Port Melbourne's Harvey Hooper looks for an option during the 2024 VFL Round 6 match between the Northern Bullants and Port Melbourne at Genis Steel Oval. Photo: Rob Lawson/AFL Photos

A review of all the action from Round 6 of the 2024 Smithy’s VFL season.


SOUTHPORT SHARKS            4.5        7.7        12.10  14.17 (101)
                         2.1        6.5        10.6     11.8 (74)

SOUTHPORT took the first step in its effort to rebuild its home fortress by outclassing Collingwood by 27 points at Fankhauser Reserve on Saturday.

The Magpies headed north without rested pair Ned Long and Jack Hutchinson and the Sharks were too strong in the clinches, kicking clear early and withstanding a concerted challenge through the middle of the game to ease away either side of three-quarter time.

The Sharks probably should have won by more, given they dominated the Magpies in all the attacking statistical categories. They won disposals by 110, marks by 79 and inside-50s by 27 which resulted in comprehensive victory that saw them climb back into the top 10.

Jacob Dawson and Boyd Woodcock added more credence to their claims as top five players in the league. The former led all comers with 31 disposals and nine clearances and the latter grabbed 27 touches, eight marks, eight clearances and five entries.

50th gamer Keegan Gray (29 disposals, eight marks), Ben Jepson (28 disposals, nine marks, five rebounds) and Max Spencer (27 disposals, 12 marks) also starred and Wylie Buzza booted three goals.

While the Magpies battled lion-heartedly, they didn’t have the class to match Southport, with Jack Bytel (27 disposals, seven clearances), Fin Macrae (26 disposals, nine clearances, seven entries) and Sam Glover (20 disposals, five marks, six rebounds, one goal) playing well.



COBURG          3.1        5.2        6.3        9.7 (61)
RICHMOND   2.3        5.8        8.12     13.15 (93)

RICHMOND continued to buck the belief that a long injury list is insurmountable, running away from Coburg by 32 points at Piranha Park.

The Tigers trailed at quarter time and were only a goal up at the main break but edged clear in the third and eased away after the Lions got within 13 points at the 10-minute mark of the last to move to 4-1 and fifth spot on the ladder.

Richmond skipper Lachie Street is a big part of why the Tigers have overcome the injury curse so far and he put his team on his back again to win 29 disposals, eight marks and nine rebounds.

He was well supported by youngsters Kane McAuliffe (22 disposals, six clearances, five tackles), Kaleb Smith (19 disposals, six marks, six rebounds) and Lachlan Wilson (18 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles, seven entries, one goal) who came along for the ride.

Coburg ball magnets Joel Trudgeon (29 disposals, five clearances, five tackles, five entries) and Donovan Toohey (29 disposals, five marks, five rebounds) led the way for the Lions with support from Max Kennedy (23 disposals, seven marks) and Flynn Gentile (23 disposals, nine entries), while Will Bella played a lone hand up forward with 10 marks and four goals.



WERRIBEE      3.4        8.6        12.9     14.10 (94)
CARLTON        1.3        3.4        6.5        9.8 (62)

WERRIBEE hit back from its disappointing loss to Williamstown last week to regain its spot in the top six with a comfortable 32-point victory over Carlton at Avalon Airport Oval.

The injury-hit Tigers were blown away by the Seagulls on Anzac Day, but this result showed they still have plenty of weapons to deal with most of the competition, kicking clear with five goals to two in the second term and extending their lead at the first three changes before the Blues minimised the damage in the last quarter.

Jack Riding produced a breakout performance in just his 10th game, earning 34 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles and 10 inside-50s to far exceed his previous best of 21 touches.

Dom Brew (33 disposals, nine marks, seven clearances, eight entries, one goal) and Kye Declase (29 disposals, 10 marks, five entries) dominated as they do every week, Bior Malual got back to his best with 23 touches and nine marks, recruit Angus Hicks proved his value with 19 disposals, seven marks and three goals and Jay Dahlhaus also booted three goals.

Speaking of breakout games, number 34 draft pick Billy Wilson’s fourth game was the best of his short career as he led the Blues with 27 disposals, seven marks and six rebounds. Jaxon Binns returned from his overdue AFL debut to grab 26 touches, eight tackles and two goals, Brodie Kemp starred in defence with 25 touches, 13 marks, eight tackles, six rebounds and a goal and Jack Carroll put up 23 possessions, seven marks, five clearances and a goal.



NORTHERN BULLANTS         1.3        5.3        8.9        9.10 (64)
PORT MELBOURNE                  5.2        7.4        9.6        15.8 (98)

PORT Melbourne finally got its 150th anniversary year underway, but it needed some special plays from livewire forward Billy Gowers to shake off the spectacular-marking Northern Bullants by 34 points at Genis Steel Oval.

In a match featuring an even mix of horrible turnovers and memorable highlights, the Bullants hauled in a 25-point deficit in time-on of the second quarter to hit the lead when club debutant Harry Andronaco kicked truly in the shadows of three quarter time.

But Harry Maguire kicked a tough set shot for the Borough to regain the upper hand at the break and Gowers stepped up to the plate with three of his five goals in the last term as the Borough banged on six to one for their first win of the season.

The second quarter will long be remembered by Bullants fans for a spectacular leap and mark on the wing from John Jorgensen – one of three terrific contested marks he took in a quarter that also saw him kick three goals – only to have it topped when fellow big man Will Elliott soared over a pack in the goal square 10 minutes later.

But Gowers, who had already stuffed the highlight reel with two first-quarter goals including a remarkable don’t argue and banana from 35m out, did what very few can, snagging them from everywhere to ensure Port wouldn’t give up a last-term lead for the fourth week in a row.

Outside the highlights, the Bullants had plenty of chances to get the job done as their control of the football at times was as good as they have produced in a year, only to let themselves down with some ordinary delivery into the forward line that saw Tom Highmore (26 disposals, 11 marks, five tackles, nine rebounds), Tom Hird (22 disposals, nine rebounds) and Dan McKenzie (18 disposals, seven marks) pick off intercepts at will.

Jimmy Miller was a powerhouse and was probably best afield before Gowers’ heroics with 19 disposals, five marks, 22 hitouts and two goals, while Felix Flockart (17 disposals, 47 hitouts, two goals) was almost as impressive and Josh Green was outstanding in tight with 27 touches, 11 clearances, five entries and a goal.

The Bullants were again led by their biggest stars in Patrick Fairlie (37 disposals, five clearances, seven tackles, eight entries, one goal) and Jean-Luc Velissaris (32 disposals, five tackles, eight clearances, 10 entries, one goal), while skipper Matt King, Caleb Franks, Saad El Hawli and Ethan Mantas also impressed.



SYDNEY SWANS        4.3        6.6        9.13     12.13 (85)
GWS GIANTS                3.3        4.6        6.8        11.9 (75)

SYDNEY recorded its first win since the opening round, recovering after being run down in the last quarter as Luke Parker put on another clinic to seal a 10-point Sydney Derby victory over GWS Giants at the SCG.

Parker backed up last week’s comeback game with 37 touches, nine clearances and a goal, while third-gamer James Lugsdin caused all sorts of headaches for the Giants’ defence to kick four goals from 16 possessions and eight marks, with support coming from Joel Hamling, who made a rare journey into the forward line to boot three majors.

The Swans started slowly and conceded the first two goals but worked their way on top through the most and least experienced players on the ground and ended up dominating on the stats sheet if not on the scoreboard, finishing +54 in disposals, +17 in tackles and +22 for inside-50s.

They made their move from late in the first term, kicking seven goals to three until the final change to lead by 23 points before the Giants exploded out of the break with four majors in nine minutes to pinch the lead, but Lugsdin responded almost immediately.

Hamling’s third entering time-on gave them some breathing space before Max Gruzewski kicked his own third to set up a grandstand finish – and it was Lugsdin who came up clutch to seal the win.

Gus Sheldrick (27 disposals, six clearances, six tackles, nine entries) and Caiden Cleary (25 disposals, six entries, one goal) thrived under Parker’s influence while Braeden Campbell enjoyed getting a full game with 22 disposals, six clearances, seven tackles and eight entries.

The Giants’ own 200-game club great Nick Haynes was near impassable for his team, piling up 32 kicks from 38 disposals, taking 14 marks and delivering a remarkable 16 rebound-50s. Harry Rowston (29 disposals, eight clearances, six entries, seven rebounds, one goal) was also brilliant, Xavier O’Halloran and Josh Fahey won plenty of the ball and Gruzewski and Conor Stone booted three goals each.

But there was another blow for the Giants, with Isaac Cumming limping off in the second quarter with a hamstring injury in just his second game back from a calf problem.



FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS     1.3        5.9        6.10     10.13 (73)
BOX HILL HAWKS                     0.2        1.2        5.3        9.6 (60)

FOOTSCRAY laid down its marker as the premiership favourite, beating Box Hill Hawks by 13 points in a top of the table clash at Mission Whitten Oval on Sunday.

The Bulldogs kicked the first five goals of a low-scoring game and didn’t concede to the usually free-wheeling Hawks until Josh Bennetts hit the target 18 minutes into the second quarter.

In fact, the margin blew out to 46 points midway through the third quarter before Chad Wingard finally kicked Box Hill’s second 12 minutes in, a goal which sparked the visitors into action.

They kicked the next three to get within 13 at the final change and came again after the Bulldogs steadied, booting three more in quick succession  to within a goal through Ned Reeves at the 30-minute mark, only for Anthony Scott to seal the deal at 35 minutes.

Young gun Ryley Sanders starred for Footscray with 28 disposals, eight marks, seven clearances and nine tackles. Other to shine included Luke Cleary (29 disposals, five marks, seven rebounds), Caleb Daniel (28 disposals, eight marks), Joel Freijah (26 disposals, 11 marks, five rebounds), Cooper Craig-Peters (25 disposals, seven clearances, seven entries, one goal) and Trent Bianco (23 disposals, five tackles, six entries, one goal).

Callum Brown and Max Hall had claims to three Liston votes despite the defeat, with Brown gathering 35 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and seven rebounds plus two goals and Hall picking up 31 touches, seven marks, 10 clearances and seven entries.

Ben Cavarra made a welcome return to the field for the first time since the 2022 elimination final, winning 14 touches and being mobbed when he snapped a trademark goal in the last quarter.



BRISBANE LIONS      5.1        7.2        9.3        11.5 (71)
GOLD COAST SUNS 6.3        11.5     20.9     24.13 (157)

REIGNING premier Gold Coast reminded the entire competition not to forget about them, booting the highest score of the season in a brutal 86-point takedown of the Brisbane Lions in their QClash at Brighton Home Arena.

The question mark over the Suns was the loss of more than 200 goals from their 2023 premiership-winning juggernaut, but they showed they are still capable of blowing an opponent off the field.

The Suns responded to a five-goal Lions burst in the opening quarter to slam on four of their own in time-on to regain the lead by the opening break.

And from there it was all one-way traffic as Gold Coast kicked five goals to two to grab a 27-point lead by half-time before a nine-goal onslaught in the third made the entire league sit up and take notice.

At one stage it looked like the margin would blow out beyond 100 before the Lions fought the game out, but it still ended up being Gold Coast’s highest ever score and second biggest winning margin against big brother despite only having 10 more disposals and nine less marks, winning the inside-50 count by 25.

Jy Farrar went forward in his return from a thumb injury and was imperious, kicking five goals straight from 14 disposals and seven marks, while Sam Day booted his 100th NEAFL/VFL goal on his way to four straight and Will Rowlands contributed three from 20 possessions.

Alex Sexton was a class above in a midfield role, winning 32 disposals including seven inside-50s and eight rebounds while taking 11 marks. James Tsitas (27 dipsosals), Darcy Macpherson (27) and Alex Davies (26) were outstanding, adding 19 clearances and 23 tackles between them and Bodhi Uwland pulled down a hanger on his way to 22 touches and 10 marks.

Liston medallist Jarryd Lyons continues to make heads shake as to why he’s not playing AFL footy, racking up 35 touches, six marks, eight clearances, 15 tackles and eight inside-50s, while Jaxon Prior was possibly even better with 32 touches, 10 marks and 13 rebounds as he tried to turn back the tide.

James Tunstill (25 disposals, five marks, five clearances, 10 tackles) also did his best, while young forward Ben Thomas also shone, backing up his three goals against Southport with four against the Suns.



GEELONG CATS          6.1        9.4        15.4     18.5 (113)
FRANKSTON                 0.4        1.6        4.8        6.13 (49)

GEELONG continued its red-hot form to thump Frankston by 64 points at GMHBA Stadium and move to third spot on the ladder.

The Cats’ fourth-straight win was their third victory by a margin greater than 50 points and was secured by quarter time after they piled on 6.1 to 0.4 against a shellshocked Dolphins outfit that once again found it near impossible to kick straight at goal.

Indeed, it was the 14th time in 23 games since the start of last season that they have kicked more behinds than goals, with the near 11-goal loss coming despite having only four less scores.

Geelong dominated possession (+98) and marks (+53) as they had the top six ball-winners on the ground, headed by Lawson Humphries, who looks ready to go when required after another starring performance of 28 disposals and nine marks.

Mitch Hardie (26 disposals, five clearances, eight tackles, six entries) and Ted Clohesy (25 disposals, eight marks, eight clearances, six tackles, 10 entries, one goal) also had too much for the Dolphins to handle, while SSP addition Emerson Jeka (25 disposals, eight marks, seven rebounds) starred down back.

Frankston’s two best players with Trent Mynott injured were again in its best three, with George Grey (22 disposals, eight marks, five rebounds, one goal) and Seb Quirk (19 disposals, nine clearances) doing their best to limit the damage, although the main bright spot came from Somerville product Lachie Sharp, who starred on debut with 17 disposals and four goals.

The Dolphins copped another blow, too, with star defender Jackson Voss accepting a one-match ban for striking.



SANDRINGHAM                         7.3        9.8        11.12  14.15 ( 99)
NORTH MELBOURNE              3.2        7.7        9.7        14.12 (96)

SANDRINGHAM held off a concerted comeback from North Melbourne to claim a heart-stopping three-point win in one of the games of the season at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

Despite conceding the first two goals, the Zebras responded with a seven-goal blast to lead by 25 points at quarter-time and maintained a comfortable lead through the middle two quarters by answering everything the Kangaroos threw at them.

But Tyler Sellers’ first goal in the shadows of the last break sparked the visitors and they added the first three of the last term, including two to Eddie Ford, to take the lead at the 12-minute mark, only for Sandringham to respond with three of its own.

North wouldn’t be bowed, however, with Robert Hanson and Sellers again cutting the gap to five points before Wil Dawson and Miller Bergman missed chances to win it.

Arie Schoenmaker continues to bang on Ross Lyon’s door with another strong showing in defence for the Zebras with 27 disposals, six marks and six rebounds, while the experienced Zak Jones was terrific with 26 touches, five marks, eight clearances and six entries and Blake Watson put in a starring role with 21 touches, seven clearances, nine tackles, six entries and two goals.

Charlie Lazzaro and Will Phillips pushed for quick AFL recalls for North Melbourne with 28 and 29 touches respectively, with Lazzaro adding seven clearances, seven tackles and 11 entries and Phillips contributing six clearances, six tackles and a goal.

Skipper Jack Watkins was again his team’s best as the mid-season draft approaches, having 23 possessions, six clearances, seven tackles and three majors.



CASEY DEMONS        1.0        3.3        8.6        10.8 (68)
WILLIAMSTOWN        1.4        5.6        7.6        15.10 (100)

WILLIAMSTOWN awoke from its slumber just in time to run away from an undermanned Casey Demons at Casey Fields, recording a 32-point victory to move to second spot on the ladder.

The Seagulls received a huge leg-up when Melbourne withdrew Josh Schache, Ben Brown and Marty Hore before the game and added Lachie Hunter to that list before half-time in anticipation of its Thursday night AFL clash.

Shane McAdam was also out of action by quarter time due to illness, leaving the Demons two men down for most of the day.

But they battled hard against the odds, keeping in touch throughout a scrappy and error-riddled first half before debutant Roy George sparked a third-quarter rally that yielded five goals to two to take a six-point lead into the final change.

22-year-old George, a former Peel Thunder player who played for Southern Districts in the summer and was plying his trade with Tyntynder near Swan Hill, had been training with the Demons but didn’t receive a contract until late in the week.

But he was one of the three late inclusions and came off the bench to replace McAdam before showing off plenty of tricks to kick three goals – two early in that third-quarter run – to give his team a winning chance.

However, Williamstown – which itself was below full strength after losing Fin O’Dwyer and Mitch Cox to concussion and Blake Coleman to a hamstring last week – had the use of the breeze in the last quarter and finally snapped the Casey resistance to slam on eight goals to two.

Tom Downie was the difference in the end, with the best ruckman in the competition rising above the scrap to finish with 26 disposals, four marks, 54 hitouts and 10 clearances. His opponent Will Verrall still showed himself to be on the way to the top with 19 touches, 23 hitouts, six clearances and five tackles.

Joel Fitzgerald stepped up in O’Dwyer’s absence for 27 touches, six marks and six rebounds in defence, Jack Toner (24 disposals, eight marks, eight entries, one goal) was the best of the midfielders and Corey Ellison, Jovan Petric and Brodie McLaughlin came to life late to finish with 10 goals between them.

Andy Moniz-Wakefield was easily Casey’s best in a new role off half-back, gathering 30 disposals, seven marks and eight rebounds, skipper Mitch White (21 disposals, seven clearances, seven entries, one goal) was under every pack, Adam Tomlinson (22 disposals, eight marks, seven tackles, six rebounds) got better as the game went on and Tyler Edwards (21 disposals, five clearances, five tackles, five entries, one goal) also played well, with Matt Jefferson finishing with three goals.