The weekend’s action saw plenty of highlights alongside the moving Anzac Day formalities, as we remember our fallen servicemen and women across a special weekend around the country.
The Inner Sanctum takes you through Round 6, complete from A-Z. The defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding Round 6 of the 2022 AFL Premiership season.
A is For Another ACL injury: After the league suffered a great loss with Crows captain Rory Sloane ruled out with an ACL injury, another ACL injury occurred six days later with St Kilda’s mature-age recruit Jack Hayes subbed out of the game against the GWS Giants with a suspected ACL tear which was confirmed on Saturday. Coming from Woodville West Torrens in the SANFL, Hayes has been one of the best stories of 2022, hopefully, we haven’t seen the last of him at the top level with Brett Ratten committing to the first-year player for next season in his post-game press conference.
B is For Bulldogs kept on a tight leash: Succumbing to their fourth loss of the season, the Western Bulldogs were denied free-flowing ball movement through the corridor of Mars Stadium and instead were dragged into a congested style of game. This was a stark contrast to the week earlier against North Melbourne, where Luke Beveridge’s side generated 34 shots on goal, compared to only 17 this week.
C is For Courageous Crows: Holding on for a dramatic one-point win, Adelaide showed enormous grit to secure its third win for the season. In a low-scoring affair, the Crows embraced the contest, forcing the Bulldogs into a scrappy game in Ballarat. Despite losing the lead at the 15-minute mark of the last quarter, Matthew Nicks’ side held their nerve to claim a famous victory, courtesy of a late Taylor Walker goal.
D is For Double Debutants: The Geelong versus North Melbourne clash in Hobart saw a debutant have an impact for both sides. The Cats’ Oliver Dempsey showed flashes of brilliance, amassing 16 disposals and a goal. While the Kangaroos’ Paul Curtis was a real livewire in front of goal, despite the lack of supply, kicking 1.3 and collecting 11 disposals and four marks. Both showed great poise and skill for their first game and will give their supporters plenty to cheer for in the future.
E is For Error-Free Goalkicking: Collingwood kicked two behinds in the first quarter, and then kicked only one more for the rest of the day. Essendon may have had 22 scoring shots on the day to Collingwood’s 18, but Collingwood took full advantage of its chances, kicking 15 goals and three behinds to win by 11 points. One of the three behinds was rushed, meaning that the only two behinds kicked by Collingwood players were from Darcy Cameron and Reef McInnes.
F is For Fired up Freo: Fremantle is really shaping up to be premiership contenders, after a solid 5-1 start to the season. Five consecutive goals in the second quarter set the Dockers up with a comfortable lead heading into halftime. Rory Lobb kicked three goals and dominated the hit-outs alongside Sean Darcy, whilst Andrew Brayshaw and Will Brodie collected 27 disposals each.
G is For Gibcus growing every week: The draft class of 2021 is showing more and more every week that it will be a much-vaunted one in seasons to come when many players from it are established stars of the competition. Richmond’s first selection, Josh Gibcus, who returned to the side this week continues to grow and look more assured and settled at the elite level with every passing week with another productive performance on return to the senior team. Gibcus hauled in 12 marks and had 18 disposals and was one of several shining lights for the Tigers on the night.
H is For Higgins the Hero: The night was primed for the return of the Giants’ star small forward/midfielder Toby Greene, however, it was Jack Higgins for the Saints that wreaked havoc. The crafty forward followed up a career-best five goals against the Suns with four goals, which could have been more due to inaccurate kicking. He also had 18 disposals and nine marks which keeps him six goals off the Coleman medal race and within All-Australian contention.
I is For Inaccuracy inside 50: The Gold Coast Suns may have suffered a 52-point loss at the hands of the Brisbane Lions, but they led the overall inside 50 count by four. The likes of Noah Anderson and David Swallow toiled away for there to be little damage done on the scoreboard and it’s clear the loss of Ben King is really starting to hurt the Suns.
J is For Jezza: Jeremy Cameron was unstoppable in Hobart against the Kangaroos, kicking seven goals to end up with the greatest haul of goals in an AFL game at the venue. His skill in the air and on the ground was a sight to behold, dominating the hapless defence of the Roos to help his team to a 10-goal win.
K is For Keays to Success: Prolific ball-winner Ben Keays was instrumental in his side’s upset win over the Bulldogs. Gathering 33 disposals (16 contested), eight clearances, and 624 metres gained, the 25-year-old surged the ball forward on countless occasions for the Crows. In arguably career-best form, Keays is fast becoming one of the prime movers in the AFL.
L is For Lached and loaded: After missing last week’s game, Lachie Schultz played a pivotal role in Fremantle’s 35-point win against Carlton. The small forward was dominant on the ground, scoring three goals, taking 11 marks, and collecting 16 disposals to help lead his team to victory.
M is For Mayde tough: We know Steven May is one of the toughest footballers in the competition, and this was further credentialed in the first quarter when he went back with the flight of the ball and hammered into the goalpost at the Punt Road end. While the post was left shaken for a good few minutes post-contact, May bounced straight back up and was immediately part of the Demons’ transition which led to their first goal of the night.
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N is For Not Your Average Sub: For Sydney and Hawthorn, the rise of respective young nucleus’ in the midfield has led to unfamiliar sights, namely Liam Shiels and Josh P. Kennedy (with a combined 528 games experience) lining up as their side’s respective medical sub. While Shiels was not needed, Kennedy was brought on to replace Paddy McCartin, and in just a quarter and a half of game time, amassed 11 touches, two clearances, and showed the impact he’d been missing for most of the year so far.
O is For Oliver’s clearance sale: He took some time to build into the game with minimal ball in the first quarter, but once he started getting his hands on the ball, Clayton Oliver did what Clayton Oliver does best: extract the football and rack up valuable possessions for fun. Oliver had 13 clearances from his 41 possessions which won him the Frank ‘Checker’ Hughes Medal adjudged best on ground.
P is for Paddy’s Pain: The football world felt the pain of Paddy McCartin, who was subbed out of Sydney’s win over Hawthorn with his ninth concussion, sustained in a contest with Chad Wingard. Although reportedly precautionary, McCartin could not hide his disappointment over another head knock, and the football world’s hearts went out to him.
Q is For Quackle: To quackle is to suffocate, and Geelong’s defence definitely suffocated North Melbourne’s forward line. The Roos had just four goals to three-quarter time, with the Cats backline back to its form of the past couple of years. Zach Tuohy led all players on the ground with 32 disposals, Tom Stewart had nine marks and newcomer Sam De Koning kept Nick Larkey scoreless. Mark Blicavs, Jake Kolodjashnij, Jed Bews, and Tom Atkins also had excellent games, the Cats are in good shape if the back seven can continue to gel throughout the year.
R is For Resurrection for the ages: Look away now, Bombers fans. Joe Daniher is one off the lead for the Coleman medal after Round 6 with 19 goals, after booting another three against the Suns. The big man has formed a lethal partnership with Charlie Cameron and Dan McStay and continues to compete after seasons on the sidelines. Rating elite for contested marks, and averaging 3.2 goals a game, credit must go to Daniher and the Brisbane Lions medical staff for his complete career turnaround in form and health.
S is For Sliding Giants could still build: In a star-studded line-up, Toby Greene was seen as someone who could help spark the Giants’ season, he almost did, kicking 1.2 from set shots and 14 disposals. Braydon Preuss might also be another piece of the puzzle that could help resurrect the season for the Giants after displaying his skills with 47 hit-outs, 13 disposals, and a goal. GWS have only won one game this year, its Round 3 clash against the other expansion club, Gold Coast.
T is For Third-quarter Blues: They’ve started the season well, but Carlton just can’t seem to shake its third-quarter woes. After trailing at halftime, the Blues’ trend of concerning scores in the third quarter continued, as the Dockers piled on a further four goals and could only manage two of their own, both kicked by skipper Patrick Cripps.
U is For Unequalled Atmosphere: There is absolutely nothing like the Anzac Day match between Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG. The respect that is paid to those that came before us and fought for our freedom is befitting of what they did for us all. The Last Post still sends shivers down the spine, and a minute’s stark silence has all the more impact when there are 84,000 people observing it. Once the ball is bounced, the contest seems all the more desperate due to the context behind the day. This truly is the most finals-like match without actually being a final.
V is For Very Irritating Small to Medium Forwards: Jack Ginnivan was Collingwood’s match-winner, kicking five goals and winning the Anzac Day Medal. He responded after one of his early goals by making the “shush” motion to the Essendon crowd, which only served to rile the Bomber faithful even more. He was almost matched at the other end by Alec Waterman. The ex-West Coast forward kicked four goals of his own in a valiant effort to lift the Bombers across the line, but the Magpies had just enough in the tank at the final siren.
W is For What Just Happened? Sydney was left scratching its head as a hungry Hawthorn outfit had 32 unanswered points on the board in just 10 minutes of football. Before long, however, it was the Hawks on the backburner with the Swans taking control from there, with a 109-36 scoreline that turned a disaster completely on its head and saw the Swans skip away to a big win with nine goals in the last quarter.
X is For X-Factor for Todd? Has Todd Marshall become Port’s X-factor? He’s produced two bags of five and took a beautiful one-handed mark to add to his highlights package. Winning the fans over…slowly.
Y is For Yeah, this is bad: The Eagles are in all sorts and only two weeks after Port Adelaide was held to one goal in three quarters, they themselves were held to the same fate. Could a second wooden spoon be coming to the Eagles?
Z Is For Zipping Zac: Zac Bailey claimed the Marcus Ashcroft Medal with the Gold Coast unable to stop the dominance of the lively small forward who kicked six goals. The 22-year-old’s star continues to rise as he can be damaging on the scoreboard and in the contest. There is little doubt that he will play a key role in the Lions’ premiership tilt.
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