AFL – Round 5 in Review

Round 5 of the 2022 AFL season saw Sam Mitchell’s Hawthorn continue to surprise, while the ‘tiers of contenders’ became even clearer.

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Mitchell does a Clarko

Over a 16-year reign as Hawthorn coach, we saw Alastair Clarkson-coached sides start as underdogs and prevail on many occasions. And on Easter Monday, his successor (and protégé) did exactly the same. Starting as $3.18 head-to-head on a gloomy afternoon, Sam Mitchell guided his team to a thrilling 12-point win. Mitchell’s start as head coach has been nothing short of impressive. The Hawks were tipped by many (this judge included) to finish in the bottom 4-6 clubs in AFL season 2022, but they’ve thus far exceeded expectations. And it’s reflect in the futures markets. The Hawks has almost halved their Top 8 price of $6.00 pre-season, already into $3.30. Whether finals eventuate or not, the ability of unheralded youngsters to step up thus far has no doubt been pleasing to the Hawks faithful.

Tiers emerge

Round 5 saw the ‘tiers of contenders’ emerge clearer than ever. Melbourne’s dominant 67-point win further underlined that, at this early stage of the season, they stand alone as the AFL’s clear No.1 side. And the markets reflect that. Following another MCG hammering — in which they started strong $1.13 favourites and comfortably covered the pre-game line of 31.5 points — Simon Goodwin’s men shortened into $2.90 for the flag with Palmerbet. Beyond the Dees, Brisbane ($6.50) and Sydney ($8.50) have firmed as ‘best of the rest’. The latter underlined that point with a dominant victory over West Coast. The Swans, like Melbourne, easily covered the pre-game line of -10.5 with a big 63-point win in the West. From there? Well, Geelong ($11 AFL Premiership hopes) are in the next tier, and you can arguably throw a blanket over those immediately below that.

Put a line through Bombers and Power?

If Round 5 clashes for Essendon and Port Adelaide represented a ‘final in April’ type feel, then they both emerged — yet again — on the wrong end of the result. As gallant as Port Adelaide were in their stirring comeback from 50 points down against Carlton on Easter Sunday, the cold hard facts are that Ken Hinkley’s side are now 0-5 and slim hopes (now out to $5) of finishing inside the AFL Top 8 in 2022. The same can be said of Essendon. Ben Rutten’s men were marginal $1.85 favourites against Fremantle but were completely overrun on home turf to slump to 1-4 (now $4.50 in the Top 8 market). It looks like, at the very least, we’ll have two fresh finalists in 2022.