AFL’s Nathan Buckley signed off as Collingwood coach by watching his side produce a stunning performance in the 17-point defeat of leaders Melbourne at the SCG.
Last week, the 48-year-old announced that that he would step down from the role, after this game, and the players certainly delivered to ensure he went out in style.
Speaking in his final press conference, he said “I think in the last month we’ve played solid footy and we’ve slowly added layers to our game. Nights like tonight, regardless of my situation, they build belief in the playing group which is capable of whatever it believes its capable of; nights like tonight really open up the possibilities.”
“My step is the last one for this aspect of the journey and for them it’s another one on theirs. Collingwood will always be a passion and I always want to see it, as an organisation and the people in it, prosper and I’ll be supporting from afar.”
Asked about his future, he concluded “I’ll go in at some stage this week, when no one’s around, clear the office and consider what my next step is. I’ve still got a lot of life to live and I’ve still got passions to chase.”
Before the game, for the seventh consecutive year, twelve more stars went down the Fight MND Big Freeze slide to help raise money as part of the Fight MND’s mission to find effective treatments and ultimately a cure for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Despite all the complications in the lead up to their trip to South Australia, Geelong didn’t let that affect them as they recorded their fifth straight triumph, moving up to third on the ladder, by coming from behind to get up over Port Adelaide by 21 points.
The forward partnership of Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron were pivotal and in full effect by combining for nine majors. Gary Rohan, Tom Stewart, Mitch Duncan and the returning Patrick Dangerfield all contributed in a very strong team display.
Josh Kennedy booted four goals, including a last-minute winner, as West Coast edged Richmond, by four points, in one of the best contest of the season so far.
He marked around 35 metres out, on the boundary line, and then held his nerve to put the ball straight through the big sticks, completing the final-term turnaround, to spark wild celebrations amongst the majority of the 50,834 crowd at Optus Stadium.
Speaking to Fox Sports, on his big moment, the 33-year-old forward said “I didn’t want to go for the snap and the siren goes because that would have been pretty bad. I thought it was going to hit the post at one stage but she floated through.”
In a rare and first of the season, down in Tasmania, North Melbourne and GWS were forced to settle for a draw with both sides having a case for securing the victory.
The Kangaroos headed into the fourth quarter with a healthy lead but Leon Cameron’s side hit back with Daniel Lloyd wasting a great chance in the last minute.
Giants defender Sam Reid finally made his 100th appearance, a feat achieved by many players but it doesn’t normally take them 4,671 days (twelve years and nine months) and none have had to wait longer in the past 93 years of AFL/VFL history.
In a career that has been plagued by injury, including four shoulder reconstructions, the 31-year-old has also been delisted on four occasions. He deserves such credit for the sheer will and determination in overcoming so many setbacks along the way.
The mid-season bye clearly did Hawthorn the world of good as they looked a different side in romping home to their biggest win of the year and upset Sydney.
Jai Newcombe, recruited from Box Hill in the mid-season draft, made an immediate impression with 14 tackles to break the record for the most ever by an AFL debutant.
Speaking to Channel 7, post-match, he said “It’s been a big ride over the past two or three weeks. I didn’t really see myself in this position. I’m very happy and lucky, obviously with the support of all the boys. It was all about the pressure tonight and we knew that it we brought that then we would come away with a good result.”
Adelaide pulled off the most remarkable of comebacks with 18-year-old forward Riley Thilthorpe sealing it as they got over the line against a shell-shocked St.Kilda.
The Crows went pointless in the first quarter and it took until midway through the second before they registered their first goal on a wet and slippery afternoon.
However, it was a completely different story after the half-time interval as they hit back strongly and went on to score the last seven majors of the contest to get home.
Over in WA, Fremantle handed debuts to Brandon Walker and Joel Western while Reece Conca made his 150th appearance in the 27-point success over Gold Coast.
Making his return to the Dockers side, having been ravaged by injury over the last 18 months, was Alex Pearce. The defender came through the contest unscathed and also played a vital part by managing to keep Suns forward Ben King goalless.
Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs all had the bye this round but will return to action next weekend.
Round 13 Results
Port Adelaide 14.7 (91)
Geelong 17.10 (112)
Sydney 7.9 (51)
Hawthorn 14.5 (89)
Fremantle 11.10 (76)
Gold Coast 6.13 (49)
St.Kilda 8.12 (60)
Adelaide 9.12 (66)
North Melbourne 14.10 (94)
GWS 14.10 (94)
West Coast 13.7 (85)
Richmond 12.9 (81)
Melbourne 9.9 (63)
Collingwood 11.14 (80)
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