The big movers on the AFANA AFL Power Poll this week were the Tigers and the Saints up four places each, while the Adelaide Crows fell four spots after a disastrous loss to the previously winless Kangaroos. Other notable happenings over another topsy-turvy round of footy were the Demons notching their first win for the season up in Sydney, while the previously unbeaten Cats were ambushed late by an impressive Giants outfit despite losing Callan Ward to a nasty knee injury in the first quarter.
The Gold Coast Suns notched win number three – all by less than a goal – when Jack Bowes snapped truly with just 10 seconds left on the clock, resigning a shattered Carlton to a 0-4 start and bottom spot on not only the AFL ladder, but the AFANA Power Poll as well.
Here’s how the AFANA AFL Power Poll has panned out as we head into Easter and round five…
1. West Coast Eagles (Last Week - 2)
The reigning premiers led from start to finish in the Western Derby against the Fremantle Dockers, with Andrew Gaff starring with 35 disposals. Forwards Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling controlled the forward line with three goals apiece as the Eagles strolled to their third win on the trot, and top spot on the AFANA Power Poll.
2. Greater Western Sydney Giants (3)
The Giants lost midfielder Callan Ward to a nasty knee injury in the first quarter, but were unfazed in overrunning a fancied Geelong at GMHBA Stadium. Lachie Whitfield was once again unstoppable for the Giants, notching 31 touches and taking 10 marks as he created endless forward thrusts for Greater Western Sydney.
3. Collingwood Magpies (4)
Collingwood improved to 2-2 with a scrappy win over a plucky Western Bulldogs at the MCG on Friday night. Trailing by five points at three quarter time, the Magpies showed their resilience by dominating the game when it counted most, eventually overpowering the Bulldogs by 14 points. Brodie Grundy provided a masterclass in the ruck, notching 58 hit outs while gathering 23 disposals and a team-high eight tackles.
4. Geelong Cats (1)
Geelong was upset by Greater Western Sydney at the fortress currently known as GMHBA Stadium, with the Giants running out four-point winners in an epic contest. Patrick Dangerfield was held to just 17 disposals by Giant tagger Matt de Boer while Tom Stewart was Geelong’s best.
5. St Kilda Saints (9)
The impressive Saints moved to a 3-1 record after defeating the Hawks by five points on Sunday. Despite a significant injury list and a lot of media pressure on their coach Alan Richardson, Saint Kilda now sit in 5th position on the AFL ladder as we head into round five. Fill-in ruckman Rowan Marshall continues to impress for the Saints, holding his own against stalwart Ben McEvoy in his sternest test to date.
6. Brisbane Lions (5)
The Lions were no match for a rejuvenated Essendon as they went down by 47 points at the MCG. Brisbane went inside the 50 meter arc 54 times but struggled to convert their opportunities, in contrast to the Bombers who kicked seven first quarter goals. After an excellent 3-0 start to the season, coach Chris Fagan will be keen to see his young Lions bounce back against Collingwood this week.
7. Western Bulldogs (6)
The Bulldogs once again gave a good account of themselves against a talented Collingwood outfit, leading at three quarter time but unable to sustain their pressure for the entire game against the classy Magpies. Marcus Bontempelli continued his excellent form, racking up 36 possessions and laying six tackles.
8. Gold Coast Suns (11)
The Suns did it again – winning their third game in a row, all by a margin of under six points. This week’s victim was the hapless Carlton, who held the lead until the last 10 seconds when the Suns snatched victory once again in unlikely circumstances. After losing to Saint Kilda by just one point in round one, the Suns have taken victory by three, five and now two points. Touk Miller (31 possessions) and Brayden Fiorini (30) were outstanding for the Suns.
9. Port Adelaide Power (7)
Port let a golden opportunity slip at home against an undermanned Richmond, losing the lead late in the final quarter to the determined Tigers. The Power had plenty of the ball late but failed to capitalize on numerous inside fifties as they bombed the ball long, allowing a dominant Dylan Grimes to intercept at will for Richmond. Tom Rockliff was excellent once again for Port.
10. Hawthorn Hawks (8)
The Hawks had a dirty day on Sunday at Marvel Stadium, losing Jaeger O’Meara to injury before the game, then copping game ending injuries to James Frawley and Ben Stratton en-route to a five point loss to Saint Kilda. James Sicily and Ricky Henderson were best for the depleted Hawks who will have their work cut out against Geelong at the MCG on Easter Monday.
11. Richmond Tigers (14)
No Cotchin. No Martin. No Riewoldt. No Rance. No Houli. No Short. No problem for Richmond who shocked Port to win by seven points on the back of excellent performances from first gamer Jack Ross and stand-in Captain Shane Edwards. Boon recruit Tom Lynch played the best game of his short Tiger career booting six goals for the now 2-2 Tigers.
12. Fremantle Dockers (10)
The Dockers worked hard against the league pacesetting Eagles in the Western Derby, topping West Coast in contested possession and fighting the game out to the final siren. The real difference in the game was the Dockers inability to use the ball efficiently, despite some great work from the ageless David Mundy (36 touches and four tackles).
13. Essendon Bombers (15)
The Bombers won their second game in a row in impressive fashion, taking down the previously unbeaten Lions by over eight goals. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti was magnificent with seven goals, while Zach Merrett returned to his best form with 35 touches and six tackles.
14. Melbourne Demons (16)
Melbourne finally broke through for win number one on the back of a strong second half against Sydney at the SCG. Max Gawn dominated the ruck, while Nathan Jones answered his critics with an outstanding three goal, 21 possession performance. Expect the Demons to continue their rise up the AFL ladder in the coming weeks.
15. Sydney Swans (13)
The Swans held sway at half time but couldn’t hold off a fast-finishing Melbourne at the SCG on Thursday night. Amazingly it was key forward Lance Franklin’s first loss to the Demons in 16 matches. Coach John Longmire will have some concerns over the Swans struggles to win at home, having now lost six of their past seven at what was once considered a fortress for Sydney.
16. Adelaide Crows (12)
The Crows have not performed to anywhere near their expectations so far in 2019, punctuated by losing on the road to the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night. The forward line, barring some brilliance from Eddie Betts, is currently dysfunctional and the team in general seems to be lacking confidence in taking on the opposition. A win at home in round five against the improved Gold Coast Suns is a must.
17. North Melbourne Kangaroos (18)
What North lack in polish they make up for in determination, the win over Adelaide based more on grinding the opposition down rather than raw talent. Shaun Higgins was brilliant for the Kangaroos while key forward Ben Brown kicked four important goals to kick start North Melbourne’s season.
18. Carlton Blues (17)
Blues fans….look away now. Seemingly headed for their first victory of the season, the Blues failed to execute basic skills late in the game, allowing the Suns to snatch victory at the death and consign Blues Coach Brendon Bolton to another humiliating press conference of “please explain”. Carlton has some talented youth, but is simply not getting enough out of senior players including high profile recruit Mitch McGovern.
Article last changed on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 3:22 PM EDT