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Saturday, July 24, 2021

AFL round 5: five reasons to watch

The AFL has been great to watch so far this year and round 5 promises to be another beauty. Here are five reasons to watch the footy this weekend.

Match of the round – Saints vs Tigers

A week ago, this would have shaped as a certain win for the Tigers, but the Saints produced a stirring second half performance against the Eagles to get their season back on track.

After being down by 33 points, the Saints powered home to a 20-point win but now need to back it up against another quality opponent.

The difference between their best and worst footy has been far too big but if they can bring the intensity they had against the Eagles, they can certainly challenge the reigning premiers.

The Tigers wouldn’t be panicking after two straight losses but would be keen to get their season going quickly, especially with a tough draw ahead.

After the Saints, they play the Demons, Bulldogs and Cats in succession so its important they start playing well shortly.

They just fell short against the Power in a great contest last week so they should be raring to go for this one.

Can the Blues claim a scalp?

The Blues currently sit in the top eight after two straight wins against the Dockers and Suns but are yet to prove themselves against quality opposition.

They did what they had to against poorer opposition but this Saturday night against the Power at the MCG presents the perfect chance for them to stamp themselves as finals contenders.

No longer are honourable losses acceptable for the Blues, they need to claim a big scalp on the big stage.

The battle of the bridge

Many would have pegged this as an easy win for the Swans before the Giants produced their best performance of the season, beating the Magpies comfortably at the MCG last Saturday night.

Led by Toby Greene, the young Giants looked a different side to the one that fell to 0-3 and have now breathed some life into their season.

They will need to go to another level to challenge the Swans on their current form, but these Sydney Derby’s have thrown up some strange results in the past.

The Swans are a big surprise sitting undefeated after 4 rounds, but they are playing an exciting brand of football that keeps stacking up against quality opposition.

Buddy Franklin returned last week and kicked the match winning goal. Expect him to start playing more regular footy now and should start improving week on week.

The Swans have two big holes to fill after losing stars Isaac Heeney and Dane Rampe to injury. However, they have a clean bill of health otherwise so certainly no excuse there.

Sydney claimed a big upset win over the Giants last year and now GWS will be looking to upset their cross-town rivals this year.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Lance Franklin of the Swans celebrates a goal during the round four AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Essendon Bombers at Sydney Cricket Ground on April 08, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)
Buddy Franklin celebrating a goal against the Bombers last round. getty

Will Collingwood respond?

The blowtorch tends get passed around every week in the AFL and this week it well and truly put the heat on the Pies.

Most thought they would roll the Giants last round, but they were outplayed and now find themselves 1-3. The club came under scrutiny after a disastrous off season and their start to the season on field has lifted the pressure on coach Nathan Buckley even more.

Their best win last season came in the first week of finals when they went over to Perth and beat the Eagles when nobody gave them a chance.

They face a similar proposition this week when they head West to take on the Eagles and once again, nobody is giving them a chance.

They sometimes play their best footy with their backs against the wall, but it’s still hard to see them winning this one.

Bombers in Brisbane

The Bombers are a perfect example of how reactionary footy fans are. After two weeks people were writing the Bombers off as a bottom four side and then two weeks later there’s a sense of excitement around the club.

They belted the Saints in round 3 before playing well despite losing to the Swans last week.

They have a host of promising young kids coming through with 200cm tall Nik Cox the pick of the bunch so far. He has incredible skill for a player his height and will excite fans for many years to come.

Heading to Brisbane to take on the Lions will provide these Baby Bombers another chance to test themselves against a good side.

The Lions are also 1-3 after a disappointing start to the season and really need to start winning now if they want to make the top 4 again.

It’s a long way back from 1-4 for either side so this clash it vitally important for both teams finals chances.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Nik Cox of the Bombers kicks during the round four AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Essendon Bombers at Sydney Cricket Ground on April 08, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Nik Cox has shown glimpses of being a star for the Bombers for many years to come. Getty

View the AFL round 5 fixture here.

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