Several Indigenous stars lit up the first week of the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls round at the weekend.

As the magic held some sides steady as competition front-runners, others were forced to accept where they sit in the pecking order while a handful stood up to make a statement with upset wins and scares threatening to throw the season wide open.

  • Friday May 20

Carlton 102 – 87 Sydney – Marvel Stadium, Melbourne 

Sir Doug Nicholls round kicked off Friday night with a contest involving sides unable to wash away the doubters despite sitting fourth and fifth on the ladder.

The Swans settled early before an eight goal second term put the Blues in the drivers seat for what could have been a thumping win.

Baggers’ youngster Jesse Motlop slotted a goal in the 12th minute of the second quarter to put some emphasis on a blistering period for his side.

Had he kicked a little straighter Motlop could have had a bigger impact and helped seal a win a little earlier. He ended the game with 1 goal 2.

Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin showed glimpses of his best with an explosive run through traffic before launching a long bomb from the centre square in a vintage display helping Sydney chipped away at the large margin through the third.

The Blues held off a scary comeback to solidify their place in the top four.

  • Saturday May 21

Western Bulldogs 106 – 87 Gold Coast – Mars Stadium, Ballarat

The contender-toppling Suns couldn’t get the job done against Dogs outfit with their tails up following a big win over Collingwood the previous week.

Despite trailing all afternoon the Suns were kept in the game by Kukatj man Joel Jeffrey‘s five-goal haul.

Bulldog and former number one draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan failed to break into the senior side for the Indigenous round contest.

North Melbourne 53 – 100 Narrm – Marvel Stadium, Melbourne 

North flirted with putting up the upset of the season, pushing the Dee’s for three quarters before the premiers kicked away late to settle the stomachs of their supporters. 

Kysaiah Pickett reaped a two-goal return from his seven touches, including a piece of class with a tackle break and step onto his right for a shot on the run after receiving the ball outside fifty. The electric small forward grabbed at his Indigenous jumper in celebration of the effort.

Jed Anderson and Jy Simpkin provided some guts for the Roos with 21 and 20 touches respectively.

Adelaide 69 – 90 St Kilda – Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

Bradley Hill chaired off in his 200th game on Saturday.
image: St Kilda Football Club Facebook

The lead swung back and forth all night between the Crows and Saints.

Shane McAdam, two goals, lifted Adelaide fans out of their seats when the game was in the balance half way through the third.

The Crows forward provided a deft hand and turned his opponents on a bouncing ball before soccering it through to bring his side in front.

The silky running display brought memories of previous Crows number 23 and Indigenous star Andrew McLeod’s brilliance in previous decades to Sir Doug Nicholls round.

Bradley Hill was among those best on ground in his 200th. His 30 disposals and a goal helped lift his Saints to victory.

Jade Gresham maintained his form through the first half of the year with 27 disposals.

Richmond 80 – 48 Essendon – MCG, Melbourne

The showpiece match of the round, Dreamtime at the ‘G kicked off with a rousing war cry from the Richmond squad. Omitted Tigers Sydney Stack, Marlion Pickett and Matthew Parker joined their teammates for the spectacle. 

A Richmond victory looked all but confirmed from early in the contest.

Dion Pestia walked away with the Yiooken award for best on ground claiming a perfect score from judges. 

Daniel Rioli snagged himself a vote with 27 touches while Maurice Rioli Jr and Shai Bolton impacted the scoreboard with two goals a piece.

  • Sunday May 22

Hawthorn 117 – 112 Brisbane – University of Tasmania Stadium, Launceston

Premiership threat Brisbane made a fast start before allowing Hawthorn, who have a knack for strangling teams that venture south to Tassie, back into the game.

The Lions got it under control before again letting things slip.

The Hawks dominated the final term to clinch what could prove the upset of the year. 

Dalabon man Keidean Coleman had 26 touches for Hawthorn while Chad Wingard made an impact with three goals. 

Charlie Cameron did his part in fighting for a Lions win with three goals of his own.



The second week of Sir Doug Nicholls round kicks off with Marn Grook at the SCG between the Swans and Tigers on Friday night in Sydney.