When the Victorian Football League officially went national in 1990, no one could have imagined a round without football in Victoria. 20 years on, we have exactly that. There has been a lot of chat about putting an asterisk on the season. Firstly, using the term does not make you clever. Secondly, we have football, be grateful, why do feel the need to try and cheapen the success of a team to come later in the season. Whoever comes out on top in 2020 will be one of the most deserved winners of all time.
Round 6 begins with the ladder incredibly bunched; just a win separates 3rd to 15th. Looking at the way the draw has fallen, after the week's fixtures it should still be incredibly bunched. Of course, this is 2020, nothing should be taken for granted.
Geelong Vs Brisbane - Thursday Night - SCG - 7:40 pm
A massive game kicks off week six. Second and Third square off in a fascinating duel of past and present. Geelong - the past - hanging onto hopes of squeezing out another premiership for their ageing stars. Brisbane - the present - a team on the up and premiership favourites.
Thrilling, Brisbane has played 2020's best football. Daring, they are happy to bring the ball back through the middle; they back their skills in. You get the feeling they would have relished a trip to Geelong to try their luck at the Cats famed home ground.
Finally, Geelong has won back-to-back games. Dismantling Gold Coast last week, they can join Brisbane on 16 points by completing a Queensland double. Expect a fascinating midfield battle at the SCG. A tight match, Brisbane to kick away late.
Brisbane by 24 points.
Collingwood Vs Hawthorn - Friday Night - Giants Stadium - 7:50 pm
Friday night does not get much better than this. A weird thing to say considering it pits two out of form teams against each other. Two teams who three weeks ago had huge wins; wins that made you think they can win a flag. Now they find themselves in ninth and tenth.
Collingwood - enduring a horrid period off the field - need a back against the wall win to kickstart their season. Winners just once in the last month, Nathan Buckley will be rallying the troops. Whilst everyone takes their potshots at the Pies and Eddie, Buckley finds himself in familiar territory. Think back to 2017 and 2018. Monthly, Buckley was a loss away from being fired. Yet, his troops always found a way to win one.
Hawthorn should have been sent to the Gold Coast hub; their roller coaster form belongs near Movie World. Spanked Richmond, barely beat North. Barely throw a punch against GWS. Who knows what we will get Friday night from the Hawks.
Collingwood by 16.
Fremantle Vs St Kilda - Saturday - Metricon Stadium - 12:35 pm
Saturday kicks off with what on current form should be a fairly routine victory for the fourth-placed St Kilda. However, don't discount Fremantle. Intriguingly, we don't have to wait long to see a team that has been in a hub for a month to take on a team in their first week.
St Kilda arrive in Noosa after the Victorian COVID outbreak
Quarantined, unable to do anything other than train, it will be fascinating to see how the Saints react to this. Tipping the Saints but don't be surprised if they struggle for intensity in this one. A hotel room can do weird things to you.
Saints by 13 points.
West Coast Vs Adelaide - Saturday Twilight - Gabba - 3:05 pm
2020 is all about taking the opportunities presented. For the West Coast, they've been thrown the ball wide-open. Horrendous at times in the last month; last week's quality win draws them to 2-3 with games against two of the bottom three in the following fortnight. West Coast should be heading home for the Perth derby with two wins on the trot and a season once again looking promising.
West Coast by 40.
Melbourne Vs Gold Coast - Saturday Evening - Giants Stadium - 6:05 pm
Talk about interesting games. Finally, Melbourne are beginning to feel the media heat. Winners just once on the season; this is as must-win as they come. Who knows what a horrible loss could result in for coach Simon Goodwin.
Gold Coast has everything to play for. In difficult circumstances last week they produced a brave performance. Yet, it counts for nil if they can't bounce back with a win. Can the Sun's play finals? Winning here answers that resoundingly. Missing Matt Rowell won't be the end of this team. Talented, the Sun's have young players improving quickly all over the field. Will Brodie is one who should be leaping at the chance to replace Rowell.
Gold Coast by 26 points.
Essendon Vs North Melbourne - Saturday Night - Metricon Stadium - 7:40 pm
Were we talking about an opportunity? Coming off their best win in years, Essendon takes on an injury-hit North Melbourne. A place in the top four likely the reward for the Dons. Impressive early, North's form has tailed dramatically. Their intent though has not wavered. A rivalry game might just be what the Doctor ordered for North.
North doesn't have much time for Essendon; Essendon blocking their entry into the VFL in the 1890s the main source of angst. A classic one-way rivalry, Essendon fans like to pretend this isn't a rivalry. Rhys Shaw appears to have made it clear he wants his players to hate Essendon. With half-price fines, some quality melee time appears on the cards.
Essendon by 17 points.
Port Adelaide Vs GWS - Sunday Afternoon - Metricon Stadium - 1:05 pm
Sunday footy begins with another belter. League-leading Port Adelaide - coming off a trouncing at the hands of Brisbane - face a giant task in a resurgent and premiership fancy GWS. If you're in Brisbane, this might make for a nice Sunday drive.
Port was bright, but wasteful early against the Lions. Bouncing back is essential for the Power; keeping them ahead of a crowded table. GWS - highly efficient in defeating the Hawks last week - are one of those teams looking to leap from the aforementioned crowd. This one is as even as they come.
GWS by 8 points.
Richmond Vs Sydney - Sunday Twilight - Gabba - 3:35pm
Backs against the wall stuff for both teams here. Richmond paid a severe price for their win last week; they must find a way to make it count and defeat Sydney this week. They'll need to do so without a host of stars. Lynch, Cotchin, Nankervis, and Prestia to name a few. Similarly challenged last year, the Tigers routed Port Adelaide and embarked on a three-game winning streak when all seemed doomed.
Thumbs up from Tom Lynch, sidelined.
Sydney - one of four 2/3 teams - have looked like a run of a mill football team these past three weeks. Their loss to West Coast last weekend made for back to back disappointing performances. Richmond may have the layup they need here.
Richmond by 19 points.
Carlton Vs Western Bulldogs - Sunday Night - Metricon Stadium - 6:35 pm
A vital match to close out the weekend. There is everything to play for here for the Bulldogs and Carlton. Victors in their last three, the Bulldogs return to form has been spectacular. Hopeless a month ago against the Saints, they have responded with vigour and purpose. Expected winners here, they'll need to be careful of a rebounding Carlton.