The Roar
The Roar



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

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14th April, 2021
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If you got all four of Saturday’s matches right last week, I’m keen to hear your thoughts on tonight’s lottery numbers.

We begged and pleaded for an easy round but, instead, we saw West Coast squander a five-goal lead to St Kilda, while Collingwood looked like they’d forgotten to download the AFL’s 2020 balance patch and made the Giants look like the OP team of years gone by.

That made it a third five in four weeks for myself, with Liam Salter also collecting a second straight five and Dem Panopoulos crashing to a horrid score of four. The Crowd, of course, somehow managed six – stuff the lot of yas.

It’s still narrow in the season’s early going – the Crowd is narrowly ahead on 24 points, Dem is close behind on 22, while Liam and I are even closer behind on 21.

This week looks much simpler, so I’m sure we’ll all be coming into next week with a score of three.

Stirling Coates


Richmond, West Coast, GWS Giants, Western Bulldogs, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong

Well, well, well. After chickening out of my pre-season call that the Saints were top four-bound and the Eagles were set to miss the eight, along comes a result that fits the narrative! Too bad for me.

The Saints still have a bit of ground to make up before we can be confident they’re on track to replicate last year’s efforts – let alone exceed them – and you’d expect they’ll be off the winners’ list tonight after their match with the wounded Tigers.

West Coast need little reminder of how their season ended in 2020 and should be frothing at the mouth to exact revenge on a Collingwood side under immense scrutiny. Both clubs have their backs against the wall to an extent, but the Eagles have no excuse to fall for this one again – they should toast the Magpies by plenty.

Speaking of backs against the wall, Greater Western Sydney’s response to a month of criticism was something to behold. Callan Ward, Toby Greene and Shane Mumford all played out of their skin in a rousing win that could be the turning point in their season. They play well at the SCG – winning three of the last four derbies played there – and have caught the Swans at a vulnerable time. I reckon they’ll pull off the upset.

The other Saturday night match worth talking about is Brisbane vs Essendon. The Bombers were probably lucky to be as close to the Swans in the end (Sydney completely dominated the last quarter but were let down by poor conversion), but have looked a totally different side since the opening fortnight and are a red-hot chance.

Jake Stringer of the Bombers reacts

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It’s season over for Brisbane if they drop this one, but surely they can’t. Fun fact, whenever Essendon have lost at The Gabba, they’ve gone on to lose at least four in a row at the venue. They’ve lost their last three.


Saturday’s other matches are easy. The Bulldogs will flex their muscles once more against Gold Coast, while Port Adelaide should continue on their merry way against Carlton.

Sunday’s first match pits two sides both looking for big improvement against one another in Adelaide and Fremantle. Both sides have been very impressive so far – when they’ve played at home.

When they’ve been on the road, they’ve looked significantly weaker and I’m backing the trend to continue – Crows by four goals.

Melbourne have far too much class for Hawthorn (when’s the last time someone said that? 2006?) and should have no trouble extending their winning streak, while the return of Patrick Dangerfield and Jeremy Cameron means Geelong should inflict an almighty pummeling on North Melbourne.

The Cats have been too unconvincing to be the Shoe-In of the Week, however, that ‘honour’ goes to the Western Bulldogs instead.

Dem Panopoulos

Richmond, West Coast, Western Bulldogs, Sydney, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Fremantle, Melbourne, Geelong


Well, last weekend was something.

On one hand, Australia got its first WWE Women’s Champion after the ‘Nightmare’ Rhea Ripley won the title at the company’s biggest show, Wrestlemania.

On the other hand, my nightmare was a complete failure to tip a single winner on Saturday although, after the cricket season, it’s unfamiliar to walk away with a zero. This is a newly-found and strange relationship with the term.

Anyway, Round 5 needs to bring back a response in a big way, so let’s knock off the easy tips first. The Eagles will beat Collingwood in Perth, that I am certain of. Geelong have been bad to start the season, but I feel like North Melbourne have been a little worse.

Brisbane will beat Essendon at home, simply because they have to and Joe Daniher has something to prove. I suspect the Bulldogs will easily account for Gold Coast, although I am not too displeased with the Suns’ efforts so far this season.

Now, we get to the nitty gritty.

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Tipping against the Tigers worked last week, and they’re coming against a St Kilda team with some confidence. Richmond have lost three of their past four at Marvel Stadium, but I’m not getting sucked in by a good half of footy – this St Kilda team is average at best and, with a couple of key outs, won’t beat the premiers.

GWS’ win last week was unexpected, while the Swans are reaching a point in this season where they need to prove they’re a legit competitor in 2021. Winning handily this week would tick a box, but I think it’ll be closer than many may think.

Similarly, Carlton won’t be overawed by Port Adelaide. In four of the last five clashes between the two teams, the margin at three quarter time has been one goal or less.

Fremantle have only ever won one game at Adelaide Oval, but the flipside of this would mean the Crows will have four wins after five matches in 2021. That’s too jarring to believe as a reality.

Finally, there was once a time that the Demons lost 13 matches in a row to the Hawks.


The loss of Steven May hurts, but that doesn’t matter. The lid is off.

Christian Petracca of the Demons celebrates a goal

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Liam Salter

Richmond, West Coast, Western Bulldogs, Sydney, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong

So, uh, about last Saturday. That was a freakishly difficult day for picking winners, eh? Combined with my missed tip of the Tigers, it was a rough week. I solemnly swear I’ll bounce back this week.

St Kilda’s superb comeback win against the Eagles last week makes their clash tonight against Richmond more intriguing than it otherwise would be.

The Tigers lost a thriller last week and will be wanting to bounce back after two losses. It’d be a similarly big upset if the Saints got up. I’m keeping my eye on this one but shall be tipping with my head, so Richmond it is.

Sydney’s clash against arch-rivals GWS is also unexpectedly intriguing after the Giants’ first win of the season. The whole AFL is world waiting fpr the Swans’ bubble to burst – after Essendon narrowly failed to do so – but GWS aren’t going to be the ones to do it. It’ll be close, but the Swans have this.

Saturday night’s two games have significant upset potential: Carlton tend to run Port fairly close, and Essendon are surely a chance to knock over a struggling Brisbane.

The Blues have home advantage and are gunning for three on the trot, but the sensible tip is obviously Port, and that’s where I’m leaning. I’ve really liked the Bombers in the past two weeks and really disliked the Lions, but the Gabba setting swings things towards the home team. Upset friendly? Yup. Am I brave enough to tip it? Nah.

Harris Andrews of the Lions in action

Harris Andrews (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

I’m attending Sunday’s Crows-Dockers clash (woohoo, live footy!) and that immediately doesn’t bode well for Freo’s chances: my record for seeing Freo wins in person is downright atrocious. But there’s more reason for the visitors to be nervous than just my appearance.

The Crows are in really good form, with key forward Tex Walker set to trouble the Dockers’ weakened backline and Fremantle’s problematic record away from Optus making them a hard tip. Crows to win.

Sunday’s other games see Hawthorn host the Demons and Geelong host North. The first simply needs to be a win for the Demons – they haven’t lost at all this year and haven’t lost against the Hawks since 2018. Simon Goodwin’s men have a belief about them that is exceedingly un-Melbourne like, and they’ll get the job done here despite missing Steven May.

That latter game is somewhat of a danger game for the Cats, even though it really shouldn’t be. They were woeful against the Dees last week and this should be a big win for them – though the Kangaroos showed spirit last Sunday and might be hard to shake off. That isn’t enough for me to tip against Geelong though – I’m not that insane.

Worryingly for tipsters but excitedly for fans, there are no certain tips this week, although the Bulldogs should comfortably beat the Suns, especially at Marvel, and the Eagles should be able to overcome the Pies in Perth tomorrow night, despite both needing to bounce back.

Round 5 Stirling Dem Liam Crowd
Last week 5 4 5 6
Total 21 22 21 24