The two in-form sides of the competition clashed, in a contest that certainly didn’t disappoint, and served up a real cracker with Melbourne getting up over Brisbane.
In what proved to be a game of two halves, the Demons turned it up after the break and put on a formidable showing. Tom McDonald and Kozzy Pickett kicked three apiece whilst midfielders Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver played key roles.
Coach Simon Goodwin delighted with the result; he said “It’s as good as we’ve played; to come off the back of last week’s game, into another Friday night and be under the pump at half time, 20 points down. The group’s been terrific at being able to reset in-game right throughout the season; but that’s as impressive as we’ve had.”
He continued “Our ability to respond and get the game back looking like a Melbourne game and winning in that way – I’m just incredibly proud of them.”
A change of venue meant that it became ‘Dreamtime in the West’, the round’s showcase game, but it was just as impressive as WA fully got behind it with a great pre-match spectacle before a crowd of 55,656 that packed into Optus Stadium.
Australian artists John Butler, Ziggy Ramo, Sycco & Budjerah all did a set and the Whadjuk of the Noongar nation people put on a ‘Welcome to Country’ performance.
Richmond secured their eleventh straight success against Essendon in an exciting, see-saw affair, with the reigning Premiers finishing strongly to get the job done.
The Tigers were forced to come behind with Brownlow medallist Dusty Martin showing his class once more by leading the fightback (27 disposals, three goals).
Despite finishing on the losing side, Bombers midfielder Darcy Parish won the Yiooken Trophy (eight votes), for his best on field display which included 44 disposals – the most by any player at the club in their 149-year AFL/VFL history.
Collingwood managed to put a torrid and turbulent week behind them, dominated by off the field events, as they defeated Adelaide, in a thrilling encounter, by five points.
Forward Jamie Elliott, in his first game back from a fractured leg, was the hero by kicking a career-high six majors as well as what turned out to be the winner.
The result was even more impressive given that the Magpies’ preparations were severely hampered by the current state restrictions in place. They had been forced to quarantine in a hotel before then flying in and out of South Australia on matchday.
This, in addition to the continuing boardroom saga which in latest developments has seen Jeff Browne, a former Channel Nine boss and AFL legal adviser, attempting a coup and officially announcing his intention to become the next club president.
Mark Korda and the current regime quickly issued a robust response to Browne’s demands. With no resolution insight between the two parties, it looks like members will now be heading to an election, for the first time since 1998, to make the decision.
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge was full of praise for his players after watching them secure their first win over Fremantle, in Perth, since 2009.
Speaking in the post-match presser, he said “We are really grateful to them. The long-haul flight over, being cooped up today; I thought they did an extraordinary job.”
He continued “They were a bit of a stiff in the last quarter but I really thought our players were digging in. It was an important win for us going into the bye, a chance to freshen up a bit, and to be ten-and-two at this stage you would take that any day.”
A disappointing afternoon for the Dockers who weren’t helped by losing the trio of captain Nat Fyfe (shoulder), ruckman Sean Darcy (hamstring) and defender Brennan Cox (hamstring), all within the space of two minutes, during the second half.
Up in NSW, Sydney had to survive a late St.Kilda surge before James Rowbotham scored the sealer, with a minute left, to help his side over the line in a close one.
The Saints left ruing what might have been as they wasted several opportunities, in the latter stages, with their inaccuracy once more proving to be their downfall.
Liam Ryan booted four majors as an injury-hit West Coast finally ended a 22-year hoodoo, managing to win at the SCG, by knocking over Carlton in a 22-point victory.
Indeed it was so long ago, back in 1999, that five of the Eagles’ players that stepped out on to the oval weren’t even born! Coach Adam Simpson was forced into a number of changes which meant a debut for 19-year-old midfielder Luke Edwards, the son of dual-premiership (1997 & 1998) star Tyson (321 games, 192 goals).
Geelong, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Port Adelaide all had the bye this round but will return to action next weekend.
Round 12 Results
Melbourne 14.13 (97)
Brisbane 11.9 (75)
Sydney 13.14 (92)
St.Kilda 12.11 (83)
Adelaide 10.13 (73)
Collingwood 12.6 (78)
Essendon 12.12 (84)
Richmond 19.9 (123)
Carlton 10.13 (73)
West Coast 14.11 (95)
Fremantle 9.11 (65)
Western Bulldogs 13.15 (93)
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