of thing twice already in 2017); although the Dogs might have “pinched it”, they would have been stiff to lose – after Tom Boyd going out of the game early and then Cloke getting injured late.

MELB v FREO MCG – Vic Saturday April 15 1.45pm Foxtel

The Dockers hit back hard last week – with an impressive start and 4Q; and they face a Gawn-less Melbourne team; the Dees should be able to do enough to win on their home turf with a second string ruck combination; the Dockers probably caught the Dogs at a good time – between 2 HUGE games for the Dogs – so the Dees look to be a reasonably safe pick
Post Match Review: Dees were tipped by 26 points but the Dockers won by 2; analysis was very poor; it was assumed that the Dees would be able to cope with the Dockers – despite missing Gawn, Lewis and Hogan; but they were blown away in 3Q and failed in their 4Q comeback; this game was an EXTREME variance game – with the Dees being 21 points up at HT and then 22 points down at 3QT and then hitting the lead late in the game (and then losing)

GWS v PORT Manuka Oval – ACT Saturday April 15 4.35pm Foxtel

After 2 impressive wins to start the year, the Power were gallant in defeat last week without Hombsch and Pittard (the latter coming back from injury via the SANFL); this will be at least as tough a test for them; one small positive for them is that the Giants are on the road for the 2nd week in a row; but, given that it is early season and with a 7 day break, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem; the Giants have a longer injury list, but should have the depth to cover their “outs”; Ryder is our suspended for Port, but the logical replacement – Lobbe – has just done a hammie; this means that Mummy should dominate in the ruck
Post Match Review: Giants were tipped by 38 points and won by 31; analysis was pretty good – although it took the Giants almost all day to break the opposition

CARL v GCS Etihad Stadium -Vic Saturday April 15 7.25pm Foxtel

This is a tough one – with both teams having big upset wins last week; it’s all a question of how they come up after such wins; the Suns have struggled following first ever wins against big clubs; the Blues had an emotional win over the Bombers in the wet (really wet) last SundayPost Match Review: Suns were tipped by 4 points and won by 26; analysis was reasonable; the best thing was that the right team was tipped; the variance was correctl labelled as EXTREME – with the Suns going from behind in 3Q to being over 7 goals up early in 4Q

ADEL v ESS Adelaide Oval – SA Saturday April 15 7.40pm Channel 7

This looks like an easy kill for the all-conquering (so far) Crows; and the Bombers will now be written off as a threat after their loss to the Blues; the concern about the Crows is that they now have a few matches which look easy – this one, then a trip to play the Suns, then a home game against the Tigers (who, thought undefeated, will be significant outsiders against the Crows in Adelaide); and, given the fact that the Showdown was such a big game, the Crows could be off their game a tad this week; conversely, can the Bombers hit back? Or have they gone into a down period – which everyone expected at some stage – due to the number of players returning from a year off;
Match Review: Crows were tipped by 27 points and won by 65; analysis was quite poor in this instance; it was assumned that the Bombers would show something after their poor showing the previous week; but they were gone at QT!

COLL v STK Etihad Stadium -Vic Sunday April 16 3.20pm Channel 7

The Pies were more impressive than St Kilda last weekend; the Saints picked up a “must win” game last weekend, whereas the Pies weren’t really expected to win; the Saints website talks about (Jack) Steven and Armitage as possible inclusions this week – and that they trained strongly earlier in the week, but need to pass a fitness test Thursday morning
Match Review: Saints were tipped by 3 points and won by 14; analysis was pretty good, given that most tipped the Pies; Jack Steven (above) was kept back for 1 more week, wile Armitage played and came off injured late in the contest; Pendles was on the pine for 14 mins in 3Q and this caused some furor; but Terry Wallace revealed on SEN Monday that some Pies may have had the flu; perhaps this explains the loss, but it is only guess work; Blair was a late in for Phillips (seen as a negative), but he did okay; Magpie Elliott (first game since 2015) and Saint debutante Long both scored low numbers


BRIS v RICH The Gabba – QLD Sunday April 16 4.40pm Foxtel

The Lions have been a bit better than expected so far this year; having Beams (Dayne) back in has helped a lot; the Tigers have been HEAPS better than everyone expected Match Review: Tigers were tipped by 16 points and won by 52; analysis was fair at best; but the correct team was tipped; the Tigers had this won early 2Q when a spurt of goals put them >40 pts up; they only won the SC score by 34 pts – because they played a direct type of game; the Lions were hurt by losing Cutler early, while Cox on debut scored 37 SC pts (much lower the Rockliff’s massive 176!); the experts have all been underestimating the Tigers, but it is worth noting that they picked up Neil Balme and Blake Caracella in the off-season; and the head coach Hardwick seems to be trusting the team to play their own game more


HAW v GEEL MCG – Vic Monday April 17 3.20pm Channel 7

Based on last week’s form, this will be very one-sided; however, the Hawks will surely hit back to some degree after having such an absolute shocker Match Review: Cats were tipped by 17 points and won by 86; analysis was mixed!  A long way off the margin, but the right team was tipped – and some tipped the Hawks on the back of a huge upswing following a shocker; the positive was the EXTREME variance call (true given that the Cats were generally tipped by 3 goals); the reason for the second huge loss – the Hawks are gone and seemed to have lost confidence; there may be unrest at the club in some way and the Hawks will be put in the “not to be tipped” basket in the short term; meanwhile, things went the Cats way today; they lost control of the game briefly after half time; the Hawks of 2013-2015 would have scored about 6 goals in this period, but today’s Hawks butchered the ball and missed easy shots; Vickery was a late withdrawal – replaced by Sicily; Sicily did quite well and this was a small plus for the Hawks


CERTS: Eagles (correct), Dees (incorrect) and GWS (correct)

50/50 (where the experts have got it wrong): Eagles to win by more than 23 points (correct); Giants by more than 28 points (correct) 

Happy tipping; some tough ones to pick this week, but at least we KNOW this time that it is hard! 


Round 4 thoughts – by Penny Dredfell
Reviewing my thoughts on round 3: YUCK!!! Awful start to the year; I should have ignored Carlton (exceeded expectations) and the Lions (about on par) and gone with both “under the pump” teams in the Suns and Dockers to exceed expectations; they both did so by big margins!

This week, not much stands out; I was thinking of nominating both teams that played against the Dockers and Suns (Dogs and Hawks respectively) to exceed expectations; but I am a bit concerned about the Hawks having to wait 8 days to play; it’s a long wait for redemption; so I will just keep a watch on that outcome and go for another result.

The Crows and Port had a monster Showdown and it was a great game. Twas the first time that they were 1 and 2 on the ladder; I expect Port to underperform this weekend (they often do after Showdowns anyway) but also the Crows to do worse than expected.  I have some small concern that the Bombers might, perhaps, have truly hit the wall – but it is more likely that their poor effort against Carlton was a blip; so I am going for the Giants to beat Port by over 4 goals and the Bombers to win or to get within 6 goals of Adelaide.


Round 5, 2017
All times are Eastern

Round 4 review: Super Tipping: 8 out of 9 (excellent) for a total of 27 (including a bonus of 2) and ranking improved from 6,291 to 3,019 of 40,426
Certs: 2 out of 3 – with the Giants and Eagles winning; but the Dees fell short by 2 points to wipe out the streak, (back to 1 after the Giants won), so ranking dropped from 5,914 to 7,312 (top 39%)

50/50: 2 out of 2  (with both Eagles and Giants winning by enough) for a total of 6 out of 15 and an improved 40% (still poor – above 50% is good)

Early thoughts for round 5: too many certs hard to find, but go early with Port and Dogs; other teams to be tipped at this stage are Crows, Giants, Dockers, Cats, Eagles, Tigers & Pies; GAUNTLET starts this week on the AFL website tipping page
Gauntlet tip this week is PORT, but the Dogs and Crows also look safe



Round 5 Venue Day Date Time TV Tip Margin Variance
PORT v CARL Adel Fri April 21 7.50pm CH 7 PORT 50 HIGH
WBD v BRIS Docklands Sat April 22 1.45pm Fxtl WBD 34 HIGH
GCS v ADEL Gld Cst Sat April 22 4.35pm Fxtl ADEL 26 HIGH
SYD v GWS SCG Sat April 22 7.25pm Fxtl GWS 12 HIGH
FREO v NMFC Subiaco Sat April 22 7.40pm CH 7 FREO 19 HIGH
STK v GEEL Docklands Sun April 23 3.20pm CH 7 GEEL 5 EXTREME
HAW v WCE MCG – Vic Sun April 23 4.40pm Fxtl WCE 26 HIGH
RICH v MELB MCG – Vic Mon April 24 7.25pm CH 7 RICH 9 EXTREME
ESS v COLL MCG – Vic Tues April 25 3.20pm CH 7 COLL 7 EXTREME


PORT v CARL Adel Fri April 21 7.50pm CH 7

Any early rain should clear for a fine night; Port is the hot favourite and will win comfortably; the Blues are coming off 2 x 6 day breaks (incl R3 in a wet slog vs Bombers – both teams underperformed in R4) and lose 2 players thru soreness (Thomas and Kreuzer), while Cripps will soldier on despite being sore; Port get a longer break of a couple of hours and played R3 about a day earlier; Ryder back in for Port is a big bonus; Phillips comes in to replace Kreuzer off a limited preparation and was just fair in the VFL last week; Port by 50 points and certs of the week
Match Review: Port was tipped by 50 points and won by 90; analysis was fairly good; the best of it was “certs of the week”; the Blues obviously struggled with some experience out; while the “sore” Cripps was one fo the Blues’ best; Ryder in for Port and Kreuzer out for the Blues was a bigger deal than anticipated; Robbie Gray is starring – despite rumours that his groin is a worry; Wingard is doing well on the back of a better pre-season in 2017; Aidyn Johnson made his debut – replacing the late withdrawal Hartlett – and kicked a goal with his first kick; scored 70 SC points; the Blues’ inexperienced players did not fare so well – with their first gamer Polson scoring 34 SC; Boak went off for Port in 3Q with a hammie, but the game was in the bag by then; apparently. Weitering was struggling with some sort of injury as well, while Murphy injured his knee early and scored his lowest SC score for the year of 69; Gibbs injured his thumb as well but managed to score a healthy 96 SC

WBD v BRIS Docklands Sat April 22 1.45pm Fxtl

The Dogs lost 2 big guys last week – Tom Boyd early and Cloke late, with Campbell struggling as well; Cloke is gone for > a month, but watch for news Friday on the other 2; Boyd may need to pass a concussion test, while Campbell will probably play but may not be 100% (no rucks named in emergencies); and this game falls between the BIG Good Friday game and a huge Friday night game against the GWS in Canberra; expect the Dogs to be slightly flat for this one; the Lions were blown away in 2Q and will also find this hard – but they should be competitive; Dogs by 34 points and certs
Match Review: Dogs were tipped by 34 points and won by 32; analysis was mixed; the margin tip was excellent; but the varinace was (and should have been tiped as) EXTREME – with the Dogs coming from 6 goals down to win by 5 approx; coach Beveridge saud that the Lions were efficient – they led 12:3 to 5:13 at HT after the Dogs blowing easy chances early in 1Q to be a long way up; the Dogs ended up winning the SC scores 1821 to 1480, so this equates to a big win (winning by 3:14 = 32 pts – perhaps could have been more); the CERT call was correct

GCS v ADEL Gld Cst Sat April 22 4.35pm Fxtl

The Suns lose May on top of not getting Thompson back in defence; while Swallow, Hall and Barlow all copped knocks last week and may not be 100%; Brooksby was elevated to the senior list, but is an emergency (maybe a late change?); Cameron went off injured last week, but the Crows medical staff say he’ll be okay; the lack of tall defencders is a huge minus for the Suns and this should be enough to make the Crows certs (just); showers should probably clear by game time; Crows by 26 points and just CERTS
Match Review: Crows were tipped by 26 points and won by 67; analysis was fair; the variance was EXTREME – with the Crows winning by about 40 points more than expected; so not to tip this was a negative; but the Cert call was correct; the Crows lost Talia early and Knight late; of the doubtful players above, only Swallow seemed to struggle; Brad Crouch into the team did well for the Crows – adding to their midfield depth.  Coach Eade described his players as reactive and would’ve liked them to take the game on more; it appears to be one those contests where the game got away very quickly and may not be such a good guide to each team’s form going forward (although the Crows’ previous weeks were similarly impressive); the Suns missing Thompson and May obviously hurt.

SYD v GWS SCG Sat April 22 7.25pm Fxtl

The Swans are gradually getting their best team back and gives them some chance of winning; there must be some query on how close to 100% their “INS” are – time will tell; Aliir has been dropped but may also be sore;  the Giants has Shaw and Shiel in the doubtful category but both seem to have progressed well; it was mentioned before that the Giants are travelling for 5 weeks in a row (with 2 home games at Canberra), but this “away” game is in Sydney; the Giants by 12 pointsMatch Review: Giants were tipped by 12 points and won by 42; analysis was not that great; the variance of the game trend was in the EXTREME range – wth the Swan kikcing the first 4 goals of the game and then the Giants booting the next 9; game over by then; in retrospect, the Swans had too many players underdone – Rohan, Papley, Tippett, Heeney and Kieran Jack had an absolute shocker – 35SC points; Shaw (92 SC points) and Shiel (75) were okay for players considered doubtful early in the week.


FREO v NMFC Subiaco Sat April 22 7.40pm CH 7

The Roos seemed to have their chances against the Dogs (with the Dogs having big man problems in the game) but couldn’t get the job done; expect the Dockers to keep the Roos winless this weekend and continue their new lease of life; chance of a thunderstorm and a breeze to deal with; Dockers by 19 points
Match Review: Dockers were tipped by 19 points and won by 5; analysis was fair; the Dockers were lucky to win this one; they trailed for over 100 minutes and the Roos had some injury concerns on the night – Goldstein, Ziebell, Brown – while Thomas scored only 12 SC points; Higgins was a late withdrawal – replaced by Hrovat who did well with 96 SC; the Dockers lost Stephen Hill late n the game with a hammie; Docker recruit Kersten began life as a Docker with a shocker against his old side but has won the locals over now with a great snap to clinch the game; the Roos are stiff to be 0-5



STK v GEEL Docklands Sun April 23 3.20pm CH 7 GEEL EXTREME

The Saints may (perhaps) have played a flu-restricted Pie team last week; nonetheless, they are on the improve; they lose Hickey to soreness (replaced by Longer – interesting to see how he goes); Jack Steven returns; Hickey has been rested and Longer comes in; Longer is possibly as good as Hickey, but it creates interest as to how well he will go; Cat Horlin-Smith as an IN but has to pass a fitness test – possibly Saturday; the Cats thrashed the Hawks last week; the merit of the win was difficult to assess; it makes this game an EXTREME variance game, but with the Saints being a big chance; Cats by 5 points
Match Review: Cats were tipped by 5 points and won by 38; analysis was mixed; the correct team was tipped (+); the variance call looked to be wrong but then the Cats went from over 2 goals down in 3Q to a 38-point win; the Longer stint (while Hickey was sore) didn’t work as well as hoped for the Saints; he was double-teams by Smith and Blicavs (31 and 12 hit-outs and 87 & 104 SC points) while Longer rucked alone for 56 SC points with Bruce registering a lone hit-out as his only back-up; and Longer was a little bit sore late; this may explain why the Cats were dominant late; then there was Joel Selwood – who almost got leather poisoning (43 poss; 154 Sc points); Black played his debut game for Geelong and scored 101 SC points; Gresham only scored 22 SC points



HAW v WCE MCG – Vic Sun April 23 4.40pm Fxtl

The Hawks were front and centre on free to air TV last Monday; based on that form, they have no hope; there is a rumour that some players were told that they could take a pay cut some years ago – to keep the premiership team together – and then they would get a decent increase once the senior players left; now it seems that this extra money went into getting the other Mitchell, O’Meara (who has already missed 2 games with injury – R4 & 5) and Vickery (who is doen on form and injured as well; it all makes for a “not happy Jan” type workplace if this is true; and they are playing like this is true!! The Eagles have been poor for some time on the MCG, but they will see this as their big chance to turn their recent poor record around; and their last effort against Richmond at the G (where they didn’t handle the wet conditions too well when they came) was good enough to win this weekend; maybe sme rainfall, but unlikely to be a major factor; Eagles by 26 pointsMatch Review: Eagles were tipped by 26 points but the Hawks won by 50; analysis was awful; the Eafles really have a mental thing with the MCG (and playing the Hawks at the MCG) recently; they have now lost 3 games in a row against the Hawks on the MCG by 7 goals or more; not helping them was the late withdrawal of Giles – which led to McEvoy scoring 117 SC in the ruck for the Hawks + 43 hit-outs; while Vardy had to ruck for the Eagles with 27 hit-outsd and a mere 44 sc points; Cyril played more midfield for the Hawks and this move worked; the Eagles lost Cripps (scored 79 SC) and Nelson (91 SC), while Gaff (a low 79 SC for him) was reported to have an ankle problem in the Tuesday April 25 injury list and Sheppard (scored 42) appeared in the same list with a knee issue

RICH v MELB MCG – Vic Mon April 24 7.25pm CH 7

No teams announced yet, but the early tip is Tigers by 9 points;
Friday morning stuff: Dees say Hogan and Hibberd are in, with Weidemann (corkie) likely to be out; Dusty will be tested for a groin – Sat/ Sun according to Blake Caracella; it hard to know if the Tigers will keep rolling on or the Dees can return to top form; doubts about how each team will front up and the feeling that one team could make it a blow-out make this an EXTREME variance game. A chance of showers
Match Review: Tigers were tipped by 9 points and won by 13; analysis was dubious; on face value, the tip looked almost perfect; Tiger fans will feel pleased that they were able to overrun the Dees; but the injuries to Melbourne players had a significant impact on the team’s ability to run out the game; the Dees lost Spencer and Tim Smith in 1H (with Gawn already out injured); Petracca copped a knock early and was hampered; Viney, Vince and Jones all appeared to be hampered in some way; for the Tigers, Dusty was under a cloud but played better as the night unfolded; spare a thought for Jack; he tipped both the Roos and Dees as outsiders; both probably should have won; now he is 2 down in the tipping!


ESS v COLL MCG – Vic Tues April 25 3.20pm CH 7

Again, no teams announced, but the Pies by 7 points in an EXTREME variance game and one to be avoided when it comes to tipping certs
Ben McNiece has been elevated from the rookie list and may play for the Dons; the Pies may get Wells back, but could be a bit underdone; there was the story about them having the flu last week (to some extent); if so, the long break may be good for them; it should also suit the Bombers – after coach Worsfold said some of his players ran out of gas last week; teams will be announced late Saturday probably; it might be quite wet on ANZAC Day! Watch for the forecast; the ground could be chopped up a bit
Match Review: Pies were tipped by 7 points but the Bombers won by 18; analysis was not that great; at least the Pies were not tipped as certs; the swing towards them on Mon / Tues was huge and many people would have blown their “streak” on the Pies

CERTS: Port (correct), Dogs (correct) and Crows (correct)

50/50 (where the experts have got it wrong): Dockers to win by more than 15 points (incorrect); Eagles to win by more than 21 points  (incorrect)

Happy tipping; things get tougher as the weekend progresses


Round 5 thoughts – by Penny Dredfell
Reviewing my thoughts on round 4: OUCH!!! a REALLY Awful start to the year; the Bombers let me down big time, but the Giants eventually did the right thing by me; the Bombers were out of gas apparently, they should remain on the EXTREME variance list for a while now; I would be tempted to tip them to win this week, but too many risks abound with them.

I will talk about the Hawks this week – isn’t everyone?  They play the Eagles at the MCG; the Eagles poor recent record there has been noted; they had a respectable loss to the Tigers there 2 weeks ago; last year they just beat the Blues there, lost to the Pies and Hawks; the Hawks R2 loss was particularly galling – given that they were favourites (for unknown reasons) and that it was the grand final revenge match; they went down by 46 points – exact same margin as the Grand Final; this really stung; when this happens, the team that was “stung bad” usually exceeds expectations and starts very well; in R22 last year, the Eagles beat the Hawks at Subi – outscoring then 5 goals to 2 in the first term and 4 goals to 2 in the second; they lost the second half by 7 points (an inaccurate 4:10 to 6:5) but the game always looked safe; I reckon that the Eagles are still burning about losses to the Hawks at the MCG; this will fire them up – and (the non-playing) Sam Mitchell’s info on the Hawks will be of great help; as for the Hawks, they are like a share that everyone is dumping; they will be “value” eventually, but the likelihood in the short term is that they may continue to underperform; I am tipping the Eagles to lead at every change and win by over 5 goals



Round 6, 2017
All times are Eastern

Round 5 review: Super Tipping: 7 out of 9 (fair) for a total of 34 (including a bonus of 2) and ranking dropped from 3,019 to 3,259 of 40,715 (7 was okay but some will have tipped 9 and got the bonus 2 points)
Certs: 3 out of 3 – with Port, the Dogs and Crows all winning); streak up to a modest 4; ranking dropped from 7,312 to 8,820 (top 44%)

50/50: 0 out of 2  (with Eagles not winning at all and Dockers not winning by enough) for a total of 6 out of 17 and a dreary 35% (still poor – above 50% is good)

Early thoughts for round 6: this looks a tough round to pick; early certs appear to be the Cats and Crows (late in the weekend); others to be tipped at this stage are Giants, Swans, Port, North, Eagles and Dees
The Hawks / Saints is virtually 50/50

GAUNTLET continues; week 5 tip PORT won
Gauntlet tip this week is TBD – likely to be Cats or Crows

Round 6 Venue Day Date Time TV Tip Margin Variance
GWS v WBD Canberra Fri Apr28 7.50pm CH 7  GWS  22  EXTREME
HAW v STK Launceston Sat Apr29 1.45pm Fxtl  HAW  1  EXTREME
CARL v SYD MCG Sat Apr29 2.10pm Fxtl  SYD  19  EXTREME
BRIS v PORT The Gabba – QLD Sat Apr29 4.35pm Fxtl  PORT  13  HIGH
NMFC v GCS Docklands Sat Apr29 7.25pm CH 7  GCS  1  EXTREME
WCE v FREO Subiaco Sat Apr29 8.10pm Fxtl  WCE  19  HIGH
ESS v MELB Docklands Sun Apr30 1.10pm Fxtl  MELB  9  HIGH
GEEL v COLL  MCG Sun Apr30 3.20pm CH 7  GEEL  37  HIGH
ADEL v RICH Adel Sun Apr30 4.40pm Fxtl  ADEL  39  HIGH


GWS v WBD Canberra Fri Apr28 7.50pm CH 7

Last time these teams met was in the prelim – a great game to watch; this is the very first Friday night game for the Giants; behind the scenes, there will have been a big build-up for it; but the players would not have been so focused – needing to put the Swans away last weekend before turning their attention to this one; both teams struggled early last week as warm favourites – although the Dogs’ problem was poor kicking more than a lack of supply; this will be marked as EXTREME variance because it is such a high stakes poker type game – and the loser could lose big; Giants by 22 points but not certs
Match Review: Giants were tipped by 22 points and won by 2; analysis was not that great; the right team was tipped and that was about it; the variance call was incorrect; the Dogs lost Campbell (replaced by Dale who scored 50 SC only, but the critical thing was that Tom Boyd had to go into the ruck and lost the hit-outs 52 to 22); then the Dogs missed easy shots in 2Q and they should have been “4 or 5 up at HT” according to Giants coach Cameron; this is the 2nd week in a row that the Dogs butchered chances in front of goal; this time it cost them the 4 points; both teams ended up with multiple players under injury clouds; maybe the Giants struggled because it was their first ever Friday night game – but it could also be the travel factor

HAW v STK Launceston Sat Apr29 1.45pm Fxtl

The Hawks have won the past 6 against the Saints; before that was a draw; then we go back to 2009 when they played  on this ground and the Saints won – despite having 7 top players go out of the team; the last game between these 2 resulted in a 3 point win to the Hawks at this venue – in a game the Saints probably should have won; the Hawks have a 19-game winning run going at the ground (being a top team most of that time – but still it is a good record); just when we got excited about Cyril, he is out injured; it takes a bit of the gloss off the Hawks a bit – and Smith copped a knee injury last week but is said to be okay; the Saints “rested” Hickey last week – and in came Longer as his deputy; now Hickey is in the VFL and Longer remains the #1 ruckman (the out is Long, not Longer); Armitage was given some chance to return, but is now gone for a month; Jack Steven will be improved by the run; the HUGE problem with this game is trying to assess the merit of the Hawks’ win last week; was it a blip?  The Saints’ toughness in the midfield has been questioned this week – after they were blown away late by the Cats; given the technical leads on both teams, the early game will be critical – with the quarter time leader likely to go all the way (wind forecast to be light); Saints by a point – subject to change; okay; it now the Hawks by a point; a game to avoid if you can
Match Review: Hawks were tipped by 1 point but the Saints won by 75; analysis was miles off and the wrong team was tipped; so that’s not good; but the positive was that the variance was tipped as EXTREME; the concern for the Saints was that Hickey didn’t make it back (still not 100% or Longer now preferred?? – Longer won the ruck battle with McEvoy 36 to 26; coach Clarkson said the Saints were so much hungrier than the Hawks and slaughtered them in every aspect of the game – they won the SC scores 1897 to 1406 – HUGE!! Back to assessing the Hawks – it appears that the win over the Eagles was a blip; either side of that win they lost by 86 and 75 points; the 19 game winning streak at Tassie has now been snapped; the Saints “hunted the opposition extremely well” said coach Richardson (who publicly challenged his team after the R5 loss to Geelong)

CARL v SYD MCG Sat Apr29 2.10pm Fxtl

The Blues were expected to get both Kreuzer and Thomas back this week, but only Kreuzer returned; Gibbs and Murphy were both named as a test after copping knocks last Friday night, but have both been named; the big plus is Kreuzer in to replace Phillips; Brandon Jack replaces Kieran Jack for the Swans; this is normally bad news, but this time it’s good – because Kieran has been playing injured and needs a rest; the varinace is marked as EXTREME because of the uncertainty about the Blues players fitness – and also the lack of comfortability of tipping a 0-5 team away from home; if the Blues players are all good to go, then they might go closer than many expect. Swans by 19 points but not certs
Match Review: Swans were tipped by 19 points but the Blues won by 19; analysis was mixed; the wrong team was tipped (true for over 95% of tipsters); the 2 positives were that the Swans were NOT tipped as certs and that the variance was tipped as EXTREME – with the Blues winning by 19pts – that makes the win 45 points outside of the expected range = EXTREME variance; the reason that the Swans were not tipped with any excitement was that the Swans still haven’t really shown anything; of interesrt is that both the Swans and Giants (who played last weekend) under-performed this week! A significant late out was Tippett for the Swans; both teams has injury concerns during the match; the Blues seemed to be extra UP after their awful Friday night in Adelaide against Port.

BRIS v PORT Gabba Sat Apr29 4.35pm Fxtl

Port really slaughtered the Lions last time they played – by 94 points at the Gabba late last year.  Last week, both teams were made to look better than they were by a poor showing from opponents; the Blues were injured and undermanned anyway against Port; the Dogs almost kicked themselves out of it against the Lions by won the SC scores by hundreds; both tams have good players returning; the experts have tipped the right team but maybe the margin might be a bit exaggerated; Port by 13 points
Match Review: Port was tipped by 13 points and won by 83; analysis was poor – with the correct tip being the only positive; Charlie Dixon starred for Port with 151 SC points; maybe the Lions were flat after being so far in front of the Dogs last weekend and then being overrun.


NMFC v GCS Docklands Sat Apr29 7.25pm CH 7

The Roos are a very good 0-5 team and could be 3-2; they appeared to have the game won last weekend against Freo in the West, but lost the lead in the last minute; they lost in a similar way in 2013 to the Eagles – with a Nicnat late goal – and then they led the next week by 5 goals late against the Crows and were overrun at the Docklands; the Suns have beaten the Roos at this venue in the past; they were poor last week against the Crows, but left the viewers feeling that they could play a lot better; this will be an intriguing contest; summer is over in Melbourne and you won’t see any Swallows; Andrew dropped and David rested; Goldy copped a knock last week and Preuss is an emergency; watch for late changes; Daw is injured and won’t return; Brown and Ziebell both copped knocks last week and may be in some doubt; the bi minus for the Suns is that both May and Thompson are still out – leaving their defence a bit vulnerable; tough one to pick; Suns by a point at this stage, with EXTREME variance due to uncertainty about both teams
Match Review: Suns were tipped by 1 point but the Roos won by 13; analysis was only fair; the late out of Kolodashnij would have been enough to change the tip to the Roos – but all too late!  His omission left them even more depleted down back; then the Suns lost Rosa to concussion in 2Q; this takes it from an even game to a 13-point win; the victory will be a huge relief for the Roos and their fans!  They certainly deserved a break! With the Suns tall defenders out, it is Brown who came good to boot 6 majors.


WCE v FREO Subiaco Sat Apr29 8.10pm Fxtl

The Eagles made the news for all the wrong reasons last weekend – going even worse against the previously winless Hawks than in the 2015 grand final; it was awful, but Mitchell now comes back in; there has been some conjecture about whether he will actually play, but the coach is adamant that he will; the Dockers almost hit the negative headlines, but snatched a last minute win; the good form from the Dockers is expected to be a temporary high only; expect the Eagles to bounce back strongly; last year, they lost the GF replay by 46 points and then came back to play the Derby and romped away in 2H to win by 33 points; expect a similar result this time, but Eagles by 19 points (but not certs)
Match Review: Eagles were tipped by 19 points and won by 41; analysis was so-so; the right team was tipped, but the Eagles payed like certs from go to whoa; the Dockers little upsurge of from seems to have come to an end; maybe the Eagles were savage after getting flogged by the previous ly winless Hawks last weekend; they outperformed expectations while the Hawks went the other way.

ESS v MELB Docklands Sun Apr30 1.10pm Fxtl

The Dees are all set up to win this one – except for their lack of big men; they are missing Gawn, Spencer, Smith and now Hogan; Pedersen is tipped to carry the ruck duties and Weideman’s height will be used in the forward line in Hogan’s absence; the Dons were very good on ANZAC Day, but have to back up 5 days later; the history of such things suggests that the winner backs up better than the loser; but this was a hard slog in wet conditions – so expect the Dons to battle a bit; they rested 3 players; the Dees could’ve / should’ve beaten the Tigers last week; such form this week – without any more injuries – may be just enough to clinch a win; Dees by 9 points
Match Review: Dees were tipped by 9 points and won by 38; analysis was very good – despite being 29 points off; the Bombers were slight favourites here – so tipping an outsider winner (albeit only just an outsider) was a good thing; there were two competing forces here: the Dees lack of height and the Dons short break – especially in light of the players coming back from the 1 year ban; the Dees coped better – helped by Pedersen in the ruck – winning praise from his coach; also helping was Anzac Day hero Daniher who kicked 0:6 in the first half (you could say he kicked a goal); this left his side 2 points up at the main break when they could’ve been further in front; in 3Q the Dees exploded away with 8:3 to 2:4; so important to make use of your chances; Brown went off injured for the Bombers when the game was over and Watson appeared to be struggling all day

GEEL v COLL  MCG Sun Apr30 3.20pm CH 7

The Pies are really struggling  – and have a 5 day break on the back of a tough ANZAC Day game in the wet; the Cats seem to have a happy knack of gettng teams at the right time – and here is another one; some of the Collingwood players looked a bit sore against Essendon – Broomhead and Pendles and maybe others; Wells looked okay on Tuesday but may struggle 2nd up in the big league off a short break; the Cats are certs here and are expected to win by 37 points and are certs; if the Pies do pull off a miracle win, they will need to get off to a flyer like they did against the Cats last year
Match Review: Cats were tipped by 37 points but the Pies won by 29; analysis was awful in every way; wrong team tipped as certs; the Pies defied their short break, while the Cats seemed to play like it was “turn up and collect 4 points”; the Pies appeared ot have extra players on the ground at times; the injuries virtually evened themselves out

ADEL v RICH Adel Sun Apr30 4.40pm Fxtl

both these team’s opponents underperfomed last week – well, the Dees ran out of players and puff; the Tigers were a bit lucky to win; of these 5-0 teams, they are the ones looking more likely to be ready to drop a game; Talia looked gone for sure last week when he left the game early; but the AFC injury update said he had progressed well; but keep an eye on this; Vlaustin made it back for the tigers, but Griffiths isn’t playing at all; Crows by 39 points and CERTS of the week and the Gauntlet tip
Match Review: Crows were tipped by 39 points and won by 76; analysis was good, but almost everyone tipped the Crows as certs

CERTS: Crows (correct) , then Cats (incorrect)

50/50 (where the experts have it wrong): Suns to win or to lose by less than 11 points (missed it by that much);  Dees to win (correct); Cats to win by over 30 points (incorrect)

Happy tipping; this is really tough!! a few firm certs look a bit shaky




Round 6 thoughts – by Penny Dredfell
Reviewing my thoughts on round 5: OUCH x 2!!! maybe the Eagles just totally choked on the MCG; maybe the Hawks sorted out their problems; the Hawks pressure acts were up and the Eagles were said to be 1-dimensional; they had injuries on the day; but none of this excuses me or excuses the Eagles .

I will talk about the Hawks this week again – just because they have snapped a 4 game losing streak.  Teams that break a losing streak of 4 or more and win by over 40 points generally outperform by 10 points in the next game (last 6 years data approx); teams that break their losing streak in rounds 1-8 generally outperform by 14 points in the next game; but all this doesn’t totally convince me – because maybe the Eagles have given us a false lead; I am sitting on the fence on this one despite the technical lead suggesting that the Hawks should win by a few goals. Their win takes the heat off them – which is a positive

Moving to the Dees and Dons – the Dons played a mini-grand final on Tuesday, while the Dees were stiff to lose last week; they controlled the game and then ran out of soldiers; Hogan (3 goals but just a fair game overall) was dealing with his father’s illness (and subsequent passing); they go into the game very short on talls and this has made the game a 50/50 type contest; I expect the Dons to be flat after their huge effort last Tuesday; I”m tipping the Dees by over 2 goals despite them being slight underdogs


For rounds 7-12 in 2017 go here: