What a smorgasbord of football is ahead of us over the next two rounds, with games played on ten of the next 11 days as Round 5 and 6 collide.
Round 5 starts at the Gabba with the Brisbane-Collingwood game receiving more prominence than would have been expected preseason due to the good form shown by the Lions.
In this game, ex-champion basketballer and ex-Demon Stefan Martin will equal the games tally of Brisbane journeyman and party animal Martin Pike. Pike, who played at four clubs and in four premierships, won the best and fairest at Fitzroy in his last year with the team.
Up-and-comer Harris Andrews will catch two of his former teammates, Tasmanian Josh Green and Ryan Harwood.
At Collingwood Steele Sidebottom continues to enhance his star status, this week drawing level with the games played by the legendary Charlie Dibbs. Dibbs played in five premierships for the Magpies, including the fourpeat (1927-1930). After the 1935 premiership win he moved to Geelong as captain-coach but survived only one season. Dibbs, who kicked his one league goal in his fourth game, holds the record for the longest streak of games without scoring a goal.
Sidebottom is also doing his bit to make the No. 22 jumper more famous, this week passing AFL coach Chris Scott and temporarily catching North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein as the third most prolific wearer of the jumper.
Goldstein should wrest back the third position on the No. 22 jumper in the early Good Friday game at Docklands against Essendon. He will also equal the games tally of former Williamstown player Ian Fairley, a member of the 1996 Kangaroos premiership team who gave the club good service over 14 years before retiring after the premiership win.
Fairley always had an affinity with goals, scoring eight in his debut game for Williamstown as a 15-year-old against Box Hill. In the 1996 premiership with the Kangaroos he kicked the last goal of the grand final, which was his 149th and last goal in AFL football. He still remains in 36th position on the club’s top 100 goal scorers.
Also at North Melbourne, the club’s current leading game player, Scott Thompson, will draw level with Stephen McCann in 18th position on the games played list. McCann was a former Western Australian recruited from Geraldton who, at 192 centimetres tall, was versatile enough to be used in a variety of positions, including the ruck. Like Fairley, he also was a premiership player, playing in the 1977 grand final but also playing in the 1978 loss to Hawthorn by three goals.
For Essendon, Kyle Langford may play his 50th for the Bombers since joining the club in 2015. Carl Hooker, if he plays, will equal the record of David Shaw and join him in 45th place on the Dons top-100 game-players list. Shae joined the club from University Blues and played in two premierships (1962 and 1965) as well as two runners up (1959 and 1968). He later was president of the club.