AFL 2022 Round 23: End of the home and away season, final eight locked in

AFL Premiership 2022
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Published on 23 Aug 2022 6:08 pm (UK Time)

Jamie Elliott kicked the winner as Collingwood pulled off a remarkable comeback to defeat Carlton, by just a single point, and guarantee themselves a top four finish.

The Magpies set a new AFL/VFL record this season for close wins (nine by just a single figure margin), but this one, against their arch-rivals in front of a sold out MCG, will have to go down as the most spectacular of all given what was at stake.

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Speaking on ground to Channel 7, “Billy” (pictured above) said “To be honest I wouldn’t be here if that last play; Ginny blocks his man, it doesn’t happen without the other boys. I’m just on the end of it. Oh, wow. That’s awesome. I think we’re all stuck for words.”

He went on “We’ve been saying all along, like, we’re riding the spirit and the emotion. The enjoyment and the excitement. I mean, we’re down by 24 points in the last quarter. Ideally wouldn’t be in that position. We just want to play aggressive and it suits our game style. I want that every quarter. We’ll take learnings from that. Obviously, we have an opportunity to create some havoc in finals and who knows where that can take us.”

Absolute heartbreak for the Blues that become the first team since 1977 to sit inside the top eight after every round except the last – they miss out on their first finals since 2013, by just 0.6%, in what must go down as one of the cruellest finishes.

The Western Bulldogs, last year’s beaten finalists, were the club to take full advantage of that result as they leapfrogged in to claim the eighth and last spot.

Certainly made to work for it down in Tasmania before overcoming a brave Hawthorn outfit that pushed them all the way. The Doggies won the flag from seventh position back in 2017, which will give them some confidence heading into September.

Fremantle were the other team affected, as despite managing to run over the top of Greater Western Sydney, on Saturday, have to be content with a fifth place finish.

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Michael Walters scored three snags, in his 200th appearance for the Dockers, while Caleb Serong and Will Brodie were superb in the midfield. Captain Nat Fyfe was a welcome return to the starting 22, following three weeks out with a hamstring injury.

Minor premiers Geelong made it 13 straight and will head into next month full of belief as they thumped lowly West Coast, by 85 points, at GMHBA Stadium.

The Cats led all evening, increasing their advantage at every change in a very one-sided affair that saw midfielder Patrick Dangerfield make his 300th AFL appearance.

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Speaking in the rooms, to Cats Media, the 32-year-old (pictured above) said “It’s been a great week and a nice way to finish off the regular season for us. It’s been great to re-connect with some people that I grew up playing footy with and I really enjoyed having the kids out there pre-game with me tonight.”

He continued “We’ll enjoy tonight and the weekend, reflect for a couple of days, and then start our preparations for that first final. This is the time of the year that you want to be competing and we are up for the challenge.”

Two sides vying to lock in a top four spot clashed at a sold out Gabba where reigning Premiers Melbourne did a real demolition job on a disappointing Brisbane.

The Demons, once again, proving far too strong and effectively had the contest wrapped up by half-time with Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett scoring four apiece.

A real dirty evening for the Lions – worst defeat on their home deck since April 2019 and will be without Cam Rayner (dangerous tackle) and Noah Answerth (striking) for the first week of finals after both players were handed a one-match ban by the MRO.

Furthermore, the club also had to issue an apology, via a statement, following an unsavoury incident at three quarter-time involving captain Dayne Zorko who admitted that he acted inappropriately in comments made to Dees defender Harrison Petty.

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Sydney clinched third place, in what has been a thoroughly impressive regular season, as they held off the challenge of a plucky St.Kilda to get up by 14 points.

In an open letter to the Swans members and fans, coach John Longmire (pictured below) wrote “What an incredible journey we have shared so far this year! In 2022 we’ve seen crowds back at the footy, Buddy’s kicked his 1000th goal, we’ve celebrated 40 years in Sydney, and we’ve witnessed the passing of the baton from Josh Kennedy to Callum Mills.”

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“Our 14-point victory over St Kilda has us finishing the home-and-away season in third place on the AFL ladder. It’s a terrific achievement and the result of a relentless drive from everyone in our team to be better.”

“To everyone who has shared the journey with us so far this year – whether you’ve been cheering us on from near or far – we thank you. It is bloody exciting, and we can’t wait to see what September brings.”

Tom Lynch booted five majors before worrying having to be substituted, with a groin strain, as Richmond chalked up another monster score at the expense of Essendon, who, in the aftermath, decided to sack coach Ben Rutton.

The Tigers continuing their fine run over the Bombers, which dates back to 2014; they scored 100+ points, for a fourth consecutive match, whilst also showcasing that they are going to be a real threat, come the pointy end, and a dark horse for the flag.

Although there was no fairy-tale ending, it was still a big night for Bombers defender Michael Hurley (pictured being chaired off below). He made the starting line-up, having missed the last two years with a life-threatening hip infection that saw him have to learn to walk again and, after being discharged from hospital, go through an extensive rehabilitation process.

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It has been a disappointing 2022 for Port Adelaide but they gave their supporters something to cheer about, on the final day, by thrashing crosstown-rivals Adelaide.

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Forward Connor Rozee (pictured below) (34 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances and a goal) picked up his first Showdown Medal, for his best on ground display, with 15 votes.

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This south Australian derby marked the final game for Robbie Gray (270 matches, 365 goals) who was chaired off the oval after deciding to hang up the boots.

Alex Sexton kicked a career-high six goals with Gold Coast signing their campaign off on a high by handing bottom side North Melbourne a 67-point drubbing.

It means that the Kangaroos finish as the wooden spooners but the Arden Street outfit aren’t dwelling on that and already looking to the future. President Dr Sonja Hood unveiling Alistair Clarkson as the new coach, at a press conference, on Friday.

In a real coup, the 4× AFL premiership coach (2008, 2013, 2014 & 2015), who played 93 times for the Roos (1987–1995), has put pen to paper on a five-year deal.

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Round 23 Results

Brisbane 8.9 (57)
Melbourne 18.7 (115)

GWS 10.9 (69)
Fremantle 13.11 (89)

North Melbourne 6.11 (47)
Gold Coast 16.18 (114)

Geelong 19.17 (131)
West Coast 7.4 (46)

Essendon 11.9 (75)
Richmond 21.15 (141)

Port Adelaide 16.15 (111)
Adelaide 7.13 (55)

Hawthorn 10.4 (64)
Western Bulldogs 12.15 (87)

Carlton 10.14 (74)
Collingwood 11.9 (75)

St.Kilda 11.8 (74)
Sydney 13.10 (88)

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