Melbourne silenced their critics of recent weeks, showcased their credentials as genuine flag contenders and moved back to the top of the ladder after going interstate to knock over Port Adelaide, on their home deck, in convincing fashion.
Star midfielder Christian Petracca was in ominous form with a best on ground effort, kicking three goals along with forwards Tom McDonald and Kysaiah Pickett.
Speaking, post-match, to Demons TV, the 25-year-old said “It was important to get back on track after last week and get a win, on the road, in a hostile environment against a quality opposition is amazing. We got our aggression back tonight and playing in the forward half, which is the way we like to play with forward momentum and gaining territory; it allowed us to give our forwards a chance.”
He continued “It was good kicking a few goals and giving it to the fans. I feel that it is a big strength of mine to be able to get forward from the midfield. You have to embrace this type of atmosphere because you never know what could happen in finals. I thought the boys did an amazing job dealing with it during the game.”
Western Bulldogs were dethroned from pole position as they fell to an impressive Sydney side that keep alive their hopes of a top four, double chance, finish.
Jordan Dawson booted three majors for a Swans side that were superb, from the start, with Jake Lloyd (33 disposals) and Callum Mills (31) also playing vital roles.
Following weeks of speculation as to when he would debut, the Doggies finally gave a first outing to number one pick in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft Jamarra Ugle-Hagan; his big afternoon, though, was overshadowed by the performance of the opposition.
Geelong maintained the pressure on the top two, in defender Lachie Henderson’s 200th, after getting up, in a scrappy contest, over a wasteful Carlton at the MCG.
In the end it was pretty comfortable for the Cats although the Blues certainly helped them with their inaccuracy, kicking 11 consecutive behinds at one stage in the game.
St.Kilda ruined Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko’s 200th by producing a really strong showing as they romped to victory over the Lions and make it three in a row.
Saints coach Brett Ratten delighted with what he saw; he said “It is very pleasing and I think it was our best performance so far this year. To keep them to 42 inside 50s when they average 57. We knew that we were going to be tested defensively but I thought we did a really good job to turn the ball over in the midfield.”
“The other really good bit for us was our younger players. I think it was a bit of a snapshot of the future.” On their current form “Having the bye allowed us to reset, take a breath, come back and work out what we want to be as a football team.”
Bottom side North Melbourne pulled off the shock of the round as they held out to get a deserved 10-point triumph over West Coast, in the wet, at Optus Stadium.
Kangaroos ruckman Todd Goldstein became the new all-time VFL/AFL leader for hit-outs, surpassing Aaron Sandilands (8,502 – Fremantle). The feat achieved across 271 games, over 18 seasons, at an average of 31.2 per match.
Nat Fyfe made his 200th AFL appearance for Fremantle who chalked up their biggest victory of the season and, indeed, ever over Hawthorn by a 62-point margin.
The Dockers captain (31 disposals) led the way for his side, while forwards Rory Lobb (four) and Bailey Banfield (three), in his first game of the year back from an ankle injury, were amongst the goals and help move them into the eight.
This was the Hawks’ first outing since the much talked about announcement of the coaching handover from Alastair Clarkson to Sam Mitchell. On the evidence of this showing, it would be hard to say that the week hadn’t gotten to the playing group.
Down in Ballart, the Eureka Stadium was host to GWS and Gold Coast in what was the first time a non-Victorian club had played a ‘home game’ at the venue.
Those that turned out where treated to a real spectacle as these two teams served up a thrilling contest that went right to the wire. David Swallow was the hero, scoring what proved to be the winner, as the Suns got over the line by just a single point.
Robert Harvey enjoyed his first success as Collingwood coach after as he watched his team produce a dominant final-term to come from behind and defeat Richmond.
Speaking in the post-match presser, he said “I managed to avoid the Gatorade shower thank god! I thought there were some really brave efforts, particularly from our leaders, in the last quarter to get over the line, and that was really good to see.”
He added “I felt like the players had been so positive all day; we felt like the shape of the game was where we wanted it, there were just a few things letting us down. The message, at three-quarter time, was more of the same just a bit quicker if we can.”
Essendon won’t have an easier game this season as they led all evening and, in truth, should have won by a bigger margin in the thrashing of a woeful Adelaide.
It completes a good few days for the Bombers following the news that key midfielder Darcy Parish agreed terms on a new two-year deal to keep at the club until 2023.
In contrast, a real dirty night for the Crows, with a display that coach Matthew Nicks labelled “embarrassing”; they recorded the lowest ever score in their 30-year club history and it was also the lowest seen at Marvel Stadium since it opened in 2000.
Round 17 Results
Port Adelaide 8.7 (55)
Melbourne 12.14 (86)
Essendon 11.18 (84)
Adelaide 2.9 (21)
Hawthorn 6.10 (46)
Fremantle 16.12 (108)
Carlton 5.14 (44)
Geelong 10.10 (70)
Brisbane 8.15 (63)
St.Kilda 14.11 (95)
GWS 9.10 (64)
Gold Coast 10.5 (65)
Western Bulldogs 8.12 (60)
Sydney 11.13 (79)
Richmond 11.5 (71)
Collingwood 13.9 (87)
West Coast 8.12 (60)
North Melbourne 10.10 (70)
- Stay up to date with all the latest news via the official afl.com.au website.
- AFL Exchange Podcast
- AFL Daily Podcast
- AFL 2021 Round 16: Silk 400th, Bulldogs back on top, Suns stun Tigers
- AFL 2021 Round 15: Lions roar, Goodwin’s 100th as coach, O’Brien speccie, Cripps megadeal
- AFL 2021 Round 14: Rohan heroics, Fagan’s 100th as coach, Stringer masterclass
- AFL 2021 Round 13: Buckley farewell, Cameron-Hawkins show, Crows comeback, Sam Reid 100th
- AFL 2021 Round 12: Unstoppable Demons, Dreamtime in the West, Magpies boardroom coup