AFL 2021 Round 7: Tigers roar, Papley heroics, Western Derby, Blue Ribbon Cup


Reigning Premiers Richmond made a statement, coming from behind, as they ended the unbeaten run of the Western Bulldogs, seen by many as the side who could take their crown, with a dominant showing in front of a crowd of 52,402 at the MCG.

Tigers captain Trent Cotchin paid tribute to his side, in an on-field Channel 7 interview; he said: “The Doggies are obviously in amazing form and started the game really well. However, we managed to hang in there, give ourselves plenty of opportunities and in the end run away with the win. I was really proud of the boys.”

On the performance of forward Tom Lynch, he continued: “He is amazing the big fella. Every week he works really hard and normally competing against two or three defenders. I thought his work rate really stood out for me and his activity inside-50.”

That result allowed Melbourne to take over at the top of the ladder as they made it seven-zip with a hard-fought 30-point success over North Melbourne down in Hobart.

Coming into the game, all eyes were on forward Ben Brown as he made his long-awaited debut and line up against his former club. However, it was fellow strike partner Bayley Fritsch grabbing the headlines with a career-best six-goal haul.

The one big disappointment of the afternoon, though, was the first-quarter injury to defender Adam Tomlinson. The 27-year-old had to be helped off the ground by training staff with a suspected ACL tear that will likely put him out for the season.

Tom Papley was the hero, scoring the winner with just 91 seconds remaining, as Sydney managed to get up over an inaccurate-kicking Geelong at the SCG.

There was still time for a controversial ending to the match when Cats’ Jeremy Cameron looked to have marked, in the goal square, only for it not to be paid by the umpire who ruled it hadn’t travelled the required 15 metres. Certainly, a decision that provoked plenty of discussion amongst the media and pundits after the siren.

Subsequently, the AFL’s Head of Umpiring Dan Richardson has said, upon review, the ball had in fact travelled the distance and should have been paid ‘a mark’.

Under-fire Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley admitted ‘We’ve lost our DNA’ and also claimed his players were ‘outworked by a team who look like they care more’ after watching his side go down to a 24-point defeat at the hands of Gold Coast.

Take nothing away from the Suns, though, as they picked up only their fourth-ever win at the venue with a very strong display. Josh Corbett (four goals), Touk Miller (34 disposals) and Hugh Greenwood (26 disposals, 10 tackles) all playing key roles.

Jesse Hogan made an immediate impact on his debut, kicking four majors, for a GWS side that had far too much and thrashed a below-par Adelaide outfit by 67 points.

Speaking, post-match to Giants TV, the 26-year-old forward said: “It was a bit of a nervous build-up but as soon as you get out there and the adrenalin is going, you just feel a part of it. It was awesome and was a really good team performance.”

“We put up 100 points on the board and our mids were dominant for four quarters. They gave us plenty of opportunities and to get on the end of a few was a bonus.”

West Coast came out on top, in the 52nd Western Derby, and made it eleven straight wins over Fremantle at an empty Optus Stadium. Key forward Josh Kennedy, back from an ankle injury, Jack Darling and Jake Waterman were amongst the goals.

A free-flowing and keenly contested first half led to the two sides recording the highest half-time aggregate score since their rivalry began in 1995. However, the second was a complete contrast as the Eagles took control and ran away with it.

Midfielder Tim Kelly won the Glendinning-Allan Medal with a man-of-the-match display that included a career-high 42 disposals (23 contested) and 14 clearances.

Up at the Gabba, a dominant Brisbane led for the whole evening as they put away a disappointing Port Adelaide in style; Charlie Cameron bagged himself four snags.

Making his senior debut for the Lions and a real story of perseverance was Irishman James Madden. The 21-year-old defender, part of the Ballyboden St Enda’s GAA club 2017 Leinster minor title-winning side, finally earning a call-up from the NEAFL.

He first caught the attention of the club’s recruiters when he broke the all-time AFL Draft Combine 20m sprint record (2.69 seconds) as well as at the AFL Academy.

Carlton picked up their second victory of the campaign by defeating arch-rivals Essendon in a real shootout style and exciting encounter to get over the line.

Blues coach David Teague pleased to see his players get the job done. He said “I look at it as much as the way we played today. The result is great, we want that and the win is really good. For our fans that it what, they want and we have got to keep going out there trying to win. We feel that our best is good enough to beat anyone.”

“There was real growth of our boys. We hit the scoreboard well when we got the ball forward and inside-50; it was good to have a spread of different goal kickers.”

Jack Higgins booted four majors as St.Kilda took the honours and lifted the Blue Ribbon Cup, in emphatic fashion, by belting a poor Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium.

One of the AFL’s longest standing traditions, it was first established in 2000 as a tribute to two Victoria Police members who were killed in the line of duty in 1998.

All the players, coaches and on-field staff from both sides wore blue and white checked armbands as a sign of respect and also to remember the sacrifice.

Round 7 Results
Richmond 11.11 (77)
Western Bulldogs 7.13 (55)

Collingwood 7.13 (55)
Gold Coast 12.7 (79)

Adelaide 4.15 (39)
GWS 15.16 (106)

St.Kilda 19.14 (128)
Hawthorn 9.5 (59)

Brisbane 13.15 (93)
Port Adelaide 5.14 (44)

Sydney 14.6 (90)
Geelong 12.16 (88)

North Melbourne 11.7 (73)
Melbourne 16.7 (103)

Essendon 16.11 (107)
Carlton 19.9 (123)

West Coast 20.12 (132)
Fremantle 11.7 (73)

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