HIGHLIGHTS FROM ROUND FOUR OF THE AFL
THEY SAID IT: “I don’t know what to say.
It’s not ideal,” Hawthorn wing Isaac Smith after the AFL heavyweights posted their second-straight 86-point loss – this time at the hands of arch-rivals Geelong on Easter Monday.
STATS THAT MATTER: Richmond are 4-0 for the first time in 22 years and Fremantle’s comeback two-point win over Melbourne was full of noteworthy tidbits too. The Dockers came back from a 27-point deficit and endured 11 lead changes to post their first back-to-back triumph and 100-point haul since last May.
MAN OF THE ROUND: Gold Coast captain Tom Lynch showed his worth with a seven-goal haul against Carlton to inspire his side to back-to-back wins. Just a fortnight ago, the Suns were a crisis side but now Rodney Eade’s team are 2-2 and confident enough to look towards finals – thanks in part to Lynch’s leadership.
KEY MOMENT: Pity the poor Kangaroos and milestone man Lindsay Thomas. The 200-gamer had a chance to snatch a win against the reigning premiers with a long shot on the siren, only to see his shot fade. The Bulldogs improve to 3-1 but North Melbourne stay winless a fortnight after a one-point heartbreak to Geelong.
TALKING POINT: Leaving aside the Hawks, how long can Sydney’s losing streak continue? They have suffered injuries but unlike Hawthorn, under serious renovation, John Longmire has a similar list to the one that claimed the minor premiership last year. Saturday’s date with GWS Giants looms as their 2017 Waterloo.
TRIBUNAL WATCH: Jack Ziebell escaped a ban for a hit that left Travis Cloke with a broken rib. Young Bomber Conor McKenna wasn’t so lucky, handed a week off by the match review panel for front-on contact on Riley Knight of Adelaide. In a spiteful Easter Monday clash, Josh Gibson’s crude bump on Tom Ruggles ended the Cat’s day. Luke Hodge also came in for some punishment – dumped by Sam Menegola and elbowed in the head by second gamer James Parsons.
KEY INJURIES: S Mitchell (WC) lower leg, L Frankin (Syd) thigh, T Boyd (WB) concussion, T Cloke (WB) rib, S May (GC) hamstring, M Barlow (GC) hamstring, S Hill (Frem) thigh, J Kelly (Adel) eye, D Armitage (St K) soreness, T Ruggles (Gee) concussion, T Vickery (Haw) back.
WHAT’S NEXT: Gold Coast’s revival will be tested when they host league leaders Adelaide. It doesn’t get any easier for fallen giants Hawthorn and Sydney. Alastair Clarkson will be reunited with ex-Hawk Sam Mitchell when West Coast come to the MCG, while Sydney back up their loss to the Eagles with a derby at the SCG. The round concludes with the traditional Anzac Day blockbuster between Colingwood (1-3) and Essendon (2-2).