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Canberra
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts

AFL round 5 review: The new number 1 seed

The Brisbane Lions have announced themselves as the new premiership favourites after a dominant win over the previously undefeated Port Adelaide Power.

The Saints showed they’re ready to play finals, the Cats celebrated two champions milestones and the Tigers won but at a huge cost.

Carlton Blues 8.7 (57) lost to St Kilda Saints 11.7 (73)

Blues still have a long way to go

The Blues came into this game full of confidence after back-to-back wins but were completely outplayed by an impressive Saints side.

The Blues looked off from the get-go with a poor opening half leaving them with far too much to do in the second half.

It was a disappointing match for the Blues, who were starting to look promising, and they now face a tough task against the Bulldogs up on the Gold Coast.

The Saints, on the other hand, now sit fourth on the ladder and look like making the finals for the first time since 2011.

Their pressure around the ball has been first-class and they look to be a much quicker team under new coach, Brett Ratten.

Canberra boy Jack Steele was fantastic. He was sent to Blues superstar Patrick Cripps and not only did he curb his influence on the game, Steele managed to collect 23 disposals himself in a best-on-ground performance.

Jack Steele was superb for the Saints, picking up best-on-ground honours.

Collingwood Magpies 7.6 (48) lost to Essendon Bombers 10.3 (63)

Off-field drama costing the Pies

It’s been a poor week for the Magpies. First, vice-captain Steele Sidebottom was suspended for four matches after breaching COVID protocols, then they lost to their rivals the Bombers and now Jordan De Goey is facing off-field drama of his own.

Sidebottom was a huge loss for the Pies and his class and composure could have made the difference as this game got tight late.

Tall forward Mason Cox has come under fire for his performance after managing just two possessions and as the Pies are crying out for a key forward, perhaps Cox is not the solution.

The Bombers are now 3 wins from 4 games and despite being beaten in possessions and inside 50s, they were able to capitalise on their opportunities.

Dylan Shiel continued his strong start to the season with 29 disposals and a goal and was a clear best-on-ground.

West Coast Eagles 11.11 (77) defeated Sydney Swans 6.7 (43)

The Swans need some size

It’s hard to know whether the Eagles have finally found some good form or if the Swans are just really bad right now, either way, the Eagles will be happy with the much-needed four points.

They completely dominated an undersized Swans team, with Nic Naitanui having a field day against the Swans makeshift ruckman, Aliir Aliir.

He controlled the stoppages and allowed his midfield first use of the ball and they took full advantage with Elliott Yeo the standout.

It’s tough times for Sydney with a lot of their tall players out injured. They’re missing their first two choice ruckman and first three tall forwards so were always going to struggle against a bigger West Coast side.

It looked a little bit like men against boys at certain times and it looks like the Swans could be in for a long year if they don’t get some of their bigger bodies back quickly.

Nic Naitanui dominated an undermanned Swans side.

Geelong Cats 13.11 (89) defeated Gold Coast Suns 8.4 (52)

A fitting celebration for two champions

The Cats used a dominant final quarter to celebrate two champions of the club in style.

Joel Selwood was fantastic in game 300 while Gary Ablett kicked a booming goal from outside 50 in his 350th game.

They were made to work for the win by a Suns team that is clearly playing with more confidence this season.

Suns star player Matt Rowell was unfortunately injured early in the match with a shoulder dislocation and now could be facing season-ending surgery.

It’s a shame for Rowell and all AFL fans as he had become must-watch television and will be sorely missed.

Two champions of the game celebrated their milestones in style.

Western Bulldogs 13.9 (87) defeated North Melbourne Kangaroos 5.8 (38)

The Bulldogs are definitely back

After a poor opening two rounds, the Bulldogs are finally living up to the hype that surrounded them before the season started.

The Bulldogs smashed the Kangaroos 213-146 in uncontested possessions, which showed they controlled the footy and hurt the Kangaroos on the scoreboard.

In the absence of two of their main goal kickers, the Dogs needed someone to step up and that man was Josh Bruce.

After a quiet start to his career at the kennel, Bruce made his presence felt, booting six goals in a best-on-ground display.

The Kangaroos have been disappointing since beating the Giants in round two and looking like potential finalists.

Three consecutive losses since that game has them in 13th spot and they need to get back to their best form quickly.

Brisbane Lions 12.13 (85) defeated Port Adelaide Power 6.12 (48)

The Lions are the No.1 seed

The Lions second quarter of footy was the best we’ve seen from any side this year.

They led by one point after quarter time and played some blistering footy to have the game just about wrapped up at half time as they led by 35 points.

They dominated in the midfield and kicked five goals in nine minutes as the Power could do nothing to halt their momentum.

It also showed the power of a crowd, with the Gabba sounding electric as more fans continue to be allowed in and there’s no doubt the Lions fed off their energy.

It was a reality check for the Power who were undefeated after four rounds and were looking like premiership contenders.

They’ve got another big test next round against a rejuvenated Giants side so if they want to get some credibility back, they will need to challenge the Giants much more than they did the Lions.

Adelaide Crows 4.10 (34) lost to Fremantle Dockers 8.6 (54)

The Crows are the worst team in the league

This game was 17th vs 18th on the ladder and it certainly showed with plenty of skill errors by both sides.

The Crows, however, claimed ownership of the worst team in the league title and are left as the only winless team in 2020.

It capped off a poor week for the club, with new information about the infamous 2018 training camp coming to light. It’s quite alarming what went on in that camp and explains some of why they’ve fallen so far in two and a half years.

The Dockers have been far more competitive than the Crows this year and were deserving winners.

They only have one more game in the Gold Coast hub before they head back to Perth, which no doubt they will all be looking forward to.

The Dockers recorded their first win of the season.

Melbourne Demons 8.4 (52) lost to Richmond Tigers 12.7 (79)

A win for the Tigers, but at what cost?

The Demons look completely lost when entering their forward 50 and it has been an issue for some time now.

They had more inside 50s than the Tigers but didn’t look like kicking a winning score. It is the 20th time in the last three years they have lost a match despite having more inside 50s than their opposition.

It’s an issue Simon Goodwin will need to fix as his team head to Sydney to enter the hub.

It was a much-needed win for an out-of-sorts Tigers side but they were dealt massive blows on the injury front.

They could be missing six stars from this match ahead of its trip to the Queensland hub this week.

Trent Cotchin, Dion Prestia, Tom Lynch and Toby Nankervis were all injured, while Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards are not entering the hub due to family reasons.

It could be a tough patch for the Tigers, but if they get through it still in touch with the top eight, look out come the back end of the year.

Trent Cotchin was one of the Tigers players to go down injured.

GWS Giants 13.5 (83) defeated Hawthorn Hawks 7.7 (49)

The Giants have their mojo back

The Giants played their best game this season with a resounding 34-point win over the Hawks.

The Giants only had a staggeringly low 26 inside 50s but their forward line looked dangerous with Harry Himmelberg and Jeremy Finlayson booting four goals while Jeremy Cameron kicked his two in the last quarter.

Nick Haynes and Phil Davis were outstanding down back and helped keep the Hawks to just seven goals.

Hawthorn looked good in patches but couldn’t put together a consistent enough effort to seriously trouble the Giants.

They now head to Sydney to take on the Magpies in what has become a crucial match for both sides.

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