Mick’s Picks: Round 5 AFL Preview

Mick Malthouse: Round 5 Preview

Mick Malthouse is back on the William Hill team in 2018 and Mick’s Picks will be a weekly article throughout the season.

The biggest surprise for me last week was how easily Collingwood were able to get past Adelaide. It tells you something about both sides – firstly, Adelaide lack depth in the midfield with the absence of the Crouch brothers, and the loss of Charlie Cameron to Brisbane and Eddie Betts to firstly poor form and now injury, has made a real difference to their side. As far as Collingwood are concerned, they moved the ball better than I have seen them for a long time. Their midfield was dominant, particularly Brodie Grundy, who gives them enormous drive from the middle of the ground.

Other than that, Melbourne showed that once again they are predictably unpredictable. They just don’t get what it means to be competitive and switched on for four quarters of football. Another interesting trend is the thrashings, with North hammering Carlton and Richmond smashing Brisbane. The competition is starting to divide and we should soon see who are going to be finals contenders, and who is going to be fighting out the wooden spoon.

Round 3 Tips

(Time AEST)
Mick’s Pick
Sydney v Adelaide (Fri 19:50) Sydney 1-39 ($2.15)
St. Kilda v GWS (Sat 13:45) GWS -23.5 ($1.91)
Carlton v West Coast (Sat 16:30) West Coast 1-39 ($2.35)
Port Adelaide v Geelong (Sat 19:40) Port 1-39 ($2.20)
Fremantle v Western Bulldogs (Sat 20:15) Fremantle WIN ($1.61)
North v Hawthorn (Sun 15:20) Hawthorn 1-39 ($2.20)
Brisbane v Gold Coast (Sun 16:45) Gold Coast WIN ($2.10)
Melbourne v Richmond (Tues 19:25) Richmond 1-39 ($2.20)
Collingwood v Essendon (Wed 15:20) Collingwood WIN ($1.81)

Sydney v Adelaide (Fri 19:50)
Sydney’s ground suits the Swans, and very few other sides. It is very difficult for a tall forward line like Adelaide’s to function well on the SCG, because the small size of the ground does not allow them enough space to operate effectively. The loss of Rory Sloane further adds to Adelaide’s midfield depth woes, so it is hard to see them challenging the Swans. If Adelaide can hold Buddy Franklin in check that gives them some hope since Sydney are often one dimensional down forward.
Mick’s Pick: Sydney 1-39 ($2.15)

St. Kilda v GWS (Sat 13:45)
There’s no case for St. Kilda and it won’t matter that it’s on their home ground. While the Giants have lost Josh Kelly, they still have enough depth to cover him and the Saints aren’t going well enough to stretch them. It is remarkable though just how many good GWS players are sitting in the grandstand week after week – they should be having a long hard look at why this is taking place. The Saints have been extremely poor so far this year and the Giants have far too much scoring power for them.
Mick’s Pick: GWS -23.5 ($1.91)

Carlton v West Coast (Sat 16:30)
West Coast seem to be growing up. They really were horrid away from home but they seem to have turned a corner this year. They are quicker across the ground, Nic Naitinui continues to amaze with his form coming back from injury, and they have been able to score even without Josh Kennedy. On the other hand, Carlton have been grossly disappointing. Patrick Cripps has been well held, Charlie Curnow has drifted off a bit, and without those two firing the Blues struggle. Back on the MCG should see an improved performance from them, and the Eagles have historically struggled there, but I think West Coast should win.
Mick’s Pick: West Coast 1-39 ($2.35)

Port Adelaide v Geelong (Sat 19:40)
This should be the game of the round. Port were in the game for long periods last week, but they never looked like beating Essendon. Geelong have been patchy so far this year, and while Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood have been in good form, they are certainly capable of playing better. Tom Hawkins has been playing okay without scoring – he needs to start kicking some goals and taking the burden off Daniel Menzel. Port can’t afford to give Menzel any space as he has been in electric form. Port was beaten in the midfield last week, despite Robbie Gray having heaps of the footy. They continue to miss Patrick Ryder. If the Cats can dominate the ruck, it will go a long way towards them winning. I think Port are a better side than they showed last week and on their home ground, they can win a close one.
Mick’s Pick: Port 1-39 ($2.20)

Fremantle v Western Bulldogs (Sat 20:15)
Freo have been much better than I expected so far this year, mainly led by Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters, but their outside run has improved considerably as well. The Bulldogs have finally found some form, having won well against Essendon before a gallant loss to Sydney last week. It should be a very close and entertaining match. I think the home ground advantage should give the edge to Fremantle.
Mick’s Pick: Fremantle WIN ($1.61)

North v Hawthorn (Sun 15:20)
This should be a ripping game. Ben Brown has been the outstanding forward in the League so far this season, and he has led a North team that has been better than I predicted so far this season. Hawthorn have been excellent so far, but the loss of Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo will create challenges, especially given they play such a vital role in providing defensive pressure. Despite that, the Hawks should have too much class across the ground and I think they can win a close one here.
Mick’s Pick: Hawthorn 1-39 ($2.20)

Brisbane v Gold Coast (Sun 16:45)
The Gold Coast don’t even know what home looks like, and they won’t get a chance to play there for a few more weeks yet. However, given they stayed over in Perth between games and only have to travel up the road for this game, they should be relatively fresh. Brisbane were horrid last week against Richmond, and having gone to that game, it really sticks in my mind. I think Stuart Dew has improved the defensive qualities of the Suns, and led by their bookends in Tom Lynch and Steven May, they can win here.
Mick’s Pick: Gold Coast WIN ($2.10)

Melbourne v Richmond (Tues 19:25)
Melbourne are good at making noise but not a lot else. They look good, then they look bad, but you can almost be certain that there will be a period of the game where they will go to sleep. Richmond on the other hand are the embodiment of consistency. They defence is outstanding – even though it was Brisbane, holding an opposition to two goals on a perfect day at the MCG is remarkable. They are a complete side. If Melbourne, for once, play 120 minutes of football they can win, but Richmond should get the job done again.
Mick’s Pick: Richmond 1-39 ($2.20)

Collingwood v Essendon (Wed 15:20)
ANZAC Day is historically unpredictable. I have been very fortunate to coach in many of these games, and I can tell you from experience that form leading into the game does not always determine the winner. Essendon won well last week, but Collingwood were even more impressive beating Adelaide. Both sides are 2-2, with a mixture of form behind them. I think this game will largely come down to defence. Collingwood has been excellent so far this year, especially in the last fortnight, and that combined with their more recent experience on the MCG will give them the edge.
Mick’s Pick: Collingwood WIN ($1.81)

Prices correct as of 1:30PM AEDT, Friday 20 April.