Some pre-game psychological warfare from Ben Stratton!
Round 5 of the 2020 AFL season has concluded. Here’s what we learned.
1. Carlton rue the day they let Ratten go
Brett Ratten was a fantastic servant of the Carlton Footy club becoming just the third man to coach and play over 100 games for them.
Despite that he was acrimoniously let go with a year left on his contract after a disappointing season in 2012 when the goal was the top four.
He returned eight years later as the head coach of the Saints and the smaller and faster side harassed and harangued the hapless Blues.
Despite the creative movement of the magnets by David Teague it was all for naught as the Blues went down. In terms of where the blues can improve, they need more out of McGovern as a key forward, and a desperately missing Charlie Curnow.
2. Bombers pressure wins them a Pyrrhic victory
The Bombers won a fantastic come-from-behind victory against the more heavily favoured Collingwood Magpies. The victory was built on their pressure, as the Bombers forwards tackled immensely to harass the pies.
Jake Stringer, Anthony McDonald Tippungwuti and Jacob Townsend all recorded seven tackles each on top of six tackles to Will Snelling and Devon Smith, the Bombers far out pressured a cleaner and crisper Bombers side.
It is however a pyrrhic victory with Jake Stringer damaging his ankle in a high ankle sprain potentially taking him out of contention for up to three months. However, in Saturday Countdown Worsfold said he believed Daniher and Stewart could come back into contention.
David King of course was a big push for pushing Hooker forward and playing Francis as a backman. Regardless, it presents a difficult challenge for the coaching staff at Essendon.
3. West Coast’s youth runs over the top of the Swans
West Coast have had a horrendous time in the hub, but you would not know it watching them play on a sunny Sunday afternoon. They ran, applied pressure, and dominated a largely out-of-form Sydney Swans side. Oscar Allen and Jake Waterman combined for five goals to lift their teammates out of their funk.
Leading into the Western Australia hub it could be extremely important for the Eagles to get some points on the board and make up for the severe percentage deficit they’ve set up because of their experience in Queensland. Once again though, the Swans were shown to be lacking in their initiative and failed to put the Eagles under any pressure whatsoever, the Swans could desperately use the return of Franklin into a largely stagnant one pronged attack.
4. Brisbane’s tall forwards dominate ports small backline
191, 188, 193, those numbers are the heights of the various tall defenders that port Adelaide have access to against McStay (195 cm), Hipwood (203 cm) and McInerney (204 cm) when he was resting down there. Port were unable to get their intercept marking going as the markedly more accurate Brisbane lions outfit kicked away in the second quarter to embarrass the power.
Brisbane put fear into the rest of the competition with their aggressive brand of play putting them in the drivers seat for the premiership as well as Neale winning the Brownlow.
5. Josh Bruce shows his worth
The Bulldogs started off the year with two horrendous losses against variable opposition. But the last few weeks they’ve begun to show their worth as a premiership threat, first over the Swans in Sydney and now over the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium.
The victory was in large part thanks to Josh Bruce kicking a bag of six goals to get his inaugural season with the dogs on track after a miserly two goals in the first few rounds. Not only that, but Tim English began to show that he can match it with the best big men of the competition as he fought an enthralling duel with Todd Goldstein.
However, in bad news for Roos fans Ben Cunnington also injured himself during the game to leave the Roos one down on the bench.
6. Suns run out of gas
The Suns went down to GHMBA stadium to play against a very hot and cold Cats outfit, but it was more than likely- given the importance of the game to Joel Selwood and Garry Ablett Jr – that they’d turn on the jets and play well.
However, the Suns in particular in the second and beginning of the third quarter showed exactly why pundits have been lauding their abilities all season.
While they couldn’t get the win against the cats they showed they can play well in extremely trying circumstance with their talismanic first pick (Matt Rowell) going down to a shoulder dislocation in the first quarter.
7. A smorgasbord of silliness
In the dumpster fire match of the round, Fremantle Dockers played Adelaide Crows in which the cellar dwellers almost out did one another for sheer incompetence. It took until after the siren in the second quarter for the Crows to score their first goal after six behinds for the match, and in the third quarter they tripled their score with three additional goals and two behinds.
For Fremantle’s part, they were accurate but it took to the third quarter for the normally prolific Michael Walters to record his second possession of the game. It was a thoroughly unsatisfying match to watch, and the better side won on the day, leaving Adelaide Crows asking questions of themselves and their management.
8. Giants restore faith in their season
After a hard fought slog with the Collingwood Magpies leaving fans no more certain of the Giants chances in 2020, they put to rest some of their concerns with a powerful win over an in vogue Hawthorn side – kicking 13.5 83 to 7.7 49 to run away as comfortable victors.
It was the lesser lights of their attack who contributed primarily to to the win with Jeremy Finlayson and Harry Himmelberg both scoring four goals each. For the Hawks it leaves them with more questions than answers as they lost both Mitch Lelwis and Jack Scrimshaw ini the match.
The Giants were also able to isolate McEvoy’s weaknesses as a key defender leaving the more mobile Himmelberg as the deepest forward while also rotating Finlayson who’s far better through the air onto McEvoy.
9. Is Simon Goodwin feeling the heat?
Heading into Sunday the Demons had won one match for the season, a thoroughly unconvincing win against a resurgent Carlton in Round 2. Heading into Sunday they could be rated as having even odds to roll over the top of a faltering Richmond but it was not to be with the Tigers running out 27 point winners despite the initial frenetic energy the Demons brought to the contest.
The loss leaves Goodwin heading into the hub situation second last with a percentage of 78.1 per cent making the next match against Gold Coast as extremely important. Given the resurgence of Gold Coast as a threat this season (is it resurgence if they’ve never been a threat), this game would not be a gimme to the Melbourne Demons, and may well result in the sacking of Goodwin as the coach as he has simply failed to improve his side in any meaningful way since taking over as senior coach.
But a win could restore a modicum of faith the board initially had in Goodwin to lead the Demons to premiership glory for the success starved club.