Taylor Walker was the hero, scoring the clincher, as Adelaide ended Melbourne’s unbeaten start to the season in a pulsating and instant classic at the Oval.
With less than a minute remaining, the 31-year-old marked around 40 metres out, went back and held his nerve to spark wild scenes amongst the home supporters.
Speaking to Fox Footy, on his big moment, he said “I was feeling the pressure. Seedo (Paul Seedsman) came up to me and said trust the process, so I thought I was back in Broken Hill doing what I do. It was nice to slot it straight through.”
The Western Bulldogs return to the top of the ladder, on percentage, after recording their biggest ever victory over a woeful St.Kilda by a massive 111-point margin.
In truth, it could have been even bigger with a little more accuracy (18 behinds) – Aaron Naughton, Marcus Bontempelli and Josh Bruce amongst the goalscorers.
The only sour note for the Doggies was the ankle injury to Adam Treloar that saw the key midfielder leave the ground in a moonboot and facing a spell on the sidelines.
Brisbane made it sixth straight wins, throwing their hat in the ring as flag contenders, after defeating premiers Richmond in convincing fashion at a near sold-out Gabba.
Dayne Zorko, who earlier in the week signed a one-year contract extension, put in a real captain’s performance while Eric Hipwood and Zac Bailey kicked four apiece.
Compounding a bad night for the Tigers, Marlion Pickett was reported for striking Brandon Starcevich, in the fourth, with a kind of ‘clothesline’ tackle seen in the WWE.
Over in the west, Rory Lobb booted four goals and had arguably his best game in a Fremantle jersey as they came from behind to edge Sydney in a thrilling contest.
Dockers coach Justin Longmuir delighted with the performance; he said “I thought we really turned up the heat in the second half, the third quarter in particular.”
“We asked the players to own the ball a bit more in the contest in particular. Then, the pressure we put on them inside our front half just created a lot of opportunities.” He continued “They challenged us in the last quarter and I was really proud of the way the group stood up, we hit the front and then to go on and finish the game off.”
Completing a trilogy of matches, settled by two points or less, saw Port Adelaide manage to hold off the late challenge of a spirited Collingwood and get over the line.
Although they played well and pushed the Power to the limit, it still signals another defeat for a club that are having a season to forget following the highly publicised departure of Eddie McGuire, as president, and the on-going tensions at board level.
Outside the MCG, Magpies’ fans turned out in big numbers to sign a petition to force an extraordinary general meeting and address all these off-the-field issues.
At GMBHA Stadium, Geelong got up as expected but didn’t have it all their own way against a plucky Gold Coast; Jeremy Cameron bagging three snags for the Cats.
Prior to the match, an impeccable minute’s silence was held to honour the passing of former President, club Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Frank Costa AO (aged 83).
Josh Kelly stepped up to become GWS’s third captain of the season, due to injuries, and played a key role by leading the side to a 16-point triumph over West Coast.
Coach Leon Cameron full of praise for the 26-year-old in the presser; he said “You can’t underestimate as soon as you get the word “captain” in front of you how people can handle it. Some people can absorb it while others think about it too much.”
“Taking on that responsibility could have affected his performance but that certainly didn’t happen today. He is a fine young lad, who went about his business and is playing some excellent footy. His last seven weeks have been superb for us.”
Carlton coach David Teague admitted that he gave his players a ‘spray’ at half-time before watching them go on to record a 23-point success over Hawthorn at the ‘G’.
The Blues were far from their best, in what proved to be a very scrappy and error-ridden affair, but improved after the break and did enough to get the job done.
Key defender Liam Jones won the David Parkin Medal for his best on field display – the prize named in honour of a man that made a significant contribution to both clubs and indeed the game, in general, through five decades at senior league level.
Closing out the round, Essendon scored the first eleven goals of the contest and led for the whole afternoon enroute to thrashing bottom side North Melbourne.
Peter Wright, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Harry Jones kicked three apiece, amongst thirteen different goalkickers, while the trio of Darcy Parish, Zach Merrett and Andy McGrath dominated the midfield and starred for the rampant Bombers.
Round 10 Results
Brisbane 15.12 (102)
Richmond 11.8 (74)
Carlton 13.8 (86)
Hawthorn 9.9 (63)
Geelong 14.7 (91)
Gold Coast 8.9 (57)
Adelaide 15.6 (96)
Melbourne 14.11 (95)
Western Bulldogs 21.18 (144)
St.Kilda 5.3 (33)
Fremantle 12.14 (86)
Sydney 13.6 (84)
GWS 13.15 (93)
West Coast 11.11 (77)
Collingwood 8.10 (58)
Port Adelaide 8.11 (59)
Essendon 22.9 (141)
North Melbourne 10.9 (69)
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