Russell Barwick’s AFL Round 5 Preview: Traditional Rivals Essendon & Collingwood Lining Up For Anzac Day Clash


Port Adelaide v Carlton | Friday, April 21, 7.50pm (AEDT), Adelaide Oval

Port Adelaide take on Carlton to kick off Round 5 and if the Blues bring the sort of stuff they had last week to Adelaide, they’ll get hammered.

The Power, in my humble opinion, have been terrific this year. They led the Giants at three quarter time and only got run over late.

Any other team would not have been in the mix and they were probably their own worst enemy in the early stages.

They have to somehow find a way to get more out of Charlie Dixon (pictured above).

He's in and out and does some really dumb things and is probably a bad game away from playing in the SNAFL.

Ball is in your court Charlie.

The Verdict 

On the other hand Jacob Weitering (pictured above) continues to impress and he is the future of carton but can they stay with the Power in the midfield? No.

Power to win by five goals and jump out of the blocks early.

Unibet Odds: Port Adelaide 1.10 Carlton 7.50

Tip: Port

Western Bulldogs v Brisbane | Saturday, April 22, 1.45pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium

The Western Bullies got out of jail last week but I can remember saying that plenty of times before. 

They are a good team and the Lions aren't.

The Bulldogs will miss big Travis Cloke (pictured above), but should put in an extra tough effort because he was injured last week.

No real match-ups that make you want to tune in, but I always love watching the young Doggies in action. 

The Verdict

The start in this is 42.5, which might not be enough for Brisbane if the Dogs get rolling

Unibet Odds: Western Bulldogs 1.08 Brisbane 8.50

Tip: Western Bulldogs 

Gold Coast v Adelaide | Saturday, April 22, 4.35pm (AEDT), Metricon Stadium

I have to formally apologise to the Gold Coast Suns. Two weeks ago I bagged them (so did 5000 others) about their effort against GWS and said they were witches hats.

They have since come out and thrashed Hawthorn and lobbed against Carlton, making me eat some words.

I can still rightly say they were terrible against GWS but boy, have they turned it around.

That man Ablett (pictured above) is still a star but Lynch is now fast becoming one.

This week however, it maybe different. Adelaide is high flying and after last week’s flogging off the back of the showdown win, they are the best team in the competition.

Eddie Betts is so good to watch and even Tex (pictured below) is getting in on the act. Not sure who gets Betts, but good luck.

The Verdict

Adelaide will prick the Gold Coast balloon, but watch out for the Suns to get off to a flyer and they might be harder to run down than many think.

Close this one, but the Crows to win.

Unibet Odds: Gold Coast 4.30 Adelaide 1.23

Tip: Adelaide 

Sydney v GWS | Saturday, April 22, 7.25pm (AEDT), SCG

Sydney v GWS is the match of the round for the reason that GWS are now the big boy in town and the Swans have dropped a few pegs.

Last year’s grand finalists are winless but given the get Heeney (pictured above), Tippett and perhaps another back, their line-up will be vastly different.

GWS were only just there against Port. Don’t be fooled by the final score. They didn’t play well.

If Sydney get them in the first quarter, which I suspect they will, they won’t go down without a monumental fight. 

Phil Davis (pictured below) shut down Charlie Dixon last week but Buddy now has a few extra mates up forward in Heeney and Tippett, so the Giants’ defence will be on notice.

The Verdict

I’ve seen every game of both these teams and something tells me the Swans will win.

Not sure why, but there it is. Swans by 2-3 goals.

Unibet Odds: Sydney 2.70 GWS 1.48

Tip: Sydney

Fremantle v North Melbourne | Saturday, April 22, 7.40pm (AEDT), Domain Stadium

Fremantle is another team that after a Rusty spray, they come out and win their next two. I should be a coach.

Will they make it three in a row against the team that has forgotten how to win? Yes.

North are like Crown Casino, they don’t know how to close.

They can lead by 30 and get beaten or be behind by 20 and lose by a couple.

Makes no difference, they’ve forgotten how to win. Hard to get that back.

Fremantle are a tipsters nightmare, but some of their big guns are starting to hit form.

Fyfe, Neale and co once they get rolling, the rest seem to follow. Eight goals in a row against the Demons was proof of that.

The Verdict 

I suspect the Dockers may have turned a much-needed corner.

Ross Lyon’s axe that fell after the Geelong game certainly worked and here they are looking at three in a row for the first time since 2014.

They will win as I can’t tip the Kangaroos until they win one.

Unibet Odds: Fremantle 1.50 North Melbourne 2.65

Tip: Fremantle 

St Kilda v Geelong | Sunday, April 23, 3.20pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium

Saints and the Cats is the game I’m really looking forward to.

St Kilda’s style of play is intoxicating to watch and no more the Riewoldt show but there are others getting involved.

The young kids are flying and while the Cats are all about Danger, Selwood and Hawkins, the Saints are about all 22.

In recent years, the Saints have actually had a decent record against Geelong and only got run over last year in the second half.

I’m sticking the neck out here and tipping an upset.

I know St Kilda won’t stop Dangerfield and Selwood and that’s an issue, but if they can somehow muster a way to stop Hawkins, Motlop, Duncan and co getting goals, this may work for them.

The Verdict

Saints to win by a kick in a thriller.

Unibet Odds: St Kilda 2.75 Geelong 1.46

Tip: St Kilda 

Hawthorn v West Coast | Sunday, April 23, 4.40pm (AEDT), MCG

Hawks need a miracle don’t they and deep down a few of us are praying it happens this week.

They normally go well against the Eagles but let’s face it, in recent years they’ve gone well against everyone.

Somehow, Cyril Rioli (pictured above) needs to grab this game by the scruff of the neck in the opening half and put a stamp on things.

If he does that, the rest will follow like a flock of…Hawks. (shocking I know) 

If the Eagles get off to a flyer via Kennedy and Darling (pictured below) then watch out coz Clarko’s nightmare will continue.

The Verdict

If the Hawks win this, they have winnable game over the next three weeks and could be four and four in a month!!

Hard to believe, but I’m tipping the Hawks to find something and win this one. 

Unibet Odds: Hawthorn 3.00 West Coast 1.40

Tip: Hawthorn 

Richmond v Melbourne | Monday, April 24, 7.25pm (AEDT), MCG

Richmond and Melbourne is a game that could go either way according to the experts, but not me. 

Richmond, as I said last week, and the week before, are a team full of confidence and winning form is good form and unless my ladder is wrong, they’ve won everything so far this year.

Melbourne managed to let Freo kick eight in a row last week and lose. 

They get a couple of blokes back, but they need more than that to stop the Tigers, who have found out how much fun it is being on top of the ladder.

The Verdict

A crowd of 70,000 plus will watch them continue on their winning way and this one will be a Tigers special.

Predicting they will win by five goals plus.

Unibet Odds: Richmond 1.72 Melbourne 2.15

Tip: Richmond

Essendon v Collingwood | Tuesday, April 25, 3.30pm (AEDT), MCG

The Anzac Day game is my favourite game of the year and I don’t follow either team.

I love what it’s become (Thanks Sheeds) and I love the way the AFL world embraces it.

I don’t like the way others want to take it away from these two teams. I’m sorry but that’s what it is. Tradition on a traditional day.

The Pies have had the ‘wood’ on Essendon recently and I reckon that will continue.

I’m desperate to see Darcy Moore (pictured below) stick some super glue on his dukes and start taking marks not double grabbing and dropping 90 percent of them.

If he does that, then Collingwood wins, if not and Big Joe does at the other end, then the Bombers win. 

The Verdict 

Great game, last kick wins and the Pies send Magpies cheer squad cult figure Joffa off the charts by winning on the siren.

Unibet Odds: Essendon 2.10 Collingwood 1.75

Tip: Collingwood 

Multi of the week: 

Rusty’s magnificent multi this week, Port to lead at every quarter (1.50) into Sydney to win (2.65) into Richmond at the minus (1.91) into Collingwood to lead at quarter time (1.83) @13.89

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