Here’s the lowdown on what happened in Round 5 of the AFL season.
THEY SAID IT: “We’re easy to play against … there’s a lot of little things going wrong in our game at the moment and that’s making it really challenging.” – Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin after his club’s fourth loss in five outings in a season when they were supposedly premiership contenders.
STAT THAT MATTERS: 1051. The number of days between Carlton breaking the 100-point barrier in a game. They did it in Sunday’s win against Western Bulldogs for the first time since June 4, 2016.
MAN OF THE ROUND: Eddie Betts proved why he’s the most universally loved player in the league. The Adelaide goalsneak celebrated his 300th AFL game with six goals, including another contender for goal of the year – his sixth major came from an outlandish left-foot checkside from 30 metres on the boundary.
KEY MOMENTS: Geelong’s Gary Ablett soars on the back of a Hawthorn opponent for a spectacular high mark in the second term of the Easter Monday clash and kicks the goal. Minutes later, the dual Brownlow medallist scores another with a checkside on the run.
TALKING POINTS: The rise of St Kilda. In five games, the Saints have won as many games – four – as they did in all of last season. And the falls of North Melbourne, Sydney and Melbourne – all had designs on a finals spot, yet all have one win apiece and find themselves at the foot of the ladder.
TRIBUNAL WATCH: Fremantle defender Taylin Duman has been offered a two-game ban for an off-the-ball hit on GWS star Lachie Whitfield while Giants midfielder Jacob Hopper, Brisbane’s Dayne Zorko, Melbourne’s Jordan Lewis and Western Bulldogs skipper Easton Wood have been offered fines for rough conduct. Geelong forward Tom Hawkins will be scrutinised for a behind-play elbow to the back of Hawk James Sicily.
KEY INJURIES: Neville Jetta (Melbourne, knee), Jarryn Geary (St Kilda, thigh), Wayne Milera (Adelaide, shoulder), Harris Andrews (Brisbane, hamstring), Tom Barrass (West Coast, foot), Phil Davis (GWS, broken nose, ankle), Daniel Rioli (Richmond, corked thigh).
WHAT’S NEXT: Melbourne face an acid test on Wednesday against Richmond, on the eve of an Anzac Day encounter between Collingwood and Essendon which looms as a ripper. Saturday’s two derbies – the Q-clash between Gold Coast and Brisbane and the battle between Sydney and GWS – will be enlightening, and the round finishes with a blockbuster between ladder-leaders Geelong and reigning premiers West Coast.