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Aussie Rules: Takeaways from week four

St Kilda continue to set the pace at the top of the AFL ladder after they beat Gold Coast, while Collingwood slipped to their first defeat against Brisbane Lions.

The opening weeks of the 2023 campaign have been hard to predict and round four also threw up some surprise results. 

As well as victories for Brisbane and St Kilda - Carlton, Adelaide, Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, Essendon, Melbourne and Geelong all picked up big wins. 

When it comes to the biggest losers of round four you have to say that alarm bells will be ringing at Fremantle after they suffered another defeat at Adelaide. 

Richmond will also be very disappointed after losing at home to the Bulldogs, while Hawthorn and Gold Coast suffered heavy defeats. 

It was a bumper Easter weekend of action with plenty to talk about, so let’s take a look at the top takeaways from the round.

Top four hard to pin down 

It is still very early days, but trying to predict who will make the top four is impossible as teams are struggling to string results together. 

The two stand-out teams are Melbourne and Collingwood. Both made a preliminary final in 2022 and have started the season well, so you would expect them to make the top four. Melbourne are priced at 1.50 to make it, Collingwood 1.61, but after that it is anyone’s guess. 

The reigning premiers Geelong sit 1-3 for the season and it is going to take a big effort from them to get their act together and make it. They can be backed at 2.50

St Kilda are top of the pile with four wins from four, but the jury is out on whether they can last the distance. They are priced at 3.50 for a top four finish. 

Brisbane, Carlton and Sydney Swans are far too inconsistent and the race to make the top four is wide open.

Fremantle in freefall 

Fremantle looked to be a team very much on the up in 2022 and hopes were high heading into the new season. 

It has however been a disastrous start with just one win out of four games. That came in the derby clash with West Coast last week and the Dockers faithful would have been hoping their side could kick on from there. 

It was not to be and a 39-point defeat at Adelaide has set the alarm bells ringing. It has been suggested that Fremantle’s slow ball movement is the issue, but clearly it is their failure to boot goals that is the biggest problem they possess.

The loss of Rory Lobb in the off-season has left a big void that the others are struggling to fill. 

Michael Walters and Lachie Schulz are leading the way on six goals each, while Luke Jackson and Matt Taberner have just three. 

Freo are priced at 3.75 to make the eight and play finals - but that looks way off at the moment.

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Daicos continues to shine for Pies 

Collingwood may have slipped to defeat against Brisbane in the opening game of the round on Thursday night, but there were still positives to take from the contest. 

The biggest being another impressive performance from young gun Nick Daicos in just his second year as a professional AFL player. 

The 20-year-old was arguably the best player on the ground when kicking 2.2, while he also chipped in with 38 disposals and 16 contested possessions. 

He has also notched up at least 32 disposals in each of his other three appearances this season and it is no surprise that Pies coach Craig McRae is talking up his young star. 

Labelling Daicos a ‘terrific talent’, McRae has said they are willing to play him wherever he will have the biggest impact in the game. 

Daicos won the Rising Star award in his first year and now some are suggesting he could scoop the Brownlow Medal in 2023 if both he and Collingwood carry on in the same fashion. 

Collingwood are priced at 5.00 to win the Grand Final in 2023 and Daicos will be key to their chances.

A big couple of week for Adelaide 

The Crows are up to the dizzy heights of seventh place on the ladder after back-to-back wins over Port Adelaide and Fremantle. 

Port may be up and down like a yo-yo and Fremantle may be bang out of form, but they are two big wins nonetheless and something to give the supporters hope. 

It is also a sign that coach Matthew Nicks, who has recently been given a huge vote of confidence by the board, is getting things right. 

They face bigger tests with Carlton up next and Geelong, Collingwood and St Kilda on the horizon, but the signs are encouraging so far. Adelaide can be backed at 3.00 to make the eight and play finals. 

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