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ANZAC Day Banner 2019. Kim Densham for AFANA.

An extended round six kicked off with the unusual Wednesday night game that saw Richmond victorious by 43 points over the struggling Melbourne Demons. The Anzac Day battle between Collingwood and Essendon was a classic that ended with the Magpies hanging on to win by four points in controversial circumstances as the Bombers fell just short of pulling off a great comeback. Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Fremantle and the Giants took care of business as expected while Carlton almost pulled off back to back victories before succumbing by just five points to a frantic Hawthorn down in Tasmania.

Adelaide finally showed some of the form expected of it this season with a solid 29 point win over Saint Kilda while Geelong stamped its premiership credentials with a resounding 58 point drubbing of reigning premier West Coast at GMHBA Stadium.

The result of all of the above means Collingwood retain top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll with the Cats right on their tail, but we have a new third placed team courtesy of the round six results. 

1.    Collingwood Magpies (Last Week - 1) 
Collingwood jumped Essendon early and looked like romping to victory on Anzac Day on the back of magnificent performances from Scott Pendlebury (38 disposals) and Adam Treloar (31). The Magpies had to fight hard however to hold off a fast finishing Bomber outfit in a classic encounter at the MCG. Collingwood just held off Geelong for top spot on the power poll this week.

2.    Geelong Cats (2) 
If there were any doubts about the pedigree of the new look Geelong before Sunday’s encounter with the reigning premiers, they are well and truly gone after the rampaging Cats demolished the West Coast Eagles by 58 points in front of an ebullient home crowd. The double Garys of Ablett junior (2 goals) and Rohan (4 goals) were magnificent in helping Geelong to a 5-1 record.

3.    Greater Western Sydney Giants (5)
The Giants comfortably took out the “Battle of the Bridge” against crosstown rival Sydney by 41 points on the back of a blistering second half, with young stars Tim Taranto (30 disposals) and Jacob Hopper taking control of the midfield. With Josh Kelly also getting back to his best form and Toby Greene adding some bite up forward, the Giants are looking like one of the teams holding serious premiership credentials in 2019.

4.    Port Adelaide Power (6) 
The Power backed up its excellent road win against the Eagles with a comfortable 16 point win over the struggling Kangaroos at Adelaide Oval. Despite giving up the final five goals of the match, Port was never seriously threatened by North Melbourne en route to win number four for the season. Travis Boak (38 disposals) continued his red hot form while small forward Sam Gray chipped in with four goals.

5.    West Coast Eagles (3) 
The Eagles have now dropped consecutive games and are looking a shadow of the team that ran out premiers in 2018. While it is too early to push the panic button, a lowly 39 inside 50 meter entries (compared to Geelong’s 61) and a lack of presence from forward Jack Darling for the second week running will be of concern to Eagles coach Adam Simpson.

6.    Brisbane Lions (7) 
The Lions bounced back after two losses in a row to topple the Gold Coast Suns by 49 points in the “Q-clash” at Metricon Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Lions had way too much class for the Suns as Lachie Neale ran amok with 28 touches and six tackles in a best afield performance.

7.   Richmond Tigers (8) 
The good news for Richmond was a second win in as many weeks on the back of another solid performance full of the forward pressure that helped the Tigers to a flag in 2017. The bad news was yet another long term injury to a key player, with Jack Riewoldt sustaining a significant knee injury in just his first game back from a fractured wrist. Youngsters Jack Ross, Sydney Stack and Liam Baker once again filled the void of their more experienced team mates who are sidelined through injury.

8.    St Kilda Saints (4) 
The Saints went down to Adelaide at Etihad Stadium after setting the pace in the first quarter. Alan Richardson’s men seemed to lose their dare after losing Jack Lonie to injury early, playing into the hands of the Crows who finally found a more attacking style of football. The Saints were smashed in clearances (28-40) which led to numerous Adelaide goals. Shane Savage and Seb Ross were Saint Kilda’s best.

9.    Fremantle Dockers (9) 
The Dockers can consider themselves a bit unlucky not to move up in the poll this week after another solid win, this time over the Western Bulldogs at Optus Oval in Perth. The most impressive part about the Dockers set up this season is they now have multiple avenues to goal after adding Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb into the mix. Fremantle has four players with 10 goals or more, including Michael Walters (13), Brandon Matera (12), Matthew Taberner (11) and Cam McCarthy (10).

10.    Hawthorn Hawks (11) 
Hawthorn found itself 31 points in arrears at half time at University of Tasmania Stadium against Carlton on Sunday, with Coach Alistair Clarkson fuming on the sidelines. Whatever Clarkson said to his troops at half time, it worked. The Hawks worked back into the game through some brilliant work by Jaeger O’Meara and Liam Shiels to hit the front in the final quarter, and despite a late Carlton scare, Hawthorn came home with win number three for the season.

11.    Essendon Bombers (10) 
Essendon was gallant in defeat against Collingwood on Anzac Day at the MCG, going down by just five points after conceding a 23 point lead at quarter time. Bomber fans felt they didn’t have the better of some controversial umpiring decisions, but giving Collingwood a fast start was what in reality cost Essendon a chance at victory. The excellent form of Zach Merrett (30 disposals) and recruit Dylan Shiel (34) plus some great work up forward from Joe Daniher (4 goals) will give Coach John Worsfold plenty of confidence moving forward.

12.    Adelaide Crows (14)
The Crows started slowly but after quarter time played their best football for season 2019 against Saint Kilda on Saturday at Marvel Stadium. Forward and co-captain Tex Walker burst out of his early season slump in kicking four goals while Crouch brothers Matt and Brad worked seamlessly in the midfield. The Crows win started with their dominance in the middle as they won the clearances 40 to 28.

13.    Western Bulldogs (12) 
The Bulldogs were competitive against Fremantle in Perth but once again failed to turn an edge in clearances into goals. Poor kicking for goal (9.15) and inefficiency in attack (44 disposals per goal, compared to Fremantle’s 30.46) once again highlights the fact the Bulldogs are getting hands on the ball but not converting efficiently.

14.    Gold Coast Suns (13) 
The Suns were no match for the Lions at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, losing by 49 points despite being competitive in most statistical categories. What really stands out is the ease with which Brisbane scores goals when going forward, using just 11.8 disposals for every score they had. Gold Coast on the other hand used almost twice as many disposals (20.53) for every scoring shot. While the Suns have a lot to look forward to, the Lions are a further two years ahead in development of their young talent.

15.    Melbourne Demons (15)
Melbourne fought hard on Wednesday night, showing a lot more than it had in the past few weeks in challenging Richmond in the first half at the MCG. Just eight points down at half time, the Demons simply couldn’t sustain the effort against a relentless Tiger outfit that totally outworked them. With just two goals in the last three quarters, it is hard to fathom how such a scoring machine in 2018 has fallen so far. 

16.    Carlton Blues (16) 
Carlton played its best football of 2019 in the first half against Hawthorn, moving the ball well and finding targets up forward in Harry McKay and Mitch McGovern. A few injuries late in the game stifled the Blues attack and led to being overrun by a mope experienced Hawthorn outfit. Whilst the loss was gut wrenching for Blues supporters, the improved skill level and more lethal attack will give them optimism for the rest of the season and beyond.

17.    Sydney Swans (17) 
The Swans have had trouble scoring all season. Before the game on Saturday, Sydney lost its best forward Lance Franklin to a hamstring injury. From there, it was always going to be a tough ask against the younger, more talented Giants. Sydney battled with Zak Jones, Luke Parker and Josh Kennedy breaking even early, but the Giants had all the answers. After years at or near the top, the Swans look to finally be on the decline as they rebuild with youth.

18.    North Melbourne Kangaroos (18)
The Kangaroos showed fight late in the game against Port in Adelaide, scoring the last five goals of the match, however Coach Brad Scott has his work cut out in keeping the Kangaroos competitive with a one dimensional forward line. The loss of gun midfielder Shaun Higgins prior to the game was crucial for North Melbourne who rely heavily on too few in the middle of the ground. Young Nick Larkey (3 goals) showed promise and poise in attack.

Article last changed on Monday, April 29, 2019 - 4:48 PM EDT

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