Gippslanders gather round in Adelaide

Special: Moe's Bailey Humphrey claimed a neat one-handed mark before kicking his first AFL goal at the weekend. Photograph supplied





THE entirety of the AFL shifted to South Australia for the highly anticipated Gather Round, for Round 5 of the 2023 season.

All nine games were played in the City of Churches, across three venues, which saw more than 220,000 fans make the journey for the experience.

THE first Gippslanders in action were the ones from up in the sunny state, when Gold Coast took on Fremantle at Norwood Oval, in the unusual time slot of Friday late-afternoon.

It was a hot footy early into the contest, as goals were rare to come by, until Gold Coast burst out of the gates at the end of the first quarter, kicking three quick goals to go up by 10 points at the first break.

The Suns maintained their lead throughout the second and third terms, and all the way until the 19 minute mark of the final quarter.

Morwell’s Ben Ainsworth collected 11 disposals and three tackles, alongside a fired-up Bailey Humphrey.

Moe’s own Humphrey kicked his first AFL goal in style, taking a one-handed grab, before going back and slotting the set shot.

He also unselfishly set up David Swallow minutes later, as he kicked his third of the match.

Humphrey was eventually subbed-out as the tactical substitute in the fourth quarter, after his showing of five disposals and a goal.

Fremantle piled on a sealer with four minutes to go, the eventual last score of the game, to walk away winners, 15.10 (100) to 13.12 (90).

On Sunday afternoon, GWS hosted Hawthorn at Norwood Oval.

This game was the definition of an up-and-down, see-sawing affair, as the leader changed at every break.

Hawthorn were up by a point a quarter time, before GWS took an eight-point lead at the major break.

The Hawks regained an eight-point lead by three quarter time, and going by this trend you could guess who eventually won.

Hawthorn held the lead up until the 28 minute mark of the final term, until Harry Himmelberg took a screamer and finished his dinner from the set shot to put GWS back in front.

Jarman Impey had the chance to give the Hawks the lead once again, with little to no time left, but it was Himmelberg, once again, who denied him on the goal line, channelling his inner Aliir Aliir.

Morwell’s Changkuoth Jiath only managed 11 disposals, but was involved with 225 metres gained and a goal assist.

The Giants walked away winners by a slim margin 10.17 (77) to 11.9 (75).

The best might’ve just been saved until last, when the undefeated St Kilda took on Collingwood at Adelaide Oval in the Sunday twilight fixture.

Nothing really separated the two sides throughout the first three quarters. Scores were level at quarter time, then Collingwood led by a point at half time, and they extended that lead to a goal at three quarter time.

For most of the final quarter, it was all black and white, as Collingwood drew out to a lead as big as 25 points.

The Saints weren’t done with yet though, as they piled on three goals in the final minute and a half to give the Magpies a late scare.

With a chance to tie the game late, the Saints just couldn’t get a mark inside forward 50, and Collingwood crawled over the line.

Collingwood handed St Kilda its first loss of the season, climbing to third on the ladder in the meantime, winning by six points, 10.10 (70) to 9.10 (64).

Sale’s Scott Pendlebury was industrious as always, collecting 23 disposals.

The Saints were clearly lacking some tall timber up front, but the imminent return of Traralgon’s Tim Membrey could be the answer to their problems.

Following the success in South Australia, it was announced that the AFL had agreed to three more years of Gather Round in Adelaide until 2026.