The season is beginning to take shape with one month of football behind us.
With Round 5 looming as important for several clubs to either bounce back, keep the momentum rolling, or avoid slipping further into a world of pain, there are storylines everywhere.
These are the things to look out for this weekend in footy.
How do the Pies stop the Brisbane midfield?
The Brisbane Lions suffered their first loss of 2022 down at GMHBA Stadium to the Cats on Friday Night. Despite the loss, The Lions’ midfield was once again impressive, as they have been for the opening month of this season.
Lachie Neale once again was Brisbane’s best player with 30 disposals and 11 clearances, along with Hugh McCluggage, Jarryd Lyons, and Jarrod Berry all having important contributions.
This weekend, Brisbane’s superstar will line up for his 200th appearance when he faces Collingwood on Thursday Night.
“I’m as hungry as I’ve ever been,” Neale said
“I’ve set myself up for a pretty good year”
The question that surrounds this game is whether the Magpies’ midfield can respond to the potential damage that the Lions midfield is able to cause. Are they able to contain Lachie Neale, then are they able to manage the depth of the Lions’ midfield.
Collingwood has seen the emergence of Nick Daicos who has mesmerised Magpies fans in his opening 4 weeks, picking up a Rising Star nomination in Round 3.
The Pies welcome back star pairing Jordan De Goey from a one-week suspension and Taylor Adams from HS Protocols to add to the midfield matchup.
Collingwood has also been impressed with Patrick Lipinski who’s also had a fantastic start to Magpie life after moving from the Bulldogs in the most recent off-season.
Can the Eagles upset once again?
Following the Eagles’ surprise win over Collingwood in Round 4, Round 5 looms as a great chance for West Coast to gain significant respect from the competition when they face Sydney at Optus Stadium on Friday night.
West Coast is slowly but surely getting their full-strength team back together with Luke Shuey and Tim Kelly to be added to the Midfield this week. Elliott Yeo and Jamie Cripps are ‘considerations’ at the current time.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, they lose Nic Naitanui to injury. Leaving Bailey Williams the likely replacement for the next chunk of the season.
The trip to Perth is no easy match for any opponent and takes a strong performance on the day to take home 4 points, it will be no different for the Swans this weekend.
The Eagles may like their chances in defense with the absence of Lance Franklin with a finger injury. Franklin’s averaging almost 6 marks a game and over 2 goals, proving a significant loss for the Swans
The Swans hold the upper hand over the Eagles winning four out of the last five contests by an average of 45 points. Although, Sydney has won only once in Perth since the start of 2017, that in Round 1, 2018.
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Unbeaten and Unbothered
Melbourne has shaken off any claims of a potential premiership hangover, remaining the only undefeated team in 2022.
The Demons have rarely been challenged as of yet, but when they have, they put the foot down are appear unstoppable with the likes of Petracca, Oliver, and Gawn tearing games apart.
The reigning premiers have conceded the least amount of total points through the opening four rounds with 246. The Demons’ elite defence was on display against Port Adelaide who scored just one goal in three and a half quarters last Thursday
The Demons will enter Saturday’s contest against GWS as heavy favourites and are looking to move to 5-0 as they did in their premiership season last year.
GWS currently sits in 13th position on the ladder with a 1-3 record to start 2022. In 2021, they also started 1-3 and went on to make a Semi-Final.
Dual Easter Sunday blockbusters
Essendon vs Fremantle
Despite this contest being between two teams at either end of the ladder, it looms as a very interesting matchup for both sides.
The Bombers head into the game only winning their first match of the season last week in a thriller over Adelaide. Meanwhile, Fremantle sits inside the Top 4 with a 3-1 record, only losing to fellow Top 4 side, St. Kilda.
Essendon is traditionally very good against the Dockers at home, winning 14 out of the last 15 games. But despite this, many experts are still backing Fremantle to continue their hot start to the season and knock off Ben Rutten’s side
The 16th placed Bombers will have both Nik Cox and Tom Cutler made available for selection this week. While Fremantle is set to welcome back Alex Pearce, Caleb Serong, and Darcy Tucker back to the lineup.
Carlton vs Port Adelaide
Port Adelaide has been the surprise story so far in 2022, going winless in the opening month for the first time since 2008.
The Power was very poor against the Demons, achieving some unwanted history during the game. They went goalless in a half for the first time in the club’s history.
The bottom-placed side faces an improved Carlton team in Round 4 who suffered their first loss of the season up at the Gold Coast in disappointing fashion.
The depleted Power will be without their Brownlow Medalist Ollie Wines following a heart scare in the loss to the Demons last week.
Carlton is looking likely to miss a big name also, captain Patrick Cripps who is out with a hamstring injury.
Port Adelaide historically has the edge over the Blues, winning the last six encounters between the two teams.
Will Hawthorn bounce back for a huge Easter Monday game?
Regardless of how either team is performing ahead of this game, Hawthorn vs Geelong always brings excitement and a thrilling contest on Easter Monday.
Hawthorn started the season in fantastic fashion winning their opening two games, then falling to Carlton and St. Kilda in rounds 3 and 4 to be placed at 2-2. While Geelong sits in 5th position at 3-1 defeating Essendon, Collingwood, and Brisbane.
The forward battle at either end of the ground is expected to be an exciting one, with Cats powerhouse Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins.
While at the other end for the Hawks, Mitch Lewis and Jack Gunston have been very accurate in front of the sticks.
The Cats will enter Monday’s game as firm favourites against a young and inexperienced Hawks line-up and will be looking to make it three straight wins against their rivals
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