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Nine things we learned from round five

The 10: round five All the thrilling moments from a long weekend of football
Ben McGlynn of the Swans celebrates a goal during the 2014 AFL round 05 match between the Sydney Swans and the Fremantle Dockers at the SCG, Sydney on April 19, 2014. (Photo: Anthony Pearse/AFL Media)
Ben McGlynn played a huge part in the Sydney Swans' vital win against Freo
Fantasy round review: Big guns get the Easter choccies
Around the state leagues: Big Don back, young Dee presses case
After the siren: Was the Judd call a dud?


1. Collingwood's emerging talent is not to be underestimated
If Steele Sidebottom can take the step Dayne Beams took two years ago and become an elite player it will make the Magpies a contender sooner rather than later. Nathan Buckley admits he marks the talented 23-year-old hard because he knows how good he can be, but slot him in next to Beams, Scott Pendlebury, Alex Fasolo, Josh Thomas, Taylor Adams and the yet to debut Nathan Freeman and Matt Scharenberg and the future looks bright. Add in a spine where premiership defenders Nathan Brown and Ben Reid will suddenly have to force their way back into the team, and Collingwood could be better than many imagined. - Peter Ryan

2. The Swans have plenty of pride left in them
The stakes could barely have been higher – struggling with a 1-3 record, facing a Fremantle side that played them off the park last time out and with their season hanging by a thread. That was the scenario awaiting the Sydney Swans in round five. Ben McGlynn commented during the week it was time to take some pride in their jumper and that's exactly what they did. McGlynn (24 touches, 12 tackles, two goals) and Dan Hannebery (29 touches, 10 tackles) were among those leading the way, while Lance Franklin kicked four important goals in a morale-boosting victory. Their 100 tackles were also the equal-third most in club history. It was a grind, but the Swans won this game virtually on will alone to indicate they have plenty left in the tank. - James Dampney

3. Tomahawk is back
Tom Hawkins is back. The Geelong spearhead was a poor facsimile of himself as he battled a back injury last season, but he showed against Hawthorn he will once again be one of the most imposing power forwards in 2014. Hawkins took advantage of his considerable height and weight advantage over Hawk opponent Kyle Cheney to kick a match-high five goals. But it was the manner in which the big Cat threw his considerable weight around, out-bodying Hawks defenders time and time again, that would have most pleased Geelong supporters. - Nick Bowen

4. Carlton players much prefer their old game-plan
During the latter years of Brett Ratten's coaching stint, the Blues developed a run-and-gun style of play that involved playing on a lot and taking the ball through the middle of the ground. This was replaced with a more defensive game-plan when Mick Malthouse took over. But after losing their first four games of the season, the Blues returned to their old ways against the Bulldogs on Sunday. They played on at all costs and repeatedly swept the ball the length of the ground by taking it straight up the middle. Not only was the style of play a great deal more attractive that than that served up during the first four rounds, it also helped Carlton break its drought with a 28-point win. Not that Malthouse was prepared to acknowledge that anything different had taken place. Asked in his post-match press conference if he had changed his team's style of play, he replied: "Not one inch." Hmmmm. - Adam McNicol

Chris Yarran was part of a dynamic Carlton midfield against the Dogs on Sunday. Picture: AFL Media


5. Suns can make their mark
Heading into Sunday's game against Melbourne, Gold Coast was the worst team in the competition for marks inside 50, averaging just 6.2 per game. But the Suns turned that statistic on its head, taking 17 marks in attack in their eight-point victory over the Dees. Key forwards Tom Lynch and Sam Day each had four marks inside 50, while midfielder David Swallow pushed forward to take three. While their goalkicking accuracy – they kicked 11.20 – left a little to be desired, at least the Suns gave themselves a fighting chance, and it paid off with their third win of the season. - Nat Edwards

6. Bad kicking is bad football
Adam Simpson has made plenty of changes to West Coast's game plan since taking over from John Worsfold. However, the ghosts of goalkicking past returned against Port Adelaide. The Eagles kicked 7.14 against Port following on from 4.8 against Geelong in round four. They kicked very accurately in round one against the Bulldogs (21.8) but the opportunities missed against the Power were reminiscent of 2013 when the Eagles lost to Port Adelaide, Carlton, and Essendon despite creating more scoring opportunities than their opponents in all three games. Simpson, like Worsfold, believes his side could not possibly do any more goalkicking practice. The first-year coach wrote it off as an aberration. Eagles fans will be getting a sense of déjà vu. - Alex Malcolm  

7. Star forwards are nothing without supply
Greater Western Sydney's forward line featuring Jeremy Cameron, Jonathon Patton and Tom Boyd will undoubtedly torment opposition defences in years to come if the club can keep the trio together. But Sunday's loss to Adelaide hit home one unavoidable fact: no matter the talent in attack, if their supply is restricted so is their output. Adelaide set out to heap constant pressure on the Giants' midfielders to ensure their inside 50 entry was rushed and it was a tactic that worked wonderfully as Boyd was held goalless, Patton to a late consolation goal and Cameron to just two majors. - Harry Thring

8. Dusty could have found a home in the forward 50
With Tyrone Vickery left out, it wasn't just Jack Riewoldt who profited under the restructured Tigers' forward line. While Damien Hardwick played Riewoldt deeper in attack – and he responded with four goals – he also had to find another reliable avenue to goal. Dustin Martin played as a near permanent third forward, kicked 3.3, and was a handful all night. Martin's power is well renowned, he has a strong set of hands and is clever at ground level, giving Hardwick a genuine headache as to where his best position is. While his explosiveness is crucial in midfield bursts, Martin has now showed he can be just as dangerous as a forward target. - Michael Whiting

Could Dustin Martin become a dangerous medium forward for Richmond? Picture: AFL Media





9. The young Saints are on track
The development of St Kilda's first to third-year players was always going to be a key to judging the team's success under Alan Richardson in 2014. Based on their efforts in Saturday night's surprise win over Essendon, things could hardly be going better. No.3 draft pick Jack Billings was all class when he had the ball and Luke Dunstan continued a superb debut season. Further along in his development, third-year defender Jimmy Webster showed composure when under pressure, while No.1 tagger Tom Curren, 21, took another scalp in Dyson Heppell. St Kilda's veterans shone against the Bombers, but the win wouldn't have been possible without the outstanding efforts of the club's next generation. - Nathan Schmook           
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs