I’m back again with another tipping guide that guarantees disappointment. It’s bye round, which means a horror show for you fantasy coaches, and for some reason a terrible time for the tippers. You’d expect fewer games would be easier, but that for some reason never seems to be the case.
Richmond V Geelong, 7.50pm Melbourne time, MCG
Finally we get a Friday night with two good sides. It could be a cracker this week. Having said that, I thought last week would be a walk in the park for the Tigers, but it turns out North have been bluffing all season and are apparently a reasonable side. This week looms a much more difficult task for the men in the yellow and black, as they come across the runaway favourites, the Geelong Cats.
Geelong are buoyed by the fact that they seem to be better than everyone else and are boosted by the re-signing of a couple of young players. However, they have lost the last 3 games to Richmond- granted it was Richmond’s actual side, not a mob of whoever’s left on the list- and they are primed to turn that form around this week.
Richmond are going to want to win this round to prove that they’re a genuine side. I can’t see it happening. They’ve brought back Daniel Rioli, Jack Graham and have brought in Jacob Townsend for his first game of the season, and Patrick Naish for his debut. Geelong have brought back Gary Ablett and Rhys Stanley, and will continue on their merry way with a 21-point win.
Carlton V Brisbane, 1.45 Melbourne Time, Marvel
Well, after several years of keeping the tradition of Carlton being a terrible AFL side, the club has finally sacked nice-guy Bolton. Everyone expected it, you don’t take up a coaching role at Carlton for its longevity. Chris Judd admitted during the week that when they hired Bolton, there weren’t that many applicants, which I think pretty much sums up their situation.
Can a new coach, and a new opportunity, see direction emerge for the remainder of the year? Probably not. If it were any other side, like North, you might see a bit of improvement. But the problems with Carlton are much more than a Coach. You’d think they’d have learned that by now.
Anyway, back to the game. Fagan, whose job is very secure, is bringing his new and improved Brisbane side for a holiday to Melbourne. Last week you’d have said this was an easy win to Brisbane: their side is improving week to week and its only the better sides and Fremantle that have had their measure. But with a new coach comes a new opposition. Teams are a bit harder to predict the few weeks after they sack a coach, and often they come out firing. Due to this, I’m only going to tip the Lions by 35.
Gold Coast Suns V North Kangaroos, 4.35 Queensland time, Metricon.
Gold Cost started this season terrifically, then they came across the challenge of playing proper football sides. Since round 5 they haven’t managed a win, though they have come close on a couple of occasions. Last week they were quite insipid against GWS in front of their friends, close relations, and a few seagulls chasing chips, and this week they are going to want to return to their good form and put their season back on track.
North Melbourne have looked a completely different side since sacking Scott. I could speculate until the cows come home, but that’s enough coach talk for one column. Their game against the Tigers was impressive. Cunnington is in career best form, and they’re actually finding a little bit of pace that they’ve been lacking for a few seasons.
Gold Coast are a much better side at home, it must be said, and they do have a decent record (by their standard) against the Roos - winning almost every second match.
I think the Suns are a good chance, but after the last 2 games, I can’t tip against the Roos. Kangas by 12.
Adelaide V GWS, 7.10 Adelaide time, Adelaide Oval.
Much has been spoken about Adelaide and no one really seems to want them to be a top eight side. Every article you see tends to the negative. Despite that, they’re tracking along pretty well at the moment and were, for a while, improving exponentially. Something has happened the last three or so weeks though.
Maybe they’ve been reading all those news articles, or maybe something else, but they have had problems finishing games: A close loss to Brisbane, they let the Eagles run all over them in the last quarter the following week. They bucked that trend a little last week and finished strongly though it shouldn’t have been enough to win them the game. Melbourne just decided they didn’t need the win, or something, because that shot was easy. How hard is it to kick a ball straight?
I feel I say this most weeks, but this game is a genuine litmus test for the Crows, who have dumped Gibbs and strangely, Greenwood for this one. A win over the in-form Giants will see their season back on track. I know it’s only half way, but a win here could be the difference between a finals finish or not, so tight is the season.
The Giants are just winning game after game. Suddenly people are taking them seriously, as if they weren’t a good side or something.
They are a good side. If Adelaide are to win this game, they need to be at their absolute best, and I don’t think they will be after a few tough matches.
GWS by 21
Sydney V West Coast, 3.20pm, Sydney time, S.C.G
Would you believe that after years and years of great rivalry matches, the last time the Eagles beat the Swans at the SCG, Tony Lockett kicked three goals? 1999 it was.
I said last week in my Collingwood V Fremantle preview that the longer something hasn’t happened, the closer it is to happening. Although I didn’t tip Freo in the end, the statement was right. And I think that statement will prove correct again this weekend.
The Swans are really not that good. They beat the Eagles twice last year - but last year they weren’t that bad. In 2019 the wheels fell off and rolled away down the hill. They’ve won two of their last five, and neither of those games were exactly against top quality opposition.
The Buddy factor remains their big issue. He’s a champion of the game, but he makes them so predictable and easy to defend when he isn’t in form. They lack other avenues to goal. They are going to want to find some this week, because Jeremy McGovern and Co. are going to have a great day if the Swans keep doing the same thing over and over again.
Eagles on the other hand are finding the type of form that won them the premiership. Their train keeps moving, and they keep winning despite being met with various challenges.
The big birds from the West will win this by 25.
Collingwood V Melbourne, 3.20 Melbourne time, M.C.G
Footy is on a Monday and it’s a wonderful occasion seeing so many people supporting the fight against such a terrible thing. But that’s enough about Collingwood.
The big Freeze is on, and it really brings the game back to Earth. For 10 or 15 minutes, we’re suddenly united under one cause, to fight MND. From all reports, the famous beanies have all sold out online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still donate. https://fightmnd.org.au/events/the-big-freeze-at-the-g-2019/. You can still buy them at the ground, so don’t worry.
So well done, Neil Daniher and everyone else involved. It’s a wonderful cause and we hope we see some success soon.
Back to the footy.
If I’ve learnt anything this week from social media, it’s that a lot of Collingwood supporters and some commentators can be pretty quick to blame a video tech guy’s third quarter mistake for blowing a lead in the final minute of the fourth. Melbourne have no such worries, because they found out they give games away with even greater ability.
Both teams will be reeling from their tight losses, and both need a win here for different reasons: Melbourne need one so people get off their back for a while, and the Pies need to win to keep in touch with the top four.
It’s going to be exciting to see Gawn V Grundy, two all-Australian level ruckman battling it out in the middle, but strangely I don’t think it will make a lot of difference over all. Melbourne’s talent is spread too thinly across the field, and I don’t think they’ll cause too many issues for the Pies.
Having said that, it’s a big stage and a big day and such occasions often produce excellent games.
Collingwood by 12.
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