Snapshot of round three of the AFL season

Oliver Caffrey

WHAT HAPPENED IN ROUND 3 OF THE AFL SEASON:

* THEY SAID IT: "It was peculiar. I wasn't sure if he (Haynes) had a milestone. If he didn't, it was strange." - Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was bemused by GWS' Nick Haynes tossing the coin instead of Giants captain Stephen Coniglio in a suspected attempt to rattle Marcus Bontempelli.

* STATS THAT MATTER: Gold Coast ended nine years of pain at the hands of Adelaide, defeating the Crows for the first time. The rising Suns didn't just win, they embarrassed the beleaguered South Australian club. Gold Coast had lost all 13 previous clashes with Adelaide by an average losing margin of 60 points. Stuart Dew's team knocked Richmond out of the top eight with their dominant 53-point victory at Metricon Stadium.

* MAN OF THE ROUND: Lachie Neale. Brisbane's star midfielder was nervous that the AFL's shorter quarters wouldn't suit him as much. But after 32 possessions and two goals in the Lions' 30-point win against West Coast, the 27-year-old's fears have proved unfounded.

* KEY MOMENT: Geelong's Esava Ratugolea had a moment of madness when he thumped a certain Tom Hawkins goal back into play during the third quarter. The brain fade proved costly as Geelong's rousing comeback from 42 points down proved in vain, losing to Carlton at GMHBA Stadium for the first time since 1996.

* TALKING POINT: Essendon's Conor McKenna became the first AFL player to test positive for COVID-19. Saturday's coronavirus bombshell forced the Bombers' game against Melbourne to be postponed. The club is anxiously waiting to learn how many players are deemed to have been in close contact with the defender and will also need to quarantine for 14 days. Despite Essendon's headquarters being closed for cleaning, the AFL is determined for the Bombers to continue playing if they have at least 22 available players.

* TRIBUNAL WATCH: It was a fiery Friday night at Marvel Stadium, with 15 Western Bulldogs and GWS players fined after a wild three-quarter-time melee. Dogs forward Aaron Naughton was cleared of any wrongdoing after a collision with Lachie Whitfield which concussed the Giants' flyer.

* KEY INJURIES: Rory Atkins (Adel, shoulder), Lachie Whitfield (GWS, concussion), Luke Dahlhaus (Geel, concussion), Rhys Stanley (Geel, knee).

WHAT'S NEXT: A resurgent Bulldogs head to Sydney for a Thursday night clash with the Swans, while GWS will attempt to bounce back at home against high-flying Collingwood. On Saturday, Port Adelaide take on West Coast in an intriguing Queensland hub clash, while doubt remains over Essendon's MCG match later that night against arch-rivals Carlton. Melbourne are due to play Geelong on Sunday, with 2-1 teams North Melbourne and Hawthorn completing round four.