FIVE rounds down and two unlikely candidates have put their hands up to make the finals after most pundits wrote both teams off as finals contenders.
The Dogs and the Magpies both sit inside the top four after five rounds, sitting 4-1, while premiership aspirants North Melbourne, Essendon and Geelong all sit outside the top eight with a legitimate battle on their hands just to make finals.
Plenty of action to reflect upon so let’s get into it.
Round five review:
The round kicked off on Friday night with Carlton facing off against their bitter rivals in Collingwood, with the Magpies embarrassing the Blues by 55 points in front of a packed MCG.
The game should have been a fierce battle between two teams that have genuine distaste for each other, but it never eventuated. The Pies blew the game apart early and never let their opponents back into the contest. The result was all the more shattering for Blues fans expecting a good show for coach Mick Malthouse’s record-breaking game.
Collingwood were well-served by captain Scott Pendlebury who put in a best-on-ground performance with a game-high 32 disposal, two goal game. The Pies’ skipper looks to have shaken off an ankle aliment that affected his early season form and has moved into Brownlow medal contention, moving into joint third favourite for the medal with Crows’ on-baller Patrick Dangerfield at $14 with WilliamHill.com.au.
The win puts the Pies at 4-1 and they have moved to $1.90 to finish in the top eight.
Conversely, the Blues, who have only one win to their name after five rounds, are almost out of contention for the finals already, with the prospect of finishing in the bottom four becoming more realistic with each passing week.
WililamHill.com.au currently has the Blues at $10 to finish the 2015 season with the least amount of wins.
Saturday afternoon saw the upset of the season and one of the more stirring victories in recent memory, with the Western Bulldogs toppling the Sydney Swans by four points at the SCG.
The Dogs gave their all for the entire game in wet conditions, but it looked like an honourable loss was going to be the order of the day when Harry Cunningham put the Swans in front for the first time late in the game – Sydney’s lead since the opening minutes of the game.
The Dogs would not be denied however, with Easton Wood’s dynamic mid-air goal re-gaining Luke Beveridge’s side the lead and ultimately handing the sons of the West their fourth win from five matches.
The Dogs now look to be genuine finals contenders after the spirited victory and moved in further with online bookmakers, shortening a full dollar to $2.25 to make the finals.
More telling though is the premiership market, with the $81 on offer with Sportsbet to win the premiership a far cry from the $501 prior to the commencement of the season. The way the Bulldogs are playing at the moment the sky seems to be the limit and the $81 quote is sure to be shaved with every additional win the young Pups put together.
Saturday night saw one of the fieriest encounters in recent seasons, with Hawthorn returning to its ‘unsociable’ ways in the 60-point dismantling of North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
The Hawks were unrelenting with their desire to win at all costs and completely rattled their opponents, who had no answers and never fired a legitimate shot in the game.
This mentality will cost the Hawks in the next fortnight of football however, with second favourite for the Brownlow Jordan Lewis now ineligible for the award and captain Luke Hodge set to miss an extended period on the sidelines after his malicious head-high elbow to his opposing skipper Andrew Swallow was sent directly to the AFL tribunal.
The loss has damaged the punters’ confidence in the 2-3 Roos to make the top-four, after starting the season at $3.25 to finish the season with a double chance, Sportsbet has moved Brad Scott’s team out to $5 following the defeat.
In better betting news for the Hawks though, Jarryd Roughead continued his terrific form in front of goal with a mini-bag of three that could have been much bigger had he kicked straight. Roughead’s performance has thrown his name right back into Coleman medal calculations, with Sportsbet moving the big Rough into third favourite to kick the most goals in season 2015 at $8.
The latest installment of the hotly-anticipated South Australian showdown rounded out round five, with Port Adelaide gaining bragging rights over the Crows, controlling the contest from the start to run out 24-point winners.
After conceding the first two goals of the contest, Port kicked seven unanswered goals and maintained the lead throughout the match despite a five-goal haul by live-wire forward Eddie Betts.
Betts’ five moved him into outright fifth in the race for the Coleman Medal and he still represents fantastic value at $41 with Sportsbet to be an unlikely leader at season’s end. Betts is also paying $2.25 to kick the most goals for the Crows in 2015.
Several unusual injuries came out of round five, with a ruptured testicle, a nasty concussion and an elbow injury to a Coleman medal favourite that could have significant market implications.
Eagles spearhead Josh Kennedy heads the list of injuries after hurting his elbow early in his team’s win over GWS in Perth.
The former Blue was dominant in the match up, kicking six goals, four of which came after the injury – but the prospect of surgery looms large for the Coleman medal second favourite, who is at $5 with Sportsbet.
Veteran Geelong midfielder James Kelly experienced one of the more peculiar injuries in recent memory after having surgery on Monday to repair his right testicle. Kelly fell awkwardly in a marking contest in Saturday’s win over Richmond at the MCG. The time frame for his return could be anywhere from 3-6 weeks.
Meanwhile on the Gold Coast, luck-less Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff may miss another week of football after being subbed out of the game early with concussion after an ugly collision with Suns defender Stephen May.