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

The 2020 footy freight train will finally pull into a station on Tuesday, but between then and now we’ve got another nine games to get through.

So much has happened since the last tipping article I don’t know where to begin. Does Lance Franklin still play for Hawthorn?

I tried to make my move on the rest of the panel last week, picking a few upsets, but I ended up only scoring seven, behind Marnie with eight and Liam with nine.

That means Mr Salter moves into a tie atop the ladder with me on 56 points and with Marnie four points behind as we hit the home stretch.

Stirling Coates

GWS Giants, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Carlton, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, West Coast, Richmond

Sydney responded to their shellacking against St Kilda with a vastly improved performance against Collingwood last week and they tend to lift for the Sydney derby. The only problem is the gulf in class between these sides is the biggest it’s been since 2012-13. Giants to win by 41.

It’ll take a trophy adorned with black, teal and white ribbons for some people to finally admit Port Adelaide are a contender, but the sceptics sect shrank after their impressive win over Richmond. Geelong would ordinarily be a good chance here, but their four-day break is a worry, especially given their demolition of the Saints showed just what happens to teams coming off a four-day break

The Lions and Kangaroos tend to play close matches, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brisbane wipe the floor with their opponents in Saturday’s first match. Then it’s time for me to back my midweek article up and tip Melbourne to continue their return to form with a rousing win over Collingwood.

Fremantle versus Carlton on Saturday night should also be a cracker: two young up-and-coming teams playing good football. I think everyone’s writing off the Blues a bit prematurely, and I’ll back them to bounce back with a narrow win here.

Jack Newnes of the Blues celebrates a goal

Carlton can bounce back against Freo. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Sunday’s trio of matches seems fairly straightforward. It would be so typical of the Bulldogs in 2020 to be the first team to fall against the Crows, but I’m not brave enough to tip it. Are you?

St Kilda had their colours badly lowered against the Cats but, as I said, they were coming off a four-day break. They’re a much better team than the Bombers and should get themselves back on track handsomely.

West Coast should have little trouble exacting more misery on Hawthorn, while Richmond should get back on track with a win over Gold Coast.

There’s only one candidate for the Shoe-In of the Week in my books and that’s Brisbane to give North Melbourne a touch-up on Saturday.

Marnie Cohen

GWS Giants, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Collingwood, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, West Coast, Richmond

Aha! Finally, a somewhat normal round to end what has been a very telling, very exciting and overwhelming footy marathon.

Let’s start with Geelong. They’re probably the most underrated team in the competition, which is strange to say about a side that finished on top of the ladder in 2019 and are currently sitting third, but I just don’t think people want to take them seriously. They arguably have the best attack in the competition, and the way they have continued to perform during the footy frenzy – including a four-day break upon returning from Perth – has seen them emerge as a serious threat approaching finals.

The same can be said for their opponents, Port Adelaide. They’ve been sitting on top of the AFL ladder since the start of the season and keep going from strength to strength, knocking off a rampant Richmond is their latest scalp. This should be a sensational game and while I like Geelong’s chances, it’s hard to go past Port at the moment.

GWS versus Sydney at Optus Stadium is an interesting one because the two teams have won only one game between them there. That was Sydney back in 2018 at the first-ever game played at the ground. Given the Giants are still fighting hard for a spot in the finals, they’ll rise and conquer.

Speaking of Optus Stadium, you wouldn’t want to be tipping against the true home sides there at the moment. Both West Coast and Freo are playing some great football and are hard to tip against for now.

The same can be said for Brisbane and Richmond, who should bounce back from their loss in Adelaide.

Let’s get to the serious question now: will the Crows be able to win a game this season? They looked like it for the first half against Collingwood but just couldn’t take the chocolates. Of their few chances left, this could be one of them. I’m tipping the Dogs because I just can’t bring myself to trust the Crows – already did it once this season and I won’t do it again – but I think this could be their shot.

Finally, I’ve got Collingwood for the Queen’s Birthday in August game and St Kilda over Essendon.

Liam Salter

GWS Giants, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Collingwood, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda, West Coast, Richmond

A very good tipping session for me last round, getting all but one tip – Melbourne’s win over North. This week seems a simple week, which is a perennially bad sign.

We get a Sydney derby to kick us off tonight, coming to your from… Perth. Fixturing oddity aside, it’s hard to get excited about this clash. The Swans have dropped two in succession after a shock win over the Hawks, and simply have no momentum coming into this clash. The Giants have won three in a row, are narrowly locked into the top eight and look the goods here. They’ll win by plenty.

Speaking of the Hawks, they face West Coast on Sunday afternoon. They’ll be hoping to replicate their stunning win over the Eagles in the final home-and-away round last year but, after a lacklustre performance over Freo last week, I can’t back them. Eagles by heaps. The Dockers face Carlton the night before in what shapes as a fine clash; the West Aussies have won two in a row, Carlton have been admirable but dropped their past two in Perth. I’m going to go Freo for this one – momentum, form and home ground are far too compelling as factors.

Andrew Brayshaw of the Dockers looks to pass the ball

Andrew Brayshaw and the Dockers are on the way up. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

In what should be a brilliant Friday night game, the Cats and Power play on the Gold Coast. Both had strong wins last week, both are in top-four contention and both would hate to lose this one. The Power have had two extra days rest over the Cats, but they’re travelling and Geelong aren’t. They did have a stronger win last week though, and victory tomorrow tonight will flex their premiership credentials even further. I’ll back them to win a close one.

Melbourne and Collingwood play on Saturday too. The Pies have been winning without starring, victorious in two boring encounters over the Swans and Crows recently. Melbourne, as articulated by Stirling earlier this week, have been much better this year than last, and while I wouldn’t personally say they’re ‘back’, they’re arguably in better form.

I can’t really trust them, though. I’m going to tip the Pies, who will again win without much flashiness or hype.

A few (hopefully) easy tips to conclude here: expect to see the Western Bulldogs inflict Adelaide’s 12th loss of the season (although, as ever, the upset potential is legitimate), the Saints should bounce back over Essendon, Brisbane will comfortably beat a very poor North Melbourne side and the Tigers should be too classy for the Suns in Monday night’s fixture.

Round 12 Stirling Marnie Liam Crowd
Last week 7 8 9 9
Total 56 52 56 63

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