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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions: Round 5

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17th April, 2019
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Round 5 is upon us in the AFL and, with upsets galore, it’s no surprise to see our crowd pundit showing the experts up.

AdelaideDocker came through with a five-for last week, successfully predicting upsets to North Melbourne and St Kilda en route to taking the competition lead.

That saw him take a one-point lead over myself (after scoring four), while Marnie Cohen and Daniel Jeffrey (three each) had weekends they’d both rather forget. (In a tipping sense at least; for all I know they each had a perfectly enjoyable couple of days.)

Will this week prove to be more straightforward?

Stirling Coates
Collingwood, Essendon, West Coast, GWS, St Kilda, Richmond, Bulldogs, Adelaide, Geelong

The AFL look mighty smart gambling on Brisbane in prime time slots so far this season. The Lions have been a pleasant surprise in 2019, despite last week’s disappointing loss to the Bombers.

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I say disappointing for them, but it was a badly needed upset point for yours truly so I can’t keep the grin down for too long.

As much as I want the young Lions to keep up the hot start and play finals (and, for the record, I think they will), it’ll be a second loss in as many weeks as they come against a club they’ve only beaten twice in their last 12 attempts.

Friday night’s double-header is a pretty poor advertisement for Good Friday football if you ask me. Essendon look to have finally found their feet and I think they’ll account for North Melbourne pretty comfortably.

Port Adelaide couldn’t beat the Richmond VFL side a week ago, so I find it hard to see them troubling an almost full-strength Eagles side in their second ever trip to Optus

Ken Hinkley

Ken Hinkley’s mob had a golden chance to knock off the Tigers and they squandered it. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Saturday’s triple-header seems reasonably straightforward at the bookends; GWS should have no trouble putting Fremantle to the sword, while the Swans are in for a rough evening at Docklands against the Tigers.

The twilight clash is where I think things get interesting; I’m tipping the Saints to continue their stunning start to the season by extending Melbourne’s rough one.

St Kilda’s onball brigade have done a stunning job to sit second in clearances despite being in the bottom four for hit-outs. Given the Demons rely heavily on Max Gawn’s aerial dominance to kickstart a chain of possession, Alan Richardson’s side could make life difficult for the opposition at the MCG.

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Fun fact: did you know St Kilda’s first win in club history – after three straight winless seasons – came against Melbourne in 1900? Not only that, the match was originally a draw that only had its result overturned after a protest, much like sirengate.

Sunday has two seemingly cut and dry clashes; the Western Bulldogs should prove too good for the Blues, while Adelaide should have enough to see off the Suns. The Crows are the only side Gold Coast are yet to defeat, so a win for Stuart Dew’s young side here would be monumental.

The now traditional Easter Monday clash should see the Cats atone for last week’s upset with a comfortable win over Hawthorn. Geelong is 5-2 lifetime in this fixture.

West Coast did me proud in the Shoe-In of the Week segment a week ago, so I see no reason not to back them in again. I can’t see a future where Port Adelaide walks away with the four points this weekend.

Marnie Cohen
Brisbane, North Melbourne, West Coast, GWS, Melbourne, Sydney, Carlton, Adelaide, Geelong

If someone could please teach me the art of mastering tipping, I would greatly appreciate it.

I cannot get my head around it, or, I cannot get my head around this season.

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This week’s tactic is throwing out the logic and basing my tips on heart. Let’s see if it treats me right.

Starting with Carlton. I think it’s time for a win. They’ve played four very good games to start this season, but that counts for nothing when you’ve only won two of your last 26 starts.

They have a beauty in Sam Walsh, we all know captain Patrick Cripps is one of the league’s best players and Liam Jones has enjoyed a solid start to the season. They’ve teased and teased and teased. If they cannot get the four points this weekend I don’t know what their answer is.

Despite a strong start to 2019 for the Bulldogs, they have had a very ordinary fortnight and their efforts against Collingwood last week were really poor. If they repeat that performance, they’re in deep danger of losing this one.

Collingwood, too, were also less than impressive. Collingwood is a good side and I don’t think they need to do much to take their game up to that finals form of last season, but the question is when?

They have the game’s best ruckman at their disposal in Brodie Grundy and their midfield isn’t taking advantage of it. They also aren’t scoring enough – that’ll be a big problem coming up against the game’s highest-scoring team on Thursday night.

Brisbane has been the story of the season so far and are expected to play in front of a sold-out home crowd for the first time in a decade. That should inspire them to victory.

Charlie Cameron of the Lions in action

Can Brisbane do their fans proud? (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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This weekend is also a must win for North Melbourne, beyond what it could do for their season. The club campaigned for 25 years to play Good Friday football and one wrong move on the weekend could see them lose the slot for good.

The key to victory? Finding a way to shut down Anthony ‘Tippa’ McDonald-Tipungwuti, who is in red hot form. If this slot means enough to North Melbourne, which I think it does, they will find a way to win – and they will.

The heart is also telling me Sydney and Adelaide will respond. At some point, they have to. Sydney still has the bones of a great side and if their big guns fire, the Tigers could be in some trouble.

Adelaide must win for Eddie Betts. No excuses.

I am enjoying the way St Kilda are playing, but this weekend against Melbourne will be their biggest test so far. I won’t be surprised if they walked away with the win but it’s time Melbourne found some form.

West Coast, Geelong and GWS are my three standout teams so far this season and they’re all good enough to walk away with the four points.

Daniel Jeffrey
Brisbane, Essendon, West Coast, GWS, St Kilda, Richmond, Bulldogs, Adelaide, Geelong

We don’t talk about last week’s tips. Aside from me tipping Essendon. Other than that, not a word.

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Unfortunately, things don’t look any easier this time around. Brisbane are looking at a rare sell-out at the Gabba, and I’m not at all sure how they will fare in front of that kind of crowd. Still, they were able to defeat the Eagles and their controlled-ball gameplan earlier in the year, and they’re capable of doing the same to the Pies this week.

North Melbourne-Essendon might be the toughest game of the weekend to tip. Both have been disappointing this year, and both are coming off bounceback wins. The Bombers should be able to exploit North’s weakness in the middle of the ground and make it three on the trot in a tight one.

West Coast and GWS are the best two teams in the comp right now and should both notch comfortable wins at home over Port and Freo respectively.

Melbourne versus St Kilda is far less clear-cut. I don’t put much stock in beating Sydney right now, and the Saints’ win over Hawthorn was a truly impressive performance. They’ll take this one to move to 4-1.

With Dylan Grimes and Tom Lynch firing in the absence of the club’s injured mainstays, Richmond looked something like the side we expected to see before their stars were shipped off to the casualty ward. They’ll make it two in a row against a Swans side in all sorts.

I tipped Carlton last week and the week before. That won’t be happening again anytime soon. Bulldogs by plenty.

Adelaide just have to beat Gold Coast. It won’t do all that much to relieve the pressure around the club, but a loss would be catastrophic. They’ll get the job done – they have the cattle and should play the Adelaide Oval far better than the Suns, who only just edged the Blues last weekend.

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Not many things in early-season footy are better than the Hawthorn-Geelong Easter Monday clash. With Patrick Dangerfield free to play, an extra day to recover from their enthralling clash with the Giants, and Hawthorn in a little bit of a pickle, the Cats should win this one, but only a fool would tip anything but a close game given the fixture’s recent history.

AdelaideDocker
Collingwood, Essendon, West Coast, GWS, St Kilda, Richmond, Bulldogs, Adelaide, Geelong

Hah! My risky tips in North Melbourne and St Kilda actually paid off last week. That’s good, because I was looking at a fairly bleak tipping weekend as favourites succumbed to favourite-itis, which I hereby declare a genuine footballing ailment. The trouble is, this week is looking no better in terms of tipping. Sigh. On with it, then.

We start the week at a potentially sold-out Gabba, as Brisbane host Collingwood. Last year’s corresponding feature was a stellar game that saw Collingwood eke out a narrow victory. While this year’s Brisbane is a strong one, are they an enigma or just lucky?

Beating the almost-premiers would be a massive accomplishment, but tipping Brisbane too many times in a row surely isn’t smart at this stage. I’ll go the Pies, purely because Brisbane moving to 4-1 seems too good to be true (but also because Collingwood are unequivocally a better team, and they’d be wanting to win this as much as Brisbane would).

Good Friday sees two games for the first time! North retains its place on the holy day, as they host Essendon. This is an interesting clash, but I’ll have to tip Essendon to win because they’re the ones getting into a nice period of form (beating Adelaide does not count as form, sorry.)

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Dylan Shiel

Dylan Shiel and the Bombers could be jetting into form. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Also, tipping North twice in a row is like going to uni fresh off the booze the night before; just don’t.

Port visit Western Australia to face the Eagles in Friday’s later clash, and this should see a fairly comfortable win for the reigning premiers. Expect Port to keep it competitive but fall away as the game progresses.

Saturday sees three clashes. Freo’s visiting GWS in the first of these and, unfortunately, I’d expect the Dockers to lose by a fair bit here. GWS is just too potent and, despite Fyfe returning for the visitors, the Giants’ dominant victory away last week will see them on a high.

It’s a battle of two extremes as the Demons host the Saints. Despite Melbourne’s inaugural 2019 victory last week, meaning they’ve a smidgen of form behind them, I’m going to be risky (read: insane) and tip the Saints, who’ll spring a surprise and pip the win in a close one – possibly in the mould of last year’s clash between these two.

Richmond host Sydney in Saturday’s evening clash, and I’m going to back the Tigers here to get the win.

A winless Carlton visit the Bulldogs to begin Sunday, and this will see the Doggies poach the four points. But this is a tricky tip to make: Carlton’s going to poach one sooner or later, and this could be it.

Gold Coast travel to Adelaide after somehow winning last week but, despite the humour most would derive from the Suns winning, the Crows will win with ease.

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In the finale, we’ll see Hawthorn take on Geelong in their traditional Easter Monday clash. Unfortunately, despite the history of the two sides and the number of thrilling contests we’ve seen, I can’t help but suspect this’ll be a bit of a fizzer. Geelong should win.

Round 5 Stirling Marnie Daniel AdelaideDocker The Crowd
BL vs COL COL BL BL COL COL
NM vs ESS ESS NM ESS ESS ESS
WCE vs PA WCE WCE WCE WCE WCE
GWS vs FRE GWS GWS GWS GWS GWS
MEL vs STK STK MEL STK STK STK
RCH vs SYD RCH SYD RCH RCH RCH
WB vs CAR WB CAR WB WB WB
ADE vs GCS ADE ADE ADE ADE ADE
HAW vs GEE GEE GEE GEE GEE GEE
Last week 4 3 3 5 4
Total score 18 16 15 19 17