A hamstring injury to dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe has compounded Fremantle’s woes, with the Dockers losing by 13 points to the Gold Coast in a fiery AFL clash in Carrara.
- Gold Coast won its third consecutive match by defeating Fremantle
- Carlton snuck home by a point against Essendon at the MCG
- St Kilda beat Richmond, and Port Adelaide remain undefeated
Meanwhile, Carlton made it back-to-back wins with a one-point victory over Essendon at the MCG, and St Kilda and Port Adelaide also enjoyed victories.
On the Gold Coast, the winless Dockers are now 0-4 after the Suns claimed a 10.4 (64) to 8.3 (51) win.
Both teams engaged in a wild melee as they made their way off the field at half-time, which is likely to result in several players attracting fines from the AFL, while Dockers’ forward Matthew Taberner was left shirtless as he went into the sheds.
Fyfe pulled up with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter and spent the rest of the match sitting on the bench with an ice pack on his right hamstring.
Without their captain, the Dockers could not overcome the in-form Suns who kicked two goals to none in the final term to notch their third-straight win and move to second on the ladder.
First-year sensation Matt Rowell was again brilliant for the Suns, picking up 20 disposals and kicking two goals despite at times being marked tightly by Fyfe in the first half.
Ben Ainsworth also had two goals for the hosts, including a crucial right-foot snap in the final term which secured the win.
Touk Miller and star recruit Brandon Ellis also picked up 20 disposals, while Jarrod Witts made the most of the Dockers’ undermanned ruck division with 38 hit outs.
Brett Bewley kicked two goals for the Dockers as did Michael Walters, while Darcy Tucker had 20 disposals and Jesse Hogan was more influential in his second match back in the AFL after his long absence.
Blues hold off Bombers in MCG thriller
Essendon’s Jacob Townsend missed a long set-shot in the dying seconds, as Carlton overcame the early loss of Jack Silvagni to score a stunning one-point win.
The Bombers were the fresher side, having had their round-three match postponed following Conor McKenna’s positive COVID-19 test, but the Blues finished stronger to score a 7.10 (52) to 8.3 (51) win.
The Blues trailed by 12 points early in the final term but goals to Jack Martin and Levi Casboult set up a frantic finale.
As the seconds ticked down, Eddie Betts gave away a 50-metre penalty that allowed Adam Saad to send a long ball into attacking 50 where Townsend took a diving mark.
With his team two points down, Townsend’s set-shot from just on the 50-metre arc was bundled over for a rushed behind, with Carlton players jubilant just seconds later as the final siren sounded.
It was a super effort given they played most of the night without Silvagni.
Bombers star Zach Merrett will come under match review scrutiny after he swung his left arm at Silvagni’s back as he kicked the ball early in the first quarter.
Grimacing in pain, Silvagni immediately went to the bench for assessment and a club official confirmed he had been taken to hospital by ambulance shortly before half-time.
Sam Docherty was superb in defence for Carlton, the co-captain gathering 31 possessions.
David Cunningham (28 disposals), Sam Walsh (23) and Patrick Cripps were important through the middle, while Levi Casboult finished with three goals.
Andrew McGrath (20), Dylan Shiel (19) and Devon Smith (18) were influential for the Bombers, who struggled to find a reliable target inside attacking 50.
Classy Saints shock Tigers
Dustin Martin’s return failed to spark Richmond, as its premiership defence took another hit in a 26-point defeat to St Kilda at Docklands.
The Brownlow medallist collected 19 disposals after a week off with bruised ribs but did not have a major influence as the Saints finished full of running in a 15.3 (93) to 10.7 (67) win.
Jack Billings (25 disposals) and Jack Steele (21) starred through the middle as Jake Carlisle marshalled the Saints’ defence superbly.
Trade period recruit Dan Butler — brought in from the Tigers last October — kicked three goals in his first match against his old side.
Tim Membrey also kicked three majors as Jack Lonie, Rowan Marshall and Dean Kent chipped in with two apiece to spread the load.
A suspected hamstring injury to Zak Jones was the only sour note for St Kilda, who stuck to their task with a run-and-gun game style and kicked their highest score of the season to date.
The result left Richmond sitting outside the top eight with two losses and a draw since the season restart.
Richmond got off to the hottest of starts when Shane Edwards ran in to kick the first goal after just 10 seconds.
But many of the same issues that have plagued them since the season resumption were evident again as they failed to match their opponents’ speed and intensity around the ball.
St Kilda burnt the Tigers with their fast ball movement and led by as much as 19 points on multiple occasions before half-time.
Butler was an ever-present danger and Bradley Hill (19 disposals, one goal) racked up touches at will on the wing until a rolled ankle sent a brief scare through the Saints’ camp during the second term.
Richmond challenged in the third quarter but never got closer than 10 points after the main break and the Saints kicked three goals to one with the match on the line in the final term.
Dixon kicks six to down Eagles
Charlie Dixon dominated up forward to help Port Adelaide continue its unbeaten start to the season with a convincing 48-point defeat of West Coast.
Dixon took six contested marks and kicked six goals, as the Power registered a 13.11 (89) to 6.5 (41) win in Carrara.
The Power now holds a 4-0 win-loss record, while the defeat extended the Eagles’ wait for a victory in their Queensland hub.
Dixon, who made his AFL debut for Gold Coast, enjoyed the familiar confines at the Suns’ home ground, marking strongly and kicking straight as the Power’s midfield peppered his area in a dominant first half.
The Power’s defence caused their opponents grief too, as the Eagles struggled to go forward or even sideways until a three-goal run in the third term brought the margin on the scoreboard back to 11 points.
But Dixon’s fourth, another booming set shot from 50 metres out, was the first of four in an emphatic reply.
Will Schofield then appeared to headbutt Zak Butters as Power players celebrated the goal, a lack of discipline not missed by Eagles coach Adam Simpson.
Butters missed the shot for goal from the ensuing penalty but Todd Marshall made no mistake for the Power when the Eagles again kicked the ball away.
Karl Amon then drilled a left-footed goal to make it a 37-point match approaching the final term.
Dixon capped his day with a fifth and six from another two strong marks in the final quarter, giving him 11 from three matches this season.
Josh Kennedy (four goals) made the most of his chances up front for the Eagles, while Tim Kelly and Liam Ryan both battled hard.
Brad Ebert kicked two goals for the Power and along with Hamish Hartlett was among the best in his 250th AFL match.