When the Eagles finally took off, the Cats stalked its pray and the Bulldogs lost their bite: A rapid recap of AFL Round 5


Round 5 of the AFL provided plenty of action, from big scorelines to upset wins and pressure starting to build on some clubs and coaches already.

Below I have given my thoughts on the games and which players I feel should get the Brownlow Medal votes.

Melbourne Demons v Brisbane Lions at MCG, Melbourne

Brisbane Lions won by 22 points

Brisbane was brilliant on Thursday night against the Dees. At a venue they have traditionally struggled at, Brisbane came out firing.

From the outset, they had a very clear plan to combat the intercept defending of Jake Lever and Steven May through uncontested marks, which worked perfectly.

They were able to pick their way through Melbourne’s defence and negate the influence of their intercepting machines. Their pressure was also a standout.

They out-tackled Melbourne 83 to 52, which stifled the Dees’ ball movement all night. Melbourne couldn’t get a decent look inside 50.

Brisbane had winners all over the ground including Josh Dunkley (30 disposals and 4 tackles), Dayne Zorko (29 disposals and 507 metres gained), Cam Rayner (25 disposals and 9 clearances) and Charlie Cameron (3 goals).

For Melbourne, Max Gawn can hold his head high as he did some superb work in the ruck and around the ground (23 disposals and 51 hitouts), however, he didn’t have many helpers.

Their usual suspects Christian Petracca (20 disposals) and Clayton Oliver (18 disposals) had zero influence on the game and no one was able to stand up in their place.

1 – Josh Dunkley
2 – Max Gawn
3 – Cam Rayner

Western Bulldogs v Essendon Bombers at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

Essendon Bombers won by 29 points

Essendon was able to get the four points on Friday night against the Bulldogs.

This contest was close throughout, however, a strong 15-minute burst from the Bombers in the fourth quarter saw them slam on five goals unanswered which put the game to bed.

Essendon did extremely well in combatting the influence of Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli (17 disposals) with Sam Durham marking him at stoppages.

Without the influence of The Bont, the Bulldogs struggled to get any kind of momentum throughout the contest.

Zach Merrett (27 disposals and five inside 50’s) was influential with ball in hand and Nic Martin (25 disposals at 84% efficiency) provided some nice use off half back.

Sam Draper (13 hit outs) and Todd Goldstein (22 hit outs) were also strong in the ruck and got the better of the Bulldogs in form ruckman Tim English (16 hit outs).

Tom Liberatore (25 disposals and 10 clearances), Adam Treloar (28 disposals and 8 tackles) and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (3 goals and seven marks) were the best for the Bulldogs.

The heat is well and truly on the Bulldogs and their coach Luke Beveridge after this loss which many thought they should win.

With one of the better lists in the competition, questions will be asked why they are not performing better to start the season.

1 – Nic Martin
2 – Sam Durham
3 – Zach Merrett

Zach Merrett has offfered a response to Matthew Lloyd’s “not quite right” Bombers concerns.

DETAILS | https://t.co/UHHnso0kpp | #AFL pic.twitter.com/LGrq4TxTwK

— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) April 13, 2024

GWS Giants v St Kilda Saints at Manuka Oval, Canberra

GWS Giants won by 1 point

GWS looked to be cruising in this clash against the Saints in the nation’s capital with a 35-point lead early in the fourth quarter, however, the Giants dropped their pressure and St Kilda took advantage.

The Saints kicked the next 6 goals of the match which narrowed the margin to one point with 41 seconds remaining.

A late mark from Giants substitute James Peatling saved the day for GWS and secured them the win by the slimmest of margins.

Lachie Whitfield (34 disposals at 85% efficiency) was superb off the half-back line for the Giants. For the Saints, Brad Hill (33 disposals and one goal), Jack Steele (29 disposals and 1 goal) and Rowan Marshall (28 disposals, 25 hitouts) were influential around the ground.

With the win in the back pocket, the Giants now have to figure out how to replace the irreplaceable.

Star defender Sam Taylor was taken to hospital after a head injury in the first quarter and Stephen Coniglio suffered a knee injury late in the match.

The Saints will also be sweating on the fitness of Max King who also suffered a knee injury late in the game.

1 – Jack Steele
2 – Rowan Marshall
3 – Lachie Whitfield

Carlton Blues v Adelaide Crows at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

Adelaide Crows won by 2 points

Adelaide completed an outstanding late comeback to win this game over the Blues at Marvel Stadium.

Not many people gave Adelaide a chance in this contest and with Charlie Curnow putting the Blues up by 16 points with 15 minutes remaining, the game looked just about gone for the Crows.

However, with a drop in pressure from the Blues, Adelaide were able to seize the momentum.

Goals to Brayden Cook and Izak Rankine brought the margin back to four points and with two minutes remaining, Sam Berry kicked a goal to give Adelaide the lead.

With the crowd behind them, Carlton put extreme pressure on the Adelaide defense to find a winning goal, but it never came. Adelaide was able to hold on and chalk up their first win of the season.

Izak Rankine (23 disposals and 3 goals) and Taylor Walker (four goals) were huge during Adelaide’s comeback in the fourth quarter.

For Carlton, you wouldn’t have thought it was Sam Walsh’s (34 touches and 13 tackles) first game since returning from injury as his pressure and ability to cover the ground was elite.

1 – Taylor Walker
– Sam Walsh
3 – Izak Rankine

A season-high three goals for Izak Rankine yesterday. ????

FULL INTERVIEW ???? https://t.co/HAAAWxofUj pic.twitter.com/S6Gb6aZqeh

— 3AW Football (@3AWisfootball) April 14, 2024

Gold Coast Suns v Hawthorn Hawks at People First Stadium, Gold Coast

Gold Coast Suns won by 53 points

This game was one way traffic for Gold Coast as they were able to handle Hawthorn on their home turf.

After kicking the opening three goals of the contest, Gold Coast were in cruise control for the remainder of the game, increasing their lead at each change.

They were not tested by a young Hawthorn team which would be disappointing for their supporters.

The usual suspects for Gold Coast were running riot through the middle of ground with Noah Anderson (36 disposals and six clearances), Sam Flanders (34 disposals and 625 metres gained), Touk Miller (28 disposals and 5 clearances) and Matt Rowell (15 contested possessions and 8 tackles) doing as they pleased.

Up forward, Max King, Ethan Read and Jed Walter got on the end of eight goals between them.

Karl Amon (26 disposals and 636 metres gained) and Finn Maginness (16 disposals and three goals) were the best for the Hawks.

1 – Sam Flanders
2 – Ben King
3 – Noah Anderson

Port Adelaide Power v Fremantle Dockers at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

Port Adelaide won by 3 points

What a contest. Fremantle put themselves in a position to cause an upset against the highly fancied Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, having led for most of the night through high pressure and strong defense.

After an Andrew Brayshaw goal with 12 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, Freo looked destined to produce the upset, however Port had other ideas.

An increase in intensity around the ball from Port led to a Charlie Dixon goal with six minutes remaining which cut the margin to three points.

A frantic final few minutes saw Jason Horne-Francis step up to the plate and goal to give Port a three-point lead which ended up being decisive.

Dan Houston (27 disposals and 740 metres gained) was huge in starting scoring chains for Port and the usual suspects of Connor Rozee (26 disposals and 8 inside 50’s), Ollie Wines (26 disposals, 15 contested) and Zac Butters (24 disposals and 512 metres gained) were effective around the ground.

For Fremantle, Caleb Serong (29 disposals and eight clearances) and Luke Ryan (24 disposals, 11 marks and 645 metres gained) battled hard.

This is Freo’s second close loss in a row after being in a winning position late in the fourth quarter. They cannot afford to keep dropping these games which may come back to bite them later in the season.

1 – Caleb Serong
2 – Connor Rozee
3 – Dan Houston

talking through ???????????????? goal pic.twitter.com/MWn0Fm5uRA

— Port Adelaide FC (@PAFC) April 14, 2024

Geelong Cats v North Melbourne Kangaroos at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

Geelong won by 75 points

Geelong did what they wanted against a young North Melbourne team at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday. The result of this contest was only ever going one way as Geelong dominated from start to finish.

They were able to waltz through North Melbourne’s defense all day by finding free players which always seemed to be available.

North Melbourne’s lack of accountability for their opponents was a clear issue. Geelong was never threatened and added to their lead at every break.

Jeremy Cameron (21 disposals and six goals) was the star of the Geelong show with Max Holmes (25 disposals and two goals) and Brad Close (four goals) close behind him.

For North Melbourne, Harry Sheezel (38 disposals and one goal) continues his outstanding form and Luke Davies-Uniacke (27 disposals and one goal) contributed strongly in the middle of the ground.

1 – Harry Sheezel
2 – Max Holmes
3 – Jeremy Cameron

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West Coast Eagles v Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium, Perth

West Coast won by 39 points

West Coast faced off against a depleted Richmond team with a huge opportunity to get their first win of the season in front of their fans at Optus Stadium.

Richmond started this contest well with the first four goals and the margin quickly got out to 26 points in the first quarter but that was it for the Tigers.

After quarter time, their pressure fell away dramatically, and the Eagles took advantage.

The Eagles smacked Richmond all over the ground and looked like a top eight side with how they transitioned the ball from their defense to their offence, resulting in them scoring at will.

They put the Tigers to the sword and recorded a club lifting first win of the season.

Tim Kelly (29 disposals and eight clearances), Harley Reid (27 disposals and seven clearances) and Eliott Yeo (27 disposals and 15 clearances) did what they wanted in the middle of the ground for West Coast.

Jake Waterman (six goals) also provided a great target up forward for the Eagles. Shai Bolton (21 disposals and three goals) was the best for the Tigers.

1 – Tim Kelly
2 – Elliott Yeo
3 – Jake Waterman

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