AFL Rd 5 - Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: Ben Cunnington of the Kangaroos looks on from the bench during the 2020 AFL Round 05 match between the Western Bulldogs and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium on July 04, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

From the second coming of Wayne Carey to the twenty-first coming of Eddie McGuire controversy, the AFL this week served up plenty of hits and just as many misses.

HITSΒ 

Ruthless Giants

Despite recording just 26 inside-50s, the Giants got 18 scoring shots, running out 34-point winners over the Hawks on Sunday night. Jeremy Finlayson and Harry Himmelberg were giants in the forward line, bagging four goals each. The Giants could realistically come close to doubling that inside-50 count – that’s one scary thought for all opposition coaches.

Daniel “Duck “McStay

Demons great Garry Lyon had some serious praise for Lions forward Daniel McStay today, likening his weekend performance to that of Wayne Carey. The 25-year-old took eight marks (five contested) in the Lions’ big win, kicked a goal, and was a focal point all day.

Fyfe and Fremantle

The Dockers recorded their first win of the season on the weekend, and that was without captain Nat Fyfe. But they won’t be without him for long, according to coach Justin Longmuir, who expects him to play this week “at this stage” as he recovers from a hamstring injury. That’s some light at the end of the tunnel – and after what looked a dark, dismal path forward just a week ago for the Dockers.

Dylan Shiel

Dylan Shiel produced what Bombers legend Tim Watson called his best performance in Essendon colours on Friday night. The midfielder racked up 29 disposals, seven clearances, six inside-50s and a goal in one of the most complete performances by any player, surely, this season. And all in the wet, too.

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The Little Master

It was both Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett’s night on Saturday, celebrating their 300th and 350th games respectively. And while Selwood’s been a champion, Gaz, at the age of 36, is still doing things only he can.

He put the icing on an already well-decorated cake by casually slotting a regulation drop punt from 55 metres out directly through the goals. We wish him and his family all the best, too, after he shared the news his son is suffering from a degenerative disease.

MISSES

Eddie McGuire

It was “just a bad night” for Steele Sidebottom, but it could have been enough to warrant a $100,000 fine and a season-long ban, at least according to his own president.

Eddie’s critics dug into the archives and caught the Collingwood president insisting on severe fines for the next player to breach the AFL’s COVID protocols. Just a bad night for Ed on Footy Classified, too, I guess…

Ben Cunnington

A visibly limited Ben Cunnington cut a sad sight on Saturday night, looking seriously hampered in his movement and spending large swathes of the match on the bench. Surely he wasn’t right to go after missing the last fortnight with a back injury?

Hardwick’s Hubbub

Round 5 saw Dimma’s Tigers finally back on the winners’ list, but more of his players on the injury table. Toby Nankervis and Dion Prestia (syndesmosis), Trent Cotchin (hamstring) and Tom Lynch (finger) were all casualties from Richmond’s win over the Demons on Sunday.

Plus Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards have opted to not enter the Tigers’ hub up north, choosing to stay with their partners (Houli’s partner has already given birth to a boy, while Edwards’ partner is expecting in August). Let’s hope Hardwick can get a side on the park next Sunday.

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Ball tracking when ready, please…

That’s what we needed on Friday night, when the goal umpire did an impressive job of spoiling Jordan De Goey’s shot at goal in the third quarter. Pitching on the goal-line, turning late, and…we’ll never know.

Simon “Really in need of a” Goodwin

As it stands, most coaches look safe – those heading teams at the bottom of the ladder are new coaches, while the underperforming Tigers and Eagles are hardly close to relieving their premiership winning coaches of their duties.

Except for one – Simon Goodwin, whose sensational 2018 season is more than beginning to be cancelled out by a torrid run since then. After the weekend’s loss, they occupy the same position they finished last season in – second last. Facing the Suns on Saturday evening, no one more than Goodwin is in need of a victory.

Adieu, Melbourne

The home of football won’t be seeing anything of the kind for weeks to come, as all 10 Victorian clubs head interstate in response to the second wave of COVID-19 spreading through Victoria. The leg up sides like West Coast and Port Adelaide will get playing in front of crowds could be significant – a Victorian side might miss and an interstate club might make finals on the back of it.