The following are previews with betting tips for Round 5 of the 2020 AFL season.
Thursday, July 2
Carlton vs St Kilda
7:40 pm , Marvel Stadium
Carlton and St Kilda have been thrust into the Thursday evening prime time slot, after the Tigers were barred from flying to Queensland due to Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak. Victoria is causing headaches for the AFL, and things only look to be getting worse, with some state government’s choosing to close borders. It’s a shame the Richmond vs West Coast game was moved; that would’ve been a massive clash, with both club’s seasons surprisingly on the line. But this one is not a bad replacement. The Blues are in the midst of a decent patch of footy, with two wins on the trot, while the Saints were back to their best against the Tigers after a poor showing the week prior. Dan Butler continued his stunning start to the year, putting his former side to the sword, but fellow recruit Zak Jones unfortunately hurt a hamstring. His replacement is a good one however, with skipper Jarryn Geary ready to return.
Despite just scraping home, the Blues would have been encouraged by their performance against the Bombers. They weren’t dragged to victory by their stars, but by a blend of solid performances. Levi Casboult marked absolutely everything, and David Cunningham played the best game of his young career. If they get another even contribution there’s no reason they can’t beat the Saints, particularly with another dangerous forward target, Harry McKay, added back into the mix. I’m going with the Blues by eight points.
Betting tip: Carlton to win @ $2.05 (BetEasy)
Friday, July 3
Collingwood vs Essendon
7:50 pm , MCG
After both being on the wrong end of close finishes last weekend, the Pies and the Bombers will face off in a huge Friday night game. Collingwood were pipped in a tight contest by GWS, while the Bombers nearly stole it at the death from Carlton. In further bad news for the Pies, Jeremy Howe, one of their most important players, badly injured his knee and will potentially miss the season. That’ll put a huge dent in their hopes for the year, but they’re still a very good team. They’ll obviously need to do some significant restructuring down back, and this game will give us a good indication of Nathan Buckley’s plan B.
The Bombers will be without a key player of their own, albeit only for the one week, with Zach Merrett due to miss from suspension. His absence weakens the Essendon midfield, and that’s not ideal against a Collingwood midfield that is one of the strongest in the league, though they themselves are weakened by Steele Sidebottom’s four week COVID suspension. But, Adam Treloar comes back in, so maybe they’re not weakened after all. Either way, it’ll be an interesting battle in there with both clubs needing to rely on other players stepping up, but I think the Pies bat deeper in that regard and I expect they’ll be too strong for the Bombers.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.44 (BetEasy)
Saturday, July 4
West Coast vs Sydney
1:45 pm , Metricon Stadium
The out-of-form Eagles have had a small win with the revised fixture, with the Swans replacing Richmond as their Round 5 opponent. The Tigers are struggling themselves, but they’re surely ready to respond this week; West Coast now dodge that bullet, and instead take on the Swans, who have played decent footy this year but were poor against the Dogs on Thursday night.
So it’s big game for both clubs: Sydney need to respond, while the Eagles need to keep their season alive, plain and simple. It’s already a tough task from here, but if they lose again this weekend then they can just about kiss the 2020 season goodbye. That would be a stunning turn of events considering how hyped they were prior to the season, but it wouldn’t be the strangest thing to have occurred this year. I do think the Eagles will finally respond and have a win this week, but I’m not sure it’ll be pretty; it’ll be one they scrap their way through—it helps that Sydney won’t have a recognised ruckman—and they’ll just have to hope that a win will fire them up again for the rest of the season.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $1.58 (BetEasy)
Geelong vs Gold Coast
4:45 pm , GMHBA Stadium
The second-placed Gold Coast Suns—yep, second—face their biggest test so far this season when they head down to Geelong to take on the Cats. Despite their uncharacteristic loss to the Blues a few weeks ago, and their middling game against the Demons, we know the Cats are tough to beat in Geelong. The Suns have proved themselves to be a much improved team in the three games since the resumption of the season, but in that time they haven’t left Metricon Stadium. Can the young Suns play well away from home? It doesn’t look like too much bothers young gun Matt Rowell, who continues to rack up BOG honours. There’s no doubt he’ll go through ups and downs throughout the year, but right now the Cats would be seriously considering putting some work into him. I don’t think they’ll apply a tag, rather they’ll, as a team, make it harder for him, and ensure he has to defend the likes of Dangerfield and Selwood. It might be the first week that the young gun and his team get a reality check, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Cats should get the points in this one.
Betting tip: Geelong (-19.5) @ $1.90 (Unibet)
Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne
7:40 pm , Marvel Stadium
The Kangaroos haven’t been able to back up their super impressive Round 2 win over the Giants, since then losing twice in disappointing efforts. This week they take on an improved Western Bulldogs team, who are the complete opposite of North: they’ve come good in the last two weeks after a horrid opening to the season. Led by new captain Marcus Bontempelli, the Dogs dominated Thursday night’s game against the Swans. It was an imposing performance, only soured by two long term injuries to key players Aaron Naughton and Sam Lloyd. Naughton’s shoes are big ones to fill, but the Dogs have options. It definitely helps that they recruited ex-Saint Josh Bruce; despite his low impact so far, he’s making a contest and bringing the ball to ground.
North will be without skipper Jack Ziebell after he injured a hamstring, but Ben Cunnington should be right to go if he makes it through Friday’s training session. He makes a huge impact on their midfield and is probably a large part of the reason they’ve been down over the past fortnight. These two clubs have played some close games in recent times, and I expect this one to be no different. I’m tipping the Dogs based on form, but this could easily go either way.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs to win @ $1.75 (Bet365)
Brisbane vs Port Adelaide
7:40 pm , Gabba
Saturday night at the Gabba provides the game of the round when the Lions host Port Adelaide. The Power are the only undefeated team remaining in the competition, while Brisbane haven’t lost since Round 1, which was so long ago now it doesn’t really factor into conversations on form. Port have rocketed into second-placed favouritism for the premiership sitting behind only Collingwood, but the Lions could probably steal that position from them with a commanding win at their home ground. And I while I do expect they’ll win, I think it’ll be a close one.
Port have demonstrated their credentials so far this year with some big wins, but they’re yet to be seriously challenged by a genuinely good team. They can expect the Lions to be their biggest challenge for the year, and while I think they’ll relish the opportunity, I reckon the Lions at home might just get them. Dayne Zorko is a big loss, but they do get first ruck choice Stefan Martin back. I can’t wait to see how it plays out; it should be an attacking, entertaining game of footy.
Betting tip: Brisbane to win @ $1.95 (bet365)
Sunday, July 5
Adelaide vs Fremantle
1:05 pm , Metricon Stadium
One of these teams will walk away from this game with their first win of the season, leaving the other languishing dead-last on the bottom of the ladder. Who will it be? The Crows showed some fight for the first time this season when they kicked four goals to nil in the third quarter against the Lions to get the game back within their reach, but still ended up losing by 37 points.
The Dockers haven’t been anywhere near as bad as the Crows; they at least compete and come close to winning, but they just can’t seem to get over the line. I expect that to change this weekend. The Dockers have the better players—even without skipper Nat Fyfe, who will miss with a hamstring—and are probably better overall as a team. They should win their first game of the season this week, and might even be a chance the following week against the Demons (if it goes ahead, of course). The Dockers by two goals.
Betting tip: Fremantle to win @ $1.58 (bet365)
Melbourne vs Richmond
3:35 pm , MCG
The Tigers, for the first time in years, are in some strife. They haven’t won a game since the return of football, and more importantly, they don’t at all resemble the Richmond team of the previous three years. There’s still a long way to go, but they need to get back on the winner’s list soon otherwise the year will quickly slip away from them. They’ve got a perfect chance to do that here against a Melbourne team that weren’t all that impressive against the Cats last Sunday.
The Dees did have an unexpected week off so there’s some room for leniency there, but I’m just not sure they’re a great team either way. They’ve only won the single game this year, by just one point over the Blues. They’ve had a few patches of good footy, but overall I’d say they’ve been more 2019 Melbourne than 2018 Melbourne. They’ve got the talent to prove me wrong, but they seem to struggle to put it all together into cohesive team performances on the field. The Tigers, on the other hand, are the masters of playing together as a team, and I think they’ll get back to that on Sunday and make it a tough afternoon for the Demons.
Betting tip: Richmond to win @ $1.56 (bet365)
GWS vs Hawthorn
6:10 pm , Giants Stadium
It’s a tough year to get a read on. The Giants, dismal in Round’s 2&3, bounced back in style on Friday night to defeat the premiership favourites, Collingwood. And Hawthorn, after looking dominate against the reigning premiers in Round 3, struggled to get over a persistent North Melbourne. So where does that leave us for this one?
Well, the Giants are going to be hard to beat at home when they are close to full strength, but the Hawks love causing an upset. It’s a big game in the context of the season: Hawthorn are 3-1, the Giants 2-2. A win for the Giants and they’re back on level ground, but a win for the Hawks puts Hawthorn in a very, very nice position, while the Giants are then left scrambling to make up ground on the top four. I reckon the Giants, if they bring the same energy they did against Collingwood, will be too good. Shane Mumford’s presence was a huge addition, and having Toby Greene roaming dangerously up forward makes them a totally different team. The Hawks will fancy their chances, but I think they’ll fall well short in the end.
Betting tip: GWS to win @ $1.65 (bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
West Coast to win @ $1.58 (BetEasy)
GWS to win @ $1.65 (bet365)