Fremantle cemented their grip on top spot with a clinical 68-point win over Melbourne on Sunday, but the win came at a cost with Matthew Pavlich and Michael Walters both knocked out of the match with concussion.
The star duo took no part in the match after halftime at the MCG, putting them both in doubt for next week’s big clash against Essendon at Domain Stadium.
“Walters put his head in the hole and copped a clip and Pavlich took a mark, took two steps and took a hit to the head,” Ross Lyon said after the match.
“It wasn’t ideal, (Pavlich is) pretty special to us, I haven’t got the medical (report), but they clearly couldn’t continue.
“I didn’t really discuss it with the players because they always want to play and come on. Once the doctor said that he’s not quite right then that’s the end of it.”
The win was the Dockers’ sixth in succession against the Demons and the fifth game in a row they’ve kept Melbourne to six goals or less.
The Bombers survived a huge scare from St Kilda to win by just two points at Etihad Stadium.
The Dons moved to a 3-2 record with the win, setting up a tantalising clash against the unbeaten Dockers in Perth on Saturday night.
In other Sunday action, Port Adelaide’s season continued to gather momentum with the Power defeating Adelaide by 24 points in Showdown 38.
After an 0-2 start to the season, Port have beaten North Melbourne, Hawthorn and the Crows to get their premiership campaign up and running.
Earlier in round five, the Western Bulldogs continued their stunning resurgence under Luke Beveridge with an inspired four-point win over the highly-favoured Swans in Sydney.
“We just want to go as far as we can this year and (this win) definitely helps that,” Beveridge said after his team moved into third spot with a surprise 4-1 record.
“It just helps give us a little sniff that we can take it a bit further.
“There is no doubt the players’ expectations will rise because that’s an enormous win for us.”
At the other end of the premiership ladder, Gold Coast broke through for their first win under coach Rodney Eade, thumping Brisbane by 64 points to leave the winless Lions anchored to the bottom of the table.
Star Hawthorn duo Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis face an anxious wait for the match review panel’s assessment of the Hawks’ 60-point win over North Melbourne.
Hodge will come under scrutiny for his swinging left-arm strike to Andrew Swallow’s jaw, while Lewis was reported for his late spoiling attempt that felled Todd Goldstein.
Pressure continues to mount on Richmond coach Damien Hardwick after the Tigers fell short of Geelong on Saturday at the MCG while GWS, who entered round five in second place, received a huge reality check from West Coast in the form of an 87-point thrashing at Subiaco.
The round got underway with the traditional blockbuster between Carlton and Collingwood, with Blues’ coach Mick Malthouse passing Jock McHale as the longest-serving coach in VFL/AFL history.
The Pies spoiled Malthouse’s party, however, with a 75-point drubbing that the record-breaking coach labelled embarrassing.