AFL 2022: Round 5 report card, Melbourne, Fremantle impress, North Melbourne, West Coast, Essendon, GWS fail

Several teams came away with A-plus grades after impressive wins, while their opponents ended up with fails.

A couple of Round 5 losers got a pass mark for their efforts, but two Good Friday beltings left a pair with D grades.

Every team’s performance analysed and graded in foxfooty.com.au’s Round 5 Report Card.

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ADELAIDE

Adelaide recorded its second win of the year with victory over Richmond in Round 5. Despite finishing -10 in inside 50s and -6 in centre clearances, the Crows’ found a way to regularly hit the scoreboard, thanks to five goals from star Taylor Walker. Adelaide kicked six of seven straight goals to open up a big lead midway through the second term and survived a Tigers fightback in the third to run out 19-point winners.

In the votes

Taylor Walker owned the match against the Tigers. He kicked three goals in the opening term to put the Richmond defence on the back foot and had a fourth just a minute into the second. Elliot Himmelberg did the damage in the second half with four goals. Ben Keays was influential in the middle with six clearances before half time. Young Josh Rachele continues to impress in his debut season, kicking 2.2 from his 11 disposals.

Room for improvement

The Crows’ defence struggled to contain Richmond’s tall duo of Noah Balta and Tom Lynch early. Jordan Dawson didn’t have his usual impact from his 24 possessions and eight intercepts. Lachlan Gollant struggled to find the ball with just nine disposals, going at just 444 per cent disposal efficiency and failing to hit the scoreboard.
Grade

A

Walker powers Crows in win over Tigers | 02:11

BRISBANE LIONS

It might’ve been closer than they would’ve liked, but the Lions ultimately won through courtesy of a brilliant second quarter and some poise in the clutch. They’re sitting very pretty at the moment despite last week’s loss to Geelong. It’s going to be hard to beat them at the Gabba, injuries continue to be few and far between … Joe Daniher is even kicking straight! There are several teams 4-1, but the Lions may look the best of them at this point.

In the votes

Joe Daniher continues to fire on all cylinders, kicking four goals to add to an impressive tally from just five rounds this season. Lachie Neale was superb in game 200, breaking a Scott Pendlebury tag and finishing with 33 disposals and a goal. Dayne Zorko continues to look bad but play well despite his leg complaint and Hugh McCluggage was great on the wing once again.

Room for improvement

Collingwood was able to dictate much of the first quarter and the Lions’ transition game was stopped in its tracks. It was a period of dominance in the second term that saw them win out in the end. It wasn’t as dominant as the Lions can be but ultimately it was enough. Overall, however, it was a pretty polished performance.

Grade

A

Lions roar past Magpies | 01:40

CARLTON

The Blues put in an A-grade opening half, with a 49-point lead as the club looked on track for its first 60-point plus win since 2014. But the intensity dropped off in the third term as Port Adelaide made them pay with a six-goals to one third term. Only Port’s wayward goal radar saved the Blues by the final siren, as Carlton held on for a three-point win. They managed just two goals after half time, and were beaten -4 for marks inside 50.

In the votes

Charlie Curnow was the five-goal hero for the Blues when they needed someone to step up. His fifth sealed the game and secured Carlton’s fourth win of season 2022. Sam Walsh ran hot from the opening bounce, collecting 16 disposals in a scintillating first term. The midfielder racked up 38 disposals, four clearances and eight score involvements. He had plenty of support from George Hewett (33 touches) and Adam Cerra (32). Jacob Weitering was important in the final term to repel Port’s attempts to kick that elusive winning goal.

Room for improvement

How the Blues almost blew a 50-point lead was concerning. Ultmately, they couldn’t stop Port from scoring off Carlton turnovers. While Harry McKay provided an excellent contest and a key target forward, his goalkicking could use a little work. A set shot from directly in front that sprayed out of bounds on the full was the worst of the lot.

Grade

A-

Carlton hand Port fifth straight loss! | 03:28

COLLINGWOOD

The Pies might’ve lost three games in a row, but they’re exceeding expectations with the way they’re playing and scoring and all three of those losses were in close contests. There’s a lot to like about this side, even though their on-field age demographic doesn’t exactly gel with the ‘rebuild’ mentality the club currently appears to be taking. Next week’s ANZAC Day clash with Essendon can’t come soon enough.

In the votes

Jack Crisp was fantastic through the middle of the ground, finishing with a game-high 36 disposals, while Scott Pendlebury continues to perform despite his tag on Lachie Neale not panning out as hoped. Jordan de Goey kicked four goals in a forward line without Brody Mihocek while Nathan Kreuger and Reef McInnes looked very good up forward.

Room for improvement

They were blown off the park in the second quarter and it proved the difference by the end of the match. Brodie Grundy played well below his best and the Pies as a result struggled at clearance even with a big hitout advantage.

Grade

B-

‘No influence’: Pies’ Cox slammed | 01:07

ESSENDON

Essendon needed to put up a fight against a young Dockers team that hadn’t proven themselves on the road. Instead, the Bombers became “witches hats” in a second half display that has been widely savaged by AFL critics. Essendon was smashed in the clearances, could not contain the run and carry, and managed just three goals after half-time compared to Fremantle’s 10.

In the votes

Nic Martin continues to shine in a forward line that struggled against the Dockers. The young West Aussie didn’t even have an AFL deal at the start of the year, but finished with 17 disposals, two goals and three clearances working off the wing. Sam Draper also gave his best against Sean Darcy, to win 30 hitouts. He made his presence felt in a couple of big contests and managed to hit the scoreboard too.

Room for improvement

Essendon cannot defend. For five rounds, teams have been rebounding with ease against a Bombers side that have been labelled “embarrassing”. Peter Wright just couldn’t get his hands on the footy against Docker Alex Pearce. The big forward finished goalless for the first time this season. Devon Smith was a big culprit for the Bombers’ wasted opportunities when they were still in the game in the first half, and finished with 0.3.
Grade

F

Dissecting the many issues at the Dons | 05:41

FREMANTLE

The Dockers are sitting pretty in the top two for the first time in almost three years. Given they had a favourable draw to start the year, questions were asked over whether Fremantle were a real finals threat. But the 48-point win over Essendon showed the Dockers hold no fear home or away in 2022. Fremantle won all the stats that matter and finished +36 in possessions, +12 inside 50s, +12 in clearances and +6 in marks inside 50. Their run of 10 straight goals put the match beyond doubt.

In the votes

Matt Taberner kicked a career-high seven goals against the Bombers. Two of those came directly from free kicks, but it was the delivery he received from his midfield that impressed. Without skipper Nat Fyfe, Andrew Brayshaw (34 disposals, five clearances) stood tall, alongside Caleb Serong (30 touches, six inside 50s) and potential recruit of the year Will Brodie (26 possessions, nine clearances). Alex Pearce, who came into the side at the expense of Round 4 coaches’ vote getter Griffin Logue, showed why he is considered the Dockers’ number one defender.

Room for improvement

While Matt Taberner had a day out, fellow big man Rory Lobb continues to struggle. The big forward finished with just 12 touches and 0.1 against a poor defensive unit. Young Heath Chapman made a few uncharacteristic errors in a quiet 15-disposal game by his standards. Sean Darcy was also quiet early, with no possessions to quarter time but stepped up when Freo fired in the third term.

Grade

A+

The secret to Freo’s rich vein of form | 02:03

GEELONG CATS

The Cats fought hard against Hawthorn in an Easter Monday blockbuster at the MCG but didn’t come away with the four points. The loss means Geelong slide to seventh after five rounds. Despite finishing +21 in hit-outs, the Cats couldn’t capitalise winning clearances by just one. They also failed to take advantage of their stunning +13 marks inside 50, with inaccuracy early costing them on the scoreboard. Geelong finished with just 11 goals despite taking 18 marks inside forward 50.

In the votes

The Cats welcomed back veteran Joel Selwood and star Tom Stewart, and both stepped up on the big stage. Selwood finished with 26 disposals – 17 of those contested, 10 tackles, seven clearances, nine inside 50s and five intercepts. Stewart went at 89% efficiency from his 27 touches as he marshalled the backline. Forward trio Tom Hawkins, Tyson Stengle and Jeremy Cameron each kicked three goals in a losing performance.

Room for improvement

Mark O’Connor had the chance to push the lead out to 16 points in the third term, but cannoned it into the post. It summed up O’Connor’s day with just 10 touches and two free kicks against. Patrick Dangerfield didn’t have his usual influence on the game, with 17 disposals and 1.1. Luke Dahlhaus was largely ineffective with just one kick in his 10 disposals.

Grade

B-

Geelong press conference | 09:20

GOLD COAST SUNS

The Suns faded in Saturday’s 27-point loss to the Saints as Stuart Dew’s side simply couldn’t go with them for four quarters. An adductor injury to Mabior Chol added to their woes, but there’s still a lot to like about the direction of the rising Suns despite only having two wins on the board in 2022. They’ll face an even bigger challenge in next week’s QClash against the Lions.

In the votes

Touk Miller was busy through the midfield as per usual with 32 disposals, although bizarrely failed to lay a single tackle for the second-straight week. Sam Collins probably broke even in his epic battle against Max King. Although King kicked three goals, Collins had 14 disposals and took nine marks to at times control the game through intercepts out of defence.

Room for improvement

The contrast in efficiency between the Suns and Saints inside 50 was stark, although the latter clearly has more talent in attack. Gold Coast actually won the inside 50 count 56-53, but only had 15 scoring shots to St Kilda’s 22.

Grade

C+

Gold Coast Suns Press Conference | 09:00

GWS GIANTS

The Giants were belted by a Melbourne team that no side could match in the third quarter. But with coach Leon Cameron’s future on the line, GWS could not put their midfield dominance in the other three quarters to use on the scoreboard. Despite the massive 67-point loss, the Giants only went down -4 in the inside 50 count, finished equal in hitouts and won clearances +8. GWS’ inability to find a target inside 50 proved the difference, finishing -9 in forward 50 marks.

In the votes

Young Tom Green continues to show why he is considered one of the best talents in the game, with 34 disposals and six clearances. But he was a big offender for inaccuracy, finishing with 0.3. Veteran Callan Ward continued to fight, with 34 touches. Finn Callaghan also showed promise in his first AFL game, with 13 disposals, three score involvements and two intercepts. Matt Flynn impressed in just his 15th AFL game against the best ruck combo in the AFL. He ended up with 27 hitouts, 11 disposals and a goal.

Room for improvement

GWS need to find a dominant forward. Jesse Hogan managed just one goal from his six disposals, while Harry Himmelberg had one goal from 11 touches. Two goals from the two key forwards isn’t enough return for a side that held their own in clearances. The Giants recruited Jarrod Brander in 2022, but he has failed to cement his spot in the line up and did not face the Demons.

Grade

F

Bucks: I feel for Cameron at Giants | 02:04

HAWTHORN

The Hawks pulled off an Easter Monday stunner, overrunning Geelong to kick four goals to none in the final term. Hawthorn were super efficient inside forward 50 in the third term, despite the Cats having all the run to score three goals from four entries. The young Hawks mids won the footy at the stoppage, despite losing the hitout count -21.

In the votes

Sam Frost was given the task on big Tom Hawkins, and other than a controversial free kick in the third term, held his own against his bigger opponent. Frost finished with nine intercepts and 15 disposals. Jack Scrimshaw also worked back to help out in defence, while Jai Newcombe was a standout in the middle. The youngster put his body on the line early and ended up with 31 touches and six inside 50s. Dylan Moore kicked four first half goals, while veteran Jack Gunston delivered with three goals from 11 disposals.

Room for improvement

While they started and finished the match wellm the hawks were dominated in the second and third terms, conceding 10.6 to 5.1. Jaeger O’Meara only had 15 touches for the day, althogh five of them came in the last quarter when his team needed them most.

Grade

A

Hot Hawks soar past Cats in thriller | 02:33

MELBOURNE

Reigning premiers Melbourne sent the competition a warning on Saturday night, as they completely destroyed GWS at the MCG. The Demons put on a clinic in the third term, kicking 10 goals to two as they simply found another gear. Their 19 goals in the highest they’ve kicked this season, after taking 13 marks inside 50 compared to GWS’ four. Eleven players had more than 20 touches in a remarkable team effort.

In the votes

It’s almost conceivable to put 22 players in here. Bayley Fritsch fired with four goals, Kozzy Pickett had three and was important at locking the ball inside forward 50. Max Gawn was the dominant ruckman and kicked two goals. Luke Jackson was impressive in patches while the defensive structure, led by Steven May and Jake Lever, ensured the Giants could only manage seven goals – two of those in the final term. Christian Petracca finished with 30 touches in another day out.

Room for improvement

Sam Weideman’s spot could be on the line after failing to take advantage of his side’s dominance against GWS. The youngster kicked one goal from his eight touches. With premiership forward Ben Brown able to return next week from his VFL suspension, it will be up to the Dees selectors to determine who gets the role in Round 6.

Grade

A+

Kingy lauds Dees: ‘They blow you apart!’ | 02:14

NORTH MELBOURNE

In their marquee Good Friday game, the Roos struggled to get going. The match was effectively over by quarter-time as North Melbourne conceded eight goals to one. The Shinboners did fight back in the second, but were outclassed in the second half in the 68-point defeat. The Kangaroos finished -139 in disposals and -22 in inside 50s for the clash, despite an even clearance count.

In the votes

Nick Larkey finished his day with 4.2 from 12 disposals, but three of those goals did come in the final term when the match was well and truly over. Tristan Xerri showed his potential as the club’s leading ruckman with 20 disposals, 26 hitouts and five score involvements. Impressively, he went at 85% disposal efficiency. Luke Davies-Uniacke and Jy Simpkin won plenty of the footy, but struggled to make it count on the scoreboard.

Room for improvement

Jack Ziebell’s move forward was a masterstroke in Round 4 but proved ineffective from the opening minute against the Dogs. A dropped mark on the first play inside forward 50 summed up a dirty day for the skipper. Todd Goldstein couldn’t get near it as he was well beaten by opponent Tim English. The big man had just four disposals and 19 hitouts on Friday. The Roos forward line produced just six goals – four of those coming from Larkey. Prized draftee Jason Horne-Francis struggled, with 18 touches and just 44% efficiency.

Grade

D

Dogs tear apart Kangaroos | 01:46

PORT ADELAIDE

Port Adelaide gets a pass mark for its thrilling fightback against the Blues. The MCG clash was truly a game of two halves as the Power allowed Carlton to get out to a 50-point lead before storming home. The Port Adelaide of the second half applied so much forward pressure, the ball camped out in their attacking 50. Their defence stood tall against Carlton’s big men, while the young Power midfield – led by first game ruckman Sam Hayes, won the footy in the centre of the ground. The Power finished +50 for marks and +4 for marks inside forward 50, but ultimately fell just three points short.

In the votes

Zak Butters did everything he could to pull Port Adelaide back into the contest at the MCG. The youngster, who had 32 disposals, six clearances and eight score involvements, looked to go corridor all match. And while he was behind one bad turnover that resulted in a goal to the Blues, his endeavour to try and take the game on didn’t go unnoticed. Veteran Robbie Gray was influential when it mattered, finishing with three goals. Ryan Burton, in his milestone match, was impressive with 29 touches and two goals.

Room for improvement

Imagine if the Power showed the same intensity they produced in the second half in the first half too? Hard to win a game when you’re down by 50 points late in the second term. Defender Aliir Aliir had a return to forget against Carlton’s tall duo of Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow. Aliir was out-muscled and caught out of position throughout the match.

Grade

C

“An April fools joke!” Ben Dixon on Port | 04:04

RICHMOND

The Tigers are sitting in the middle of the pack at 2-3 after the loss to Adelaide. Their forwards looked good in patches but were unable to put in a four-quarter effort. They finished +10 in inside 50s, +6 in centre clearances and +12 in hitouts but couldn’t make the most of their first use. The 33-13 free kick count against them didn’t help the cause at Adelaide Oval.

In the votes

Nick Vlastuin found plenty of the footy in his first game for season 2022. The defender finished with 21 touches, nine marks, 10 intercepts and five score involvements. Nathan Broad also made a welcome return with six intercepts and 15 touches. Shai Bolton was unable to hit the scoreboard but was impressive in the middle with 10 clearances.

Room for improvement

Robbie Tarrant couldn’t go with Elliot Himmelberg in the second half. Himmelberg had both a height and reach advantage that the Crows made the most of. Jack Riewoldt had a rough day with just seven touches. He managed two goals from his three shots but was ineffective when down the other end, Taylor Walker had five.
Grade

C

Toby Nankervis defies nasty head clash! | 00:46

ST KILDA

The Saints are back in business! Coached by Brendon Lade due to Brett Ratten missing through Covid protocols, St Kilda charged into the top four after an emphatic win over the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday, piling on seven goals to Gold Coast’s three in the second half. The Saints will suddenly be daring to dream about what they can accomplish this season behind a much more exciting brand as the competition’s second-highest scoring team.

In the votes

Jack Higgins was largely the difference in the match, booting a career-best five goals in a best-on-ground performance. Jade Gresham (25 disposals, two goals) continued his strong return from an injury-cruelled 2021 season, while Jack Steele (27 disposals, seven marks and six tackles) was at his brilliant best. But it was an overall great team performance in what would really please Saints fans.

Room for improvement

It’s hard to be too critical of a Saints side that absorbed the Suns’ pressure in the first half before overwhelming them, while winning essentially every key statistic. The big focus for the Saints now is to perform under added expectations — something they’ve struggled to do in the past.

Grade

A

Higgins nails FIVE in career-best game | 01:38

SYDNEY SWANS

Sydney headed west without injured superstar Lance Franklin, but owned the match from the opening bounce. The Eagles simply had no answer for the Swans run, as the visitors finished +36 in the inside 50 count in a record high. Sydney smacked West Coast at the stoppage, with +12 for the match, while their forwards stood tall, taking 15 marks inside 50 – compared to just six at the other end of the ground.

In the votes

Isaac Heeney’s work forward continues to impress. The 25-year-old now has 14 goals in five games after kicking 3.2 against the Eagles. Heeney’s ability to push forward was highlighted when he outran opponent Liam Duggan to mark and goal from 20m out. Heeney simply put the burners on and left Duggan for dead as he streamed forward. Sydney’s midfield unit also had a day out, sharing the load and spoils. Nine Swans players had 20 disposals or more against the Eagles, with Callum Mills the highest with 28. The McCartin brothers are also putting their names up for All Australian contention, as the duo prove almost impassable in the Swans backline.

Room for improvement

Sam Reid is slowly finding his match fitness in just his second game for the year. But he was largely ineffective against the Eagles. Just 12 disposals to his name, and failed to hit the scoreboard, Reid’s best work was done as the back up ruckman.

Grade

A+

Swans destroy Eagles | 02:14

WEST COAST EAGLES

Heading home on a high from a stunning win over Collingwood in Melbourne, the Eagles made six changes to that side to face Sydney on Good Friday. But the decision to rush back a host of players like skipper Luke Shuey, Jamie Cripps, Tim Kelly and Elliot Yeo, at the expense of young players like Xavier O’Neill did not pay off. West Coast were embarrassed by the Swans in a one-sided contest. Only a final quarter shootout added some respectability to the scoreboard for the Eagles as they kicked five goals. West Coast had only managed four goals for the game up until that point as their big forwards struggled to have an impact.

In the votes

Patrick Naish is continuing to show he deserves to play in the AFL. Naish, the former Tiger who was without an AFL deal until weeks out from the season start, was handed a lifeline by the Eagles with their final list spot. He is one of just three Eagles to play all five games this seasons, and against the Swans collected 26 disposals and had seven intercepts.

Room for improvement

Where do the Eagles begin? Staring down a 1-4 start to the season facing just one of last year’s finalists, West Coast’s season will only get tougher from here. Forward Jack Darling continues to struggle after his personal Covid vaccine decision delayed his return to the club. He’s now played four games for just three goals, averaging just 9.5 disposals a game. Bailey Williams failed to stamp his authority in his new role as the number one ruckman in the absence of Nic Naitanui. The 22-year-old Williams had just 14 hitouts against Swan Peter Ladhams. Without Jeremy McGovern, the Eagles were opened up too easily in defence.

Grade

F

West Coast look ‘all at sea’ | 01:16

WESTERN BULLDOGS

The Western Bulldogs needed a win to keep their 2022 campaign on track. And the Dogs blew the game apart in a blistering opening term where they put on eight goals with a new-look forward line. Skipper Marcus Bontempelli had an immediate impact forward with two goals and a goal assist for the Bulldogs’ first three scores. The Dogs, who struggled with accuracy in the Round 4 clash with Richmond, solved that problem against the Roos, kicking 21 goals.

In the votes

A career-high five goals from Cody Weightman was an impressive feat, while star forward Aaron Naughton finished with 5.3 from his 12 disposals. But it was the move of Marcus Bontempelli that was a masterclass by coach Luke Beveridge. Bontempelli gave the Dogs another option desperately needed in a forward line missing Josh Bruce. Tim English is continuing to shine in his contract year, with 22 disposals and 22 hitouts. Bailey Smith was the dominant Bulldog with 43 possessions, seven inside 50s and three intercepts.

Room for improvement

Young Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is struggling to get near the footy. The prized draft pick is in the side to provide some relief for star Aaron Naughton, but he is yet to find his feet. Five touches and just one goal in a game against a club like North Melbourne isn’t enough to guarantee selection next week.

Grade

A

Western Bulldogs press conference | 12:50

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