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Round 3 talking points: A positive COVID test, Carlton's shock win and more


It’s been a massive weekend of footy as the AFL comes to grips with another difficult moment as it works through the current health pandemic.

But there were plenty of upsets in an eventful Round 3.

Here’s some of the biggest talking points!

Conor McKenna tests positive for COVID-19

The day the AFL feared but would’ve planned for came on Saturday as Essendon’s Conor McKenna returned a positive COVID-19 on Saturday morning – the first player or official to test positive from over 13,000 tests.

"We will be working with the Chief Medical Officer to do the close-contact tracing with Conor," AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said at a snap press conference outside the MCG.

"All players and football department staff have been asked to self-isolate until that work has been done.

"We said at the outset we will make all decisions on the basis of the medical advice."

The news rocked the football world and brings with it a whole other set of questions as the league grapples once again with how to navigate through the latest setback in the current health crisis.

Essendon’s clash against Melbourne was immediately postponed and their match against Carlton next Saturday night now has to be in doubt.

What does McKenna’s positive test mean for the rest of the competition?

There are all sorts of uncertainty about how footy proceeds in the coming weeks with one club effectively in self-isolation indefinitely but Gillon McLachlan reaffirmed his commitment to working through the current situation to keep the season going.

The immediate question is when does the now re-scheduled game between Essendon and Melbourne be played but perhaps what is of more concern is how does Round 4 look.

McKenna’s positive test may halt Essendon but its effects on others in the competition will be profound.

Carlton defy the odds to record famous victory

David Teague’s side were under the microscope this week, not for their performances, but more so their starts in both their losses to start to the season.

But on Saturday night, they came out with a point to prove and turned things around.

At quarter time against Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, they were five goals to one up and by half time they still held a 29-point lead.

The final quarter would’ve been a nerve-racking one as the Cats clawed their way back to draw within two points of the Blues with just minutes remaining but Carlton held on to claim a famous victory - their first down in Geelong since 1996.

It wasn’t just the win but a performance to silence the doubters which were beginning to circle around Ikon Park.

Suns blitz Crows in scorching Sunday afternoon performance

Matthew Nicks will be searching for answers after another pitiful display, this time against the Suns on Sunday afternoon after going down by 53 points at Metricon Stadium.

The footy world would’ve expected a response after last Saturday night’s 75-point loss to Port Adelaide but what transpired was a performance which leaves more questions than answers.

Where to for Adelaide from here?

Is it time to take the Power seriously?

They may have beaten three teams that were nowhere near finals in 2019, but the way the Power have put away their opponents has been impressive.

You can only beat what's in front of you and Ken Hinkley's side has done it powerfully by playing an attractive brand of attacking footy made possible by their ability to win plenty of contested ball.

On Sunday night they were challenged by Fremantle for most of the game but flexed thier muscle under the heavy Gold Coast rain with a five-goal second term which set up their eventual 29-point victory.

Port sit atop the ladder with an enormous percentage of 243.8 and have a great chance to go 4-0 when they take on a struggling West Coast side next Saturday.

It might be time to take the Power very seriously.

Is this the best rivalry in modern footy?

The Western Derby and Showdowns are always must-watch events but in terms of pure spitefulness, nothing tops the simmering tensions between the Western Bulldogs and GWS Giants.

A rivalry that started during the 2016 finals series boiled over during last year’s elimination final when Dogs captain Marcus Bontempelli was targeted by Giants teammates.

That tension spilled over on Friday night in a physical and exciting encounter which ultimately culminated in a big Western Bulldogs win and massive three-quarter time melee.

When these two sides meet again, it promises to be must watch once more.

And one more thing

There’s been a clear shift in messaging out of the West Coast Eagles in the last few days as they look to force the AFL’s hand on when they’ll be permitted to head back to Perth from their hub on the Gold Coast.

Both Will Schofield on SEN’s Dwayne’s World and Adam Simpson expressed their apprehension to stay on the Gold Coast beyond Round 5 – something which now seems unlikely.

But whatever happens after that date, the Eagles have more immediate on-field concerns after losses to both Gold Coast and now Brisbane to restart the season.

Games against Port Adelaide and Richmond at Metricon Stadium loom large in the coming fortnight as they look to bounce back before heading back home.

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