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Footyology’s previews with punch – Round 19

Josh Caddy celebrates another goal in Richmond’s Round 6 win over Collingwood. Could their return bout be a grand final preview? Photo: AFL MEDIA

Footyology’s previews with punch – Round 19

Ronny Lerner    

ESSENDON v SYDNEY (Etihad Stadium, Friday 7.50pm local time)
This promises to be a Friday night treat as the red-hot Bombers face off with the fourth-placed and shell-shocked Swans. Some are describing Sydney’s inexplicable loss to Gold Coast last week as the upset of the decade, and the Swans will need to put that as far back in the rear view mirror as possible if they are any hope of toppling Essendon. John Worsfold’s men continue their unlikely charge towards a finals spot, having won seven of their past nine games, and with Jake Stringer and Conor McKenna back in the side they’ll be further bolstered, despite the loss of Shaun McKernan (hamstring). A couple of things count against the Bombers, however. Firstly, Sydney has won their past eight meetings and, secondly, a bloke name Lance Franklin who has booted more goals (68) against them than any other side. The Swans also have a fantastic record at Etihad with 15 wins from their past 17 matches. But the Bombers are running hot and the Swans are spluttering a bit so the hosts have what it takes to break their hoodoo and, incredibly, potentially find themselves outside the top eight on percentage alone by the end of the round after starting the year 2-6.
RONNY’S TIP: Essendon by 11 points.
ROCO’S TIP: Essendon by 2 points.

RICHMOND v COLLINGWOOD (MCG, Saturday 1.45pm local time)
Essendon v Sydney will serve as a nice entree for the main event as top-three arch rivals Richmond and Collingwood do battle in arguably the most anticipated game of the season. In what could potentially be a grand final dress rehearsal, some are expecting the first ever crowd of 90,000 for a Saturday home-and-away game. But as is usually the case it seems, Collingwood heads into a game with another injury – and it’s a crucial one, with Jordan De Goey (leg) sidelined for at least two weeks. He joins Lynden Dunn (knee), Tyson Goldsack (knee), Ben Reid (knees/calf), Adam Treloar (hamstring) and Daniel Wells (foot) on the sidelines, while Jamie Elliott continues to work his way back through the VFL. Yet the Magpies have dealt with their injury concerns with aplomb all season and they do get Darcy Moore back. As the third-highest scoring team in the comp, Collingwood is definitely a chance to upset Richmond. However, the Tigers are premiership favourites for a reason. They are the complete package and are still team to beat. A win will see them break Melbourne’s 62-year-old record of 17 consecutive wins at the MCG and it’s hard to see history not being created by Damien Hardwick’s men.
RONNY’S TIP: Richmond by 21 points.
ROCO’S TIP: Richmond by 16 points.

GEELONG v BRISBANE (Kardinia Park, Saturday 2.10pm local time)
There’s no doubt that the Lions are getting better as the season goes on, but knocking off Geelong at The Cattery is probably too much of an ask. Fresh from one of the most memorable wins of the season, courtesy of an after-the-siren goal from Zach Tuohy, the Cats are riding high and with 22 wins from their last 25 games at Kardinia Park (those three losses all coming against Sydney), and could find themselves back in the top eight at the completion of this one.
RONNY’S TIP: Geelong by 33 points.
ROCO’S TIP: Geelong by 38 points.

GWS v ST KILDA (Spotless Stadium, Saturday 4.35pm local time)
Fee-fi-fo-fum, with six wins from their past seven games, the Giants have well and truly awoken from their slumber to emerge as the dark horse in the premiership race. All of a sudden, GWS finds itself sixth on the ladder and just half-a-game outside the top four. Before getting thumped by Richmond, the Saints had actually strung together a bit of form with three wins from four games. The last time these two sides met they played out a thrilling draw at Etihad Stadium, but while the Saints have achieved minimal improvement since that round five clash, GWS has developed a full head of steam and is looking like the Giants of 2016-17. It’s hard to see many teams, let alone the lowly Saints, breaking their momentum anytime soon.
RONNY’S TIP: GWS by 47 points.
ROCO’S TIP: GWS by 42points.

GOLD COAST v CARLTON (Metricon Stadium, Saturday 7.25pm local time)
This might be a battle between the bottom two sides on the ladder, but there is still some intrigue surrounding it. Carlton is enduring a season reminiscent of Fitzroy in its final year. The Blues have already been walloped by bottom-four sides St Kilda and Brisbane recently, and another 10-goal loss to a struggling team would heap even more pressure on to coach Brendon Bolton and other Carlton officials despite all the noises coming out of the club that they’re neck-deep into a rebuild. The Suns are on cloud nine following their amazing win over Sydney last week and should be able to win consecutive games for the second time this year.
RONNY’S TIP: Gold Coast by 31 points.
ROCO’S TIP: Gold Coast by 22 points.

ADELAIDE v MELBOURNE (Adelaide Oval, Saturday 7.10pm local time)
A blockbuster round continues at Adelaide Oval, where top-eight hopefuls Adelaide and Melbourne lock horns. What a mouth-watering game this is. The Crows have turned their season around with back-to-back wins over Geelong and Brisbane to keep their finals hopes alive. Conversely, the Dees have hit a bit of a brick wall, losing four of their last six games, including that heartbreaker down in Geelong last week, to be inside the top eight only on percentage. While Adelaide regains Taylor Walker, there is something about the Demons that makes it hard to tip against them. Will last week’s result make or break them? I believe it will be the former. The Dees have a golden opportunity to prove that the old Melbourne doesn’t work here anymore, and their decent recent record at the ground should also hold them in good stead. Coach Simon Goodwin has made no changes this week, he is backing in his team, and so am I.
RONNY’S TIP: Melbourne by 7 points.
ROCO’S TIP: Adelaide by 6 points.

NORTH MELBOURNE v WEST COAST (Blundstone Arena, Sunday 1.10pm local time)
The huge clashes continue on Sunday and it’s great to see the neglected state of Tasmania playing host to one of them. This is almost do-or-die stuff for North Melbourne. The Roos have been very impressive for most of the season, but the wheels appear to be falling off slightly now. It’s a must-win for them and they’ll be rapt that they get to play it in Hobart where they have won 12 of their last 14 games. For West Coast, it’s the first big test since losing Nic Naitanui to a season-ending knee injury. The in-form Todd Goldstein awaits Scott Lycett in what looms as a crucial battle. The Eagles might be playing for top spot potentially, but the Kangas have a lot more at stake and the venue evens things right up.
RONNY’S TIP: North Melbourne by 2 points.
ROCO’S TIP: West Coast by 10 points.

WESTERN BULLDOGS v PORT ADELAIDE (Mars Stadium, Sunday 3.20pm local time)
This has some potential to be a banana skin game for the Power, but they’ve got a very good record against teams lower on the ladder. This is a very important game for Port Adelaide because if it loses it could actually slip out of the top eight such is the tightness of the competition. Ken Hinkley has named key players Tom Jonas, Steve Motlop and Paddy Ryder in an extended squad which will give the Power a huge boost. The Dogs get back Marcus Bontempelli, but lose Luke Dahlhaus (knee), Tom Boyd (lower back) and Billy Gowers (ankle) as their serious battle with injuries continues unabated. Port Adelaide won the first ever game in Ballarat and should repeat the dose this weekend.
RONNY’S TIP: Port Adelaide by 25 points.
ROCO’S TIP: Port Adelaide by 28 points.

FREMANTLE v HAWTHORN (Optus Stadium, Sunday 2.40pm local time)
This game is also huge purely because of where it’s being played. If this was being staged anywhere else in Australia, you’d have little issue tipping Hawthorn, but the Optus Stadium factor is the joker in the pack. Only two non-WA teams have beaten the Dockers in Perth this year and as recently as round 17, Freo showed how dangerous it can be there with an upset win over Port Adelaide. Hawthorn has been quite inconsistent of late with disappointing losses to GWS and Brisbane counterbalanced by emphatic wins over the Bulldogs and Carlton. Jaeger O’Meara, Shaun Burgoyne and Taylor Duryea have all been named in the Hawks’ squad of 26 and, assuming they all make the cut, should tip the scales slightly in Hawthorn’s favour.
RONNY’S TIP: Hawthorn by 9 points.
ROCO’S TIP: Hawthorn by 8 points.


  1. Hi Rohan
    As a swans supporter thanks for finally tipping against them! Hoping your reverse mocker gets us over the line against the bombers!

  2. Rohan Connolly

    Sorry about that Lana!

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