TWO TEAMS will get the opportunity to belt out their song for the first time this year, with four winless sides set to face off against each other in round five.
This weekend also marks the first AFLW Indigenous Round, while a number of showpiece games – Fremantle v Brisbane, Collingwood v Melbourne and North Melbourne v Carlton – will cause further demarcation in the competition.
The above teams occupy six of the top eight positions on the ladder.
Friday, February 26
Geelong v Richmond at GMHBA Stadium, 7.10pm AEDT
- The Cats will be lining up for their third consecutive Friday night match, but it hasn't gone to plan thus far. Geelong is the second-lowest scoring team in the competition, just ahead of Gold Coast, and has been struggling to move the ball with pace and fluency.
- If there's such a thing as an in-form side yet to win a game in 10 attempts, Richmond is just that team. The Tigers recorded their highest score ever against the Blues last week, just pipping their previous best effort – which came against Geelong last year.
- Tip: Just like 2020, both these sides will be hoping to break their winless streak against each other. The Tigers are in better form, but it'll be close. Four points.
WATCH IT LIVE Cats v Tigers
Saturday, February 27
Western Bulldogs v Greater Western Sydney at VU Whitten Oval, 3.10pm AEDT
- After just falling short against St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs have pulled off three straight wins, two against last year's preliminary finalists Melbourne and Carlton. The Dogs are incredibly efficient with their ball use, averaging the third-fewest disposals in the AFLW with just five players having kicked goals.
- After a tough start against Fremantle and Adelaide, GWS has settled, recording two wins against strugglers Gold Coast and West Coast. The Giants are getting a more even contribution in the midfield, while the defence is well-organised and disciplined. A bag from Cora "Scora" Staunton never hurts, either.
- Tip: The Giants are back on the road for the first time in three weeks, and the Dogs know Whitten Oval (and that cross-wind into the pocket) inside and out. Dogs by 17 points.
WATCH IT LIVE Bulldogs v Giants
Fremantle v Brisbane at Fremantle Oval, 2.10pm AWST
- The almighty Dockers just keep rolling on their merry way, defeating every opponent in their path. They're never reliant on one goalkicker, having had 13 players kick majors this season, the highest number in the AFLW.
- Brisbane showed great resilience against Adelaide after another poor opening quarter. The twin towers of Jesse Wardlaw and Dakota Davidson keep defences busy, but it's the work of the improved Greta Bodey at ground level that's catching teams on the hop.
- Tip: This will be a battle of Freo's versatile attack versus Brisbane's well-established defence. The Lions will give it a red-hot crack, but probably aren't quite at the Dockers' level yet. Not many are. Fremantle by 17 points.
WATCH IT LIVE Dockers v Lions
North Melbourne v Carlton at UTAS Stadium, 7.10pm AEDT
- Coach Darren Crocker used the word "clunky" a few times in his post-match presser after last week's loss to Collingwood. There's been an unexpected loss of connection in the Roos' usually fluent movement of the ball down the field, making life difficult for the forward line.
- Carlton has shaken off its early-season woes to record two wins, but they've come against expansion sides St Kilda and Richmond. The Blues have produced horror first quarters, kicking just 1.2 across four first terms. They can't afford to play catch-up against North Melbourne.
- Tip: This is a must-win game for both sides, who would not have been expecting to be in this position halfway through the season. Both have been Jekyll and Hyde teams this year – who will show up on Saturday night? Blues by three points.
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WATCH IT LIVE Kangaroos v Blues
Sunday, February 28
Adelaide v St Kilda at Norwood Oval, 12.40pm ACDT
- The Crows were just too good for Brisbane last week, overcoming both the Lions and their own poor accuracy in front of goal. The last two weeks have seen Adelaide kick 7.16. In a positive for the side, Nikki Gore seems to have established herself in defence in her third season, while Erin Phillips appears to be most dangerous when forward.
- The Saints have successfully broadened their paths to goal this year, recording nine goalkickers already, only one fewer than their entire 2020 season. Ruck Rhi Watt is in ripping form, averaging 9.5 contested possession, the highest in the side.
- Tip: The last time these sides met, the Saints looked set for an unlikely victory before conceding two late goals. Adelaide has had several significant inclusions since then and will be too experienced for the Saints. Crows by 15 points.
WATCH IT LIVE Crows v Saints
Collingwood v Melbourne at Victoria Park, 3.10pm AEDT
- Can the Pies make it a club-record five straight wins? We've rarely seen Collingwood in this type of form, and its built on the back of a strong well-rounded performance. The backline – led by Stacey Livingstone and Ruby Schleicher – is so effective it's hard to believe All-Australian Ash Brazill (ACL) is still to return.
- From the sublime to the ridiculous. Melbourne piled on six goals in a quarter against North Melbourne but couldn't find the middle of the goals to save themselves against the Dogs, kicking 2.12. The importance of the speed and class of Kate Hore (who missed with illness) and Sinead Goldrick (concussion) cannot be undersold.
- Tip: Melbourne could slip eight points adrift of the top two should it lose this game. Collingwood's midfield trio of Brianna Davey, Jaimee Lambert and Britt Bonnici have hit another level, and draw this in the Pies' favour. 11 points.
WATCH IT LIVE Magpies v Demons
West Coast v Gold Coast at Mineral Resources Park, 2.10pm AWST
- The Eagles will be happy to be home after consecutive cross-country games in Brisbane and Sydney. Like the Tigers, the Eagles are improving week by week, with the form of Grace Kelly, Bella Lewis and Mikayla Bowen particularly promising. The team just needs to stick with its pressure and run for longer, and that first win will come.
- The Suns have stayed in Perth this week after playing Fremantle, and some bonding time may have been just what the doctor ordered. David Lake didn't beat around the bush, calling out his side's "lazy" two-way running in the second half against Fremantle.
- Tip: It's possibly the first time West Coast has gone into a match favourites, but the patches of form it's shown in the past few weeks have been encouraging, while the Suns can't find the scoreboard. Eagles by nine points.
WATCH IT LIVE Eagles v Suns
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