The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 12 - Fix Bdsthanhhoavn

The Roar’s AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 12

Of all the crimes that can be committed by a footy fan, by far the most heinous is tipping against your own team.

And it saddens me to say that for just the second time this year, and first not involving the reigning premiers, I’m not putting a green tick next to the Western Bulldogs’ name this week.

Frankly, I feel sick. And no doubt if I get it wrong and the Dogs do get up on Friday night against Geelong, I’ll be forced to hand in my membership, leave Marvel Stadium and forever leave behind the surly bonds of civilisation.

Or maybe my dad will just disown me. Either way.

While the first of three bye rounds does force us to cope with six games rather than the usual nine, at least we’ve got some cracking fixtures ahead. The Bulldogs-Geelong Friday night clash should be a beauty (even though I’m now guaranteed to leave it feeling bad for one reason or another), while Hawthorn’s Sunday afternoon date with Collingwood followed by Fremantle hosting Brisbane is a double-header worth cancelling plans to visit friends or loved ones for.

As for the standings, picking Richmond last week saw me lose my lead to The Crowd, and now I face the double insult of knowing I’ll drop to second if the Dogs do get up. I can’t say I won’t deserve it, either.

Tim Miller (last week: 6)

Geelong, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Collingwood, Fremantle

I’ve already revealed my tip for Friday night, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why.

The Dogs have a long and proud history of sucking against the Cats. Yes, they’ve won their last two games against them at Marvel Stadium, but a) they only escaped one because of a Harry Taylor shank after the siren, and b) neither of those matches came with Jeremy Cameron in the blue and white hoops.

Key forwards have been a scourge for the Dogs all season, and it’s hard for me to see how the Cameron-Tom Hawkins combo can be stopped from kicking a winning score. Especially with Gary Rohan likely to return and torment them like he always seems to do.

Saturday afternoon’s matches feature the two worst sides in the competition this year, North Melbourne and West Coast: history shows that at least one of those matches is probably going to get ugly.

I like the Eagles as a sneaky chance against Adelaide (and they always seem to play well at the Adelaide Oval), but I thought the same when I backed them to beat Richmond a few weeks ago, and that didn’t go too well at all. Most likely they’ll get devoured again.

North Melbourne in the slippery Darwin twilight (has a match ever not been at night up there before?) might actually help them, in the sense that the greasy conditions might see the passes that would usually fly 15 metres the wrong way actually land on a teammate’s chest. Still, the Suns mastered the dew (see what I did there?) against Hawthorn last week, and they’re not slipping up to the Roos.

Saturday night is when things get serious. A Steven May-less Melbourne against a Buddy Franklin-less Sydney isn’t quite a promoter’s dream, but it’s still a tantalising game between a wounded giant and a young challenger.

I’m backing the Dees here because I can’t imagine them not wanting to make a statement after last week’s loss – especially a now fully fit Christian Petracca – but the Swans always play the MCG well and are a legitimate option to tip if you’re an adventurous sort.

Sunday is also poised as a fascinating afternoon. Hawthorn’s best is certainly good enough to challenge Collingwood – and I have a sneaky suspicion the Magpies’ only okay midfield will prove less capable of dominating the Hawks than Gold Coast did last week.

I’ve tipped the Pies after plenty of deliberation, mostly because I couldn’t stand to be two tips off the pace at the end of the round. But if there’s going to be an upset this week, this’ll be it.

Finally, Flagman – sorry, Fremantle – host Brisbane to cap off the round. This beauty is, as is a proud AFL tradition, buried in the Sunday evening timeslot because not enough people in Melbourne care.

The Dockers suffocated an off-the-boil Dees last week, and now get a chance to officially stamp themselves as the reigning champs’ biggest challenger. The Lions offer a different challenge, though, and their brilliant forward line is the perfect test of Freo’s much-vaunted defence.

If Joe Daniher was playing, I’d go for Brisbane. But he’s not. Get it done, Dockers.

Gary Rohan of the Cats.

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images).

Dem Panopoulos (last week: 7)

Geelong, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Hawthorn, Brisbane

Alright, let’s try a different method for the bye rounds.

There was no hat eating – it’s left me hungrier. We need to be precise and bold. There are no bonus points on offer, but we’ll pick each game with margins, just to spice it up a bit.

Friday night should be a heap of fun. Bailey Smith returns for the Bulldogs, fresh off a demolition of the Eagles that has become a weekly AFL occurrence.

The Cats, too, had a comfortable victory over Adelaide where second gear wasn’t touched, which leaves both these teams relatively fresh, all things considered.

Four of the last five games between these two have been decided by less than three goals. Only one can win (unless, of course, it’s a draw, in which case neither will win). It’ll be close again, but I’m going Geelong by 14 points.

You’d be lying if you said the thought of West Coast upsetting Adelaide hadn’t crossed your mind. With defensive pillars Luke Brown and Jordon Butts both out, it’s a huge danger game – particularly given the Crows didn’t bolster their stocks in the mid-season draft.

The Eagles have won the last five contests between the two. That ought to give them a bit of confidence, although if you’re an Adelaide fan, you’re hoping it isn’t enough. Adelaide by 28 points.

How do the Suns handle the expectation of a handsome victory? Quite well, you’d hope, if they play as they have so far this season.

They’re going to be around the mark of the top eight – that’s how quickly they can split a team apart. There’s not much to say on North Melbourne at the moment, either: Suns by 39 points.

I’ve been convinced for the last fortnight that the Swans would beat Melbourne. When Lance Franklin got suspended, it actually gave me more confidence, as it would vary the forward line a little more.

Then the Demons went and lost to the Dockers. It’s hard to see this team losing two games in a row. Melbourne by 21 points.

A classic Sunday 2:10pm clash, a fixture that has unfortunately been creeping into the calendar this season. We don’t need it, nor do we want it.

Hawthorn have dropped off a bit, and what a game the Magpies played against Carlton.

It’s a direct team against one looking to absorb and counter-attack. I’m concerned that the Magpies may be a little tired after the hard contest against the Blues last week. Hawks by 11 points.

Finally, a ripping contest between Fremantle and Brisbane wraps up the round. It’ll be a fascinating contest between
contrasting styles in dry weather, which is ideal for two top-four hopefuls.

The Dockers are coming off the ultimate high of ending Melbourne’s win streak, and the Lions fought hard to get back into the game and win against GWS. This is a genuine flip of the coin. Brisbane by 8 points.

Michael Walters

Michael Walters of the Dockers. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Cameron Rose (last week: 7)

Western Bulldogs, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Collingwood, Brisbane

The ridiculous bye rounds are upon us, where the AFL season grinds to a halt.

Luckily, a decent game should greet us on Friday night between the Bulldogs and Cats. The Dogs are in a nice groove right now, while the Cats have been inconsistent for a while.

I wonder if the Dogs should actually be favourites at Marvel Stadium. Regardless, they’re my tip.

Saturday sees West Coast and North Melbourne line up for their next losses, against Adelaide and Gold Coast respectively. I can’t imagine either side being capable of an upset on the road here.

Melbourne will surely bounce back from the loss they were due to have, and defeat Sydney at the MCG. No Steven May nicely cancels out no Buddy Franklin, but the Dees should have a bunch of other key players back who missed the loss to Fremantle.

On Sunday, Collingwood will try and keep in touch with the eight, and who knows what Hawthorn is going to produce on any given day, let alone quarter to quarter.

I’m leaning towards the Pies because they are more consistent, but the Hawks are more than capable.

Brisbane can cement themselves as the main danger to Melbourne with a win on the road against Freo, who are in the rare position of being able to knock off the top two teams on the ladder in consecutive weeks.

Ihink the Lions will get them, though.

Isaac Heeney

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Liam Salter (last week: 6)

Western Bulldogs, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Collingwood, Fremantle

Here’s something fun: I attended two games at the MCG last round, doubling Freo’s home and away visits to that ground.

Not that it has any bearing at all on the tips: consider it a commentary on the league’s existential fixturing crisis.

Speaking of fixturing crises, this is the first of three bye rounds, something I’ve never understood – fortunately, there are still some cracking clashes to watch.

The Doggies host the Cats for our Friday nighter – a game that also sees the return of the controversial Channel 7 segment ‘Roaming Brian’. God help us all.

The game itself should be great. Both sides are coming off easy wins over the Eagles and Crows, but recent history suggests this won’t be a blowout. Neither side has consistently impressed me this year, and I’m genuinely struggling to get keen for this one. I’ll back the Dogs. 

Two-thirds of Saturday’s clashes are not exactly what you’d call thrilling. The Crows host West Coast at Adelaide Oval just after lunch, and with respect to both sides, there isn’t a lot I could say to make this sound interesting.

I’m going to back the home team to win this – buuut I will admit if there’s ever a game the horrendous Eagles could win, it’s this.

Gold Coast are once again in Darwin, hosting North Melbourne. The Suns – overwhelmingly likely to win this – could go four from their last five should they salute, and that’s remarkable in its own right.

The remaining Saturday clash? Ooh yeah, this one’s intriguing. The Demons are no longer as infallible as they were a week ago, and remain defensively vulnerable with no Steven May up against an offensively powerful side in the Swans (who will be Buddy-less).

It’s a tough one to tip: the Swans have a great record home or away against the Dees, but I still think the reigning premiers are the strongest side this year. I’ll back them, but neutral footy fan me thinks the game itself will be the winner. 

Collingwood looked fantastic in their thriller against the Blues last Sunday and will feel confident going into a clash with the Hawks. Hawthorn have been decisively up-and-down this year, but last week’s loss to the Suns was a low point.

Sam Mitchell’s team have the benefit of a superb record at the ‘G against the Pies, but Collingwood are strong enough to garner a third straight win. 

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Freo hosting the Lions closes out the round, and this will be a great clash.

It goes without saying that the Dockers looked absolutely brilliant – *pessimistic fan alert* for a half – last weekend, but Brisbane are second for good reason. Even if recent wins have been middling at worst, slow-to-get going at best.

No returning Fyfe for Freo, but the midfield arguably isn’t the most vital area anyway – that’ll be the Dockers’ superb defence versus Brisbane’s attack (both of which are league-leading).

Freo have my tip based on location and confidence, though Brisbane’s offensive prowess poses a real threat. 

Round 12 Tim Dem Cam Liam Crowd
ROLLING SCORE 68 59 60 64 68

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