Australia - AFL

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Round 5 in the AFL will be more remembered for the exodus of Melbourne rather than the Footy, though that’s not to say there wasn’t great matches, teams finding form and contenders confirming their quality, as well as surprises in a full even though dis-located weekend of Aussie Rules.  Port Adelaide have company atop the table, after their loss to the Lions, with those 2 now having a full win gap on the field, with 7 teams next in line in a logjam from third to ninth.  Collingwood and Richmond are both 2 points behind that bunch of teams, that includes surprises St Kilda, Gold Coast and Hawthorn.  Adelaide still haven’t won yet while Melbourne are joined by Fremantle on 1 victory at the wrong end of the table.

The action started with St Kilda taking a win against Carlton, by 18 points led by Steele and Billings, while captain Geary, King and Butler booted 2 each.  Dan Hannebery picked up a hamstring complaint while, Carlton were injury free and led by Martin and Setterfield.  The Blues ought to take positives from this one, as St Kilda look to have a realistic shot at the top 8 and they weren’t far from matching them.  Essendon showed they are no pushovers in this competition by defeating their arch-rival Collingwood in a classic Friday night affair by 15 points.  As with many wins in the modern game, injury stings and Stringer has an ankle complaint for the Bombers, Collingwood lost, but got away injury-free.

West Coast eventually found some spark and smashed the hapless Swans, as they finally got a win in their bubble home on the Gold Coast, winning 11.11.77 to 6.7.43 comprehensively.  Shuey and Jones came away with hamstring complaints for the victors, while in his first game back for the Swans Melican has a groin concern, best on field was Yeo and big Naitanui while for the Swans, Kennedy and Parker toiled hard. Four of the 5 multiple goal scorers were Eagles with Allen leading the way booting 3, while Darling kicked a pair, for Sydney McLean got 2 also.  Geelong proved the Gold Coast have work to do to contend, giving them a 37 point wake up call, in Geelong, with Duncan and Hawkins giving Ablett cause for celebration in his 350th game.  King and Day showed more promise for the Suns and will be looking for to return to the winner’s circle in their next fixture.

The Bulldogs showed they are serious title contenders by destroying North Melbourne by 49 points in an impressive display at Marvel, led by Bruce who hammered 6 goals.  Thomas and Smith as well as Vandermeer all suffered concussions and will need to prove they are fit before next week to take their places if selected, while Cunnington again suffered an injury to his back this time.  Brisbane shellacked the Power by 37 points in the game of the round on Saturday night, highlighted by a 6-goal blitzkrieg in the second term.  Only Ellis-Yolmen came away with a calf complaint in the medical ward, after a free-flowing, 18-goal aggregate encounter.

Fremantle restricted a hapless Crows outfit to just 4 goals and recorded their first win on the season without Fyfe, but left the door ajar until a final term which saw them restrict Adelaide to just 2 points.  Lobb, Walters and Tucker each booted a pair of goals, while Brayshaw and Mundy were best for Freo, while the Crouch brothers united again showed glimpses of good play for Adelaide.  Richmond came good thrashing Melbourne by 37 in an all-Melbourne affair, but have huge injury worries ahead of their hub trip, with Nankervis, Prestia, Cotchin and Lynch all suffering ailments.  Lambert and Prestia were best for the Tigers, with the former kicking 3 as did Lynch, as for the Demons Gawn was strong in the Ruck, Hannan kicked 3 and Melksham and Fritsch got 2 each.  GWS belted Hawthorn by 34 in a signal that they are back near their best and will be serious contenders for this odd 2020 AFL Premiership.  No injuries occurred for GWS, but for Hawthorn, Scrimshaw and Lewis have issues.  Finlayson and Himmelberg kicked 4 each for GWS, while Gunston got 3 and McEvoy 2 for the Hawks, and O’Meara’s encouraging quality of play deserves a mention.

In unprecedented times, all 9 AFL fixtures will occur in NSW and Queensland for round 6, starting Thursday and running till Sunday.