AFL previews for round five
POWER V BLUES
At the Adelaide Oval, 7.50pm (AEST)
RECENT RECORD: Port 3 Carlton 7
LAST TIME: R8 2016: Carlton 14.9 (93) d Port 13.13 (91) at Etihad Stadium
PORT may have lost its past two but has hardly been disgraced in defeats to the top two flag fancies, Adelaide and GWS. With big Paddy Ryder (suspended) back, the Power should regain momentum against the visiting Blues (1-3), who may have won the past two clashes (by a combined six points, both in Melbourne), but won't have fond memories of their only trip to the Adelaide Oval, a 103-point loss in 2014.
DOGS V LIONS
At Etihad Stadium, 1.45pm
RECENT RECORD: WB 5 BL 5
LAST TIME: R5 2016: WB 17.18 (120) d BL 10.7 (67) at Etihad Stadium
THE Bulldogs (3-1) may only be travelling along in "spits and spurts" - Luke Beveridge's words, not mine - but the premiers should be able to spurt to victory against the visiting Lions (1-3). Tom Rockliff, with a round-high 15 clearances last week, has been dominating around the stoppages, but the Lions are still conceding more opposition inside-50m entries than any other team, putting enormous pressure on their young defence.
SUNS V CROWS
At Metricon Stadium, 4.35pm
RECENT RECORD: GC 0 Adel 9
LAST TIME: R9 2016: Adel 22.17 (149) d GC 11.8 (74) at Metricon
IN red-hot form, Adelaide will be looking to notch its 10th straight win over the Suns, and go 5-0 for the first time in its history. When the teams last met, the Crows led by 53 points at the half. The Suns (2-2) will make it far more difficult this time around but, taking on the scoring kings, will miss co-captain and key defender Steven May (hamstring). Will it be Jarrod Harbrow or Adam Saad who gets the all-important gig on last week's six-goal hero Eddie Betts?
SWANS V GIANTS
At the SCG, 7.25pm
RECENT RECORD: Syd 7 GWS 3
LAST TIME: 2QF 2016: GWS 12.19 (91) d Syd 7.13 (55) at ANZ Stadium
DON'T expect the Giants to go easy on their "older brothers", the Swans. Do expect Sydney to go 0-5 for the first time since 1993 and GWS to claim a third successive win in the Battle for the Bridge. Injured quartet Kurt Tippett, Jarrad McVeigh, Isaac Heeney and Gary Rohan are all set to be available for Swans selection, but it still may not be enough. Jon Patton (six goals last week) and Jeremy Cameron are together again in the GWS attack. Swans Heath Grundy and Aliir Aliir will have their hands full.
DOCKERS V ROOS
At Domain Stadium, 7.40pm (AEST)
RECENT RECORD: Frem 5 North 5
LAST TIME: R4 2016: North 20.12 (132) d Frem 14.17 (101) at Etihad Stadium
LIKE Sydney, North is on the brink of a 0-5 start - for the first time since 1972. The Roos have struggled out west, losing five of their past six, and their past three by an average of 43 points. Lachie Neale and David Mundy have been the unlikely goalkicking stars for Freo (2-2), slotting seven between them against the Dees last week. Cam McCarthy (5.9) just needs his kicking boots on. Ruckman Braydon Preuss has been a revelation for the Roos, but faces (literally) his biggest test against Aaron Sandilands.
SAINTS V CATS
At Etihad Stadium, 3.20pm
RECENT RECORD: Geel 6 StK 3 Drawn 1
LAST TIME: R14 2016: StK 14.9 (93) d Geel 13.12 (90) at Etihad Stadium
THE Cats (4-0) just keep on keeping on, and their destruction of the Hawks will only have boosted the confidence of "second-stingers" such as Steven Motlop and Mitch Duncan, who both topped 30 touches. The Saints (2-2) have done themselves no favours by kicking 36.57 in the past three games. Jack Steven is a likely inclusion after recovering from a punctured lung, but Nathan Brown has a huge task in trying to stop joint-Coleman Medal leader Tom Hawkins.
HAWKS V EAGLES
At the MCG, 4.40pm
RECENT RECORD: Haw 7 WC 3
LAST TIME: R22 2016: WC 13.14 (92) d Haw 10.7 (67) at Domain Stadium
ALL eyes will be on Hawk great Sam Mitchell (ankle), who has been battling to be fit to take on his old team. It will certainly be a dagger through Hawk fans' hearts if he can help lead the Eagles to a rare win over Hawthorn at the MCG. They haven't beaten the brown and gold there since 2006. Hawthorn (0-4), ranked last for inside-50 entries, goals, contested possessions and contested marks, hope to regain Jaeger O'Meara and Ty Vickery. It's little consolation.
TIGERS V DEMONS
At the MCG, 7.25pm
RECENT RECORD: Rich 4 Melb 6
LAST TIME: R5 2016: Melb 20.9 (129) d Rich 14.12 (96) at the MCG
RICHMOND will be looking for five consecutive wins to start the season for the first time since 1995 - and break a run of three outs against Melbourne. The Tigers have enjoyed amazing efficiency - they're third-last for disposals but second for inside-50s. Dees spearhead Jesse Hogan gets the chance to make up for his round-two brain fade when he returns from suspension, though All-Australian full-back Alex Rance is waiting.
BOMBERS V MAGPIES
At the MCG, 3.20pm
RECENT RECORD: Ess 3 Coll 7
LAST TIME: R5 2016: Coll 22.10 (142) d Ess 11.7 (73) at the MCG
ON THE biggest stage of the home and away rounds, the acid will be put on Collingwood and specifically coach Nathan Buckley, whose team faces the prospect of going 1-4. He will hope Daniel Wells, controversially recruited at age 32, will thrive, while young key forward Darcy Moore (1.3 in four games) can make an impact. The Bombers will look to rebound from their hefty loss to Adelaide.