AFL Round 5: what we learnt

With round five and the annual ANZAC Day commemorative matches behind us, it’s time to look back at what we learnt from the last seven days of the AFL competition.

Nth Melbourne Rd 5

We’re in store for a blockbuster Western Derby that nobody saw coming

Few people would have predicted that come Round 6, Fremantle and West Coast would be separated by only one win, but the upcoming fixture has quickly become one of the season’s most anticipated matches. The scene is set for the 47th clash between the cross-town rivals, who will battle it out for the first time in their new joint home, Optus Stadium.

Fremantle finished last season in 14th and were picked by many as a contender for this season’s wooden spoon. However, Ross Lyon’s resurgence of AFL star Nat Fyfe, and free-spirited performances see them unbeaten at home so far this year. They face a hugely experienced West Coast outfit, who remain the only team to win four straight games this season. Buckle up, it’s going to be huge!

North Melbourne, amazingly, could have finals hope

I will be the first to admit that I saw the 2018 season being one of mere development for the Kangaroos. They did little in the 2017 trade period, finished last season in 15th and now incredibly sit in the top four, with the second highest margin percentage in the competition (135.2%).

Whether or not this will last till September is the burning question. While they hold experienced bookends in attack and defence, the Kangaroos lack AFL experience in the middle, which could see them undone in later rounds. However, after dismantling Hawthorn and Carlton, and overcoming a resurgent St Kilda, it’s impossible not to take notice of the North Melbourne spark in 2018.

Same old Brisbane Lions

It’s hard to think that a team who has featured in the competitions bottom four since 2014 and is now winless in five rounds can be making steps forward. To go with this bitter pill, the Lions have not played finals football since 2009. While Brisbane made significant changes to their roster this season, recruiting the experience of Luke Hodge and flair of Jeremy Cameron, it seems the issue lies deeper than roster development. Whether it’s a cultural, coaching or personnel change required, the answer needs to be found soon before the problem becomes worse than it already is.

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