Dylan Shiel hunts the ball in Essendon's Smithy's VFL Round 5 match against Collingwood at Victoria Park. Photo: Rob Lawson/AFL Photos

A review of all the action from Round 5 of the 2024 Smithy’s VFL season.


RICHMOND                 4.0        7.2        11.4     15.5 (95)
CASEY DEMONS       4.2        7.4        10.8     11.9 (75)

RICHMOND once again proved itself as a team that deserves the ultimate respect after wearing down the Casey Demons by 20 points in a seesawing Anzac Eve clash at Swinburne Centre on Wednesday.

The Tigers kicked clear at the start of every quarter only to have the Demons haul them back in on each occasion, but they stayed tougher for longer and eventually ran away with the last four goals of the game to record their third victory in four matches.

It has been a remarkable effort given the club’s hefty injury list that contains 12 AFL-listed players, most of them long-termers, plus four on the VFL list that includes three who won’t be back any time soon.

While they did regain VFL star Joel Garner, plus Tyler Sonsie, Steely Green and Jacob Koschitzke for this game, they still only fielded seven AFL-listed players to the Demons’ 14 and copped another serious blow with youngster Will Bravo suffering a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter.

Richmond got the jump with three goals in the first nine minutes but Casey was quick to respond, with ruckman Will Verrall kicking two quick ones as it booted the next four to take the lead.

Austin Johnson had the last say of the first term and it sparked the Tigers to repeat the dose as Koschitzke stamped his authority with back-to-back goals before the visitors once again responded and hit the lead by the main break through the in-form Josh Schache and recruit Shane McAdam in his first game for his new club.

Koschitzke kicked his fourth at the start of the third term and Richmond broke 17 points clear again, but once more the Demons hit back, with a screamer from McAdam highlighting a run that saw them hit the lead for a third time a minute after the final break.

But with the former Crow being rested in the last quarter, the Demons lost a little X-factor and the Tigers were able to run away with it as Matt Coulthard kicked the last two goals to finish with three for the game and seal the deal.

Koschitzke finished with six marks and four goals in an impressive response to being dropped from the AFL team, while Sonsie (32 disposals, 10 clearances, seven inside-50s, one goal), skipper Lachie Street (26 disposals, eight marks, seven rebounds), Chad Harris (26 disposals, 12 marks, five rebounds) all starred and Garner had 22 touches on his return.

Adam Tomlinson did as he pleased in defence for the Demons, racking up 38 disposals, taking 15 marks and delivering eight rebounds, while Marty Hore plucked 10 grabs in support, Lachie Hunter gathered 23 and McAdam ended with three goals from 11 touches and five marks in limited game-time.

Richmond dominated hitouts 49-14 and had 10 goalkickers to five but Casey’s talls were still prolific, with Tom Fullarton having 25 touches, eight marks and two goals, Schache taking 10 marks and kicking three majors and Verrall ending with 16 touches and his two goals.



WILLIAMSTOWN       3.1        12.3     12.6     15.11 (101)
WERRIBEE                    2.4        3.4        4.6        7.7 (49)

WILLIAMSTOWN produced the most devastating quarter of the season on its way to blasting Werribee by 52 points at DSV Stadium on Anzac Day.

Having been smacked by 93 points by the Tigers in the corresponding game last year, the Seagulls came prepared to play and received an extra boost when Werribee big man Sam Paea was forced off with a shoulder injury at the opening bounce.

The Seagulls defended strongly into the wind, taking a three-point lead to the first break, and took full advantage when they had their turn, piling on 9.2 to 1.0 against last year’s grand finalist, including a stunning 85m bomb from Mitch Cox for one of his three goals.

Werribee again failed to make an impression in their second effort with the wind, kicking just 1.2 to 0.3, and while they broke even in the last, there was no sting in the contest by then.

Williamstown’s DNA of intercepting and sling-shotting from defence was never more evident, despite its own significant injury when Fin O’Dwyer was forced off in that second quarter with concussion, sealing the big win despite losing inside-50 count by 10.

It was Luke Parks and Ryley Stoddart who lifted to cover the loss of O’Dwyer, with Parks taking eight intercept marks and delivering seven rebounds on his way to 20 disposals and Stoddart having 21 possessions, six marks and 10 rebounds. Corey Rich played the hit-up role to perfection with 18 possessions, 10 marks and a goal.

Tom Downie’s 46 hitouts gave his midfielders an armchair ride and Will Fordham (22 disposals, six clearances, six tackles, six entries) and Riley Collier-Dawkins (21 disposals, seven clearances, seven tackles) cashed in.

Dom Brew was sensational as always for the Tigers with game highs in disposals (25), clearances (seven), tackles (13) and inside-50s, with Angus Hicks (18 disposals, two goals), Kye Declase (23 disposals) and Jack Henderson (20 disposals) also doing well, while Sam Conway did win 35 hitouts against Downie.



GWS GIANTS                              2.4        5.9        9.13     13.16 (94)
NORTH MELBOURNE            4.2        5.6        8.10     9.13 (67)

REMEMBER the name Nick Madden.

The young Giant showed he is ready for AFL football as soon as an opportunity arises when he put on a rucking masterclass to secure GWS’s third-straight win and a spot in the top six by outlasting North Melbourne by 27 points at Blacktown International Sports Park on Friday.

The Giants needed a hero when Braydon Preuss hurt his hamstring running onto the ground to start the game, and they found one in the 204cm Academy graduate in just his 18th VFL game and still three weeks short of his 20th birthday.

Madden had 31 disposals, took eight marks, won 33 hitouts, 14 clearances and seven inside-50s in a stunning display that even outshone the brilliance of Josh Fahey (39 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles, five entries) and Nick Haynes (36 disposals, 17 marks, eight rebounds).

The Kangaroos were terrific early, booting four of the first five goals before Giants’ 50th gamer Lachie Keeffe got one back on quarter-time to set up an arm-wrestle for the next two quarters.

The home team started to take the ascendancy when Keeffe (two) and Max Gruzewski booted three in time-on of the third to take a nine-point lead turning for home. Tyler Sellers kicked his third for the Kangaroos early in the last, but that was their last hurrah as GWS eased away with the last four goals of the match.

Wade Derksen (23 disposals, 13 marks), Harry Rowston (25 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) also starred for the Giants, while Keeffe finished with four goals and Conor Stone three in attack.

Skipper Jack Watkins celebrated his 50th game for North Melbourne with another strong performance that yielded 26 disposals, 11 clearances and six inside-50s and Jarrod Lienert kept his team in it with 26 disposals, 14 marks and 10 rebounds down back.

Curtis Taylor (25 disposals, 14 marks, one goal), Miller Bergman (24 disposals, six marks), Liam Shiels (23 disposals 11 tackles, one goal) and Louis Butler (23 disposals, five marks, five rebounds) also shone.



FRANKSTON  2.4        5.6        9.7        11.10 (76)
COBURG         1.1        3.4        5.8        8.11 (59)

FRANKSTON climbed into the top four after claiming a third-straight win for the first time since 2021, holding a Josh D’Intinosante-inspired Coburg at arm’s length to win by 17 points at Kinetic Stadium on Friday night.

The Dolphins took 10 minutes to kick the first goal through Nick Burke and they were never headed, getting out by as much as 35 points in the final quarter without ever really shaking a Lions team that was still buzzing from its breakthrough win last week.

Seb Quirk starred at the coalface with 28 disposals (13 contested) and seven clearances, George Grey continued to build his mid-season draft prospects with 28 disposals, seven marks and six rebounds off half-back and Jackson Voss (23 disposals, six entries, six rebounds) submitted the latest nomination in what has been a remarkable five weeks of high marks.

But they weren’t alone, with Tyson Milne (23 disposals, 10 marks, eight rebounds), Burke and Noah Gown (three goals each) and debutant Taj Campbell-Farrell (17 disposals, 12 tackles) all impressing.

D’Intinosante on what must be becoming one of his favourite venues – having kicked a career-best three goals on his last visit to Frankston, went one better with 4.1 from 16 touches and five tackles as each major threatened to swing the game back in the Lions’ favour.

Joel Trudgeon continued to enjoy the freedom of opportunity, winning 28 possessions and laying 14 tackles to be the best of his teammates, Flynn Gentile (26 disposals), Lachlan Walker, Donovan Toohey and Luke Bailey (24 disposals) all performed well, Ryan Sturgess gave nothing away and Cooper Keogh (24 disposals, 38 hitouts, 11 clearances) was the best ruckman on the ground.



PORT MELBOURNE  5.3        9.5        10.6     13.7 (85)
GOLD COAST SUNS 2.5        3.9        9.15     12.18 (90)

LAST week it was a defensive act that rescued two points for Gold Coast, this week it was an attacking one as Alex Davies snapped a goal out of a scrimmage with less than a minute remaining to help the Suns steal a five-point win over a devastated Port Melbourne at ETU Stadium on Saturday.

While outwardly the Suns would have been disappointed to lose after having 30 scores to 20, they were outplayed for three of the four quarters and trailed for all but seven minutes either side of three-quarter time before kicking three goals in time-on to overturn a 15-point deficit and keep the Borough winless.

Port’s first half was sensational as it kicked five goals to two in the opening term and added four to one in the second to lead by 32 points at half-time before the Suns hit back with 6.6 to 1.1 in the third, including two to Ben Long, to take the lead.

The Borough kicked clear again with the first three goals of the final term – two to Billy Gowers – but couldn’t withstand that final push from the Suns.

Long was critical in attack for Gold Coast, even though his inaccuracy (3.4 from 19 disposals and seven marks) almost proved costly, Ned Moyle did as he pleased in the ruck with 24 possessions, seven marks, 35 hitouts, 11 clearances and eight inside-50s, Alex Sexton staked his claim for an AFL recall with a game-high 33 touches, 12 marks and nine rebounds and Levi Casboult took six marks and booted three goals.

Tom Highmore was sensational for Port Melbourne in his 100th NEAFL/VFL match, plucking 16 marks and delivering nine rebounds from his 26 disposals in the absence of Fraser Rosman, while Lachie Rankin (27 disposals, six marks, nine rebounds) and Tom Hird (22 disposals, six marks, eight rebounds) offered strong support.

Further afield, skipper Harvey Hooper (23 disposals, eight marks, eight clearances, one goal), Gowers (21 disposals, nine entries, three goals) and Robbie McComb  (24 disposals, six clearances, six tackles, one goal) did everything they could in what would have been a season-reviving win if the siren had gone 60 seconds earlier.



CARLTON                      1.0        2.3        6.4        8.7 (55)
GEELONG CATS         4.6        10.10   19.11   23.18 (156)

GEELONG provided the ultimate proof that it has been underestimated heading into this Smithy’s VFL season as it embarrassed Carlton 101 points at IKON Park on Saturday.

Only once before had the Cats been so devastating against the Blues as they fell just short of their highest score against them (160) and biggest winning margin (114), which happened in their 2002 premiership year.

And it happened from go to woah as Shannon Neale booted the opening goal after just 64 seconds and the Cats charged to a 24-point lead at quarter-time that should have been much higher at 4.6 to 1.0 before adding another six to one to blow the half-time margin out to 55.

And after Ashton Moir kicked the first of the third quarter for Carlton, the rout continued as Geelong piled on six goals in nine minutes on its way to nine for the term before it pushed its way beyond triple figures in the last.

The Cats recorded a stunning 75 inside-50s to Carlton’s 35, giving plentiful opportunities to Gary Rohan, who booted four goals to make it seven in two weeks as he chases his AFL spot back.

Toby Conway (20 disposals, 28 hitouts, six clearances, three goals), Ted Clohesy (26 disposals, seven marks, six entries, two goals), Mitch Hardie (29 disposals, 10 marks, seven entries), Emerson Jeka (23 disposals, 10 marks) and Mitch Knevitt (24 disposals, five marks, five clearances, six entries, one goal) also ran riot.

It’s unusual to say this of a second-year player, but Carlton really missed the drive of the finally promoted Jaxon Binns, with captain Lachie Young (28 disposals, six marks, 11 rebounds) being his team’s best in the last line of defence and Billy Wilson (22 disposals, nine rebounds) doing well beside him.



SOUTHPORT SHARKS           3.1        8.4        11.7     13.8 (86)
BRISBANE LIONS                     3.2        8.2        10.7     14.11 (95)

SOUTHPORT’s home fortress has been breached again, but this time it was a classic contest as the Brisbane Lions bounced back from a disappointing loss last week to claim a classic nine-point win at Fankhauser Reserve.

Neither team had been in great form, with the Lions falling to Geelong last week and the Sharks escaping against Essendon, but both brought their A-games in a contest that went virtually goal for goal for the entire day.

Southport made a break either side of half-time as it kicked five of seven goals to get out to a game-high 14 points in the sixth minute of the third term before the Lions hit back, squaring the scores in the opening minute of the last term through the impressive Ben Thomas and hitting the front four minutes later via the same source.

The Sharks regained the lead quickly, but their last goal came at the 11-minute mark of the last and the Lions were able to edge back to the lead and claim the victory.

Thomas enjoyed a breakout performance with his three goals, Bruce Reville (25 disposals, 10 marks) and Shadeau Brain (20 disposals, seven marks) laid claims to AFL debuts and Jarryd Lyons (24 disposals, 10 clearances, six tackles, one goal) and Harry Sharp (22 disposals, nine marks, two goals) demanding recalls.

Jacob Dawson returned in style with 32 possessions and 12 clearances for Southport, with Boyd Woodcock (20 disposals, two goals) still influential despite lower than usual numbers. Ben Jepson, Jackson Edwards and Mike Manteit hit strong form and Max Pescud (20 disposals two goals) and Brayden Crossley (45 hitouts) were also impressive.



SANDRINGHAM                       3.6        7.8        10.12   12.15 (87)
NORTHERN BULLANTS         0.4        1.8        2.9        3.12 (30)

SANDRINGHAM was untroubled in banking its second win of the season with a 57-point defeat of Northern Bullants at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

The Zebras eased away at every change, kicking three, four, three and two goals in a comfortable performance against an undermanned Bullants team that is struggling to hit the scoreboard without its full-strength team on the park.

The proof of that came from the inside-50 count, which went 49-47 in the Bullants’ favour.

It started in the middle after the Bullants lost ruckman Max Johnson early, with Zebra veteran Tom Campbell helping himself to 52 total hitouts for the game and adding 16 disposals and five clearances.

He set up Zak Jones (30 disposals, nine clearances, five entries, one goal) for a dominant display, while Angus Hastie rushed back from his Friday night St Kilda substitute role to have 25 touches and seven marks and Tom Blamires gathered 21, seven marks and five entries.

Of the returning trio, Ben Paton (22 disposals, eight marks, six rebounds) and club debutant Paddy Dow (22 disposals, six clearances) fired up and Matt Allison had 12 touches, while down back Arie Schoenmaker (27, seven marks, seven rebounds), Isaac Keeler (21 disposals, nine marks, six rebounds) and Mitch Ryan (20 disposals, seven marks, six rebounds) repelled everything and up forward Jack Hayes took six marks and kicked three goals and second gamer Will Vesely had eight grabs and three goals.

It was no surprise, though, that the Ants had three of the top four ball winners. Jean-Luc Velissaris (32 disposals, five marks, 10 clearances), Matt King (31 disposals, 11 marks) and Patrick Fairlie (28 disposals, seven tackles, six entries) continued to fight to hold back the tide.



COLLINGWOOD        3.4        3.9        8.13     11.19 (85)
ESSENDON                  2.5        8.10     9.14     13.19 (97)

IF IT wasn’t for the terrible kicking for goal, Essendon’s first win of the season – a 12-point triumph over Collingwood at Victoria Park – would have been lauded as one of the better games of the year.

Some of the finishing was nothing short of deplorable as the two teams sprayed a combined 24.38, with a vast majority of the misses being shots you would expect VFL/AFL players to put away.

But put that aside and it was a terrific contest between two desperate teams – the Magpies hoping to bounce back from an upset loss to Coburg and the Bombers searching for their maiden victory after failing to protect a 14-point lead in the last five minutes against Southport.

Collingwood dominated the first 15 minutes and should have been a lot further in front than the 12-point gap it had, and it was made to pay heavily as Essendon took over, slamming on the next seven goals in a 7.8 to 0.7 run through to half-time.

The Bombers were led by Elijah Tsatas, who was best afield with 40 disposals (16 contested), five clearances and five inside-50s, with his handballing out of the contest repeatedly releasing teammates to drive the ball forward.

Jackson Hately (30 disposals, 11 contested, nine clearances) and Dylan Shiel (24 disposals, five marks, five clearances) were also impressive, along with ruckman Nick Bryan (20 disposals, five marks, 37 hitouts) and Archie Roberts (22 disposals, six marks, seven tackles, two goals).

Trailing by 31 points at half-time, the Magpies needed a spark and they found it from Ash Johnson, who moved from his new intercept defender role back into his customary spot in the goal square and straightened his team up, kicking two second half goals and finishing with 20 touches and eight marks.

Skipper Campbell Lane (23 disposals, eight marks, one goal) and Fin Macrae (31 disposals, six clearances, five tackles, eight entries, one goal) also lifted.

Having pulled it back to seven points turning for home, Collingwood hit the lead early in the last as Lachie Sullivan tried to make an impact, booting one goal but missing three other chances as the Bombers steadied through Campbell Gray and a great captain’s strike from Xavier O’Neill before Matt Guelfi slammed home a long goal to seal victory.



BOX HILL HAWKS     2.3        5.3        10.7     15.12 (102)
SYDNEY SWANS       5.2        7.5        8.8        11.9 (75)

A HORRIFIC leg injury to Sam Butler overshadowed the successful returns to action of Swan Luke Parker and Hawk Chad Wingard, as well as the Box Hill Hawks’ head-turning come-from-behind 27-point win over Sydney at Fenjiu Stadium on Sunday.

The Swans had controlled most of the first half, leading by as much as 26 points when Phil Moi Moi kicked truly 15 minutes into the second quarter, but the Hawks had wrested the momentum back with the next three goals either side of the main break.

The margin was still 10 points when Butler went down with a shocking leg break in the forward pocket at the 13-minute mark, with play being stopped for 36 minutes as an ambulance was called to treat and then transport Butler to hospital, where he had surgery on Monday morning.

The injury and the delay could have halted the Hawks, but it sparked them instead and they blasted seven of the next eight goals to blow away a Swans team featuring 17 AFL-listed players – although Corey Warner (ankle) and Indhi Kirk (concussion) had already been ruled out.

The win lifted Box Hill to second spot on the ladder and confirmed their premiership credentials, while the Swans slumped to 15th and will need to hit back quickly to avoid falling out of finals contention early.

Parker blew out the minimal cobwebs he had in a sparkling display that yielded a game-high 34 disposals, five clearances, six tackles, seven inside-50s and six rebounds to demand his quick return to the AFL for Saturday’s Sydney Derby.

Wingard also did well, picking up eight touches and kicking two goals before being put in cotton wool at half-time in his comeback from an achilles rupture.

Hawks captain Callum Porter won the Anzac Medal for best afield with his outstanding 30-disposal, five-mark, 10-clearance, 10-tackle performance that Sydney had no answer for, with Max Hall backing up last week’s starring role with another 26 touches and a goal that has some people talking him up as a mid-season draft chance and Callum Brown, Josh Ward and Henry Hustwaite also making their presence felt.

Gus Sheldrick (24 disposals, 10 tackles), Aaron Francis (23 disposals, nine marks, nine rebounds, one goal), Ben Edwards (21 disposals) and Caiden Cleary (20 disposals) were strong for the Swans behind Parker.