Round 5 Preview
So we are assuming the fixtures below will still be the games we end up seeing this weekend. What a crazy time we are living in, and the flow on effect to the footy week to week has been obvious.
Credit to the industry and those who are running the show for being "agile" (buzz word of the week) enough to navigate their way through this. Ultimately it might lead to some fixture dead ends down the track but for now it's working as well as possible.
We now have a good block of games under the belt to form some reasonable opinions about a few sides. Still finding the likes of Richmond, West Coast and Hawthorn a little tricky, because on any given day they can really turn it on despite an average start to the year (harsh on the Hawks but jury still out, for mine).
Let's dive into this re-worked Round 5 lot of games:
Carlton v St Kilda
The Blues back in prime time! They've actually become pretty good to watch (the best of a bad bunch of games at the moment, perhaps?) and the Saints have some new speed and class, so this should be a cracker. Fingers crossed, anyway.
Levi Casboult could be the most improved player in the competition right now - the stickiest hands in the business at the moment (apologies to Charlie Dixon), and gets another chance to put out the big dukes under the roof at Marvel Stadium.
The Saints will have bucket loads of confidence from their win over the Tigers last weekend, but I feel they would have learnt a whole lot more the week before when the Pies showed them how it's done. Often your losses teach you way more than your wins, and become valuable if you can apply those learning shortly afterwards against good opposition. A good sign for the Saints.
Pick: St Kilda by 12
Collingwood v Essendon
If the Bombers can't fix their scoring woes and a forward line that hasn't quite clicked, then Collingwood should easily have their measure. But stranger things have happened and these teams love playing in some crazy games. It's just hard to see an upset in this one.
Pick: Collingwood by 25
West Coast v Sydney
There was a glimmer of hope from West Coast last week despite being beaten. They will get a lot more supply to their forwards this week you'd think, and they desperately need it. For a team that has only achieved 40 inside 50s once (vs Gold Coast in Round 2) and only kicked six goals in each of the last three games, it seems a bit strange to pick them to win this week for sure.
But the Swans, as honest as they are, look like a side really missing their key forwards. The West Coast back six seem quite suited to matching up on the Sydney forwards, so unless they can generate enough supply in a crucial midfield arm wrestle.
With West Coast only losing the clearance battle once this season (and were +12 against Port las weekend), the expectation is that their mids to get on top and find a way to win here.
Pick: West Coast by 13
Geelong v Gold Coast
What a test for the Suns! Fascinated to see how they handle a trip away for the first time this year, against a team with their own issues but generally comfortable on their home deck.
Everyone expecting the Cats to triumph here, understandably. Hope it doesn't happen though because it's exciting to see a team on the rise pull off another upset.
Pick: Geelong by 21
Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne
This one could go either way. North nearly pinched it last week while the Dogs continued to build confidence by taking care of Sydney pretty easily.
Is it Ben Brown or bust for North Melbourne in this one? They have some injury troubles too, so team selection becomes important in the prediction too. Our best early guess is a narrow Bulldogs win.
Pick: Western Bulldogs by 5
Brisbane v Port Adelaide
The Lions could have won by 80 last weekend (+33 Inside 50s!), but they clearly face a much stronger outfit from SA this week.
Two of the three highest scoring teams of 2020 are facing off, so everyone is praying for a lot of excitement and goals galore among the usual dour winter matches.
The Zorko loss for the Lions is massive, but Port might be due for a slightly off day given they have been "up" for a while...
Pick: Brisbane by 8
Melbourne v Richmond
What a cracking (rescheduled) game!
Two teams under the pump, battling to score, on their home deck, fighting to keep their season from slipping away. Anything could happen here.
Tigers with too much firepower up forward, perhaps? They might not have shown it recently, but they don't get any less talented in a couple of weeks. Beware the reigning champs with a point to prove...if they've still got the hunger for it.
Pick: Richmond by 22
GWS v Hawthorn
Confident the Giants kick-started their season by coming to play against a gallant Hawthorn.
Things seem to be falling into place for GWS, while the Hawks have been workmanlike and just getting the job done without really impressing.
A great way to end a very interesting round.
Pick: GWS by 28
Round 5 Burning Question:
Will anyone put their hand up to host the dirty Victorians?
Let's bloody hope so! The whole comp depends on it...
By this time next week we will know what's going on. And whether footy still has a pulse. Fingers crossed.