The Roar’s AFL expert tips and predictions, Round 9: Has Bevo just arrived at the last chance saloon?


After a supremely tough Round 8 on the tipping front, Round 9 brings up a whole new host of difficult games to decide on.

But it’s fair to say if we thought times are hard for us tipsters, it’s nothing compared to Luke Beveridge’s predicament, with the Western Bulldogs coming off a week of even heavier than usual scrutiny and facing a major banana-skin game against Richmond where nothing short of a comfortable win is an acceptable outcome.

The eyes of the footy world might be on the MCG on Saturday night, but it’s certainly not the pick of the matches: with a Melbourne-Carlton blockbuster to kick off the weekend, plus Essendon putting their hot form to the test against GWS, Fremantle with a salivating home clash against Sydney, and last but certainly not least, Adelaide and Brisbane squaring off in what might just be the earliest elimination final in football history, it’s going to be a bumper few days.

Who wins… and who’s going to be in the hot seat by Monday morning?

Tim Miller

Last week: 3

Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, St Kilda, GWS, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast, Collingwood, Adelaide

Spoiler alert – just like last week, there are a number of games where I’m one out among us expert tippers. It worked terribly in Round 8 – I went 1/4 in unique tips – so fingers crossed I can turn things around now, or things will get even uglier.

Melbourne are favourites to knock over Carlton on Thursday night and deservedly so – their defensive performance to shut down Geelong was first class, and while the Blues are getting some cattle back, I can’t help feeling they’re not travelling quite as well as their still reasonable win-loss record would suggest.

A rare Friday night double-header has been annoyingly scheduled, because two great games have plenty of overlap to them – it’s folly to back against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, especially when against a Connor Rozee-less Port Adelaide, while Fremantle’s home ground advantage is slightly nullified by Sydney’s form and the fact they have a better winning record at Optus Stadium (5-3) than even the Dockers (41-31) do.

Saturday features two teams who need nothing short of a win to alleviate the pressure on them: the Bulldogs are obviously the bigger story, and alarm bells will reach DEFCON-1 levels if they lose to Richmond, but St Kilda are also desperate to get the job done against Hawthorn and keep their finals hopes alive. Both should do it, as should Gold Coast at home against North Melbourne.

English off the deck #AFLTigersDogs

— AFL (@AFL) April 8, 2023

Right in the middle of all that is the game of the afternoon- Essendon have home ground advantage on their side against GWS, and a slightly banged-up opponent that have only beaten the Bombers once at Marvel Stadium (back in 2016, the Dons’ ultimate asterisk year). I’ve backed in the Giants, but if you want to pick a roughie, this is probably the one.

Despite being forced to play at Docklands (controversial hot take: it’s actually fine that Collingwood have to have two home games at Marvel Stadium, and in fact the Marvel tenants should have the same deal for MCG home games) the Pies should get it done over a West Coast outfit playing reasonable footy but without the red-hot Jake Waterman.

And to finish off the round, I’m quite surprised that (spoiler!) my fellow tipsters have as one got behind the injury-riddled Brisbane. At home, with so much to play for, and in reasonable form off the back of a stirring Showdown win, I’m quite happy to back in the Crows.

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

Dem Panopoulos

Last week: 4

Carlton, Geelong, Sydney, St Kilda, GWS, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast, Collingwood, Brisbane

Ah yes, the rollercoaster that is the AFL season has officially arrived, and our tipping nightmare really just means that we can enjoy the games as they come.

This week, the top eight all play each other, which should lead to entertaining footy and some separation on the ladder – I absolutely cannot wait.

Thursday night’s fixture is an absolute banger – I wrote last week that Melbourne will really fire up when Clayton Oliver hits form and he was outstanding against the Cats. Both these teams are contenders this year, but I think it might be time for the Blues to put an end to the streak.


— AFL (@AFL) September 15, 2023

With two Friday night games this week, it feels as though the Cats will bounce back well against Port, whereas the waters are a little murkier in Perth. Fremantle’s defence continues to perform excellently, but to ignore their offensive play would be a disservice to the team. Then you have the Swans, who are rightly being seen as flag favourites now: with Luke Parker due to return and Dane Rampe back in defence, they’ll look to go from strength to strength.

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Covering Tom McCartin will be the big one, but still leaning towards the Swans.

It’d be particularly disappointing if the Saints don’t beat the Hawks, with a similar sentiment in that the Suns simply have to respond against North Melbourne.

Are the Bombers the real deal? As weird as it is to say, their narrow win over the Eagles was actually a relatively good tick of the box for their professionalism, despite West Coast coming home hard. When Zach Reid and Jordan Ridley are back, I’ll be ready to decide if I’m convinced. They lose to GWS for now.

The week’s been all about the Bevo pile-on so there’ll be nothing more to that other than to say the Tigers want as good a pick as possible this season and could have a great draft hand by November. The Bulldogs cannot lose this.

Finally, a happy Mother’s Day should be crowned with a depleted yet in-form Collingwood picking up a win over the Eagles, while the twilight game between Adelaide and Brisbane could be season-defining. The Lions should be too strong.

Kysaiah Picket. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Cameron Rose

Last week: 4

Carlton, Geelong, Sydney, St Kilda, GWS, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast, Collingwood, Brisbane

The Blues must be burning after dropping close and winnable games to Collingwood and Geelong over the last two weeks. Another loss to a team competing with them for a top four position would cast doubts over the entire program.

They squeezed past Melbourne the last two times they played in 2023, and Carlton simply have to find a way on Thursday or they’ll be out of the eight at round’s end.

Percentage is often a truer reflection of where a team stands than straight up wins and losses are – Essendon is ranked 14th on that metric, yet find themselves fifth on the ladder. GWS at their best would give them an unholy touch-up, but the Giants are coming off a frankly pissweak performance against Sydney. You’d think they bounce back.

Jesse Hogan makes it a career-high eight goals ????#AFLGiantsDons

— AFL (@AFL) August 19, 2023

Sydney will enjoy the expanses of Optus Stadium and make easy work of Fremantle.

Brisbane and Adelaide are both starting to find some form, and need to shape up fast given their slow starts to the season – it’s a good game to finish the round on, and the Lions may just have the edge even away from home.

(Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Liam Salter

Last week: 3

Carlton, Geelong, Sydney, St Kilda, Essendon, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast, Collingwood, Brisbane

Brisbane lost more players to injury in last weekend’s clash than I had successful tips. Yep, it was that kind of round – and it’s nice to see Round 9 getting absolutely no easier. 


The Blues have lost three of their last four, while the Demons have won three of their last four. It’s a fascinating dichotomy that doesn’t help my tipping in the slightest. Carlton should get some returning troops in defence, and have a good recent record over the Dees – they’ll (finally) clinch a close one. 

On Friday, also gaining some personnel back is the Power, but they face a tricky task against the no-longer-unbeaten Cats. At GMHBA, this is Geelong’s to lose – and I think the untrustworthy Port will struggle here. 

God, isn’t Josh Treacy a gem? His second ‘three-goals-in-ten-minutes’ kind of game helped Freo to a (nervy) big win over the Tigers, though the Swans are a significantly tougher task. This is a win that can really set up the Dockers’ season, but I’m going to use jinx-magic on my own team, and back a strong Sydney squad. 

A late Heeney hanger ????#AFLFreoSwans

— AFL (@AFL) July 22, 2023

In Tassie, a serious danger game awaits for St Kilda against Hawthorn, with Ross Lyon’s men arguably less consistent than the terrible Dogs. I’d imagine the Hawks flirt with successive upset wins before the Saints steady, whilst the Suns simply have to win big over North. 

The benefit the Bulldogs have is they’re facing Richmond, who were impressive for about a quarter last week. Luckily, the Dogs can usually find some decent football, and should bounce back; as should GWS, who slammed home 25 goals against Essendon last August (it won’t be that big a margin this weekend, you’d imagine).

No Jake Waterman is a significant blow for the Eagles, as is the fact 2024 Collingwood is looking a lot more 2023 Collingwood-y nowadays.

And in a suddenly-very-enticing clash, the wounded Lions fly to SA to play the Crows. The Crows are so enthused by their big showdown win they were streaming it at training on Tuesday, but I’m going to be a contrarian – the Lions to sneak a win here.

Talk about motivation! ????????

The Crows are basking in the glory of their Showdown success, playing the match highlights on a large screen at training this morning, as the team prepares for their game against the Brisbane Lions at Adelaide Oval this Sunday. #9News

— 9News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) May 7, 2024


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