AFL 2023 Round 8: Dunkley magic, Demons win thriller, Five-star Mihocek, Bont masterclass

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Seen as one of the pre-season favourites, who could go all the way, Brisbane showcased exactly why as they travelled interstate and knocked over Carlton.

Whilst the Gabba is a real fortress for the Lions, it is their form on the road that raises the questions with this result silencing the doubters in the perfect manner.

Midfielder Josh Dunkley really caught the eye with undoubtedly his best display yet, since moving up from Victoria in the summer, and played a pivotal role with his coach Chris Fagan hailing it “one of the great games I’ve ever seen”.

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Speaking in the presser, he continued “If you weigh it all up, he played on Cripps all night, he had 33 touches, he had 13 tackles and he kept Cripps to a quiet game. I would have settled for Cripps having a quiet game, to be honest with you. Josh’s influence on the contest was exceptional.”

He continued “His leadership since he got to the club has been outstanding. He is happy to roll his sleeves up and do a role for the team. He sets a great example to everyone in that regard; he studied Cripps all week and Josh did one of the really great offensive and defensive performances, I reckon; he should feel very proud.”

Collingwood remain the outright ladder leaders as Brody Mihocek booted a career-high five majors in their 29-point win over Sydney before a huge crowd at the ‘G’.

There was certainly no love lost between these two teams in a very fiery battle, with the influential Nick Daicos receiving a lot of attention. However, the Magpies withstood the challenge and a strong final-term saw them pass with flying colours.

Reigning Premiers Geelong made it an impressive 51 triumphs from their last 59 fixtures at the GMHBA Stadium after defeating a fast-improving Adelaide outfit.

Jeremy Cameron grabbed another three snags, taking his season tally to 33 which keeps him top of the Coleman Medal table whilst, down back, the defensive pairing of Tom Stewart and Mitch Duncan also played important parts for the Cats.

It might have come at a bit of a cost, though, with the hamstring injury suffered by captain Patrick Dangerfield, up against his old mob, that saw him have to be substituted – he will now have scans to ascertain the extent of the damage.

Up in Queensland, Melbourne had to endure some nervous moments before eventually getting over the line against Gold Coast in a tense and exciting finale.

They failed to kill off the contest and almost paid dearly for it, in the final minute, but Suns’ Darcy Macpherson missed a set shot that went through for just a behind.

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Speaking in the rooms to Demons TV, defender Angus Brayshaw (pictured above) said “It was a good win. Obviously the Gold Coast Suns are hard to play against up here – they are a great contest team who work really hard and we expected a really big arm wrestle for the whole game which is exactly what we got.”

He went on “They’re not always going to be by ten goals – so for the group to show that resilience and play the four quarters out, right to the end, I thought was a really good sign four our group.”

It completes a good few days for the Demons, following the news that livewire Kysaiah Pickett (pictured below) has signed a new four-year deal that ties him to the club until 2027.

Richmond ended a run of five straight defeats, although it needed a strong last quarter before they were able to get up over a depleted West Coast at the MCG.

Their recent form has seen some in the media question whether 3xPremiership coach Damien Hardwick “has lost the players”, something which he has fiercely rejected and will now be hoping that his group can start to build on this victory.

In another encounter that went right down to the wire, Travis Boak (pictured below) scored his 200th goal for Port Adelaide as they edged Essendon in a thriller at a sun drenched Oval.

The home fans were certainly taken on a ride; firstly, seeing their side trail until late in the third before finally hitting the front. Then, having got in the ascendency, they had to endure a few heart-stopping moments in watching them hang on, none more so then when Bombers’ Andrew Phillips almost levelled the scores in the last minute.

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Post-match, talking to the club’s website, Power midfielder Connor Rozee said “It was a back and forth game, they play pretty aggressive, attacking football. We knew that it was going to be up and back a little bit, high turnover game. Fortunately, we were able to convert a bit more in that second half and just hold on late.”

Asked what they did differently during the second half, he responded “There wasn’t many things that we needed to change, maybe just get it closer to goal so we could convert a bit better. In terms of our whole game, our contested football was really good and playing our style of football. We tweaked the turnovers a little bit and were able to convert better.”

Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli produced a scintillating display as he led his troops to a hard fought success over Greater Western Sydney.

The Premiership and 4× All-Australian midfielder racked up 32 disposals, career-high numbers in contested possessions (25) and clearances (14) as well as a goal.

Credit to the Giants that fought back, after the main break, to make a real contest of it but ultimately this latest loss continues their miserable run at the Manuka Oval.

Over in the west, Michael Frederick, Jye Amiss and Luke Jackson were amongst the goals for Fremantle that hammered basement side Hawthorn by a 69-point margin.

The Dockers kicked their highest score since the 2019 season opener and also managed 18 goals in a match for just the second time in almost seven years.

Completing a fine afternoon saw the highly anticipated return of key player Nat Fyfe as a substitute; he had been out for the last six weeks with plantar fasciitis.

In what proved to be a very average and low scoring affair, St.Kilda did just enough to get themselves on the right side of the ledger against lowly North Melbourne.

Both sets of players clearly left their shooting boots at home – the Kangas were goalless at the main break, for the first time since 1979, while the Sainters didn’t fare much better in front of the big sticks with plenty of inaccurate kicking (16 behinds).

Round 8 Results

Carlton 11.8 (74)
Brisbane 15.10 (100)

Richmond 15.14 (104)
West Coast 8.10 (58)

Geelong 14.14 (98)
Adelaide 11.6 (72)

Gold Coast 13.7 (85)
Melbourne 13.12 (90)

GWS 10.11 (71)
Western Bulldogs 13.8 (86)

Fremantle 18.9 (117)
Hawthorn 7.6 (48)

Port Adelaide 12.20 (92)
Essendon 13.9 (87)

Collingwood 11.11 (77)
Sydney 6.12 (48)

North Melbourne 4.10 (34)
St.Kilda 8.16 (64)

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