One of the criminal charges, forcible touching, laid against Collingwood AFL star Jordan De Goey has been dropped by New York prosecutors.
What a massive round of footy! Let’s take a look at the winners and losers for the upcoming weekend.
Hawthorn v Adelaide
Darren Jarman was a premiership star for both teams, one of the best attacking midfielders of his generation. Hawthorn is the three-time defending champion but are struggling in front of goals without star Jarrad Roughead.
Their defence will be tested by a Crows forward line with plenty of weapons and a midfield that ranks first in clearances. The Crows haven’t defeated the Hawks since 2011 but will do so by 12 points.
Sydney v West Coast
Jason Ball was a serviceable ruckman for both these teams. Nic Naitanui needs no introduction as an elite ruckman but when he looks across the circle on Saturday he will see a familiar face.
Callum Sinclair was squeezed out despite being a regular for the Eagles in 2015, but his challenge in this game will be negating the influence of Nic Nat.
The Eagles do not traditionally play the SCG very well, but are nearing full strength and will be confident that they can outgun Sydney if they can provide enough supply to their forward line. The Eagles will win by 14 points.
Gold Coast v North Melbourne
Daniel Harris was a solid citizen whose game startled no-one and was a player that most fans wouldn’t have gone to watch in action. These two teams are shaping as the very opposite after a month.
North are the only unbeaten team and are doing it on the back of a powerful forward line. They concede the fifth most points in the game and the Suns are scoring heavily as well while surprisingly not relying entirely on Gary Ablett, but the loss of Steven May and Rory Thompson will leave the Gold Coast wanting as North win by 21 points.
Western Bulldogs v Brisbane
Jed Adcock was a Lions stalwart and has his chance at the Bulldogs now that Bob Murphy has a long-term injury. Come the end of this game, he will be glad he was cut by Brisbane and will be singing the winning song because this is shaping as a one-sided game.
The Dogs have been near-historically good as far as their defence goes after a month, while possessing the ball to the extent that the opposition doesn’t have a chance. The Dogs have 115 possessions more than their opposition per game while Brisbane give up 45 more touches to their opponents.
Playing in the comforts of Etihad Stadium, the Dogs will win this game easily by 46 points.
Port Adelaide v Geelong
Shayne Breuer was a livewire forward for both the Power and Cats. Consistency was not a strength of his, so it is fitting that these teams clash this weekend.
Port have been consistently frustrating, saying all the right things off-field but ranking among the league’s worst teams in pressure acts, contested possession differential and points conceded.
The effort seems to be lacking and alarm bells are ringing. The Cats were great in Round 1 and have done what they need to since with an easy draw. The inability of Port to win the ball at the contest is a worrying sign given both sides are among the leaders in inside 50s. The Cats will go inside 50 more often and that will be enough for them to win by 17 points.
St.Kilda v Greater Western Sydney
Josh Bruce played at the Giants for what seems like a second, and has made his name at the Saints. A young, talented forward is he but he won’t be the only one of those in this game.
Jeremy Cameron, Jonathan Patton, Paddy McCartin, Rory Lobb are just some of the big names.
These teams base their games on possessing the ball and stopping their opposition from having it and they are both showing signs of being on the fast track to success. The midfields are evenly matched so the forward line who makes the most of their opportunities should win.
The Saints should take their impressive form last weekend into this game and won’t be chipping kicks in their defensive 50 if it gets close. It will be close, but the Saints will win by 19 points.
Fremantle v Carlton
Who would have thought these would be the two winless, bottom teams heading into Round 5?
Stephen O’Reilly was a dour defender who represented both these proud, great clubs and he would love sitting down to watch this game.
It promises to be a defensive slugfest between a team that is learning a defence-first approach and a team that is trying unsuccessfully to move away from one.
Fremantle seem to have been improving each week and logic says they should win this game; the natives would and should turn on this side and club if they happen to lose to the young Blues.
Carlton enter this game with ‘nothing to lose’, if that is actually possible. They will lose by 27 points in a game which will tell us very little we don’t already know about either team.
Melbourne v Richmond
Simon Eishold played for both teams and is best known for missing from the goal square in the 1987 preliminary final, likely costing his side a grand final berth.
A finals berth seems light years for his former teams, as this weekend they enter a grudge match under different types of pressure.
Melbourne are under pressure to continue the impressive form of last weekend, where they were led by former #1 draft pick Jack Watts and young star Jesse Hogan.
Richmond are led by, well, no-one really. They are bumbling their way through the early season with coach Damian Hardwick under real pressure to not only orchestrate a few wins but not speak in clichés.
Recent history tells us this will be a close game, and until Melbourne can prove they can play consistent footy they don’t deserve to be a favourite or even be expected to win. The return of Ivan Maric and Brett Deledio will inspire the Tigers to an eight-point victory in the weekend’s worst game.
Collingwood v Essendon
Plenty has been written about Anzac Day football and whether or not they deserve the stage, these two teams will continue to own the day.
Both these sides are suffering from similar problems, but the Bombers have shown heart, intent and an ability to fight every inch of the way. Collingwood haven’t shown the same intent and while they have more natural talent, there are plenty of questions on their ability to execute under Nathan Buckley.
Around 90,000 people will walk away disappointed as this game will feature the season’s first draw.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off and let me know!