A review of all the action from Round 4 of the 2023 Smithy’s VFL season.


CARLTON 1.4 5.7 5.11 9.14 (68)
2.3 4.6 5.9 8.11 (59)

CARLTON was forced to fight all the way to claim its second victory of the Smithy’s VFL season when it saw off an undermanned but plucky Richmond by nine points at IKON Park on Friday night.

Richmond fielded just four AFL-listed players, only one of which who has played at the highest level, in Thomson Dow.

The Tigers also blooded four VFL debutant but took it right up to a Blues’ team with 12 listed and five former AFL players, with the home team never able to feel comfortable as the visitors kept coming until the final siren.

Richmond even led by 10 points early in the second term before two goals from Ned Cahill and another from Lachie Fogarty gave Carlton a lead it would not relinquish, even though the margin was only two points at the last change.

The Blues kicked four of the first five goals of the last term to get out by 19 points at the 25-minute mark and looked to have finally broken through, but Garrett McDonagh and Lachlan Johnson responded within three minutes to set up a nervous finish.

Carlton had 84 more disposals, 37 more marks, 22 more inside-50s and a whopping 62-13 hitout advantage, but McDonagh (29 possessions, seven marks, two goals) and skipper Lachlan Street (21 disposals, eight marks) lifted their young teammates and Cam Olden (20 disposals, six tackles, nine clearances), Dow (20 disposals, five marks), Sam Banks (18 disposals, two goals) and Mutaz El Nour (21 disposals) came to the party.

But they had no answer to Alex Cincotta (37, eight marks, 11 inside-50s), who continually turned them back and pumped the ball into attack, while their undersized forward line was no match for Sam Durdin, who took a stunning 16 marks on his way to 26 disposals and five rebound-50s.

Brodie Kemp (31 disposals, 11 marks, four rebounds), Jaxon Binns (30 disposals, 11 marks, five rebounds) and Liam McMahon (25 disposals, eight marks) were also prominent, while Paddy Dow (27 disposals, six tackles, nine clearances, one goal), Lochie O’Brien (27 disposals, nine marks, one goal), Fogarty (23 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances), youngster Heath Ramshaw (25, disposals six marks, five tackles) and big man Alex Mirkov (51 hitouts) saw plenty of action.



BRISBANE LIONS 6.1 11.5 15.6 18.8 (116)
3.3 5.7 9.10 14.13 (97)

BRISBANE LIONS preserved their undefeated start to the season and claimed Southport’s scalp for the first time since the 2019 NEAFL Grand Final, overcoming a six-goal haul from Fraser Thurlow to record a comfortable 19-point Queensland Derby victory at Brighton Homes Arena on Saturday.

The Lions took control when Tom Fullarton and Nakia Cockatoo scored beyond the 30-minute mark of the first quarter and never let the Sharks get back within single figures, blowing the margin out to as much as 40 just before half-time.

Southport’s hopes of a big comeback were raised when Ryan Banks-Smith made it 26 points early in the last, but Cockatoo quickly snuffed them out and it was only three goals to one in time-on that brought the final margin back.

Rhys Mathieson (37 disposals, seven clearances, eight inside-50s) and Deven Robertson (26 disposals, five marks, 11 clearances, two goals) starred for the Lions, along with Noah Answerth (30 disposals, nine tackles, six clearances, six entries) in the middle and Jaxon Prior (22 disposals, six marks, five rebounds) down back, but Southport’s defence had no answer for Fullarton, Cockatoo and captain Wylie Buzza, who combined for 10 goals.

Darcy Gardiner had 14 touches and took eight marks in his first hitout of the season and State league debut after 154 AFL matches.

Thurlow was unstoppable for the Sharks, booting 6.1 from 16 disposals and seven marks while also winning 14 hitouts, with Jacob Dawson (34 disposals, 15 clearances, six tackles) also dominant with support from Boyd Woodcock (26 disposals, seven clearances, one goal), Max Spencer (18 disposals, eight marks, five rebounds), second-gamer Jake McQueen and Jacob Heron.



SYDNEY SWANS 0.4 3.5 9.6 12.7 (79)
7.4 10.9 13.11 17.19 (121)

NORTH MELBOURNE claimed its first VFL victory over Sydney/South Melbourne since 1895 after blowing the Swans away in the first quarter enroute to a 42-point win at Blacktown International Sports Park on Saturday.

The Kangaroos were simply irresistible against the winless Swans early, booting seven unanswered goals to hold a 40-point lead at the opening break.

Charlie Haley put Sydney on the board in the first minute of the second quarter but it wasn’t until the third that the Swans came to life, kicking 5.1 in the space of 15 minutes to draw within 10 points before the Kangaroos steadied through five-goal hero Paul Curtis and ran away with the win.

Curtis had 20 touches, six marks and kicked 5.1 as North Melbourne had eight of the top 10 ball winners on the ground, led by Aaron Hall (37 disposals, eight marks, nine entries, one goal), Charlie Lazzaro (29 disposals, six tackles, two goals), Aiden Bonar (25 disposals, 11 marks, six rebounds), Miller Bergman (26 disposals, nine marks), skipper Jack Watkins (28 disposals, five clearances) and Sandringham recruit Nick Hodgson (27 disposals, five marks, six tackles, five entries).

Ryan Clarke made a strong return from a hamstring injury for Sydney, collecting 27 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and five inside-50s to be his team’s second best to Nick Shipley (27 disposals, 10 clearances, nine tackles, five entries).

Captain Will Collis (21 disposals, eight marks), Haley (20 disposals, five marks, two goals), ruckman Lachlan McAndrew (15 disposals, 30 hitouts) and Aaron Francis (three goals) also impressed, but the Swans have been left languishing in 20th spot on the ladder after their fifth consecutive defeat dating back to last year’s finals.



WERRIBEE 3.4 4.7 5.12 5.17 (47)
3.1 5.2 7.4 9.6 (60)

GEELONG recaptured the form that saw it knock off Carlton in Round 1 as Werribee kicked away the advantages gained from its win over Southport in a 13-point upset at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.

The Cats had been belted in their previous two games but stuck with the Tigers early before taking advantage of a woeful 5.17 conversion rate to win despite having seven less scoring shots and 22 less inside-50s.

Werribee laid an impressive 100 tackles for the game but paid a hefty price for only managing five goals from 63 inside-50s, including some simple set shots being sprayed in the final term.

Jye Chalcraft’s mid-season draft stocks continue to grow, with the reigning Cats best-and-fairest winner picking 28 disposals, six marks, six clearances and six tackles.

Defenders Marcus Herbert (27 disposals, seven rebounds), Ben Lloyd (26 disposals, six marks, 11 rebounds) and Matty Lloyd (19 disposals, seven rebounds), along with second ruckman Will Christie (18 disposals, 18 hitouts, seven marks, eight entries, two goals) played their best games at the level.

Dual Liston medallist Tom Gribble (29 disposals, eight clearances, seven entries, five tackles) did his best to pull Werribee through, as did Kye Declase (23 disposals, nine entries), Dom Brew (21 disposals, 14 tackles, six clearances) and Jack Henderson (21 disposals, eight tackles, six clearances). while last week’s hero Shaun Mannagh had 24 disposals, nine tackles and eight entries but blotted his copybook with a costly 0.5.



PORT MELBOURNE 5.4 8.6 12.6 13.10 (88)
3.2 3.4 5.6 9.9 (63)

PORT MELBOURNE made a statement at selection by dropping five players from its horror showing against Williamstown and the remaining players responded by grinding out a 25-point win over Northern Bullants at ETU Stadium.

The Bullants kept pace with the Borough early, but four goals in nine minutes late in the opening quarter gave Port an advantage it held for the rest of the game.

The home team got out by 43 points late in the third term but the Bullants pegged it back with four goals to one in the last as they continue to prove competitive for long period under new coach Brodie Holland, despite now having gone a year without a victory.

Captain Harvey Hooper (29 disposals, five clearances, eight entries, two goals) and forward Jake Gasper (26 disposals, seven tackles, three goals) were outstanding for Port Melbourn. Matt Signorello (22 disposals, nine clearances, five entries) impressed in a rare run in the middle, Felix Flockart kicked a career-best three goals and Sam Naismith again dominated the ruck with 16 disposals, seven clearances and 48 hitouts.

The Bullants had the two most prolific players on the ground in Jean-Luc Velissaris (32 disposals, five marks, six tackles, nine clearances, six inside-50s) and Patrick Fairlie (30 disposals, six marks, nine tackles, 10 clearances, five rebounds). Meanwhile, Tyson Young (23 disposals, five tackles, three goals) was terrific in attack and Baker Smith (21 disposals, nine marks, nine rebounds) and Liam Mackie (20 disposals, six tackles, nine rebounds) everywhere in defence.



WILLIAMSTOWN 3.5 6.7 13.11 16.14 (110)
3.0 4.3 4.3 8.8 (56)

A BLISTERING seven-goal third quarter made all the difference as Williamstown shook off a determined Coburg by 54 points at DSV Stadium on Saturday.

The Lions stuck with the Seagulls in the first half to be within 16 points at the main break, but the home team blew the game open with 7.4 to 0.0 in the premiership quarter that included three goals to Corey Ellison to move to 3-1 and fifth on the ladder.

Coburg won the last quarter and could take plenty of positives from the performance, but once again paid the price for a lapse in concentration as Williamstown did what GWS, Richmond and Collingwood had done in previous weeks.

James Cousins turned in a remarkable performance for the Seagulls with a triple-double of 39 disposals, 12 clearances, 11 inside-50s, five tackles and a goal to claim the inaugural McTaggart-Sheldon Medal for best on ground. The award is named in honour of Coburg legend Gary Sheldon and Williamstown legend Brett McTaggart, who were the co-winners of the 1988 Liston Medal.

Harry Jones (30 disposals, nine clearances, six inside-50s, five tackles), Toby Triffett (24 disposals, eight tackles, six clearances) and Finbar O’Dwyer (20 disposals, 10 marks, six rebounds) were also too good and Ellison and Ebinger finished the work up forward, with three goals apiece.

Hugo McGlashan (19 disposals, 13 tackles, five clearances), Flynn Gentile (19 disposals, 12 tackles) and Braedyn Gillard (18 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances) were tireless in the middle for Coburg, with Luke Nelson (22 disposals, five rebounds), Lachlan Walker (21 disposals, seven rebounds) and Mitch Podhajski (18 disposals, nine rebounds) doing well in defence and Sam Mason taking six marks and kicking two goals.



BOX HILL HAWKS 4.3 12.4 16.6 17.12 (114)
2.1 4.5 5.7 8.7 (55)

THEY say wet weather is perfect for ducks but it seems it is pretty good for Hawks too after Box Hill crushed Collingwood by 59 points in driving rain at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday.

The Hawks eked out a 14-point lead at the first break but left the Magpies blinded by the spray from their wings as they piled on 8.1 to 2.4 in a second quarter that will make all rival teams sit up and take notice.

At one stage Box Hill had 10 goals from 10 different sources as it proved its versatility, before mid-season draftee Max Ramsden (four) and Jaylon Thorpe (three) shared five majors in the second half to finish with seven between them plus a remarkable screamer by Thorpe in the opening minute of the third term as the rain bucketed down.

The Hawks finished +106 in disposals as former Magpies Max Lynch (18 disposals, 43 hitouts, seven clearances) and Callum Brown (38 disposals, nine clearances, five tackles, five entries) teed off against their old club.

Cal Porter (33 disposals, seven clearances, eight entries, one goal), Ed Phillips (26 disposals, nine marks, six clearances), Damian Mascitti (24 disposals, 10 marks, six entries and his first goal since Round 3 last year) and L chlan Bramble (23 disposals, six marks, one goal) also made light work of the conditions.

Co-captain Campbell Hustwaite did his best to lift Collingwood with 33 touches, nine clearances and five entries, but he has been offered a two-match suspension (three if he fights and loses) from the Match Review Panel for rough conduct against Hawk Fionn O’Hara in the final quarter, with the charge graded as careless conduct, high impact and high contact.

Support came from Fin Macrae (29 disposals, nine tackles, seven entries), Josh Carmichael (28 disposals, five marks, nine clearances, nine entries) and Trey Ruscoe (24 disposals, seven marks, nine rebounds).



SANDRINGHAM 2.3 2.4 6.8 8.8 (56)
0.0 5.7 8.8 12.10 (82)

FRANKSTON smashed a nine-year losing streak against neighbours Sandringham to break through for its first win of the season and celebrate Danny Ryan’s 50th game as coach by 26 points at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday.

Playing in wet and windy conditions that made scoring to one end almost impossible in the first half, the Dolphins failed to score in the first quarter but held the Zebras to just two goals before piling on 5.7 to 0.1 to take a 21-point lead into half-time.

Sandringham pulled the margin back to a point in the 18th minute of the third before Frankston stunned the crowd with three goals in eight minutes to effectively seal a victory it closed out comfortably with four majors to two in the last.

The Dolphins enjoyed a 342-266 disposal differential with the seven highest ball winners on the ground, giving them a 58-46 inside-50 win as co-captains Will Fordham (30 disposals, six clearances, two goals) and Trent Mynott (23 disposals, nine clearances, six entries, four goals) dominated in cohorts with Lachie Riley (27 disposals, 11 clearances, 11, tackles), Connor Riley (23 disposals, five entries) and Kai Owens (23 disposals, seven tackles, eight clearances, six entries).

Ryley Stoddart (29 disposals, seven rebounds) and Jackson Voss (22 disposals, five rebounds) impressed in defence, while Matt Johnson had a breakout game in attack with four goals.

Tom Highmore did his best to turn back the tide for Sandringham with 21 touches, six tackles and 11 rebounds, Max Heath had 33 hitouts and laid 10 tackles and Darby Hipwell (18 disposals, nine tackles, eight clearances), Leo Connolly (19 disposals, five clearances) and Finlay Bayne (22 disposals) also did well.

The Zebras tackled themselves to standstill with 120 of them to Frankston’s still strong 92 as 10 players had six or more in a true wet weather battle.



ESSENDON 2.0 4.6 4.8 5.12 (42)
2.5 5.7 10.8 12.10 (82)

CASEY DEMONS moved to 4-0 after shaking Essendon off late in the third term to win by 40 points at the NEC Hangar on Sunday.

The Demons led by only six points eight minutes into the third quarter but Tyler Edwards broke the stalemate and the visitors went on to add four more in eight minutes heading into the final change before cruising home once again.

Josh Schache was the difference between the teams with 20 disposals, eight marks and four goals and Ryan Valentine added three, as James Harmes (34 disposals, six marks, five clearances), Bailey Laurie (33 disposals), Luke Dunstan (31 disposals, six marks) and Dan Turner (21 disposals, nine rebounds) kept their name tiles on Simon Goodwin’s board and Taj Woewodin had 23 disposals and five entries in a strong display.

Ben Hobbs was again in fine form for the Bombers with 31 disposals, six marks, nine clearances and eight inside-50s, with support coming from Nick Bryan (17 disposals, six marks, 33 hitouts), Stefan Rasinac (25 disposals, eight marks), Tom Phillips (24 disposals, six marks, one goal), Massimo D’Ambrosio (23 disposals, five marks, seven rebounds and Rhett Montgomerie (23 disposals, five marks).


BYE: Footscray Bulldogs, Gold Coast SUNS, GWS GIANTS


Saturday, April 22: GWS Giants vs Brisbane Lions (11:05am, Blacktown International Sports Park); Footscray Bulldogs vs Southport Sharks (12:05pm, ETU Stadium); Box Hill Hawks vs Coburg (1:05pm, Box Hill City Oval). Sunday, April 23: Carlton vs Sandringham (11:05am, IKON Park); Collingwood vs Essendon (12:00pm, Victoria Park); Northern Bullants vs Sydney Swans (12:05pm, Preston City Oval); Gold Coast Suns v North Melbourne (12:35pm, Heritage Bank Stadium); Casey Demons vs Richmond (1:35pm, Casey Fields); Werribee vs Williamstown (2:05pm, Avalon Airport Oval). Monday, April 24: Frankston vs Port Melbourne (6:35pm, Kinetic Stadium). Bye: Geelong Cats

Click here to view full fixture and ladder.

Broadcast and streaming: All matches in the 2023 Smithy’s VFL and rebel VFLW seasons will be live streamed free via the AFL website (AFL.com.au) and AFL Live Official App. Smithy’s VFL broadcast partner, the Seven Network, will continue to show one weekly game live and free on the Seven Network in Victoria and on 7Plus nationally. Casey Radio 97.7FM and 3WBC 94.1FM are also broadcasting matches.

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Ticketing: Where Smithy’s VFL matches are ticketed, entry is $10 for adults, $5 for concession holders and kids under 15 are free. Some venues don't charge for entry. AFL ticketing prices will apply for VFL matches played as curtain-raisers and curtain-closers to AFL matches at AFL venues.