AFL Round 6 wrap
Another extended AFL round wrapped up on ANZAC Day with Hawthorn lowering their colours to the Swans in Launceston and Collingwood over-running Essendon at a packed MCG.
Here's your snapshot of round six action in the AFL where Port Adelaide claimed their first win of the season and the Adelaide Crows held out the Bulldogs at Ballarat.
THEY SAID IT:
"The season is well and truly slipping away"
- West Coast coach Adam Simpson after his side's thumping 84-point defeat to Port Adelaide.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND: Brisbane livewire Zac Bailey kicked a career-best six goals on his way to claiming the Marcus Ashcroft Medal as best on ground in the Lions' 52-point win over Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium. Bailey's effort ties Charlie Dixon, Ash McGrath and Charlie Cameron for the best individual goal hauls in a Queensland derby.
KEY MOMENT: After Ned McHenry put Adelaide in front by a point in the dying stages against the Western Bulldogs, Caleb Daniel made an uncharacteristic error from the kickout. Daniel turned the ball over to Lachlan Gollant, who picked out Taylor Walker. The veteran Crows spearhead stepped up and sealed victory with a calm set shot from the pocket.
TALKING POINTS: Richmond badly need a boost after slumping to 2-4 in a season where they are aiming to bounce back into the finals. Even though they lost against Melbourne on Sunday night, Dustin Martin's return to training after more than a month away for personal reasons could be the tonic the Tigers need. There will also be a watch on Sydney's Paddy McCartin, who failed a concussion test during the victory over Hawthorn. Former No.1 draft pick McCartin's career at St Kilda came to a premature end in 2019 because of concussion issues before he won a career lifeline with the Swans this year.
STATS THAT MATTER: A monster crowd of 84,205 fans turned out in bright sunshine at the MCG for the traditional Anzac Day blockbuster between Essendon and Collingwood. It was the highest attendance at an AFL match since the 2019 grand final because of crowd limits and restrictions in place around the global pandemic.
TRIBUNAL WATCH: North Melbourne defender Ben McKay has been offered a one-match ban for rough conduct on Geelong's Rhys Stanley. It means he is again set to miss out on playing twin brother and Carlton star Harry. The McKays, drafted in 2015, have never played each other in an AFL game.
INJURIES: R Gray (PA, knee) E Yeo (WC, concussion) S Darcy (Frem, concussion) M Pittonet (Carl, knee) H McKay (Carl, knee) K Lohmann (Bris, ankle) M Rosas (GC, calf) P McCartin (Syd, concussion) L McDonald (Syd, concussion) N Kreuger (Coll, shoulder) J Laverde (Ess, knee), D Parish (Ess, ankle).
WHAT'S NEXT: It's desperation stakes for West Coast and Richmond in Perth on Friday night and Fremantle's strong early-season form will be put to the test away to Geelong. Hawthorn will need to produce a massive effort to end Melbourne's unbeaten start and St Kilda are out to extend their winning streak to six matches against a reinvigorated Port Adelaide. On Sunday, the Bulldogs-Essendon clash shapes as a fierce battle and the Sydney-Brisbane encounter has the ingredients for an exciting contest.
Meanwhile, Nat Fyfe could be back in a strong Fremantle side as soon as Round 10, coach Justin Longmuir says. Fyfe hasn't played this season after missing round one, then having surgery to alleviate nerve pressure in his back.
He suffered the injury in late March during an interrupted pre-season off the back of complications, including a nasty infection, from shoulder reconstruction that prematurely ended his 2021 campaign.
Longmuir brought forward an earlier 'couple of weeks before the mid-season bye' estimate on Fox Footy:
"We think he'll be back around round 10. In time for Collingwood.
"We quite often talk about how he's going with his rehab.
"When he's gonna return and along the lines of what sort of position, game time, his way back into the side and whether he needs to play a lower level, and all those sorts of things that come into consideration and spit ball.
"We'll work it out closer to his return date, but he's really improved over the last couple of weeks and he's on the right trajectory now."
In Fyfe's absence, Longmuir lauded young gun Andrew Brayshaw, who has continued to take his game to another level:
"He's flying and he's built his game to become a really strong inside/outside player.
"(He had) 29 possessions and nine score involvements on the weekend but he was most proud of his eight tackles and a couple of those tackles were goal-saving tackles.
"He's doing it the right way. He's a real connector within our playing group.
"He's the connector between all the young players but the young and the old.
"He's got a real ability to connect everyone at the footy club and bring others along with him and he's on a super trajectory at the moment."