The A-Z of Round 3: Who’s got a leg up on the rest of the competition?

The A-Z of Round Three
Highlights, icons, and everything in between: Round 3 had all of them. Pictures: @GeelongCats @CarltonFC @AdelaideFC

Three rounds down, and while some are proving to be more than a flash in the pan, some have a lot riding on their games to come. Teams opened their accounts for 2022, players showed their class, and records tumbled on a big weekend of footy.

The Inner Sanctum takes you through round 3, complete from A-Z. The defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding round 3 of the 2022 AFL Premiership season.

A is For Attacking Football: The opening quarter of St Kilda vs Richmond saw 12 goals and 10 goalkickers with both teams taking full advantage of the new standing rule and producing many goals from half-chances. A thrilling contest between two teams with finals aspirations this year was what eventuated.

B is For Brisbane Blowout:  In front of their home crowd, Brisbane continued their perfect start to the season. The Lions’ midfield was dominant from the beginning, with four goals kicked in the opening 10 minutes. Eleven goal kickers overall, and a nine-goal pile-on in the last quarter helped the Lions steamroll North Melbourne, as they celebrated their first 100-plus point win since 2007.

C is For Captain Courageous: He may not have had his best game ever, but Joel Selwood delivered in the last quarter on a night he broke the record for the most games as a captain in league history (227).  He threw his body at every contest, forcing the ball Geelong’s way and being a key factor in the barnstorming finish of the Cats. A great result to reward the side’s beloved skipper.

D is For Dawson Delivers: Prized Crows recruit Jordan Dawson delivered a dream performance in the Showdown on Friday night. His 24 disposals and six marks showed his class all over the ground, however, his two goals were the highlight with one delivering the win for Adelaide after the siren. He was awarded the Showdown medal for his efforts in his first Showdown, becoming only the second Crow to win one in the selected side that took the field.

E Is For Electric Dockers: Taking on a decimated Eagles lineup in the RAC Western Derby, Fremantle recorded one of their biggest wins in Derby history. Lachie Schultz starred with two goals and 23 disposals, winning the Glendinning–Allan as Freo recorded a 55-point win.

F is For Final Minute Subs: In the madness of the final two minutes of the game at the MCG on Sunday, Carlton fans would have been wondering what Jack Martin was doing on the field with 90 seconds to play. Named as the medical sub, Martin was activated into the game in place of ruckman Marc Pittonet, who had spent time in the rooms earlier in the game being assessed with a back complaint but still played out the majority of the game before the Blues called on their sub very late in proceedings.  

G is For Goal Of The Year? Ed Langdon gave the rest of the competition a hard act to follow when he kicked the sealer for Melbourne, a banana from the boundary. And it wasn’t just the MCG crowd that was mesmerized at the incredible snap, even Langdon himself was in disbelief at his feat that will likely take something even more incredible to beat for the rest of the season. 

H is For High Five: There was a lot to love about Brisbane, but the highlight was Lincoln McCarthy. The forward collected 15 disposals and kicked a career-high five goals, putting himself in early contention for the Coleman Medal, and helping lead the Lions to a 108 point victory against North Melbourne.

I is For Interception Bros: Paddy McCartin’s return to AFL and playing alongside his brother Tom is one of the stories of the 2022 season. In round 2, we saw just how he can improve Sydney’s defence with his intercepting ability. Round 3 against the Western Bulldogs showcased the partnership he and his brother can create in the Swans’ backline. The pair combined for a total of 18 interceptions and finished the match as two of the top three highest intercept getters. 

J is For Jezza you Beauty:  Five goals down at the last break, the Cats leaders stood tall, and none more so than Jeremy Cameron. Three goals for the quarter, to go with one just before the break to give the side some belief and six for the match helped lead his side over the line in an amazing come from behind victory.

K is For Key Forwards: Both sides participating in the Showdown had standout performances by young key forwards. Port Adelaide’s Todd Marshall, in his sixth AFL season, broke out and kicked five goals for his team along with 11 disposals, while Adelaide’s Lachlan Gollant starred in his second ever AFL game, booting four goals. Elliot Himmelberg responded to criticism levelled at him all week with four goals as well.

L is For Last laugh for former Saint? Although Richmond didn’t come away with the win, one Tiger will be feeling pretty happy with his performance; Matthew Parker. Delisted at the end of the 2020 season after being an excitement machine in his debut year in 2019, Parker found his way onto the Richmond list via the 2021 Mid-Season Draft, and today showed his former side exactly what they gave up with three first-half goals and 25 pressure acts.

M is For Mayes escapes MRO trouble: A free-kick after the siren to Jordan Dawson was the highlight for Crows fans but Port Adelaide fans were relieved that it hasn’t affected the availability of Sam Mayes for next week’s clash. Challenging a ball but collecting Lachlan Murphy high, he will cop some heat this week and will be hoping that Murphy’s injury coupled with his neck injury in the offseason isn’t as bad as it could have been.

N is For Nine Goal Onslaught:  The young Magpie outfit was inaccurate early, but that all changed in the third quarter.  Nine goals for the quarter, all in the space of 20 minutes of game time, had the crowd on its feet and the young side believing.  Ollie Henry’s chase down tackle of Selwood sparked the run and, although the result ended up not going their way, this quarter can give fans plenty of hope for the rest of the season.


O is For O’Driscoll’s Pocket:
After coming on in the final quarter of last week’s tough loss to the Saints, Nathan O’Driscoll provided Fremantle fans something to cheer about with a goal from the pocket. This week, he repeated the dose with a brilliant left-foot snap, extending the margin beyond ten goals in the win over the Eagles.

P is for Pressure off the scale: 15 minutes into the third quarter, St Kilda trailed by 25 points. Following this, the Saints had a 64-0 run before a late Tigers goal to storm home as big winners at Marvel Stadium and they can thank their manic pressure for the victory. Richmond could not get a clean kick away and the Saints held the ball in their forward half brilliantly.

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Q is For Quite a Small Crowd: A crowd of just 4014 witnessed the Giants notch their first victory of the season against the Suns. The Giants were impressive, but it was a shame that so few turned up to witness the game live. Even though the Giants were playing their fellow expansion side, the AFL would be disappointed with the turnout.

R is For Running Riot: The Hawks refused to lie down at the MCG and put themselves right back into the contest to make Carlton players, coaches and supporters alike more than nervous as they ran riot in the second half. After Charlie Curnow kicked truly to open the scoring in the second half, the Hawks took advantage of Carlton’s inability to hit a target forward of centre, kicking six unanswered goals to snatch the lead halfway through the last quarter. 

S is For Sticky Hands: There weren’t much safer hands than that of Angus Brayshaw against Essendon, as the midfielder took grabs seemingly at will. Brayshaw finished with an amazing 20 marks on his own, nearly double the next highest mark getter, that of Trent Rivers with 11. Add in 34 disposals on top, and it’s likely three votes will come his way on Brownlow night. 


T is For Tex Takes Time:
After the controversy surrounding his debut as the medical sub last week, Tex Wanganeen proved that the wait to see the sun of a gun finally step out onto the field was worth it when he kicked his first goal for the Bombers. The third-quarter snap brought the Essendon faithful to their feet, including Dad Gavin, who made his own debut for the Dons on the same day 31 years ago, now watching on with excitement and pride. 

U is For Unheralded Forwards: The lack of decent delivery hurt the Gold Coast Suns, but their unheralded forward line kept them somewhat in the game.  Both Levi Casboult and Mabior Chol managed to take contested marks when they looked no chance, and each slotted three goals in what was an otherwise unproductive forward line. Improve the delivery, and these two could provide a valuable contribution throughout the season.

V is For Vanishing Act: Touk who? The Suns’ midfielder has been in rare form for more than a season.  Enter Giants tagger, Matt de Boer. He managed to keep Miller to just 17 disposals, many of which were under immense pressure and of no benefit to the side. Who said the tagger is not a valuable commodity?

W is For Weight-less-man: Slippery small forward, Cody Weightman, was up to his usual antics on Thursday night, playing a pivotal role in the Bulldogs’ 11-point victory over the Swans. The goal sneak was deadly accurate in front of goal, kicking three straight, whilst the rest of his team contributed six majors and 17 behinds. Along with his straight kicking, the high-flyer once again showcased his leap and marking ability with this bit of magic for the highlight reel:

X is For Xerri good: It’s been a tough start to the season, and it was a night that North Melbourne would rather forget, but there was one positive to take away from the game. Tristan Xerri was a standout for the Roos, leading the ruck contest with 25 hit outs and providing a glimpse of what a future after Todd Goldstein could look like.

Y is For You shall not pass: Holding on for dear life as the clock ticked down at the MCG, Hawthorn were pressing and promising to steal the game late and record a famous come from behind victory. After Jack Gunston converted to cut the margin to one point with two minutes to play, vice-captain Jacob Weitering ran back with the flight of the ball to take the crucial intercept mark in the final minute which allowed Carlton to hold on for the narrowest of victories.

Z Is For Zero and Three Eagles: With losses to the Suns and Kangaroos coming into the match, West Coast was desperate for a win when they took on the Dockers on Sunday afternoon. However, the Dockers had other plans, sending the Eagles to zero and three to begin 2022, with plenty of questions to be answered.  

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