The Hawks and Swans plumbed new depths, while the Giants and Crows struck telling blows in heavyweight duels, and the under-pressure Magpies pulled off a king-sized upset in Round 6 of the AFL premiership.
Giants prevail in battle of the big guns
GWS beat Western Bulldogs by two points in a thrilling encounter at UNSW Canberra Oval. The match was the first ever Friday night for the Giants and it was a measure of revenge from their memorable preliminary final loss last year. In yet another classic encounter played in a finals-like atmosphere, both teams traded blows right through. The Dogs led by 10 at the last change but GWS kicked three goals to two in the last quarter with Jonathan Patton and Jeremy Cameron starring up forward.
Saints smash embattled Hawks
St Kilda thrashed the once infallible Hawthorn by 75 points at University of Tasmania Stadium. The Hawks, who came in with a 19 game winning streak at the venue, were in the contest for the first half but 13 second half goals from the Saints turned it into a blowout. Saints legend Nick Riewoldt kicked four for the game including his 700th career goal. Jack Steven, Dylan Roberton and Jack Steele were the best performers for the Saints, who go to 3-3.
Swans’ decline reaches new low
Sydney became the first team in history to start 0-6 after making the grand final the previous season, after losing by 19 points to Carlton at the MCG. Five goals to two in Q3 was where the match was won. Sam Docherty had probably the best game of his career with 39 touches, Matthew Wright kicked four majors while Kade Simpson was also outstanding. To make matters worse, Swans’ Gary Rohan suffered a sickening head injury which required him to be hospitalised.
Port power past Lions
Port Adelaide dismantled Brisbane Lions by 83 points at the Gabba. The writing was on the wall early when the Power kicked the first seven goals of the game and were never challenged thereafter. Robbie Gray, Jarman Impey and Charlie Dixon all booted four goals, with Dixon in particular influential, contributing to 17 score involvements. The Power improve to 4-2 and have the second best percentage in the competition.
Kangaroos get off the mark
Gary Ablett’s 45 disposals were not enough as North Melbourne finally got their first win of the season, by 13 points over Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium. The Suns led for the first half before North hit the front in Q3 with tall forward Ben Brown kicking a career-best six goals. The win snapped a 10 game losing streak dating back to the end of last season. Ablett also laid nine tackles, kicked a goal and had 10 inside 50s but all to no avail.
Fast-starting Eagles take out derby
West Coast outclassed bitter rivals Fremantle by 41 points in the Western Derby. The Eagles stormed out of the blocks with seven goals to one in Q1. Fremantle were far more competitive after that but the horse had bolted. Josh Kennedy did his Coleman medal chances no harm with six goals as the Eagles bounced back to winning ways after their loss to the Hawks last week. Josh Hill and Marc LeCras each kicked three while Jeremy McGovern was dynamic across the field taking 13 marks.
Demons back on track
Melbourne beat Essendon by 38 points at Etihad Stadium. The first half was awful to watch with horrendous skill errors by both sides, but the Demons sharpened up after the break and kicked eight goals to two in Q3. The Bombers inaccuracy cost them dearly with Joe Daniher, the star on ANZAC Day, having a nightmare. He kicked six behinds and an on the full before finally kicking his first goal. Jack Watts and Christian Petracca were far more efficient, each kicking four majors. The Dees now lie in eighth spot on the ladder.
Magpies’ upset-of-the-year contender
In the biggest shock of the round, Collingwood stunned previously unbeaten Geelong by 29 points at the MCG. Levi Greenwood was one of the heroes of the game, playing a shut-down role on Joel Selwood, restricting him to only 17 possessions while Patrick Dangerfield (21 disposals) was also kept out of the game. The Cats rallied late but the six goals to three in Q3 by the Pies made the task too difficult. Scott Pendlebury and Taylor Adams were outstanding in midfield for the Pies, who had 13 different goal-scorers.
Crows alone at the top
Adelaide remain the only unbeaten team in the comp after six rounds, having put Richmond to the sword at Adelaide Oval. Both teams went goal for goal in an enthralling opening quarter and Richmond even led by nine points at quarter time. But the high-scoring Crows clicked into gear kicking 16 goals to four after that for a comprehensive 76 point beat-down. Rory Sloane continues to be a Brownlow medal contender with 33 disposals and three goals, while captain Taylor Walker booted five goals. The Crows confirmed themselves as the real deal and certainly deserve to be premiership favourites.