Brace yourself for another weekend of agile, fluid, flexible scheduling mixed with some games good and some very, very bad.
If things go to plan and all nine tips get up, then something has gone wrong.
This is AFL Football 2020 style.
Down is up.
Up is down.
Gold Coast good.
Where this weekend let alone season will end up is anyone’s guess, especially ours as we preview Round 5 of the AFL.
Originally scheduled for Saturday arvo, now bumped up to the Thursday night prime-time slot because 2020 – this match between Carlton and the Saints is set to be a beauty!
The blood pressure and heart rate of Blues fans will be under close scrutiny this week.
All three of their matches since the season resumed have been decided by under a kick, and their two wins on the trot have been decided by a total of three points.
Carlton’s accuracy in front of goal is a concern and while it’s nice to be on the winner’s list, they would probably like a bit of a buffer zone come the final siren, not just for their percentage but the health and well-being for everyone associated with the old dark Navy Blues.
St Kilda played their best game in years against the reigning premiers Richmond last week and was an absolute delight to watch, especially in this age of keepings off, low scoring, chippy crap that most teams are dishing up.
Dan Butler played his career-best game against his old side with three sausage rolls and Tim Membrey was amongst the Saints best.
Marvel Stadium is yet again becoming a fortress for the Saints, having won five out of their last six at the ground.
The Blues have a woeful record there, winning three out of their last 17.
Both teams are playing great football right now, but the Saints should get the job done in this one.
In normal times this would be the showpiece standalone ANZAC day fixture and the MCG would be packed with 95,000 fans instead Collingwood and Essendon meet on a cold, mid-winter night in front of no one.
There will still be some feeling to this clash as both teams will be desperate to bounce back after last weekend.
Collingwood not only suffered a narrow loss to GWS last Friday night but they also lost Jeremy Howe to a horrible PCL injury, along with that veteran Steele Sidebottom is facing time on the sidelines due to breaching the AFL’s very strict COVID19 guidelines.
You wouldn’t want to write off the Pies just yet, they still are very much in the hunt right now but they should be winning games like GWS last weekend.
Injury is also getting the better of Essendon, who suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss to Carlton.
The Essendon Football Club has suffered more drama than anything dished up on Neighbours or Home and Away in recent years if not weeks.
First, there was Connor McKenna’s positive test, the postponement of the Melbourne game (which still needs to be played) and then Jacob Townsend misses the shot on goal to win them the game in the dying seconds.
McKenna is likely to return to the side but they will be missing the likes of Dyson Heppell and Zach Merrett which will put a serious dent in their midfield.
Collingwood has dominated the Bombers in recent years having won 15 of their past 20 including their past four games against them.
The Pies will be simply too good for the Dons and get the job done easily.
With no Vics allowed in Queensland, West Coast now hosts the Swans on the Gold Coast this Saturday arvo instead of the Tigers on Thursday night.
Hub life hasn’t been kind to the Eagles, although given the premiership favouritism they had going into this season they can’t use it as an excuse for their poor form of recent.
West Coast has suffered bad losses to the Suns, Lions and Port and have kicked six goals in each match.
This has nothing to do with being in an inconvenient hub as a result of a once in a lifetime pandemic situation, they are just no good right now.
Luke Shuey and Josh Kennedy have a crack, but the rest of the team need to find a way to get their mojo back and quickly.
Sydney had a bad night at the office against the Bulldogs last weekend but are so far 2-2 in season 2020 and can still produce some good football on their day.
The Swans have the wood over the Eagles winning 12 of their past 14 against them.
While the Eagles face the prospect of playing in Perth for the rest of the year once they leave the hub, they desperately need four premiership points.
I just can’t back them on their current form and am taking the Swans.
Never thought I’d write this, but given the current climate of course this is the case:
Geelong plays host to the Gold Coast Suns in a blockbuster clash at GMHBA Stadium this Saturday.
Since the season resumed, the Gold Coast Suns have won all three of their matches – convincingly and have become everyone’s second favourite team.
Not only are they giving people a smile in an otherwise bleak and sorry season, young gun and number one draft pick Matt Rowell has taken the AFL world by storm and is $7 to win the Brownlow after only four senior games.
Heading down to Geelong to take on the Cats will be a real test to see where these young, upstart Suns are really at.
It’s a big day at the Cattery too with club legends Joel Selwood’s 300th game and the Little Master Gazza’s 350th (who of course is also a Gold Coast Suns legend)
Geelong really needs to step up and not dish out that absolute trash they played against Melbourne last Sunday.
If the coaches actually do care about the state of the game, they’ll let Patrick Dangerfield line up on Matt Rowell and allow the master and apprentice produce the one on one contests that are very much missing from our game.
There is a simple rule when punting on footy not to tip against the Cats at the Cattery, however, the line has been set at -18.5 – the Gold Coast Suns to beat it is some solid value.
Not since Alistair Lynch tried to beat up on the entire Port Adelaide Football Club in the 2004 Grand Final has a Lions v Power clash been considered the match of the round.
Brisbane and Port Adelaide go into this as the leading teams of the competition and trying to pick a team to back in this one is a hard task.
Port remains the only unbeaten team in the AFL and have done it in convincing fashion in all four of their games.
Charlie Dixon up forward is proving a sensation, kicking six in last weekends 48 point win over the Eagles and in 2020 standards that is a serious bag.
Since the season resumed, Brisbane has won all three of their matches.
Blessed with a streak of four consecutive games at the Gabba, the Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) are really starting to build on a solid 2020 campaign.
If the Lions can work on their kicking, then they’ll be in with a shot against the Power.
They really should have beaten the Crows by about 87 points rather than the 37 they did.
Kicking 10-23 in a match is highly unacceptable, no matter how dominant you look.
Lachie Neale is in Brownlow winning form and he will no doubt suffer another case of leather poisoning and is always worth considering in your multis, even if he let some punters down last weekend.
This game will be a great indication as to where these two sides are at and just have a feeling it might go down to the wire.
A fascinating contest awaits us at Marvel Stadium this Saturday night as the Western Bulldogs play host to North Melbourne in a clash of co-tenants.
The Western Bulldogs go into this game coming off a highly impressive 24 point win over the Swans at the SCG.
North Melbourne got close to Hawthorn, but too little too late and have now suffered two narrow losses in two weeks.
What I look forward to most in this game is seeing how the Bont will go for the Doggies.
Marcus Bontempelli was without the best on ground for the Bulldogs last weekend and probably the only highlight in an otherwise very ordinary game of Australian Rules Football.
Western Bulldogs-North Melbourne clashes have gone down to the wire in recent encounters with the last seven matches between the two sides being decided by 10 points or less.
The Doggies have won four out of their last six against North and overall it’s North’s sloppy attack up forward that should put them in good stead to take the four points.
Two clubs who’d rather be elsewhere, down the bottom of the ladder and yet to win a game meet this Sunday afternoon on the Gold Coast.
Nat Fyfe is out with a minor hamstring injury which really punts a dent in the Dockers hopes of getting that first win of the season.
On the other hand, the Adelaide Crows are in a sad and sorry state and really should have lost by a lot more last weekend had Brisbane been able to kick straight.
Adelaide did show signs of life with a four-goal burst in the third quarter last weekend but otherwise, it’s a grim, bleak time for the once pride of South Australia.
This is a hard game to tip but for good measure, we’re going Freo by a lot.
Much like a thriving hospitality establishment pre-COVID19 restrictions, reigning premiers Richmond have really struggled to get back in business since the season resumed.
A draw and two losses, Richmond have gone from being undefeated for an entire calendar year to not having won a game in 100 days – and it’s only Round 4.
The Tigers were meant to play the Eagles on the Gold Coast but as we all know, that’s now been swapped and they will face the Dees at the MCG.
Melbourne had their chances against the Cats in an absolutely atrocious game of football, falling short by three points.
If the Tigers struggle to get back into form against the Dees on the G then 2020 isn’t for them.
There’s no way we are writing off the reigning premiers and they should be able to get back on the winner’s list this Sunday afternoon.
A lot has happened since these two teams last met on that snowy night in Canberra last year.
GWS will go into this game full of confidence after a big win over fellow premiership contender Collingwood last Friday night.
Hawthorn has developed a reputation of slaying contenders and will fancy themselves against the Giants.
They did beat them twice last season and have won two games in a row.
The Giants will open this match the rightful favourites but a Hawthorn side with momentum is always a daunting prospect.
The market has set the line at -7.5 in favour of GWS and I expect them to beat it based purely on their perception that they are the better side on paper.