AFL round-five preview panel
A preview panel of round five of the AFL.
PREVIEW OF AFL ROUND-FIVE MATCHES (all times AEST):
FRIDAY April 21
Port Adelaide v Carlton at Adelaide Oval 7.50pm
Head to Head: Power 15 Blues 13 drawn 1
Last clash: Round 8, 2016 - Blues 14.9 (93) bt Power 13.13 (91) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet odds: Power $1.08 Blues $8.00
William Hill: Power $1.10 Blues $7.00
With stalwarts Matthew Kreuzer and Dale Thomas ruled out, the Blues will send 10 players aged under 21 on a tough road trip to the Power fortress. Carlton were carved up last week by Gold Coast's ball movement, allowing Tom Lynch to boot seven goals. Key ruckman Paddy Ryder is back for the Power, and it's hard to see Ken Hinkley's men wasting the opportunity to regain momentum after losses to Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney.
Key: The Blues were forced to swing Jacob Weitering into the backline last week when Lynch was allowed off the leash. Will Power spearhead Charlie Dixon prove a similar handful for Carlton's struggling backs?
Tip: Power by 34 points
SATURDAY April 22
Western Bulldogs v Brisbane at Etihad Stadium 1.45pm
Head to Head: Bulldogs 16 Lions 18
Last clash: Round 5, 2016 - Bulldogs 17.18 (120) bt Lions 10.7 (67) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Bulldogs $1.07 Lions $8.50
William Hill: Bulldogs $1.07 Lions $8.50
The Lions suffered a 52-point flogging from Richmond last week and have notched just one win for the season. They still have weapons - star midfielders Tom Rockliff and Dayne Beams are in fine form, and Mitch Robinson achieved a rare feat when he tagged Dustin Martin out of the game. But while the Bulldogs haven't hit the heights of last season, they should comfortably see off the Lions even without injured spearhead Travis Cloke.
Key: Stefan Martin has been in dominant form to start the season - he had 52 hitouts against the Tigers. He will back himself against part-timers Tom Boyd and Tom Campbell but the Lions must capitalise on his advantage.
Tip: Bulldogs by 29 points
Gold Coast v Adelaide at Metricon Stadium 4.35pm
Head to Head: Suns 0 Crows 9
Last clash: Round 9, 2016 - Crows 22.17 (149) bt Suns 11.8 (74) at Metricon Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Suns $4.00 Crows $1.25
William Hill: Suns $4.25 Crows $1.23
Gold Coast haven't managed to beat Adelaide from nine attempts and this almost certainly won't be the week to change that. The Crows are in ominous form, have depth across the ground and have scored more than 100 points in every game this season. The Suns went down by 77 points last time they met and this has the potential to get similarly ugly.
Key: Eddie Betts is tied with Geelong's Tom Hawkins at the top of the Coleman Medal tally with 16 goals. The Suns must find a way to keep him quiet but that's far easier said than done.
Tip: Crows by 56 points
Sydney v Greater Western Sydney at SCG 7.25pm
Head to Head: Swans 8 Giants 3
Last clash: Qualifying final, 2016 - Giants 12.19 (91) bt Swans 7.13 (55) at ANZ Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Swans $2.75 Giants $1.45
William Hill: Swans $2.80 Giants $1.44
The Giants have never won at the SCG but will go in strong favourites to break the hoodoo, despite big names Isaac Heeney, Kurt Tippett and Gary Rohan returning for the winless Swans. It seems inconceivable that a side boasting Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery and plenty of other stars will continue to play so poorly for long. But the Giants are starting to hit their straps and are likely to smell blood against a Swans side well down on confidence.
Key: Jeremy Cameron booted three goals in five minutes during their brutal win over Sydney in last year's qualifying final, while Jonathon Patton had six against the Power last week. Expect them to stretch the Swans' backline.
Tip: Giants by 31 points
Fremantle v North Melbourne at Domain Stadium 7.40pm
Head to Head: Dockers 10 Kangaroos 17
Last clash: Round 4, 2016 - Kangaroos 20.12 (132) bt Dockers 14.17 (101) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Dockers $1.50 Kangaroos $2.60
William Hill: Dockers $1.48 Kangaroos $2.65
For the first time this season, Fremantle will head into a game as favourites, and deservedly so. The Dockers were smashed in the opening rounds but injected youth into their side and bounced back with upset wins over the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne. They should be too good at home against a winless Kangaroos side who have struggled to close out games.
Key: Fremantle midfielders David Mundy and Lachie Neale combined last week for seven goals against the Demons. That type of versatility is something the Kangaroos have badly lacked.
Tip: Dockers by 19 points
SUNDAY April 23
St Kilda v Geelong at Etihad Stadium 3.20pm
Head to Head: Saints 84 Cats 127 drawn 1
Last clash: Round 14, 2016 - Saints 14.9 (93) bt Cats 13.12 (90) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Saints $2.70 Cats $1.48
William Hill: Saints $2.60 Cats $1.50
The ladder-leading Cats feasted on a listless Hawthorn on Easter Monday and will be eager to keep the good times rolling. St Kilda are beginning to find form after a lacklustre start and will be bolstered by star midfielder Jack Steven's return. But do they have the firepower? The Saints have only cracked the 100-point mark once this season, while Geelong have done so in every round.
Key: Harry Taylor has been held goalless since his reinvention as a key forward. But as former great Cameron Mooney pointed out, the biggest benefactor might be Tom Hawkins - he has booted 16 goals to be equal first with Eddie Betts in the Coleman Medal tally.
Tip: Cats by 21 points
Hawthorn v West Coast at MCG 4.40pm
Head to Head: Hawks 22 Eagles 26
Last clash: Round 22, 2016 - Eagles 13.14 (92) bt Hawks 10.7 (67)
Tab Sportsbet: Hawks $3.10 Eagles $1.38
William Hill: Hawks $3.10 Eagles $1.37
West Coast are flying high at 3-1, while the cellar-dwelling Hawks are coming off consecutive 86-point drubbings. But that's hardly going to cure the Eagles' anxiety about facing Hawthorn at the MCG - a combination that spelled doom for them in the 2015 grand final. Surely this will be the time for them to break the spell, although Sam Mitchell (ankle) won't be available to face his old side.
Key: Once an ace up their sleeve, Hawthorn's ball movement has been far from precise lately. Expect the likes of Elliot Yeo and Jeremy McGovern to rack up intercept marks if the Hawks don't lift their game.
Tip: Eagles by 22 points
MONDAY April 24
Richmond v Melbourne at MCG 7.25pm
Head to Head: Tigers 103 Demons 82 drawn 2
Last clash: Round 5, 2016 - Demons 20.9 (129) bt Richmond 14.12 (96) at MCG
Tab Sportsbet: Tigers $1.74 Demons $2.10
William Hill: Tigers $1.70 Demons $2.16
After a solid opening fortnight, the Demons showed shades of their past when they squandered opportunities to beat Geelong and Fremantle. The absence of star ruckman Max Gawn is undoubtedly hurting them, although Jesse Hogan's expected return from suspension will help. They must put together a four-quarter performance to see off the undefeated Tigers, who have started the season in hot form.
Key: Brownlow Medal fancy Dustin Martin had scans on a sore groin after being kept quiet last week by Brisbane. If he is off his best, the Dees stand a solid chance to win the midfield battle.
Tip: Tigers by 17 points
TUESDAY April 25
Essendon v Collingwood at MCG 3.20pm
Head to Head: Bombers 101 Magpies 128 drawn 4
Last clash: Round 5, 2016 - Magpies 22.10 (142) bt Bombers 11.7 (73) at MCG
Tab Sportsbet: Bombers $2.10 Magpies $1.74
William Hill: Bombers $2.04 Magpies $1.78
At 1-3, Collingwood - and coach Nathan Buckley - are looking shaky. They are likely to be bolstered by silky midfielder Daniel Wells making his long-anticipated Magpies debut. The combination of Wells, Scott Pendlebury and Adam Treloar should cause plenty of headaches for the Bombers, especially with coach John Worsfold admitting returning star Jobe Watson has already "hit the wall".
Key: The Magpies' misfiring forward line has been a big cause of their problems. Will the likely injection of big man Mason Cox be the solution they need?
Tip: Magpies by 33 points
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