Apr 13, 2023
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Five
The only guide to the round that admits it’s completely unhelpful. What it lacks in insight, it makes up for with wild theories and detours onto unrelated topics.
It’s your unhelpful guide to Round Five.
Adelaide vs. Carlton (AO) 7:40pm Seven/Fox
It’s Gather Round, an original idea of the AFL’s that they didn’t copy from the NRL at all, ok? It even has a different name!
The footballing world’s eyes turn to Adelaide, one of my favourite cities.
If you’re travelling to Adelaide, make sure you visit the Central Market, marvel at the Le Cornu site, eat FruChocs, fritz, Haigh's Chocolates and Mettwurst, all washed down with a Farmers Union Ice Coffee.
Perhaps the funniest moment I’ve had in Adelaide is when a local warned me to ‘never go North of Grand Junction Road.’ He spoke about it like it was The Wall in Game of Thrones.
For South Australia, this couldn’t be happening at a better time, the Crows put on a show last week, and the Power bounced back with a thrilling win.
Now the Crows get a crack at Carlton, who currently sit second on the ladder and haven’t lost a game this season.
And the good news keeps coming for the Blues, with Harry McKay getting his one-match ban for striking Harry Sheezel downgraded to a fine.
The AFL sure does love to send wildly inconsistent messages about protecting the head.
I’m tipping the Crows.
Fremantle vs. Gold Coast (Norwood Oval) 5:10pm Fox Footy
Norwood Oval is a beautiful ground, too beautiful for what Fremantle and the Gold Coast have been serving up this season.
The Dockers have only defeated the Eagles this season and managed to somehow lose to North Melbourne.
For a team meant to be on the rise, they are going in the wrong direction. Part of their problem is their players have forgotten that you are allowed to move the ball quickly.
At the moment, they move it so slowly that their opponent’s defenders not only have time to set up but also organise their weekend plans.
The Suns start to the season is just as bad, just without the expectations. They beat Geelong; only Hawthorn can’t beat Geelong.
What can the AFL do about the Suns?
I think they should rebrand them; that always fixes everything.
I’m thinking the South East Brisbane Disappointments.
Happy to hear other ideas.
I’m tipping the Dockers.
Richmond vs. Sydney (AO) 8:10pm Seven/Fox
If you love key forwards, this isn’t the game for you, with Tom Lynch and Lance Franklin both getting out of travelling to South Australia.
Franklin had a knock to the knee, while Lynch really committed to the bit by breaking his foot to get out of Gather Round. It seemed excessive.
On top of that, he tried to get himself suspended for good measure, but you can’t rely on the Tribunal, and they let him off.
Sydney has a plethora of injuries after last week; for Pies fans, a plethora means a large or excessive amount of something.
It’s not a great start to the year for the Swans, who made it all the way to a Preliminary Final last season.
All the talk about Richmond is how the glory days are in the rearview. That must be nice, though, to have glory days.
I have ‘slightly not as bad days’ that I look back on fondly.
I’m tipping the Tigers.
Brisbane vs. North Melbourne (Summit Park) 1:10pm Fox Footy
And we’re off to the lovely Adelaide Hills for this one.
With a capacity of 7,000, the Summit Sport and Recreation Park in Mount Barker could prove intimidating for North’s players.
It’s a great chance for the fans to get up close and personal with the players, and in relative safety too, as Tarryn Thomas won’t be there.
We got good Brisbane last week, as they made the Pies look ordinary, which is some achievement.
The question with the Lions is not their ability when they are on, it’s when they are struggling; they seem too often to go missing when things get hard. It’s very relatable.
Worryingly for North, they haven’t defeated any non-West Australian teams this season and lost to Hawthorn.
Alastair Clarkson has certainly got his team trying hard, but they are not quite there yet.
That said, they do have Luke Davies-Uniacke and Harry Sheezel, who would make anyone excited for the future.
Add another midfielder, say a Jason Horne-Francis type, and the Kangaroos would be really going somewhere.
I’m tipping Brisbane.
Essendon vs. Melbourne (AO) 4:10pm Fox Footy
It’s around this time of the season that the teams with relatively easy draws start to have to answer some serious questions.
Essendon have so far defeated Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney and Hawthorn, while losing to perennial powerhouse St Kilda.
Now they face the Dees, who looked very good against the Eagles, but so they should, it was an Eagles side missing their top talent, which is mid-level talent in any other side.
A win here and Essendon would take a big step forward to being seen as a legitimate team, proving once again that Brad Scott is always the answer.
What’s most exciting for Dees fans is the opportunity to pull together a cheese board using South Australian produce.
Maybe a bit of Allium Piper or Goat on a Hot Tin Roof? Add a few Maggie Beer products, and you’ve got yourself a plate that will make you friends.
Add some cured meats, olives, pickles, roasted peppers, artichokes, tapenades, almonds, cashews, spicy mustards and don’t forget seasonal and dried fruits, candied nuts, preserves, honey, chutney, or even chocolate.
I’m excited just thinking about it, and I also realise this isn’t that helpful for a footy preview.
Dees to win.
Port Adelaide vs. Western Bulldogs (AO) 7:50pm Seven/Fox
Port salvaged their season last week, although the fact you have to do that in Round Four is a bit of a worry.
Still, now they get a chance to keep that momentum going with the eyes of the world are on their home state.
Ok, maybe not the world but the southern parts of Australia.
Port have so far got belted by Collingwood, lost to the Crows, but have beaten Sydney and Brisbane. It makes no sense.
Aliir Aliir said the team needs more consistency, which is understating it; that’s like saying I need more vitamins.
This will be Tom Liberatore 200th game, and hasn’t he come far? There are so many highlights in his career, but nothing will top the five minutes he played for the Vietnam Swans on an end-of-season trip.
They were taking on their archrivals, the Japan Goannas.
The Bulldogs got annoyed at him for doing that, but to be honest, even slightly inebriated, he looked the most dangerous player on the field that day by some margin.
I’m tipping Port.
Geelong vs. West Coast (AO) 1:10pm Fox Footy
Good news for the Cats, with their practice match against Hawthorn now followed by this light training run.
It’s just what Geelong needs, who, despite last week, still look way off last season’s premiership form.
Luckily, they have Jeremy Cameron who is like a get-out-of-jail-free card, he can get you out of a lot of difficult circumstances.
If the Cats are considering appointing a captain, he would be a great choice.
The bad news for Eagles fans is there is still a lot of this season to go.
It’s hard when you’re not very good and everyone is also injured, which seems to happen a lot to the Eagles.
They’re like the guy at work who is not very good but also calls in sick all the time.
Can the Eagles beat Geelong? No.
Greater Western Sydney vs. Hawthorn (Norwood Oval) 3:20pm Seven/Fox
I imagine the fans will be flocking to Norwood Oval to see this clash.
It’s fitting it’s being played there, as the Hawks could almost be competitive in the SANFL.
The Hawks could be without Will Day, who is appealing dangerous tackle charges, as is Geelong’s Gary Rohan.
It’s a wonderful chance for more inconsistency from the AFL around protecting the head.
The AFL keeps talking about drawing a line in the sand on protecting the head, which is accurate; sand shifts all the time.
With McKay getting off, who knows what will happen with these appeals?
If every decision is wildly different from the others, it’s hard to be wrong or right.
People compare these cases like there is some consistency her, but it’s like a mirage in the desert, any appearance of consistency is an illusion.
I’m tipping the Giants.
Collingwood vs. St Kilda (AO) 4:50pm Fox Footy
I get why Collingwood fans are annoyed that this isn’t being played at home. So rarely do the Pies get to play at the MCG.
The news this week was that Jack Crisp has avoided sanctions for his social media activity.
The AFL Integrity Unit investigated the incident after one of the work experience kids at AFL House explained what social media was.
“You mean people send photos like that? Why?”
It’s a fair question.
Social media is the source of all evil. Before it, everyone lived in harmony; no one was ever mean, every supported each other and football players never got in trouble.
Crisp got off based on his behaviour since the videos and promising to undertake social media education program.
The club wouldn’t say what the program would be, but I imagine something along the lines of ‘don’t go on social media’.
This is a great match-up.
The Saints are heaps good this year, as are the Pies, and this will be a real test of how real both of them are.
Either way, it’s a fitting end game to Gather Round, the AFL’s own original idea and no one else’s.
I’m tipping the Pies.
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