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Who will win and why? The tips and predictions for AFL Round 12


Round 12 of the 2024 AFL season is upon us with some intriguing games ahead over the weekend.

Can Carlton prove their top four credentials when they take on Port Adelaide in South Australia? Will the Bulldogs put themselves right back into the top eight hunt if they beat the understrength Magpies?

St Kilda and Ross Lyon would have some cold sweats thinking about having to play the Eagles in Perth and the implications that could follow if things don't go their way, while Essendon/Gold Coast looms as a match-up with enormous top eight implications long term.

Can Hawthorn continue their hot streak when they face Adelaide? Will Melbourne or Freo emergence victorious in Darwin? Can the Cats put a plucky Richmond away?

With all of that in mind, see our tips and predictions for Round 12 below.

Port Adelaide v Carlton

Thursday - 7:30pm AEST – Adelaide Oval

Carlton is out to break a hoodoo and cement themselves back amongst the top echelon of teams when it travels to Adelaide to take on the Power in Round 12.

In their four games against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, not once have the Blues departed South Australia with the four points. In fact, they’ve often been sent packing, with an average losing margin of 76 points.

Michael Voss’ troops will take courage from the fact they belted this Power outfit by 50 points at Marvel Stadium late in the 2023 home and away season, although history can’t be denied.

But nor can it be with Port Adelaide’s struggles against the better sides. Ken Hinkley’s men let slip four points to Melbourne in Round 3 at home to continue the narrative and then faltered against Adelaide in the Showdown. But they have the scalp of Geelong at Kardinia Park and emerged from close games against Fremantle, St Kilda and Hawthorn (all at home) with their winning record in tact.

Looking to improve the record at home this week, Hinkley will look to experienced midfielder Ollie Wines, who is back to career best form over the last month. While the Power may miss Connor Ryzee’s dynamic efforts through the middle if the skipper doesn’t get up from an ankle injury, Wines will be expecting to take it to Patrick Cripps as two Brownlow Medallists go head-to-head on centre stage.

Both teams play a keepings off brand in limiting the uncontested footy of their opposition, but the Power rely on territory domination more often than not to get the chocolates.

A spot in the top four for the coming fortnight looms for Port Adelaide should they win on Thursday night, while the Blues – who have the easiest run home in the competition – are fighting to stay in the top eight.

Tip: Port Adelaide by 8 points.

Seb Mottram

Collingwood v Western Bulldogs

Friday - 7:40pm AEST – Marvel Stadium

So, no Scott Pendlebury, Jordan De Goey, Jamie Elliott, Dan McStay, Brody Mihocek, Tom Mitchell Mason Cox, Joe Richards, Will Hoskin-Elliott for the Magpies and no Cody Weightman, Bailey Smith, Ed Richards, Aaron Naughton, Tom Liberatore or Jason Johannisen for the Bulldogs.

Which team’s depth can rise to the occasion and claim a crucial four points.

The Bulldogs have been hot and cold all year, fighting hard in a loss to ladder leaders Sydney, beating GWS on the roar, smashing Richmond and losing to Hawthorn in the last month.

Collingwood meanwhile was incredibly lucky to hang on for four points against Adelaide before scrounging two points against Fremantle at Optus Stadium. They are the masters of close games, even with their personnel issues.

This feels like a true 50-50 game. The question for the Magpies will be where their goals come from without the majority of their usual goal kickers.

They’re ranked second in the competition for scoring from stoppages, but will that hold up without De Goey, Pendlebury, Mitchell and Elliott?

The Bulldogs’ once deep midfield will now feature Marcus Bontempelli, Adam Treloar and depth. Does Jack Macrae finally return to the on-ball mix? Will Ryley Sanders thrive with increased opportunities?

They’re impossible to trust given how inconsistent they have been this year, while Collingwood has been as reliable as anyone for multiple seasons now.

… and yet, 16 players on the injury list is tough to overcome. This is a must-win for the Dogs.

Tip: Bulldogs by 3 points

Nic Negrepontis

Hawthorn v Adelaide

Saturday - 1:45pm AEST – MCG

Hawthorn is one of the form teams in the league right now on the back of three wins from four outings.

The Hawks bounced back strongly with a 25-point triumph over Brisbane last weekend and have now breathed life into their flailing season.

Adelaide crushed West Coast by 99 points in Round 11, which was their first win since Round 8 and fourth of the season.

Overall it appears Matthew Nicks’ side has underperformed but they have been unlucky not to have won seven on the trot with a pair of single-figure losses and a draw in that run.

Hawks veteran Jack Gunston returned to top form with four goals against former club the Lions last week. He plays his 250th AFL game against his other old mob, the Crows, where it all started almost 15 years ago.

Hawthorn and Brisbane have traded wins across their last six encounters in a sequence that reads Haw-Ade-Haw-Ade-Haw-Ade since 2019. So it seems like it’s Hawthorn’s turn (but that’s not how footy works).

The Crows have lost their last nine matches at the MCG. They have not won at the venue since Round 15, 2017.

With that in mind and the fact Sam Mitchell’s Hawks are playing some impressive footy of late, they are capable of getting the job done.

It’s a genuine 50-50 with either side competent enough to win, but the Hawks ever so slightly get the nod.

Tip: Hawthorn by 9 points.

Andrew Slevison

West Coast v St Kilda

Saturday - 4:35pm AEST – Optus Stadium

A battle between 15th and 16th, this game is going to be far closer than everyone would have expected in the pre-season.

While St Kilda has slumped to 3-8 after making finals in 2023, West Coast would be pretty happy with their 3-8 record this season after showing some genuine signs of improvement.

Looking a bit closer at the form of both clubs, it’s the Eagles who look the pick given they’ve won three of their last four at home - all of those wins have come by 30 or more points.

As for the Saints, they’ve only won one of their last seven overall, while they haven’t even scored more than 62 across the last three weeks.

If they are to win, it’s going to be on the back of a great defensive effort, and the Eagles have been held to scores of 40 or less in two of the last three weeks.

Both of those poor returns have come away from home though. They’ve scored more than 100 in their wins at Optus Stadium against Richmond, Fremantle and Melbourne. St Kilda have cracked triple figures once in 2024 - against North Melbourne.

With a clash of styles, the big matchup could be Jake Waterman v Callum Wilkie. if Wilkie wins, the Saints will be on top defensively and can grind out a win. If Waterman gets on top, the Eagles likely kick a score that Ross Lyon’s side can’t match.

It’s crazy to think of, but on current output, West Coast looks more likely to stamp the way that they want to play in this one compared to the struggling Saints.

Tip: West Coast by 14 points.

Lachlan Geleit

Geelong v Richmond

Saturday - 7:40pm AEST – GMHBA Stadium

In the midst of an improbable four-game slide, there is no better time for the Cats to take on one of two teams who boast a longer active losing streak.

Geelong is coming off the back of yet another single-digit loss, this time courtesy of the Giants, with three of their last four losses coming by a margin of eight or less.

The Cats side that looked near unstoppable to start the season has faded considerably, with their pressure dropping off completely in recent weeks and resulting in their slide.

Meanwhile, The Tigers are already counting down the days until this season is over.

Richmond gave it everything they had in Dreamtime but couldn’t quite manage the upset against a quality Essendon outfit, falling to a dismal 1-10 record with their seventh-straight loss.

Last week was the Tigers’ best display since their stunning victory over Sydney back in Round 3, but with even more key names joining their monstrous injury list, an upset down at the Cattery seems near-impossible.

GMHBA Stadium hasn’t quite been the fortress in 2024 that we’ve seen previously, with the Cats having already lost twice their this year, but they should be more than capable of defending home turf against this decimated Richmond squad.

Expect Geelong to get their season back on track with a comfortable win this weekend.

Tip: Geelong by 32 points.

Jack Makeham

Melbourne v Fremantle

Sunday - 1:00pm AEST – TIO Stadium

This one could be a real chess match.

Two sides that prefer defence to attack, expect this game to be relatively low-scoring as the teams look to set up behind the ball before going forward

While Fremantle came back to draw against Collingwood at home last Friday, they would have been pretty disappointed with their performance given the Magpies came to Perth injury-depleted.

As for Melbourne, they looked brilliant against St Kilda on Sunday, but the Saints are currently playing like a genuine bottom-four team.

As a result, this game is pretty hard to read, and while most rate Melbourne as an outfit more than Fremantle, the Dockers have won two of the last three against the Demons, with both of those wins coming at the MCG.

Given both sides have elite defences, this game will come down to which forward line can break through more than the other.

With Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett probably the two most talented forwards on the field from either side, that’s where Melbourne’s advantage lies.

If they get going, it should be enough for Melbourne to kick 70+ points, and given their defensive structure, that should be enough to win.

Tip: Melbourne by 18 points.

Lachlan Geleit

Gold Coast v Essendon

Sunday - 4:00pm AEST – People First Stadium

The Bombers travel north to take on the Suns on the coast in what could be a tighter contest than the ladder suggests.

Essendon are in very strong form, undefeated in their last seven games following their 12-point Dreamtime win over Richmond.

Despite their strong form, questions persist over their ability to compete against the league’s best sides.

Their win over Richmond was anything but convincing, while a six-point win over West Coast and three-point win over Adelaide don’t truly reflect that of a top side, not to mention their percentage ranking 13th in the competition.

But, regardless of how you look at it, the Bombers continue to get the job done.

Eight wins from eleven, holding firm in tight games each week, it’s hard to rule them out of any contest.

It is worth mentioning that reports of a virus currently spreading through the Essendon camp will certainly play a part, particularly as they travel to play in the heat... it will not do the Bombers any favours.

On the north side, the Suns are a mixed bag.

A 64-point smashing over the Cats in Darwin was a statement, despite the game being theirs to lose considering Geelong’s selection.

The win was meant to be their cry out to the competition, a sign to take Damien Hardwick’s men seriously.

That was until they fell drastically against the Blues the following week.

It’s hard to know what version of the Suns you are going to get each week; however, the Suns are currently undefeated at People’s First Stadium.

Four wins from four this season, playing elite-level footy in their backyard.

Forget the ladder, this week’s final fixture is one you won’t want to miss.

Tip: Gold Coast by 14 points.

Jaiden Sciberras

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