The Roar’s AFL expert tips and predictions, Round 8: Showdowns, QClashes and blockbusters galore – but who wins?


The AFL ladder is taking shape after seven rounds – and so too is the table on our expert tipping competition.

The wheat is separating from the chaff, and surprise, surprise, it’s me bringing up the rear: looking to avoid a wooden spoon for the second year in a row, it might already be time to start plotting a comeback, identifying games to take a punt on an underdog, and beginning the slow and steady progress of turning things around now. Or I’ll just make things 100 times worse. Either way, fun times abound!

What a week we’ve got ahead of us: from Showdowns to Sydney Derbys, MCG blockbusters to Harley Reid’s return, every game has a storyline attached to it. And the best part? There’s no game that you can be 100 per cent certain in, not even North Melbourne, given they face a patchy St Kilda.

Who do our experts think will get the job done – and are there any surprises in store?

Tim Miller

Last week: 5

Adelaide, Carlton, GWS, St Kilda, Geelong, West Coast, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast

It’s getting to the point where I’m convinced I’m cursed in every 50/50 game no matter who I tip – so naturally, I’m leading into the skid this week.

This is a fascinating round where nearly every match has an element of doubt associated with it – the only games I’m 100 per cent comfortable in are St Kilda beating North Melbourne and Fremantle being too good for an injury-plagued Richmond. The Bulldogs should also take care of Hawthorn on Sunday, but for obvious reasons my feelings on that game are far from ‘comfortable’.

Worpel finds the big sticks in game 100 ????#AFLHawksDogs

— AFL (@AFL) August 13, 2023

There’s a second tier of games I’m relatively confident in. Collingwood minus Jordan De Goey and Tom Mitchell are vulnerable against a Carlton outfit that, despite losing two of its last three, look in excellent touch; while Geelong have the structure and the smarts to take care of Melbourne, though Max Gawn might have a thing or two to say about that.

That leaves four games where you could basically flip a coin, in my view. I’ve gone for the underdogs, according to the betting, in all three rivalry games – interestingly, though, my fellow tipsters agree with me that GWS should be just too good for Sydney in a clash they’ve had the better of more often than not in recent years, while Gold Coast have a golden opportunity to prove they’re not just home track bullies against a Brisbane outfit who let me down spectacularly when I tipped them to beat the Giants last week.

I’m on my own, though, in backing Adelaide in Thursday night’s Showdown: the Crows have a superb recent record over Port Adelaide, and losing Aliir Aliir blows a sizeable hole in Port’s vulnerable defence. Plus, despite their horror start to the season, I reckon the Crows are in better form than a Power outfit who have won all the games they should and yet still aren’t entirely convincing.

As for my proper outlier of the week: I have a feeling Essendon might be due a loss after a terrific last three weeks, and an Eagles outfit beginning to rediscover some of their mojo back at home, boosted by the returning Harley Reid, might be just the team to have the Bombers crashing back down to earth.

Crows players celebrate with Jordan Dawson. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Dem Panopoulos

Last week: 7

Port Adelaide, Carlton, Sydney, St Kilda, Geelong, Essendon, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast

Well, last week was a bit better for us tipsters – other than all of us continuing to unintentionally disrespect the Cats.

We’re back to a normal-ish round of fixtures, although a game finishing well into Sunday night should be interesting – happy Easter to all those who celebrate and are planning on capping it off with a QClash.

A Thursday night Showdown, and the SANFL being played during a weekday afternoon: it’s all a little strange, really. The last few have been blowouts, albeit tight games early, and for this to be the marquee fixture, we need these two teams to actually deliver a quality outing.

The Crows are hoping a soft kill against North will straighten things up for them, while the Power will be hoping their defensive work through the middle is enough to make up for a leaky backline that will miss Aliir Aliir. The key to this one has to be Darcy Fogarty finding some form, but it really is hard to back him and his team in.

It feels appropriate that Carlton’s clash with Collingwood is taking the Friday night timeslot. The Magpies played a draw on Anzac Day which feels like three weeks ago, while the Blues fell to a ruthlessly efficient Geelong team. It’s been understated just how devastated Carlton has been by injuries, second to only the Tigers this year.

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This should be a battle of epic proportions. Collingwood has struggled to contain quality forwards, and Carlton has the league’s best duo. It could end up being a simple as that – the Magpies have a bit of work to do to get back into premiership contention.

Saturday’s Battle of the Bridge could end up being a soccer scoreline if the forecast is accurate, but it should be entertaining nonetheless given the fact it’s between two flag favourites. I think the Swans might have the slight edge at ground level.

While the likes of St Kilda, Essendon, Fremantle, the Bulldogs and the participants in the QClash should all be playing in underrated tight games this week, Saturday night between the undefeated Cats and a Melbourne team with something to prove is almost a perfect storm.

There’s something about the Demons. Other than their defence and Max Gawn, the rest of the team is arguably playing at significantly less than the sum of its, parts. Clayton Oliver hasn’t even reached his very worst form from previous seasons – yet the team is in the top four.

Things will start to turn soon for Melbourne – but I’m not sure it will be as soon as Saturday night.

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Cameron Rose

Last week: 6

Port Adelaide, Carlton, GWS, St Kilda, Melbourne, Essendon, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast

We have five mouth-watering match-ups this week – what a round of footy it promises to be.

In the big games, I’m mostly siding with teams that have been playing the better footy during the season – that means Port over Adelaide, Carlton over Collingwood, GWS over Sydney, and Gold Coast over Brisbane.

The exception to this is picking Melbourne against Geelong – the Dees have been largely unimpressive due to a barely functioning forward-line, while the Cats have barely put a foot wrong to remain undefeated.

I’m thinking a form reversal is in order there, and Melbourne will simply not give the Geelong forwards all the freedom in the world they had against Carlton last week.

Max Gawn launches an absolute rocket at the ‘G ????#AFLDeesCats | #ColesGoals

— AFL (@AFL) April 11, 2021

Liam Salter

Last week: 7

Port Adelaide, Carlton, GWS, St Kilda, Geelong, Essendon, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast

What a round we have ahead of us. I’m keen as hell. 

Riding a wave of emotion after Rory Sloane’s retirement, the Crows – however bad they’ve been this year, and they’ve been really bad – know their Showdown against the Power epitomises unpredictability.

A win here – with a vicarious and frustrated home crowd – would be great for morale, but the Power are simply better, and I’m going them.

One day later and a state away, the Blues head back to the ground they stumbled at last week, with the Magpies looking to bounce back after their Anzac Day draw. Much like the Showdown, it’s nigh on impossible to predict these clashes. Screw logic, forego explanation, embrace the chaos and hope Victoria survives: Carlton to sneak this one. 

Vossy was over the moon on the final siren! #AFLPiesBlues

— AFL (@AFL) July 28, 2023

And because those two weren’t hard enough, Saturday brings a second v third battle between the Swans and Giants and an intriguing clash between Melbourne and the Cats. At the SCG, I’m going the Giants, while at the MCG, I can’t go against the Cats – not particularly confident in either, though. 

Saturday’s two other clashes are easy enough. If there was ever a team to lose to North, let’s be honest – it’s probably the Saints. Will they? Nup, they’ll rack up a big margin here. And back in their home state, with Harley Reid back, the Eagles are half a chance against the Bombers, but a 4-2 Essendon are deserved favourites in the west.

Sunday is simple – to an extent. Freo, rejuvenated after their best win of the season, should comfortably best the Tigers at the MCG, while the Bulldogs simply must beat the Hawks (they will).

It’s Sunday’s twilight encounter where I’m going against the grain, because why not: the Suns will upset the Lions to make Chris Fagan much more uncomfortable. 

(Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)


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