The first month of AFL matches is over and contenders have risen, while statements have been made by players and teams across the league.
The Inner Sanctum takes you through round 4, complete from A-Z. The defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding round 4 of the 2022 AFL Premiership season.
A is For A Rosas by any other name: Brought in for his first game of the season, and fifth overall, Malcolm Rosas made his opportunity count for Gold Coast, by kicking not only its first goal of the day but following up with two more for the half. His first three goals at senior level came at the perfect time as they helped contribute to the Suns’ second win of the year over the Blues.
B is For Bolton Brilliance: Another week, another goal-kicking masterclass from Shai Bolton. The Richmond midfielder produced yet another goal of the year contender in the third quarter, kicking from a near-impossible angle on his non-preferred left foot. Bolton finished the game with two goals and 20 disposals.
C is For Caretakers stay perfect: Blake Caracella became the third assistant coach to be handed the reigns of the senior side this season with Ben Rutten becoming the latest senior coach to be ruled out through AFL Health and Safety Protocols. A senior coach in waiting, Caracella kept the streak of caretakers stepping in and coaching their teams to a win intact as Essendon got its first win of the season.
D is For Dominant Daicos Brothers: It was not through lack of contribution from the Daicos brothers that the Pies lost, with 60 disposals between them to go along with 13 marks, nine tackles, and a goal. Nick, in just his fourth game, was the leading disposal winner on the ground with 32.
E is For Exciting forward tandem emerging: Having combined for seven goals between them last week, the key forward duo of Max King and Tim Membrey bore fruit once again, combining for eight goals. In their fourth season playing alongside each other, the two are starting to develop into a dangerous attacking partnership.
F is For Free Willie!: It’s clear the Eagles have missed Willie Rioli’s goal sense and innate ability in front of the big sticks. Along with his three goals straight, his tackling pressure, hunt for the ball, and desire to help his teammates, guided the Eagles to record their first win of the season.
G is For Gold Coast Reject: One team’s rejection is another team’s treasure. Will Brodie has more than capitalised on being given a go in the midfield, and in Round 4 he dominated with 37 disposals, four marks, and five tackles to lead the Dockers to a well-earned victory over the Giants.
H is For Handy Anderson: Perhaps the best game of his young career, Noah Anderson put in a brilliant performance that allowed Gold Coast to have the game all but secured by three-quarter time. Anderson to that point had 30 of his 35 disposals, and 10 of Gold Coast’s 45 clearances (the most for the game) were through his damaging work.
I is For Inaccurate kicks: Both teams were chasing their second win of the season, but a poor conversion rate around goal proved costly for the Bulldogs, who kicked seven behinds in the opening term. Captain Marcus Bontempelli provided a much-needed goal in the third quarter, but his three behinds only added to the pain. The Dogs have now booted 28.48 in the last three weeks.
J is For J-Mac delivers in final term: Sydney youngster Justin McInerney continues to impress at AFL level, stepping up in the final quarter to help drag his team over the line. The 21-year-old collected 14 disposals and kicked a crucial set-shot goal in the final term, finishing the day as the leading possession getter for the Swans with 30 touches.
K is For Keays unlocks a beauty: It was a see-sawing contest at Marvel Stadium, with the start after the halftime break critical for both sides to gain the early momentum. After Nic Martin kicked the first goal for Essendon, Ben Keays, who has had another impressive start in his third season in Adelaide colours, stepped his way through two Essendon opponents before threading the needle for a brilliant goal from the angle to tighten the game right back up again.
L is For Loss for Carlton: In more ways than one, Carlton will be feeling the loss on the Gold Coast. Not only was it consigned to its first loss of the season, but skipper Patrick Cripps, who is in sizzling form to start the season, will now likely miss a couple of games with a hamstring injury. A bit of soul searching will be required before the Blues’ Easter Sunday clash against the winless Power.
M is For Many avenues to goal for Brisbane: Brisbane’s big forwards were the two avenues to goal on Friday. Both Daniel McStay and Joe Daniher kicked three goals each for the Lions while lively small forward Charlie Cameron chipped in with two.
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N is For Not done yet: A poor start to the season had everyone questioning Richmond’s performance, wondering whether we had seen the end of the dynasty. Tom Lynch (four goals) and Jayden Short (35 disposals) helped silence the critics, whilst Dion Prestia impressed after returning from injury, collecting 30 disposals. A couple of late goals from Jack Riewoldt led the Tigers to a comfortable 38 point win over the Bulldogs.
O is For Onslaught: At the 12-minute mark of the final quarter, the score was 52-51 in Fremantle’s favour and not many would have predicted the onslaught of goals to come. However, the Dockers would go on to kick six goals in 16 minutes of game time to end up recording a 34 point victory.
P is for Pressure Mounting? After making finals last year, the pressure is surely mounting on coach Leon Cameron. The Giants are 1-3, having lost to two sides that missed the eight last year in the Tigers and Dockers, and their only win coming against the lowly Suns. It doesn’t get any easier for Cameron’s side either, with Melbourne at the MCG and a rejuvenated St Kilda in Canberra in the next two weeks.
Q is For Quality Goalkicking: It feels as though this season, more than ever, accurate goalkicking is influencing results. The Eagles kicked 14.3 to Collingwood’s 10.14. In the third quarter in particular the Pies dominated, but inaccurate kicking meant the lead was just seven points at the final change. In comparison, with goals like this from the Eagles, the ability to kick them when it matters makes all the difference.
R is For right back into it: Taylor Walker’s return to senior football was always a touchy and contentious topic throughout the week. He was jeered whenever he went near the football by the Essendon supporters making their feelings known. Walker however was a welcome return to the Crows’ forward line, kicking four goals and slotting back in seamlessly.
S is For Sore Buddy: After reaching the 1000 goals milestone a fortnight ago, Lance Franklin now looks set for a stint on the sidelines with a suspected broken finger. Franklin hurt himself in an attempted tackle during the third quarter before being subbed out of the game.
T is For Tomahawk once more: Tom Hawkins was massive for the Geelong, the forward monstered the Brisbane defence all night kicking 5.3. He was a hero at the pointy end of the match when he kicked the match-winning goal to help his side to a 10 point win. He also had 14 disposals, seven marks, and three tackles to round out the performance.
U is For U-turn of form: Having surpassed expectations in the opening three rounds of the season, Hawthorn couldn’t repeat its efforts in Round 4. The Hawks went down to the Saints by 69 points, an underwhelming display in comparison to their prior performances.
V is For Victory four for delicious Dees: Melbourne hasn’t had a chink taken out of its armour yet as it aims to defend its premiership flag. The Dees were in delightful form against Port at Adelaide Oval and had the game iced at half-time.
W is For what tag? When the Cats’ skipper Joel Selwood was rested for Friday night’s game against the Lions, Mark O’Connor was brought in and it was clear what his role would be. Last year when playing against them, he kept Lachie Neale quiet on both occasions. During this game, however, Neale was ready and amassed 30 disposals along with five tackles and three marks to star for his team.
X is For X in the goals column: What is going on at Port Adelaide this year? Records are falling and they’re not the good ones after it went two-and-a-half quarters without a goal. It was made even worse when Mitch Georgiades wasted an opportunity running into goal which ended up touched off a Sam Mayes kick.
Y is For Young gun suffers another setback: Having made his first appearance of the season last week against Carlton, Hawthorn’s Will Day is set for another stint on the sidelines having been subbed out in the second half against St Kilda with a concussion. Having missed most of 2021 with an ankle injury, the Hawks are still yet to get a consistent run out of the youngster since his impressive first season.
Z Is For Ziebell swung forward with success: Following a 108-point thumping last weekend, David Noble decided to move some magnets and throw Jack Ziebell forward against the Swans. It proved to be a masterstroke as the North Melbourne captain looked right at home, booting five goals and having seven score involvements.
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