Round 5 of the 2022 AFL season promises a bumper bunch of Easter weekend games, including a clash with huge ramifications on Sunday afternoon at the ‘G.

Brisbane Lions v Collingwood @ Gabba

Thursday 14th April, 19:35 (AEST)

D.Gardiner, H.Andrews, M.AdamsBI.Quaynor, D.Moore, J.Roughead
HBB.Starcevich, D.Rich, C.Ah CheeHBS.Pendlebury, J.Howe, J.Crisp
CJ.Berry, D.Zorko, H.McCluggageCS.Sidebottom, B.Maynard, J.Daicos
HFZ.Bailey, D.McStay, L.McCarthyHFW.Hoskin-Elliott, R.McInnes, M.Cox
FC.Rayner, J.Daniher, C.CameronFD.Cameron, N.Kreuger, J.De Goey
FOLO.McInerney, J.Lyons, L.NealeFOLB.Grundy, P.Lipinski, T.Adams
I/CK.Lohmann, M.Robinson, D.Fort, N.AnswerthI/CJ.Madgen, C.Brown, T.Wilson, N.Daicos

Played 50: Brisbane 22 v Collingwood 28

Last Meeting: AFL R22 2021: Brisbane Lions 22.10 (142) dftd Collingwood 8.9 (57)

Final Thoughts: For a second-straight week the Lions are pitted in the prime time slot, but this time they go in favoured to get the chocolates after an honourable, even unlucky, loss to the Cats last week. It wasn’t long ago that the Lions humiliated Collingwood, when they sealed a dominant 85-point win in Round 22 last season. Charlie Cameron kicked six that night at the Gabba, and while he’s a juicy $12 to kick five on Thursday, the Pies may well be sweating to find a suitable matchup.

While the Pies exceeded expectations early this season, the reality is that — as a result of the unexpected West Coast defeat in Round 4 — a loss here would see them at 2-3 heading into a huge Anzac Day clash. It’s important for new coach Craig McRae that they put up a strong fight here, and punters may back them to cover the line.

Tip: Line, Collingwood +29.5 @ $1.95

North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium

Friday 15th April, 16:20 (AEST)

North MelbourneWestern Bulldogs
K.Turner, B.McKay, A.CorrBE.Richards, R.Gardner, T.Duryea
HBL.McDonald, J.Walker, A.HallHBC.Daniel, T.O’Brien, B.Dale
CLa.Young, L.Davies-Uniacke, B.ScottCJ.Dunkley, J.Macrae, L.Hunter
HFH.Greenwood, N.Larkey, J.StephensonHFC.Weightman, Z.Cordy, A.Treloar
FJ.Horne-Francis, T.Goldstein, J.ZiebellFA.Scott, A.Naughton, T.Liberatore
FOLT.Xerri, J.Simpkin, J.MahonyFOLT.English, B.Smith, M.Bontempelli
I/CC.Taylor, A.Bosenavulagi, F.Perez, E.FordI/CJ.Ugle-Hagan, L.McNeil, R.Garcia, B.Williams

Played 165: North Melbourne 79 v Western Bulldogs 83 (3 draws)

Last Meeting: AFL R16 2021: Western Bulldogs 16.12 (108) dftd North Melbourne 11.13 (79)

Final Thoughts: Two clubs who have served up polar opposite performances in the last fortnight — it’s difficult to know what they will bring this Good Friday. And while the Dogs start as strong favourites, punters might struggle going in with confidence with two clubs whose gap between best and worst is sizeable. North’s recent record against the Dogs doesn’t make for pretty reading, losing their last three clashes by an average of 69 points. All three of these were at Marvel Stadium, too, the venue of Friday afternoon’s clash.

While the Dogs have been nothing short of woeful in front of goal in the last fortnight (kicking 15.36), all hope isn’t lost at the kennel. One could argue that their opening month of footy was tougher than any other clubs, facing at least three (and arguably four) Top 8-bound clubs in the first four rounds. The next month is far kinder to Luke Beveridge’s men. All things being equal, the Dogs should comfortably register their second win of the season here.

Tip: Margin, Western Bulldogs by 40+ @ $2.20

West Coast Eagles v Sydney Swans @ Optus Stadium

Friday 15th April, 19:40 (AEST)

West CoastSydney
S.Hurn, T.Barrass, J.RothamBB.Campbell, T.McCartin, D.Rampe
HBA.Witherden, H.Edwards, L.DugganHBJ.Lloyd, P.McCartin, N.Blakey
CJ.Redden, T.Kelly, P.NaishCJ.McInerney, L.Parker, O.Florent
HFW.Rioli, J.Darling, J.CrippsHFE.Gulden, S.Reid, J.Rowbottom
FJ.Jones, J.Kennedy, L.RyanFW.Hayward, L.McDonald, H.McLean
FOLB.Williams, E.Yeo, L.ShueyFOLP.Ladhams, C.Mills, I.Heeney
I/CZ.Langdon, L.Foley, J.Nelson, H.DixonI/CH.Cunningham, C.Warner, B.Ronke, J.Bell

Played 53: West Coast 22 v Sydney 31

Last Meeting: AFL R16 2021: Sydney 18.10 (118) dftd West Coast 3.8 (26)

Final Thoughts: After a hugely impressive start to the season, the Swans have plateaued in the last fortnight. And while their premiership credentials remain strong ($9 equal-third favourites with Palmerbet), the loss to Western Bulldogs and last-gasp win over lowly North Melbourne has left questions around them. They travel across the country without Lance Franklin (broken finger) and, without any other key forward that has the capacity to dominate in the forward 50, expect Isaac Heeney to spend more time there in the next fortnight.

The undermanned Eagles were superb in pulling off perhaps the underdog performance of the season to date in Round 4; a come-from-behind win over Collingwood. But they yet again start this one as outsiders — despite it being at home. It’ll be another huge week at the selection table for Adam Simpson, who faces tough calls on whether Kelly, Yeo and Cripps can return. Shuey should return, while Naitanui now won’t feature until the second half of the season. Expect a tight contest here.

Tip: Margin, Sydney 1-39 @ $2.10

St Kilda v Gold Coast Suns @ Marvel Stadium

Saturday 16th April, 13:45 (AEST)

St KildaGold Coast
C.Wilkie, D.Howard, B.PatonBW.Powell, S.Collins, S.Lemmens
HBJ.Battle, J.Lienert, D.McKenzieHBL.Weller, C.Ballard, D.Swallow
CN.Wanganeen-Milera, J.Sinclair, B.HillCO.Markov, T.Miller, B.Ellis
HFB.Crouch, T.Membrey, D.ButlerHFB.Ainsworth, L.Casboult, I.Rankine
FJ.Gresham, M.King, B.LongFJ.Corbett, M.Chol, N.Holman
FOLR.Marshall, S.Ross, J.SteeleFOLJ.Witts, M.Rowell, N.Anderson
I/CJ.Higgins, M.Wood, M.Windhager, J.HayesI/CA.Davies, J.Farrar, B.Fiorini, M.Rosas


History: Played 15: St Kilda 11 v Gold Coast 4

Last Meeting: AFL R8 2021: Gold Coast 7.12 (54) lost to St Kilda 8.15 (63)

Final Thoughts: The Suns’ stirring win over the Blues and St Kilda’s strong form makes this encounter seem a whole lot more exciting than many might’ve thought a fortnight ago. Further, these two clubs have a real knack for tight encounters when they come up against each other. In fact, the last five games between the Saints and the Suns have been decided by single-figure margins.

Incredibly, though, the Saints have won all five of these; by (most recent first) nine, four, four, one, and two points. Brett Ratten’s men are $8.50 to continue the trend with Palmerbet’s Super Margin market (St Kilda by 1-9 points). They will need to cover for ruckman Paddy Ryder (suspension), with Jack Hayes likely to come in, while Jack Higgins’ return rests on whether he clear concussion protocols.

Tip: Winning margin, St Kilda 1-24 @ $3.30

Adelaide Crows v Richmond @ Adelaide Oval

Saturday 16th April, 16:35 (AEST)

T.Doedee, J.Butts, L.BrownBN.Broad, R.Tarrant, B.Miller
HBB.Smith, B.Frampton, J.DawsonHBJ.Short, N.Vlastuin, D.Rioli
CB.Cook, R.Laird, L.ShollCJ.Ross, T.Cotchin, M.Pickett
HFN.McHenry, E.Himmelberg, R.SloaneHFJ.Castagna, L.Baker, J.Graham
FJ.Rachele, T.Walker, S.McAdamFT.Lynch, S.Bolton, N.Balta
FOLR.O’Brien, B.Keays, S.BerryFOLT.Nankervis, D.Prestia, T.Dow
I/CM.Crouch, L.Murphy, L.Gollant, C.JonesI/CJ.Riewoldt, H.Ralphsmith, S.Edwards, M.Parker

Played 41: Adelaide 25 v Richmond 16

Last Meeting: AFL R11 2021: Richmond 17.9 (111) dftd Adelaide 12.11 (83)

Final Thoughts: Richmond’s start to the season has been a truly mixed bag. Disappointing defeats (to Carlton and St Kilda) have been mixed with stirring victories (against the Giants and Dogs). Where they finish in 2022 in anyone’s guess. “Rumours of their demise are greatly exaggerated,” former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said this week. “They’re 2-2 and they’ve actually played a lot of good footy and just a couple of quiet quarters.”

The reality is that if they can bring what they brought to the table against the Dogs in Round 4 here, they should go 3-2. They play a Crows outfit that, while 1-3, have shown an impressive brand of footy in 2022 to date and at home won’t be easy beats. Look for Shai Bolton to continue his electric form.

Tip: To kick 3+ goals, Shai Bolton (Rich) @ $2.88

Melbourne v GWS Giants @ MCG

Saturday 16th April, 19:25 (AEST)

J.Hunt, S.May, H.PettyBL.Keeffe, S.Taylor, I.Cumming
HBT.Rivers, J.Lever, J.HarmesHBL.Whitfield, N.Haynes, H.Perryman
CE.Langdon, C.Petracca, J.VineyCA.Kennedy, C.Ward, L.Ash
HFA.Brayshaw, S.Weideman, A.Neal-BullenHFT.Taranto, H.Himmelberg, S.Coniglio
FK.Pickett, L.Jackson, B.FritschFB.Hill, J.Hogan, Boer
FOLM.Gawn, C.Oliver, T.SparrowFOLM.Flynn, J.Kelly, T.Green
I/C C.Spargo, J.Bowey, J.Jordon, T.McDonaldI/CJ.Stein, T.Bruhn, C.Idun, F.Callaghan


History: Played 15: Melbourne 8 v GWS 7

Last Meeting: AFL R16 2021: Melbourne 7.13 (55) lost to GWS Giants 9.10 (64)

Final Thoughts: Probably the scariest thing about Melbourne’s form thus far in 2022 (Simon Goodwin’s men are the only AFL club at 4-0) is that they’re —according to analyst David King — “going at half rat power”. “Be very afraid,” King said this week. “Melbourne is going at about 70 per cent of last year and they’re already proving they’re 50 per cent better than the rest of the competition.”

Everything points to them extending that record to 5-0 this week due to the fact that they’re both a) playing at home, and b) against a Giants outfit who have thus far proven incapable of stringing four quarters together in 2022. While their best is very good, Leon Cameron’s side lack of consistency will only hurt them against an unforgiving side like Melbourne.

Tip: Margin, Melbourne 1-39 @ $2.20

Carlton v Port Adelaide @ MCG

Sunday 17th April, 13:40 (AEST)

CarltonPort Adelaide
N.Newman, Le.Young, L.ParksBR.Burton, A.Aliir, T.Clurey
HBA.Saad, J.Weitering, S.DochertyHBR.Bonner, T.Jonas, D.Byrne-Jones
CS.Walsh, M.Kennedy, C.DurdinCD.Houston, W.Drew, K.Amon
HFJ.Silvagni, C.Curnow, J.MartinHFM.Bergman, M.Georgiades, C.Rozee
FL.Fogarty, H.McKay, Z.FisherFJ.Finlayson, T.Marshall, S.Powell-Pepper
FOLM.Pittonet, A.Cerra, G.HewettFOLS.Lycett, Z.Butters, T.Boak
I/C (from)W.Setterfield, L.O’Brien, Z.Williams, M.Cottrell, T.De Koning, M.Owies, P.Dow, J.NewnesI/C (from)R.Gray, J.Mead, S.Motlop, J.McEntee, T.Dumont, S.Hayes, S.Mayes, S.Skinner


History: Played 35: Carlton 13 v Port Adelaide 21 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL R22 2021: Port Adelaide 21.14 (140) dftd Carlton 5.15 (45)

Final Thoughts: While most Blues fans would have taken a 3-1 start in a heartbeat, a Round 4 defeat to Gold Coast showed that this year could well be a rollercoaster season with a large gap between the club’s best and worst. And now they’re dealing with their first injury of significance season, with Patrick Cripps (who had been their best player in a packed 2022 field to date) out for this clash, although the prognosis is good for a return after that, perhaps as early as Round 6. Adam Cerra in particular will have to lift to cover the skipper’s absence, with Walsh and Hewett known quantities regarding output at the clinches.

It goes without saying that the Power are desperate for a victory at 0-4. Ken Hinkley’s side will need to become just the second club since 1975 to go on and make the finals from that lowly predicament. It’s truly ‘season on the line’ stuff for Port this weekend, and they’ll need to transfer their good defensive work against the Dees in Round 4 into this one in order to quell both McKay and Curnow. Cripps’ absence is cancelled out by the missing Ollie Wines, which puts a huge amount onto the shoulders of Travis Boak on Sunday afternoon.

Tip: Margin, Carlton 1-39 @ $2.25

Essendon v Fremantle @ Marvel Stadium

Sunday 17th April, 16:40 (AEST)

D.Heppell, J.Laverde, J.KellyBB.Cox, A.Pearce, J.Aish
HBN.Hind, J.Ridley, M.RedmanHBH.Young, L.Ryan, B.Walker
CS.Durham, A.McGrath, N.CoxCJ.Clark, A.Brayshaw, B.Acres
HFA.Perkins, A.Waterman, N.MartinHFT.Colyer, M.Taberner, B.Banfield
FA.Phillips, P.Wright, M.GuelfiFM.Frederick, R.Lobb, M.Walters
FOLS.Draper, D.Shiel, D.ParishFOLS.Darcy, W.Brodie, D.Mundy
I/C (from)J.Caldwell, B.Zerk-Thatcher, T.Cutler, D.Smith, B.Ham, B.Hobbs, T.Wanganeen, K.BaldwinI/C (from)G.Logue, C.Serong, N.O’Driscoll, H.Chapman, D.Tucker, N.Erasmus, N.Wilson, S.Switkowski


History: Played 38: Essendon 24 v Fremantle 14

Last Meeting: AFL R9 2021: Essendon 10.8 (68) dftd Fremantle 8.13 (61)

Final Thoughts: Have the Dockers snuck under the radar thus far in 2022? Or is their standing at 3-1 (and in third on the AFL ladder) largely due to a favourable draw? Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley thinks the former. “They’re going under the radar a little bit and I think that happens when you’re over the other side of the country and the other team from there has been a story with the COVID and injury situation,” he said this week. “Fremantle have only given 90 points up from turnover in their first four games — the next closest side is 25 points away and that’s Melbourne.”

The Bombers, coming off a tight win they simply had to have in Round 4, start ever-so-slight favourites in a clash that is the toughest to pick this Easter weekend. While there were positive signs return in the win over the Crows, Fremantle will likely provide a sterner test. A loss would see them slump to 1-4 with Collingwood (on Anzac Day) and the Western Bulldogs to come, underlining just how important four points is here.

Tip: Line, Essendon -1.5 @ $1.95

Hawthorn v Geelong @ MCG

Monday 18th April, 15:20 (AEST)

D.Grainger-Barras, S.Frost, B.HardwickBJ.Henry, S.De Koning, J.Bews
HBH.Morrison, J.Sicily, J.ImpeyHBT.Stewart, M.Blicavs, M.O’Connor
CC.Jiath, C.Nash, J.WardCM.Duncan, T.Atkins, I.Smith
HFJ.Newcombe, J.Gunston, J.O’MearaHFM.Holmes, T.Hawkins, T.Stengle
FM.Lewis, L.Breust, D.MooreFG.Miers, J.Cameron, B.Close
FOLN.Reeves, C.Macdonald, T.MitchellFOLR.Stanley, P.Dangerfield, C.Guthrie
I/C (from)C.Wingard, J.Scrimshaw, J.Worpel, D.Howe, F.Maginness, L.Shiels, T.Phillips, J.KoschitzkeI/C (from)J.Selwood, J.Kolodjashnij, Z.Tuohy, L.Dahlhaus, Z.Guthrie, E.Ratugolea, S.Higgins, B.Parfitt


History: Played 168: Hawthorn 75 v Geelong 92 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL R3 2021: Geelong 10.9 (69) dftd Hawthorn 9.10 (64)

Final Thoughts: While some may have doubted their ageing (or simply ‘experienced’?) side, Geelong have proven again that they’ve be a force throughout 2022 and go in solid favourites to salute on Easter Monday and start the season a more-than-handy 4-1. Chris Scott’s men have won three of their last four against the Hawks in what is one of modern footy’s best rivalries. And his side are set to benefit from a number of huge ins this week, with Joel Selwood (rested) and Tom Stewart (gastro) both set to return after missing the win over Brisbane, while Shaun Higgins (concussion) and Esava Ratugolea (ankle) are also chances.

For the Hawks, well, by the end of this clash we’ll have a far clearer idea of where they’re headed in 2022. They themselves might admit that they overachieved in early rounds (including a 10-goal win over Port Adelaide) while conversely underachieving in a poor (and equally heavy) loss to the Saints last weekend. In front of a big MCG crowd, we’ll see what Sam Mitchell’s young side are really made of.

Tip: Line, Geelong -16.5 @ $1.90