Round 9

Some of the closest and not-so-closest games of the year if not all time made round nine a great demonstration of how teams are doing in 2019

West Coast (85) vs Melbourne (69):

Melbourne finally started to show signs of being a great team but still just can’t take home the win. It was a rollercoaster of a game with highs andf lows for both sides but the Eagles have found some strong form recently and blew the Dees out of the water in the last quarter. Max Gawn had another reat erformance and just keeps getting better and better, he had a ridiculous 56 hitouts and has just continued his ridiculous; possibly the only positive for Melbourne. The Eagle were just an opposite side of the coi, Elliot Yeo had 16 tackles… 16, as well as 26 disposals, he looks as if he’s gotten over all his injury issues from last year and is just tearing it up this year. Shannon Hurn was also a key to the Eagle’s game 13 marks, 9 of which were contested and if they weren’t taken could’ve proved the difference between a win or a loss. What’s happened to Melbourne, the 6-6-6 rule has just ruined them and their great form last year seems to have gone to nothig; their best players just aren’t having an impact and I don’t think it’s their fault, I think it’s Simon Goodwin’s. For Melbourne to start playing like a decent side again there are going to need to be serious changes coaching wise.

Collingwood (112) vs St Kilda (71):

St Kilda stuck in there till the very end… of three quarter time.

Travis Varcoe knocks out both Stephenson brothers at once

Brisbane (93) vs Crows (92):

Arguably the game of the year and some of the most tense final minutes for fans of both sides.

Geelong (133) vs Western Bulldogs (89):

Geelong will be Geelong, the top of the table showed why they’re there.

Essendon (60) vs Fremantle (53):

Hard to watch at times, Essendon finally managed to break their losing streak but Freo just added to theirs. The tight finish was probably the most exciting part of the whole match but it sure as hell was tense. Dylan Shiel kicked his first goal in the red and black to seal the deal, and what a first goal it was. Running in from outside 50 and kicking it on the full. As for the rest of the game, it wasn’t pretty. Not nearly enough uncontested possesions as their should’ve been and the new 6-6-6 rule definetly isn’t helping the run of the game. Zach Merret shone out once again with 35 disposals and is definelty looking like a brownlow contender. Fremantle played a quiet game but definetly got their hands on the ball a lot, David Mundy 34 disposals and 6 tackles and Rory Lobb out-rucked Tom Bellchambers which is a good sign since losing Sandilands. Nat Fyfe was really quiet and just couldn’t get near the footy, 24 disposals is nothing to be snuffed at but it’s not what you’d expect from a player of his calibre. A struggle for the four points is not really what sides need at this stage in the comp but it was what they got.

David Zaharakis wicked a goal to go with his 32 touches

North Melbourne (72) vs Sydney (77):

Injuries hurt the Swans early but they stepped it up in the second half and even survived a last minute surge by the Roos. With both sides only having two wins beforehand the game wasn’t promising anything special but infact it was the polar opposite. Sydney lost Josh Kennedy before the game forcing them to field the second-youngest side in the AFL, only after Goals Coast and injuries to Zak Jones and Isaac Heeney din’t help much. After a strong first quarter from the Roos, Sydney pulled away for the rest of the game except for a last minute push by North. With less than a minute to go and 5 points the difference, both sides were giving everything for the four points. Jack Ziebel was definetly the difference for North in the second half and was also probably best on ground, 35 disposals and 8 tackles really solidified his move to the midfield as a good decision. There are definetly improvements to be made for North, especially for Ben Brown who only had five disposals for the game. Altough neither side looks like a chance for finals, there are definetly great signs for next year.

Port Adelaide (89) vs Goals Coast (51):

A close first half meant nothing for the Suns with Port taking control in the second half with a 6 goal win. After trailing by four points at half time Power were just too strong for the Suns, kicking 7 goals to 1 and lkanding a comfortable lead. Travis Boak and Tom Rockliff are having great seasons, being two of the top five players in disposals for the year. They both had a serious impact on the run of the ball with 10 tackles and 66 diposals between them. Port’s rookies also shone once again with Connor Rozee 18 disposals, 8 tackles and 2 goals and Xavier Duursma racking up 19 disposals and 6 marks. Brayden Fiorini somehow managed a ridiculous 38 disposals and 5 tackles dispite the score and could possibly take home the three points as well. The game just highlighted the Sun’s need for some better defence, conceding 7 goals to 1 in a highly contested half of footy just isn’t good enough for a side that has had the amount of high picks and salary cap as the Sun’s. They’re going to have to make some serious improvements if they want to be competetive in the next few years.

Richmond (95) vs Hawthorn (59):

Richmond have finally gotten over their run of injuries and are looking like Premiership contenders. Dustin Martin was the highlight of the night and is finally starting to look like his old ‘brownlow’ self. Dusty racked up 37 disposals and two goals which is finally what richmond need from him after a lacklustre start to the season. Noah Balta was also pivitol in the absence of some bug names up front with 6 tackles, 18 disposals, a goal and some hitouts as well. With Nankervis out Ivan Soldo also held his ground in the ruck department but only a week after he was in the team, he’s back out after elbowing James Worpel in the head with a lot of controversey about the fact that you can elbow people in the head as long as you’ve won a brownlow. Hawthorn definitely had some good signs but just didn’t have the same impact as round 8. Jaeger O’Meara and James Worpel had seven tackles and a combined 58 disposals. The Hawks just couldn’t impact the scoreboard, with five scoring shots to one in the first quarter the hawks barely had the lead after they kicked 1.4, it basically summed up the rest of the game. Both sided definetly have potential for finals and are starting to overcome their poor start to the season.

Noah Balta played a great game considering it was only his 9th

GWS (138) vs Carlton (45):

Carlton need help. Serious help. After numerous high draft picks Carlton still just can’t make an impact on the scoreboard. With arguably their only good player, Patrick Cripps getting tagged by DeBoer and held to 12 disposals, there was little to no hope from the very begining. Marc Murphy was missing from the end of the first quarter but considering he only had four disposals it probably didn’t mean much, Levi Casboult also only had eight disposals for the game. There honestly weren’t any positives for Carlton, not a single person got past 30 disposals or 4 tackles and there were only 5 goal kickers for the match. As for GWS it was a completey different story, Lachie Whitfield had his own football with 40 disposals 16 marks and 3 goals and this was after a two week break with a corked thigh. His success in the midfield allowed five players to kick three or more goals including Jeremy Finlayson who kicked 5. The game is another loss to add to the pile for Carlton with 27 wins from 119 games since 2014, but this should be putting a smile on Crows fans’ faces with the number one draft pick looking more and more likely after last years trade.

Lachie Whitfield looked unstoppable on Sunday night

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Round 8

Round 8 was by far one of the strangest weeks in AFL history from umpiring decisions, player decisions and MRO decisions.

Sydney (77) vs Essendon (72):

The week started off with Essendon taking on Sydney. The game was a sigh of relief for Sydney supporters who have finaly won a game after four straight losses, even if it was in the final minutes of the game. With Buddy Franklin out if showed that the side can still play a decent brand of footy but it also showed a need for improvement is some of their other stars; particularly Zac Jones, Isaac Heeney and Jake Lloyd who didn’t have the same impact as at the end of last year and the begining of this year. This game also proved a lack of Essendon’s consistency, suffering five losses from three games. Daniher was also sorely missed after he was dropped this week, it seems as if he’s Essendon’s lucky charm because they only seem to win when he plays. Dylan Shiel didn’t play to the same level as Anzac Day but Zak Merret made up for it with 28 disposals, 9 tackles and a goal. With five points the difference and a kick from 60 after the siren it was definetly a suspensful match, but the kick wasn’t the only thing that happened after the siren. Dane Rampe seemed to have forgotten how to play footy completely and decided to climp the goalposts, the umpires didn’t do anything besides tell him to get off which caused a lot of controvery in relation to the rule about “not intentionaly shaking the goalpost”. If they had paid the freekick it would’ve been a certain goal and win to Essendon but in my opinion they made the right decision because of the amount of uncertainty around the rule in the first place.

Dane Rampe climbs the post after the siren.

Bulldogs (92) vs Brisbane (76):

The Dogs are back! Finally showing signs of the team they were back in 2016. Although the lions were winning by more than three goals half way through the second quarter the dogs were just too good in the end. The Bulldogs midfield is definetely key to their game; Libba, Macrae, Hunter, Bonts and with Dunkley now playing a more dominant midfield role their game is more aggresive than ever. Even with the lack of Tim English in the side Jack Trengove was able to fill the role really well with 27 hitouts by the end of the game. Josh Dunkley was definetly the difference in the end with a whopping 36 disposals, 8 tackles and a goal. On the Brisbane side of the game, things weren’t as pretty. Eric Hipwood kick 0.5 in the first half with four of those coming from relatively easy set shots and Lachie Neale’s form has also dropped considerably compared to the start of the year, with only two tackles for the game. The one positive for Brisbane was Dayne Zorko, he played great, with 28 disposals, 7 tackles and two goals which is really difficult to do, especially in a loss. This game has shown a lot about the two sides, it proves that the bulldogs are on their way back after a form slump a few rounds back as well as Brisbane’s inability to score and the effect it is having on their game.

Aaron Naughton celebrating one of his three goals.

Carlton (87) vs Collingwood (106):

Second on the ladder versus last on the ladder sounded like a boring game, but it was far far from it. Carlton dominated the ball for a solid three quarters and even held a 12 point lead halfway through the final quarter but the Pies were just too strong in the end kicking five unanswered goals. The great game from Carlton seemed almost entirely due to Patrick Cripps who took his game to a whole other level this week, 35 disposals, 7 tackles and a goal made him easily the best onfield. The determination from the new skipper seemed to give Carlton a boost in confidence, with their defence only allowing Collingwood two inside 50s for the game and Charlie Curnow finaly showing some good form with 12 touches and two goals. Although Carlton really stepped it up it just wasn’t enough to counter Collingwood’s form this year, Brodie Grundy stepped it up again with a whoppinng 48 hitouts, 25 disposals and two goals against the out-of-form Matthew Kreuzer. Adam Treloar, Tom Phillips and Steele Sidebottom also performed well this week especially when it counted, with all of them having score involvements in the run of scoring at the end of the match. Carlton are definetly showing signs of being a great team this year while Collingwood just keep impressing and are now 7-1.

Brodie Grundy celebrating his first of two goals

Goals Coast (60) vs Melbourne (61):

Not a pretty finish but it sure was intense. With less than a minute on the clock and 7 points down Melbourne pulled off the seemingly impossible with Marty Hore kicking a goal and Tom McDonald hitting the post about 15 seconds later. Although the game was exciting at end, it was the complete opposite for the first three quarters; sloppy hands, dropped marks and innacuracy (predominately at Melbourne’s end of the field) led to the game being hard to watch at times. There were one pro, Clayton Oliver. The guy played some next generation football, 38 disposals and 15 tackles is just ridculously good. Another pro for the game was Melbourne’s rookies, Lockhart and Hore are proving their worth in the struggling side with a hige impact all over the field. The cons definetly outweighed the pros however, Gus Brayshaw has gone from placing third in the brownlow to looking like he doesn’t know what a football looks like and is barely even close to looking like his old self.

Tom McDonald rushing back in the final seconds of the game

St Kilda (70) vs West Coast (88):

St Kilda’s run of injuries isn’t helping their ladder placement while West Coast are finally starting to play some consistent footy. A slow game at times but the Eagles midfield was just good for the Saints, Jack Stevens’ absence didn’t help much either. It seems like Saint Kilda’s shot at the top eight was a bit of fluke after they have now suffered defeats in their last three games. Besides the injuries, the Saints just aren’t what they were only a few weeks ago; Matthew Parkey only scored a single point for the game, Marshall had a measley 18 hitouts against the fairly new ruckman Nathan Vardy and their veterans just aren’t performing. The Eagles side of things looked a lot nicer, Gaff seems firmly set in his wing position with 30 disposals and 4 tackles as well as Shannon Hurn showing signs of old with 9 marks (six intercepted) and 25 disposals. Their rookies are also looking like keeping their place with Petrucelle kicking two goals and four marks. Another interesiting sidenote was the dropping of Eleni Glouftsis, the first female umpire in the AFL after a string of bad calls.The Eagles are actually starting to look like a side that won the Grand Final last year after their massive form slump; whereas the Saints have almost done the opposite, from looking like Premiership contenders to probably not even making the eight.

The Ferrari in action

Crows (88) vs Port (68):

There’s a reason the Showdown is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Infront of 50,000 the Crows overcame a late Power surge to take home the win. After a highly contested first quarter it was 11 points the difference in the Crow’s favour. The second quarter was a different story, the Crows started to pull away with the help of Tom Lynch up forward and Alex Keath down back. Lynch walked away with 3 goals and Keath racked up 5 intercept marks. Matt Crouch had a great impact on the game throughout he hole of the first half but suffered a heavy contusion to his hip just before half time which kept him out for the rest of the game as well as him being in serious doubt for round 9. The Crows’ defence also proved a major difference with Port only scoring three goals from inside 50 by 3-quarter-time. Although the score didn’t show it Port were contesting the ball quite a lot, Tom Rockliff had 41 disposals by the end of the game (the most for the round) as well as six tackles. In the absence of lots of their stars, Port’s rookie selection was aslo a major plus for the game with Connor Rozzee, Xavier Duursma and Willem Drew gained 48 disposals and 15 tackles between them. The game took 6th and 7th on the ladder to 3rd and 11th, just proving how even 2019 is proving to be.

Matt Crouch running through the midfield moments before his hip injury.

North Melbourne (80) vs Geelong (104):

A great first quarter from the Roo’s but the Cat’s were just too strong ing the end. Geelong have now also gone 7-1 and have a one game buffer at the top of the table. Geelong’s forward line has just kept getting better over the last few years; Tim Kelly, Gary Ablett, Patrick Dangerfield, Tom Hawkins and now the new rookies in Clark and Miers just took the Cats to a whole new level. Kicking 16.8 Geelong were the definition of accuracy and North’s score of 11.14 made it look superhuman. While Joel Selwood didn’t play in the end, his replacement Charlie Constable filled in superbly, 27 disposals, 10 marks and three tackles is just ridiculous for a first-year rookie and begs the question as to why he keeps being dropped. The one negative for Geelong throughout the game was Gary Ablett’s elbow to the head of Sam Wright only a week after he did the same thing to Dylan Shiel, the fact that he was only offerd a fine highlighted the hypocricy in the AFL match review system is ridiculous and favours the stars over the clean players. The decision was criticised even more after Sam Durdin was offered a one match ban for a bumb the body of Gary Rohan. Besides the loss North played a great game of footy against the top of the table. Shaun Higgins starred with 31 disposals two tackles and a goal as well as Trent Durmont who had 28 disposals and four tackles. North Melbourne definetly aren’t playing like a side placed 17th on the ladder and are showing signs of a being a great team in the near future.

Gary Ablett’s is lucky to escape suspension after this elbow to the head of Sam Wright.

Hawthorn (71) vs GWS (38):

Although GWS were seen as favourites heading into the game the Hawks just controlled the footy more, leading to a 33 point win. Although the game was quite boring to watch at times it showed how good Hawthorn can play when they’re at their best. Their stars in Henderson, Sicily and Shiels really shone out in amuch needed win. Even with Roughead omitteed from the side for the match the Hawks showed that they can play contested football although their shot conversion wasn’t great, kicking 10.11 for the game. Jarman Impey also had a great game, kicking 2 goals in the absence of Chad Wingard. GWS just wasn’t the side they usually are, they struggled to get the ball in the first place and even when they did they just couldn’t get it past the Hawks defence. The match also highlighted how important Shane Mumford is to the Giants’ squad with the experience of McEvoy just simply overpowering the rookie ruckman in Dawson Simpson. The GWS guns just couldn’t do anything of importance either, Stephen Coniglio not laying a single tackle and Jeremy Cameron kicking 0.4 after averaging 3.1 for the year. Although the Giants still stil sit inside the top four thee are plenty of questions to be asked about the team as a whole. As for Hawthorn, it looks like they’re finally starting to turn their season around.

Ricky Henderson had a great game with 36 disposals.

Fremantle (86) vs Richmond (111):

Richmond started off great and after a second half push by Freo, they were still able to take a 4 goal win home. The injury-ravaged tigers’ rookies really stepped up their game with Noah Balta playing an important role, especially after Toby Nankervis was injured in the first quarter. After a big loss to the Dogs the week before the Tigers proved that they still have a spark and are actually starting to look life finals contender. Bachar Houli really stood out for the Tigers with 30 disposals but only had one tackle for the game which used to be the strongest part of his game, this could be a good or bad thing but I personally think it could lead to a drop in performance. Although Fremantle lost in the end there was one star, Nat Fyfe. He almost certainly took home the three brownlow votes with 33 disposals and three goals, he did however spmehow end up turning into Gary Ablett and elbowed Tom Lynch in the head, if he does recieve a suspension those three votes will mean nothing. Fremantle just aren’t the side they once were, and the same can be said for Richmond in a way. Both sides really need to make some serious changes if they want to be final contenders at the end of the year, and thats a big if.

Nat Fyfe is in serious strife for this elbow to the head of Tom Lynch.