Port Adelaide went some way to avenging last season’s prelim defeat after getting up over reigning Premiers Richmond, by just two points, in a pulsating encounter.
Before a crowd of 33,742, these two sides produced an absolute cracker that ebbed and flows throughout the evening. Robbie Gray scored what proved to be the decisive goal with the Power defence holding out strong in the final few moments.
Coach Ken Hinckley was full of praise for his players; he said “Both teams fight really tough, desperate to win and both teams play to the end. I think that was a remarkable performance by us by the end of it.” He continued “Robbie kicked a goal and then we found a way to hang in there. We won, so we deserved to win it.”
The Western Bulldogs continue to set the pace and sit top of the ladder, as they enjoyed a 19-point success over Brisbane down at a cold and blustery Ballarat.
The Doggies recovered from falling behind, early on, to then lead at every change with what coach Luke Beveridge described as a “workmanlike performance”.
Right behind them is a Sydney side that continues to impress and came out on top by winning a thriller against Essendon, under the lights at the SCG, by three points.
Forward Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin booted three majors, which included the 950th of his career and his 73rd against Essendon; the most he has kicked against any club.
The only other team with a perfect record, after the opening four rounds, are Melbourne who produced an excellent display in defeating Geelong at the MCG.
There has been a lot of hype about the Demons’ potential and, on the evidence so far, it looks like that this could finally be their year for a decent crack at the finals.
In off the field news, there is speculation that President Glenn Bartlett will step down, after 18 years at the helm, with Kate Roffey set to take over the role. If that happens, she would become the first ever female president in their 163-year history.
Max King, 20, kicked a career-best five goals as St.Kilda pulled off a remarkable comeback in their victory over West Coast. They trailed by 33 points, at one stage in the third quarter, before hitting back to produce a stunning fourth with something coach Brett Ratten labelled as “a bit of a blueprint for how we have to play”.
A bad day for the Eagles, for whom Brad Sheppard played his 200th game, was compounded when they lost experienced defender Shannon Hurn with a groin injury.
GWS went some way to silencing their critics, picking up their first triumph of the campaign, as they knocked over a mediocre Collingwood in emphatic fashion.
Following their poor start, the pressure was on coach Liam Cameron and his players but they responded in the perfect way. Toby Greene, who captained the side, bagged five majors while Callan Ward and Lachie Ash also stood out for the Giants.
Adelaide produced an explosive final quarter, in which they kicked eight goals, to eventually run out comfortable winners against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.
However, they didn’t have it all their own way against a much improved Kangaroos outfit and actually trailed at the end of the third. Tex Walker, Shane McAdam and the returning Darcy Fogarty all grabbed three apiece for the victorious Crows.
Up in Queensland, Carlton got over the line in a tight contest against Gold Coast at a wet and slippery Metricon Stadium. It was evenly poised heading into the final term where the Blues managed to grind it out with Harry McKay sealing it for his side.
The Suns will be anxiously awaiting to see whether the MRP decide to take any action over Jarrod Harbrow’s high bump on Michael Gibbons, in the third quarter, especially as any impact involving the head has been coming under real scrutiny.
In the final match of the round, an inaccurate Fremantle, who amassed 18 behinds, downed Hawthorn in a fiery and physical clash. Forward Sean Darcy scored three goals for a Dockers side that welcomed back their captain Nat Fyfe to the line-up.
The Hawks never recovered from a very poor first quarter and despite having a few spells, as they tried to get back into it, the damage had already been done.
Round 4 Results
Sydney 11.17 (83)
Essendon 12.8 (80)
Port Adelaide 11.13 (79)
Richmond 11.11 (77)
Western Bulldogs 10.13 (73)
Brisbane 8.6 (54)
St.Kilda 15.12 (102)
West Coast 13.4 (82)
Gold Coast 8.11 (59)
Carlton 9.16 (70)
Collingwood 9.6 (60)
GWS 14.6 (90)
North Melbourne 10.8 (68)
Adelaide 16.13 (109)
Melbourne 12.13 (85)
Geelong 9.6 (60)
Fremantle 13.18 (96)
Hawthorn 12.9 (81)
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