Despite losing their captain Rory Sloane with a ruptured ACL, in the fourth, Adelaide pulled off a real coup as they defeated the inconsistent Richmond at the Oval.
It might have taken the gloss of the afternoon but this was some result by a side expected to struggle this season in the eyes of the pundits – forwards Taylor Walker and Elliott Himmelberg combined for nine goals in what was a stellar performance.Embed from Getty Images
Speaking post-match, a delighted Matthew Nicks (coach) said “It rates highly and probably about the composure they showed tonight. That maturity under pressure and grit to fight it out like they did in the last quarter was really pleasing to see.”
He went on “To get a lot of things right in those key moments, to right the ship or fight back like they did was really pleasing and it will give them a lot of belief going forward. We’re playing the brand of footy we want to play. It’s now locking in and doing that consistently. And tonight was a great step in the right direction.”
Reigning Premiers Melbourne remain top of the ladder and flexed their muscles once again with a dominant showing as they hammered Greater Western Sydney.
The Demons were never in trouble as they cruised through the gears that included a ruthless third quarter in which there were ten different goalkickers – something that has only happened on three occasions in the last 20 years across the competition.
Carlton managed to get over the line in an absolute thriller against Port Adelaide, by just a three-point margin, but only after having to withstand a second half onslaught.
They had a health lead (50 points) at the interval but the Power looked a different side after the break and almost pulled off the biggest comeback in their history, in the last minute, but Karl Amon watched his effort put through for a rushed behind.
However, instead, this result leaves the South Australians zip-five, their worst ever opening, and leave coach Ken Hinckley facing mounting pressure about his position.
Sydney headed west and produced a superb performance, led all evening, and put a woeful West Coast side to the sword, belting them by 63 points, on their home deck.
Such was their dominance that the contest was effectively over at the main break as they accrued the largest half-time inside 50 differential (+29) in the AFL since 2018 and kept the hosts scoreless at quarter time for the first time, in WA, in their history.
Speaking in the post-match presser, coach John Longmire was a happy man; he said “We had a lot of repeat entries, so our pressure inside and structure outside was strong early. We were able to win in the midfield and get it into the forward line.”
He continued “We were able to give our boys some supply and to have 11 goalscorers was a good spread all round. It is not obviously something that you plan for but we’ve got Papley and Franklin sitting at home, two of our better scoreboard hitters, and Wicks but those who came in did a good job for us.”
St.Kilda made it four in a row and their best start to a campaign since 2009, which has their supporters excited, after seeing off the challenge of a plucky Gold Coast.
Forward Jack Higgins marked his return to the line-up, following a spell out with concussion, by booting a career-high five majors while Jade Gresham, in his 100th game, was awesome with two goals, 25 disposals and 10 contested possessions.
Up in Queensland, Brisbane bagged the four points to continue their fine run but were made to work hard for it and pushed all the way by a valiant Collingwood.
A game in which star midfielder Lachie Neale made his 200th appearance, for the Lions, saw Joe Daniher keep up his recent good form with another four goals.
The club were given a further boost as defender Darcy Gardiner escaped with only a fine, from the MRO, having being reported for rough conduct on Josh Daicos.
Fremantle generated a devastating second half surge as they ran over the top of Essendon to claim their first success over the Bombers in Victoria for 12 years.
Matt Taberner, recently back from a hamstring injury, was the catalyst for the Dockers and a dead eye in front of the big sticks as he kicked seven straight (career-high).
Speaking to Fox Footy, the 28-year-old (pictured below) said “It was great; we haven’t played much footy in Melbourne recently, so it’s great to get back. We’ve got a big East Coast contingent with a lot of Melbourne boys keen to get back and play in front of family.”
He went on “I think we played Essendon last year and they got a bit of a jump on us in the first quarter, but I think we played some good footy there after that but this time we really wanted to come out and throw the first punch. We just need to really put in the effort, we want to be a good team this year and it means we have to win away.”Embed from Getty Images
Aaron Naughton and Cody Weightman (career-high) scored five apiece as the Western Bulldogs thrashed North Melbourne, by 68 points, at Marvel Stadium.
The money raised from this fixture, including a portion of ticket sales, went towards the annual Good Friday Appeal which aims to upgrade equipment, training staff and fund medical research to improve care at The Royal Children’s Hospital.
Closing out the festive round, in the traditional Bank Holiday Monday blockbuster, had Hawthorn spring a surprise as they upset Geelong before a crowd of 48,030.
The Hawks fell behind in the third, having led the encounter to that point, but hit back to regain the momentum once more, in the last-term, to set up an exciting finale in which forward Mitch Lewis kicked the sealer with just a minute left on the clock.
Round 5 Results
Brisbane 15.8 (98)
Collingwood 14.7 (91)
North Melbourne 11.5 (71)
Western Bulldogs 21.13 (139)
West Coast 9.4 (58)
Sydney 18.13 (121)
St.Kilda 13.9 (87)
Gold Coast 9.7 (61)
Adelaide 15.11 (101)
Richmond 12.10 (82)
Melbourne 19.6 (120)
GWS 7.11 (53)
Carlton 14.10 (94)
Port Adelaide 13.13 (91)
Essendon 8.11 (59)
Fremantle 16.11 (107)
Hawthorn 14.8 (92)
Geelong 11.14 (80)
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