Entertainment came thick and fast over the weekend, although some (read Alastair Clarkson) were less than impressed with the standard of footy on show. Here are all the big talking points to come out of round four in the 2020 AFL Premiership.
Blues, Giants, Cats and Hawks all win by under a goal
Toby Greene and Josh Kelly made exceptional returns for the GWS Giants and got them over the line by two points against a Collingwood side that was very inefficient in front of goal for the entire night.
Carlton was the second team to win by under a goal, scraping home by a lone point against Essendon after Jacob Townsend’s last-minute shot on goal fell agonisingly short.
The Geelong Cats followed that the trend on Sunday when they overcame Melbourne by three points in another low-scoring affair at the MCG.
North Melbourne bounded home in the final quarter of the late game on Sunday, but Hawthorn did just about enough to hold on by four points.
Can Matthew Rowell win the 2020 Brownlow Medal?
Forget about the AFL Rising Star award – that’s in the bag for Matt Rowell, who is now looming as a contender for one of the game’s top individual accolades.
Since the restart, Rowell has put in three best-on-ground performances and collected maximum votes from the coaches to burst into Brownlow Medal discussions.
His odds have plummeted to $8 at Sportsbet, making him the third favourite in the market behind only Lachie Neale ($4.33) and Patrick Cripps ($6.50).
While this may be an overreaction to the no.1 draft pick’s recent form, we cannot deny that he more than likely has at least seven Brownlow votes in the bag.
Rowell’s Gold Coast Suns have also firmed in the AFL Premiership market, as their odds have dropped to $41 from $126 in the last fortnight.
Did the Saints make the best trades over the offseason?
Our original reaction to St Kilda’s recent trade decisions wasn’t positive, but we could not have been more wrong about the acquisitions of Dan Butler, Zac Jones, Brad Hill and Dougal Howard.
Butler was best on ground against Richmond on Saturday, kicking three big goals against his former club and applying excellent pressure in the forward half.
Jones and Hill overran the Tigers with their speed through the midfield, which has become a feature of the Saints under Brett Ratten.
St Kilda has now beaten the Western Bulldogs and Richmond convincingly, which begs the question: can this team keep it up and make an impact in finals?
Inaccurate Neale ruins punter’s mega multi
The Brisbane Lions demolished the Adelaide Crows over the weekend, but Chris Fagan would have been less than thrilled with his side’s 21 behinds from 31 scoring shots.
Hugh McCluggage and Lachie Neale were the chief culprits in that lopsided ledger, kicking 11 minor scores between them.
McCluggage did sneak one through the middle, but Neale finished the game with six straight behinds – much to the chagrin of anyone who had backed him to boot a major.
For one unlucky punter, Neale’s failure to salute in the anytime goalscorer market ruined a 10-leg multi that would have paid around $20,000.
A goal will always be worth six points, but six behinds will never count as a goal.
Who could have predicted this top four?
It is hard to imagine anyone could have expected the AFL ladder would look like this after four rounds.
Leading the way are the Port Adelaide Power, who are yet to drop a game in 2020, closely followed by the Gold Coast Suns with three wins after their first-round loss to Port.
If you told us four months ago that the Suns would be second after four rounds, we would have laughed in your face, but they are quickly becoming the most watchable team in the league.
Brisbane and Hawthorn round out the top four despite some less than inspiring performances since the restart, with Collingwood two points back in fifth place.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Tigers (14th) and Eagles (16th) are sitting in their lowest ladder positions in the past five years.
Also outside the top eight are the Giants (10th) and Bulldogs (13th), although only percentage separates them from sixth-placed Geelong.
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