AFL 2023 Round 4: Good Friday Appeal, Aliir Aliir heroics, Lions roar, Cameron boots seven

AFL 2023 Round 24

Jeremy Finlayson kicked the winner as Port Adelaide came from behind to defeat last season’s Grand Finalists Sydney, on their home deck, in an absolutely thriller.

However, the drama didn’t end there and it was defender Aliir Aliir (pictured below) who was the hero, making an amazing goal line clearance to keep out Ollie Florent’s, after the siren, goalbound effort that looked to be going through with home fans ready to celebrate.

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Speaking in the presser, on that last minute play, Power coach Ken Hinckley said “Honestly, from the pocket he was kicking from, what the conditions had been like all night, he was going to be on his absolute limit.”

“As long as we defended the goal line really well and we have done a lot of preparations for moments like that. To defend the goal line really well was clearly critical but I thought the kick was going to struggle to make the distance.”

On the result, he added “To come up here and play against a highly respectable opponent who we have such admiration for, in a hostile environment, with not everything going that great for us for a fair bit of the game, to hang in there, this team has a fair bit of character.”

St.Kilda are now the outright ladder leaders and the only club with a perfect record, at four-zip, after they thrashed a below-par Gold Coast in convincing fashion.

Forward Jack Higgins kept up his decent early form with another five snags for the Saints that continue to flourish under the tutelage of veteran coach Ross Lyon.

The Melbourne juggernaut headed west where they showed no mercy by putting an injury-ravaged West Coast to the sword in a 64-point mauling at Optus Stadium.

Tom McDonald, in for the injured Ben Brown, Bayley Fritsch, Christian Petracca and Kysaiah Pickett, back from suspension, amongst the scorers for a rampant Demons that made club history – winning three of their first four games by 50+ point margins.

Six goals from Charlie Cameron and an explosive second quarter from Brisbane saw them notch up an impressive victory over in-form Collingwood at a sold-out Gabba.

Trailing at the end of the first, the Lions responded by kicking ten majors in a row that laid the platform, kept the Magpies at arm’s length and see out the match well.

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Cam Rayner (pictured above) (17 disposals, 11 kicks, five marks, four goals and three assists) also caught the eye after being moved, by coach Chris Fagan, from defence into attack.

Speaking in the rooms to Lions TV, the 23-year-old said “Good to get back on the winners list and always good to beat the Pies as well. I think the thing with this team at the moment is we just need to get consistent performances and it’s a good step tonight; going forward, trying to play that same footy each week.”

He continued “They’re a great team and we knew we had to be at our best, so to beat those blokes tonight was really good.”

Carlton’s lethal strike partnership of Charlie Curnow (pictured below, left) and Harry McKay (pictured below, right) combined for a ten-goal haul in the 23-point triumph against a resilient North Melbourne outfit.

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The result, secured in front of the biggest crowd at Marvel Stadium since 2013, gives the Blues their best start since 1995; a year in which they went on to win the flag.

This fixture also helped raise much needed funds for the wider 92nd annual Good Friday Appeal which aims to upgrade equipment, train staff, fund medical research and continue to provide world class care at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

In another exhilarating encounter that went right down to the wire, the Western Bulldogs were able to hang on and get up over Richmond in the torrential rain.

Tim Taranto and Shai Bolton both scored for the Tigers that mounted a late charge but it was just a little too late as the Doggies defended desperately and held out.

It was a dirty evening for forward Tom Lynch – not only was he on the losing side but has also been sent straight to the tribunal, by Match Review Officer (MRO) Michael Christian, for a high bump on Alex Keath that left the defender with a concussion.

In addition, although the 30-year-old was able to finish the game, it has been revealed that he suffered a fractured right foot that will require surgery.

Down in South Australia, Adelaide followed up last weekend’s derby joy by chalking up another success in proving too strong for a disappointing Fremantle at the Oval.

Captain Jordan Dawson, celebrating his 26th birthday, led by example with a best-on-ground effort as his side were rarely troubled and led for the whole afternoon.

An inaccurate Essendon (22 behinds) managed to straighten-up when it mattered, with a strong final term, to get the job done over Greater Western Sydney.

It was left to forward Jake Stringer (pictured below), nicknamed “The Package”, to show everyone how it was done, finishing with a game-high four goals that included putting a huge 60-yard torpo between the big sticks, late-on, to the delight of the Bombers’ faithful.

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Reigning Premiers Geelong are finally on the winner’s board, at the fourth attempt, after they hammered Hawthorn by 82-points in the Easter Monday blockbuster.

Incredibly, the Hawks kicked the first three of the encounter and even led at the main break. However, that was as good as it got as the Cats responded, upped their pressure, completely dominating and ran absolute riot in the second half – Jeremy Cameron (pictured below) finishing with seven goals to now lead the Coleman medal table.

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Speaking on ground to Channel 7, the 30-year-old said “It is always good to win. The boys played really well after half-time, I thought, stuck right in it and played the brand of footy that we know we can play.”

He went on “We moved it really well, after half-time, out of the centre square that is really good for us forwards. Paddy, Guth, Max Holmes really got it going out way that they all played great today.”

Round 4 Results

Brisbane 18.8 (116)
Collingwood 11.17 (83)

North Melbourne 11.18 (84)
Carlton 16.11 (107)

Adelaide 17.9 (111)
Fremantle 10.12 (72)

Richmond 12.12 (84)
Western Bulldogs 12.17 (89)

St.Kilda 17.11 (113)
Gold Coast 8.12 (60)

Sydney 9.10 (64)
Port Adelaide 9.12 (66)

Essendon 11.22 (88)
GWS 11.9 (75)

West Coast 9.9 (63)
Melbourne 19.12 (126)

Geelong 19.13 (127)
Hawthorn 6.9 (45)

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