Western Bulldogs got up in the big top of the ladder clash over Melbourne, leapfrogging back into pole position, after a tight and fiercely contested encounter.
The Doggies avenged their loss to the Demons, earlier in the year, and it will give them a physiological advantage with the two sides likely to meet again in September.
Speaking in the presser, coach Luke Beveridge was delighted with the performance. He said “It’s a win full of heart, really, in the end when you consider Melbourne got within that goal. We steadied ourselves and came again and showed some pretty good composure. I’m really proud of the boys and the way they went about it.”
He added “Our forwards played a pretty good tactical game. They brought a lot of balls, that were intercepted last time we played them, to ground and gave us a chance to keep it there. All our midfield, when it got tight in that last quarter they rose. They rose above the situation, really dug in and said ‘righto, here we go, jump on my back and we’re going to win this game’.”
In a re-run of last year’s Grand Final, Geelong proved too strong for current Premiers Richmond that are now in real danger of missing out on the eight altogether.
Esava Ratugolea, in his 50th game, and fellow forward Tom Hawkins each kicked four apiece as the Cats led for pretty much the whole afternoon at the MCG.
Up in Queensland, Brisbane produced a stunning second half comeback to completely run over the top and thrash arch-rivals Gold Coast in the 21st Q-Clash.
It looked like being a very different story as the Suns went in at half-time with a healthy lead. However, whatever Lions coach Chris Fagan said to his players during the interval had the desired effect as they came out and played so much better.
Midfielder Jarryd Lyons (33 disposals, six marks), a former Suns player, picked up his second Marcus Ashcroft Medal of the year for his best on ground performance.
Port Adelaide captain Travis Boak marked his 300th game by leading the side to victory over Collingwood and keep their top four aspirations firmly on track.
The 32-year-old, who debuted for the club in 2007, received plenty of video messages in the lead-up from both people across the AFL and the sporting world.
Forwards Charlie Dixon and Todd Marshall combined for seven goals between them while Willem Drew was simply immense with a standout performance for the Power.
West Coast managed to get over the line, in a real crunch game with both teams pushing for a place in finals, as they managed to see off the challenge of St.Kilda.
However, it may have come at a cost with the Eagles sweating on the scan results to ascertain the extent of key player Liam Ryan’s hamstring issue. It forced him off, in the first quarter, and he will be another name to add to their growing injury list.
Although he ultimately finished on the losing side, Saints forward Max King kicked a career-high six majors to cap a fine display and proved to be a menace all afternoon.
Greater Western Sydney were the big winners over the weekend, moving up three places to eighth, after coming from behind to get the job done against Essendon.
Having gotten themselves into this position, though, the Giants will be well aware, with four sides only two points behind them, that they can’t afford any slip-ups at all.
Isaac Heeney grabbed a five-goal haul as Sydney overcame a sluggish start before going on to secure a 40-point success over Fremantle in convincingly fashion.
Not the day that Dockers’ David Munday would have hoped for in his 350th appearance but none the less a fantastic achievement. Earlier in the week, he agreed a one-year deal to remain in 2022 which will be his 19th season at the club.
Indeed it turned out to be a pretty dirty afternoon with coach Justin Longmuir losing both his captain Nat Fyfe, with a re-occurrence of a dislocated shoulder that is going to require surgery, as well as midfielder Michael Walters with a hamstring injury.
Adelaide compounded what had already proved to be a difficult week for Hawthorn by handing them a defeat which makes the wooden spoon a real prospect.
The Hawks haven’t been out of the media, with so much reaction and speculation about the succession programme they announced with current coach Alistair Clarkson handing over the reins to Sam Mitchell at the end of the 2022 season.
Both have come out since and done interviews as to how the transition will work, their relationship but that has done nothing to take the spotlight of this big story.
Nick Larkey booted a career-high seven majors as North Melbourne recorded their biggest win of the year, making it three from their last four, and ended any faint Carlton final hopes, in the process, with a 39-point drubbing at Marvel Stadium.
Speaking to Fox Footy, the 23-year-old said “It was great. We had some great ball movement. We have been building for a long time for a game to open up like that and the forward reap the rewards. It was my turn to get on the end of a heap today but we had a lot of goalkickers, which was really good for us.”
On their current form, he continued “We have been building a lot since the bye. We want to be a driven group. Nobs (David Noble) and all the coaching staff have done such a good job at getting us on the right path. It was always going to take a little time to gel, we’re a young team, but it is starting to come together.”
Round 19 Results
Port Adelaide 14.13 (97)
Collingwood 10.9 (69)
Carlton 11.11 (77)
North Melbourne 18.8 (116)
Brisbane 17.18 (120)
Gold Coast 10.11 (71)
West Coast 14.10 (94)
St.Kilda 13.8 (86)
Melbourne 9.11 (65)
Western Bulldogs 13.7 (85)
Adelaide 16.6 (102)
Hawthorn 13.5 (83)
Sydney 14.14 (98)
Fremantle 8.10 (58)
Geelong 15.5 (95)
Richmond 8.9 (57)
Essendon 7.11 (53)
GWS 9.12 (66)
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