AFL Round 5 Preview

The long weekend starts with the Crows travelling to the SCG to take on the Swans in what should be an action-packed affair.

The Crows were stunned last week by Collingwood and will be wanting nothing less than a win to send out a strong signal to the rest of the league.

The Saints will need to find a way to cut the Giants down to size if they want to get back in the winner’s circle, and the Eagles take on a winless Carlton side at the MCG.

The Lions will battle the Suns in the Queensland derby and the round finishes with a blockbuster clash between Essendon and Collingwood.

Both the Pies and the Bombers will be wanting to capitalise on their improved start to the season in what is sure to be a packed house at the MCG for the traditional Anzac Day clash.

Sydney Swans v Adelaide Crows
Swans to beat the line (-17.5 points)

The Crows will be feeling the heat after a disastrous loss to Collingwood in round four at home.

Adelaide were terrible in a 48-point loss at home and will need to find some redemption against the Swans if they are to stay in touch with the Giants at the top of the ladder.

Unfortunately for the Crows, Sydney seems to be finding their attacking groove with Lance Franklin leading the way with a massive impact in wins over the Giants and Bulldogs.

While the Crows will make a game of it, they’ll struggle to nullify the impact of the Swans spearhead.

Daniel Talia will be up against it with the job on Lance Franklin and could be in for a long night at the office if the Crows cannot close down the Swans midfield. The Swans will be able to withstand Adelaide’s counter-attacking ball movement across the midfield to record a win at home and build some real momentum for the season.

St Kilda v GWS Giants
Giants to beat the line (-24.5 points)

It’s easy to forget that St Kilda were winners against the Brisbane Lions in the first round of the season. Not much has gone right for the Saints since then, losing their next four matches and facing a monumental task against the Giants in Melbourne.

St Kilda’s coach Alan Richardson seems to be running out of ideas as his side lack the confidence or the finish to challenge the marquee names in the competition. St Kilda won their corresponding match with the Giants at the same venue last season but will struggle to match the physicality of a Giants midfield.

The Giants should go onto record a comfortable win as the Saints face the real possibility as of collecting the wooden spoon, with their side struggling for confidence.

Carlton Blues v West Coast Eagles
Eagles to win ($1.22)

Many league pundits were predicting that the Eagles would slide down the ladder in 2018, with the retirements of Matt Priddis and Sam Mitchell. After a first round loss to the Swans, the Eagles have come out firing and won their last four games to sit second on the AFL ladder.

After a promising start in round one, matching the premiers for three quarters of football, the Blues have fallen away to sit anchored to the bottom of the AFL ladder. The Blues are yet to win a game this season and face an Eagles side full of confidence and their forward line firing.

Former Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy returned to the starting line-up with immediate effect last week and proved to be the difference the last time these two sides met. Kennedy has kicked 20 goals in his last five encounters with his old side and Carlton have not beaten the Eagles in the last four seasons. The Blues are missing the poise of Marc Murphy in the midfield and the Blues will struggle to contain one of the best attacks in the competition.

The Eagles midfield trio of Nic Naitanui, Elliot Yeo and Jeremy McGovern have the potential to bust this game wide open and put the Eagles in the box seat to claim the top spot on the ladder.

Port Adelaide v Geelong
Power to win ($1.50)

After dominating the first three rounds of the competition the Power faces the possibility of back to back losses when they come up against Geelong in Adelaide.

The Cats will be sweating on the fitness of Gary Ablett and won’t be able to call upon Geelong’s favourite son, in what looms as a vital clash for both sides.

Port Adelaide were shocked by the Bombers last round and can ill-afford a repeat of an insipid performance that saw their midfield over-run by a desperate Bombers side.

The Cats were able to do the job against the Saints last week but will need to go up a couple of notches if the Power brings their physical brand of football to the clash.

The Power should be able to get the points in what should be the match of the round.

Fremantle Dockers v Western Bulldogs
Fremantle to beat the line (-10.5 points)

Despite a promising start to the season the Dockers sit at the lower end of the AFL ladder and will be looking to turn things around with the Bulldogs making the journey to Perth. The Dockers have managed to notch two big wins in Perth and will be looking to take full advantage of the one-sided home crowd support.

While the Bulldogs were unable to get the win last week against Sydney, there were plenty of promising signs towards the Bulldogs returning to the form that saw them win the 2016 Premiership. The Bulldogs will be looking to eliminate the silly errors that cost them the against the Swans in what could be an exciting clash.

The Dockers will be confident at home, with captain Nate Fyfe returning to the form that saw him win the Brownlow Medal.

The Bulldogs have not travelled well in Perth and the Dockers should be able to come out on top.

North Melbourne Kangaroos v Hawthorn
Hawthorn to win ($1.47)

The Kangaroos sit inside the top eight despite having one of the oldest lists in the competition. The Hawks have been impressive at times this season, with coach Alistair Clarkson’s rebuild starting to bear fruit. Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell have been two of the form midfielders of the competition and have only struggled once this season against Richmond.

North Melbourne surprised everyone in the league with an 86-point winning margin last round and have surprised many with the nature of their attack.

Ben Brown has kicked 15 goals this season and the Kangaroos willingness to compete across the midfield has made the competition sit up and take notice.

The Hawks are showing signs that they are beginning to return to their glory years and their combinations across the midfield and up forward should be enough to get them over a determined North Melbourne side.

Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast Suns
Suns to win ($2.05)

The Lions have yet to register their first win of the season despite showing plenty of promise over the first four rounds of the competition.

The Lions were competitive against the Power in Adelaide, but awful against Richmond in Melbourne with their lowest score in history.

The Suns struggled against the Eagles last round, after back to back games in Perth. The Suns look full of promise in winning their opening two games of the season and full-forward Tom Lynch will be the key to their chances.

The Gold Coast forward is off contract at the end of the season but will need to be able to produce a match-winning haul to help the young side get across the line against a tough Lions outfit. The Suns will be able to get on top of the Lions side and earn bragging rights in the Queensland derby.

Melbourne v Richmond
Richmond to win ($1.45)

The Demons currently sit outside the top eight in 12th position and will need to find some consistency against the premiers if they want to play finals football in 2018.

The Demons have been outclassed at times and the young side has been unable to close out games against some of their more experienced opposition.

The Tigers sit third on the ladder and Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin has been able to recapture the form that made him one of the form players of the competition in 2017.

The Demons will face a packed house and if they are able to cause an upset against the premiers, then they’ll be in the running for finals football.

Richmond have been able to grind down their opposition with a suffocating defence and should be able to get the win.

Collingwood v Essendon
Collingwood to win ($1.75)

While both of these sides won’t be premiership contenders this season, the hype surrounding one of the AFL’s marquee days will be boosted by the good form that both of these sides are showing.

Collingwood were able to pull off one of the upsets of the round with a demolition of the Crows in Adelaide.

The Bombers were able to match the performance of the Pies by shocking Port Adelaide in Melbourne.

Both of these sides have been missing consistency and polish across the first four rounds of the season, but this should make for an entertaining affair on one of football’s biggest days.

The performance of the Pies in Adelaide was something special and they have the ability to shock their more fancied rivals and claim another major win.