I'm nervous as to what the spike in Coronavirus across Victoria is going to do to the 2020 Premiership Season, but whilst there are games being played, let's enjoy them! Here's a look at what happened in Round 5.
St Kilda defeated Carlton by 18 points
After two wins on the trot, Carlton forgot to turn up to this one, the 18 point differential flattering the Blues.
Winners in three of their last four, the Saints continue to rise up the AFL ladder. With Fremantle to come next week, they find themselves right in the mix of the top-four fight. The exclusion of recruit Paddy Ryder seems to have had positive outcomes; the Saints looking faster across the pitch and Rowan Marshall blossoming with sole ruck duties.
Essendon defeated Collingwood by 15 points
An absolute classic, worthy of the Anzac Day match. Three goals down early; showing absolutely no run, the Bombers looked cooked. Rejuvenating, some Victorian weather and a horrid Collingwood turnover saw the Bombers level before quarter time. Manic around the ball, the Dons overwhelmed Collingwood for two and a half quarters.
Rejuvenating, a shocking Essendon shot at goal, and a horrid umpiring decision saw the Pies back within three points halfway through the last. Crunching Darcy Moore, Jacob Townsend's rib-tickler and subsequent goal settled the Bombers who kicked away to win by 15.
With this game in hand, the Bombers can surge into the top four. The Pies have endured a horrid ten days; threatening to derail their season. Be wary of the wounded Magpie. Even in his toughest coaching days, Nathan Buckley raised his troops when it seemed certain the sack would be coming Monday morning.
West Coast defeated Sydney by 34 points
Well, well, well, the West Coast Eagles. Where did that come from? Ball movement - back. Intensity - back. Brave win with your captain injured - tick. Importantly, this win might just give the Eagle squad the lift in the spirits they need to turn one into three with Adelaide and Fremantle to come.
The Bloods have now dropped three straight; free-falling down the ladder. Promising across the early rounds, it is starting to look like 2020 shall be a long one for Sydney fans.
Geelong defeated Gold Coast by 37 points
This one was a lot more enjoyable than most 37 point games. Geelong - celebrating 300 and 350 games for Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett - looked to be in strife. The Gold Coast - who lost budding superstar Matt Rowell in the opening minutes to a dislocated shoulder - looked set for another club defining victory. A 47 point turnaround would follow, including the Cats holding a scoreless Gold Coast in the final period.
Two of the greats + Jack Henry!
Geelong - winners of back-to-back games for the first time in over a year - find themselves in the top four despite there very spotty form. Ironically, both teams will take plenty of confidence from this one in remarkably similar ways. Giving up an early three-goal lead, the Cats found themselves in all sorts midway through the third. Ben King was flashing his potential with three goals; Gold Coast owned the momentum. Yet the Cats were able to will themselves a goal and bang through another eight in a row to claim four premiership points.
The Gold Coast was jumped early on a historic night for Geelong. Losing Matt Rowell early doors; defeat felt like it was on the cards. Bravely though, the Suns worked their way maturely into the game. Just as they looked destined to win, Geelong found their best form and the Suns lost their legs.
Brisbane defeated Port Adelaide by 37 points
Port Adelaide's kicking robbed the neutrals of an instant classic. Kicking 1.6 in the first to Brisbane's 2.1 was inviting trouble. It was the trouble they received. Dominating the beginning of the game - bar a small run in the third - Port barely offered a whimper after quarter time.
Brisbane - who draw level with Port on 16 points - used a superb second term to propel them to 4-1 on the season. Contributors all over the field; Brisbane will feature in a pair of mouth-watering games in the coming weeks. If you needed more evidence that 2020 should be renamed Bizarre, they face Geelong on Thursday night at the SCG! Following this, they'll take on the Giants in Round 7.
Western Bulldogs defeated North Melbourne by 49 points
The Bulldogs lead from the opening minutes in a complete Saturday night display. Their five-goal blitz in the third term forming the basis of this 49 point drubbing. Josh Bruce - in his best game for the club - booted six goals, one more than North Melbourne on the night.
The Bulldogs enter the top eight for the first time this season and feel like they are on a similar trajectory to St Kilda. Meanwhile, North has dropped three straight and are following Sydney's slide down the ladder after their impressive starts. With an injury list featuring numerous stars, they head to the Queensland Hub for tough games against Essendon and Richmond.
Fremantle defeated Adelaide by 20 points
Fremantle started this game as the in-form team, despite both sides being winless. Their 20 point win justified their favouritism. Fremantle - who leaped with Melbourne with the win - deserved their win, yet Adelaide will wonder what if.
A long time coming! Freo got a much needed win!
The Crows were able to work the ball in to set shot situations relatively often. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert these opportunities. Kicking 1.6 to half time, they left themselves plenty to do. Willing, they drew level in the third quarter. The Dockers would steady - Walters and Mayne moved into the midfield - to kick away in the final term.
Richmond defeated Melbourne by 27 points
They say defense wins premierships. You must score as well. Melbourne - averaging barely 10 points a quarter - can not score. Promising early, the Demons were eventually overwhelmed by the return of the famous Richmond pressure football. At 1-3 - though with a game in hand - and unable to score, a return to finals football in 2020 now looks impossible.
Richmond registered a much-needed win. At what cost though? Quite possibly they'll miss premiership stars Prestia, Nankervis, and Cotchin through injury, as well as Shane Edwards and Bachar Houli through paternity leave (not an official term in this case but I am running with it.) A death knock for some, the Tigers will be fine so long as they continue their pressure football.
GWS defeated Hawthorn by 34 points
There's a big big sound from the west of the town. The Giants are back. Building on last week's heroic win over Collingwood, GWS dispatched Hawthorn with relative ease. Whilst the Hawks made a run at GWS in the third term, they settled with poise to kick away to deserved five-goal victory.
Dominating the inside the 50 count, the Hawks never looked dangerous going forward, instead, relying on long set shots for goals. GWS, on the other hand, created 17 shots from just 26 forward entries. Insane numbers.
Slipping outside the eight, the Hawks take on Collingwood next week in an exciting clash on the same Giant Stadium they played at this week. The Giants face top of the table Port Adelaide, in what could be one of the best games ever played at Metricon Stadium.
Let's hope everything gets sorted and we continue on with season 2020, the competition is heating up!