AFL 2023 Round 5: Gather Round, Warner Bros, Bombers stun Demons, Himmelberg heroics

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The AFL world descended on Adelaide, South Australia (SA) where all 18 clubs in the competition arrived to take part in a new concept called ‘Gather Round’ – nine matches, across four days, which all completely sold out in advance.

It was billed as “a festival of footy and never-seen-before celebration of the great game” that included player appearances, live music, street parties and competitions.

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With all eyes firmly on them, the Crows embraced the challenge, producing a dominant performance, to thrash Carlton by a 56-point margin at the Oval.

They blitzed the Blues early and never looked back as they led for the whole evening. Captain Jordan Dawson (pictured below) (32 disposals and 11 score involvements) was the star of the show, once more, to notch-up his third consecutive best-on-ground effort.

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Speaking in the presser, coach Matthew Nicks said “I’m proud, impressed; proud more than anything. We stuck tight, had good connection and it came together on a big stage. The last time we played on a big stage, we learnt a fairly important lesson and I thought we responded really well tonight.”

He continued “There’s not much bigger than what we went up against. Carlton is a fantastic side, Thursday night footy with every single football person in the state. There was a fair bit going on. I thought our group handled it so maturely, the way they balanced their intensity with their composure.”

The Power were able to hold up their end to ensure that both SA clubs were victorious, on this big stage, as they came from behind to see off the Bulldogs.

In a pretty close contest, played in wet/slippery conditions, the hosts scored the last four majors, including two important strikes from Todd Marshall, to get home.

Essendon are now joint leaders, at the top of the ladder, after pulling off a real upset in defeating much fancied flag favourites Melbourne; and, in some style as well.

The trio of Darcy Parish, Zach Merrett and Dylan Shiel all playing big roles in the midfield while ruckman Sam Draper weighed in with a career-high three snags.

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Speaking in the rooms to Bombers TV, the 24-year-old (pictured above) said “Really proud of that one. We were three and one before this but hadn’t beaten a team that played finals last year so Scotty made it really clear not to get carried away and this would be the real test for us.”

On the most pleasing aspect of the game, he replied “The first half hat-trick! Playing in front of my family and friends is really special and there was about 40 of them, so that was good.”

Reigning Premiers Geelong recovered from a sluggish opening before going on to run out convincing winners over a spirited but injury-hit West Coast outfit.

Tom Hawkins (pictured below) struck another four goals to take his career tally to 741, moving above Stephen Kernahan, and he is now 17th on the all-time goalkicking leaderboard.

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Brisbane bagged the four points, whilst also boosting their percentage in the process, by putting up a monster score in the belting of North Melbourne.

Their attacking prowess proving far too much for the Kangas as they racked up 33 marks inside 50, the most by a side since 2006, with forwards Joe Daniher (five goals), Eric Hipwood and Charlie Cameron (both four) amongst the scorers.

The final unbeaten record in the competition has now gone after Collingwood were able to hold on to defeat leaders St.Kilda in an absolute thriller at Moorabbin.

The Magpies made a name for themselves last year by setting an AFL/VFL record for most close finishes in a season, winning nine by just a single figure margin, and they needed all that experience again as the Saints surged hard in the final stages.

A relieved Taylor Adams told Magpies TV “It was a pretty hotly contested game. We sort of had the game iced there, or so we thought, but gave away a couple of late ones. My heart is still racing a little but awesome to come over here, spend a couple of days and walk away with four points.”

Prior to the contest, the two teams came together for the toss of the coin with the indigenous players joining the captains, while the rest circled around them, in a powerful stand against racism that, unfortunately, has been back in the news.

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Harry Himmelberg was the hero for Greater Western Sydney who managed to get over the line against Hawthorn in another one that went right down to the wire.

Firstly, he marked, held his nerve and then kicked what proved to be the winner. Just a minute later, at the other end, he got hands on Jarmen Impey’s long bomb, from 50 yards out, to put it through for a behind as the Giants got up by just two points.

This fixture saw the highly anticipated debut of No.1 draft pick Aaron Cadman (pictured below); he was given his chance by coach Adam Kingsley after impressing in the VFL.

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Bailey Banfield slotted the sealer as Fremantle put a poor first half showing behind them to fight back and eventually get the chocolates over a plucky Gold Coast.

Just the result coach Justin Longmuir and his players needed having been under the spotlight and criticised, in recent weeks, for their bad form as well as style of play.

Forward Tom Papley booted a career-high six majors with Sydney finishing really strongly to see off the challenge of a valiant Richmond outfit in the driving rain.

It was a very special night for the Swans’ version of the Warner Bros – 19-year-old midfielder Corey given his senior debut and line-up alongside his older brother Chad with parents Anita and Travis, in addition to friends, amongst the crowd of 42,134.

Speaking on ground, post-game, to Channel 7 Corey said “The boys were awesome tonight and the atmosphere was great; so, awesome game to debut in that is for sure. It was really good to have my parents here.”

On being in the side with his brother, he replied “It’s really special; watched him for a few years before I got drafted and to be out there with him was just unreal.”

Chad, nicknamed “Curly” said “It was obviously a great experience having Corey by my side. Great to see all the fans out here as well in Adelaide.”

On getting the win, he added “We kept ticking along all game and in that last quarter really ramped up the pressure. We won the contested footy a bit more and just kept surging, especially with that rain at the end, and I think we did that really well.”

Round 5 Results

Adelaide 18.10 (118)
Carlton 9.8 (62)

Fremantle 15.10 (100)
Gold Coast 13.12 (90)

Richmond 11.12 (78)
Sydney 18.14 (122)

Brisbane 22.20 (152)
North Melbourne 12.5 (77)

Essendon 15.14 (104)
Melbourne 11.11 (77)

Port Adelaide 10.10 (70)
Western Bulldogs 8.8 (56)

Geelong 21.10 (136)
West Coast 13.11 (89)

GWS 10.17 (77)
Hawthorn 11.9 (75)

Collingwood 10.10 (70)
St.Kilda 9.10 (64)

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