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The Roar's AFL expert tips and predictions, Round 5: After a weekend of 9s, can our experts back it up?

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10th April, 2024
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Three of our four experts made it big in Gather Round with a perfect 9/9 – sorry, Dem, but your faith in the Western Bulldogs didn’t pay off. Wouldn’t know what that’s like.

Heading into Round 5 with confidence high, this feels like another relatively straightforward tipping weekend. And so it has proven with myself and my fellow experts, with just one game dividing opinion.

With just eight games this weekend courtesy of Collingwood and Sydney’s byes, a 9 is out of reach – but that doesn’t mean a second straight perfect weekend isn’t still hugely achievable.

Let’s get into it!

Tim Miller

Last week: 9

Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, GWS, Carlton, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Richmond

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I’ll be honest – there was only one game this round I really had to think about who I tipped. Spoiler alert: it isn’t the one two of my fellow experts disagreed with me on.

Let’s address that game first: I’m what you might call a pessimistic supporter, but if there’s one team I’m rarely concerned about the Bulldogs playing, it’s Essendon. Sure, after a week of media scrutiny they’re bound to come out all guns blazing, but they’re a team with an uninspiring, Peter Wright-less forward line and with a midfield shorn of Archie Perkins and Will Setterfield against two of the best mids in the game in Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Liberatore.

It’s hard to mount a case for the Bombers beyond the years of well-founded concern my team isn’t going to blow it under the Friday night lights. Let’s wait and see if I’m right.

As for the rest, Melbourne should take care of Brisbane on their own turf, as should GWS to St Kilda, Carlton to Adelaide, Gold Coast to Hawthorn, Port Adelaide to Fremantle and Geelong to North Melbourne. In fact, the Dogs playing the Bombers is the only home team without a genuine home ground advantage on their opponents.

Only one of those visiting teams is a favourite in their match – Richmond – and this is the game I have some doubts over. West Coast have shown signs of life in recent weeks, most notably in pushing the Swans hard during Gather Round.

In front of an always parochial Optus Stadium crowd which has a quite remarkable size considering the Eagles’ recent woes, and against a Tigers team who have fought manfully against a mounting injury toll but have never started as favourites under Adem Yze before, I wouldn’t be surprised if an upset was brewing. Not that I had the guts to back them, of course.

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(Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Dem Panopoulos

Last week: 8

Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, GWS, Carlton, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Richmond

I suppose I ought to start off with an apology to my colleagues for costing us a clean sweep of tips last week, although if they could finish in fron of goal, the Dogs may have forced a sentiment reversal!

Regardless, Gather Round was a heap of fun yet again and there was plenty of good footy to show for it. I suspect this week’s tips aren’t quite as simple.

First off, tonight is one of my personal favourite matches to go to: a weekday Demons/Lions clash at the MCG. The blowtorch doesn’t seem to be on Brisbane quite as much as it should, particularly with how important this clash is. They’ve still only won once at the MCG since 2014, despite their last two games tere being decided by five points combined, and a loss here could be catastrophic.

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I’m genuinely “torn” here and it’s not just because Natalie Imbruglia’s blasting in the background as I write this, but my gut says Melbourne.

I am personally extremely excited for every game this round, but Adelaide Oval hosting Port Adelaide and Fremantle is one of the more fascinating contests to be played.

The way the Dockers are defending the entire ground means they’re legit in my view – it was a wonderful game played against the Blues, and one bad minute at the end shouldn’t distract from the positives.

Then there’s Port, who were impressive in dismantling the Bombers and have that incredible, dynamic midfield trio of Jason Horne-Francis, Connor Rozee and Zak Butters – except it sort of feels like they’re relying on those guys to win games, which feels a bit Western Bulldogs-esque. A mirage, if you will.

This match has been relatively one-sided in recent history and while I think Port will win, the result isn’t as important as the way they both play.

The final match that is worth touching on which is hard to split, as difficult as it may be to swallow, is the battle of the cellar dwellers: West Coast and Richmond.

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The Tigers have been gutsy, propped up by moments of individual brilliance; but it has felt like a case of their opponents not taking them seriously enough in the last fortnight more than anything.

West Coast was as impressive as I’ve seen them for a long time against the Swans. They had a tactic, they executed as well as they could have, and even their eventual loss was a step in the right direction. This early in the season, it’s probably too hard to tip them and potentially be made to look the fool, even if I think deep down that they might get their first four points of the season. 

Jack Higgins of the Saints celebrates kicking a goal over Lachlan Keeffe of the Giant.

Jack Higgins celebrates kicking a goal. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Cameron Rose

Last week: 9

Melbourne, Essendon, GWS, Carlton, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Richmond

Most matches this week have the home side playing against a travelling opponent, and it’s hard to find too many upsets. I’ve only gone for one.

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Melbourne versus Brisbane holds the most interest from a neutral perspective, as the Lions try and salvage their season. I’m not convinced they can do it.

If Essendon want to show they’ve turned a corner, then they’ll bounce back after a poor showing last week and beat the Western Bulldogs, especially after all the media scrutiny on them this week.

Any team can have a bad half, so let’s see what they’ve got.

Tom Liberatore of the Bulldogs and Jake Stringer of the Bombers compete

(Photo by Rob Blakers/Getty Images)

Liam Salter

Last week: 9

Melbourne, Essendon, GWS, Carlton, Gold Coast, Port Adelaide, Geelong, Richmond

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Nine outta nine last week, baby.

The only consolation from Freo’s loss last week – yes, I promise I’m okay – was my Blues tip switching from misjudged to correct in the blink of a dissent call. 

I’m again backing the Blues, who have a significantly easier endeavour this week – they’re up against the horrible Crows, and should win very, very comfortably.

Freo, for the record, remain in South Australia, but are little chance against a powerful Port side, and I suspect they’ll slip to 3-2 ahead of some winnable games. 

Sunday’s games split the difference between obvious and deceptive. The Cats are a logical pick against North at GMHBA Stadium – this could get very, very ugly indeed – but the Eagles, after their best performance of the year, host the Tigers. I’m going Richmond, but this screams upset. 

Melbourne hosting – and defeating – the Lions should theoretically be the best game of the weekend, but I’m much more excited by Saturday’s match in the Sunshine State. Both Gold Coast and Hawthorn looked great in losing efforts in Adelaide, and should enjoy an entertaining battle. The Hawks are every chance, but the Suns should run away with it late. 

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The Giants and Saints should be an underrated battle; let’s go the Giants. And in Friday night’s game that elicited a solid ‘meh’ when I saw it on the fixture (sorry, Tim), I’m going the Bombers.

Mostly because this feels like a game the Dogs should win. Sorry, Tim (again). 

Sam Powell-Pepper

Sam Powell-Pepper could return for Port Adelaide against Fremantle. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Round 5TimDemCamLiamCrowd
MEL vs BLMELMELMELMEL?
WB vs ESSWBWBESSESS?
GWS vs STKGWSGWSGWSGWS?
CAR vs ADECARCARCARCAR?
GCS vs HAWGCSGCSGCSGCS?
PA vs FREPAPAPAPA?
GEE vs NMGEEGEEGEEGEE?
WCE vs RCHRCHRCHRCHRCH?
LAST WEEK98999
ROLLING TOTAL2629262628
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