Game of chance as well as skill

Monday, April 29
Geelong Advertiser

``FAVOURITE'' has become a filthy word in the AFL.

Brisbane's 20-game winning streak ended, Sydney could only manage a draw against a spirited, half-strength St Kilda side and Collingwood shocked Essendon on Anzac Day to highlight round five.

Melbourne, Geelong, the Kangaroos and West Coast - all popular tips pre-season for the bottom four - are in the top eight.

The Demons, now equal-top with Brisbane on 4-1, and the Eagles, are giving strong signs early that is where they could stay.

West Coast started slowly, then grew in confidence at home Saturday and trounced Brisbane by 46 points, 18.13 (121) to 10.15 (75).

The Lions, like Essendon two years ago, fell three games short of Geelong's 23-game record streak, set in 1953.

The loss could be costly for the Lions, too - captain Michael Voss is certain to come under video scrutiny for a last-quarter incident which left Eagles youngster Chris Judd on the ground, clutching his stomach.

Voss will be one of three players facing nervous waits today, with Western Bulldog Luck Darcy's recent challenge on Shane Woewodin and the solid bump yesterday from Cats defender Tom Harley on Fremantle forward Matthew Pavlich also likely to be reviewed.

Sydney and St Kilda would have looked at the video yesterday and cried ``if only!''

Their 8.8 (64) to 8.8 (64) draw last night at Colonial Stadium was a bizarre contest, with the Saints adopting super-defensive measures to ensure a tight contest.

St Kilda, missing 10 key players through injury, looked to have the game won in the last term, but Sydney fought back and hit the lead by a point.

Saint Daniel Wulf then hit the post to tie the scores with seconds left.

While St Kilda was left to lament a lot of hard work for only two points, it is no longer the team under the dreaded ``spotlight'' for the next week.

That will be reserved for Richmond, now with two wins from five games after Saturday's 19.11 (125) to 12.11 (83) loss to resurgent Hawthorn at the MCG.

The Tigers paid for some shocking turnovers and are suddenly not the powerful combination they looked a month ago.

Geelong's young side scored its third-straight win and a record margin over Fremantle yesterday at Skilled Stadium, winning by 62 points, 17.9 (111) to 6.13 (49).

At Colonial Stadium yesterday, Carlton's woes continued with an injury-ridden loss to the Kangaroos, 19.17 (131) to 17.10 (112).

After losing ruckman Matthew Allan for the rest of the season last week, the Blues saw Darren Hulme (knee), vice-captain Adrian Hickmott (broken arm) and key midfielder Scott Camporeale (hamstring) all forced off the ground in the opening 22 minutes.

The Blues also lost Corey McKernan (groin) before half-time, but still trailed by only four points at the last change before the Roos kicked clear.

The Western Bulldogs have the dubious distinction of being one of the better 0-5 teams in the game's history, remaining winless after kicking poorly against Demons.